Sunday, July 01, 2018

Changing of the calendars

This morning I changed my calendars from June to July, all but one...the one that used to hang in my office at the DD council.  You see, about 10 days ago I was given a choice of resign or be fired.  It wasn't really a choice at all...option 1 is bad, option 2 is only slightly worse.  There is the "official" reason and the more complicated backstory that fills itself out as hindsight sets in.

When the ED who hired me announced her retirement about 6 months after I started I felt like it was the beginning of the end.  Seeing that I don't seem to survive regime changes (this is the 3rd time now) I think that it may be time to not have to deal with Executive Directors anymore.  I love working with the public, but there is an inherent cutthroatness that permeates these organizations that are meant to serve.  I am not sure if it is the ultimate irony or something that is indicative of American culture on the whole. 

I am loyal to the work and to the community that I serve.  I am loyal to people as well....but if someone leaves an organization, my loyalty to the work is above all else.  That doesn't seem to translate.  The day that I was let go, my new ED had said that "it wasn't personal".  If it wasn't personal than it was political.  And for me that political is intensely personal.  It was easy to get rid of me.  The state of Utah has a ridiculous policy of a one year probation period in which as an employee you are basically shit out of luck if they want to get rid of you (my probation period would have ended July 3rd).  She set up other things as of them being what she even termed as "the most unfair employee evaluation" she had ever had to deal with.  Rather than take the initiative of her position to adjust and offer a more fair evaluation system, she just shrugged her shoulders and said that we had to just suck it up and follow it.  I should have known then.  I could go over every detail, every clue that I should have heeded....but I've been doing that in my head for over a week now.  The situation really comes down to this: if it is a situation where my boss felt so new that she didn't feel like she could fight for her employees....then I don't need a boss like that.  If it is a situation where despite her verbal assurances that she would tell me when there are problems so that I can fix them, that she would support me etc. and all of that was just to placate me until I had done enough work that she could manage without my assistance...then I also don't need to work for a boss that is conflict avoidant and dishonest in their communication with me.  I know that there will be one other person who will be leaving the organization....that person has been around for more than a year so it will be more difficult, but there is a trail and it will happen.

So....where does this leave me?  This is one of those times where being alone is extra difficult.  Couples that I know, when disaster like a loss of over half of your income happens, have each other to lean on.  Someone to share that emotional weight.  I don't have that.  I have folks who check in on me to make sure that I am ok....but ultimately, I am left with is myself.

The current plan is that I work Job 3 full time and make up the wage gap by pushing my business.  When I was at the council I was finally earning enough money that I only needed one job....but I just couldn't let Job 3 go.  I'm glad in some ways that I wasn't able to truly emotionally accept my good fortune of that job (pension, good pay, actual retirement options rather than just dropping dead at work, etc)...I think that it has mitigated some of that devastation. That devastation is still there...this horrible hole that I am not sure if it can be filled, or healed, or whatever. 

I am hoping that the second half of this year will be better.  There has been so much loss in the first part of the much loss (not just the job thing)... I need it to be better.  I'm hoping to find myself again....I'm hoping to learn how to be comfortable in working less and engaging with life more.  I'm hoping.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day conclusions- the continuing anti-anxiety saga

Its been a rough couple of days and an even rougher couple of weeks.  I'm working on it, I am.
My periods have been getting more difficult as I have been aging- longer, heavier, etc. They completely wipe me out physically....and then with the tenuous grasp I have on my anxiety issues, my body crashing throws me into a total tailspin.  I am trying to be proactive.  I have a two stage plan that I am working on.

Stage 1- Managing the periods.  I hate birth control pills, but there aren't too many options for lessening a period.  I haven't been on birth control for a very very long time.  I still do want to have kids of my own, and while I do practice safe sex, if something happens, it would be welcomed.  At one point I was going to try to have a baby on my own, but after thoroughly planning it out, it wasn't something that I wanted to do alone.  I don't have many childbearing years left and getting an IUD that would last 5 years was a hard decision.  It hurts.  It feels like I am cutting off a part of my hoped-for future.  So I am in mourning....and I hope that this helps the other symptoms and that this mourning is going to be worth it.

Stage 2- Working with different healing modalities.  I need to feel.  The depression meds made me not feel. I felt hollow, like I couldn't connect or be authentic with people.  Now that I can feel again, I've lost all skills on how to manage those feelings. Hence stage two, which is not a quick fix like the IUD.  I went to an intake yesterday, which helped some, but the practitioner said something that hit "the" rawest nerve that I have.  She asked me "who supports you"?  It isn't a new statement, it isn't something that I haven't been told before.  Accepting love from others is a painful process for me, especially if it is unconditional love.  It is something that I need....I don't know if I feel like I deserve it though....  and if I don't feel like I deserve it then I react.... the only predictable part of that reaction is a lot of tears and me confusing everyone I know in trying to explain it.

With the exception of two people in my life, I've always felt that there were consequences for me expressing my emotions. My emotions, my feelings on a subject inconvenience other people....therefore I am an inconvenience, I am making things difficult, I am not appreciative enough, I am not worth their time and attention, I don't deserve to be loved....  So I don't feel supported.  And I over compensate with trying to take care of others.  I try to be as solid and as grounded as possible so that I can support myself AND all of the other people that need me.  It is exhausting.  And maybe, maybe my own ambition makes this worse as well....because if I am the person everyone wants me to be, than someone will actually want me.

I know that this thinking is not sustainable, that it is not serving is slowly killing me.  So I'm trying.  I'm trying to be vulnerable, I'm trying to share and be more open.  But with any little bit of being made to feel like my needs are inconvenient to another person, I retreat and rebrick the little opening that I tried to come out of. I worry that I am too broken to even expect that this will be the only reality that I know.

I am not good about voicing my expectations....mostly because I've been made to feel that those expectations are wrong in some way....too materialistic, not caring enough for other people's feelings on the matter, how very dare I?  So let's talk about some expectations that have come to a head this week; specifically Valentine's Day.  I'm poly....and seriously there is only enough time that anyone has.  I know that.  Schedules are difficult to map with only one partner, multiple partners? Logisical nightmares can ensue. As this Wednesday was the day that my partners usually spend with their primary partners, I had come to accept that I wasn't going to see them that day.  So I made plans to, at least, have a token, however silly and stereotypical delivered to their homes.  I tell them that I love them everyday....but Valentine's Day calls for something a little extra.  Growing up, Valentine's Day was a family holiday.  It wasn't about romantic love, it was about giving an extra token to someone to celebrate that love on a day where everyone else was doing it.  Love tokens given on Valentine's Day need to be done without expectation or obligation.  If I don't receive something in return that is ok.  It feels good to know that you have made someone's day, or even just a hour out of their lives.

However.... Valentine's Day is a timely event.  That is what makes the token a little more special than any other day.  Don't get me wrong, I want the grand romantic gesture, but if it is done in the name of Valentine's Day, it needs to be done on that day.  If it happens after Valentine's Day and is still being done in the name of that day it will make me feel that the other person felt obligated to give me something in return, that I was an afterthought and now a burden.  I don't need that....I feel like a burden on most days anyway, I don't need that feeling to be reinforced.  The only exception to this rule that I can see is if two people have agreed upon beforehand that they are going to celebrate Valentine's Day together on an alternate day and that they have something "specifically planned" to do together.  So unless there has been some specific planning in place- Valentine's Day ends on the 14th.  Giving me something afterwards just makes me feel like the gift was an obligation.  I gave you something willingly and openly, an extra little token to say that I love you.  I gave it to you because I wanted to, not because I was expecting something in return.

I guess this makes me materialistic somehow.  Or just a demanding bitch.  Not appreciative of people's intentions, etc.  Intentions are great and all, but I know that even with the best of intentions, I still have to deal with the impact of those actions.  And in the case of Valentine's Day, the best of intentions while late (even with notice), impacts me as I was not worth the time for someone to be timely.  That I can always wait.  That I am really not that important.  So if you can't be timely, don't do anything at all.  It will hurt me less....which I would hope that someone who loves me would want to do.

Why am I writing about this?  Because I tried to convey this to a partner, and it turned into a super-huge the point where I thought that they were going to leave me.  In the back of my mind I am still afraid of this....and even more so that I deserve to be left.  That I should just accept everything even if it hurts me.  That my purpose in life is to love and support others and not have that returned to me....or at the very least that I cannot feel that love being returned to me.

At my intake, the practitioner asked me if I associated a location in my body with my anxiety and if it had a color.   The anxiety is always in my chest, in my heart.  No wonder why I feel sits right there all the time.  The color thing was an interesting question.  I process alot through color- emotions, rooms, people, moods, music.... My anxiety doesn't have a is a black a real astronomical black hole, where no light or love and escape....just sucking and sucking everything around it.  When my anxiety is managed (which the depression meds did not do at all) my chest isn't a black hole.  It is just my normal chest and heart that I feel like I can project love and light out of.  I want to be in that place.  I need to be in that place. And I'm trying to get there.
Step by step...

Friday, January 05, 2018

the dance

beneath the skin, muscle twitches in anticipation
each breath a beat
waiting for the guitar string to spring to life
to match the melody waiting in my limbs

a few tentative notes
a meandering walking of time scale
searching for the moment to begin

my arm raises slowly
the air like water
each finger, each tendon moving together and separate
each telling its own story-its own feeling-pushing to be the first to speak

the melody begins and my body erupts
a hip juts to the side in a half moon circle pushing the alternate hip
sharply dropping down
the energy of the movement rolling up my torso
to my shoulder
wavering through my arm
out my fingertips

my toe draws a circle on the earth
my leg follows
my hip
my heart
my limbs
slow and graceful moving through
the air like water
spinning more and more
faster and faster


standing in the center
immobile and solid
in darkness
your eyes shrouded

a full revolution
three more
the universe spinning in tandem

my body stops facing you
the inertia of my movement missed by my hair
still dancing in the spin

See Me

i grasp your hand, its warmth and weight against my palm
i lift it to my face, cradling it against my jaw

Feel Me

as my eyes gently close into the caress
my other hand moves to your chest
resting it there to feel your heartbeat
the unheard beat of the melody of the dance
matching the tension in my muscles
moving, throbbing, dancing beneath my skin

my eyes open to gaze into yours

Can You Hear Me? Can You Feel The Emotion Surging?
I Am Screaming...Pushing Through All Of What Cannot Be Spoken
See Me
Feel Me
Hear Me
Love Me

the current does not travel
you remain still
i feel your heart, your heat, your emotion
i can feel you flooding into me
it overwhelms the movement
the melody

my back arches away
allowing my hands to slowly slip from your body
i step away
facing you
feeling myself and you
every nerve aflame
contract and relax, contract and relax, contract and relax
too fast for the melody
the rhythm lost

one more step away
my limbs searching for the melody again
the movement returns
the strength in my legs runs down into the floor
my knees following it
a marionette with its strings cut

the last few notes lift through

save my breath
ragged and raw

as a moth to the flame
i burn

as the Nightingale pierces itself to the thorn of the rose
i bleed

bowed in supplication i raise my hand
the air like water
to you

Will You Take It?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Some shaky first steps...

I've been trying to be better about sharing my feelings with people this last year. I am not sure if I have been successful or not, but today I thought that rather than just saying this in chat to someone, or write a facebook post, that I would come back to this here lovely chronicle of my life.

I am trying to go off of the depression meds.  Originally when I started there was no way to parce out what was stress, what was anxiety, what was depression, etc.  Everything was just put under a heading of DEPRESSION in big horrible letters.  There is part of me that thinks that I shouldn't do this.....that I will never be ready.  I have to keep reminding myself that I only wanted the medication to be a bridge, a temporary respite before I was able to reconnect to my body again.

I have now been off of the depression meds long enough that they should be out of my body.  I started to notice some bodily changes a couple of days ago, but today was the first time that I realized that I was over thinking something to my detriment.  I've taken half of a pill that I am supposed to take when I feel the anxiety taking hold.  It is a small thing, but it feels like a victory.  A month or so ago I had realized that I had been having a low-grade panic attack for a couple of days....I thought that it was depression.  Once I saw and treated it as a panic attack, I felt much better.

So I ask that people be patience with me during this process.  If I clam up, don't let me.  If I cry, let me cry... but don't let me berate myself for crying.  I give people the space and permission to cry all the time, I need to start allowing myself that as well. 

Also, please help me remember these things:
  • Being my own worst critic will one day be the death of me.
  • Insecurities are not weakness, they are limits we have placed on ourselves.
  • There is nothing wrong with me needing people.
  • If I tell others that "I don't seek perfection from them, I seek intention" in their actions...I need to ask the same from

I need to find comfort in my own badassery.  I am smart; I am capable; I am enough.  I need to stop letting that big pit that says I will never be respected or acknowledged for my abilities be filled with the knowledge that I can.  That pit dictates so much of my drives me to distraction, it prevents me from finishing projects that really do show my abilities.  It tells me that not only will I end up alone in life, but also that there is something within me that is so flawed that I deserve it. That pit needs to go in the worst way.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

No witty title available....just imagine that I wrote something brillant here anyway though, k?

Tonight is the Eve of another new beginning.  I start a new position tomorrow.

For the past five months I've been working at Utah Community Action.  My sole job responsibility was payroll.  While I learned alot in my short time there, I was also painfully bored most of the time.  There wasn't enough for me to do.  In all honesty however, I have lost perspective on what is a realistic amount of work that a given person is supposed to be able to accomplish in an average work day.  I didn't, and I still don't, know how to come into a job and not feel completely and totally overwhelmed with my task list the second I come through the door.  I didn't access work email from home.  All of my email and tasks were finished at the end of every day.  Nothing went home with me.  I guess that it is supposed to be an healthy version of work....and it felt completely alien to me.  Even with me leaving the position, I had everything done when I left.  I had my replacement trained (well as much as she wanted to listen to me) and I also wrote a 32-page manual detailing all of the tasks my position did, timelines, etc before I left.   Yes.....I wrote 32-pages of detailed step-by-step instructions.  This means that I am more thorough and anal than most people realize.  I teared up when I left the office on Friday afternoon, and I will miss the people I worked with.  But I won't miss the job, or the boredom of constantly trying to beg extra tasks off of people. 

Tomorrow I start as Program Manager at the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council.  Its a job where I get to do and develop programs....not have to wear fifteen-million other hats.  Don't get me wrong, I like the finance stuff, but after my time at UCA....I definitely can't do just that all day.  I need to be out and working with people.  And I'll get to do that.  I should be ecstatic....but if the past year has taught me anything, I need to be wary of the universe giving me a simultaneous pat on the back and punch in the gut....because it seems to be happening all too often lately. 

As a chronic procrastinator I need deadlines outside of myself that I can fight against.  I don't really have any of those at the moment.  It's weird and odd.  This weekend for example, yeah, there is a list of things that I "could" do....but it would make no difference to anyone else in the world if I did them or not.  So after I finished my job 3 hours, I took a shower and a a few chapters in a book and then made myself stop because I have stuff to do.  But I really don't.  I feel....what I guess is relaxation....but it feels alien to me as well.  Normally writing helps me work this stuff out....but it doesn't seem to help.

Perhaps instead of the paragraphs above I just should have put this: Finished one job, starting a new one.  Still fairly mixed up in the head, likelihood of that getting fixed anytime in the near future- nil.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


my heart speaks in poetry – a tapestry of symbols contained in the songs of birds

i dreamt of a garden last night
Lush and green
Ripe and fruitful
i explored, but i could not call it mine
i waited, but i was only a visitor

When i told the Owner of the garden in my dream
Its colors became Theirs
Its meaning stolen away from me

my chest aches of the memory of that lost garden
i wanted to stay and till its earth with my hands

Saturday, January 28, 2017

All Fair in Love and War?- A recap of the insanity of the last 6 months of my life

As a warning, this blog post is going to be filled with a lot of bile and vitriol.  So if you are not interested in reading my attempt at processing a bunch of stuff, I can give you a quick update of the good news- which is that I have a new job and that I start on Tuesday....oh and I finally passed that dreaded macroeconomics class that was driving me nuts.

If you are still with me after this point you do so at your own risk.

The past 6 months have just felt like a roller-coaster of these amazing highs and horrible lows.  I constantly feel like I am stuck within the stages of grief over one thing or another.  So to narrow this down thematically I've got three things I want to talk about: my health, my career path, and my relationships (which is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in having me write again on this blog).

My Health-
Well the health stuff has been going on for a solid year at this point.  The stress and anxiety of my job was just weighing on me and I've been slowly spiraling down to burnout and taking way too many people with me.  Last April I was a wreck and had more than one embarrassing emotional outburst at my coworkers which I later apologized for. The month of May I basically worked from home and used up as much vacation/sick time as I could in an effort to get my head on straight.  A temporary fix, but a fix just the same.  It was at this time that I went to the doctor to talk about my anxiety.  I was put on zoloft and given pills to take during panic attacks.  It helped, a little.  A few months later I am back at the doctor for a continuation of the anxiety stuff....and since my blood pressure wasn't going down with the anxiety, I got put on medication for that.  And then....I started developing these weird little spots on my left leg that looked a lot like the psoriasis that my Dad has.  After a whole slew of appointments and biopsy tests it is determined that I don't have psoriasis but folliculitus.  Treatable (thank goodness) but gross looking- I've spent several months trying to cover as much of myself up as possible. And I am really hoping that I am not going to be permanently scarred. The treatment for this was SIX WEEKS of antibiotics; heavy antibiotics at that.  I couldn't have dairy two hours before or after the pills, so I had to adopt this incredibly strange routine.  Antibiotics wipe me out in general so these were several times worse.  The first week I was on them I had headaches and fatigue until my body got used to them; now that I am hitting my first week of being off of them I am having fatigue and headaches again.

My Career Path-
As mentioned above, the job stress was getting to me, but I really REALLY loved the work that I was doing.  I wanted to be doing sexual assault outreach for the rest of my life.  I was giving my heart (literally apparently) and soul to the work.  In October my Executive Director was going to step down and a hiring process was set-up for her replacement.  There were a lot of issues with the hiring process and two highly qualified female candidates (myself and a coworker) were passed over for an incredibly under-qualified male candidate who was buddy-buddy with the board chair. As my position was more secure grant-wise, I wrote a very detailed letter describing the issues at hand that went to the entire board.  Even though I had grounds for a lawsuit, my concerns were dismissed.  I do not regret writing that letter, it was the right thing to do, even if it put a target on my back.  Now with what happens next there is an "official" story and the unofficial one of what I believed happened.  Three weeks after this new person started, I was told that my position was the easiest to eliminate and since the agency was going to be facing a crunch from not getting a grant (that I was NOT funded under) that I was being let go as a reduction in force.  This was the Monday before Thanksgiving (Happy Holidays!) and I was promised that I would be paid through the end of the month (for transition purposes) and that my health insurance would continue to the end of the year.  The health insurance did not continue through to the end of the year, the new person cancelled it, and when I contacted them about it (multiple times) I was told that it was an error and that it would be handled.  It was never handled, and I needed to use my insurance for the second round of antibiotics mid-December.  Paying full price for those medications was a big blow.

I've never been fired, oh, sorry "laid-off", from a job before.  So I had to deal with the emotional toll of that and having to apply for work.  Apparently I am the Queen of getting job interviews but not job offers.  I actually calculated my call-back rate for interviews and I had a 40% interview request rate for all of the applications that I put in.  Now while 12+ interviews sounds pretty great, that is 12+ rejections where you spent the time trying to get to know the agencies and people you were applying for.  On the sidelines, I have also had to watch the new ED systematically erase all of the work that I had done at my former job.  It sickens me and I've been trying to have less and less contact with this person, but we run in the same circles and they keep popping up.  Some may ask why I haven't filed a lawsuit for labor discrimination?  I have a case.  However, my former place of employment is so small that they are not required by federal law to honor all of the anti-discrimination labor laws.  I therefore cannot go through the Labor Commission or the Office of Equal Opportunity to file a complaint.  I would have to hire a lawyer (with what money?) and go through it that way.  Yeah, I could do that....but I just want to be done with the pain of it all.

As a backup to me possibility never getting an employment offer again, I did start a business at the beginning of the year.  It was long overdue for some of the bookkeeping work that I have been doing anyway.  Getting all of that paperwork done and finalized was re-energizing, and I am happy to say that I was given a job offer and will be starting a new job on Tuesday.  It is more pay and less responsibility than my last job and that has to be a good thing for me right now.... please let it be a good thing.

My Relationships-
As mentioned in my last blog post, I broke things off with the Gent in October.  And that entire situation still just stings. He cheated and I was later told what happened by the woman he cheated with in an attempt (I guess) for her to bully her way into our polycule.  At first my anger was focused all on the Gent, now it is split between this other woman and him.  The Gent is still with his other two partners, who had the benefit of learning about the cheating from him directly rather than through a 3rd party like I was.  His focus on repairing the relationships was on this other partners and not me....and I couldn't take it anymore.  We text a little back and forth now, but things will never be the same.  It wasn't just him that I lost, but the friendship of my metas.  I still contact my metas now and then, but it seems that I have to be the one to initiate that contact. So I am dealing.... some days better than others.

Meanwhile, for the last six months I had been dating a wonderful man, who I haven't given a nickname to on this blog.  Soo....let's call him Tom Jones, or TJ for short.  I originally met TJ through the Gent over a year ago.  He was married to a dear friend of the Gent's.  During the course of the year she was dating someone new, emotionally replaced TJ with this new person, and TJ not being able to take it anymore asked for a divorce.  Now him asking for this divorce happens a couple of months BEFORE I officially came into the picture.  I chatted and hung out with TJ at the Gent's birthday party and asked him out later.  Our first date was over breakfast the day before my birthday.  It was lovely and fun. He later came to a party held the next day at the Gent's.  I kissed him that night and we cuddled on the couch.  So we started dating.  I wasn't sure how I felt about him until we were dating for a couple of weeks and on the drive home he randomly put in a Tom Jones cd.  I had never mentioned my love for Tom Jones, and I have never sung along loudly to him with anyone in the car before.  I was smitten.  There was no turning back for me at that point.

I knew that there was going to be issues dating a man who was going through a divorce.  TJ has been with his ex for more years than he hasn't been....28 years.  They have children and a grandchild together.  Even though she has hurt him deeply, I was very careful not to be pushy about things, or criticize her....he does have 28 years of the habit of defending her.  I didn't want to mess things up.  I didn't want to make myself the bad guy no matter how much I see her as a manipulative selfish cunt (told you there would be bile and vitriol). I've been very careful not to tell him the depth of my feelings because I didn't want to overwhelm him.  When I broke up the Gent, TJ was worried that he wasn't going to be able to give me everything I needed emotionally.  So I practiced patience.  I'm not stupid, I knew that my feelings for him were stronger than his for me.  I was willing to wait. I was willing to be monogamous despite the several other offers that I had (oh the trials and tribulations of being polyamorous). I was willing to give up a lot more that I never told him about including ideas of being a mother at some point and even my own home.

Towards the end of December I thought that things were looking up.  I met him, his daughter, and his grandson for a late lunch before the two of us were to go to an movie together.  He was so happy to see me, he kissed me in front of his grandson, openly....not even trying to hide it like we had before. It was a quiet but emotionally loud moment for our relationship.  New Year's Eve was oddly homey in not doing anything in particular, but doing nothing together.  It all changed the first week of the year....and I completely and totally blame his ex for all of this right now.  She had been delaying filing the divorce paperwork for several months.  I'm sure that she was hoping that he would change his mind and invite her back home.  I can't fault her for that.  She had a wonderful life with a wonderful husband....but it was also a life that she threw away.  TJ and I had a set date night, Thursdays.  We are driving to his place on our date night and she calls.  I think he thought it was going to be a quick call, but it wasn't.  I overheard at least a half hour of this call where all I heard was her making a huge issue over something that wasn't an issue about the paperwork.  I am familiar with the paperwork she was talking about, and she was lying to him about it.  When we got to the house, he went into the bedroom and talked to her for at least another half hour....this same conversation where she was making an issue out of something that wasn't an issue.  She had to have known that it was our date night or that I was there....yet she monopolized his time.  She felt entitled to it, and he let her exercise that entitlement.  He tried several times to end the call and she wouldn't let it end.  Now I understand that some habits die hard, but she has had DECADES with him.....taking over an hour of the limited time that I have with him is not acceptable.  The paperwork did finally get filed later that week, even though there was quite a bit of emotional fallout (which I see as natural and normal for the situation), at least now there was a timeline for the marriage to finally be over.

Then....the facebook debacle happens.  In early December, I wrote on facebook complaining about how tired I was in taking these antibiotics for my leg.  This comment hadn't been an issue until five weeks later.  I get told by TJ that someone had pointed out the post to him and was worried that I might have given him some horrible disease. Whoever saw this post is not a friend of mine and I have since changed my privacy settings.  He wouldn't tell me who it was that brought the issue up, but when he denied that it was his ex, I figured it was one of his daughters.  Seeing that I talked to one of them about my leg in the beginning I thought that this was odd, but ok.  Then TJ lets slip that someone told this one person about it and was raising concerns.  My speculation is that the ex told the daughter....of course embellishing it as much as possible....who then freaks out and tells her Dad.  The result?  I get a condescending talking to about keeping private.  It was my leg.  My facebook....and there is nothing on social media linking the two of us....except now, with this blog post. (And I am totally not sorry for talking about his or my private life right now) I felt him pulling away.  Desperately trying to do something, anything, to bring him out of the funk I sign us up for a paint night.  Now I can't tell if going to a paint night just before an anniversary is a jinx (I did that with the Gent a few days before our year anniversary and subsequent breakup, and with TJ a few days before our 6 month anniversary AND subsequent breakup)....or if going to a paint night is a make-it or break-it activity in relationships.  Either way.... I need to not do those near anniversaries with partners anymore.

At the paint night I called him out on being distant.  There were a couple family events that were highly emotional that had happened the week before and in my head I justified that distance as part of the emotional stuff that was going on with him.  The next week I comment on him being distant again and I get the "well about that..." text.  We talked and he announced that he just wants to quit everything, including me.  And even though I have been "the only and only bright spot" in his life the last couple of months....I'm ultimately expendable (my words, not his).  I cried a little on the phone but didn't say much to contain my dignity.  What I wanted to do was to yell and scream, cry and beat his chest with my fists, I wanted to collapse on the floor wailing and ask him why am I not good enough? Why am I not worthy of fighting for?  Why am I the one who it is so easy to leave? I wanted to do this with the Gent too.....much more so with TJ.  I didn't because even if I had a huge emotional reaction like I want to have, that is coercive and manipulative behavior.  I want someone to be with me, because they want to be with me.  I want their opinion of me to be the one that matters, and not to be swayed by an asshole ex with an agenda.  I feel like I am the one being constantly punished for trying to be a decent human being.  And not only am I tired of it....but my heart aches.  Because even through all of this anger and hurt, I really do love TJ.  I want to spend my life with him.  I want to grow old with him.  I want to have good days, bad days, boring days and exciting days with him. Instead I have to contend that I will never be enough for anyone else.

So yeah.....that's been the past six months: full of bile and vitirol and an overwhelming helping of pity-poor-Debbie.
From here, where to go? Onwards I guess.  I'm gonna putter around the house, annoy my turtle, and try to stop the waves of crying.  I'll try to be productive and bitterly tell myself to just keep swimming.....And avoid reading the news today, cause if Trump does one more asshat thing today.....that might push me over the edge...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Missing Pilot

It's been a rough few weeks.... and I seem to spend most of my time processing what is going on.  It's damned exhausting.  Last night though I had a dream that seemed to help me understand what I've been feeling with my relationship with the Gent. 

Awesome photo found here
In the dream I am sitting in a large cockpit of a jetliner as the co-pilot.  We are waiting for the pilot, but no one knows where they are and it is time to leave.  I'm trying to stall but it is not very effective.  The ground crew is trying to get everything ready and notify me that they are removing the little stands that they put on wheels to make sure the plane doesn't move when it is not intended to.  This shouldn't be a big deal as the plane is theoretically in park, but once they do this, the plane starts to roll forward towards the airport terminal.  Panic.  Where I am sitting there are no controls, it is just a passenger seat.  So I lean over trying to look at the controls on the pilot side and they look completely unfamiliar.  I find what looks like a brake pedal and press it....and the plane stops.  But it is only stopping for a brief second as the plane starts to go into reverse. I hit the other pedal which is marked both gas and brake and the plane starts to go in reverse faster and begins to turn into a circle....we begin to hit things like trucks and luggage carts and there is no way to stop it, all I can do is brace for impact and wake up.

I know that it is a common dream interpretation that when someone is driving in a car that the individual driving represents who is in control of your life.  I'm going to assume that a plane is not going to symbolize my life, but it could very likely represent a relationship.  I recently told the Gent that we were done.  It was in a chat message (so make any assumptions you want to able how horrible a person I am with that) and we were having a text fight.  For months it seems like the text chat is the only way to get him to pay attention to what I am trying to tell him.  When I speak to him he's looking at his phone or focused on something or someone else. If I am going to feel alone, I would rather that be when I am physically alone, not lying in a bed with someone or sitting next to them.  He has been the absent pilot in my dream.  I'm waiting for him to be there like he is supposed to be.  I'm where I am supposed to be, next to him to support him.  But instead I'm alone feeling all of the impacts of the crazy circumstances of him not being there.  People and objects are being hurt because he isn't where he should be....and all I can do is brace for impact.

It perfectly sums up how I feel. I don't love him any less....but I can't be left alone in the plane spinning out of control anymore.  I'm sure that there could be many different interpretations of the dream.  Such as examining why I as co-pilot had no access to controls and not knowing how to fly the plane.... it could mean that I am shit at relationships (but I honestly think everyone needs to work on that as relationships are not static but dynamic and always changing) and it could also mean that I have given up too much control to someone else.  Or it could just mean that I needed my partner pilot to be there and they weren't.

I don't know where anything else goes from this point.  I'm in new territory here.  In the past my relationships have ended either by a mutual discussion where we are still friends, or in being left by the other person with no closure whatsoever. I've never had the opportunity to reconcile with someone or even have the satisfaction of a knock-down drag out fight that we make up from.   The only thing that I do know is that I can't get into that plane cockpit by myself again.  I can't be sitting there waiting for the other person to show up so that we can go through our pre-flight checks and properly take off... I need to walk down that gangway and enter that plane with that person right by my side.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

What if we all are bluebeard?

To know me is to know that I have a weird obsession with the Bluebeard fairytale.  To be one of the few who really, really know me is to understand why.

At times I have felt that I was the wife of Bluebeard that survived, at times I have felt (rather happily) that I was one of the ones who had died and was released from the pain of the relationship..... but then at times.... I feel like I am Bluebeard himself.

We see him as a villain, we want to make him a complete and total monster....but humans aren't like that.  He gave a key to someone he trusted and said look after this, but don't look into it.  It was a test. A test to see if a boundary that was established would be treated with respect.  In the past I have felt like he set up his wife for failure....knowing full well that he would be disappointed.... and maybe he did.  Maybe I do the same too.

And maybe I am both Bluebeard and the wife..... tempting myself, setting up myself for failure.  I wave a key around and say "see the key but go no further" and then I push myself down those that door....and only see carnage and panic.

I know this is vague.  I know that this post makes little sense to anyone but myself. 
I wrote this for me because I'm trying to figure out what I see when I open that door...

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950).  Renascence and Other Poems.  1917.

23. Bluebeard
Sonnet VI

THIS door you might not open, and you did;
    So enter now, and see for what slight thing
You are betrayed…. Here is no treasure hid,
    No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroring
The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain        5
    For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,
But only what you see…. Look yet again—
    An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.
Yet this alone out of my life I kept
    Unto myself, lest any know me quite;        10
And you did so profane me when you crept
    Unto the threshold of this room to-night
That I must never more behold your face.
    This now is yours. I seek another place.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

No.... I'm crying cause I love everyone

Well it's February 9th....and 10 years ago I had a wedding ceremony that felt rushed and hurried and ultimately wasn't meant to be.   This is the first of some major milestones of my history of Mr.3 that I can now classify in terms of decades.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel today, and the day is only half over, so I am not going to make any final determinations.  I did have a nightmare last night.  He was in it, as he is in most of them. I can't remember the context though.  However when I woke up I thought it was morning and was glad that it was....until I rolled over and discovered that I had only been asleep an hour.  So I had to leave the tv on and try to wake a little so that I didn't drop right back into the dream again.

On any anniversary it is hard not to go through the thought process of "well what if".  In this case, what if we were still together?  We would both be unhappy... very much so.  I'm sure that I would look a lot older than I do now.  There might have been a child or two, but I would be so broken down by the weight of handling all the finances and being the breadwinner as well as caregiver...that I don't think that I would enjoy motherhood like I want to.  Maybe he would have finished his PhD by now.  I definitely wouldn't be "me" anymore...just an unwilling servant... a shell.  I was a shell when he left, I don't think that there would have been anything left that would have resembled me at all. When I was pondering this possibility this morning, the thought process was only a few seconds because I became overwhelmed by all of people who are in my life now that wouldn't be if I was still with him.

And then.... I started to cry.  Crying over the possible loss of so many people who have been instrumental in my life over the last 10 years.  So many people that I love deeply....

My parents, my little brother, Libby.... all of our relationships wouldn't be as strong.
My friends from the MEC who stayed with me beyond our time there- Linda and Dylan.
I wouldn't have joined my Lodge, and wouldn't have met and loved my wonderful brothers...who I am not going to name but just put their initials (which I am sure they will get the humor of): M, K, C, J, R, T, R, H, C, M, R, M, J, B, J, K, I, E and on and on and on.
My awe-inspiring co-workers, my tribe of sisters- Alana, Nubia, Leslie, Jo'D, Julie, Hilde, Liz, Nonie, Marilyn....
My amazing polycule- the Gent and my two awesome Metas that I haven't come up with a snappy nicknames yet for...

All of these wonderful people listed above (and more! I have so many tribes that I could be listing people for hours)  that have come into and stayed in my life over the last ten years- who have laughed, and cried, and worked, and loved with me.... so many people who most likely wouldn't be in my life if he had stayed.

Every one of you reminds me daily of the infinite capacity that I have to love.
Thank you for that.
I love you.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Emotional Nakedness.... apparently that's a thing, and a thing I have issues with

This is one of those weeks where I feel like going back to my therapist and asking for a retro-active refund....cause seriously.... how did she miss some of these issues, really?

I guess that some of this would have come up sooner if I hadn't been dating-avoidant for five plus years.  And one day I won't feel like I'm perpetually broken, that I'm constantly having to explain why I'm triggered about one thing or another, that I'm not worthy of attention to my feelings, etc.  One day I'll be able to process my feelings in front of another human...until then, my processing needs to be written out.... its the only way I can do it and feel safe.  I only hope that it isn't interpreted as being passive aggressive, that is not the intent.  On my blog I can write about crying, and anyone reading it can imagine this pristine scene with a single glorious tear rolling down my cheek and me lightly dabbing it with a cloth handkerchief....  oh...and Erik Satie would be playing softly in the background....there is candlelight....and I'm wearing some fantastic ball gown....
The reality is that my crying is not pretty...or at least I don't think it is pretty.  To be fair though, I haven't really looked at myself when I cry, but it feels ugly so I assume it is.  Have you seen Claire Danes cry? Phenomenal actress- ugly cryer.  So the reality of me crying is probably like Claire Danes wailing away.

So last night, I'm staying over at the Gent's house after holding a fairly awesome party.  We were cuddling in the guest room...or he was attempting to and I was trying not to cry.  It's been a week.  My body has been hurting...from stress, from antibiotics.  I've had a bunch of deadlines this week (in fact as of the writing of this I still have two major things that have to be completed and its 9pm on Sunday....the outlook is not good).  I felt pulled in a thousand different directions, trying to make sure that I'm checking in with everyone, feeling like I'm a failure at not being able to do it all, but trying to support everyone that I can.  Its been overwhelming, and any attempts at self-care this week have felt incredibly hollow and like the stress and tension I'm feeling right now is a parasite in my body.  I feel like I need to just have a deep soul-crushing cry to get all the tension out.  Last night, I could feel it coming in waves and I kept trying to push it down and away.  But it kept coming to the surface, and I didn't want an audience....and even with him holding me, telling me it was alright, that he wasn't going to leave, that he loved me, that our tribe loved me.... I just couldn't let him see that.  So I sent him off to his bedroom while I tried to curl myself in as tight a ball as possible and attempt to silently cry.

As of tomorrow we will have been dating for three months....but three months of deep love and acceptance is not enough to undo a lifetime of feeling punished when I express my feelings and needs.  The last time I cried in front of a partner, I was broken, and he left the next day.

Flashback to almost 10 years ago..... Mr.3 and I are in Denver.  Its our second trip in a month to try to rectify a situation that seems so crazy chaotic now that I can't even being to explain it.  The money was running out, nothing was making sense, his paranoia was becoming my paranoia, and nothing was going as he said that it should.  We were at a mall food court in Aurora and there is this kid being obnoxious at the table next to us.  I just wanted the kid to stop, to be quiet, and I kept thinking how easy it would be to grab that child and snap his neck.  I felt so powerless that I had a brief moment where I seriously considered harming a child so that I wouldn't feel as helpless as I did at that moment.  It scared me....bad.  I abruptly got up and started out to the car with Mr.3 following me confused.  I got into the driver's seat but I couldn't drive...all of the emotion, all the craziness, the uncertainty, overcame me....I got out of the car, leaving the door open, and stepped a few feet away from the car.  And I started to scream.  A deep primal unhuman scream.... I was no longer in my body.... I don't know how long I was screaming, but it felt like it was forever. The memory of the sound of my screaming haunts me.

And then he laughed at me.

It was just a chuckle, almost a snort, but it was enough.  I ran back to the car and had it in drive so fast that the car was moving when he got into the passenger's side.  We went back to the motel we were staying at and I spent the rest of the day crying inconsolable on the bed.  I was in and out of it.  I have vague memories of seeing him looking at his computer, writing something on a paper tablet, him coming in and out of the room, him glaring at me from across the room...  In the morning I was still fully dressed, lying on top of the bedspread.... black stains on the white pillowcases from my mascara running.  He had slept on the other side of the bed and was in the shower when I got up. He had left a letter on my pillow.  It was a love letter of sorts....hollow in hindsight....talking about how he didn't realize how much I loved and cared about him and that it hurt him to see me in such pain....that he was going to try to be a better man.  When he got out of the shower there was this new plan that he had.  He suddenly had a job interview in Denver the next day, things were looking up.  And since we were to drive back to Salt Lake that day, he would stay at the hostel in Denver for the next couple of days, and I would drive back alone.  I was so numb it sounded rational.  So I did.  I dropped him off at the hostel and drove home.  I was broken....but this process went on over a few days, as it was one story after another resulting with me driving back to Denver four days later with half of our apartment in my little car.... but that story is for another day.  The point of this, is that I've now got it ingrained within me that if I let a partner see me cry, let them see me be broken, that they will leave me.  They won't stay to pick up the pieces.... they will just go.

The Gent says that he won't do this....and I know that he won't.  But knowing that and physically crossing that boundary are two entirely different things.  We process alot.  And I'm really good at processing with other people, with their emotions, their difficulties...but when the attention is turned towards me, its painful.  I'm really good at loving and giving to others. Receiving it back? Oh, it's ugly.... as the last several degrees I've taken at Masonic workshops and the emotional rollarcoasters that I have gone through on them can attest.

I'm not sure really what to do with this.  I discovered a name for my issue today.... emotional nakedness.  Naming it feels a little better, but I'm not sure how to go about working through it.  I expect it will take time to lose the emotional modesty that has been my protective shroud for so long.  But saying that it will take time sets off an anxiety snowball of worrying that people will decide that I'm really not worth it anyway and just go.  I know that I'm frustrating as hell.....  I can't ask for what I need because half the time as I'm not sure what that is, and when I do know, I don't want to ask because I'm worried that I will be a burden.  If I express my feelings honestly, I feel like I've had some sort of a tantrum and then I try to retreat further in order to mitigate any damage I may have inadvertently caused.

I'm seriously shocked that I don't have a flatter forehead from all the pounding of my head on my desk in frustration.  If emotional nakedness is a thing, I wonder if it is also possible to give yourself an emotional concussion?

So what do I do?  I don't want to do therapy again...even though it has been suggested.  I will have a legit foot-stamping tantrum over that. 
I'm trying to give myself gold stars for little things that feel like milestones.... well I actually don't have gold star stickers at my house, so my calendar has multi-colored owls on it....but the idea is still the same.  I can keep doing that.
Anything else?
Trying to cut yourself some slack and show some compassion is soooo much harder than it sounds.

There is a website that documents all the time that Claire Danes has spent crying on film

This makes me feel oddly better....

Sunday, January 03, 2016

This year's word: Openness

For those in the know, I'm anti-resolution for New Year traditions..... I'm not going to set myself up for some strange and awful failure of will.  But choosing a word and at least one hare-brained scheme a year works for me.  It seems that in reviewing the blog, I didn't set either last year..... although starting school again is going to be my retro-active hare-brained scheme for 2015....2016 will be determined later.

I do, however, have a word for this year.  And that word is "openness".

Openness in letting people in.  Letting people know how I'm feeling. Letting myself be open to answer honestly, even if that answer is no.  Allowing myself the space to try new things and have new experiences.

This word has been a couple months in forming.  The stress and associated depression with it has been severe the past two-to-three months.  I'm hoping that the new year will be a reset and that I will be able to open to letting some of that residual tension go.  If anything, the new year will hopefully bring a normalization of my schedule/routine.

Another aspect of the formation of this year's word is that I'm dating someone.  Someone wonderful.  And that person has brought some other wonderful and amazing people into my life.  People who feel like family; who feel like being home. To be loved is one thing, but to have someone make you feel wrapped up in love and safety without judgement is another thing entirely.  In many ways I feel like I've cheated this person somehow because they have met me in this period where I do feel so unstable.  It's like I'm stuck in a Fight Club loop....

In some ways, they have seen me at my worse up front.  Maybe..... I am most likely still hiding most of it....and every time I force myself to be open and honest about my feelings I want to award myself a gold star.  To pat myself on my back for trying to embrace the openness of acknowledging this vulnerability.  I haven't ruled out yet creating a sticker reward board for these moments.

But 2016 is for openness.
Openness to love
To be loved
To be able to accept the love given to me by all the people in my life
To feel like I deserve that love I receive

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Finding moderation in dating when you are secretly a cat....

.... which the more I ponder the possibility, the more I think that finding moderation is just gonna be an unrealistic goal for me.

I have very good and specific reasons why I do not "date" often.  Some of these reasons deal with my primary place of employment, some of these reasons have to deal with my barriers put in place due to past relationships, and some of these reasons have to deal with my general dissatisfaction and disgust with ideas and myths around 'hook-up' culture. At the moment, I find myself dating someone.  Someone amazing....and for the purposes of this blog he shall be dubbed as.... "the Gent".  Most people think that I am flirtatious because of my general personality, but when I really REALLY like someone, it gets awkward super fast.  I feel constantly bathed in this level of extreme awkwardness.... and for a while, I've been really hard on myself for this... until I realized that I need to just embrace my Leo sensibilities and be the true cat that I am. 

For example: 'the Gent' truly seems to want to know how I'm feeling.  This is new. Very new.  And very scary. So I'll have this moment where I'm really good with the cuddling and talking and sharing the feels and such.... then like a cat with one too many belly rubs, I hiss, runaway.... and then come back a few minutes later expecting the other person to continue paying attention to me, except this time when I've returned I have some headless animal of Debbie's-past-experiences to drop on your lap.   I've had way too many "emotional trigger moments" the past few weeks.... to the point, that I'm getting annoyed with myself over it.  I've wanted to run away several times....not because of him....because of my own insecurities.

Other example: I have a schedule, he has a schedule, everyone on the planet has a schedule and commitments and such.  I know this.  I know that I have other things that I should be studying for finals this week.  But spending the small amount of time that I have with 'the Gent' makes me just want to spend more time with him.  Which is good.  I just want ALL THE TIME right now.  I know that if I actually had all the time I really wanted, that I would get overloaded, then overemotional, and just run away.  So not getting to spend the amount of time that my brain is screaming for is actually a good and healthy thing.  It truly is.  I just need to get my head on straight about it.... and not to run away and hide.... which would be infinitely easier at the moment.  This is the problem with being anti-dating for as long as I have been.  It becomes comfortable and safe.  Safe is boring though. Quite boring.  In the current information age though, I need to figure out what the rough approximation of moderation in contact is.  The past couple of days I've felt like I've been contacting/texting too much....but I keep doing it.  Also, my use of emojis lately has been exponentially increased at an alarming rate.

I seem to oscillate between "love me, love me, love me" to "back off" quite a bit the past few weeks.  Except at the moment I'm on the 'love me' side....and the rational brain is trying to smack my perceptive back into the center... to be human again.

I've got it bad.

Damn.... I really hope 'the Gent' is a cat person.

Or I just need a red laser dot to chase and mesmerize me for a while. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

What do you take if you have 6 hours to leave?

Dreams are really odd things.... and if anyone wants to give me an interpretation of this dream I would gladly welcome it.

I think most people have gone through the thought experiment of your home being on fire and you have only one minute to grab what is most important to you and leave the house.  Partners, children, pets seem to normally top that list...then important papers, etc.  Last night I dreamt that I and my family had to evacuate and leave the area.  There was some political coup that happened and we needed to flee or die.  In the dream, I was the age that I am now, but my family was the age that they were when we moved from Sandy in 1999.  And for some reason, most likely safety, we had temporarily relocated all of our belongings to the house 2-doors down from our old house in Sandy.  Oddly enough, I have dreamt of hiding from people in this house multiple times, although I think that where this house is in my dream, actually doesn't exist on the street that I lived on.  If it does exist, it is a house that I have never been inside of either.

We had six hours to gather all that we could independently carry to flee.  For some reason food was not a concern or electronics.  I remember that at one point I was worried about if we needed money, and not being able to recall how much I could take out of a ATM without the daily withdraw limit being reached.  I knew that I wouldn't have enough time to go through all of my pictures, so I grabbed a recent stack of photos that I have yet to put away in the photo storage box.  I had gone through and scanned some old photos for a recent presentation.  I was more focused on what books did I need to bring with me.  I could only fill up a backpack.  So began this process of trying to pick the books that were going to be the pinnacle book for every reading genre.  Sadly, I do not remember this book list, although I did have a dictionary and a thesaurus.  As we are about to go, I realize that I did not have any Turkish books with me.  I picked two Turkish/English dictionaries, one with older words that had some Ottoman carry-overs and then a more modern one.  I wasn't sure what Turkish literature books I wanted, but I decided that it would be worthless to have the dictionaries and a literature book without having a grammar book as well.  By this time, whoever was pursuing us were going house by house on our street, and were currently in our old house... it was time to go or die.  But I could not leave without a grammar book.  My family is gone at this point.  And I'm jumping over boxes, looking through bookshelf after bookshelf.  I'm finding lots of old textbooks, but they are too bulky and numerous.  What I'm really looking for is my Underhill Turkish Grammar book.  I can't find it anywhere.  By the third time I'm re-scanning the shelves looking for it, the enemy is marching up the driveway.  By the time I see its red cover and have the book clutched to my chest, they are breaking down the door.....

And I wake up.

Drowsy still, I berate myself for not packing underwear or grabbing any of my Masonic rituals in my dream.

It's a half-hour before my alarm is to go off.... so I try to go back to sleep.... only to find myself right back in the dream....searching the shelves, trying to find my Underhill again.

Any takers on what this means?
Incidentally.... my Underhill was rather easy to find this morning.  Even took a case I forget again ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The run-down of last night's club expedition

Last night I went to a club.
Area 51's Fetish Night to be specific.
I don't go to clubs for a variety of reasons.  One of those being the work that I've been doing for the past five plus years.  I worry about every drunk person and what they may be made to do later by someone under the guise of consent.  I hate the fact that we have developed a culture where sex outside of marriage (and many times within as well) only happens when fueled by alcohol.  Another reason why I don't go to clubs is that I don't get hit on at clubs.  And no, this isn't a "I'm fat and sad" moment, it is just a reality.  Many people go to clubs with the sole intention of getting picked up, or to get some sort of affirmation of their beauty from some stranger.  It's depressing going to a club and watching your friends get hit on time after time and you being ignored.  Oh.... and the other reason that I don't like to go to clubs is that even when I haven't been the designated driver, I still end up having to care for my friends who just go crazy.  It's not fun.  This is probably why most of my "partying" has actually happened in foreign countries.  You're walking anyway to wherever you are partying... and it is a different crowd of folks you are going with.  With your friends you can be irresponsible (and a bit of jerk) and they deal with it because they love you.... doing the same traveling abroad, you don't get that kind of leeway.

I went to the club last night as a reconnaissance mission.  Different kink communities do demos on Fetish Night and it was an opportunity for me to see what was out there.  I got there early (because if I got there before 10pm I could get in free).  And the first thing that I did was find my Kink Community contact, Finch.  He introduced me to all the demo people he knew, and a few people who I had previously seen at rope workshop.  For those that read my last post, I now know the name of one of the women who I saw topless at that first workshop.  It was nice evening overall.  There was a small group of us just hanging out.  I had one adult beverage and two bottles of water and I did a lot of people watching.  I also went by myself so I didn't have to watch out for anyone and I could leave when I wanted to.  In my head there is this stigma about a person going to a club alone, but this was rather freeing.  I would do it again.... but only if I had a really good reason to make an effort to go to a club.  

So.... here is some of what I learned last night:

1. Real "kinky" people are totally normal and NOT obnoxious, and it is the "vanilla" folks that are making a huge deal out of the appearance of trying to be seen as "kinky".  Most of the people who I saw that were shocked and horrified by what they saw in the demos were the people that were overly dressed up in the appearance of kink.  Those that were watching with interest and respect where dressed very normally.  In fact, all the demo people looked like they had walked off the street rather than that they had spent 4 hours carefully dressing in as little as possible.  As I was hanging out mostly with the rope folks, all the girls who got tied up for demos were conservatively dressed.... they just had no problem removing clothing to do the tie-ups.

2. Real beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin and not from trying to show it off.  Body language is so important.  And there is a huge difference between being half naked in front of a crowd AND being comfortable with your body and just being half naked in front of a crowd.

3. Drunk folks are fun to watch, but not really to talk to.  Towards the end of the evening a young woman sat down next to me and started to talk.  She was really hammered and had been left by her friends at the club.  She was also a larger girl, who kept trying to tell me in a louder and louder voice about how kinky she was and that she couldn't find anyone who was willing to be her dominant.  After talking with her for a while it was clear why.... through all of her boasting she was insecure.  She had been abandoned and blamed many times in her life, and only wanted to be loved and noticed.  It wasn't happening...because these things just don't "happen", you have to make an effort to reach out to those in the community.  She wanted someone to take her home, and that just wasn't going to happen either.  I wanted to hug her and tell her that it was gonna be alright.  People are so vulnerable in general when they are drunk, but I don't think we realize or appreciate just how open and bare they leave their hearts.

Will I go again?  Possibly.  But if I'm honest, I'll probably learn more and make more connections if I just keep going to munches, workshops, and play parties.  Also my body just hurts.... that's not from the dancing (I actually didn't do any of that), but the fact that I got only 6-ish hours of sleep last night because I had an early morning appointment today.  I desperately need a nap and about 10 more hours of productivity.  I tried to nap this afternoon and it was just the kind of nap where everything hurts and you are too tired to sleep. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

new ventures

My job allows me the ability to learn about some pretty amazing things.
At Pride this last June, I met a member from the Kink Community and I have agreed to collaborate with his organization and do some advanced consent and healthy relationships presentations for them.

Like any good researcher, I asked for a book list and I think I've read 7 or 8 different kink-related manuals in the last month or so.  And honestly.....if you want a way to spice up some rather boring reading on corporate accounting, interspersing that with reading breaks on how to be an loving dominant will fit that bill.

In prepping for work with this community.... and we're planning some awesome stuff beyond these two trainings being scheduled.... I find that I'm learning alot about myself. And no... it isn't that I'm discovering some new found kinky-side and that I'm gonna start wearing leather and carrying a riding crop around.  It has more to do with discovering this capacity that I have to learn about something and have little to no judgement about it.  In fact, I've come across some instances where I was very much opposed to a particular act and found the very idea of it degrading and abusive.  But after reading an essay about fisting, yes... fisting, I could see the beauty in it.  It is not on my list of things to ever do or have done to me....but I could understand the appeal.  I keep discovering these moments over and over again.

The Kink community in general has to deal with a ton of criticism and bias due strictly to the general community not understanding what they are about and western society's general tendency to freak out about anyone openly talking about sex.  But the people I've met so far have been amazing! And it's been nice to hang out with people who aren't going to be shocked by something that I say, and take things like consent and rape culture seriously.  I'm definitely learning more from them then they are from me at the moment.  I'm astounded by this community's ability to support each other.  I read on FetLife earlier this week of a woman who shared her story about being violently raped by someone she met in the community.  When I commented on her post over 400 people had already reached out to her.... and ALL of the comments were supportive of her.  It was beautiful and still makes me tear up a bit.  She had an awful experience with reporting her assault and was blamed for the attack because of her kink lifestyle.  I know that this happens in Utah as well.... so I am really excited to be focusing attention on this community to help address gaps in services.

As I would with any community that I am starting out working with, I've been going to some of their events.  I went to a rope workshop a couple of weeks ago.  At workshops you can interrupt and ask questions about what people are doing.  It is a place to learn skills first before you go out and try to do stuff.  It was fascinating!  And....all right...a touch titillating....but definitely more on the fascinating side.  I discovered that if I see a woman's bare breasts, I want to know the woman's name because nameless boobs bother me a bit.  It just seems impolite not to introduce myself.  That being said, I was so nervous that I really didn't talk to anyone, but I brought blueberry muffins for everyone to snack on as a concession.  There were a couple of people there who I loved just to sit and watch what they were doing.  The knot-work was so skillful and imaginative, and you really had the feeling that you were watching a master honing their craft.  I also got to see some moments of profound intimacy that I just wanted to go up and hug the people afterwards and thank them for letting me witness that.  Like speaking to people, this was also something that I did not do....  I was just the silent wide-eyed person in the room..... rather than the creeper that I wanted to be introducing myself to topless women and hugging strangers.  I was going to go back to another workshop this weekend, but I had a migraine yesterday and I wasn't gonna try to deal with it.  Instead I tried to learn some of the knots and practiced on myself.  My skills at making friendship bracelets is not helpful AT ALL in this endeavor.  My crappy attempt is the photo in this post.  So I need someone to teach me, or (perhaps the better option) I'll just continue to be a spectator or let people practice on me so I can watch.

My first presentation on Consent is going to be in September.  I'm preemptively nervous.... but I will get to be extra mean during the pen skit which I use to demonstrate coercion... so I have that to look forward to.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yes to the Dress

I'm taking a study break.... cause cash disbursements journals are not exactly the most riveting of reading materials.

Earlier this week I was having a chat with one of our interns.  She's engaged to be married but has kept pushing the date back for her wedding in order to lose weight.  She was considering bariatric surgery at one point....which was absolutely frightening.  I understand her concerns, I do... but trying to lose over 100 pounds because you think that you need to in order to look nice in a wedding dress is NOT enough of a reason to do that to yourself.  Besides, she has a good man who loves her now, and how she looks now.  During this conversation she also mentioned that she was petrified to go wedding dress shopping.  She was afraid that nothing would fit, or if it did she would look like a giant puff-ball.  She was worried about the looks that she would get in the bridal shop.  She and her fiance have the entire wedding planned and paid for, the only thing left is her and the dress.  As we are the same size, I offered to bring in my old wedding dress the next day for her to try on.

When she put it on, it fit perfectly.  It zipped right up.  The two of us are the same height so that she doesn't even need to get the dress tailored.  It was as if the dress was made for her.  This is a picture of her in the dress.  The smile on her face is is the look of someone who was realizing that all of this wedding stuff was possible for her and that she can look absolutely stunning.  It was a beautiful moment, and needless to say, the dress is now hers.  And I gotta say, for sitting in a closet for 9 years, the dress is in amazing shape.

I'm glad that she now has it.  It feels like a purge for the dress will finally get the happy marriage that it was originally designed to usher in.  But like all purges, I have mixed emotions.... the strongest however is absolute relief...twinged with a little regret. 

In all this purging however, I'm considering another purge of sorts.  I've been urged by many, and its been a running project for a very long time, to write about the Mr.3 saga and put it into book form.  In the back of my head it is this undone task nagging at me.... and I'll have good days, start working on editing and all of that, and then get triggered and actively avoid writing anything for weeks/months.  So in this spirit of purging, what if I purge that idea as well? 

What if I say no?

Its an intriguing and freeing idea.

At the moment I am leading a full AND fulfilling life.  There is this amazing forward momentum happening now....yes, even with my frustration at double-entry accounting. 

I can write a memoir when I retire....cause right now, I'm working to get to that point. 
Living is pretty awesome.

Now.... back to figuring out how to make a trial balance worksheet by hand....

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stupid Little Life Lessons

I am my own worst critic.
And I am not exactly sure if anyone really believes me when I say that because I try to hide my feelings of inadequacy.
They are failings after all.
And my failings should be secret, locked away in a little chest buried deep, deep, deep underground guarded by mythical creatures.

Its Ramadan again, and I can't be sure if my latest upheaval is due to the internal focus that the season invites, or if what is going on in my life is just difficult.  I've lost all perspective. There is definitely an epic battle going on between me and my ego.

Battle of the intellect: I decided to go back to school so that I can sit for my CPA exam.  It is part of my multi-year plan to get myself to the place where I only need to have one full-time job instead of two.  I started last month in the accounting program at Western Governor's University.  I was hoping just to be able to go into the masters of accounting program, but I need to have an accounting bachelors first.  I'm glad that WGU is competency-based, because it means that I can progress through the degree program at an elevated pace.  And thank god it is all online, because not only would scheduling classes into my current obligations be near to impossible, but also....  I think that I would be a nightmare in a classroom setting.  I've reached that point where you've acquired so many pieces of expensive paper that you really feel like people should honor and respect how smart you are.  Feeling entitled is incredibly obnoxious.  So far I've managed to clear out a class a week in my degree plan, which is excellent.  I would like to finish the bachelors in one six month term, which would mean continuing at my current pace....a pace that I'm not sure that I can keep up.  This acknowledgement of my limitations infuriates me to no end.  I submitted my business ethics assignment and they wanted me to revise. I did, but submitting it through the online forum doesn't really satisfy my need to want to slam the paperwork on someone's desk and shout "Here! Are you happy now!?"  I took a pre-test for the intro to accounting class and didn't pass. So I read through the materials, re-took the pre-test and got the same damn score.  I think I keep getting my debits and credits mixed up, because for some reason we have to do double line accounting.... this also makes me want to scream at people. 

I know that the lesson here is that one is always a student, being challenged is good.... but I am psychologically back in that place when during my masters I burst into tears of frustration in my master's program adviser's office.  She had no tissues in her office and just looked at me like I had grown a third head.  She offered no sympathy, just told me that I needed to try harder.
Yeah, I get the message....I still get to be annoyed by it though.

Battle of the harsh-judgy-ness:  I've felt a little ganged-up on at work the past week or so.  I feel like my feelings about these interactions with several members of staff are justified.  The hard part for me is that I haven't been able to let these feelings of being hurt go.  Nor have I been able to let go of the hurt by something my brother said to me carelessly in June.  I really do have a difficult time holding onto grudges and anger.... its exhausting.  I also recently called someone graceless.  They had posted a video of a performance that they did, and I couldn't look at the performance from a place of "hey that's awesome that they were willing to go on stage like that"....  instead I viewed it as "they have no grace, no class, and are trying too hard to look empowered when I suspect that it is all fake".  To make matters worse, I told a couple students about how graceless I thought this person was.  In my role as a teacher I should never have done that.  In my role as a feminist, I shouldn't have put another woman down like that.  In my role as being my true self, I shouldn't have viewed her performance from a place of judgement stemming from some complicated unwarranted competitive-thing I feel with this person.
I've turned into Judgy McJudgerson, and its been haunting me for over a week.  Sadly.... I have more examples than this from the past couple of weeks.  All I feel is shame, and hurt, and tiredness..... and like my head is going to explode.

Battle of perfection: So lets add all of the above and combine it with my regular sense of never being to do enough, act enough, achieve enough... my desire to be perfect in anything that I put my mind to, but trying to hide the fact that I am barely just getting by in everything I'm attempting.  A dear friend of mine looked at my star-chart, a language I really don't fully comprehend yet, and told me that he was surprised at how ambitious my chart says I am.  I'm not surprised....but that's because I live in my own head.  And with my sense of trying to be perfect, I still am and will always be shocked when people tell me how laid-back I seem.  Under normal conditions, I can forgive anyone's mistakes, shortcomings, general humanness..... anyone's that is, except my own.

I wish that I could end this blog post with an upbeat "I'm working on it and am confident that I can overcome all of this".   I can't.  I can only hope that I finish the grant report I'm working in a timely manner and that the pain meds I just took for my headache will kick in soon.

Oh and that I won't suddenly lose it on someone with or without cause.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The significance of anniversaries

Anniversaries are odd things really.  The date alone means nothing, the only importance is the significance that we attach to that date.  February 9th, is just that....a day on the calendar, just being, not doing anything to anyone, benign in all aspects.  Several February 9th's have come and gone with little to no emotional impact upon me at all.... many of those instances resulting in me going "oh, the 9th passed, huh" several days after the fact.

But not this February 9th.  I'm out of sorts today.  Actually I've been out of sorts for several days now....not emotional, or depressed....just feeling ungrounded, living in the ether.  In fact on Saturday I was so concentrated on looking up and all around me, that I forgot I was walking until I came crashing down upon my back steps.  It took almost an hour before I realized that the odd pain on my arm that was nagging me, was due to the fact that I had fallen on it and that it was filled with little splinters of wood.  It wasn't until hours later that I realized my ankle hurt and that I have a muscle on my back/hip area that is cramped and inflamed. 

This distraction doesn't feel manic, or over-burdensome.... rather it is very calm.  While I feel in my body that I've been thinking deeply, my mind has been fairly clear.  Maybe its the weather.  Maybe its hormones, or diet, or sleep, or too much work, or not enough, or ....who knows.  Finding something to blame my out-of-sorts-ness on actually doesn't help anything or anyone. 

Maybe I'm just marveling at the passage of time...and the ineffability of it has finally melted my brain.

On the wall in my bedroom is a picture of two people who I love very, very dearly: my little brother and my best friend.  I see this photo every morning, and while on most mornings I dismiss it as I've looked at it so often, I subconsciously know that it is there.  The photo itself was taken on another February 9th, nine years in the past.  Nine years ago being the date that I married Mr.3.  Eight years ago on this same date marking the last full day that I spent with him, as I took him to the bus station the morning after.  I sent him away with half the rent money and wanting so badly to believe him that he really had found a new job and that he was going back east for training and that he would return.  Wanting anything, everything to feel better in our the prior 3 weeks since he had returned home from being in jail for several months had been hell.  I was scared of him, but didn't know that was the emotion I was feeling.  The agitation of waiting in that line with him: his four bags of belongings heavy at my feet, knowing that he was taking too much with him for two weeks; the distance when I looked at him, he was a stranger, hard, angry and annoyed with my presence; and not watching him get on the bus, nor waving goodbye, not even a deep soulful gaze between us.  I was just glad to be out of the bus station.

Looking back nine years ago to the wedding, it all seems like it was play being enacted by others.  Anything that could go wrong did.  I wanted to be married on the 2nd, because the idea of getting married on Groundhog Day made me chuckle.  We couldn't and had to delay a week so that the person performing the ceremony would be in town.  I couldn't afford $500 for a venue, so we tried to find the cheapest places possible....and we kept getting rejected wherever we asked.  We finally ended up getting married in the Hinckley room above the Middle East Center.  At the time, I told myself that it was quaint.  So many moments of our relationship were marked by that building, that it seemed like some sort of cosmic symmetry.  Plus, it was free and they recorded it for us from their overhead video camera.  The invitations were so late back from the printers that we ended up having to print them ourselves on my crappy printer with poor graphics we copied off from the internet.  I had a beautiful dress, which I seemed to wear only for about a hour.  Bouquets and boutonnieres were made by me that morning with $18 of grocery store flowers because I had only $25 left on a credit card to buy them with.  The restaurant I wanted to go after the wedding wasn't an option about 5 days before the as money set aside for the wedding was unexpectedly diverted to regular household expenses as a check for Mr.3 never came in.  Everything I wanted, however modest, got halved under the guise of "compromising", but there really wasn't a choice.  I should have called off the wedding.  I didn't because of my pride.

I used to joke that it was the "cheap as free" wedding....trying to laud up my abilities to make something out of nothing, being resourceful against all odds, the frugal queen pulling off yet another amazing escapade.  I really was trying to make something out of nothing though....and I succeeded.  It is a very hollow victory.

Time is a funny thing really.  Next year I'll be able to say that I was married once, a decade ago.  Classifying things in decades is pretty cool when you think about it.  It adds weight to the life experience gained, or it just highlights your inability to change and adapt.  This adds weight though.  Nine years ago everything felt like it would last forever, but always turned out to be temporary.  Now, that which I would have understood as being temporary will last forever.  At 26, having a friendship that would last into the double digits years was unthinkable.  Making the five-year mark at any place of employment felt like a lifetime.  In fact any five year plan somehow included an entire lifetime's worth of work: I would have my own home, a career, two kids, a new car, and retirement completely planned out, etc. 

Looking at the future from your mid-twenties is exhausting.  Looking at the future from your mid-thirties makes anything seem possible- when the time is right, if the time is ever right, and if the time is never right....then everything will still be ok.

And while I know that everything is ok....I also know that I won't have any tolerance today to deal with those who are caught up in the emotional aspects of the temporary and the permanent.  Change can and does happen, but you have to work towards it.  Crying about it, being horrified by the bad things in the world around us are meaningless exercises if they don't lead you to action.  The past nine years has been marked by action....and progress.  A decade ago, I used to have to call 5 or 6 nearly maxed out credit cards to see if there was $20 available to pay to go out to eat.  Not now.  A decade ago, I was worried that I would never be taken seriously in work, in life, in anything.  Not now.  I feel like I've been working so hard to change and improve my circumstances, that I haven't properly evaluated where I was and where I am. 

That must be the true importance of anniversaries: we attach the significance so that we will always remember, we will always reflect, and we always say "never again"...and we will mean it.