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: (osculant)
phonetalk with Evelyn: resolving past hurts, setting intentions/goals for future interactions
icon: "osculant (photo of Hannah and I lying on our sides facing each other, our legs and shoulders slanted toward each other and the floor, so that our bodies together make the shape of a heart: our outstretched arms are the point and our bums are the two curves)"

I talked on the phone with Evelyn last night, impulsively, when I almost never talk on the phone. It was an intuitive instinct that I just followed, and I'm so glad I did. When I heard their voice my heart started glowing (by which I mean, I felt a sensation of radiating heat where I feel my heart energy center) and I felt unexpectedly overwhelmed with joy. We talked about stuff that we had been discussing via email, mostly affirming and clarifying things that had already been said. I felt relieved when they expressed that they had finally internalized (taken in as truth) the facts that 1) it is not a loving act to ignore one's own needs but rather is detrimental to oneself and those one loves and 2) it's not useful or loving to hide things from someone to protect them. I feel like denial/rejection of these facts was the core problem we were having last year, so I feel hopeful now. They apologized for hurting me, acknowledged that it was shitty and that I deserve honesty, openness, and kindness and said they'd do their best. And later that evening they shared with me a story that illustrated how they're working to put honesty first.

At one point they mentioned "you've forgiven me" just offhandedly, which pleased me to my core because it is usually very difficult or impossible for people to accept that my forgiveness has already happened. I usually end up feeling like I have to prove my love again. Which I know is not about me, but I can't help but feel a bit distrusted when that happens.

I referenced how they said they wanted to be in my life and asked what that looked like, and they said it looks like spending time together in person. Last year they were really impossible to plan with and I sort of expected a "not now, but sometime, eventually..." which would never actually happen, but they didn't make any backing out disclaimer-y comments! they seemed quite certain of what they wanted! and we made a plan to spend time together. Tomorrow.

I'm excited to be reconnecting with someone that I have a spirit connection with. When I say spirit connection, I mean I can feel what they are feeling. When they tell me something they don't mean, I can feel the truth anyway. When they're upset, I feel it as if it were my own emotion many times even if I'm not involved in the situation at all. When they're thinking of me, I can feel it. It works whenever I am open to it whether we're around each other or not. I have this kind of connection with Topaz and I have had it with Hannah and Kylei and I had moments of it with others. Having this kind of magic in my life really matters to me and I always grow by leaps and bounds through being close to someone who is my spirit kin. And it is just such a relief to be with someone who I have both strong intuitive understanding of through a spirit connection AND strong logical understanding of through a mind connection. That has only happened before with Topaz and Hannah. I usually have to work so hard to understand people and I'm constantly second-guessing. Such a relief to just know.

I know some of y'all are like "why are you like this!? will you ever learn?? you silly creature tsk tsk" and to that I answer magic is rare and I'm gonna suffer anyway because this world is an endless crawl over broken glass and acidic shit. *shrugs* if I'm gonna survive I have to take magic where I can find it.

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belenen: (gamine)
LJI topic 6, "heel turn": my unlucky feet, how I first heard Godde, & how I perceive that moment now
icon: "gamine (a photo of me as a seven-year-old child, freckled with frizzy hair and a solemn expression, leaning against a tree)"

My feet have always been the most unlucky part of me. I pulled a tendon in my foot so badly that I had to wear a cast; part of my heel got deeply scraped on a shell at the beach; the head of a nail made a hole in my heel when I was running down a boardwalk; I cut open the top of my foot falling down wooden stairs; and I almost sliced off my big big toe and second toe on the bottom of a broken bottle. But that last experience was the opposite of what you might think.

I was about 12 and my parents had taken me and my siblings to a park that had a waterfall and then a wide stretch of flat river. My dad made me give my water shoes to my brother because he was more accident prone (clearly they hadn't noticed the trend of my feet being unlucky) and so I was clambering around the rocks, barefoot. At one point I went to step on a mossy rock and I got a very strong internal "no" but having never experienced that before I ignored it and stepped. My foot slid right down into a hole between several rocks and I stumbled and realized that I had been cut. I called out to my parents, who were quite freaked out by the amount of blood gushing from my left foot, but I could only feel the small scrape on my right foot -- I think I was in shock.

As my dad carried me to the car and we drove to the nearest hospital (with the aid of a paper map), I was not thinking about the cuts at all. I was completely preoccupied with marveling that I had heard Godde's voice! I felt embarrassed that I hadn't listened, but I felt that I had been given proof that Godde loved me, not just generally but me in particular.

I have a very different perspective on that moment now, 22 years later. I can see a variety of alternate possibilities: my eyes took in information that I didn't consciously notice, and my subconscious sent a warning; nature spirits in the area knew of the danger and warned me; someone else had slipped there before and their pain had left an imprint that I subconsciously picked up on (this one I consider the most likely). Whatever the case, some being (even if it was just my self) was watching out for me and trying to communicate with me.

It still feels like a magical moment, and looking back I can see that it had a profound effect on my sense of self and the way that I perceived the world. Back then, it caused me to believe that Godde wanted to spare me pain because they loved me uniquely, and that I could listen on a deep level to get information that would keep me safe. As a kid who never felt safe or secure, that was something I really needed. I no longer believe in a singular, all-powerful deity who will magically keep me from harm, but I was able to believe in that throughout the most unsafe, unloved years of my life, and I'm very glad I had that experience.

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

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belenen: (overwhelmed)
I have HPV (as if I needed more stress)
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I went to the doctor today about a lump on my genitals. The good news: it's not cancer. The bad news: it's HPV.

I only this year learned about HPV. I knew it existed before, but I thought it was checked for on the standard set of STI tests. Nope. There are 100+ strains of HPV, so there is no test to prove someone does NOT have HPV (as they'd have to test for all strains), and most people who have it don't have symptoms. Also, it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, so even using barriers and taking caution with sexual fluids won't prevent catching it (though it will reduce the likelihood of course). "HPV is so common that most sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives." Oh, and the strains that can cause cancer and other serious problems do NOT cause visible symptoms.

So, I could have gotten this from any of my partners, or I might have contracted it as a child enduring sexual abuse and just never had symptoms until now (when my immune system is low from extreme & prolonged stress). I feel incredibly unlucky. Most people with herpes don't have symptoms and most people with HPV don't have symptoms, but I got both. And all the people out there with HPV and no symptoms don't have to deal with stigma. It's really fucking unfair that people are going to think of me as undesirable because I'm one of the few that got visible symptoms, noticed them, had them checked, and will be honest about it.

It wasn't too hard to find out the best way to manage herpes: if you're not having an active outbreak, infection is unlikely if you use barriers and take caution not to swap fluids. I can't find a good source on the best way to avoid transmitting HPV because everything I find is like "spread by skin-to-skin contact" with no specifics and I'm pretty sure that there is risky contact and non-risky contact but there is no fucking information. I imagine the only skin that is likely to spread genital HPV is on your crotch and thighs. HPV doesn't seem to have a outbreak-vs-non-outbreak difference. So I suppose the new precaution I have to add is to not let people touch my thighs without having the STI conversation.

Six years ago when I got herpes and posted about it someone who was 'concerned' about me (ha) told me I should never have sex again. Now that I have another fucking STI, I'm well and truly a pariah. Not that it would be terrible for me to never use my physical genitals in sex again. They're not that important to me. But they tend to be important to other people. And the idea that people would rule me out as a romantic partner because of STIs... I just find that so gross and I wish I didn't have to think about it. It's upsetting even if I wouldn't want to be romantic with them anyway.

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belenen: (rainbowarrior)
22 months writing image descriptions: 4 awesome side-effects / resources & explanation of the need
icon: "rainbowarrior (me, face at a sharp angle, staring boldly with a streak of rainbow light falling on the side of my face, through my eye to light up the pupil so that it looks like its glowing)"

After 22 months of using image descriptions, I've noticed some great side-effects:
  1. I notice things more. When I write an image description, I have to really look at the image multiple times, and most of the time I realize aspects that before I would never have brought to my consciousness. In this way I get to look at it for the first time twice. It's a great mind-sensation. This used to happen for me when I edited photos I took, but now I can have it for any image whether I created it or not.

  2. I've grown far better skill at describing things. I have to figure out what is important for meaning and feeling, and put that into words. I have come to be much more aware of lighting, textures, and mood.

  3. I am more intentional in what I share of both my own and others' images. There is a bit more work to sharing things, so I don't just click 'share' on any image I come across that I like. Instead, my feed ends up being weighted toward original content. I value creation deeply and am grateful that that little bit of extra work keeps me from ever getting in the habit of merely re-sharing others' content.

  4. It has made me more expressive. Rather than popping in an emoticon, I have resurrected the art of emoting: I will type *smiles* or *excited bouncing* and this is oddly far more vulnerable and makes me feel far more connected.

Even if I didn't have great side-effects AND I had no friends who were blind or low-vision, this would still be very important for two reasons. 1) I make public posts, and many people who I am not friends with can observe my shares. 2) To make the web accessible, EVERYONE has to do this. More than 1 out of every 50 people in the US has a visual disability (and that number quadruples when you don't count children under age 16) which makes it likely that some of your friends or at least some of your friends-of-friends have a visual disability. I use image descriptions partly to influence sighted people to start writing them also and stop excluding blind & low-vision people by default.

Len Burns, a blind facebook user, writes:
"As one who strives to fully participate in community, I value what you communicate. Each time I am excluded from your conversations because a photo is undescribed, stings. When the "sting" is multiplied hundreds of times per day, I feel excluded and unvalued. Plain and simply, it hurts like hell... If inclusion matters to you, really matters, describe the next photo you post, the one after that, and before you know, it will become a habit. Choosing not to describe a photo or consider the accessibility of other media you plan to use does not differ from ignoring physical barriers that exclude people from community. Exclusion is exclusion. If inclusion is a core value, please think before you post. Thank you."

This past March the official twitter app gave users the ability to add image descriptions, but you have to enable this in the accessibility settings. This allows users to give descriptions that are just for screenreaders (which otherwise would take up the whole tweet). This is a great first step, but people have to be proactive, and the fact that it is an option rather than a requirement reinforces the idea that access for blind/low-vision people isn't important.

A few weeks after twitter released this, facebook released AAT (Automatic Alternative Text), which is nearly useless, as Tasha Raella explains:
"I am a blind Facebook user, and examples of image descriptions I have received so far include 'Image may contain indoor,' 'image may contain one person smiling,' and 'image may contain hat.' ... Rather than questioning the assumption that providing image descriptions is a burden and that blind people’s access needs are blind people’s problem, Facebook is reinforcing the ableist status quo...

As it is currently implemented, Facebook’s automated image description tool promotes independence, rather than interdependence. It sends the message, loud and clear, 'Don’t bother writing a description of your new baby. Our AI has it covered.' In ten or twenty years, that might be the case, but not now. With existing technology, the only way to ensure full and meaningful access to images is to encourage sighted users to describe their photos."
I heartily encourage you to begin writing image descriptions, at least in any shared space such as facebook groups or LJ communities. They don't have to be fancy; something like "[image: photo of dog with a bone]" or "[image: cartoon of two kids holding hands]" is just fine. I use more in-depth description when I'm describing art such as my icons. I could also describe my icon for this post as "photo: my face" and while a blind person would not get the feel of the image from that, they would get the information that I am using an image of myself to introduce this post, and that might give a variety of impressions, depending on how they interpret that act. Such a bare-bones description at least gives the most basic info.

Some resources on writing image descriptions:

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belenen: (revolutionary)
me on LJ vs me on FB: beginning work to correct perceptions of me by being more open on FB
icon: "revolutionary (a gif flipping through four of my nude self-portraits in dancy poses lit by natural light, showing my soft rounded body)"

I had a conversation with Cass the other day about the way people perceive me through facebook. She told me that I come across as very judgemental and hasty to dismiss people as unworthy; that she in the past and others who she has talked to have this perception. At first I found this really baffling, because I am used to people who know me through the internet thinking of me as really accepting and emotionally warm, and anyone who has known me for a while knows that I always want to work shit out rather than throw people away. But it has been a long time since I took a 'fresh read' of people's opinions of me and even so, the last time I did I think people only responded if they had something nice to say (which wasn't my goal, but was nice to read). So maybe people's perceptions of me have changed in general and I just don't know it.

Anyway, there is a huge difference in my LJ presence versus my FB presence. Livejournal gets the best of me. Things I am sure I want to read again, I put on my LJ. Random comments go on twitter which cross-posts to facebook; those posts are automatically less nuanced just because they're 140 characters or less most of the time. I don't share my more warm-fuzzy or introspective stuff on FB because nobody responds so I expect that that means nobody is reading them. My tweet-sized comments usually get about a dozen likes/reactions, whereas my cross-posted LJ entries are lucky to get 3 likes/reactions.

But this means that people are never reading about how I am working out difficult friendships or how I am dealing with personal struggles, so they really don't get a good feel for who I am. And I don't want people to get the wrong impression of me, so I have decided to try and be more open on facebook, even if I get no feedback. Then at least it is not my fault if people have the wrong impression. I'm going to try to cross-post even the 'unimportant' 'too personal' stuff for a while and see if that helps.

There is also the fact that livejournal allows me to give responses to people's experiences rather than just dealing with the more surface stuff. On facebook most people do not bare their soul, so there isn't a lot of valuable reflection I can give; an "I read this and I care" means a lot more in response to a soul-baring than it does in response to a post that isn't very personal. So I can't show my caring so easily there, even with the same amount of effort. That, I do not think there is a remedy to. There are simply too many people and too many posts for me to be able to find the emotionally-deep posts that would be best for thoughtful responses.

ETA: Just realized that the fact that my comments on LJ have mood-appropriate icons (often of my face which makes me more relatable) and the fact that I am much more affectionate in my speech on LJ must also contribute to the difference in perception. The latter I can be conscious of and shift somewhat on facebook. I don't necessarily feel less affectionate toward people I know through FB, but I tend to be more reserved with affection there, not sure why. Perhaps because it does feel much more public. People can happen across my facebook pretty easily, whereas when people come to my LJ, it is a much more deliberate act of connection.

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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: (nascent)
I'm going to start trusting my intuition over others' claims for the first time in my life
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant translucent blue hands with pointy nails)"

So today, at age 33, I realized I have never even tried trusting my intuition. After I realize something is a mistake I can easily remember feeling 'off' about someone or something but I never trust that feeling. I always assume that somehow, perceptions external to me are more correct. When my intuition disagrees, I try to get enough data to silence it. My first assumption is that my feeling is wrong. If the thing I am getting a sense about only affects me, I may trust it, but if it affects someone else I always distrust it.

Part of it is because it feels arrogant to me to say, "This person says X about their feelings/behavior/desires but my intuition says Y. I will trust my intuition and act as if they are wrong." Instead, I dismiss my intuition and act as if they are correct, and this almost always turns out to be a mistake. People don't know themselves. I was married to someone who told me over and over how much they liked and admired my ideas, behaviors, and self-understanding until we broke up and then they were like "oh actually I think it's wrong to be queer, pagan, polyamorous, or genderqueer, and I have thought that this whole time." I think the truth was in between, as they didn't have a firm opinion, but my intuition that they weren't fully sincere was correct. It galled me that I sensed that they weren't wholehearted yet dismissed my sense, over and over until I didn't even notice the twinges. There have been other shocking and painful instances of things like this. Sometimes I get completely numb and lost because I am dismissing so many twinges.

Another part is that there is no good way to communicate about this. If I feel like someone doesn't know their own motives and that is what I am basing my decisions on, I can't notsay that if they ask why. But I can't really say it either because there is no way to say it that doesn't sound cruel or dismissive or (at best) super arrogant.

I'm just going to wade into the thorn-bush though because I need to stop ignoring my own feelings and trusting other peoples' interpretations of situations above my own. If it feels wrong to me, I need to honor that. I may be entirely wrong about someone, but I need to be able to make that error instead of constantly erring on the side of self-betrayal. I need to be willing to be disliked, to be considered judgemental or even mean. People thinking ill of me is better than me crushing my own internal barometer. If I get a feeling about someone's motives, I am going to act as if it is correct. If I can, I will check with them first to be sure I have all the information: but if the same feeling comes up over and over, I'm going to trust it.

I'm going to start asking myself questions like "is it the best choice for me to invest in this person?" "do I feel sure this person knows what they want?" "Am I feeling a 'yes' on this or just the absence of no?" and I'm going to trust that even if I am wrong about the actual cause, I am making the right choice about the effect. I will ask myself also (as usual) "do I have a fear or insecurity that might be causing this?" and even if the answer is yes, I will not dismiss my feeling (but I will factor that in).

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belenen: (exuviate)
changing my attitude toward 'hi'
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

After posting that I hate it when people use greetings like 'hi' and reading the responses, I realized 1) other people don't hate this, 2) other ADD people in fact feel a particular need for this, and 3) the reason I hate this is because it makes me feel forced to participate in something meaningless on fear of being punished, because I was not allowed to ignore people as a child. I can fix this by assigning meaning to my greetings and practicing ignoring whatever I do not want to respond to.

I honestly thought that most people didn't care one way or the other and people who reject norms would also hate it as meaningless and useless. I thought I was being kind by not making other people do this! So it's a good thing I posted about it because I have been unintentionally making people feel off-kilter or unimportant for decades *concerned frown*

So I'm going to do my best to change my behavior. I thought about how to make the ritual meaningful for me and decided that when I say 'hi' I mean H.I. which stands for hierarchy incinerate, a wish for all hierarchy to be burned into nothingness. And I will picture sending them a gift of flame, which they will hopefully use to destroy oppression but they can also just use for any positive purpose. If they say hi-how-are-you in a situation where it is not appropriate (such as walking by each other in a hall), I will ignore the question and respond with 'hi.' If they ask how I am when I can actually respond, I will offer them a summary phrase and one fact that has affected how I am lately - whether they want to hear it or not. It is disrespectful to ask someone a question and not care about the answer, and I'm going to assume people are not being disrespectful.

When I was forced to participate in this ritual as a cashier, I asked, 'how's your life?' because it was different enough that it shook people out of their rut sometimes and they gave a real answer. Plenty of people just said 'fine' though, so I am going to try 'how's your day been?' For me it is much easier to answer than 'how are you?' which is a damn huge question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

more - this is a long one )

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

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: (disassociative)
anxiety & people-fear / fretting about friends
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 cried for hours yesterday and in talking with Topaz about it I realized that this isn't a cyclic feeling like I was thinking (I was starting to wonder if it was hormonal), it is something I feel every single day and just usually repress, and once or twice a month it comes out in a gigantic multi-hour sobbing shaking mess. Every day that I see another human being and feel that connection is impossible, the feeling gets a little bigger. I keep hoping something will change. But it doesn't. And I push it down and put a lid (made of hope and will) on. Often the lid pops off and I can wrestle it back on after only 5 minutes of crying. And sometimes the lid disintegrates entirely and I can't build a new one immediately and it's out and it's everywhere and no one wants to be around me because good god stop whining when you already have so many amazing friends!

That question I answered the other day about my most difficult-to-discuss mental issue? this is it. It's usually so squished I can't find it when someone asks how I am doing, but I can sense it there, so it is hard to answer. And when it is not squished sufficiently and someone asks me how I am, it boils over. Or if the person feels especially empathetic, it boild over. So I fucking hate when people ask how I am because it disturbs my only coping mechanism for this.

But my answer the other day I think is also true, because I remembered that Kylei's anxiety is also usually focused on people, but theirs looks different because they are more outgoing. Kylei gets anxious that people don't want to continue being their friend. I get anxious that they don't ever want to begin.

I think I have a lot of anxiety that I just squish very hard. That might be part of the reason my memory is so bad- my brain is always running a squish program and can't put it on hold to actually focus on fetching a memory.

I think that the reason I couldn't understand why I kept feeling this when it is so irrational is that it is chemical. At least, one can hope. I'm going to talk to my doctor about an anti-anxiety med (NOT a benzo). I'm gonna ask about mirtazapine because that is anti anxiety and depression (and I want to go off the bupropion I'm currently taking for depression), its not an SSRI (SSRIs make me depressed) or MAOI (which have risks that terrify me) and it works on adrenergic receptors which feels intuitively correct to me, and prescribing particular meds is always guesswork anyway.

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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: (pensive)
realization: I need group intimacy as well as one-on-one
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a glitter goatee, looking down pensively with woods in the background)"

realized yesterday that I was craving intimate time with multiple people simultaneously in person. I'm not sure if it has actually been a while since I've had this? it feels like it. I've had casual time with multiple people and intimate time one-on-one, but last intimacy practice was like a month ago and I think that was the last time I had in-person group intimacy. But it could be because I'm finally appropriately medicated yet no longer spending all my energy on school, so I actually have time/energy to reflect on what is causing my feelings.

I didn't even realize I had a need for this but yeah, I do. I've been feeling a weird kind of lonely that doesn't go away from anything else. So I made a plan w Heather and Kylei and Topaz to have a sleepover and I can't wait. I think that I need specifically this for two reasons: 1) it is a broad kind of love (that many people associate with 'family' which I have nearly never experienced in biofamily situations) which brings its own nourishment, and 2) only by spending time with mutual intimates can I be deeply nourished by seeing one person's love for another. and I think maybe 3) flowing back and forth in my focus from person to person makes me feel a harmony and unity I can't feel otherwise.
sounds: Heather Nova - Wicked Game | Powered by
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belenen: (osculant)
rune divination from Heather on finding romantic relationships, realizations & decisions
icon: "osculant (a photo of Hannah and I laying nude on dark fabric, facing each other with our bottom arms stretched toward the camera, hands overlapping, and our other arms entwined between us)"

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with Heather and they offered to do a rune reading for me. I was curious and agreed, and they told me to think of a question and then draw three runes. I did, and then they interpreted them for me. The first they said was about worth, perhaps material worth or self-worth. The second they said was about mysteries or magic, and that they associate it particularly with the vagina. The third was about success after a period of time (with nuances I have forgotten). They said that the first one is the source of the problem, the second is the solution, and the third is what will happen if you follow the solution. So then I told them that I had asked "how will I find my next romantic relationship?" and asked them to interpret again in light of that.

They then looked at the runes and laughed and said that the strongest impression they got was that I was asking the wrong question. I said that what I had sensed as they explained the first time was that my problem was in not having the resources as well as not believing in my worth, really. I felt the solution I was being told was to invest in my own magic, and that it would take time. Heather said that felt right. So I was like, HOW do I do that? And Heather told me to draw three more.

The first Heather interpreted as "you know what to do but you're resisting." They said I'm holding to a set of patterns that doesn't fit. Also, when this is near the next rune I pulled, it means ask for advice. The next one means prepare for harvest, implying a slow process. The third is firm indication that it is not time for new starts, that things are outside your control. Then I drew one more, don't remember why, and that one was "Isa" which means delay, wait for a better time.

This last set I felt was saying wait, wait, also wait some more, and let it come to you. And really, I feel I have learned that people who come to me end up being the ones who have strong positive impact, and when I chase people I just end up with wasted energy. Not everyone who comes to me is good for me, but everyone who is good for me has come to me. I know what actually works for me is to just focus on being as true to myself as possible, and staying open to people who reach out. I can't find them, I can only draw them.

Yet I was trying to find them because dammit, I thought I was ready. But also I was pushing myself because the longer I go dating just one person, the more I feel judged and rejected by poly people, and I wanted to escape that. I also just miss the kind of awareness that I only have when in multiple romantic relationships. But really, while I might be emotionally ready in one sense because I'm no longer dealing with squelching depression, I am overwhelmed with the multiplicity of things demanding my attention and adding another, no matter how lovely, would probably be a terrible idea. While I was disappointed, I was also relieved, and realized I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself and feeling bad because my efforts were failing and what if I never find anyone new who is awesome and why doesn't anyone want to date me etc.

Also, the fact that one of them suggested asking for advice made a lot of sense to me, because I am terrible at differentiating between potential and actuality and making decisions based on now. For instance, if a person is really amazing, but is so busy that we never see each other, I have a hard time deciding to not invest emotionally now. Or if a person really wants to build the skills I value, but isn't actually doing it or is doing it so slowly that it will be years before they have the skills that nourish me, I have a hard time moving on, or putting it on low priority. Heather and Topaz are both very good at evaluating those sorts of situations, and I think that if I had asked them for advice over recent years I would have saved myself a lot of unproductive energy drain.

This was definitely the most useful divination I've ever experienced. I felt a positive shift in myself after. I felt affirmed in the fact that I have been investing more in my own magic these past 3 months than I ever had in my life before. I feel comforted that I'm not lacking in new romance because there is something lacking in me. I feel inexplicably reassured that there are people who I could feel deep connection with who I have yet to meet. And I feel much better about the fact that I can't find people and have to wait for them to find me. I will still make small overtures when they feel right, but I'm not going to try to do "what everyone else does." And the energy that I was spending on trying to meet new people I am instead going to spend on my current friends.

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belenen: (tree wisdom)
helping people figure out their desires without taking responsibility for their self-awareness
icon: "tree wisdom (photo of a large tree with roots underwater and trunk reflected in still waters, thick woods behind)"

When I suspect that someone wants something, I usually ask them, "do you want [this thing]?" and it used to be that if they said "I don't know" I would ask more questions to help them figure it out. Somehow within the last month I have stopped doing that second part. I just drop it or tell them "think about it and let me know when you figure it out." I feel like this is good progress for me, since it is vital to me to check in when I think of it (and can) but if they aren't participating enough to figure out their desires when deliberately prompted, then me continuing to poke them more is me taking responsibility for their self-awareness. It feels weird to leave that for them, but really freeing. I didn't realize how much effort it took, or how often I did it. I think somehow I realized that I now am surrounded by people who mostly won't blame me if they don't get what they want from me (when they didn't ask).

I'm happy to help people figure out what they want if they initiate the process* or ask me to do so (if I can), but when I do it otherwise it's usually because I expect them to punish me if I don't anticipate their needs and desires. This isn't an illogical fear, because to most people this is normal and tolerable behavior. But regardless of the logic, I do not want to be motivated by fear, and my risk is the smallest it has ever been. So I really hope that this new lack of fear continues. I think it will, unless I get a string of negative results for not doing that work. But so far no one has scolded me or pouted at me or pulled away from me.

*such as responding to my question about what they want with "I don't know, here are the factors I am weighing, help?"

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

Sorry for my absence; things have been wild but they should be settling now for at least a few weeks.

One of the major aspects of life taking my thoughts and energy lately has been my friendship with Kei-Won-Tia. I won't go into details for fear of betraying confidence, but we had a major, two-week clash over what it meant to be open, and then they expressed a need that I cannot meet and still be a whole person, so we can't be friends right now, and not in the future unless they no longer need that thing I cannot do.

It made me realize that I have a need from all of my friends, which I am not sure if I have expressed recently or clearly. I need to be able to trust that you are not going to lie to me -- that you are not going to deliberately deceive me. That is a dealbreaker for me. My dealbreakers are:
1) deceitfulness/insincerity
2) disrespect
3) manipulative behavior
4) destructiveness of self and/or others and/or living things (see original post for details)
5) indifference/apathy

and mapped out with more specificity: my minimum requirements for friendly acquaintances and actual friends / my ideal friend's qualities.

Hopefully I'll write something of more substance soon.

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belenen: (distance)
the intersection of openness, intimacy, and privacy as it relates to me
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

So a friend of mine told me something that had an intense emotional impact on me (and was then unavailable for conversation), and I talked with another friend about it to try to process it. Several days later, the first friend told me that they wanted it kept secret. So as not to lie by omission, I told them that I had already told a mutual friend of ours as it literally did not occur to me to think of this as a secret, or to think of the friend as the wrong person to talk about my feelings with. The first friend is upset with me now because they feel I broke their confidence. So that this doesn't happen again, let me issue the following PSA:

I do not understand social assumptions regarding privacy. I do not know what qualifies as 'private' to you if you have never told me. If you have never told me that something you are sharing is private, expecting me to know that is not okay. If you want me to keep a secret, tell me it's a secret. I cannot know what you want to hide. And if you want me to keep things secret, don't tell me you want to be open with everyone.

In most cases this should be irrelevant. Most events are not going to affect me in a way that mentioning you specifically is important. For instance, if you describe a fight with your partner and that sparks memories and feelings in me, the specifics of your situation are not relevant and I wouldn't feel a desire to share them. However, if something happens between us or if something happens that could change or end our connection, then mentioning you specifically is relevant because our connection is unique and my feelings about it are going to change based on who you are and the history of our connection. If Kylei was moving away, that wouldn't feel at all the same as if Heather was moving away. If they didn't tell me "keep this a secret" then it wouldn't even occur to me to keep it to myself because I'd be thinking about it a lot and I'd want to discuss it and/or write about it.

If you ever ask me to keep something in confidence, I would do it as a matter of course. In any case whether you tell me it's private or not, I am not going to tell an abuser, authority figure, or dangerous person something that makes you vulnerable to them. That would not be me sharing my feelings with someone I love and trust, that would be me exposing you to danger for no reason. Of course I would not do that!! but if you have never told me that a person is dangerous to you, and I love and trust them, then I may unknowingly do that. This is why I must be told who not to talk to about something you want kept secret. In the rare case where I want to share something that involves you, I am willing to suffer a loss by not sharing if it will keep you from feeling hurt.

If you want me to default to not talking about you at all, tell me and I'll do that. That will seriously impact my desire to be close to you, because I loathe making secrets out of things that have personal meaning to me (like my close people). I would never have a secret lover, for instance, because that would feel torturous to me, and would disrupt my intimacy with everyone else I cared about. I don't want to be told lots of secrets, because the sheer amount will cause me extreme distress considering that my memory might make me fail at that point. But conversely, if you're gonna keep secrets from me about things that would impact our relationship, I can't trust you. So, secretive people do not work for me as close friends. I can be casual friends with secretive people and even love them, but I cannot be close to them.

For me, there are literally hundreds of people I am okay with knowing the details of my life. I warn my lovers that if they want to be a large force in my life they need to be okay with me writing about them (about their actions and their words to me) in my LJ. The exception I will make is that I will lock it if it is something they don't want shared publicly, and/or use a pseudonym. This is something I try to mention fairly early on, as it's extremely important to me. I spent my first relationship not talking about that person with anyone and it hindered my growth and nourishment extremely.

I have one friend who values privacy very much. They have made this clear to me. I ask them which people I can talk about them with and what I can talk about, unless I'm being very vague (vague being something like "a friend of mine was talking about media consumption"). This is possible mostly because we have a very specific methodology of sharing with each other. I could not be happy with that situation if we were in a more intimate relationship, because people who affect my daily life are part of my story. I would need at least to be able to talk about them (without checking) with a few people they had vetted. If I love you and invest continually in you, what happens in your life is a part of my life. I need to be free to be open about my life with the people I trust at the very least.

I value having a circle of people (most of those in intimacy practice) who all know each others' business, who all call each other out and point out when someone is getting off track. This is why I put myself in uncomfortable situations for intimacy practice and have conflict resolution that is witnessed. if I fuck up, I want everyone to know about it, so that if there is something I could learn, I have the greatest chance that someone will teach me. I would rather be embarrassed than ignorantly problematic.

In short, here are your privacy choices with me:
-anything is fine to share unless otherwise specified.
-anything is fine to share with identifying information removed. (this doesn't work if people know you well enough to guess)
-nothing specific is okay to share unless specific permission has been granted for what to share and with whom.

or come up with your own preference and ask me and I'll let you know if I can do it, and then you can make an informed decision.

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belenen: (nascent)
spiritual transitions, why and how: religions, deities, spiritual concepts
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant blue hands with pointy nails)"

[ profile] darkestgarden asked me to describe my spiritual transitions: how did you transition from one spiritual phase to another? what thoughts and questions and feelings sparked those transitions? were the individual transitions easy difficult, painful? have you suffered loss of any kind because of a transition? have you faced someone else's anger and/or disappointment and/or scorn for changing? has a change ever destroyed relationships? have you ever felt angry or disappointed or foolish for having believed in something, once you've transitioned away from one set of beliefs?

The first transition between one belief set and another happened when I went to my pastor and gently, respectfully inquired how they could reconcile their "witnessing (getting people to convert) is the most important goal in life" with what Jesus said, that love is the most important goal in life. There was no good reason but they were invested in their evangelical attitude and so rather than reconsider, they attacked me. They told me that everything about my life was wrong and useless and I wasn't really a part of their church, because I wasn't part of a small group. (I had tried several small groups but they were all just interested in socializing so I kept trying to find one that would actually be growthful. Essentially I had not failed, the small groups had) I had been attending for about 13 years, always sang and usually danced in worship, took notes during the sermon and often talked with the pastor afterwards to process it; I always took everything profoundly seriously. There was no possible way to actually doubt my devotion. This pastor just wanted to maintain their bad doctrine and was willing to eviscerate my soul to do it. At one point their spouse came up and tried to get them to stop and they silenced their spouse rudely (also the only time I'd seen them be rude to another person). Eventually they told me that they were not my pastor. This is the equivalent of being disowned by your parents, if you loved them. I kept their photo on my wall: that is how important they were to me. So I left, crying my eyes out, and didn't go back for a while, because it hurt too much.

That church had been the one thing between me and giving up on the institution. I admired how they did anti-racism work and how the pastor used to say before each sermon "this is just my human interpretation: check with God, your own spirit, and the Bible to be sure it is right." They sure turned their back on that. I have visited every once in a while to see if they've gotten better but they have descended into worse and worse blasphemy, advocating that women put up with spousal rape, advocating that you use violence to 'save' your children, being violently anti-queer, hanging a bunch of flags instead of doing anti-racism work outside the church building, etc.

Anyway, for a while I had no spiritual community and I missed that so much. I looked and looked. I began exploring other ways of connecting with deity, since I couldn't do my old methods. I came to realize that the perception of Godde presented by the church was wrong. I studied things alone and realized the intense levels of sexism and hierarchy that were imbedded in the worship music, which had always been a haven for me and now I couldn't have that either. I studied other religions but they all had something wrong with them: sexism and/or codes of ethics that included things I could not agree with. So I started the lonely road of creating my own belief system.

There have been other transitions, but gradual and natural ones based on new experience or understanding. I moved from believing in a male 3-in-1 god who sometimes wore other faces to a gender-neutral Godde and male Jesus and gender-neutral holy spirit, to a life that is all things and manifests as various deities sometimes which are no more or less important a manifestation than are planets or oceans or humans or fish or ants. I have transitioned my belief in ownership of an eternal soul to a belief in a transitory experience of beingness, upon realizing that the former did not make sense in light of my understandings about who "I" am. That was a realization that shook me intensely, as it was foundational, but it wasn't painful. It was a little uncomfortable as I know it moved me further from the possibility of fitting with a larger spiritual community, since so many are based on an eternal soul, an afterlife, and/or an inherently "more important" deity. These transitions happened as I learned more about the universe and myself, and integrated what I learned.

I've lost many things in transitions, but most were illusions. For instance, the profound sense of unity that comes with believing the same thing as another person: inherently an illusion, since no two people believe the exact same thing even if they have the same belief set and religious/spiritual education. I feel nostalgic for the comfort of those illusions sometimes but I don't miss them.

I've never felt angry or embarrassed or anything for having believed something spiritual that I don't anymore: my old beliefs are the fertilizer for my new ones and I don't think it would have been possible for me to get to where I am without having believed those things. The only things that I have been ashamed to have believed are the ways that I reinforced oppression in my religion many many years ago, but I always feel a little removed because those were things I never truly believed, yet accepted because I couldn't find a way to resist them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (powerful)
flourishing in the wake of a drawn-out conflict with Aurilion (closure at last)
icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess" with arms flung out, a knife in one hand, and a sabertooth tiger on the other side)"

I've been swamped with ADD & school & car & money stress for the past few weeks, thus my lack of real posts. Despite being pulled in a billion directions and being totally overwhelmed, parts of my life have been profusely flourishing.

With regards to Aurilion, we exchanged letters (which I shared friends-locked because I'm not sure if they'd be okay with me making them public) after that unsent letter I posted. They were long and intense and through them I realized a lot of patterns I hadn't noticed before, some of them Aurilion's but the more important ones were mine. I realized that when we were together, I never called Aurilion on anything. The first time, that was because I wasn't good at understanding my own needs and boundaries, and I didn't trust Aurilion to know theirs either; after that, it was because I was always afraid that Aurilion was going to drop me as soon as I mentioned something that made them uncomfortable. When we broke up the first time, that was our FIRST real disagreement. After that I just kept it to myself when I didn't like something. I didn't even realize this was happening! It was an old pattern that held over, I don't do that shit with my friends now. In this exchange of letters, I laid out bluntly but not unkindly what issues I had with Aurilion's behavior, and in so doing I realized the depth of some of my own values. Perhaps the most important one is respecting others' self-determination; I plan to make a whole post about that. I also realized that when I didn't trust Aurilion to know and express their needs, that was valid, because they expressed that me simply stating what I want made them feel they had no choice but to do it.

Ultimately, when I realized that there were ways in which I had grown without anyone's guidance, and that Aurilion had not changed in these ways, that broke down that last bit of wish I had had for Aurilion to be a guide for me. I realized a year and a half ago that neither Aurilion or anyone else I knew could be a mentor for me spiritually, and this past summer when I attended energy work classes I realized that practice was a greater teacher than anything else and all others can offer is as a catalyst. But somehow it didn't really 'click' until I realized I no longer consider Aurilion more advanced than I am. I used to feel that Aurilion was more in-tune, more intuitive than me. That was perhaps true at first because I hadn't had practice, but now I have. And a vital part of that is that I check, I don't ever assume I am correct.

I used to be so scared of losing Aurilion. They left me over and over, coming back with promises that this time would be different. I feared losing them because I thought of them as the only way for me to feel a pure heart-connection. That's fuckin ridic! There are so many people in this world. I can call green hearts to me. I can feel the soil in my roots and the wind in my branches, I can rustle my leaves and breathe deeply. I know I will find more people with whom I can feel the spirits of trees every bit as strongly.

I called Viv and Kylei and Arizona and Abby and Topaz, every single one of them is connected to me through my intuition. Viv I randomly invited along to my first cuddle party, we were total strangers and I had literally never met anyone from OKC before. Kylei asked me for a conversation and I chose to follow up because I felt a tug (it would never have happened if I had been passive, which I definitely tended toward at the time). Arizona I had a dream about and listened to it and shared it with them, nothing would ever have happened had I not followed through on that dream. Abby I invited to a crafty party and at our first meeting made plans to go to our first burn together (had we not gone to that burn together we'd never have become close because we were both too passive in initiating at the time). That was an act of intuition because usually I'd have hated the idea of a stranger ruining the intimacy of a road trip, but I felt sure that Abby would not do that. Topaz I met because I invited myself along on a group event (which I nearly NEVER do) and then added this perfect stranger on FB and then shared a deeply personal post to facebook and they responded with openness (so many places along the way there where it could have fallen apart). I have found people with livejournal over and over. The world is full of connections and the only reason I don't have more heart connections is that I haven't yet asked for them! I have only called for spirit connections so far but I just wrote a spell for calling heart connections to me so I hope to do that soon and welcome new presences in my life.

In case it wasn't already obvious, our letters ended with Aurilion saying that they were done. At least it was a kinder goodbye than before. I'm not going to close that door, but I'm not going to let Aurilion skip the efforts I require from everyone else, either; honesty and working through shit is necessary. This interaction has been incredibly empowering for me. I am grateful and pleased with this turning point.
sounds: Banks - This Is What It Feels Like
connecting: , , , , ,

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belenen: (exuviate)
discussing w Topaz my recent upsetness / finally progressing, processing old stuff / heaviness ahead
The realization about magic and fatness happened this weekend at the end of a long day, and Topaz listened as I talked it out. I cried the whole time and had difficulty with words, because it was a new realization that I didn't have in my conscious fully. Then we went to try and see meteors (an hour later than Topaz wanted) and Topaz had no luck and was really crushed about it, we were both utterly wiped and went to sleep, woke up to finish the conversation. Topaz was hurt because ze felt like I didn't trust zir to see me fully, and I explained that it wasn't that, but just an expression of my feelings on a broad scale, and I do trust zir. We talked about the disappointment of the night and how Topaz wanted to relax, and having a clash was exhausting. I felt torn because Topaz wants to be there for me when I am upset, but I might be upset more often than ze can handle, and ze has a stressful life and needs to be able to take joy when it comes around, and not take on every negative thing that pops up. I am okay going off and dealing with it by myself for the most part, but that would make Topaz sad, so it's like well, stress Topaz out in this way or the other? There's no best option. And we'd gotten so raw, and had so little true relaxation, that we were reacting really defensively to each other and having a hard time taking things calmly. I felt like there was some stuck bit that was making everything twice as hard as it should be. Topaz started talking about the past few weeks, referencing a pattern that I did not see of me being upset a lot. I say it is not a pattern because while I have been pretty emotional a few times this month, I feel it has been in proportion to the causes, and I've been handling things in a very productive way. Like my parents coming in town -- I was upset by that, but I processed it and because of that, my tribe is starting to come together in a way it never has before. And I had an intense crash over the lack of hope for a better world, from which I realized I need to make more spiritual movement in my life, which lead to a really intense and wonderful spiritual experience. And this latest realization is something that affects my sense of self in a huge way and I feel when I finish processing it I will be much better off.

As I was thinking out loud about this I realized that the stuff that has been coming up this month is not new -- especially not the belonging/tribe thing -- but that for at least two years I simply haven't had whatever it took to deal with old or overlooked shit. I feel like I'm in a period of upheaval and transition but it is a good kind, where I feel satisfied and accomplished afterward, not the bad kind where I feel worse and less able to cope after. When I said this to Topaz I could feel a wave of relief wash out from zir and ze hugged me. I asked if ze had been afraid that I was getting depressed again and ze said yes, that it hadn't seemed quite true but ze didn't have any other explanation for the recent upsetnesses. Ze said this fear had made it much harder to handle when I was upset. (and I think zir migraines made it all kind of blend together and seem larger because of dropped in-between memories)

So, let me just say, I think this will probably mean that a lot of my entries are going to be self-reflective and perhaps sad or upset, for a while. I noticed that I've been feeling a bit guilty when I process difficult or upsetting things without useful or happy things in between and I'm pushing back against that. I may be repetitive, I may seem complainy; if you want to unfriend I won't mind. If you choose to stay, let me feel how I'm feeling (don't try to cheer me up); I'm very good at working my way through without pushes.

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belenen: (tree wisdom)
the latest breakup with Aurilion: no longer holding space / using intuition energy
When Aurilion ([ profile] nosswhispers) and I first met and I opened to our connection, it fell apart very quickly after because ze was in a relationship with people who were angry at or disliked me. I was extremely sad about that because I thought it was forever. The second time was after we'd been dating for a year and a half and that one was very sad mostly because ze didn't keep promises ze'd made, and I felt adrift in the change of that ending and a great loss of the deeper connectedness I had wished for. After that we were on-again-off-again for years, and each time Aurilion cut contact I felt pretty sure that ze would eventually get back in contact. I felt sad for the time that we would not get to share, but I didn't feel loss really.

This time is so different. I don't feel loss and I don't feel sad. I feel a kind of relief and this bouncing-back energy. I've had that before when I was in relationships that were taking more energy than they were replenishing. This time I think it is connected to the holding space that I was doing; maintaining a space for Aurilion to fill whenever ze decided to. I spent lots of energy on that, small amounts continuously, and had never stopped since the third time we got together (don't remember when that was but it was years ago). Now I've reclaimed that space and closed that door. A new space would have to be created if Aurilion decides at some point to rebuild.

I went to one of my favorite forests today (which is a huge victory by itself because I overcame my ADD-PI alone!) and I felt my intuition all lit up. There were moments where I stopped and was still because the forest told me to, and I asked questions and the forest answered me, and I wandered a new path, pulled along by the spirit of the place. I felt more centered and aware than I have in a long time, and I think that is because I was using intuition energy to hold that space for Aurilion, because ze was such an important teacher to me with that. I am glad to have that energy back to use in any way that appeals to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (honesty)
relearning vulnerability: uncomfortable sharing about internal and external shame
So I've been practicing openness and honesty for about 10 years now and for a while I thought I was done growing in that area. Becoming close with Topaz taught me that no, actually there are plenty of things I don't share. Mostly because I am worried they will upset someone. It's swung like a pendulum -- I pushed very hard toward complete naked truth, then swung back to learn care and kindness, and now I'm stuck in a place I don't really want to be, leaning more toward editing for the sake of protecting people. It is good to be kind but it is wrong (within my own ethic) to put that above being honest.

And there's the things I still feel weird shame about, like the fact that my bioparent M spanked me when I was 'bad' until I was 17 years old. After puberty I didn't have to pull my pants down when I was on my period, which I eventually just said was happening every time (I didn't get punished much because I was very obedient). I knew I was too old after I started feeling shamed and creeped out, but I didn't say anything for at least three years because when M spanked me, he forgave me afterwards, and if he didn't, he radiated the nastiest anger at me all day long. I could easily deal with a little physical pain but the emotional stress was horrible. I felt shame about not speaking up when it got creepy; still feel some shame about it but the more I talk about it the more I realize it was the right choice for me. People radiating anger at me is something I can't deal with, it feels so much worse than anything else (calling names, hitting, breaking my things, taking from me). It feels like I'm being poisoned spiritually.

Then there are the things I feel fine about but am sure that other people will judge me deeply for. Recently I realized one of them -- I not only voted for Bush twice, but I also voted against legalizing gay marriage in Georgia. (not because I thought it was wrong but because I thought all marriage should be a-legal and hadn't thought through the effects my choice would have) People who know me now would doubtless be shocked and appalled by this, but I don't feel ashamed. I would make very different choices now because I have so much more knowledge now. I really didn't understand much before I found livejournal, and through it feminism and social justice and the urge to self-educate.

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belenen: (artistic)
creative flourishing / memory / my creation is in inverse proportion to my depression.
I've been creating a lot more art (making fractals and editing my photos), sharing it on flickr and deviantart and tumblr; it feels AMAZING to be sharing my creations again. I've also been making mix CDs for people which is a big damn deal because instead of starting a creative project, doing a few and then getting burnt out, I actually finished the first set and offered to add people to the list! The second set isn't done yet but I am motivated to do it still. And I've been sending out postcards to scold my homophobic ex-church and to show love to my friends. And I actually reached out to new people on LJ in an effort to build a home here again (hi people!). It's weird to have an active friends list all of a sudden, even weirder that it's all strangers. I think the last time I added new people had to have been at least two years ago. I hope at least some of these new connections turn into friendships because I know that is what will most help me to write. And while I am enjoying making visual art, I need to be writing. I need it because it is my memory, my sense of self.

I wish I had a better memory but if I didn't have livejournal and photos, I would remember so little of my life. It's like my memory is 2D and I have to see something flat for it to be saved in my mind -- I can't even remember people's faces unless I have seen a photo of them and then I only remember the photo. I find that pretty tragic because I love faces so much. And it's worse when someone is not okay with me taking photos -- I'll respect that but it means they don't exist as a visual in my mind. Photos taken by someone else will work, but they feel like borrowed memories, like a memory of seeing someone through a window while I stand outside.

Anyway, this creativity is so wonderful to me, I hold it like a kitten to my chest. It's such a relief because it has been so long since I had the energy to do this. There were five months last year -- including four in a row -- when I took NO PHOTOS AT ALL. More than a month where I take no photos is dangerous, because I have to be intensely depressed for that to happen. I look back and feel sad for myself, lost thing that I was. Also I think that I need to live alone for as long as possible, because it's so freeing to be able to just go spend a day alone if I need to, and no one questions it or gets hurt by it, that's just the default. I have so much more energy when it isn't being spent on daily managing of other people's feelings, and since I am currently not at all good at resisting the pull to do that, I need to avoid situations of temptation.
sounds: Under Byen - 8 | Powered by
connecting: , , ,

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belenen: (soulfriendship)
living monogamously for the first time since 2009
I'm living monogamously right now: I'm not seeking out any new romantic connections and I'm not open to spontaneous romance/sex with people other than my lover. I still consider myself poly because this is only a temporary situation. I feel very little desire to create new romance right now, but when I do, I will transition my relationship with Topaz. Topaz has said that ze is willing to try it but that ze doesn't think ze will be able to handle it, and I feel like that's true, so I feel that it is likely that when I am actively poly again it will be the end of my romantic relationship with Topaz. And I love sex and kisses with Topaz way more than any others I've had so far, so I'm not giving those up lightly (we have both agreed that when we break up we will still be emotionally intimate and cuddly, so the sex and kisses are all that we intend to change).

It's been weird. I'm not used to having any artificial boundaries in my relationships (that is, boundaries set by something other than the ones directly involved). But the extra energy I have that I might have put into developing a new relationship I am instead putting into developing my friendships, and I am glad to have that as a possibility. I'm also glad to have people who can and will make plans with me in my tiny bit of spare time!

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belenen: (distance)
my experience with MM last fall / falling fast and crashing / guard-guide-"dominance" realizations
Lately I've been thinking a lot about a person I'll call MM (don't want it to be searchable), who I met at my first TBC in 2011, and followed zir on twitter for the next year, feeling a great deal of admiration for zir thoughts and passion. When I went to TBC in 2012, I ended up staying at a mutual friends house with MM, as my flight was delayed by hurricane Sandy. I'd been incredibly attracted to MM, and we spend most of a day cuddling and talking.

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (spiritual)
slowly healing depression / living alone / spiritual growth - taking the lead, allowing judgement
It's been about six weeks on citalopram and I feel like I'm slowly healing. I have only had one spiral-into-weepy-self-hate in the past two weeks, which is such an improvement. I feel like I need at least a few months on this to get to the point where I actually have more energy than enough to rest and heal, but I'm starting to feel hopeful that the depression will not take up the rest of my life. I feel like I might get to a point of happiness and self-motivation again, instead of being pushed by guilt-avoidance and pain-avoidance. I feel like I understand what happened; I got stuck in a pattern of spending every bit of my energy every day and not self-caring, and it was not just psychological energy I was using but physical and emotional and spiritual as well. I had nothing left, and my brain went into starvation-mode and trapped all the serotonin every day, so even when good things happened I couldn't spend that positive energy. I'm hoping this SSRI will retrain my brain. I have no idea if that makes any scientific sense, obv, it's just my feeling about it. I feel like I've learned my lesson and won't be spending my energy like that again. No more playing the knight, Belenen, I mean it. If you're gonna give support, do so with at least as much space apart and regularly check in on your own self, because these past three months you were at your most useless ever and if you don't want to be a fucking lump again then PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOUR ENERGY IS GOING.

Living alone is so good for me right now. I miss Topaz intensely when I am trying to fall asleep (we sleep cuddled up and it's so sweet and nourishing and comfortable) but other than that it feels amazing to just exist, without considering anyone else, for a significant period of time. If I ever live with other people again, I will make sure that it is like the Maxwell house, with at least three people, at least one non-lover on the same level of the house and physical separation of my room, so that I don't feel obligated to interact. Now that I've learned that my favorite people will still visit me way out here, I probably will stay for as long as I can do so cheaply and with no housemates. I want to tend the land here and fill this house with enchantments. The initial cleansing ritual was very effective but the house hasn't reached equilibrium yet -- the living room and my room are filled with good energy but there are three rooms that I just keep closed off because they still have residue. Oh, and the initial ritual was this: We split up, one person in each room (or area) and did four five-second screams (breaking up bad/stale energy), one at each direction (N,E,S,W), with the scream starting with me. Then we gathered and had a spiral hug in each room, after which we threw the positive energy from it around before moving to the next one. I filled the house with burning myrrh, and people wrote positive words/drawings on the walls in chalk. I haven't had the energy to do more work solo, but I hope to do that soon (last week was finals so this is my first true resting day in a long time). I never would have thought I'd be living here again or that I could even make it livable but it's actually nourishing now.

I feel like living alone also makes me realize things that I don't if I'm constantly overlapping energy with other people. I can feel my own self more. And I can hear the trees here when they whisper and maybe when this depression is gone I'll be able to feel rooted with them. And for whatever reason I feel empowered to take control of my spirituality for the first time maybe ever -- I think I needed to break from the idea of being led (or accompanied) and holy fuck did that take a long time. I think that being unable to believe in the reality of anything at all for a few months helped me feel it was possible to make those subconscious breaks, heh. I don't need someone else to validate my experience, to tell me that I'm doing the right thing or that what I feel is real. I can validate my own self. I can believe whatever I damn well please; if it's real to me, it's real in the only way that matters. I need to quit with the disclaimers that I use to deflect scorn from my "woo-woo hippy-dippy shit." Instead of being like "well there's this thing that I sorta kinda feel might be true but it might also be wrong and I don't know" I need to be like "this is what is true for me." I need to just do it, then deal with any judgement that might follow so that the fear of that judgement goes away. Hiding NEVER removes fear. Hiding NEVER EVER removes fear. (got that, self?) And that fear is blocking me from having the kind of experiences I want to have, from seeing things truly. I close my eyes to things because I don't want to experience what I cannot share and I don't share things that I fear people will roll their eyes at or worse, silently think me illogical/irrational. FUCK THAT. I don't want to live my life giving everyone I meet the power to shut me up by allowing them to rate my rationality or logic. I learned to dismantle those judgements regarding my socially unacceptable appearance and I need to learn it for my socially unacceptable thinking/philosophy/spirituality. Also I don't want to block myself from shared experience because I don't trust people to treat me honestly and respectfully at the same time. I must allow the possibility of judgement to allow the possibility of understanding and consonance.
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belenen: (nascent)
uncertainty about what I thought permanent / building my center / reality without observation/proof
I feel like I am just starting to get a glimpse of the my current self; the alchemical process is starting to coalesce, or maybe I'm recognizing the ingredients. I think I got very off-center for a while, and spent my energy like it was endless and then had neither the time or energy to really see myself. I don't regret it but I feel glad to be beginning this shift. Also pretty intensely scared and nervous because I don't know where my life is going. The only things I feel certain of are that I intend to continue school and I intend to continue spending time with Topaz. Things I feel uncertain of include: my polyness, my sexual identity, my level of community-building, my living situation, my cat caretaking, my Atlantianness... all things that had been stable for at least two years.

I had intended to spend the rest of my life with Kylei without any gaps, but the longer our break goes on the more I realize how lost I had become in the context of our relationship. I am not good at maintaining my center when someone else is off-balance; I compensate without even realizing what I am doing. I had lost part of my self because it didn't work with how we were living; I did this with Abby too, and before that with Arizona. I think if someone doesn't have a passion they center on, and I am passionately connected with them, we just sort of fall into orbiting each other, closer and closer until we collide and break (or until I see that coming and stop the relationship). I need to remember to be centered in myself. It feels like it's sort of naturally happening as I am with Topaz because ze has two very central very intense passions, which combine/conflict to form the path that ze sets intentions around. I feel free to center my life on my own, and I am remembering dreams which had faded to near-nothingness. This is why I have been writing more and making more long-time dreams happen and creating more. This is why I have lost the fear of losing people. Even Topaz -- I cannot imagine not wanting to spend tons of time with zir, but I can imagine myself without zir or anyone else, being okay, being alive, wandering the world and tasting it. I don't feel a horrible deathlike loneliness at the thought of losing all of my people, which was true until very recently. I think I went hungry for such a long time. I'm slowly coming back into focus in my own eyes. I missed me. I am still not back, I still do not feel passionate love for myself. I feel my healthiest state is when I can have a date with myself and feel as sexy and desirable and exciting and nourished and seen as I can when I am with someone external to my perceptions.

Relatedly, something that has only happened with Topaz is that I can feel the reality of us without documentation or external observation. I've realized that one of the ways I establish the real is through being seen, by myself in reflection or by others. I usually need some level of proof; I need photos to look at or words from others, unprompted by myself, in order to believe that I am not making it all up. My connection with Topaz feels more real than possibly anything else I've ever experienced, and I feel like a part of me that has been exhausted with constant searching for reality has come to rest. I still want to write and photograph and share, but I can believe fully without those things. And strangely at the same time dreams and illusions have become more real, and I have less trouble believing in all my own experiences, without needing someone else to say "yes that makes sense" or "yes I feel that too." I feel I am bringing my non-real and my real into a synthesis; I am closer to this than I have been since it was broken when I was a child.

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belenen: (veneration)
tons of time w Topaz / handling conflict / how ze grows / empathetic oneness / alchemical shifting
Other than homework my life has been filled to the brim with Topaz. I just came home tonight after spending probably two weeks or more at zir place (stopping by home occasionally to get things). I think we have spent one or MAYBE two nights apart since I got back from TBC, either at my place or at zirs, and this doesn't feel like too much. Partly we can spend time together while doing other things, partly we just miss each other when we're apart. The other people I have been comfortable spending this much time with from the beginning are Hannah and Kylei, but even with them I needed more breaks because we would have painful conflict more often. Topaz and I have had some painful conflicts but it's rarer and healing them is less draining. I don't know how to explain, exactly... We had this one conflict where I was being careless with my response to something that was very important to Topaz, and it hurt zir, and we thought we had this fundamental philosophical difference, which we didn't (we use opposite words to mean the same things in some ways), and the logical part was pretty quickly mended but then the feelings had to catch up, and afterward I felt tired but I didn't feel drained. That was our first real conflict and we have gotten better at it since, I feel. And starting out from "pretty good" conflict and rapidly improving is amazing.

also amazing to me is the way Topaz grows. Ze is very open but also new to sharing on the level that I practice, so it can be difficult for zir to answer when I ask what ze is thinking or feeling. But ze tries very hard (to the point of sometimes getting upset with zirself over lack of perfection) and it's amazing how quickly ze's growing in this area. I've been close with many people who had difficulty with this and usually the progress is very slow, so that contributes to my amazement. I don't remember the timeline of my own growth but I don't imagine that it was so fast, either.

There's also supremely amazing sex; I want to write about that but it will need to be locked. I'll just say that I am trying all kinds of delightful new things and that my flexibility and strength is improving markedly ;-)

We speak the same language and it is incredibly easy to feel our agreement or lack thereof... usually if I say some complex feeling or belief and someone else says "me too" I feel compelled to ask, "how so?" partly to clarify and partly to see if it is truly 90-100% shared or if it is just 51%(+) shared. With Topaz I can just tell, and it is often 90-100% shared and when it is not I ask for elaboration.

We are emotively sensitive to each other -- there was a time this past week where I went into distraction-mode and was more distant from Topaz and it was mild yet ze noticed and cared enough to ask me about it. I have NEVER had that happen before; I almost always notice before the other person, and the few times that hasn't been true it has been a pretty intense distance. Also there are occasional freaky moments where I wonder if I have said something I was thinking out loud because Topaz heard it and responded -- but I did not say anything. And we feel each other's emotions and influences.

The strange thing is that being with Topaz feels like it has changed the current of my life in an alchemical way; I feel constantly as though I might be dreaming. I have pinched myself every day, it seems. I don't know what this means, and it's not really that physically evident but it is intensely mentally different. I am adjusting, slowly, and I hope to be finding some sort of comfort with the shift soon; it feels amazing, but also like I am out of my depth. I am so used to being able to touch bottom and even though I am enjoying the freedom to dive and spin, it's also disorienting. I look back at my life and I just don't feel like the same person. I want to get to an equilibrium of change so that I can say "okay, I am this person now" because right now I change so intensely in such an unconscious way, every day, that I cannot say who I was yesterday or who I will be tomorrow. I know that I will be in school for the next year at least, and that I will be working with N/A*, but everything else is not just unpredictable but unfathomable in a whole new way.

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belenen: (exuviate)
shedding, shifting, movement and temporary endings in my relationships.
Fuck. This past week has changed SO MUCH in my life. I realized on Thursday that I was creating all of the momentum in ALL of my romantic relationships, and that it was draining me entirely. I've been feeling incapable of happiness; even in moments of extreme joy I would suddenly crash and feel disconnected and apathetic. I was worrying that it was a chemical thing and that I needed some sort of medication, which is extremely scary for me because I know of the struggles my people have had in trying to find the right pill (one that didn't just make their problems worse).

I had a long conversation with Kylei on Thursday about our particular set of issues; things that were innocuous that became habits and thus problems; basically I had become Kylei's mood stabilizer, safety blanket, and braindump receptacle, because I often act those functions and without any intention for it, Kylei had grown to expect it. That, combined with Kylei not investing in zirself or in people other than me, led to this loop of need that meant we never got above neutral. I felt like it might be best for us to take a break, but we ended up deciding to try and shift expectations in another way, which is what we're living now. It feels weird but I am hoping it will lead to renewal. I was feeling / am feeling scared that we won't be able to renew our magic, but I am having faith and Kylei said ze was going to work on having faith too.

Then Friday I had a long conversation with Abby about the same thing, realizing that with zir and others I was constantly investing without realizing it, shoring up my feelings which would slowly slip with every day that I didn't hear from them, and fall dramatically every time I found out something significant had happened in their life that they didn't share with me. While I was logically okay with these things, emotionally they damaged my connection every time and I fixed that damage by pouring my own faith-energy into the cracks. It worked, but it left me neutral or negative on energy all the time, and it's been going on for so long that I've forgotten how to manage "more than neutral." I only realized these things after hanging out with Topaz and feeling nourished afterwards instead of sad or just okay. I thought to myself, "healthy connections create energy, this needs to change." So I shared all this with Abby, feeling super-worried that ze was going to be upset with me, but ze was just sad and caring for me, and we agreed to take a break from our relationship (because I can't manage to stop investing energy without that). I want to have a similar conversation with other people whom I'm 'dating' but haven't actually had any significant amount of time with since ... I don't even know. I can't keep trying to make the impossible happen.

And there's this weird selfishness in it where I don't want to give up because I don't want to have my world shrink, which is what it feels like will happen if I break up with people. But that is a shitty reason to stay with people. I need to let things happen in their own time instead of being like NOW NOW NOW GODDAMMIT. I want these things to blossom and flourish but I KNOW that is not going to happen right now and we're delaying the future joys by creating issues now that will have to be healed later.

I also had some fucking astonishing world-shifting beginnings this week, and loads of TBC learning, but those will have to go in further posts.

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belenen: (disconnected)
cracked open and spilled out
Godde why is everything so fucking hard. I've cried so fucking much today; at school, at the auto shop when I got an oil change, at school again, at home. I had an intense discussion with Abby about the lack of communication between us and the imbalance in initiation, and I feel a sliver of hope now but also just so fucking sad. Why is it always so hard for people I love to come to me (emotionally and physically)? How can it be that even at the edge of ending it's a struggle?

I also got some wonderfully encouraging messages today, one from someone I had never really talked to and one from someone who has been important to me but for whatever reason we see each other very rarely and one from someone who's been a long-time LJ friend and one who I have a heart-on-thorns-in-paradise history with. And one from Nea, who always finds the perfect thing I need to hear, that I'm listening to over and over.

I feel like something cracked, like I had been holding myself together so hard, waiting and waiting and waiting for things to get better, and they didn't, and then finally I just couldn't wait anymore and I let go and this shell cracked and all of my pain came spilling out. And I feel more alive but SO FUCKING SAD.

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belenen: (interconnectedness)
initiating contact / communication patterns w Kylei, Adi, Arizona / talkin w Abby about expectations
There tends to be a disparity in my relationships regarding initiating contact: I tend to do much more of it than the other person, and when that happens for a long period of time, my self-worth takes a nosedive. So my first reaction is to see if the other person is willing & able to do more initiating, and if that's not the case, then I decrease the amount I'm doing until I don't feel bad about it anymore. I get caught in horrible loops if the other person gets upset with me for decreasing, but otherwise it works.

It's strange to me how my relationships shift around in completely unpredictable ways. Currently I'm in romantic relationships with Kylei, Arizona, and Adi. Kylei I live with (and have lived with for the last year and a half) and see every day (on the days where one of us is out of town we tend to have at least one hour of phonetalking per day). Adi is extremely busy as ze's dating five other people, and ze also has ADD so we don't really talk unless we're in person. Arizona is also very busy and not much for distance communication. I have intense emotional/spiritual connections with both of them and ideally I'd like to have the kind of relationships with them where we talked at least via text at least every other day, but I know realistically that that is not going to happen, and I've come to acceptance about it. Lately I've been reflecting on it and while I'm okay with having relationships that are at this low level of communication, it's not very nourishing for me. It IS nourishing, just at a very low level and I'd like to be creating what I want.

But most people don't seem to want that level of communication, or if they do want it they are not able to do it. I was really, incredibly lucky to find Kylei, who wants to maintain our super-communicativeness as much as I do, but I want to develop at least one more bond like this. But it has to be a yearning PLUS ability on the part of the other person and that seems difficult. If Kylei and I didn't live together I don't think we'd have been able to maintain it while Kylei was dating others, because I think Kylei's lack of dating outside the house I was living in was what facilitated us staying connected like that while living apart. That sounds convoluted but I'm not sure how to untangle an explanation.

A month ago Abby and I decided to "officially" reclassify ourselves as friends because our romantic relationship had dissolved due to a mixture of things. I think our relationship began on the heels of a very intense and hurtful relationship of Abby's, and there were a lot of things that Abby needed in zir life in order to heal and ze subconsciously expected these from me. That worked badly with my own issues; a combination of 1) when people have expectations that I fail to meet and they get hurt by it, I feel like renegotiating is not an option and I just MUST do the things, but I can't, and then I feel like shit about myself which means I have less to give, and 2) when someone expects me to give, I don't want to, because I feel like the gift is taken away and it has become a duty. Abby and I met up today and talked about a lot of things, including this aspect of our relationship. I think we've both learned a lot. I've learned that I have a problem with not confronting expectations if they are expectations of things that I would naturally do 95% of the time, but I need to be wary of that and make sure that I'm not falling into old patterns of guilt and taking-on-responsibility-for-someone-else's-happiness (which is not necessarily an action of theirs at all) and stress. Instead I need to be clear and honest with myself and my people; I need to make sure that I give gifts that are received as such, and that if I do not want to give a gift, I don't. And I need to check in with myself regularly and ask, "is there a pattern?" whether good or bad. Kylei is very generous with small favors -- getting me water, letting the cat out, bringing me things -- but I only noticed this as a pattern this past week. Now that I have noticed it as a pattern instead of individual moments, I am much more nourished by it. And obviously if there is a negative pattern I need to notice that in order to change it.

Also I realized that I really missed Abby. Near the end there was so much stress and guilt and hurt for me that I felt relief to be out of contact, but after that went away our connection is still there. When we hugged today I just wanted to stand and hug for like an hour. We're going to work on our friendship, which makes me happy.

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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: (feral)
remembering solo magic
Oh this is a good feeling. Reconnecting with myself, falling in love with myself again. I'm crying with joy right now, a sense of reunion, of finally breaking through. I lost myself somewhere in the loss of Carol (the death of someone I loved, the first time I had experienced that) and the loss of the first place that I felt was truly MINE (a place I had built my tribe in) and the loss of my car Sylvia (who was truly home to me -- so many memories in that car! so many people and places, so many tears and kisses) and I think also to some extent in the people I was/am loving. Expectations and fears wrapped me in a horrid little cocoon of stasis. I had forgotten my relationship with myself, had sacrificed my own values for the care of others, and had hemmed in my own behavior for fear of loss. It's so easy for me to do that, and I wish it wasn't. I need to remind myself to adventure on my own, to invest in myself, to do things alone. I need to remember that magic can exist between me and the broader universe, and not just in the affirmative connections with other humans. I am the creator of me. I can be that self again, I can walk on a carpet of my own curling, growing life. I can -- and must -- find unfiltered nourishment, straight from source.

I got caught up in the magic of community and forgot the magic of solitude. A single evening reading feminist writings and listening to music in the newly created self-extension of my room (which isn't even complete yet!) has brought it back for me. Community was a new magic, a potent one, and I filled my life with it until there was nothing else. Then situations made it difficult to get community and I had forgotten any other way, so I got hungrier and weaker until I accidentally created solo magic again and oh, relief.
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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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belenen: (osculant)
Adi <3 being in love, strong and deeply rooted already
So barely two weeks ago I started dating a new person, Adi. After the second intimacy practice, Kyle and John and Adi and I hung out and Adi had lots of wine and grape-bravely told me that ze wanted to be romantic with me (after I asked what ze was thinking); the next day I emailed and asked if that was true now that ze was sober and if so, what it meant. After some conversation we decided to date... and on that first date I fell completely and utterly in love. We talked so nakedly; I shared about things that my faith is delicate on (even things that still feel too scary to share on LJ).

And it went from being friendly metamours (metamour: the lover of one's lover) to deep nourishing intense erotic romantic love. I am full of adoration but more than that, I already feel incredibly close and united, to a level I've rarely experienced. There is no nervousness left, no worries, no doubts (the fear-spark is gone, haha) -- I know that Adi is going to be in my life for the rest of it (even if I cannot predict how), and I feel pretty sure that it's going to be a deeply-intertwined relationship for all that time. I feel as confident about it as I do about Hannah being in my life forever; I don't feel even a little worried that Adi is going to develop a life that I cannot fit into. We already have conflict resolution that feels safe and understanding on both sides (something that took a long time to build with the others I have it with). I'm intensely empathetic with Adi, to the point where zir intoxication gets me intoxicated without me imbibing directly (even with intoxicants that have no direct effect on me).

And I see a similar thing between Kyle and Adi as far as the connection goes. It's interesting because I connect with both of them SO much, and they connect with each other in a way that is very different from how they each connect with me. Some of it doesn't really translate (like video games and strategy board games) but it's still similar enough that the three of us spend time together without it feeling like 2 and 1. Also Adi and I being together has shifted their relationship dramatically -- in large part because I talked to Adi about Kyle and then relayed Adi's feelings to Kyle, who then confessed that ze had held back, thinking that Adi wasn't all that emotionally invested. They talked about it and it created a new openness and mutual awareness ;-) [they started dating September 22nd of last year] I could see the three of us forming a triad (I've been pondering what that means) but I don't feel an urge to set any expectations or specific commitments (and I don't think they do either) so for now we're just a very linked triangle (with branches).

I feel stunned at how rapidly this has developed and how incredibly strong it is already. I feel like I planted an acorn two weeks ago and it's already a large enough tree to climb and sit in. And I already feel changed; I feel like there is a part of me that finds resonance in Adi that I have been yearning for, and now that part is blooming, unfurling.

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belenen: (osculant)
Adi <3 being in love, strong and deeply rooted already
So barely two weeks ago I started dating a new person, Adi. After the second intimacy practice, Kyle and John and Adi and I hung out and Adi had lots of wine and grape-bravely told me that ze wanted to be romantic with me (after I asked what ze was thinking); the next day I emailed and asked if that was true now that ze was sober and if so, what it meant. After some conversation we decided to date... and on that first date I fell completely and utterly in love. We talked so nakedly; I shared about things that my faith is delicate on (even things that still feel too scary to share on LJ).

And it went from being friendly metamours (metamour: the lover of one's lover) to deep nourishing intense erotic romantic love. I am full of adoration but more than that, I already feel incredibly close and united, to a level I've rarely experienced. There is no nervousness left, no worries, no doubts (the fear-spark is gone, haha) -- I know that Adi is going to be in my life for the rest of it (even if I cannot predict how), and I feel pretty sure that it's going to be a deeply-intertwined relationship for all that time. I feel as confident about it as I do about Hannah being in my life forever; I don't feel even a little worried that Adi is going to develop a life that I cannot fit into. We already have conflict resolution that feels safe and understanding on both sides (something that took a long time to build with the others I have it with). I'm intensely empathetic with Adi, to the point where zir intoxication gets me intoxicated without me imbibing directly (even with intoxicants that have no direct effect on me).

And I see a similar thing between Kyle and Adi as far as the connection goes. It's interesting because I connect with both of them SO much, and they connect with each other in a way that is very different from how they each connect with me. Some of it doesn't really translate (like video games and strategy board games) but it's still similar enough that the three of us spend time together without it feeling like 2 and 1. Also Adi and I being together has shifted their relationship dramatically -- in large part because I talked to Adi about Kyle and then relayed Adi's feelings to Kyle, who then confessed that ze had held back, thinking that Adi wasn't all that emotionally invested. They talked about it and it created a new openness and mutual awareness ;-) [they started dating September 22nd of last year] I could see the three of us forming a triad (I've been pondering what that means) but I don't feel an urge to set any expectations or specific commitments (and I don't think they do either) so for now we're just a very linked triangle (with branches).

I feel stunned at how rapidly this has developed and how incredibly strong it is already. I feel like I planted an acorn two weeks ago and it's already a large enough tree to climb and sit in. And I already feel changed; I feel like there is a part of me that finds resonance in Adi that I have been yearning for, and now that part is blooming, unfurling.

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belenen: (tree elder)
Charleston with Kyle: Treespirit shoot, amazing people, miracles and disasters, animal communion

130 photos )

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belenen: (tree elder)
Charleston with Kyle: Treespirit shoot, amazing people, miracles and disasters, animal communion

130 photos )

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