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 fiancĂ©e 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.

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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.

On body ‘trends’.

So I recently encountered this article:

Please Do Not Put Glitter In Your Vagina

and, after the inevitable laughs/cringing, I kept seeing the same comment.

‘Who would DO this??’

And it made me kind of angry. Not at the commentators, nor even at those people who would fall for these trendy sort of products.

No no, I’m mad at the companies – the R&D, the production and – worst of all – the marketing involved in the creation of these abominations. Vagina glitter, much like thigh-gap-enhancing support garments or jeans, botox (yes I went there), eye-widening contact lenses (this is a thing?), skin bleaching and a veritable landslide of diet and exercise trends, are geared toward one insidious goal: to sell things by telling you that some part of you is not good enough.

Now, let’s be real. I am not against changing your appearance in healthy ways if you are so inclined – I love tattoos (if it’s through a solid, clean, licensed shop), I color my hair (not to disguise anything, but because I’m happier as a redhead). I am a firm proponent of exercise and eating healthy. Even if I struggle in accomplishing both of these on a regular basis. The key to these is knowing your limits and working within them. Eating in moderation. (Ask me some day how much I LOATHE the idea of ‘cheat meals’ – hello shame cycle of deprivation and gorging. Welcome to my eating disorder!) If you’re not sure what’s healthy to eat and what isn’t, ask a licensed nutritionist. If you’re not sure what exercise is going to be best for you, start with your doctor and then maybe a physical therapist.

You know who you shouldn’t ask for body/food/exercise advice?

The internet. And also the television. These ads, websites, products are all designed to make money from gullibility, depression, body dysmorphic disorder and general body shaming. Lots and lots of money. Companies work extra hard to make sure you feel really, really badly about yourself before assuring you their product is the one thing that will ‘fix’ what’s wrong and make you super strong, beautiful, attractive to the mate(s) of your choice. It’ll only cost you 3 easy payments of $29.95 (plus an additional $100 a month if you don’t cancel within the arbitrary trial period) and a piece of your soul. And if it doesn’t work – obviously you didn’t try hard enough. You didn’t want it hard enough. You’re so useless, you ugly fatty with the gross vagina-scented-vagina and average human shaped body!

Someday, when you’re feeling strong and supported, google ‘common eating disorders’. There are of course the ones you expect to see: anorexia, bulimia. That is just a fraction of the number of disorders that exist, and the marketing world has made bank by preying on these disorders: the fears, anxieties, the certainties that we each believe that as we are we are not physically Good Enough for the world.

If you’ll pardon the vernacular… Fuck. That. Noise.

You are beautiful. I know it’s hard for you to see it from the inside of your own head, but you are. (Believe me I struggle with this one All. The. Time.) Find something you love about your appearance and play it up. Rock it. Then find something else and rock it too.

Eventually you’ll stop thinking of yourself as a collection of bad parts and start seeing yourself as an actualized, whole, incredible human being.

So don’t put glitter in your vagina. It’s not supposed to look like unicorn snot, and yes.. it and you really is/are beautiful already.

Transference.

Misleading title is misleading.

Going to be transferring all my old LiveJournal posts over here, bit by bit. Going to attempt to do it with correct dates, but since my LJ goes from 2003 – 2011, I expect it will take some time.

And patience.

And probably swearing.

 

Here we go!

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.” – Richard Adams

On grief, life lessons and a bold little kitty.

I haven’t taken the time to just sit and write in quite awhile. Life has gone a bit crazy. The world has gone a lot crazy. Some things that I had hoped wouldn’t come to pass have, both personally and at large.

I’ve had reason, the last couple of days, to realize and appreciate that I have the right people around me.

Not one person has said the words ‘It’s just a cat.’

WTFGus

Monday evening, I said goodbye to my 17 year old, sweet, lovely boy Gus (Copernicus), after he suddenly developed fluid in his belly. Tests proved that it was due either to cancer or heart failure. At his age and with his issues, treatments would only prolong his life enough for me to say goodbye, but he would suffer in the process. So I had to let him go from this life. I got to hold him in my lap, his favorite place in the world, and he fell asleep with his head in my hand.

He had been in my life since he was a six week old hellion cat and right off the bat I could tell he was special. And insane. And fearless.

BabyGus

He was goofy, loyal, curious, brave. He crossed the Atlantic twice, and lived in a foreign land. He charmed everyone he met, me most of all. He had every vet he ever met proclaim him so handsome and remarkably shiny for a cat his color/age/issues (right up until his last day). One vet kept asking if she could keep him. My landlord and friends in London adored him. Passersby on the street would stop below my window to admire him (and Leo).

He rarely purred…. except when he wanted to steal my food. Then the funniest little whirring sound would emanate from his lean, sleek body. Mostly he just curled up on my lap, insisting on it as soon as I was sitting down (and sometimes before I was completely settled). Usually he’d claw the crap out of my legs in the process, but I always slept better when he was there, curled up against my belly.

LapLove

He loved to climb. Many times I would hear an odd scrabbling noise and look over to see him clinging gleefully to something far higher than he logically ought to be – a table leg when he was wee and bitty, door frames as he got older. Once he clung to a door frame only long enough to drop on top of my other cat (Hal) walking beneath him.

DoorClimber

As a kitten he would burrow under my hair at night, at the back of my neck. As he got older he preferred to sleep against my belly or behind my knees. The last few weeks he occasionally slept on the pillow above my head.

PillowGus1

He had huge ears, big golden-orange eyes, a loud voice that only got louder as he went deaf later in his life. He had megaesophagus, which made him choke, and asthma, so he occasionally wheezed, sometimes coughed or gasped. But through all of it he maintained, he’d be calmer though one of his fits if I was with him.

His resilience was immense, it matched his personality, a thousand times greater than his physical being.

He was a mighty panther in his mind, this tiny house panther in my heart.

He was my child, furry and not of my body, but still mine, as I was his person. He was mine from infancy to his ripe old age, and it hurts so intensely that I will no longer feel that cat gravity bearing down on my legs, the fuzzy little face asleep on my knee, hear the imperious yowl demanding dinner at all hours, feel the gentle sniffing nose touching mine in affection.

17 years is a long time to build a bond of love and trust with anyone.

ForeheadBoop

I read something recently that people and animals come into our lives to teach us something, it’s up to us to grasp the lesson. It got me thinking what Gus taught me in our long yet still too brief time together.

This is what I’ve come up with:

He taught me to be brave, even when things are strange and a little (or a lot) scary.

He taught me to be curious and inquisitive, all the time.

He taught me it was ok to be friendly, to smile at strangers (but it’s ok to run away if things don’t seem right).

He taught me that sometimes things hurt, but that you can get through it.

He taught me trust, and that trust is a mighty thing.

He taught me that love is never wasted and can be found everywhere.

Life is precious. All life. Cherish the ones that cherish you in return, who treat you the way you should be treated, who trust you and demand the same, who love you with no expectations or conditions. People, animals, all things.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”  – Mahatma Ghandi.

Love as if it’s the only lasting impression you ever make on the world. – Me. And Gus.

SoMuchLove

I had something of a Facebook rant-splosion today.

It started with this photo:

LockerRoomNope.jpg

My first response:

“Reminder: it is not ‘lewd words’ that is the problem here (have you MET me??) it is the implication and insinuation of sexual assault (a situation that has been proving the ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ adage, between the numerous allegations from adult women AND THE CURRENT LAWSUIT REGARDING THE RAPE OF A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL).

Stop being fucking stupid and pretending this is ‘boys will be boys’ ‘locker room talk’ because if you’ve had conversations with ‘your boys’ that suggested you’d assault someone sexually, you might want to delete me from your friends list right fucking now.”

And then I was set off again by someone’s sniggering comment that Drumpf was just talking dirty and how can we not like that, 50-shades-of-nope sales yadda yadda:

“Another reminder: 50 Shades of Gray is (poorly written, if popular) erotic fan fiction. It does not present an accurate representation of the BDSM lifestyle.

Its sales numbers indicate people enjoy reading erotica (in many cases that they heard it was good and were probably disappointed).

What its popularity does NOT indicate is that women want to be sexually assaulted. Because it’s fiction.

Learn the goddamn differences before you share/giggle at stupid internet memes and share them like they’re fact.”

(*addendum: in 50 Shades the main characters enter a CONTRACT OF CONSENT, which suggests… you know… consent. Not assuming you can just grab a woman by her genitals or otherwise force  unwanted sexual attention on her as was suggested by this ‘locker room talk’).

And then this story crossed my feed (which I highly recommend reading):

Welcome to the Women’s Locker Room

So I was inclined to forward and add a little of my own story:

“All of this. I don’t generally talk about it, but I have in the past been assaulted, molested, groped on the street or in crowds, harassed and made to feel unsafe. And every single time it was a straight, white male. Every creepy, leering, unnecessary ‘I’m just being nice/paying you a compliment’ moment.. straight, white, male.

Last night I had a nightmare that I was sexually assaulted by a straight, white, male. I can still feel the pain and fear from it. This is why such things as trigger warnings exist, btw. Because those people who have such experiences will always be triggered by discussions, arguments and representations of their trauma.
 
You don’t want to be tarred by that brush. don’t sit back and tut-tut.. Speak. Up. Don’t let it just pass with a ‘meh, he doesn’t mean it’ or ‘meh, he’s just being dirty/a straights shooter/hilarious’. It’s not hilarious to me.”
It’s not funny. It’s not ‘dude talk’. It’s not ‘boys will be boys’. It’s assault. It’s either alluding to it, joking about it or condoning it.
And it is NOT OKAY.

The state of my country.

So I’ve mentioned I’m an American, and here in America we’re in the middle (nearing the end, actually) of an election year in which one candidate is shady, slightly ineffective in some policies but generally the most experienced and worthy politician currently in the race (comparatively speaking).

And the other is a cheeto-dusted, straw-headed misogynistic trash bag. Recent comments have come to light about him essentially admitting to sexually assaulting women, and saying he can get away with it because of his fame.

I wrote a thing on my facebook:

“A comment I just made on someone else’s FB, in response to a commenter comparing Trump’s victims to ‘groupies’ and bringing up Bill Clinton’s transgressions:

Groping (or attempting to grope) a woman without her consent is assault. Doing it repeatedly is still assault. Joking about women ‘letting him’ doesn’t make it not assault, it means the assaulter has a biased idea of the situation, and to compare them to ‘groupies’ is disrespectful and dismissive to them and whatever they’ve suffered.

Aside from Juanita Broaddrick (a situation which still has no clear resolution), Bill Clinton’s infidelities are not relevant here because HE is not running for President. Using his infidelities to cast aspersions on Hilary is at best a deflection from the atrocities of which Trump has repeatedly been accused (and has paid quite a bit to ‘make go away’ I’m sure) over the course of many years. At worst it make her responsible for his actions 20 or more years ago, deflecting guilt and blame.

In addition to this, accusations against Bill Clinton in no way reduce or remove the stain of misogyny or filth with which Trump has further tarnished himself or our country. His fame and popularity do not make any of this okay.”

Now to clarify: violence against anyone is not okay. Men on men, men on women, women on men, women on women. There is no configuration of genders,sexualities or power structure that makes violence, sexual or otherwise, okay to do.

I feel very strongly about this and about this election, more than anything I’ve ever felt before. The idea that someone like that could possibly be in charge of overseeing policy that dictates my actions, controls what I can or can’t do with my body and generally looks down on me as a lesser being because I have breasts and ovaries is fucking terrifying.

I’ve been seeing so many men online taking Drumpfs actions as a hall pass to treat women they way they want, with anger, violence, insults, dismissal. And the man hasn’t even been elected!

Oh but it gets worse. A couple of people I’ve known for years decided to either use this situation to trash Clinton (as if she’s got ANYthing to do with this situation) or actually attempt to defend him. Another status I posted was:

“I am not surprised at the cheeto-dusted trashbag’s appalling comments on women. I’m just sad and afraid that it will not only not change his supporter’s minds, it’ll give the violent ones validation for assaulting women.”

One of my people decided to post this in response:

somuchnope

I think my head may have fucking exploded.

This is a fallacy of comparison that assumes women want to be assaulted because they buy erotic fiction. One is a (badly written, but popular) Twilight fan fiction, with fictitious people in fictitious situations.

The other is a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE talking about groping women without their consent, having several women corroborate his actions and assaults on them. This is not ‘naughty words’ this is an admission of guilt in perpetration of sexual assault.

NO. FUCKING. COMPARISON.

Y’all have a month. Vote. Vote vote vote. I implore you.You don’t have to vote Clinton if you’re so vehemently against her, but by all that you hold dear on this good earth… please do not vote that orange sack of shit into our country’s highest political office.