Late night natterings.

The random things that rattle around in my brain right before I need to go to bed. I can’t promise this will make any damn sense.
 
It’s time for recognition.
 
I have posted things, read things, seen elsewhere the discussion attempting to label my generation. Are we Gen X? Gen Y? Millenials? Xennials? Foo-Foo-Froobars from Outer Space?
 
It’s hard to say. We are the ones who know many of us will never be able to own homes. Or afford schooling. We recognize that binary gender doesn’t apply to everyone. That monogamy doesn’t apply to everyone. That religion doesn’t apply to everyone. That using purity as a benchmark for self-worth and worthiness of love is a construct meant to subjugate half the population, and is not simply offensive it is dangerous.
 
We recognize that ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse that should ever be used, especially to excuse rape, molestation, groping, harassment. We recognize that not all men rape, beat or harass… but many do, and many men that wouldn’t and women still somehow turn a blind eye. We recognize that so very many people… all women, LGBTQ+, POC, people who are not Christian all have to live in constant awareness of the violence beneath the surface.
 
We recognize that mental illness is not a stigma but a battle. That everyone is fighting this battle either directly or beside someone who is. We recognize that the umbrella term of ‘mental illness’ is cheap and constantly growing to encompass and include so many that were not previously considered valid, treatable, trackable. We recognize that so many times we were (or are) called lazy, stupid, useless we’re fighting our own brains just to keep up with everyone else’s expectations, to say nothing of our own.
 
We recognize the inherent need for kindness and love in the world, without taking away from the need for awareness, activism and action.
 
We are warriors, by heart, words or deeds.
We are brave.
We are beautiful.
We are mighty.
Advertisements

Depression Lies

Okay so real-talk time.
 
DepressionFace
This is my depression face. A bit of my anxiety face. I deal with it every day, I make this face every day. I hide this face every day. I am ‘guilty’ (sorry not sorry) of curating my photos online to hide this face. This photo is unfiltered, unretouched, uncensored.
 
I often feel like I’m mostly successful, because I can go out and be with my people and feel pretty good, communicating and interacting well, being out in the world without people looking at me and thinking ‘WOW what is wrong with her??’
 
But it’s a lie.
 
Every day I feel awful. Tired, no matter how much I sleep. Run down, in pain (and if anybody makes any ‘lose weight/exercise more’ comments I am going to shove something extremely oddly shaped up somewhere it does not belong in retaliation). I’m on the edge of tears at least once a day for who knows what reason. Sadness, pain, loneliness, loss, kitten. Could be anything.
 
I struggle, and not just in writing this post (which was a challenge, for sure). I’m always struggling to feel like I’m keeping afloat. Not feeling like I’m failing at EVERYTHING. Not feeling ugly, useless, invisible (until I do or say something wrong). I teeter on the edge of a panic attack daily. I struggle with the fear of failure, judgement of my choices, condemnation, recrimination. I have at times contemplated suicide (and my shame response makes me not even want to use the word) as a way of escaping the darkness, the voices in my head.
 
I don’t post this as a cry for help or a cry for attention or comfort. I have people, I have a LOT of people who love me, who care to check on me. I own my own feelings, I’m the only one responsible for them, just as I’m responsible for my reactions to things other people say. (whether or not it’s said TO or ABOUT me or just happens to be said NEAR me and my brain misinterprets). Words can hurt, but only I can control (or not heh) my response to them.
 
I’m posting this to maybe help raise awareness.
Depression lies.
Depression sucks.
There are more of us struggling than any of us can possibly know. We are legion, and we are in pain.
You’re not alone. If you feel alone, talk to someone.. please. You don’t have to suffer or struggle with this alone. Talk to me or anyone with whom you feel comfortable.
 
If you see someone you think might be struggling, drop a quick word of support or just be kind.
A little kindness goes a very long way.
A little love goes even further.

On Chosen Family

So I’m in the throes of Shark Week (blood in the water, heh) so emotionally I’m a bit of a weeble-wobble and terribly introspective.

Earlier today I posted a link on the social media about ’10 Signs Your Parents Are Toxic’, and while I could go on for DAYS about my toxic parent I honestly don’t have the energy to spend on him anymore.

Instead, I wanted to talk about CHOSEN family. Now, I’m lucky that most of my biological family is really pretty awesome (I hit the sister jackpot, tbh), but my chosen family are what get me through most days and have done for years. I had a few comments in a few places on my link post in support/the fellowship of children of toxic parents, and it made me think a think that I’ve thinked before. (Yes that makes sense, suck it!)

We are all the inhabitants of the island of broken and misfit toys.

We have all been twisted, damaged, hurt by someone or something – a parent, a partner, life events, our own brains. Somewhere each of us is, was or has always been fighting a battle that no one else (or no one who matters) can see.

We have all been broken. But not irretrievably.

There are so many of us in a particular hobby that have been part of the socially awkward group. The socially anxious. The bullied. Afraid of meeting people, exposing our true selves to potential ridicule, judgement or rejection.

And in this we’ve somehow found our ways through fear to find each other… we of like-mindedness, acceptance, camaraderie. We’ve learned to support and accept it in return, to listen and  be listened to. To give and receive love.

We’ve found our tribe, for good or ill (I mean we are still all human, and humans really suck sometimes).

Of all the 7 billion people in this world, we’ve found each other.

That is mighty.

Friends in need.

Hey all. So, the last week has been… a trial is a mild term. Exhausting. Staggering. Humbling. Renewing of my faith in humanity and the community of people of which I’ve chosen to be a part.
Some dear friends of mine in the SCA (Don, Suzanne and their adult son Bruce who lives with them) had a catastrophic house fire Monday night (yes, on Christmas). If you google ‘house fire Christmas Syracuse’ the first two results are about it. All humans are safe as nobody was home, and after staying with us for 2 days, they have been very fortunate to have been given a furnished apartment to live in for 2 months to catch their breath and get their bearings, and to try and find a new home.
The horrible, truly tragic news is that they lost both their dogs (the big old guy, Guinness, couldn’t have gotten down the stairs fast, and we believe Mickey, the little corgi, just wouldn’t leave him.. the smallest blessing being we think they just fell asleep, and that they were together).
GuinessMickey
Guinness and Mickey </3
All of us who knew the animals are just devastated. Two cats are still missing (Newt’s birth momma Stormy and Artemis, his 5 month old litter sister). We’ve got eyes out for the cats in the neighborhood, as well as a crate with a self-heating pad and some food (plus a couple of their shirts for scent) near the house. But it’s so cold and such a long shot they made it out at all that my heart is just broken.
StormyandArtemis
Stormageddon (Stormy) and her doppelganger daughter Artemis.
William, the third cat, (who is 7 months old) was rescued from the house during the fire, though he had to stay at the vets for a few days with respiratory issues, irritated eyes and potential infection (and his whiskers are all crinkled and broken from the heat. Another blessing, the vet offered to pay all his bills!) He’s doing much better and has come to live with my housemate and I until my friends can get a place that allows pets. (Her dogs aren’t sure of the situation, my amazing stripeybutts have already stopped hissing and started to accept him, Newt especially since he spent his first 2 months with the sweet little guy).
WilliamAndMyBoys
William of Orange, William the Wonderful, phoenix of the house fire. Special cameo by Leo & Newt’s butt!
Thankfully their bedrooms and dining room (and everything in them) appear to have minimal to no damage just smoky, and they have already begun recovery efforts. Sadly everything else is looking like a complete loss, including the house itself. (And in a stunning twist of ‘really universe??’ they got in a car accident Friday in which a car rear ended them and shoved them into the car in front of them. Nobody’s hurt, again, but their only car is a bit smushed. It runs, but…).
We’ve had a lot of donations of clothes and food so far, plus gift cards and some money, and I’m heading to West Virginia next weekend to run another fundraiser at one of our biggest annual SCA events. Our house has been ground zero for donations and a few times I considered exchanging the front door for a revolving one!
They are such good people, with unflagging kindness and good humor. They’ve helped scores of us move (they moved me here from the scary neighborhood on the South Side), they feed people, take them in, and as I said they’re the folks from whom I adopted my stripey baby (who was so well cared for he’s now a big ball love love for pretty much everyone).
We’ve started a gofundme to help them get back on their feet, finding adequate housing and restarting life for 3 people is hard at any point in time, especially in the winter. If you can, please do donate. If you can’t, that’s okay. Feel free to share this forward and boost the signal.
Thank you!

If wishes were fishes…

…we’d walk on the ocean. But then the whole world would smell like fish.

The secular year is coming to a close (my personal year has always run from July to June, probably conditioning from school, and then there’s Celtic New Year in October and Nordic New Year this week) and at this time my thoughts often turn wistful. Wishes lost, wishes gained, wishes of the absurdly improbable.

I wish my body were better, not just outwardly but inside. All my weird quirks and issues. They combine to make things challenging every day.

I wish my mind were better. I wish it didn’t hate me. Anxiety is crippling and depression is an evil opportunist capitalizing on that.

I wish I were better at adulting. I just can’t get through being a grown up some days.  The stress, the presses on time, the bills to pay and things to do.

I wish I had someone to help keep me on track with all of these things. Not just a friend but a partner. Someone to hold me when my body is bad, to distract me when my brain is trying to kill me (or make me do it), to kick my butt when I can’t adult properly, someone to wake up with in the morning. That last bit I guess is a sad product of my choices and the lifestyle that fits me best.

I wish it weren’t so hard to find work in my field. It’s true the further I get from my graduation, the harder it becomes but someone has to die or retire in order for a space to open up in the museums field.

 

Wishes lost cannot be regained, new wishes must be made. Wishes become plans and plans become reality.

 

I wish I could find a job in my field. This one is probably going to be the easiest to fix. I’m determined this will happen this year. Plans are in motion for change. I will persist.

I wish I had someone. This is no easy fix, it will take patience (but I’m already 40 dammit how much longer do I have to wait??). And until I find the permanent primary partner, other plans and situations are afoot, so we’ll see how everything develops!

I wish I were better at adulting. This is tied to my anxiety and depression so really I need to put on my big girl pants and shove through it best I can. I’ve already started and have taken a few steps in a really positive direction. It’s a start.

I wish my mind and body were better. This will be the hardest to fix, or at least manage. My issues can’t be fixed as such, just managed and maintained. I still need help and medication, but I’m changing my insurance in the new year so hopefully I can at least get medicated. And my blood pressure lowered. And back on track for everything else that needs assistance.

 

Wishes, man. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Except beggars are hungry and horses are meat. Think about it.

Life Changes and Life Stays the Same

I don’t talk much about relationships and my love life. That is mostly because, for the past… 24-ish years of dating… I’ve had all of 6 relationships. 2 of them lasted a year each, the rest 3 months or less. So I don’t have the best track record. People don’t generally ask me out, and the ones I show interest in usually run the other way, leaving a person-shaped puff of dust like a looney tunes character.

So all of that said, this year has been quite a year. I turned 40 in February, and honestly it’s been the best year yet (of the ones I’ve spent Stateside, anyway). I’ve started an actual plan for moving TF out of CNY. (seriously, fuck this place. Moving back here has solidified my utter disdain for this place and its emotional and fiscal suckitude). And I’ve come to the realization (to myself, apparently everyone who knows me has already known) that I’m poly.

Polyamorous. Such a funny word. I imagine it calls up some swinging 70’s visuals, keys in bowls, sketchy guys in low cut shirts with chest pelts on display trying to pick up multiple women to come back and look at their etchings.

Maybe that’s just the misconception I had.

All it really means is that I have the ability to love multiple people concurrently. Which, honestly, for someone who is an agapist this really shouldn’t have been such a surprise. As a single-poly I am also open to casual things, as long as I know I can trust the person (really I’d like there to be SOME affection involved and not get ghosted once someone gets what they want).

And yet… it was. More than a surprise. A total shift in the paradigm. I can and do and it’s a bit of a tapdance, and a little complicated, but oddly enough not actually difficult to deal with.

What’s hilarious, though, is after turning 40 and hitting this shocker of a life change, the menfolk seem to be coming out of the long-distance-crush woodwork, in more ways than one. I now seem to have acquired 2 definite situations and 2 more potential ones, plus a MULTITUDE of flirts.

It’s a lot, it’s more than I’ve ever had. They’re all guys I’ve known for at least 15 years, and I trust them all. They’re all guys on whom I’ve had crushes for that entire time, so it’s full of ‘WTFBBQOMGMEWHATREALLY??’ moments.

Of these, only one and I so far have expressed love to one another (he’s my ‘it’s complicated’) and we haven’t had much in the way of physical expression (but what there’s been has been so sweet). His wife is lovely, a good friend. I don’t know where or how far it will go, but having someone I love tell me he loves me is a feeling my heart has needed for such a long time.

The second is a friend that’s one of my ‘holy fuck I want you so hard’ crushes, who I never even dreamed was free to play. There’s a funny story behind it, but it boils down to his wife is also wonderful, a great friend and gave me tacit permission, while HE shared the situation with me (which is something he almost never does so, yo wat). He’s my ‘occasional arrangement’ and we’ve had a night together so far. And that, can I just say, was a fucking revelation. Made up for years of disappointments. I am also utterly crazy about him, but I will probably never tell him that unless he’s allowed to say it first. (It’s not part of our arrangement. 😉 )

The third is someone that he and I have been dancing around one another for years. Friendly, flirty but nothing more. We haven’t had the official conversation about boundaries, expectations or hopes, so I’m not sure how his fiancée feels about he and I yet (but she’s lovely and wonderful, and I know they’re open so I’m just letting things simmer for now).

The fourth, though. He’s the second ‘I want you so hard’ crush, who I’ve wanted harder than the other one for as long. He’s… my stars he’s a beautiful man. He’s also single. And last month he made it clear in no uncertain terms that he was interested…. physically. We’ve talked almost every day since then (more than we’ve spoken privately in the last 15 years). And I have no idea how much more beyond FwBs he likes me. I’m so afraid he won’t want me for more than a booty call. I’m so afraid I’ll hurt him if he’s more interested and is a monogamist. I have always liked him. Totally crazy about him. Love? Not sure yet and I don’t want to let it go any further than that if I know I’ll be hurt. But for now… I get a real thrill whenever he messages me. I’ll leave his little chat bubble up on my phone even if I haven’t heard from him in hours.

Choices and challenges.

Life is a funny old thing sometimes.

My brain is a collection of brains and this will make sense soon…

So recently I posted to social media this image that I made:

MyBrain.jpg

 

It’s how I see my brain. I know it’s kind of weird, but it works in my head. (Heh, see what I did there).

My asshole brain (AB) has been messing with me a lot lately. Lying to me, making me think I’m not good enough. Since it’s right up front, it filters everything through. It deliberately misinterprets things, over-reacts to things, etc. It’s been making interpersonal communication a real challenge, moreso than usual with the fibro fog stealing my words now they’re also getting twisted and coming out seeming harsh or critical or unfriendly. I don’t know how. They sound fine in my logic brain, but once they’ve squeezed past all the fuzzy critters and self-esteem issues, they’re tired, so asshole there snickers and changes them up somehow before dropping them on people like a wet turd.

In the last 2 days, an absolutely ridiculous misunderstanding with a friend I generally respect and adore on the Facebook blew that turd back into my face, metaphorically speaking. I’m still not even sure why what I said wasn’t being taken as ‘this is my opinion, I am sharing’ and was taken as ‘You are wrong, and I’m going to tell you you’re wrong and try to fix you you wrong person’ (at least this is how AB interpreted the responses… see, it was just convoluted all around). Said friend’s phrasing was such that made me pull back into myself hard.

And that’s when everything went hooey, if you’ll pardon the ‘Down With Love’ paraphrase. Anxiety and depression brains got so freaked out by the entire situation they tried to implode on themselves and splattered shit all over everything.

 

Now that my ridiculous explanation is done…

 

The last 2 days I’ve spent in a depressive spiral. That deep, gut-punch, body-wide-wrenching-pain-filled, repeatedly crying in the bathroom at work, dark hole place. I decided to take a break from facebook for a few days, maybe longer. The situation that was the catalyst is a non-issue, I haven’t looked back at it. I turned off notifications. I had to unfollow the friend for awhile because the fear of seeing posts on my timeline was enough I nearly threw up. (Which is RIDICULOUS, considering this person wouldn’t deliberately set out to hurt or upset me, but… see above, AB).

I am currently unmedicated for diagnosed anxiety and depression, and for quasi-diagnosed fibromyalgia. I cannot afford to see a doctor (because my insurance really is that bad at the moment) in order to get the chemical balance I need. I have to rely on my own self-awareness and the kindness of my tribe to keep me afloat. Right now it’s the only thing keeping me from completely drowning. I’ve been able to talk to a couple of people a little. I’m so tired, so done with hurting all the time, weary to all hell of pulling my emotions back to cannibalize themselves, because they’re too big for me to feel properly so how could anyone else POSSIBLY understand.

I haven’t told anyone directly how bad it is. I should, but getting the words out there to a person who will come back with kindness, advice and comfort seems to make me feel exponentially worse. Like I don’t deserve it, like I’m a failure for needing it. Like I’m letting everyone down.

So I’m posting it and I’m going to share this across my social media. I need to be my own mental check, because I’m the only one who can advocate for me (and nobody is going to know to keep a weather eye on me if I don’t put the info out there. I’m really, really good at hiding things).

Today, for the first time in about 11 years, I looked over the bridge (literal and figurative) and thought ‘Maybe I should just get it over with… ‘

I stopped the thought there and kept walking. But it shook me. (Am actually shaking attempting to type this). I had honestly forgotten what THIS PLACE felt like. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I don’t want to be here. I’m currently standing on my awareness of the situation to get at least a little separation. I spent my entire day in that place, trying to get a handle on my own emotions. Little bastards.

I am very fortunate I have some very good people who know what I struggle with, who are quick to pick up on unspoken cues, even if it’s not the ones they realize. As soon as  I posted my temporary separation from the book of face, I had two people immediately ask me if I was okay or otherwise express it in their way, and have had a few here and there over the entire day just sort of gently touching base. It’s helped. (You know who you are. Thank you).

It probably seems and will seem odd if I’m acting normal, happy, etc, when a lot of it is just that- an act. That’s just me doing what I need to do, putting on the façade in hopes it’ll sink in past my skin soon. I’m not going to say I’ve evened out or normalized, but bits and pieces of normalcy have crept in to drag me back a bit from the abyss. I need to actively work at it, moreso than usual, but I’m not quitting just yet.

Still here. I’m still breathing.