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.
…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.
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.
So recently I posted to social media this image that I made:
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.
So I recently encountered this article:
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.