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if someone shares their vulnerability w you, to use it against them is evil, blasphemy of intimacy
icon: "snarling"

To deliberately use someone's vulnerabilities against them is to commit a great blasphemy against intimacy. Anyone who is willing to do that under ANY circumstances is not someone who deserves my trust. I consider it to be a deep emotional violation, as much the inverse of positive sharing as stabbing is the inverse of petting.

I think I am capable of hitting someone in rage; it's not likely, but if they are attacking someone I care about, or if I cannot escape and cannot otherwise stop them from hurting me, I might hit a person. I do not think there is any way I could possibly use a vulnerability shared with me in trust to attack someone. That is fucking evil. I wouldn't do it to the person I hate most in the world. I wouldn't do it to the fucking Koch brothers, and I'd cheerfully watch them drown.


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unsent letter to Aurilion
icon: "tenebrous"

[letter]Aurilion,
You broke my heart. How could you, how could you? You lied to me, deceived me, for months and when I got upset about it you attacked me, and cut me off yet again instead of dealing with it (after declaring again and again that you wouldn't abandon me this time). I've realized that that was probably the first time I directly called you on anything. How can you live with this? How can you be so okay with treating me like shit?

I was okay for a while; after all, I don't want to be treated like shit, so being cut off from someone doing that is an improvement. But faced with reminders, I realize just how deep this goes. I trusted you so much. I thought you cared more about me than about being right. How could you do this? I have never ever been attacked deliberately by someone I was spiritually connected to, except you. I can't even imagine someone else I trust doing this. I really thought you would never do such a thing. You crushed me.

I feel my heart is wounded. If I had wounded you, nothing would have been more urgent to me than to do all I could to help you heal. It breaks my faith in heart connections that you don't seem to care at all.

I hope I can find a way to heal from this. I feel poisoned.

connecting: ,


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earrings design poll: what would you wear?
icon: "earrings"

please check out my jewelry etsy and give me some feedback! I'd like as many responses as possible so if you're willing to send your friends over to give their answers too that would be fantastic!

Poll #1985705 jewelry favs

which specific earrings would you be most likely to wear?

Which designs would you be most likely to wear if they were in your preferred colors?

rainfall chimes
5(10.4%)
chainfall daggers
7(14.6%)
infinity orbs
4(8.3%)
candycoated waterdrops
3(6.2%)
sky falling
3(6.2%)
gentle rain
3(6.2%)
after the rain
4(8.3%)
waterfall chimes
7(14.6%)
bi elegance
1(2.1%)
tri simplicity
3(6.2%)
serpent flowing
4(8.3%)
other
4(8.3%)


Topaz is going to help me put together some promo stuff and I need to pick some earrings to take photos of, so I need to know what the most popular designs are. Please help by picking the ones you are most likely to ACTUALLY WEAR (or buy for someone you know would actually wear them), not the ones you think are prettiest :D

[descriptions of the various designs with links to example photos]rainfall chimes: long thin cylindrical beads hanging from chain, with teardrop shaped beads at the bottom. They are graduated with the longest chain on the inside (next to the face) and shortest on the outside. (example in red)

chainfall daggers: 5 dagger beads (like stretched diamonds with one point pulled away from the others) hanging from chain that is longest in the center, getting shorter in even steps on both sides. When these are a double-pair set, there is a small set of 2 dagger beads that are longer closer to the face, so that they continue the even steps-up from the larger main pair. (example in violet-blue matte)

infinity orbs: infinity-shaped links connected in a chain, each chain ending in round beads. These are stacked together shortest in front, longest in back, but they hang overlapped and swirl around each other. (examples: opalite and rainbow)

candycoated waterdrops: a cluster of glass teardrops spiral around a central chain like a corkscrew. The effect is similar to a spiral staircase. (examples: clear speckled amber and cobalt)

sky falling: chandelier earrings, with a rounded wire shape with 5 loops giving structure. From this shape hang silver curved-link chain that is longest in the center, getting shorter in even steps on both sides. In addition, there are three shorter chains that hang in the center and on the outside. Each chain ends in a bead, with 3 large and 5 small on each earring. (examples: moon and stars and leaves and teardrops)

gentle rain: chandelier earrings, with a small diamond wire shape at the top that is strung with seed beads. From the bottom three points of the diamond hang three wires strung with seed beads and 3 focal beads, ending in 3 drop-shaped beads. (examples: pale purple hearts and faceted teardrops and green leaves)

after the rain: from 3 graduated chains hang a large semi-rectangular bead with a tiny spearpoint bead dangling below it. When these are a double-pair set, a shorter pair with a single chain makes the outside pair of earrings.(example: lime green and capri blue)

waterfall chimes: from 5 chains that are longest in the center, getting shorter in even steps on both sides, hang long thin cylindrical beads, with some kind of focal bead at the bottom (round, teardrop, or oddly-shaped). When these are a double-pair set, there is a small set of 2 chains with the same beads that are longer closer to the face, so that they continue the even steps-up from the larger main pair. (examples: green and silver, pink and silver, capri blue and shells)

bi elegance: two lines of beads hanging together with the longer line closer to the face: wide variety of beads. (examples: green-amber-brown and pink-purple-silver and pink-green double pair made to match fabric)

tri simplicity: three chains hang at irregular lengths, two ending in a line of seed beads and one ending in a line of slightly larger beads. When these are a double-pair set, there is a small set of 2 chains with the same beads (one seed-bead line, one larger-bead line) for the outer pair. (example: rainbow double-pair set)

serpent flowing: graduated chains with the longest chain on the inside (next to the face) and shortest on the outside end in a short set of 2-3 beads. When these are a double-pair set, the shorter outer set continues the pattern. (examples: opaque and clear red and green and blue)

other: ask and I'll give a detailed description (there are descriptions on the etsy but I don't know how good they are, they're more for prettiness than accuracy).
connecting: ,


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image descriptions: realizing their importance and how I plan to use them.
icon: "feminist"

Something I recently realized was that my online presence is missing accessibility for people with visual disabilities: why image descriptions are important and how to write them.

I am intimidated by the idea of image descriptions but it is way more important to me that people be able to participate fully in what I share. So, on twitter, facebook, and LJ (the sites that I consider to be about interaction) I am going to use image descriptions if I post any images. On sites like tumblr, deviantart, and flickr (the sites I consider to be more of a gallery space than an interaction space), it will be on a case by case basis. I'm trying to achieve a balance between being avoidant of posting anything because I find it hard to write image descriptions of art, and making what I do post accessible. So, if I had more brainpower I would do it all the time, as it is, I will prioritize. It is vital to me that my LJ be accessible as I want it to be a positive space for all people, it's important that my fb be accessible because it is a place of so much interaction, and it is easy to make my twitter accessible. I pretty much use tumblr and flickr as storage space, because very few people interact with me there, and deviantart is something that I want to always use image descriptions in, but I find it very difficult to create an evocative description of an abstract fractal without assigning it a particular meaning, so I'm not sure what to do there.

If I forget and you notice, please remind me! Also if you know how to code in the names of my userpics on my journal itself, please share. I just tried for like an hour and the code compiles but it doesn't do what I tell it to do :-<


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stats is logic, not math
My life has been completely snowed under for the past two weeks by three big stats assignments all due NOW. I've been incredibly stressed about it, but only because they're a huge percent of my grade, not because of the actual work. I feel really confident about my skills with stats.

Both of my classes involve primarily coding, which is really pleasing to my brain because even though it is very demanding of precision, the program will tell me immediately if I have made a mistake and if so where I should look to fix it. I like the puzzle of fixing the mistakes and I'd actually enjoy it less if I never made any mistakes. My favorite thing by far is looking at this code and that code and realizing that I can cut them up and recombine them and get code that works for something else entirely. I love the logic of it. It feels really good to my brain, and makes me feel satisfied afterward. I even think on the logic when I'm not actually working on stats. I also love that there are almost always at least three ways to get the same information.

I'm so relieved to no longer be in early stats classes that require implanting numbers into equations, because I have mild dyslexia when it comes to numbers and it takes me a MASSIVE amount of concentration to put all the numbers in correctly. And of course, when I transpose a 9 and a 6, the answer still looks right: I can't look at it and logically realize that something's wrong. And there is only one right way and one right answer. I hate not crossing one t and ruining all the work I've done. With code I never have to touch the numbers.

Interestingly to me, I don't think that this is true for most people in my classes. They seem to have mostly come from math backgrounds and they express less comfort with the logic/reasoning side. I guess that "only one right answer" appeals to some people (me, it repulses). If I had realized earlier that there are entire categories called 'math' which have logic-based problems rather than arithmetic-based problems, I'd have explored math a lot more.


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my inner self is a garden and I am its caretaker
I think of my inner self as a garden; one that I own, but I share. I don't keep a fence around it, but instead there are two tall concentric hedges encircling it, with openings in each which do not overlap. I don't keep anyone out, but I also don't let people in without a bit of effort on their part. Once inside, you can find many little garden plots where people have come in and shared their plants with me. Some planted only annuals, and those died long ago, but some of their seeds have become new plants scattered around the whole garden. Some planted perennials, and a few planted trees. Some scattered a lot of seed but then didn't water anything and nothing grew. Some have neglected their plantings, and a few have ripped up what they planted, and one or two salted the ground where their plants once grew. Sometimes when people stop caretaking their plot, I wait too long for them to come back and plants die: I've learned to keep watch on those places that are becoming neglected, and take over care if it is not happening.

More numerous than the gardens are scattered, wild growths of a wide variety of plants, given by one-time visitors or dropped in as seed from the universe. Many of these are from people who simply scatter seed which I gather and bring in. Artists, musicians, and writers who have never visited nonetheless are the source of so many plants.

In the center is where I have done most of my own planting, and there are several very old trees there, including one that died early and fell over, crushing a number of saplings. That would be my first faith - following its root path and growing very fast is a younger tree, much-grafted, which is my current faith. When I find a plant in my garden that I especially love, I transplant it to the center (in this magical garden the plants don't mind that). The only ones I can't transplant are trees. Those who plant trees have a permanent place of their own in my garden, and can always come back and share with me again. Anyone who has planted a tree has my utmost gratitude even if they no longer visit my garden.

For a long time my garden changed little -- now it changes so rapidly that I imagine those who come back after absence might get a bit lost.

I am exceedingly picky about who can remain as a gardener. If you trample things on purpose, you are out, and I'll sic the spiders and snakes and carnivorous plants on you if you try to come back in. If you crush plants by accident, I will try to help you figure out a way to avoid that, but if it is not possible, I will ask you to leave until you have the skills to remain without causing damage. Often people leave for a time and come back later. No one has the right to move what I have planted, or to tell me what I should plant, uproot, or transplant. If they try to, they will be put out. No one has the right to be in my garden, ever, and I do not pull people in even if they feel I should (such as biofamily). It is forever and only a transitory sharing.


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I'm back in for last chance LJ idol. Feel free to sign up too!


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ADD-PI blatherings
When I first went to the psychiatrist about my ADD-PI, it was because I had gone from like 70% coping to 30% coping and I could still function but only by working myself into a panic, which was harming me emotionally and not sustainable. At first buproprion helped a good bit, brought me to like 55%, but my ADD-PI has slowly been getting worse, I think maybe due to stress or maybe this is just the progression. Now I'm at like 45% on good days (which is better than the 20-30% of no meds).

My memory has gotten worse, to alarming levels (I cannot remember what happened three days ago without help), and my distractability is terrible. I've found myself getting distracted while driving which almost never happens as I focus very hard while driving (only texting when stopped, not having any involved conversations). I will be doing one thing and suddenly realize I'm doing something else, without having made a conscious choice to switch tasks. I forget so many things: I'll go to a room and not remember why I'm there. If I do not put something on my calendar it will not happen, because I will not remember. My room is a mess, because I can't focus enough to get it tidy in one go and if there is a little mess then I don't bother to avoid making more. I was talking with Kylei and ze said I sound more ADD than before (ze's my most ADD friend, and actually the reason I realized I have ADD). I am constantly feeling like I have forgotten something, but I can no longer just reflect and remember what it is. I need real meds.

I have so many great little tricks for coping but they straight up won't work if I don't have the brain power for them. I keep forgetting that I need to eat, even when I am hungry. I think 'I should put that in my calendar' and then get distracted. This is after years of training myself to do stuff or set reminders immediately so I don't forget. I just have times when I can't even maintain focus for 15 seconds.

Also ADD makes a vicious cycle with any brain problems I'm having. If I'm stressed or depressed, that makes my ADD worse, which increases the stress or depression, which makes my ADD worse... I need ADD meds not only to stop the problems ADD causes by itself, but to stop other problems from growing endlessly.


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trauma response to not 'getting it' quickly enough / worth in performance / assume I'm doing my best
The other day I had an argument with a friend in which they got upset with me for not understanding what they were trying to say after they tried to explain a few times, and unfriended me. I realize now this is a place of old trauma, because I started weeping, and when Topaz asked, I realized it was because I felt punished for not thinking right/fast enough, when I was trying my best. This felt like a flashback, but I have no memory of being punished for thinking too slowly or not understanding. Maybe it was watching others be punished for that which taught me this fear. Whatever the cause, when people get impatient and angry towards those who are trying to understand, it makes me feel like a helpless child, and when it is me they are upset with I get just incapable of functioning, desperate for forgiveness, and cry with fear and hopelessness. If I am engaging at all, I'm always trying to understand: I am never being lazy or deliberately obtuse, and never ever ignoring what someone is saying. Luckily I'm good at it and most of the time people don't punish me for not getting it, but when I fail, its terrifying. It feels the same as when I am trying my best to be kind and I make a mistake and the person gets angry with me. I literally had no way to avoid my mistake, and I feel trapped and hopelessly not good enough. This is where my patience comes from, I think: doing my best to never make someone who is trying their best feel as though they will be punished for it.

It feels very tied to my sense of worth. As a child I was only valued for my "smarts" and I knew that this was conditional. My greatest fear was brain injury because I felt completely sure that I would no longer be valued by anyone. Later I think this morphed into a kind of emotional/intuitional "smarts" where I felt people valued me because I was good at making them feel safe and supported and understood, and if I fucked up at that, I would no longer be valued. This was affirmed by being abandoned at my first failure (that I was made aware of) several times. I think it was also compounded by living for 8 months with someone who expected me to read their mind and do what they wanted without them telling me, and when I failed I was treated with hostility and ostracized from all human contact (they had this power because my only friend was hours away). And then I was in a relationship for many years with someone who would radiate their stress and anger at me unless I figured out the source and helped them feel better about it somehow.

When I cannot understand, cannot show support in a way the person wants, or cannot give safe space, I feel that I am on the verge of true worthlessness, and my entire life depends on them forgiving me for fucking up and trusting my history of success enough to let me try again. It's not a logical thought progression but it feels unbearably real. When it happens with someone I like, it hurts for a little while: when it happens with someone I love, I can think of nothing else until I am forgiven or am certain that I have no chance of forgiveness.

With people I choose to have in my life, I always assume that they are doing their best, unless/until they tell me they do not want to try. I can't bear the idea of not affirming someone's best efforts. I can't bear the idea of someone offering up their best, and someone else not giving honor to that. I can't stand 'art critique' for this reason. The only person who can know if the artist didn't do their best is the artist themselves! And the only way for art to be bad is for the artist to not give full effort. It cannot be judged from the outside.

If I call you a friend, please always assume I am doing my best to offer understanding, support, and safety. If you doubt, ask if it is my best. If I could do better, tell me how. If you cannot start with the base assumption that I am doing my best with what I have, do not be friends with me. I need that assumption in all my friendships.


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weekly meditation / coming forth & Kanika / beginning work on my book of magic / Kylei & ritual
Taking time out of sleep for this, because it is important.

Lately I've been meditating weekly with some combination of Abby, Kei-Won-Tia, and Anika, and it's been surprisingly (to me) nourishing. I started doing it because I wanted more time with Abby and wanted to help motivate Abby to meditate since ze says it's really helpful to zir, but I've never really gotten much from meditation and I didn't expect it to build on itself. I think we've been doing it for about 6 weeks now and I do it a little differently each time. Sometimes I hold an object from my altar, sometimes I visualize, sometimes I look through an oracle deck and pull things that seem to have a message for me that day, sometimes I chant, sometimes I just reflect on my life. But every time, I set my blue pillow in front of my light box and absorb the light while I do this.

Today, I was reading through the Chapters of Coming-forth by Day, stopping when I got to spells that felt good and chanting them out loud. When I got to a spell about my heart and started reading it out loud, I almost cried, I don't know why, it just felt so strong, and Kanika, who was laying across the room, jumped up and RAN over and climbed in my lap and purred and purred. I put aside the book after a second chant of that verse and put both hands around zir and ze was content and happy about it! (ze usually does not like to be held in any surrounding way) Kanika is very energetically sensitive - I have seen zir interact with spirits (I checked carefully to be sure there were no tiny bugs for zir to be staring at), and when I do magic things ze likes to be in it, but I have never seen zir react so suddenly and strongly.

After that experience (my second time reading out loud from this) I realized I wanted to make a book of magic. I had wanted to for a while but didn't feel like I had enough to put in it. I want to put in the spells from the Chapters of Coming-forth by Day that resonate with me, and the bits of the Bible that resonate enough for recitation, and bits from my favorite other books that I could read out loud and feel nourished by, as well as any spells I make, any rituals I create, any affirmations I write. I started menstruating today, and I am going to use some of my blood as watercolor paint to bind the book to me. Allison made me a book years and years ago, for my 22nd birthday (auspicious number!) and I was always afraid of using it because it's so fucking beautiful, but this is perfect.

Kylei came over tonight and we talked about magic some, and ze participated in a cleansing ritual I did for the 70s suitcase I got to house either my journals or letters, not sure which yet. Ze also wrote some in a book ze has been using for sacred writing for many years, and shared this with me. I just barely began my work on my magic book, but it was enough, I have begun.


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random: how I shield from negative energy / processing vs support / finding people who click w you
on shieldingCollapse )

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on processing being interrupted by supportCollapse )

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on finding people who will click with you in a meaningful wayCollapse )


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polyamory community on facebook / some questions and answers
Recently I've become active in a community on facebook (which I never thought would happen!) which is about polyamory and has rules regarding accessibility and anti-oppression that make my heart sing. It's such a huge community (20,000+) that I can't even imagine the effort of being a mod there. One of the rules I wouldn't have thought of or considered relevant (asking permission before looking through someone's public data on facebook) but if it is necessary for some people's safety then I am happy to abide. Part of me wants to offer to help mod but no, I do not have the energy by a long shot. There have been quite a few threads that made me think and realize new things about myself which makes me incredibly happy. I haven't been so nourished by thorough questions in a long time.

the questions and my answersCollapse )


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a nourishing & emotionally exhausting 11 days! Kei-Won-Tia, Topaz, Sydney, Heather, Kylei, Abby, Kat
dealing with feeling disconnected and out of syncCollapse )

an exhausting intimacy practiceCollapse )

8 - don't remember, didn't calendar it :-[ There was school stuff.

intense happy one-on-one time w HeatherCollapse )

Kei-Won-Tia's birthday, meeting zir mom, playing truth-or-truth for four hoursCollapse )

watching Alice In Wonderland w Kei-Won-Tia and zir mom, my feelings on Alice, run-in with neighbor, time w Topaz' parentsCollapse )

12 - no idea, didn't calendar. My memory is the worst. School happened.

Kei-Won-Tia's birthday party and very-drunk meCollapse )

talks w Abby and FirekatCollapse )

lots of time w Kei-Won-TiaCollapse )

meds, talking w Kylei about making timeCollapse )


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Random: autumn winds bring SAD / psychiatry fail/ missing creation
Today I felt tired emotionally and physically, and also a bit down. I can tell that summer is leaving- it's 72 outside :( I stayed overnight at Topaz' and didn't bring any contacts so I'm wearing glasses, which makes me feel disconnected from the world and sleepy, and I don't have my sunlight lamp and Topaz keeps zir house cold (I dislike air conditioning when it makes temps below 75) so it's setting off my SAD. Also my car is low on oil so I didn't want to go out and get coffee and the coffee I had this morning was inexplicably bad, so I'm not caffeined enough. I did good self-care though, took a nap, reflected on what might help and realized that if Topaz took me out (so I don't have to drive Hedwig while ze's low on oil) to get coffee and oil that would make me feel way better. Topaz liked that idea so we're doing it soon. I have been very worried that I was lapsing into depression, so my not-getting-swept-under by this cluster of downness makes me feel hopeful.

I was supposed to be trying a new medication, but apparently my psychiatrist forgot that I don't have insurance or riches, and one month would cost $550, so I laughed ruefully and left without it. I guess it's buproprion for me until I can get an outside psychiatrist who can prescribe real ADD meds. It helps some, so I'm glad to have that at least.

This week has been very emotionally intense and I hope to write about it soon. I feel very irritated with my lack of creation lately.


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intense overwhelming suffocating feeling - anxiety?
Sometimes I get this overwhelming feeling of stuckness and it makes me want to be slapped, hit, or stabbed, it's like an intense frustration at being in a body, I can't escape. Maybe this is my kind of anxiety. It's like being in my body makes me feel bad and I want out, I want to escape the static and I feel a desperate need for extreme sensation. I want to cry, I want to scream, I want out! Being able to intensely focus helps, but if I am lonely (like I am right now) I have such a limited number of things I can focus on without getting sad, and feeling this and sadness at the same time is the worst. What the fuck happened, three weeks ago I was fine.
connecting: ,


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what's the point of friendship? / closeness related to time&distance / romantic love / sexual desire
A friend was writing about the point of friendship, and the substance of closeness, and it made me reflect.

For me, the main point of friendship is to understand people. I get a lot out of learning people, and just as much out of them learning me. It's almost a sensual pleasure, like someone lovingly petting my brain (when they learn me), or wandering through someone else's garden exploring and smelling and seeing and tasting (when I learn them). So each interaction is its own little world, and has its own purpose for existence. In this way I never regret investing in anyone, even if they turn cruel and hurt me on purpose, or even if I never meet them again; those experiences still exist and they formed pathways in my mind that cannot be undone.

I've been thinking about closeness as it relates to time and distance. Some people I can talk to sporadically with gaps of months even, but always feel at a similar level of closeness with. But with others, I do not feel close at all if we don't see each other regularly and talk often. On reflection, I have realized that when I feel closeness despite time lapse and distance is when I have a connection with someone who is in a stable place in their lives -- when we come back together after a time apart, there have been events that passed, but the person is on the same basic trajectory, and I still know their wavelengths enough to harmonize with them. When the person is in a period of great upheaval, or when they have a fairly chaotic trajectory, I feel distant from them very fast, and it feels difficult to find a harmonizing wavelength when we reconnect. I feel a great loss at this, because of all the harmonizing that could have happened, and didn't, and can't ever come back. I also feel fear, because what if we no longer can harmonize at all because we have become too different? So far that fear has never come true, but it remains.

Also, when I get used to being aware of all the small fluctuations in someone's wavelength and then I miss a bunch (such as when I connect with someone every day for a month and then not at all for a week), I feel quite jarred when they are not where I expect them to be the next time we connect. I then have a similar feeling to when I've missed greater changes, because the little ones became important to my life. If this happens over and over, I stop wanting to be close in a daily or continuous way because that jarring feeling is really upsetting, and I begin to dread it.

Relatedly, this has been the pattern at the end of several of my romantic relationships. Daily/continuous closeness is a vital part of romantic feeling for me, and lack of that means that I might feel occasional bursts of romantic love, but it's not the same as being in love. Continuous closeness isn't the only thing needed for me to feel romantic love but it is an essential part. I need that harmonizing feeling to sustain my romance. I need to not dread the 'drop' and I need to not have to spend so much energy getting back in sync.

What else do I need to feel romantic love? 1) mutual desire/effort for closeness and 2) kisses and/or effusive honest verbal expressions of love and 3) the choice to feel it (which depends on a kind of certainty I can't explain). I had a very romantic friendship with Hannah long before we had a sensual/sexual relationship, because sexual desire is a completely separate thing from romantic love, for me. It's basically something I can switch on (initially) for anyone I please, and can almost always switch off for anyone I please. I choose to switch it on when I feel it would make my romantic relationship more intimate and joyous, or when I want to be closer to someone and they aren't skilled at non-sexual intimacy (much less common, but has happened once or twice). I switch it off -- or, more accurately, hold it at the off position -- when sex would possibly cause a painful situation (such as when I was first getting close to Topaz and was sure that ze was not down with dating a poly person).
sounds: Elsiane - Slow Decline | Powered by Last.fm
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my minimum requirements for friendly acquaintances and actual friends / my ideal friend's qualities
minimum requirements for a friendly acquaintance:

Someone who is curious about me and/or who I am curious about, who does not attack people. I'm very permissive with acquaintances as I like to maintain a web of people I know, and I like to have the chance to find out if someone can be a decent friend. I will be acquaintances with people who are super problematic, who I would never trust, who I wouldn't want to spend much time with, and who I would not recommend others to befriend. There is always the chance that they grow into a person who can be a decent friend.

minimum requirements for an actual friend:

NEVER:
--- hurts you purposely or knowingly (only by accident and with growth after)
--- uses your vulnerabilities against you, even if they are furious or deeply wounded
--- defends oppression
--- talks about you behind your back
--- mocks you or calls you names or belittles you
--- shuts you up or treats you dismissively
--- tries to manipulate or otherwise violate consent
--- puts their convenience as more important than your need
--- tries to deliberately deceive* you for their gain in ANY way
--- assumes rights to things that belong to others
--- considers themself more important/evolved/inspired than others
--- flakes on an agreement without explanation or apology (both are not needed but at least one is)
--- chooses to benefit from their friend's loss (such as keeping the change if you buy something with their money)
--- uses 'rape' as slang after having been explained that it is harmful

ALWAYS:
--- treats you with respect
--- does their best to never use slurs
--- tries to tell the truth*
--- will discuss it with you if you upset them; does their best to listen and forgive mistakes
--- tries to give you help IFF they have the resources and you ask them for help
--- is fully respectful of any belief that does not cause harm to others, and is able to accept anything as true for someone else

*these two are both necessary because sometimes people fail to tell the truth even though they don't mean to.

these things are connected to my draws and dealbreakers: my reasons to fight for a relationship and my reasons to end one.

[my ideal friend]
My ideal friend:
--- is all the decent friend stuff
--- never ever uses slurs, and if ever there is a slip up, feels remorse personally and not just because they hurt me
--- is working on shunning/dismantling ranking systems like sexism, racism, heterosexism, lookism, elitism, etc.
--- has carefully explored themselves with regards to sexuality, gender, and sex, to figure out what is right for them (this includes people who happen to be cisgender, cissexual, and/or hetero, as long as they sincerely questioned those defaults)
--- looks for opportunities to grow and mature, especially with regards to increasing compassion and unlearning prejudice.
--- expresses feelings with depth and clarity; tries to figure out the most complete answer to give to a question, not the minimum acceptable answer
--- is respectful of all life and refrains from causing unnecessary destruction, at the expense of convenience (for instance, carefully walking around a line of ants)
--- really understands themselves and has good strategies for dealing with their difficulties. For instance, I would prefer a friend who knows they will run out of energy if they come to my house and chooses not to, instead of a friend who pushes themselves beyond their limits and does the thing I seem to want
--- doesn't consider anything to be above suspicion (not church nor science nor celebrity nor spouse etc) and doesn't sacrifice truth on the altar of their idol
--- is willing to end (or hiatus) relationships that are damaging them (this is because I find it stressful/hurtful/triggering to be once-removed from damage, and after a certain point I can't take it and will end/hiatus my relationship with them)
--- is willing & able to put time & effort into the relationship (sometimes I can't be close with people because they are too busy or something, and this is okay but it is not ideal)
--- doesn't get angry or upset when I can't measure up in some way, especially when I can't be there for them or do the wrong thing when trying to be there
--- appreciates my efforts even when I fail
--- negotiates expectations clearly and on a continual basis
--- is good at accepting when they are wrong or mistaken, and in incorporating new information into their world view
--- treats animals and small children with the same respect as adult humans
--- actively creates a more nourished and nourishing self and world
--- is curious about everything
--- is creative in some way or another (including work as an art form)
--- shares thoughts/feelings/motives voluntarily and truthfully, with a goal of being fully known
--- is cuddly and/or verbally effusive with affection
--- prefers to give away things that other people could get more use out of rather than keep it 'just in case'
--- is deeply curious about me in particular
--- feels a spiritual connection with (and love for) plants and microbes
--- values wonder in themselves and others: never is dismissive or blase when it would crush someone's wonder
--- is especially in awe of old and large trees, and loves and venerates them very much.
--- is able to laugh at annoyances at least half of the time
--- forgives easily when given true remorse and effort to change (NOT THE SAME as trusting easily)
--- loves music and isn't snobby about it: doesn't consider any music to be 'bad' or worthless
--- prefers consuming media with critical analysis and consideration of meaning
--- loves art and values my art
--- doesn't ask me to hide parts of myself
--- values eye contact with me
--- dresses in bright colors (color has a huge effect on my happiness)
--- works on their attractions so that they are not reflections of social stigma
--- responds to me expressing that they have hurt me by empathizing THEN explaining and then problem-solving
--- thinks I contribute good to the world and would have a worthwhile life even if I never made enough money to live on
--- is willing and desirous to read, watch, and listen to media that is deeply important to me (it's okay if not able)
--- feels energy and likes to exchange/work with it on purpose
--- is willing to risk my upset for the sake of openness and honesty
--- challenges me to grow, by asking me questions and respectfully suggesting ways I can improve
--- lives close to me - within a 15 minute drive (this is ideal but has almost never been the case for me)
--- likes giving foot rubs ;-)

^ This is not a list of requirements! it takes only a few of these to make me want to be close to someone, and I don't expect that anyone will have them all. The slurs one is the most important. It actively hurts me for people to do that, so there is only so much I can take before I have to avoid the person.

Also, all of this is true of me except for the last two ;-) I don't mind giving food rubs, but I don't actively like it either.


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what is your idea of a decent friend and what would your ideal friend be like?
tell me please:
1) what is your baseline for what makes a friend, and
2) what would your ideal close friend be like?

answer specific to you! Not what you think would be good in general, but what would be 1) minimum acceptable and 2) maximum desirable for YOU.
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dealing with body worry & internalized fatphobia / attraction and beauty
[TW: internalized fatphobia, body talk]
I've been dealing with epic insecurity over the past couple days. The two people closest to me right now are getting to know each other better, and for some reason that sets off all this body worry. They're both of average-to-slim build, and have lots of the same positive qualities that I do, so my brain is like, "why would they want you, when they could have something just as good that DOESN'T come in a fat body?" And I worry about this because apparently I expect others to think that (even platonic) closeness with a slim person is more desirable than with a fat person.

I am the largest I have ever been, and I worry that I have gone past society's measure of "pleasantly plump" into "gross." I've been called gross many times over the years but my features didn't fall into the categories that I considered taboo, and now they do. Even though I no longer have those categories, I really expect other people to. I feel uncomfortable because it's considered appropriate and ethical to form an opinion of the ideal body shape (or a set of ideals), and it's a benevolence to be attracted to someone who does not meet one's ideal. No, an ideal of 'healthy' or 'average' or 'curvy' is NOT NOT NOT better than the ideal in magazines. Considering fat people the 'most' attractive is just as repulsive to me.

Being considered attractive 'in spite of' my fat means that if I ever fuck up as a person, my aesthetic and sexual worth is gone. That's a fuckton of pressure. If you can't regard my body as aesthetically beautiful regardless of who is in it, don't talk to me about beauty. And don't tell me you don't care about beauty if you have EVER enthused about the looks/shape of someone you did not know. I'm sure some people genuinely do not care about beauty, and I'm also sure that I have met at maximum 10 of those people in my lifetime. (Not talking about sexual attraction but only aesthetic)


I don't want people to ignore my body, I want people to be able to value the aesthetic qualities of it like I can. Most people just don't think like that. They measure attractiveness in closeness to an ideal, not by observing someone with careful appreciation. I can find thin lips on one person every bit as gorgeous as thick lips on another, freckles and scars and moles as lovely as unmarked skin. Every quality a person's body can have is something I can find beautiful. And I do, if I spend time with them and care about them. I don't think most people consider this a worthwhile effort. They might do it if they happen to fall for someone who doesn't resemble their ideal at all, but they don't do it as a general rule. They don't do it with their friends.

I feel proud of how I am handling this. Working through it by looking at each thought as it comes up, deconstructing it, and sending it away. I have no good reason to think that I am going to be rejected because of my body; this may be a societal danger but it's not a real danger in my relationships. The people I care about are just not that shallow. Even if they find me unattractive they aren't going to throw away my friendship because of it, because they're not shitheads.

It's taking such a lot of effort to tell myself this over and over. But I can feel the shift as it goes.
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anxious
I'm sorry I've been absent here, and I have gotten too behind to truly catch up. I'm going to try as soon as possible. Right now I am feeling achingly anxious and am not sure why, I can't calm down. I was really thrown by that awful night and I need to be overwhelmed, washed out. I'm going to catch up a little bit and then go to nature somewhere -- it may be a hot, wet mess but if I breathe it in and take photos, hopefully I can ground this out. This is why I consider myself mostly calm -- I rarely get this feeling. It's like right before the end of a timed test, when I'm not finished yet. Those last frantic squiggles have been my breath and blood for the past hour.
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old pain triggered, not new pain inflicted
While I appreciate the intentions of comments on the previous post, I feel like no one understood what I was saying. It wasn't about Topaz, ze was just the trigger for old pain. I really wanted some empathizing for the old suffering dredged up - each one of those events/situations hurt me so deeply, especially the one with my parents. Topaz is far and away the best person I've known for being there for me when I'm sad. Today I cried all over zir again and ze was completely supportive, which is the norm with us. It's really important to me that I make this clear - it was a few half-baked discussions that we didn't have the energy to finish and never went back to and hashed out. I've never been able to lay in anyone else's lap and cry and ask them endless questions for reassurance and have them give patient love. I am still scared that one of those situations will happen again, but it is not a rational fear, considering Topaz' behavior.

Please dont fret if you made a comment, i probably should have rearranged the paragraphs and put the conclusion first and then the spark that caused it.
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Terrible night
I had a terrible night last night. I had a minor upset in the morning, that sparked me thinking about how lately (3 times in as many weeks, so not a long-term pattern) I have felt I can't talk to Topaz about any feeling I have that isn't positive, because ze takes it on. And I know that zir life is ridiculously hard with stresses from every direction, but I need it to be okay for me to not be perfect. I can't stay in daily contact and share openly without sharing my negative feelings too, that would be a lie of omission. Topaz was busy and we couldn't talk about it, so I wrote about it in emails, and cried for four hours, certain that ze was going to be angry with me for sharing my negative feelings, and that ze wouldn't be willing to work with me and would break up with me. Ze wasn't angry, ze was sorry that ze made me feel that way today, but ze was also drunk by the time ze read the emails, and I was so confused by what seemed to be a complete change of thinking that I couldn't process. I finally went to zir house after ze said ze wanted to hold me, and I cried and cried, and ze was upset because ze didn't realize how bad I was feeling, but I thought I had communicated it, and I had felt hurt and shut out, it was just a terrible fucking awful night. I was also hurt by Kei-Won-Tia, for irrational reasons, and I knew Kylei had to get up early the next day, and I knew that Heather has been dealing with heavy shit, so I didn't feel like I could reach out to locals and I needed cuddles, I needed touch. I finally texted Heather just saying that I was having a really bad night and ze offered to come up, but I got the text after getting to Topaz' so I said no but I was very touched by the offer and cried a lot.

Today I'm still feeling hurt and fragile and very worried that I'm not going to feel better fast enough, and I'm desperate to feel close with Topaz but I feel terrified that the next thing I ask for us going to be the thing that makes me a bad person and a burden who should be punished for not being supportive when someone else is hurting more.

I think it hurt me so badly because this is how it goes. This is how I lose people. They find out that I can't be all they need but they don't work with me to balance our needs so I give until I have nothing left and finally, I say, I can't do this, I need help, I need a better system, and they can't or won't help, and I lose them.

When Topaz and I talked about it ze was completely supportive and held me and petted me while I cried, and didn't get upset with me at all, but I was so terrified that it only partially sunk in. I think my feelings on this came mostly from my past and only like 15% from our actual interactions.

This night hit practically every relationship trigger I have. From when Ashe and Aurilion (the two closest people in my life at the time) left me when I was crying my eyes out because they were more invested in their time together and didn't want me to ruin it with my sad (as I felt it at the time: turned out they thought I was faking it because they'd never seen me like that), to the end of my relationship with Abby when I made a mistake about how to caretake zir in crisis and ze thought I didn't care (which I experienced as me trying my best and it not being good enough and being punished with anger and distrust), to how my parents would get upset at me for getting upset and making them feel bad (literally threatened with physical punishment if I expressed upset when they wanted to enjoy themselves), to how my ex-spouse blamed me for any unhappiness ze felt (so I developed deep guilt and fear in response to my person's unhappiness), to how I couldn't reach out to Kylei for the last chunk of our romantic relationship because ze couldn't handle it, to how Hannah and I can't be close because our needs don't work together, to how furiously and vengefully Aurilion responded the last time I expressed upset with zir behavior, to how all my experiences have taught me that I should never never never express my pain if I think there is a chance that the other person will take it personally, feel blamed/judged and/or try to take responsibility for me feeling better (yet I must express these things, if I want to live up to my ethic of openness and honesty!). It was just one huge clusterfuck of all the worst feelings I've ever had. I still feel so unsure and scared and sad.
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TW: suicide, MH ableism - long conversation about suicide w Matt
In response to this post which I linked on facebook.

[probably triggering - suicide mentions all over the place, as well as forced hospitalization]
Allison Preach.
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Maureen And don't say it's "a permanent solution to a temporary problem." Some people's severe depression has lasted decades.
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Matt Wow, I've never disagreed with you so strongly on any issue before. It's also completely against public health standards for how to talk about suicide. http://www.washingtonpost.com/.../suicide-contagion-and.../
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Belenen This is not at all the same thing. I'm not implying suicide is good, I'm saying that scolding people is bad.
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Matt I read your LiveJournal post. There is never a point at which I would tell someone that if that's their decision, I'm just going to be okay with it and say goodbye. I don't believe that's right at all.
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Belenen Well, that's you. If I was suicidal, such an act of kindness and respect would be far better for me than anything else. If someone decided to tell me not to do it or pep-talk me out of it that would make me want to do it WAY more because they'd be proving that the world is a selfish place that does not care about my feelings.
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Matt I don't think it's in any way selfish to try to stop someone from ending their life.
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Matt And I don't see letting it happen as an act of kindness and respect at all.
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Belenen So, don't tell me not to do it unless you want to push me closer. And I'm pretty sure that is true for a lot of people. Empathy is ALWAYS a better choice than scolding, bossing, and using platitudes.
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Matt I wouldn't scold or boss you or use platitudes. But I'd use all the tools I know of that might actually WORK to get you to stop. I don't believe it's ever okay to just let it happen.
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Belenen I believe people have the right to their own bodies and deciding their own destiny. I will respect other people's choices even unto death, and I want that for me as well.
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Matt I think that suicide is rarely, if ever, a "decision" that one makes if their full mental faculties are available to them at the time. I basically see it as a consent issue. Can you really consent to end your own life? I have very serious doubts about that.
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Belenen I don't think people lose the rights to handle their own bodies because they might have impaired judgement. Yes, I absolutely can consent to end my life, because my consent is all that Matters! It's MY body, I decide whether or not I will continue to inhabit it.
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H. D. I view suicidal ideation as a kind of stockholm syndrome of your own brain. It's one of the very very few instances (maybe only) in which I do think that helping someone could very well be doing the things they don't want. I would always do it compassionately, but I can't let someone I love hurt themselves because their brain is tricking them into hating themselves and their existence. I hope you know I don't take that attitude lightly, because I really highly value respecting people's autonomy.
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Matt When I was 19 years old, I had a good friend try to commit suicide while she was on the phone long distance with me. She was in Colorado and I was in Vermont. It was about 2 am and I had to call her mother, who had never spoken to me (or probably even heard of me) before, to wake her up and get her out of bed to take my friend to the hospital to get her stomach pumped to get rid of whatever she tried to OD on. I will never regret that decision, especially since we're still friends seventeen years later, she's now happily married, and has three awesome children.
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Belenen The point I am making is that you are not "letting" them do anything because it is not your choice.
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Belenen Getting help for someone in crisis, if you have asked if it is okay to do so, is fine by me. Doing it against their will is a violation. It may be a violation you are okay with because you view the alternative as worse, but that doesn't make it right.
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Matt I wouldn't use the term "Stockholm Syndrome" like Heather did, but I basically don't think that people who are pondering suicide are in full control of their own decision making abilities anymore. Mental illness is a disease. Would you let someone with paranoid schizophrenia injure themselves because they think the government implanted them with a tracking device, for example? I hope not, and I doubt you would. This is essentially the same thing. You're not in control of yourself if you're seriously contemplating suicide. You aren't making that decision with full access to your own brain. Therefore you can't give informed consent.
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Matt If someone chooses to let me know they're thinking of suicide, they're giving me the option of getting them help, whether they claim to want it or not. I definitely do not see it as a violation, and even if it WAS one, it's a good one, because this is not a case of asserting your will, it's a case of a disease altering your will without your consent.
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Belenen No. NO. People can sometimes impulsively commit suicide, but they can also do it with complete awareness. I CAN give informed consent to do any damn thing I want to my body because it is MINE and it never becomes someone elses. YES people CAN use their self-aware will to commit suicide.
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Matt If someone is having suicidal thoughts and they let me know about it, they've given up some degree of control of the situation already. Once they do that, I'm going to make every effort to get them help, whether they think they want it or not.
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Belenen That makes me feel incredibly unsafe around you. At any point if I seem suicidal to you you can just take actions I don't want? Not okay!
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Matt I'm not setting up a dichotomy between impulsive or planned here because that's a false dichotomy. Most suicides are planned. It's rare for them to be a spur of the moment decision. I wonder how much actual knowledge you have of this issue. Whether or not you're committing suicide with "awareness," you're still not doing it with your full mental faculties intact, because depression or any mental illness alters your perception of life. It actually changes your brain in ways that can be viewed and studied.
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Matt Of course I can. And I will, if I'm aware of it. As would pretty much anyone and everyone you know. Whether you think it's okay or not, people with clinical experience on this issue would vehemently disagree with you. It is never okay to just accept it when someone says they want to commit suicide.
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Matt The ONE exception I can see in all this is when someone is terminally ill anyway and wants to end their life by physician assisted suicide. But that's a whole different kettle of worms that I'm not really prepared to go into right now.
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Belenen my knowledge is firsthand. And I do not fucking care what the brain looks like. An altered perception does not give someone else the right to make decisions for my body, ever, and I don't give a flaming shit if people with 'clinical experience' would disagree.
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Matt Should I have let my friend kill herself at 19 years old just because she wanted to and she made the decision to do it? I certainly will never be convinced that's the case.
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Matt James, I would never let a mental illness influence you to take your own life if I became aware you wanted to do so. And that's because I care about you. I make no apology for that. I do not believe you can give informed consent to end your own life if you are depressed because the depression is actually stealing your ability to make healthy, informed decisions for yourself if it comes to that point.
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Belenen Not your body, not your choice. This is so horrifying to me. I can't deal with you saying you would violate my consent because you thought you knew better than me how I should handle my life. I don't want you to know about my life anymore. I feel like I have to police myself so that I don't sound suicidal to you. Please unfollow me.
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Matt That is my position and I'm sticking to it. I think you'll find many of your friends will agree with me, or at least I hope so. James, I really like you, so I'm going to disengage from this conversation, but I hope you'll think about what I said, and maybe actually look into some academic/clinical research on clinical depression, its affects on the brain, and the treatment of suicidal ideation, because everything you're saying goes against established knowledge and practice on the issue.

The last thing I'll say is that it makes ME feel unsafe that you would apparently not try to help me if I said I was suicidal and managed to convince you that I meant it. Because sharing that kind of information with someone is basically always a cry for help, whether a person realizes it at the time or not. And apparently, you would be unwilling or unable to help me unless I was able to express in the moment that I needed it, which I would not likely be able to do at that point if was suicidal.
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Matt Oh, actually, one last thing, you've thus far refused to address whether or not I should have let my friend OD on prescription pills when she was on the phone with me when I was 19 years old. Please think about that.
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Belenen I have not refused to address it. UGH. I said you cannot "LET" them because it is not your authority! And I said that you might consider it a necessary evil but that doesn't make it less evil. If my friend had taken a shitton of pills and was ODing, I would ask, and beg, to fetch help, but if they said no, I would not do it. If I was overcome with emotion, I might do it, but I would consider that a terrible violation and I would be extremely remorseful.

I have plenty of friends who have been suicidal who feel the same way I do, so stop trying to bring my friends into it -- they're not on your side. I've been there for people who were suicidal, and they didn't choose to do it despite my not telling them what to do or calling in authorities -- and if they HAD chosen to do that it would have been THEIR choice alone. I do not give a SHIT about "established practice" for crying out loud we're barely past locking people up for mental illness. Just because it maintains social values doesn't make it good practice.
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Belenen I don't want to block you, because I would like to maintain incidental contact, but I do not feel safe with you watching what I have to say, so please unfollow me so that I don't feel the need to block you.
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Topaz It is possible for someone to tell another person "I am going to kill myself" for reasons other than to roundabout ask for your help. Some people have severe, incurable mental illness, that CAN NOT be treated. It's more rare than treatable or manageable mental illness, sure, but it definitely exists. I don't want anyone I know to kill themselves, ever. But I'd rather my friends be honest with me if they planned on it, so I'd have a chance to say goodbye, maybe ask why, and get closure, and tell them I loved them. Maybe, if they trusted me to not stop them, and they told me, and I responded by saying I loved them.. maybe that love and respect would be enough for them to not want to die. Unfortunately, most people don't trust others to respect them, so they don't tell, and they kill themselves without telling anyone before.

I'm sorry that one of your friends tried to commit suicide when you were 19, and I'm happy for you that you feel you made the right decision. I don't know if your friend gave you consent or not to help her, but I can image that if your friend died, you would feel a lot of guilt. So for your situation, you made the right choice for you. I've had 5 people in my life commit suicide in the past 7 years. The most recent was last week. A dear friend hung themselves with no warning to friends or family. I wish he had the strength to ask for help, I miss him.

The one before that, I had a dear friend move out of the state and put a gun in his mouth within weeks. And you know what? I think this friend's suicide was the most caring, brave thing he could've done. You see, for his entire life, he fought the most horrific depression I've ever seen. At 15 he sought help, and he continued for 10 years. He tried every single therapy, medicine, counseling and method to try and get better, For 10 years, he fought. He attempted suicide more than 5 times in those 10 years. He tried overdosing on heroin, but a cop found him and called 911. He tried cutting himself, but his mom found him. He tried everything to die, and someone always stopped him. Each time, he'd try to get help, sincerely. After going through all the medicines, he eventually was left with shock therapy as his final medical option. He tried it, and it had adverse effects, sending him spiraling into such a mad, horrible depression that he was in pain constantly. It was like watching an animal flail in pain after getting run over. All of his friends watched as he flailed in immense pain for ten years. Most people can find a drug or medicine or therapy that AT LEAST minimizes or helps manage their pain. My friend couldn't. When he killed himself, we all felt a sadness for our loss, and a sigh of relief for his peace. He finally stopped suffering.

None of my friends who successfully died have told someone when they planned to commit suicide. Maybe if people weren't scared to talk about it, out of fear they would be forced against their will to "get help," then people would actually talk about it, weigh options, and make informed choices. I will talk, and hug, and help to the extent someone gives me permission, and I may even be bad and try to talk them into (logically) getting help. But I will never go against the will of someone I love. In my PTSD and depression, if anyone had ever FORCED me to get help, I'd be worse off and maybe dead. Since I was respected, I've healed some and am doing fine. Offering is one thing, forcing without consent is another.

Finally, I've had quite a few other friends who confided in me that they wanted to kill themselves. I told them that, because I was selfish, I didn't want to lose them, but I also told them that if that was ever their sure choice, to please let me know so I could give them one last hug. All have agreed, none have killed themselves. I also have taken friends to mental hospitals for them to get help for their depression or suicidal thoughts, with their consent, and only at their request.

So, my firsthand knowledge dealing with 5 suicides and at least a dozen people who have been or are suicidal, doesn't fit with what you say experts believe. Trust me, I've heard what experts have to say.

I'd love to help my friends get help, if they want it or are willing.
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Matt If they confide in me that they're feeling that way, and I choose not to act, that is letting it happen. I consider that unethical and probably immoral. I'm really not interested in whether someone "wants" help when they're mentally ill. I'm going to get it for them whether they "want" it or not because they're not capable of making those decisions for themselves at that point. You CANNOT CONSENT when you are under the influence of mental illness. It's simply not possible.

I would imagine plenty of your friends are on "my side," as if there is really any such thing. I'm on the "side" of good mental health practice. We're talking about disease here, not making decisions when you're fully in possession of your faculties. It's two different things. We might be "barely past locking people up for mental illness," but we ARE past it, and if we have to wait a minimum amount of time before doing the right thing because we used to do the wrong thing, a lot of people are going to get hurt needlessly. It's got nothing to do with maintaining "social values." It has to do with treating people so they can overcome illness, which can't happen if they end their lives.

I'm not "following" you. We friended each other on here. I'm not interested in unfriending you, because I'm hoping we can continue to talk about this after we've both been able to take some time out to consider what's been said. But if you insist on not talking with anymore, go ahead and unfriend me. I won't "follow" you or bother you if you unfriend me, so you don't need to block me. But I would respectfully ask you to hold off on doing that, because I value your opinions on the issues we both care about. We disagree on this one, but I think we can still engage thoughtfully and constructively on it, or at least I hope so.
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Belenen I don't want to hear any more from you on this topic Matt, you're making me feel incredibly depressed and unsafe, please STOP
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Belenen by follow I mean the facebook follow where it shows you what I post
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Belenen if I unfriend you it doesn't make you unfollow me because all my stuff is public
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Matt I know what you meant. We're Facebook friends. I didn't just click "follow" on your profile. I said my position on unfriending you above. If you're determined not to interact with me, though, you can go ahead and unfriend me. But I hope you won't do that.
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Matt If you unfriend me, I would have to hit "follow" on your profile to continue seeing your posts, which I wouldn't do. I'm not interested in bothering you, James, but I'm not interested in taking the active role of unfriending you, either. You'll need to be the one to do that if you feel the need to do so. If you do unfriend me, and I do continue to see your posts, I'll go ahead and "unfollow," but I don't think it works like that. But again, I hope you'll hold off, because I do enjoy talking to you and I consider you a friend. I just don't think you have the greatest take on this particular issue.
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Anna What I find selfish is trying to make someone choose life when they don't want to. What one may think is a cry for help isn't always. I despise debating so I will not go back and forth on this.
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Lily You know how you like to be treated, you know what makes you feel loved. It sounds like consent is a higher value to you than it might be to some people (not to say they don't value consent but perhaps it's higher on the list for you compared to values such as, say, staying alive). Which is cool, that's your values. It sounds like you want people to honour your agency to make decisions about your own life, and death, to the end. And to have people hear this and know this about you and dishonour that when you were in a suicidal space would not feel like a loving act.

We all seem to have different needs around this. It's so hard not knowing anyone else's. It would be nice if we could make up some kind of suicide will about what we consent to and what we do not in that event. For example, despite the fact that it is common procedure, I do not give prior consent to be hospitalized or to have other people notified about my state. I know that would not be helpful to me and I want others to know that. And yet, this is what people assume is the proper thing to do but they cannot know my life and how unhelpful that could be... However, I do give prior consent to use loving coersion (not hospitalization or notification) if I am in a place where it looks like I may hurt myself, because I know from having been there that, for me, this is actually what I need in the moment and I do *not* have agency over myself when I am considering acting on such things. I think we both know ourselves here.

So how do we deal with the vast majority of circumstances where we just don't know? And then getting it wrong? Like, ideally ask all our friends for prior consent about how to handle these situations? I don't have an easy answer... when I was with someone who was acutely suicidal and had taken pills I didn't decide anything, I just went straight to my heart and completely let my intuition guide me. I let whatever came out of me that needed to come out of me in that moment. And... what needed to come out, actually, wasn't coercive, and she ended up throwing up the pills...
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Belenen If it is loving and respectful, it's not coercion. Talking people down is okay, as long as they consent to listen.

(Apparently Matt is not good at consent in general, because after I finally unfriended zir, ze followed me, and then stayed in the conversation 'liking' things. That is NOT what I asked for and not what ze said ze would do.)

Death is a basic human right. To live or not to live should ALWAYS be the choice of the person (unless they are taking up residence in someone else's body).



If you would feel okay calling some authority because I seemed suicidal, unfriend me, and leave me alone. I'm not okay with people taking control of my body and mind just because they think I'm 'disturbed.' Violating my consent is NOT the way to convince me that the world is worth living in. Thank Godde for Topaz in this conversation -- my hands were going cold and numb and I was shaking, and I read zir comment and it helped.


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when I was suicidal, words did not help / especially not bossy, self-centered, platitude-ridden ones
The times I have felt suicidal, there is literally nothing that could be said to make me feel better. The only thing that helped was compassionate, focused presence and loving touch. And medication, the time that it dragged on for months and got worse. I thought once you hit rock bottom it stopped but no, it starts digging. Citalopram formed a protective dome over my wounded mind so that I could begin the process of healing. Without it, I would never have gotten better, even though at the time there was a lot that was good in my life and very little that was bad.

Don't tell suicidal people not to kill themselves, it's selfish and disrespectful. Offer tangible resources instead. DON'T SAY it gets better -- sometimes it doesn't. You can say you hope it gets better. DON'T SAY it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem -- sometimes it ISN'T, many people deal with depression their whole lives. DON'T act like you know how it feels. Everyone feels things differently. "I care and I am sorry you are suffering" is far better than anything that starts with "You" -- "you'll get better" "you should do _____" "you can't ____."

Show care, show patience, show respect. If you must have an expectation, expect the depression to last forever, and treat it as if it will. The "hurry up and stop being suicidal" attitude is SO FUCKING DEPRESSING.
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the -5 to +5 scale, as I think it / poll / custom suggestions for openmagic
I use a scale of desire when I am negotiating plans. Here are the meanings I assign to the numbers:

+5: it would make my life awesome! Every time I thought about it afterward it would make me feel happy, forever!
+4: it would make my week! I'd be thrilled!
+3: exciting! I'm invested in making this happen.
+2: sounds nice, I might be willing to put forth some effort for it.
+1: I like the idea, but I'm not at all invested in it and don't want to put forth effort.
0: I either have no preference or equal and opposite preferences.
-1: I dislike the idea, but not enough to actively avoid it.
-2: the idea is bothersome and I might put forth some effort to avoid it.
-3: the idea makes me quite uncomfortable and I am going to avoid it if at all possible.
-4: if this happened it would ruin my whole week and make me quite unhappy.
-5: if this happened it would ruin my life and make me miserable thinking about it for ever.

Using this scale, please tell me frankly:
Poll #1978501 talisman desire

What's your number on owning one of my talismans?

Mean: 3.10 Median: 3.5 Std. Dev 1.14
-5
0(0.0%)
-4
0(0.0%)
-3
0(0.0%)
-2
0(0.0%)
-1
0(0.0%)
0
0(0.0%)
1
1(10.0%)
2
3(30.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
6(60.0%)
5
0(0.0%)


Also, it would help me if some people would fill out my custom order form, so I can both get inspiration and notice any issues. Filling this out does not obligate you to anything! If you don't actually want it and are just offering sample data, please put "sample data" in that first box :) If you want it and can't afford it, please note that to me also.


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non-consensual expectations in relationships are not okay - ASK FIRST. Friendships, family, romance!
Do not assume that "everyone knows" that this is the "right way" to show love. NO. Some people believe giving space is the kindest thing to do, but for other people that can feel like abandonment. Some people believe that talking it out immediately is the most loving act, whereas for people who need silence in order to figure out their feelings, that can shatter their thoughts and harm their ability to communicate. Some people believe that cleaning for someone else is a kind act of love, but for others that can feel like a violation of their space and an insult to the way they manage their things. It is NEVER APPROPRIATE TO ASSUME that a person knows the way you want to be loved, or that they can in fact do the thing that will make you feel loved. Or vice versa -- you cannot assume that you know the right way to love someone else. This includes everything everything everything (except abuse).

I'm gonna quote myself with some bits added:
We can't pre-negotiate all our expectations (because most of them are subconscious!), but we can recognize when we have an expectation that has not been agreed on and then negotiate it without resentment for past lack-of-meeting that expectation. That means when your feelings are hurt by them acting in a way other than what you expected, asking yourself, "did this person agree to act this way for me?" and if the answer is no, saying to your person, "this is a thing I want in relationships. Are you comfortable with me relying on you to do this thing, and expecting it?" if they say yes, fantastic! then you discuss what that looks like and how you can both make sure it happens, and what to do if it doesn't. If they say "no," you need to examine within yourself and decide if that is something you can be okay without in that relationship. If it is, adjust your feelings, and perhaps look for that need to be met elsewhere. If it is not, you need to end the relationship*. Plain and fucking simple. It is NOT appropriate to stay in the relationship and hope that they will change their mind or start doing that thing you want or become okay with aspects of you that they currently judge -- that is disrespectful and pressuring at best, and it blocks off both people from potential healthy positive relationships.

In short, if you want to expect something, ask if it is okay for you to expect it. Otherwise don't expect it! To expect something without checking if it is okay is not consensual and can even be coercive.

I have this problem too, and if I ever get upset at you specifically about something that you didn't consent for me to expect, just point it out to me and I will check myself. If I do it, that doesn't mean I think it is appropriate! it just means that this thought pattern has a hold on me as well.


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random: life is weirdly predictable / making local friends (within a 20 minute drive) is too hard
My life feels weirdly predictable right now, which hasn't been true for so many years. Since I broke up with my ex-spouse in late 2009, I've never been able to predict where I'd be living, who I'd be with, or what my major project would be. Now I'm living in a house with rent so cheap that I can't justify moving unless I get a far better job than I have ever had, and it's likely I'll be here at least another year. I'm with a person who makes me the happiest I've ever been, and we've been sort of de facto monogamous and I don't see that changing for probably at least 5 months. My major project this year has been attempting to establish myself as an artist and tilling the soil to nurture a tribe, and I don't see that project being put aside anytime soon. School is still my endless task but I'm almost done. In that way next year will be a HUGE shift but mostly I feel so predictable it makes me a little uncomfortable.

I went on Okcupid looking for new friends in my area and messaged people asking if they prefer to be internet friends first or to meet in person first and giving my links in case it was the former. Two people responded with variations of 'internet first' but didn't add me. I feel like this is lack of reading carefully or lack of sincerity, both of which are super frustrating to me, but I thought, maybe they feel the need for a more direct invitation (or maybe they somehow don't realize I cannot add them first - well, I could but they'd probably find the searching necessary for that to be off-putting, 'stalkerish') so I wrote again saying okay, feel free to add me, with a link, and still nothing. One of them even responded to the rest of the message. What am I missing? Why is it like pulling teeth to connect with people? I feel like people 15 years younger than me won't ever have to deal with this. Social media will be understood as an extension of self and basic internetting skills will be as considered part of literacy. Of course, it could be that they saw my facebook, realized what a feminist killjoy I am, and changed their mind but didn't want to be frank about it.
sounds: Stateless - Junior | Powered by Last.fm
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random: safe space for marginalized means not safe for privileged / privileged poor / slur derails
In response to someone in a facebook group asking why bannings were explained publicly:
for marginalized people, seeing that oppressive behavior is not tolerated makes them feel more safe. If it makes you feel unsafe, you might be relating more to people who perpetuate oppression than you are to people who are being oppressed. There's also the aspect that the more privilege you have, the more you feel entitled to a space, so when you are told that you are only conditionally allowed, that is threatening to that feeling of entitlement. But most marginalized people feel only conditionally allowed all the time in every space, so no one is giving you an experience that they have not already had. It might seem unfair or uncomfortable but that is because re-balancing when you are used to being the 'winner' means having some perks taken away.

----

The privileged poor are some of the worst exploitation and oppression sympathizers. Economics is the oppression that most rarely leads to a rejection of the system, probably because it's the one where the carrot is largest and closest. People really think they can get it

---

I have dealt with many people who use the same derails when discussing slurs. I am sick of the same old shit. Derails like "well how do we discuss these important things if I can't even use the word 'l*me'" which is a red herring because a slur-use of the word l*me is not ever going to help fight ableism, and the same applies to other slurs. Or "I would have listened and cared about this important issue if you had just been more polite" which has never happened. People who are going to change when someone points out their error are not going to refuse to change because someone didn't point it out in the right way. Calling out oppressive behavior results in defensiveness or concern, and the only thing that decides which it is is the values of the person who is being called out.


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conflict is a kind of intimacy: be it bratty, unresolved, or constructive, it's not enough by itself
All conflict is intimacy. It is a genuine, exposing kind of interaction. This is why people say that hate and love are two sides of the same coin, and the trope of falling in love with the antagonist exists. This is why if you're constantly in disagreements with someone (like a coworker or classmate), you may feel closer to them than to strangers, even though you might dislike them at the same time. And of course, it's why "hate sex" or "makeup sex" is considered hot. This is why little kids will annoy the shit out of you and laugh with glee. It's not that they want to make you unhappy, it's that they want to be close and conflict intimacy through poking or noises or whatever is the easiest and (as long as they trust you not to be abusive) lowest risk form of intimacy. If someone grimaces at your annoying behavior, it doesn't mean they dislike you, and you get to feel a little closer through that interaction. If someone grimaces at your attempt to hug them, or looks away from your smile at them, it's hard not to feel that they dislike you, so that is a higher risk. I feel tolerant of people who attempt to bond with me through annoying me, but I don't like it and I will usually try to push them to ask for what they really want. With little kids it's usually physical play or cuddling, with adults it's usually focused attention.

People who never learned non-conflict intimacy can grow up into people who constantly make sharp jokes and tease rudely. Sometimes they're actually mean-spirited but I think most of the time they don't know how to feel connected any other way. I think this is also part of the reason that people fall in love with mean, selfish people: they are a huge source of conflict, and if that is the only way you know to be intimate, a relationship without conflict would be one without intimacy as well, so it seems 'boring.' Really it's that the skills for non-conflict intimacy are so much more work and take more risk because you have to learn who you really are, and then share that, which means a potential blow doesn't glance off your shell, but hits home.

There's different varieties of conflict intimacy of course- the simple bratty kind that usually isn't consensual and can't mature, the unresolved kind (with anyone whom you can't or won't work it out with) that doesn't mature, and then the constructive kind, which matures through resolution into a deeper understanding of the other person. That last kind is obviously my favorite. Recently there was a conflict between Roger and Heather, and another between Kei-Won-Tia and Zawn, and all the people involved used it constructively and because they shared the process with me, not only are they (potentially) closer, I feel closer to each of them through empathizing with their feelings and learning about them through their reactions.

Constructive conflict intimacy takes a lot of energy though; if there isn't enough non-conflict intimacy then you'll get worn out and eventually not have enough energy to engage, and then your conflicts will be unresolved and your intimacy will stop being so nourishing. This happened with me and Kylei when we were both depressed and being crap at self-care, and neither of us realized it was happening because we had always had a lot of conflict, but we had also always had a lot of non-conflict intimacy through mindful touch and silliness/play. When our non-conflict intimacy stopped happening, we still felt intimate but it didn't feel good, and we didn't really understand why. Eventually we got to a point where we had endless unresolved conflict and even though we were still very much in love, it was terribly damaging for us to be together. Since then I've learned that conflict intimacy sometimes needs to be avoided for a little while and other intimacy needs to be used. So if Topaz and I are having lots of hard conversations, usually we'll have a little down time with casual cuddles while watching a show and then we'll have focused mindful touch while silent. I always want to get all the hard stuff over with so it can be very hard for me to put a conflict on pause but if I didn't learn to do that I'd be making energy deficits that were much harder to fill back up.
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sex numbers poll!
Poll #1977931 sex numbers

# of people you've kissed:

# of people you've passionately made out with: (FEELING passion, not just being enthusiastic)

# of people you've had sex with:

# of people who have penetrated you:

# of people who you have penetrated:

# of people you have had energy-play sex with (if any):

# of people you have gone down on:

# of people who have gone down on you:

# of people you have had no-barriers sex with:



After you have told me your numbers,
[read mine!]
number of people I have kissed: more than 60, last I counted
number of people I have passionately made out with: somewhere around 20
number of people I have had sex with: 11
number of people I have been penetrated by: 7
number of people I have penetrated: 5
number of people I have had energy-play sex with: 6
number of people I have gone down on: 5 (all amab!)
number of people who have gone down on me: 3 (also all amab, heh)
number of people I have had no-barriers sex with: 2



Comments screened but will be unscreened unless you request them to stay that way.
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how capitalism created a culture of people who cannot bear minor inconveniences
Capitalism created disposability (through creating way more objects than could ever be needed and creating objects that are meant to be used once and thrown away, because profit is more important than avoiding waste) and that, combined with advertising, results in a culture where people see inconvenience as not only something that can be avoided and should be avoided, but that inconvenience is wrong, not a natural part of life. Without capitalism pushing disposability, we would just take inconvenience as a part of life and accept that yeah, it's inconvenient to wash a container, but it's a better choice most of the time than using a one-time wrapper which will then be waste. etc. Pretty much all advertising is telling you "inconvenience? Don't stand for that! you deserve better!" so when we are faced with an inconvenience we feel not only inconvenienced, but insulted, because our capitalism-given 'right' to never be inconvenienced is being taken away. People who are used to being able to afford conveniences actually feel that they are being disrespected and disenfranchised by inconvenience.

Capitalism feeds on itself by creating poor people who have no time who then require these 'conveniences' in order to scrape by with any energy left for emotional survival. When people are forced into drudgery the majority of their waking life, an inconvenience becomes far more than that. For instance, if it takes the last bit of your energy to do the dishes, if you want to connect with your kids you simply cannot do the dishes. Those disposable bags become the way for you to cope with the system that reduces you to needing them.


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mixing money w art is hell / act of kindness and trust from M / stress tanglebrain is the worst
I feel like I've been dull in my posts of late. For a little while this was because I was swamped by the amount of posts on my suddenly super-active friends page (that hasn't been a thing for at LEAST five years and I can't even EXPRESS how much better it makes my life). Also I got really discouraged by my recent attempts to attract people to my art, especially in a financially supportive way. I still have two important steps to do but the next one incurs fees and I feel so stressed about money (especially money that may be 'wasted') that I keep putting it off. And that blocks me from writing because I feel like I need to do this other thing first, and also because I feel like over the years SO MANY people (literally thousands) have said that my writing and art has helped them a lot yet no one seems to feel a desire to give back even a little, which makes me feel like the gift must have not been very worthwhile, that they must have been exaggerating. And when I feel like my art and writing isn't valued I don't want to make it. Which is why I try to avoid mixing money with anything because when I do it invariably makes me feel worthless and it ruins my motivation. [p.s. please do NOT give me advice about this, I've heard it all before and it's not helpful] But if I want to make it happen I have to try, and I have one idea that seems good that I haven't tried yet so I have to try it or my failure might be all on me.

I also tend to withdraw when I have no money, as it feels like any extravagance of expression or motion will take the last of my resources. This works in practical ways like driving less to save gas, and in emotional ways (that make no sense) like feeling less able to have conversations and make art and be expressive. But a weird and altogether welcome thing happened this week where my bioparent M put a little money in my account without me asking. That has never happened before, because not only is M a pinchpenny, but usually when ze knows I have a need, ze withholds until I do something ze wants. So the money was not only filling a really important need, it was kind of an act of trust (that I would talk to zir even if I didn't have a desperate need) and kindness (that I didn't have to do the horribly stressful act of asking for money and justifying why I needed it). It made me cry, I was so touched and grateful. And now I could afford to go get my medication but that would take all of it and so I don't feel safe doing that :-[ ugh my stressbrain is so counterproductive. Also a friend is moving next week and offered money in exchange for help, which is a relief. I'm not going to fret if the money doesn't happen though, because I want to be able to help without payment, but I do hope they follow through.

So to wrap back around: despite money stress I want to keep writing, so I'm aiming for a post-every-day this month. And I'm going to try to remember to write first and THEN read my flist, so that I don't run out of time or words.


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All the music that matters to me: Azure Ray, Cocorosie, M.I.A., Noe Venable, PJ Harvey, Neulander...
Life-changing, soul-etched, cynosure, trulymadlydeeply loved, would definitely cry a shitton at their shows, love the artists as well as the music:
Azure Ray -- indie dream-pop/folk -- Athens, GA
Bat For Lashes* -- indie rock/folktronica -- London, England
Butterfly Boucher -- alternative rock/folk -- Adelaide, Australia
Cocorosie* -- experimental electric/folk -- France, Iowa, Hawaii, etc.
Dream Art Science -- electronic/reggae/kemetic -- San Francisco, CA
Heather Nova -- alternative rock/folk -- Bermuda
Massive Attack* -- trip-hop -- Bristol, England
M.I.A. -- hip-hop/electronic -- Hounslow, Greater London, England
Michael Jackson -- pop -- Gary, IN
Missy Higgins -- folk -- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Neulander -- electronica -- New York and London
Noe Venable -- folk -- San Francisco, CA
Orenda Fink -- folk/dreampop -- Birmingham, AL
PJ Harvey* -- folk rock -- Bridport, Dorset, England
The Cranberries/Dolores O'Riordan -- alternative rock -- Limerick, Ireland

and alllllll the othersCollapse )
*stars mean I have seen them live (1 star per occasion)


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my mood





books/pages read:
23 / 44
6,889 / 13,131
self-educating