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depression is not a cramp, it's a broken bone: a 'mild' situation has intense effects when depressed
icon: "hissing (a photo of a snow leopard hissing with mouth open, whiskers back and ears flattened)"

I don't have chronic depression, but I have spent enough years of my life depressed to know about various effects. One of them is that seemingly 'little' things become huge and horrendous. Someone says something and (probably accidentally) implies something negative about you, and it hurts incredibly deeply. People will then respond with "oh it's not that big a deal" or "don't let it bother you" which is fucking ridiculous. It's not just perception; when you are already injured, small further injuries will have greater impact than they would if you were fine!

It's like depression is having a hand with broken bones in it, when the worst hand damage most people have experienced is a paper cut. And someone is like "why can't you high-five me, it's not that hard!" and sure, it's not much effort to lift your arm and aim your hand at the other person's hand. But you KNOW that it is going to hurt, it is going to cause you damage, and so you say "I just can't do high fives right now." And they get miffed that you're not willing to suffer a little to bring them some joy, because they high-fived you when they had a paper cut. Or someone shakes your hand and you cry out, and people are like "psh, that doesn't hurt, I do it all the time!" Or they tell you "oh it's probably just a hand cramp, I had one before and just needed to massage it out" and they grab your broken hand and start rubbing it! It sounds really obvious in metaphor but people really will try to apply their own diagnoses and then give you their 'cure' when it is absolutely going to make everything far worse.

Depression doesn't just sit in one spot, like disappointment or sadness, because it is not a fucking emotion. It is an illness, and it gets in every single part of your being. It's not something you can compartmentalize. It's not something you can ignore. It's something that has to be managed, and anyone who has been depressed for a length of time is far more of an expert on how to manage it than you are, if you haven't lived it.

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4 elements needed for me to feel sexual attraction: consent, bodily respect, awareness, generosity
icon: "brewing (a photo of a ceramic mug with sticks of cinnamon poking out and steam rising up)"

As a demisexual, I need to feel some kind of emotional connection with the person for there to even be a chance of sexual attraction. Often this is a connection on the spirit, soul, or heart level, but sometimes it's purely a mental connection in that we have shared a lot of intimacy in our conversations. Once I have this, the following four elements together may create sexual desire (in order of importance, not chronology).

The number one thing that determines my sexual desire is consent, both ways. To desire someone I need them to tell me that they want sex with me. No, I don't mean say flirty things or act attracted, I mean actually flat-out say "I want to have sex with you" or say an unequivocal "yes" if I ask if they want to. I'm pretty sure I won't ever feel sexual desire for anyone who doesn't feel it for me. I might have in high school (before I ever had sex), but not since I became sexually active. I also need them to be fully invested in my consent, not just asking but also showing awareness of my reactions and adjusting accordingly.

Next in importance is bodily respect: them not having terrible ideas about bodies, sex, or gender. No assigning stereotyped personality traits to body parts including genitals. No assigning body types/parts as attractive or unattractive (this is gross no matter what shape you decide is best). No ideas about more or less legitimate kinds of bodies. No believing in rules for genders. Never imposing gender on me. Not interpreting my fat as a cause or effect of my personality. Basically, not being sexist, cissexist, or looksist.

Next is awareness; self-awareness, awareness of me, ability and desire to maintain this awareness and express it throughout. To feel sexual desire for someone I need to be able to sense them letting my touch reach them emotionally. (otherwise I will feel unappreciated and/or worried that they don't really want it) I need a balance of reactive and attentive. I do not want someone who always turns into pure reaction (sometimes I might want to provide that space but not often, as it's exhausting!), but I also don't want someone who isn't reactive. I want a person who can stay mentally, spiritually, and emotionally present while feeling intensely. Someone who will still notice if I seem 'done' even if they are in the throes of sexual ecstasy. Someone who can make eye contact with me or grip my hand during sex and I can feel the 'click' of that connection.

Last is generosity (desire to give). If you could be happy only receiving every time we have sex (while knowing that I love being touched) or if you never offer anything and only give when asked, I'm not interested. I know some people are scared of not being perfect and that's why they don't want to give, and I can empathize with that, but it is not a turn-on. People who have no desire to give sexually would not be people I'd be sexually compatible with. People also need to not be so full of need that they subconsciously pull at me. That one I can't really explain, it's just a thing I feel. I don't think I can feel desire for anyone who is looking for salvation outside themselves.

If these are all met, I can have satisfying sex with a person. But each of these four elements is fucking rare. Especially awareness. So many people check out when they have sex and go to a purely physical place or have sex as a mental escape. I just don't find that remotely appealing.

Usually for it to go from "I can feel sexual desire" to "I actually want this enough to deal with the hassle of the STD/trigger/expectations conversation and the potential concerns of my current partner(s), therefore I will flip my internal switch and become sexually attracted to them" I have to be in love with the person. I don't find sex more nourishing than cuddles or conversation, so it's not worth the bother unless I am in love and therefore want to experience all possible connecting activities and want to bring them joy in any way available to me.

In a world without oppression where people valued awareness and giving, there would be many opportunities for me to want sex with people. as it is I am unlikely to want new sex partners very oftenCollapse )

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allosexual, asexual, demisexual, grey-asexual definitions & explanations & poll
icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

A person who experiences sexual attraction in a way that matches the norm is called allosexual.
A person who never experiences sexual attraction is called asexual.
A person who experiences sexual attraction only in the context of an emotional connection is called demisexual.
A person for whom none of that is true (perhaps they experience sexual attraction very rarely, or in cycles, or only in certain situations) is called grey-asexual.

Another way the difference between allosexual and demisexual people is explained is by dividing sexual attraction into two types. Type 1 sexual attraction is when something external about the person (looks, smell, the way someone moves, their voice, their style, etc) creates sexual attraction for you. Type 2 sexual attraction is when emotional connection creates sexual attraction for you. Allosexuals can experience both. Demisexuals only experience Type 2. Asexuals don't experience either. Grey-asexuals vary. Still a bit confused? this FAQ answers a lot of questions in depth: Under the Ace Umbrella: Demisexuality and Gray-asexuality.

A lot of demisexuals have a time element to their sexual attraction (they need to know the person for a length of time before they can feel sexually attracted), but I don't think this is inherent. I think it just takes a good amount of time for most people to get to a place where they feel emotionally connected. I have spent a good chunk of my life reducing the amount of time it takes me to feel emotionally connected with someone, so I know how to build intimacy really quickly if the other person can be fully present and engaged. So, theoretically, I could feel sexual attraction to someone the same day I met them. This has happened once, when I met someone who was a violet spirit and feminist and trans and cuddly and we went to a cuddle party and talked about meaningful things the whole time. Usually it's not until I've had a 7+ hour conversation on intense topics with the person, and I really doubt it could ever happen in one day with someone who wasn't a violet spirit (violet spirit is a belenen-specific concept that references how I perceive the non-physical aspects of people). I've parsed out the four essential elements for me to feel sexual attraction to someone and I'll make that a separate post.

What about you?
Poll #2018055 (confidential - only I can see who said what)

choose which best fits or fill in the next blank!


if you use none of the above, what do you use instead?

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on changing the amount of fat on your body: cortisol, blood sugar, stress, food as fat/carb/protein
icon: "curvygirl -- me (belly) (a photo from 2007 of my breasts, belly, and arms, covered in spirals and drawings made with washable markers and glitter)"

[content warning: possibly triggering for those with disordered eating or eating disorders. talk of restriction, dieting, fat]

-- content warning: possibly triggering for those with disordered eating / eating disorders. talk of restriction, dieting, fat - ENTIRE POST-

First let me say, I do not take my own advice because I don't mind being fat and I don't like eating enough to eat more often (I tend towards one small snack and one big meal a day which can be bad for you, as you'll see if you read on). Secondly, this is more about what NOT to do than what to do. and lastly, take this as a starting point; I am not an expert.

Kay, so there is a shitton of misinformation out there about how to take care of your body and how to change the fat amount on your body. Do not believe anyone who tells you you can restrict your calories in order to lose fat permanently. That much is proven to be bullshit despite the fact that many people insist it's true. Restricting can take some fat off but if that is your sole method, it will come back not too far down the road. Read any good study on dieting and you will learn that it does not work. Why?

Because your body is a machine that is designed to protect you from starvation. There is a hormone called cortisol which will tell your body to retain as many energy stores as possible: it says, "store fat and don't burn it!" This hormone is activated by two things (among others I'd imagine): stress and low blood sugar. When you restrict, you activate this hormone and make your body more likely to store than to burn. It is incredibly counterproductive to restrict: even if you lose some fat at first, as this hormone builds up it will make you retain fat again.

Cortisol is also the reason that it is not only looksist to be anti-fat, it is sexist, racist, ableist, etc. Being oppressed is a constant stress that you cannot escape. Oppressed peoples often don't have access to healthier food and don't have spare energy or time to spend on working out, AND are under much more stress than people without those oppressions. People's bodies often change a great deal in how much they retain fat due to how much stress they are enduring. You can actually be eating a starvation-level diet and gain weight (so I have heard from people who have been through anorexia) because your body is so damn good at holding on when it thinks you are in danger.

Also, according to my nutrition prof, only fat gets stored. Proteins get used or shat out if you eat more than you need. Carbs only increase your body fat if you are also consuming fat, because the carbs are burned first and then if you don't have enough activity to need them, the fats are just stored. Eating fewer carbs just means that the fat you eat is more likely to get used. Carbs are your body's favorite, and complex carbohydrates are the best for healthy, lasting energy. (I have also been told that carbs can be stored as fat, so my nutrition prof may have been off - but that is a case of excess)

So my logical takeaway from this is that if I wanted to lose fat, I would need to practice as many anti-stress things as I know to do, as well as maintaining my blood sugar throughout the day and consuming less fat. Every 3 hours I would eat a small meal of mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and I would try to avoid ever getting actually hungry. I would try to be more active by doing anything that got my heart rate up. I would meditate daily and make sure to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day. I would drink damiana tea w cinnamon every day because that decreases my stress both in the ritual and in the substance. I would avoid any sugars except for fruit sugar and honey. Probably other things too, but you get the point.

I checked with a health professional friend of mine just to be sure I wasn't way off and they told me the advice they give for people who want to lose fat (tailored to the person and situation since not everyone can walk, for instance):

"breathe. ... recommend a few YouTube relaxation videos to them. Drink water. Drink tea - green tea is great for your metabolism. Eat a balance of foods but make the majority of your plate fruit/veg. Lean proteins. Decrease carbs and sugar. Walk 30 minutes per day minimum. Laugh. And never ever ever beat yourself up if you splurge on a burger and a milkshake. Because it's about balance - life is about balance."

If you think that fat = unhealthy, read this entire article and all the links before you say anything to me about fat: These are the Fat FAQs. And just one quick note: BMI is bullshit, based on literally zero science as was never intended to measure health. It also changed significantly due to social reasons with again no science, no excuse. Weight cannot tell you about health. Correlation =/= causation. There are a million possible lurking variables, not the least of which is stress.

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abstract concepts: my definitions of luxury and need, poverty and wealth
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

something that brings pleasure but would not cause damage if one lacked it.

something that is necessary for physical or emotional survival.

not having access to getting all of your basic needs met. This can mean that you sacrifice physical needs to meet emotional ones or vice versa, or that you don't even have that option.

having so many resources that you can easily meet all your needs each month and have some left over, and are also able to manage unexpected expenses without sacrificing any needs.

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watching a show with Deaf characters and thinking about my relationship to hearing
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

Been watching a show with Deaf main characters and I feel such relief when a hearing person remembers that a character is Deaf and does something besides vocalize to get their attention. It's really obvious and necessary in that case but the idea of people doing that when talking at me is such a relief it makes me cry. I can't stand ignoring people- it feels incredibly disrespectful and I wouldn't even do it to someone I hated- but people don't know that or don't trust that so I feel constantly at risk of accidentally making someone feel ignored. This is incredibly annoying when someone calls my name from a room away and shouts something that I can't understand, because I feel impelled to go to them lest I ignore them. In general it takes so much energy to always have my antennae up to catch if someone has started talking to me. That's one of the reasons I need housemates to assume we are not going to just randomly strike up conversation. If I think they might just start talking to me it means I can't even relax at home.

To have someone make sure you can see their face when they talk to you, that also would be such a relief (though in the show, I mainly keep noticing hearing people not pointing their faces so that Deaf people can see them). I think I subconsciously read lips to help process things and if I can't see someone talk it is much harder to understand (part of why I hate talking on the phone - it takes so much effort). I wish people weren't such ableist shitheads in general and also because in a world without ableism I could ask for these accommodations and actually get them just because people would be used to thinking that everyone has different needs. But our world only makes accommodations when forced to and your average person doesn't want to think about non-average needs or desires.

I don't understand why my auditory processing seems to have gotten worse, but it has. I feel like I'm watching through dense fog when I watch a show without subtitles. Good thing I read fast, otherwise that relaxation technique would be gone.

I keep thinking about how culture and language is so entwined and wondering what it feels like to communicate exclusively in sign. I notice a totally different cadence, and so much more facial expressiveness. I really want to learn to sign, to learn how it feels to think in gestures.

Sometimes when I am really emotional I find it extremely difficult to speak, but I don't find it hard to communicate. I can write or gesture but making sound come out of my mouth feels impossible. One time this happened to me and there was someone around who knew sign language. I felt so incredibly relieved because even though I didn't know how to sign, they could understand my gestures and sort of interpret for me. I think there's a kind of watching that hearing people just generally never do. I want to learn to watch that way.

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dreams (kanika is in public w me / weird pregnant nun cult red strings / dream-met spiritkin)
icon: "dreamy (a painting by pupasoul of a human figure in a cage, holding a hand out from which radiates light and squiggly sparkly vines of energy)"

Last night i dreamed that i was working at a shop like wal-mart only i was moving slower than ever. At first it was partly in defiance but then i got frustrated and tried to go faster but couldn't. Then the boss called me outside to the middle of a huge group of dining tables where people were sitting and eating, to critique my performance. It was a deliberate attempt at humiliation and i wept in rage and embarrassment. Kanika came running out to comfort me and the audience was moved and was on my side. Later i was at a coffee shop and Kanika came in and sat on my hip/back (somehow this wasn't uncomfortable in the dream). Later I was in a tiny house or fresh-built cabin w my biofamily and some people came over, including someone i just met who i have a crush on. I talked with them and flirted in my awkward non-flirty way. Later we all played truth-or-truth and i got them to be involved by doing a round of political questions (which in waking life sounds terrible).

[content warning: death, pregnancy, cult]Then there was this weird bit where i was a nun in a weird cult and was taken to a house where i would live with other nuns, and as i went up the stairs i felt a strange pulling in my crotch, which turned out to be a network of red strings that had been attached to it coming loose. There was a woman lying on a bed covered in blood, with an open wound going up her abdomen. The people bringing me in said that she should have been moved already, this wasn't meant for me to see. Apparently she had given birth and the baby died, and she stopped her bleeding with an herbal remedy, and that was sacrilege as she was supposed to yield to chance (god). When i realized, i went up and asked why she did it, because now they were going to kill her and she traded .00001 chance for none at all. She said she had to do what she could, and handed me the vial she used. I started to take more out to apply to the wound but she said that if i didn't have the capacity to help her escape it would be wasted, to keep it and use it sneakily with feigned prayer instead. She gave me her other powders and i was frantic figuring out what to do with them. Then i was told to pack up her things, including the dress i was wearing (??) so i switched to another dress (from a short black and white one to an ankle-length dark brown one, very baggy, with pockets) and packed up her things as they took her from the room. The other nuns helped me, one in particular who poured their starbucks coffee into the bag so that i could put the herbs into the cup and hide them with the lid. I added absorbent things including rolls of toilet paper and hoped it wouldn't leak out. The soon-to-be-dead nun's bed was going to be mine. Later one of the people came back and put new strings on my crotch. I was worried that they'd go into my flesh but instead they wove around my legs and hips like a harness.

Dream: more real than waking. I hugged someone at a pagan discussion group and the hug felt so perfect we didn't want to let go. We felt very well matched and they told me they wanted to have deep and penetrating... didn't finish the sentence but in the dream it was clear that it wasn't sex they meant but that sex might be included (it sounds way more overt in waking life: in the dream sex was a hint, not the point). I felt perfect resonance w them. They were my height or maybe an inch taller and my size, maybe a little smaller. I think they had 3 young kids and were a single parent? or they were watching someone's kids? Our connection felt like apples which in later dream was explained as artichokes (???) I think their name was Kristy or something similar?

Also there was a part w traveling underground to a stone chamber w a square open to the sky. Felt elated at rain and thunder, danced, and sensed when we needed to move because of potential lightning strike and warned people successfully. Older male people were like, "Give way to us," and I laughed and ignored them, but shared the space rather than punishing them.

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Shoulder pain / Kanika's health and food
My shoulder which has now been hurting for two weeks got so bad today that I took acetaminophen and ibuprofen and it is still just aching very badly. I don't understand it. I'm bringing my exercise ball to work tomorrow and hopefully that will help.

But in encouraging news Kanika seems to feel much better. I went googling trying to find the ideal diet for a cat who gets recurring UTIs and apparently dry food is just all around a bad choice health wise? That many cats are chronically dehydrated because they have a low thirst drive and need to eat their liquids? So I've started mixing Kanika's dry food with hot water and flaked up freeze-dried turkey, and they're eating it with seeming enjoyment (I was really worried they wouldn't). When I can afford it, I'm gonna try getting them a pet fountain. Tellingly, they're playing more - they brought me a toy to throw both yesterday and today. I am dreading ever having to go out of town now, because it is a lot harder to find someone to come over daily, but I feel like I have hit on a solution that will keep them happier and healthier.

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on saving kids from 'broken hearts' & teaching kids about consent / red flags for bad-at-consent
icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

Q: How do I keep my kid from getting their heart broken?

A: You don't. It it impossible and damaging to try. Instead, teach them what can damage them, how to spot warning signs, and how to heal if their heart is broken.

I'm tired of watching parents ask this question as they determine the level of control they're going to try to implement over their kids' life (usually just the kids that they assume to be girls). There is no level of control that will prevent your kids from getting hurt. You can only provide them with knowledge and skills so that they can avoid it sometimes and heal from it other times.

If I was teaching my kids about sex, I would never in a million years say shit like "boys only want one thing" or "don't get some girl pregnant." I would not use euphemisms at all. I would not feel awkward (because I'd be used to having frank conversations about difficult subjects) or resist the idea of my kid having consensual sex with someone they chose.

Instead, I would train them in how to be good at consent from the time they are toddlers. My kids would be trained to not hit others not because hitting is bad, but because that is a violation of consent. If I saw my kid hit someone (first I would ask their reason, and deal with any underlying issue, and then) I would explain that you do not ever touch anyone in any way unless they have told you that they want you to. This is not hard to understand, but we train kids from very early that some kinds of touch are okay to foist on others (hugs, kisses, pats (especially from older people)) and others are not (hitting, pinching). I would explain to them that a lot of people don't understand how to respect other people's bodies, and if someone ever touches them in a way they didn't say was okay, to talk with me about it. I would explain that if you cannot escape and you are in danger, this is the one situation where it is okay to fight back, but first always try to solve it with words (either talking to the attacker or talking to someone else who can stop them), or leaving, unless those aren't options. My kids would be trained that everyone's body belongs only to that person, no matter what, and that they have no right to ever expect any kind of touch from anyone.

I would teach them that other people are sometimes bad at communicating and they might need to look for non-verbal cues that another person is done with the situation. This could start as easily as a kid being "mine mine" about all their toys -- you can tell from this that they are done playing with you, and you shouldn't try to play with them any more for a while (maybe ever, if the behavior repeats). I would not force my kids to share, though I would encourage them to have empathy and want to share if the other kid was lacking.

[TW: discussion of rape prevalence and aftermath]When they got to an age where they wanted to date, I would tell them the plain truth. I would remind them that most people don't have the skill of respecting other people's bodies, and that when this comes to sex it can lead to rape. I'd tell them frankly that most rape happens with people you know, in supposedly 'safe' places, and that most people who have committed rape don't think that they have raped. I'd tell them that rapists are not people you can pick from a crowd, and that the more power someone has, the more likely that they think they are entitled to other people's bodies.

I'd also teach them not to be so terrified of rape. I think being raised with the idea that rape ruins your life forever and breaks you irreparably made my recovery far more painful and difficult. It was like a year and a half of utterly useless therapy until I got a new therapist who was willing to tell me about far more horrific things that happened to them, and how they had healed to the point where they could have physical contact with the person who abused them as a child without being triggered. Then I believed I could get to that place myself and actually began getting better. If my kids get raped, I want them to know that they can still have a good life afterward.

I would teach them how to spot red flags for people being bad at consent. Those people will not respect your "no" in general, so always test them out first by saying an unexcused, unequivocal "no" to something they want. If they push for a reason, say "I don't want to" -- for someone with the basics of consent, they'll drop it, and if they try to talk you into it, they won't listen to what you want in sex either. If you don't feel comfortable saying no without giving some excuse, that is also a red flag, because a lover should always be someone you feel comfortable saying no to for any reason.

Other red flags: they'll cut you off in conversation and talk over you; they'll put you down; they won't notice if you get upset; they will follow you with their touch if you pull away (kisses especially); they'll respond to your arguments dismissively rather than actually considering anything you say; they'll interrupt a conversation you are having by turning away and ceasing to engage, especially if you are saying something they don't like; they'll ignore you and/or make you repeat yourself; they will say things that invalidate your identity or ideas; they'll touch you without permission in non-sexual ways; they will talk about themselves without asking you any questions; they'll get offended when you don't laugh at their jokes or tell them it isn't funny; they're not careful with your feelings. Anything that shows that they aren't checking in with how their actions are affecting you or anything that shows that they think their opinion or desire is more important than yours is a giant red flag for being bad at consent. Of course, this is just a red flag, not an automatic marker, so check to see if there could be another reason for the red flag (for instance, they might communicate differently due to a neurological difference, which could be worked out with discussions about how you both want to converse), BUT if there is more than one red flag take it VERY seriously.

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what makes me fall in love & how it feels when I am in love
Feeling/being in love, for me, is not sexual at all, nor is it related to looks, nor can it be sparked by social scripts. I cannot fall in love at first sight if the person isn't doing or saying anything.  I cannot fall in love from someone buying me things or taking me to fun places or giving me compliments or making me laugh or sharing my hobbies or making me feel like the center of their world.

What makes me fall in love? Feeling a mutual excitement at the understanding and growth we are creating together. Feeling that they are as excited about my ideas and experiences as they are their own. Feeling them be fully present with me, especially when it's because they are so engaged with my presence that other things fade out (not including chronic pain/depression/etc).  Feeling a strong desire coming from them to know me balanced by a strong desire from them to be known coupled with a strong self-awareness; especially when they take opportunities to self-examine in front of me, without forgetting me. Feeling a vibrant connate resonance about them enacting/embodying one or especially more of my core values: justice, respect, compassion/connection, wonder/reverence, curiosity, transparency/openness, honesty, thoroughness, creativity, imperfect action, growth/change.  This can happen in so many ways. Examples: they describe how they engage in justice work, they show respect to someone who usually doesn't get it (like a child), they describe a connection they have, they respond to an expression of wonder with an equal level of enthusiasm, they ask prying questions or wonder aloud about something your average person takes  for granted, they share something vulnerable and self-aware, they tell the truth when it makes them uncomfortable, they make sure to be complete when doing a task, they customize items they use daily, they take action when it is needed even though they are clumsy at it, they describe things they've learned and how they've applied them to their life... Many many possibilities here. 

Feeling in love can also be squelched by violating one of my core values. If you are unwilling to devote spare resources to creating justice, show lack of consideration for how you affect others, show apathy to suffering, react to wonder with dismissiveness or indifference, don't question yourself, respond to questions without thought or depth, lie, are sloppy in tasks done for others, act like skilled technique is the key to art, refuse to take a helpful action because it's not the perfect solution, or think that staying the same is good, any feelings of in-love I have for you will be diminished.  That also has many possibilities. Often I will feel a swell of in-love for someone and then five minutes later that will be burst; for instance I'll notice their carefully and meaningfully decorated music case and feel very in-love, and then they'll talk about all these 'poser' musicians who don't do [some specific technique] and that feeling will be completely dissolved.

I also can feel in love without it being a constant state: I have felt in love with people for a moment or a day, or constantly over a period of years.  I often feel in-love with people, but I don't describe it as 'being' in love unless it is mutual and consistent, something that I see continuing indefinitely.  Usually it goes from a feeling of in-love-ness to actually being in love when we deliberately create the space for that, or when the space is accidentally created through just spending a lot of time together, or when they express the same feeling and a desire to explore/deepen that feeling.

When I am in love with someone as a state of being, I feel a continuous strong desire to be close to them. I feel like I want to know every meaningful thing that goes on in their lives, I want bring them joy, I want to help them grow, and I get easily overwhelmed with how wonderful they are and want to talk about it all the time. I want to kiss them, hug them, and touch them in ways that feel good to them. I think about them often and miss them when we have not connected in an unusually long time (for us: this can be a few hours or a few weeks). I want to give them presents if I find things they would like. I want to help them with tasks that they find difficult or stressful. I want to share meaningful places, art, and media.

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abstract concepts: my definitions of deity and spirit
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

A self-motivated sentient being with massively more-than-human awareness, ability to move its consciousness from place to place, ability to communicate with all living beings in a meaningful way, ability to deliberately maneuver energy, and ability to harness the power of randomness.

A body/blueprint of energy with its own consciousness. I believe every thing has a spirit, whether animate or not.

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stress has lessened
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

Hosting gathers is good for me because it helps me motivate to get shit done. This week I did laundry, did dishes, took out recycling, finished setting up the cuddle room (except for the translucent fabric to soften the LEDs, that has to wait for money), tidied the entire house except for that one craft project (which I hope to get done Sunday night or Monday). I turned up the coldness in the refridgerator; hopefully that will help with the going-bad because I am sick of canned food. Kanika is being terribly picky but I have a plan to buy some mix-in treats that will hopefully solve that. My shoulder is still aching and I really can't understand why, it's been more than a week now. I may need to get an exercise ball for my office -- I think I slump too much in there because it is always cold and I subconsciously fold in (my boss has their own sitting ball so I know they won't mind).

Most of that stuff I did on Sunday before the gather, but yesterday I tidied my room which had been left undone for like two weeks which is WAY TOO LONG and I feel profound relief at having it tidy again. It is mind-boggling how much that affects me. It's not perfect but there's just one little pile of unsorted things instead of two big ones. I also brought in another lamp for more light with a daylight bulb and that seemed to make my eyes less tired and my general mood brighter. This room is actually much less sunny in the summer because all of the leaves are out. It's still bright but I don't get that same "almost as if I was outside" feeling.

The vacation with biofamily will cost me nothing except 3 days worth of pay -- which I can't afford but hopefully I can get my parents to give that to me in order to have me go with them. I want to go because my youngest sibling is going and I haven't seen them in literal years, much less spent good time with them, and they are important to me. I'm also hoping to have some good conversations with my aunt E. I have pretty much gotten over the idea that my grandmother is coming. I'm just going to bring some literature and maybe rehearse some bible verses in case of lecture.

By the way, I haven't responded yet but I appreciated all of your comments, as they made me realize that listing things is hugely helpful for me and I need a list that I keep hanging on the wall so that I can get obligations out of my head and also have the satisfaction of crossing them off. I think the stress is a lot worse when it is a big muddly mess than when it is an orderly list -- no matter how long or mostly-impossible the list.

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cuddle communion #1! so nourishing! / consent agreements / cuddle list / leading to fill a need
icon: "healing (a photo of me and Hannah curled up together, naked, with Hannah's head resting on my legs and my arms around/over them. it's colored in violet with a fractal overlay of purple, blue, and green.)"

I had a really lovely nourishing evening last Sunday. I hosted a gather I called "Cuddle Communion" which was based loosely on cuddle parties I'd been to in the past. I went over a short list of consent agreements to begin with, and then we did structured cuddles, had a break for snacks and coffee, and then had unstructured cuddles and played truth-or-truth. I felt really connected with almost everyone there, and I definitely want to do it again. Next time I'm going to set the structured part into a flow from least to most intense, because I just did them randomly this time and that was okay, but could have been way better. Also, I want to finish the structured cuddles before the break, because after it is too hard to get back into that. And I looooove that truth-or-truth was the mental focus of the unstructured part this time, but others might want something less intense, so I want to try to set up something to listen to or watch, at least as an option.

consent agreementsCollapse )

structured cuddle listCollapse )

After most people left, I was hanging out and talking with Serah and Alison about social change and leading things. Serah used to lead a spiritual gather but got burnt out, and I understand that feeling so well. I mentioned that that is why my ideal leadership is at least three volunteers who take turns and step down when they get tired. Usually what I see happen is one person leads and no one helps, and the leader gets so burnt out that they quit forever and the group disintegrates. I really think that any good leader doesn't lead because they want to lead, they lead because they see a need that no one else is filling.

Speaking of which, I felt so supported a few weeks ago when I was too exhausted to participate in intimacy practice, and the others took leadership and made it happen without me. I don't want to feel like it's mine, I want to feel shared ownership and care of IP, and that definitely made me feel that way.

I was talking with Saleena a few days ago about the same thing (good leaders just filling a need). Saleena and I are going to run a local community discussion/connection group together. The original idea was that it would be for trans people, but we want to expand it to all othered people and make it a safe space to talk or listen. I'm worried about creating a safe space where strangers can attend, because if an unsafe person attends that can be horrible, but there is no perfect solution. I think as long as Saleena and I are willing to call people on being problematic, we can make something good and safer than life in general while being imperfect.

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abstract concepts: my definitions of happiness and joy
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

happiness: being fully present in an experience that is nourishing.

joy: happiness that happens without effort.


I have found that defining abstract concepts helps me to implement more of what I want in my life and move away from what I don't want. So I'm going to try and make this a regular thing; after this I shall post a pair every Sunday. Feel free to comment with your own personal definitions!

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rant: friendships are important / my levels of relationship for everyone
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

No one expects that a romance will last if neither person ever bothers to set up a date. Yet somehow friendship is supposed to?? So many people are content with friendships which they would absolutely dump if it was a romance. I find this irrational double standard to be so frustrating. I think most people like to structure their relationships in binaries: family or not-family, romance or not-romance, my-everything or acquaintance. And then they put walls between these things and assign specific passwords to the doors. Family door only opens with blood, marriage or adoption. Romance door only opens with "I love you" and sex. My-everything only opens with romance or occasionally with "best friend." (I know these are not true of everyone; I'm talking about the average person) I think this is fucking gross and I don't want any damn walls involved in any of my relationship shifts. I want mine to be free to grow and shrink as is healthy for each. My relationships are on a spectrum and a person may move from one to the other from week to week. Whether relative, lover, or friend, these are your options. I will never give anyone a "better than the rest" pass. Having sex or romance with me gives you no automatic new level of connection, nor does being related to me.

Related: http://my minimum requirements for friendly acquaintances & actual friends / my ideal friend's qualities.

friendly acquaintances: Anyone I am connected with by choice in any way.
These people I put no special effort into, I just remain open to sharing with them and to what they might share with me. People only get kicked off of this for being willing to knowingly violate consent (of ANY kind, including consent to engage in a conversation); if someone says they want to stop doing something and you don't listen, consider yourself banned (but it does depend on whether the person whose boundaries they broke is upset about it).

friendly tribe-hopefuls: Everyone on my LJ friends list (including the defunct LJs), my aunt and one of my cousins, one of my siblings, people who come to crafty parties or cuddle communions or transparence parties or solstice gathers.
These people I make the effort to keep up with and when I am faced with a block to connection, I attempt to dismantle it if they will help me. Most of the time such a block is something like problematic language, but sometimes it's a hurt they may have caused me accidentally, or a worry I have that I have hurt them. My willingness to try is what makes them a tribe-hopeful, and often after I do, they become part of my extended tribe. If they are unwilling to adjust their behavior to avoid causing pain, they will never be more than friendly acquaintances.

extended tribe: Currently Kat, Elizabeth, Kels, J, Adi, Lisa, Angie, Rachel, Nicky, Gayle, Renee, Aubrey, Becky, Tina, Hannah, Abby, Nea, Arden, Lily, Ciara, and Lana. Saleena, Jezza, Hope, Serah, and AlisonB seem soon to be added to this group, as we have expressed mutual desire but not yet acted on it much. There are others I'd like to be here but they're either unavailable or I don't yet know if I could trust them to work shit out and be respectful in a conflict.
These are the people with whom I check in regularly (on whatever sharing they offer), work shit out, and mutually, deliberately build intimacy. People have to be willing & able & available to build with me, and willing & able to have compassionate conflict. LJ is such a beautiful platform for this -- without it, this list would be very short because sharing deeply with each person individually wouldn't be something I could do, simply thinking of time much less energy. I also can make conflict easier by posting about a general issue and working it out with several people in an indirect way that people react to better than me directly saying "this thing you did is a problem for me because ___." There are some in this group that I would like to be part of my core tribe, but I haven't made the overture for one reason or another. I feel like I have to be in a place where I know how much energy I can spare to add someone to my core tribe, because I don't want to offer something I can't follow through on. And long distance takes more energy than local.

core tribe (what I think of as the Rude Brood): Currently Anika, Jaime, and Allison.
These are people with whom I check in regularly, work shit out, mutually deliberately build intimacy, and make it a regular priority to spend time. For locals this means I try to hang out one-on-one once a month, for long-distance I try to have videochats at least twice a month. I include these people in events that are sacred to me, to the extent that they are willing. These are people that given the right situation (and their interest of course) would be lifesharers.

lifesharers: Currently Topaz, Kylei, and Heather (we call ourselves the Odd Squad).

These are people with whom I check in regularly, work shit out, mutually deliberately build intimacy, make it a regular priority to spend time, check in with about my major life decisions (if they would affect them), appreciate when they offer critique of my behavior, and turn to in my rare moments of need for comfort. Hannah was a lifesharer of mine and I would really like them to be again, but distance and time difference makes it hard. I have faith that it will happen one day. Anika is someone I would ideally be lifesharers with but they have too much focus elsewhere to build to that right now. The main shift between tribe and lifesharer is the amount of focus time: it takes a certain amount regularly to keep a person at the level of lifesharer, otherwise you're just not in sync enough and it doesn't work.


I would only co-parent with a lifesharer, but I would co-habitate with anyone who had similar living habits and goals, and I would be lovers with any person in my extended tribe, given mutual interest. You'll notice that only three of my relatives are mentioned on this list at all and they are tribe-hopefuls because they are unavailable and/or have not worked out conflict with me. My parents and other sibling are currently friendly acquaintances, though I would like them to be tribe if they could get their act together. ALSO there are people I love who I am not in contact with, so are not on this spectrum at all. So, regardless of the cause of the connection, anyone has a chance of being anywhere on the spectrum or not at all.

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where has all my energy gone? / focus time / Kylei's wonderful conversations / stresses stressesssss
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I've had a strange few weeks as I've been working at my new job and finding that I don't have the energy to do much besides work and maybe one outing a week. I got out and about more often than this when I was working at the awful job where I was harassed by my boss and that really perplexes me. Talking about it in Intimacy Practice last Sunday made me realize that even though I don't have a lot of actively or significantly negative things in my life, most of the things in my life are equaling out to neutral or slightly negative. Like hanging out with friends - if I go see someone, that takes effort and money stress, and then the interaction starts out already at a deficit. So I need the interaction to actively nourish me or else I spent too much energy. I talked with Topaz and realized it would be helpful if I figured out what would make me feel back in balance, energy-wise, and asked ahead of time if people would be willing to give that to me. I think eye contact and foot rubs (not at the same time) would do a lot. My friends are already good about trading off who drives to who, but that doesn't help in the moment. And probably I need to only meet halfway if we're not having focus time.

It was weird realizing that I needed to spend more time with Kylei that was in a house, because when we are in nature or in public there are so many distractions. We definitely can have focus time in those places but it is very difficult. And with Topaz it is the opposite -- we have gotten in a habit of watching netflix all the time and so being at home usually means we don't get focus time. We need to remember to set that time aside in the middle of the day, instead of waiting until we are exhausted and finally going to bed and then talking for an hour because we have hardly had a conversation all day. I don't think I have ever had deliberate focus time with any of my other local close friends. I want to change that.

Spending time with Kylei this week was so, so, so wonderful and nourishing. I went to their house, which was a VERY long drive, and I arrived frazzled and overheated. They gave me some orange juice and bread and sat with me while I took it in and settled, and then we went to their room and we had a short nap and then we hung out, just cuddling and talking and making lots of eye contact. Oh Godde, that was a relief. Lengthy eye contact that felt balanced in its flow, not interrupted or pushed or pulled. And talking with them I realized something I love so so so much about them -- that they reflect on things I say and take them further, and then share that with me. I can't think of an actual example, but what I mean is I'll say something like "I think you are happier now that XYZ is true" and they'll either ponder on that out loud with why they agree or disagree, or they'll reflect silently and then when I ask what they are thinking they'll tell me. I'd say most people are not responsive in that way. Most people will take in what I say, but not turn it over and play with it to see what new thing they could realize from it like Kylei does. It feels so good, it feels like a kind of affirmation that they value my thoughts and my sharing. And I love it the more because it's not for my sake, it's just how Kylei works.

I can't remember what it was I used to get out of going and spending time with people -- am I getting less or is there something wrong with me now? I feel like it's both. Like, I used to get more out of going to spend time with people because they gave more focused time because usually I was dating them. I hate that people just don't have a habit of doing that with those they aren't dating. Or really, with anyone. I mean, I don't even think of it myself except with people I already have that habit with.

Why on earth don't I have more energy?? I don't think I'm depressed. I worry that I'm developing or starting to exhibit some kind of anxiety issue because I never used to be so weighed down with the billion tiny stresses. I don't feel like I'm dealing with more than average, I'm just dealing badly with the average amount of stress. There are so many tiny stresses that are just bothering me SO MUCH. It my reaction is out of proportion, it's ridiculous. [a pile of stresses]The refrigerator isn't working properly and is leaking and is making my food go bad quicker than it should (this just started and has ruined my smoothie streak) which makes me not want to buy anything that will go bad which means I eat stuff that isn't as healthy which means I feel worse. My upstairs bathroom is all wrecked and two of my indoor plants are dying despite my best efforts. My cat is being picky and I'm worried they're going to not eat the rest of the great big multi-pack of wet food I just got to help them not end up with bladder infections. So I'm worried I'll have to get more and then if they don't eat that then they might get seriously ill. The living room is covered in my last half-finished crafting project. I really want to finish that project but I really don't want to finish it and have it go nowhere just like all my other art. I have two giant piles of laundry in the hallway because I am putting off doing laundry because the dryer is not working properly and everything has to go through twice to get dry. There's a bunch of recycling I need to take out. I'm not finished setting up the cuddle room and I want to have it ready by this weekend because I'm having a gather in it. Also Topaz is dealing with a ton of actually bad shit and I can't do a damn thing about it and it makes me feel helpless and full of dread. Also my car needs to go to the shop but I don't have the money to take it. And I need to go to the dentist (I haven't been in 15 years) but I don't have the money. And I need to go to the dermatologist about what might be skin cancer but I don't have the money. And I need new bras (some are too small and some are too worn out) but I don't have the money. And I need new shoes (I only have one pair and they're over a year old now) but I don't have the money. And I realized that my camera takes blurry photos most of the time and I want to replace it with an older model that actually allows me to set things but that feels like a huge risk (I think I could trade it in for an older one for no extra cost but it would need to be old and unused as the inside parts die over even the most gentle use). Also my shoulder/neck has been hurting for like five days now, slowly getting a little better but ugh, it's awful. Also I'm planning to go on vacation in late August with my biofamily and just found out my grandmother is going -- I find it very hard to be relaxed around them because I feel so much judgement and just massive lack of understanding. I was looking forward to it before I found that out. Also I'm past due for an eye exam but have to put it off because I know I won't be able to pay a random hundred before my second job starts in September. I have several things I have promised to ship but I haven't had money and memory and time all at the same time and that makes me feel like the WORST PERSON. So fucking many of these stresses could be fixed with money. It makes me want to scream and cry.

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side effects of being medicated for ADD-PI / meaningful work is so much easier to focus on
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

I was worried that the heart flutters I was experiencing were due to my ADD meds, so I cut them in half for two days and forgot them entirely on the third. I then went back on them, but it was long enough to realize that there is a cumulative memory effect, which is SO STRANGE. On the fourth day, after being back on them, my memory was only slightly better than the 3rd day with none. I'm sure it's a short lived effect and it may be confirmation bias, but it reminded me of how awful it was to have no meds or insufficient meds, where I couldn't keep anything in my head.

Another thing is that my tendency to depression gets shifted oddly. Without meds, I do nothing and feel no motivation to do anything except a sort of wistful longing that turns into hopelessness and depression the longer it goes. While I am on meds, I feel impelled to do something constructive every day, and if I don't act on that, my stability goes downhill fast. But I have to decide on something and do it, because if I just get sucked into something and do a project that takes several hours, I feel like that time was wasted (even if it wasn't) because I didn't CHOOSE to do the thing, my brain took over and wouldn't let me go until I was done.

And there's a thing that I am pretty sure is not related to meds, with work: I feel good when I have a pile of work to do, and I get stressed out when that pile starts to get down to nothing. I think it's because I feel worried that they'll run out of meaningful work and start assigning me useless busy work. If the work is meaningful I am okay with dedicating 99% of my brain to it for hours on end, it's not hard to focus, and I enjoy it. If the work is meaningless, I can't manage to dedicate more than 70% of my brain to it, and that would make me desperately want to quit because I'd be so distracted that the time would creep by like molasses and I'd spend SO MUCH ENERGY trying to stay on task. And I don't want to quit. So I hope they have endless meaningful work for me, but I worry.
connecting: , ,

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Blah blah work busy brain fried
icon: "garrulous (a photo of my lips with my skin desaturated and a green fractal overlay over my lips)"

I feel like I've been busy forever ugh. I really just wish I could stay home for a week. I am only scribbling out something short before I go to bed. Last night I felt I didn't have enough time so I stayed up late and regretted it. This morning in the first 3 hours of work I just kept fantasizing about sleep and felt time would never pass. I eventually hooked in to some hyperfocus and the rest of the work passed quickly. Then I got gas and groceries, came home and made a smoothie with a shitton of kale, did laundry, read LJ. I feel like I did nothing because I didn't create, which is what I crave. I also felt weak and my heart was fluttery all day. At least, I think that is what that feeling is. It's  like when you almost fall, but milder and only in my upper chest. It's been happening a few times lately but today was the first time it happened most of the day. It was really uncomfortable.

Yeah I guess that's it, gotta sleep.

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why I identify as demisexual / what makes sex worth the effort / sexual vs sensual touch / kissing
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

The main reason I consider myself demisexual is that the actual 'sex' part of sex doesn't interest me. It's the things that I get during sex other than physical stimulation that make sex valuable to me. Things that make sex worth it for me are...

1) energy play that is easier and more intense because my body is revved up (exercise or roughhousing play works for this too, or some drugs I'm sure).
2) the intimacy of having someone watch my body and listen to my sounds when I am totally uninhibited. (being very drunk and dancing would provide this too, but is more work and expense).
3) the emotional high that my allosexual partners get from sex which makes them more relaxed and affectionate, sometimes for days after.
4) learning about someone in a wordless way through their reactions and desires.
5) in-depth discussions of feelings. I don't get much out of sex despite the above unless we talk out the experience afterward. This has been a difficulty for me because frankly most people are really bad at talking about sex and not great at talking about their feelings either, but I've had the occasional lover who was naturally good at it and others deliberately built their skills.

I don't experience any particular touch as always sexual, not giving or receiving. Nor do I experience any touch as inherently non-sexual. For me, sex is about intention more than anything else. I can't stand for my non-sexually-meant touch to be taken as sexual by someone else. Even if I am in a sexual relationship with them and often enjoy sex with them, if I am not wanting and intending sex, I don't want my touch to be taken that way. Along the same lines, I can often miss "I wanna have sex" signals because I don't apply sexual thought to touch unless that is invited. Someone once literally put their face in between my breasts and I did not interpret this as an expression of sexual interest (later they told me that it was and I realized that most people would probably have taken it that way).

I sometimes enjoy giving/receiving touch that would usually be sexual as purely sensual instead. Touch with that level of intimacy minus the urgency of sex makes for the most tender touch I can imagine. But then, I am not sure this translates for other people because my body still responds in a sexual way eventually. It just feels completely different and makes me almost want to cry (not in a sad way, but like I'd cry at a particularly beautiful piece of music). I've experienced this with Topaz, Kylei, and (to a much lesser extent) my ex-spouse.

I do like the physical sensation of touching other people's genitals. If not for all the mental associations, I would probably like to touch them often in non-sexual ways. That is, not for sexual pleasure but because they feel nice, warm and soft and close. I could cup my hand around them and have it held in place by their thighs which would feel very intimate (whether they were clothed or not). If not for people being ticklish or otherwise uncomfortable with the idea, I'd probably enjoy putting my hands in people's armpits for the same reason.

kissingCollapse )

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follow-up: frustrations about overall friend situation not about individuals
icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

On being "too busy" - for me, there is not a number of cancellations or rejections of my invitations that is too much; it's more about how that happens and the results that matter. Anyone local can tell you that I am often too busy. But if someone makes the effort to initiate with me, then if I do want to spend time with them, I will offer an alternate plan or set up a plan to make a plan (like "I'm gonna be busy for the next two weeks but I'll put a reminder on my calendar and ask you when I can predict").  A person can literally say no to every invitation I give and still not upset me, if they offer alternative plans or tell me when to check in again. I have no expectation that people will do otherwise unless I have received permission to expect something from them.

I feel very upset when someone accuses me of not caring because I am busy or late or out of energy; my level of caring has nothing to do with those things. I feel complete understanding with my friends regarding those things. The problem comes in when it is literally all of my local friends because then it just becomes collectively too much effort. 

So please, in reading that last post, keep in mind that I am not complaining about any individual event or person, but about a trend in my experiences.

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feeling urges for friend changes / intimacy practice planning / bad dreams / relationship updates
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

I haven't felt fully seen by someone other than Topaz in a long time and I yearn for that. I don't know if I'm just bad at sharing or if most people have to feel romantic to actually try to see someone or if people just plain don't do it. I keep running into people who don't reciprocate or who want me to rescue them or who are just flat-out unavailable. I'm feeling strong urges for a friends overhaul. Not ending any friendships, but re-sorting all my priorities and finding some new people. Not that there ever are new people when I look. I'm feeling pretty fatalistic about it.

And the amount of effort it takes with every person, ugh. Can't I just have ONE easy friend who initiates at least 50% of the time? I think things are better generally on that front, but if I stopped initiating (yes, recurring plans that I set up count as me initiating, especially if I have to remind and organize) I think most of my friendships would drop off. And it's all understandable and I'm not upset at anyone in particular, but I want to feel like I'm not the only one trying to build something. I think most people I am close with just don't have the time/energy/interest to do more than maintain. Why am I trying to build when the other is just trying to maintain? That's not balanced and I need to fuckin quit it, I'm only making myself unhappy.

I have gotten quite annoyed with everyone about planning intimacy practice lately because no one fucking helps. We have had to move the regular day two months in a row and it is like pulling teeth getting people to respond. Don't just say "nope that doesn't work" and not offer another option! UGH! This is at least as much for everyone else as it is for me but no one takes responsibility. I don't mind leading most of the time but I do mind having to do it or lose it. And I mind the collection of people being kept as-is, especially with the lack of shared effort (just realizing this now).

These feelings might be the cause of or partially because of my dreams lately. I had one dream where this local casual friend was just plain mean to me, and another where I had a birthday gather and all of my friends came, but they chose a table that was long and narrow and put me at one end of it and no one talked to me. I felt hurt at first that they chose a table that showed that they weren't thinking about what would nourish me, and then I felt way more hurt when they refused to change it (the restaurant we were at had circular tables too) and just started ignoring me to talk to each other. Normally a dream like this only comes when I have consciously felt ignored, which I haven't, so I feel confused and distressed by it. dream symbol meaningsCollapse )

This is also true of some LJ friends. I usually don't mind when people rarely comment, but there are some people I was hoping to build with who just aren't showing any interest. Should I take them off? But that means there is no chance. Should I stop emotionally investing until I can tell if they're ever going to give back? That usually means that nothing will happen. I dunno.

On the positive side, Allison has been reaching out a lot more and I feel like we are really building on our friendship. Sadly they're also terribly busy so I feel like the pace kinda has to stay slow (like, 1-2x a month). Heather has been awesome but I also feel really weird about them? I don't understand why but I keep meaning to bring it up so here's a placeholder. Kylei I have been feeling really positively about lately and last time I hung out with them it was incredibly sweet and nourishing but our plans keep getting cancelled and I feel helpless about it, especially since I only feel nourished when we hang out at my place or theirs because we don't seem to be able to really be fully present otherwise. Jaime has incidentally hung out with me several times recently and I have really felt pleased about their company but I feel slightly weird about them too. I am just now realizing this. Elizabeth has invested lots in building with me and I feel happy and hopeful about that but also frustrated because they live so far away. Hannah actually has randomly messaged me several times in the past few weeks and I feel tentatively hopeful that we might be able to have a videochat. Anika I've been feeling weird about for a week or two. We had a talk but nothing got settled really and then I upset them the other night with some careless miscommunication and I apologized and explained but they didn't respond so that's in limbo too. Abby I never hear from. Anita came in town and didn't tell me ahead of time and I had plans and couldn't see them, which made me feel awfully forgotten and unimportant. I would have moved so many things around to spend time with them. I guess I'm feeling a vast majority of uneasy or disconnected. It doesn't help that last IP was more than a month ago because the mid-month one didn't get planned, and that one was a tiny one.

Last weekend while drunk I messaged a casual friend about becoming closer friends and they didn't respond and now I feel painfully embarrassed about it (actual tears of embarrassment) but I'm trying to remind myself that it is something my truest self would absolutely have done so I should be proud of myself. That's just one of those things that either goes shockingly well or shockingly badly, usually. This is a weird not-really-either as far as I can tell.

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energy work: 1st efforts, shielding / a funnel not a source / avoiding manipulation
icon: "ethereal (a photo of me looking at the camera from behind a lacy green plant, while wearing makeup that includes a glitter goatee)"

What do I think is happening when I do energy work? I think that people's electric fields get dirty and hungry just like bodies, but since people don't often think about them or practice tuning in, they get neglected a lot. I think that what I am doing is using my energy field to interact with theirs in a way that clears it and pulls in nourishment for them. I think that it's really pretty simple and small, but just like a snack can totally change your outlook if you really need it, or pulling a splinter out can provide huge relief, it can feel really intense. I don't think that anyone needs energy work from another person (except maybe in rare circumstances) because your subconscious is pretty good about pushing you toward things that your energetic self needs. It's just a help.

[more] ---

Before I ever deliberately practiced interacting with energy, I prayed and practiced "laying on of hands" which is christian-speak for energy work. I remember the first time was when I was maybe 6 or 7, and the pastor had me stand on the stage at the front of the church and put my hands on the head of a middle-aged man who stood below. I asked what I was supposed to be doing and the pastor said "just pray for God to help him." I was devout from the age of four so this was not uncomfortable or difficult for me. I prayed, and after a little while the man fell over. I was used to people being 'slain in the spirit' but I felt very surprised that my prayer could have such an effect.

----------TW/content warning for this paragraph: pregnancy/baby scare (everything turns out okay)-------------
Later when I was about 9 or 10, I was babysitting (as a "mother's helper") for a three year old when the pregnant mother started having pains. They were really worried while waiting for a ride to the hospital and I asked if I could put my hands on their belly and pray for them. They eagerly said yes, so I did, and it calmed them and helped them to feel better. Then they went to the hospital, and everything was okay after (no one told me any details). They later thanked me effusively. It might have just been that my faith was calming in a moment of panic, but their reaction made me feel like I did something profound.
---------END content warning--------

The next time I remember affecting someone was when I was maybe 21 and my mom's back was hurting, and I rubbed it. Afterward they asked me if I had used a hotpack or something because they were feeling so much heat out of my hands. A few years after that I was at a free energy healing and someone passed their hands in front of me and so much heat was radiating from their hands that I thought they were holding a candle up next to my face. I opened my eyes, prepared to stop them from waving open flame at me, but their hands were empty. I was still feeling just as much heat from them so I know it wasn't some kind of trick. Since then I felt sure that energy could be shifted in a physical way by thought alone.


I definitely have felt physical sensations in my hands when doing energy work, especially with migraines. They feel like really intense static most of the time, like a constant yet inaudible screeching. I feel like these are more workable than most physical ailments because they have possibly an electrical cause? I dunno, it might just be that I try to help with migraines more than other physical ailments because since nothing else will work, might as well try. I did have one experience with Abby where they started to have a migraine and were losing vision and I did energy work and stopped the migraine (either stopped it from getting worse or put it to the 'hangover' stage, I don't remember). They said that usually once they start to lose vision even their meds don't help, but this did. I was really glad to be able to do that. When Topaz has a migraine, I can sometimes help, but it varies. They described it thus: a migraine is usually like an exposed and splintered broken bone where someone is jabbing at the wound with a finger. I can't help with the broken bone, but I can stop the person from jabbing at it. Topaz says that usually they just feel relief while I am actively working but sometimes it lasts after. Sometimes when they have just a regular headache I can make it go away completely during, and feel somewhat better after.

The most pronounced physical sensation I ever experienced was when I was doing energy work unintentionally on someone with MS. They had asked me for a massage to help with their chronic pain and explained how to do it (in a way that I would now clearly envision as energy work): I was to do light sweeping rubs all over, in a direction from the outer limbs to the heart. I wish I could remember more specifically. Anyway, it was the second time I was doing it and my ears started ringing, I got intense vertigo and felt weak and I had to go lay down on the floor for like 15 minutes, while my head wouldn't stop spinning. I felt very bad about it but even though I tried to push through I just couldn't. I only recently learned (or remembered) that vertigo and physical weakness are symptoms of MS -- I think I was probably tapping in to their experience without realizing. All I knew was that it was kind of scary and I must have made some kind of mistake. This was before I had ever practiced shielding.

I used to have such a problem with picking up other people's energy that going out in public was hellishly draining. I went to a "woman's healing" group for survivors of sexual abuse and one of the things they taught us was how to not pick up other people's burdens. They emphasized that we couldn't help others by taking on their pain. Instead, they said that we should put up shields and if we wanted to help someone and that person wanted our help, act as a facilitator to let 'God' take their burden. I felt such a huge difference when I began to shield against the randomly broadcast emotions of others: I could go out in public without coming home feeling raw and wretched. Also, when I practiced being a funnel for Godde's love I could help others without making myself useless for days. Later (last year) I took a class on energy work and they said the same things in different words, affirming my experience.

I almost always do energy gifting/blessing as a funnel from the universe or from the person's own deity if they have one who wants to give to them at the time. When I do energy work on people, it's mostly me sensing where something has attached to their energy that is hurting/blocking them or sensing where they feel a lack, and then pulling out what doesn't belong or calling for what they need and sending it in. All of this is happening not with my eyes but with my hands - sort of. I use gestures because that helps me to focus my intention, but I don't often have a physical sensation in my hands unless the issue is something malignant or physical. I feel safe just feeling around and going by intuition because I don't think people can be damaged from energy work as long as the worker isn't trying to assert their own will.*

I consider it a very bad idea to try and give away my own energy. I consider doing that to be damaging myself and probably influencing the other person in ways I can't fathom. One of my early healing processes was pulling back the pieces of myself that had been given away or stolen by others, and it astonished me how much more control I had over my own thoughts and feelings without these constant influences from others. Considering this, I feel that it would be unethical of me to accept other people's energy if I feel that them giving it would damage them. So, if someone uses a method of energy work or prayer that involves them giving a piece of themselves, I am not okay with them doing energy work on my behalf.

Also, if someone wants something from me that I'm not wanting to give right now, I am not okay with them doing ANY kind of energy work or prayer on/about me, because I feel it's very likely that they'd end up subconsciously trying to manipulate me. I don't think it would work because I shield from that, but it would take energy from me to push that away. I got a birthday card from a relative once that seemed harmless enough, but just touching it made me feel terrible, and I think it's because they were trying to pray the gay away.

*I do my best to only do energy work that is NOT manipulative. What this means in practice is that I won't do energy work or prayer that involves choosing a particular path to a goal or anything that involves pushing someone toward a specific choice. For example, I consider it okay to do a spell for getting closer friends, but not okay to do a spell for a particular person to become a close friend. It's okay to do a spell for my work to be noticed, but not to do a spell for my boss to think that I am smart. I will do spells for anything that could happen by chance. I will not do spells that push on someone's will. I feel that a lot of magic is about chance, randomness, so I will always be vague enough that there are at LEAST three ways a 'yes' could happen.


Recently I asked who would want to be a name in a jar for me to occasionally send energy to, but I didn't explain. Here's how that would work:

I would sit in my sanctuary and pull a circle from the jar, read the name aloud a number of times while picturing the person, and then I would reflect on what I know about them and 'ask' what they need (or go check my list to see what they had said was okay to send to them). Whatever came to mind, I would envision coming their way. So, if I got the sense that they needed rest, I would picture them sighing in relief and relaxation and I would come up with a short phrase to repeat over and over while thinking about them, something like "all chances for rest are extra nourishing." (I would NOT say something like "plenty of sleep and plenty of down time" because that might be the opposite of what they need!) I'd then open up my crown and pull in energy from the universe which I would envision flowing into me, out of my hands, to them. I'd do this until I felt done.

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on the 'rudeness' of canceling/lateness caused by chronic pain/fatigue/anxiety/depression and/or ADD
icon: "strong (a photo of me in warm light with my hair down around my face, staring intensely into the camera in a defiant mood)"

Note: if I say something problematic please mention it because I'm talking about some things I don't have personal experience with (chronic pain/fatigue/anxiety) so I may be off-base and have no idea.

Being late, cancelling plans, not being up for some activity; these things are called rude and that's fucking ableist. Why? because when people with chronic pain/fatigue/depression/anxiety/other disability can't make it on time or at all, that is not* because they don't care or aren't invested in you or don't respect you, it's because it would cause them damage to do it. When you value your own time so much that you would rather someone else be damaged than 'waste' your time, you are being incredibly selfish.

I get being an ignorant ableist poopsicle because I was one!Collapse )

So my basic, decent-human level of inclusion is to be prepared for something to interfere with plans, and not to take it personally. I communicate what I want (that you keep plans and let me know as far in advance as possible if you are cancelling), and believe you when you tell me you did your best. I ask for reassurance if I start to feel neglected or avoided or whatever, and I trust that when I do, you will tell me truthfully if you don't want to do the thing with me or if you didn't have the energy to do it. I will warn you if I need to keep to a particular schedule and if so, I will just continue without you, with no resentment. If I need someone to be there no matter what, I will tell you ahead of time and check in the day before to get a more accurate prediction of whether or not you will be up for it. If you are not up for it, I will find someone else to go with me or I'll postpone. I look at it like I would weather. It's just not something you can control and predicting it is notoriously unreliable. And I do this for nondisabled people as well because you can't have true consent if saying no at any point would result in punishment (pouting/passive-aggression is certainly punishment, btw).

For me, I forget things and run out of time despite trying my absolute hardest, and I need people to be understanding of that. My memory is so awful now that I often can't tie a person to a memory. So I will remember that someone I love deeply is allergic to that flower that starts with an H and is red, or that someone I love adores a particular band, but I often can't remember who. This is another thing that is often conflated with love, and I DEFINITELY used to do it. I used to express love by carefully memorizing things and mentioning them later when they were relevant. Now I worry people won't feel loved because I won't be able to remember the right things. I still try just as hard and care just as much, it just doesn't work. (I started keeping a list on my phone of things people especially love. Hopefully that will be helpful to my memory, since seeing things in print often helps me remember better than hearing them.) Unless it's in print or photo, I have ZERO control over what falls out of my sieve of a memory, and some of my most treasured experiences are gone. I may forget the best thing we ever did together if neither of us takes photos or writes it down (even then I'll forget until I read it or see the photos). That is unbearably tragic to me and I try not to reflect on it. Please, never assume that I love you less because I forgot something. It could literally be the best thing to ever happen in my life and I might still forget it. There are countless meaningful comments, emails, and messages that I have forgotten even though I appreciated them immensely. So many things I planned to do but forgot. And I put so many reminders on my calendar already, it's just not possible to do it for everything. And then, sometimes I fucking forget what I was doing when I pick up my phone and my intended reminder never gets made!!!

When I say run out of time, I mean that I planned enough time and then some, but then my brain wasn't up to the task, and it took an extra 10-30 minutes because I kept forgetting things and going back upstairs or back in the house, or I drove right past the exit, or I forgot that I was almost out of gas, or I got hyperfocused on something and lost the time (rare because I usually refuse to get deeply involved in anything before a plan, for this reason) or I forgot to eat and was feeling shaky and dizzy and unsafe to drive and had to sit down and eat a few bites to be able to go, or I forgot why I set my alarm for that time and snoozed it too much until I realized in a panic why it was going off! I have planned for an hour extra time and still been late (because I ended up hitting traffic or something). It is not lack of care or effort. If I say I care, I'm not fucking lying. And if I make a plan with you, it's because I love you enough to deal with the stress of trying to corral my brain and enough to accept the drain of energy it takes to go out (for so many reasons, not the least of which is my needs-repair car and the expense of gas) and/or give you my full focus. I am really fucking careful with how I plan my time.

*I mean, I'm sure there are some uncaring disabled people who like inconveniencing others and just don't value the time of others, but I've never met any. I haven't met many non-disabled people like that either. I think my pile of oddities scares off most of the people who are uncaring.

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Love memory bank (jan and feb and then i forgot)
icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"

love memory bankCollapse )

Gonna try to get back in the habit!

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Gonna use daily template / truth-or-truth, planning w jaime, relaxing w topaz
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

I'm gonna attempt to write more often and to bolster this effort, I'm gonna try to write daily summaries if I don't already have something else written. I hope that this doesn't make my LJ boring or make people less likely to comment on more substantial posts - but even so, I'm gonna act out of desire rather than avoid out of fear. I'm gonna use this template: what happened, what it meant, overall emotional arc, & realizations (what I learned, realized, or remembered, if anything significant).

Early this morning Tasha came over to visit their cat Cupcake, who is staying in my basement room right now because Tasha can't keep them where they live and can't move yet. I stayed up way too late last night so after I unlocked the door for them I went back to bed. When I did get up I scurried out of the house to get groceries before truth-or-truth started (and made really good time running from one end of the store to the other). I felt bad about sleeping in but I felt really accomplished that I managed to get everything done in time.

At 3 I set up the truth-or-truth videochat and J and Aubrey and I started but neither of them had video so it was mostly like a call. Then Elizabeth came in (text only) and a little later Jaime joined in person. The experience was slightly awkward technologically but everyone was patient and so I didn't feel guilty. Whenever someone gets frustrated with technological difficulties I feel guilty for some reason I don't quite understand. But I didn't feel bad. Also everyone came up with such great questions and overall it was super nourishing and I am really happy everyone was able to come!

Afterward Jaime and I had a brief planning chat about the trans-centric gather we're having next week, and then they left. I feel really good about the fact that Jaime wanted to create this and is using my space to do it. I'd love to have all kinds of gathers at my house (as long as they weren't oppressive of course).

I made myself a smoothie for the first time in what seems like years. Topaz bought me a double-walled 30oz cup w straw and lid the other day and I think that made me feel able to make smoothies again, which is great because it's a way for me to consume more fresh fruits and veggies. I want to get chocolate whey protein and also start making smoothies with spinach or kale. In an odd way I feel like I was creatively blocked and am not any more.

Then I gathered my things and went to Topaz', where we watched netflix and made brownies. I put a SHITTON of Topaz' fresh mint in my corner of the pan and it turned out delicious! I brushed, combed, and played with Topaz' hair for a good while and then braided it.

Overall, I started the day with worry and rushing, then moved to happiness and nourishment, then rest and comfort. Soon, I'll get ready for bed and have some cuddles.

I remembered that when I was a kid I practiced expressions in the mirror, and was often read as hostile because my relaxed lip shape points down at the ends. I now get comments on how expressive my face is, but that was a thing I trained into myself as a means of communicating with others.

Also, I was thinking about autism and how it's looked at as a dysfunction, but I could see how it could be an evolutionary adaptation to an environment that is unacceptably busy and fake. Perhaps our species is evolving to be less prone to / capable of this capitalist bullshit because it's terrible for everyone. Or maybe I'm just universalizing my own feeling of increased safety around people on the autism spectrum.

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4 levels of friendship: fun, support, learning, mutual accountability
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

I'm not calling these truths, just musings. As such they could be totally wrong, so don't hesitate to disagree!

When you have only had shitty friends, you don't get a chance to learn all the friendship skills, because a friendship can't go beyond the most skilled one in it (unless you mutually work on it).  So if you are a level 2 with only level 1 friends, you can't move to level 3. If you're a level 1 with level 1 friends, you could both move to level 2 if you both decided to build that skill. Some of friendship is about intention, but a lot of it is about experience.

I think that people are composed of their experiences (and don't have much power over what those experiences are) so all you can really do is seek people who are similar to you in level, want to grow in friendship, and aren't so privileged or prejudiced that they can't see you as a person - and hope you get lucky. This is obviously easier if you are in a category that isn't routinely dehumanized and othered. Many more people are willing to invest in you when your looks and identity are something they feel comfortable with. Just from my relatively privileged experience, it was SO much easier to find friends when I was thinner and identified as a monogamous straight cis person. Also I am beyond lucky/privileged in the fact that I got to go to therapy for two and a half years, and got plenty of time to write and learn how to hone my communication, and more than anything else I was able to find people who were on my level but ready to move to the next and willing to do so with me. You can't create friendship skills without time, energy, and people to teach you and/or practice with. So, if you have few friendship skills it doesn't actually say that much about you as a person, necessarily. I think it only matters how you react to a chance to learn a new friendship skill.

I see four levels of friendship experience.

1) spending time together (not sharing deeply) in fun.
Most people exist at this level of friendship; at this stage a very close friend is one with whom you spend time with regularly or at length. At this stage, to feel close you have to be in-person and get things like smiles, laughter, hugs, overlapping energy, silliness, and play. You need (nearly) all interactions to feel good, because the only bad-feeling things that nourish a person involve sharing deeply.  If something feels bad about spending time with a person, they no longer count as a friend, because they're not doing the things that you consider to be friendship (sharing fun time).

2) giving emotional support/listening.
This next step often still requires spending a lot of time together for closeness, because people in the first stages of vulnerability often need the immediate feedback of in-person or real-time communication. Saying something vulnerable and then waiting is often much harder than saying something vulnerable and having immediate response.  For people in this stage, fun is still important, but it is also important to be able to express your negative feelings and have them held safely. People in the first stage can do this rarely if someone in massive crisis, but more often and they're gone; people in the 2nd stage consider supporting each other emotionally to be a vital part of friendship. I dunno if this is true for others, but when I was in this stage, I had a very hard time balancing my support for others with my own needs. It was like receiving support was so important to me that I imagined it as just as vital for everyone else, and I couldn't manage my own boundaries because it seemed so terrible to ever say no to a support need. This got me into trouble a lot.

3) giving feedback in a way that sparks new self-understanding; inspiring each other.
In this stage, spending time together for fun and support has decreased in importance.  I think that a person has to receive a certain amount of support for a certain length of time in order to move to this stage. I think ideally, your parents would give you enough support in your childhood that you could go into adulthood in this stage of friendship, but I've never seen that happen. The people I have seen in this stage at early adulthood had unusually supportive friend relationships early. For me, I got to this stage through the unbelievably kind and generous and faithful love of my LJ friends throughout the time I was working through childhood sexual abuse. Support is no longer a strong need for me, because I once hit that critical level. I think it is possible for people who have not yet hit that level to still very much value feedback that leads to new self-understanding, but I consider the level marker to be when it becomes more important than emotional support. At that point, you seek different friends and different kinds of interactions. Instead of seeking comfort first, you seek friendships that push you out of your comfort zone. You have a new set of goals in friendship. Support and spending time is of course still a need and important, but it's not primary. It becomes more important to be able to learn from and about each other.

4) challenging each other and responding positively; mutual accountability.
This may not be the final level but it is the deepest and most intense one I have witnessed. This is when not only do you value each other's feedback, but you hold each other accountable to the values that you have decided are important (not necessarily the same ones). For instance, Kylei values a broad sense of community and I do not, so in this level of friendship I would pay attention to whether or not they were investing in broad community, and point out any way I could see that they could invest more. Likewise, I value creativity, and someone could check in on me to see if I was living up to my value and creating regularly, whether they valued that for themselves or not. This level requires a lot of time and energy as well as skills in self-awareness and observation of others.

rambles...Collapse )

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new job / first Zikr / nervous about school stuff
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

starting a new job Wednesday (technically tomorrow) which I have been quite stressed about for several reasons -- I don't know what I'll actually be doing (they're gonna train me) and I had to set up an orientation which was very scary because I find bureaucracy, talking on the phone, and deadlines all terrifying and I had to deal with all of them. Also I ended up having to call five times because I kept getting dumped into dead-end transfers. Still have a ton of paperwork and hoops to jump through *scared frown*

And I went to a Sufi Zikr for the first time this Sunday. It wasn't what I expected (we met in someone's home and most of the attendees were white) but I enjoyed it and I felt hyper-aware of people's reactions to me. I couldn't get fully into it because the energy of the place was distracting. I felt like there was something behind me, possibly because it was a home and I may have felt presences who live there who were not introduced. But the chanting was really beautiful and I always appreciate being around people who feel genuine devotion, and I felt a connection to the source of life in that room. I felt included and very appreciative of that -- even the person I felt the most resistance from made an attempt to express understanding (talking about how their teenage kid taught them about trans people and using people's preferred pronouns). I think that unless I can find a person to carpool with I won't attend further except remotely, because it is just too much of a drive.

I want to attend a Sikh Kirtan service and hope to do that this Friday. It's been on my intentions list for months now but I just haven't had the extra energy.

I should have been asleep already... so nervous about orientation and dealing with making my minors official tomorrow. Heather is coming with me for the latter because I have found it so worrisome that I keep putting it off forever. I'm relieved that it's going to get done but SO stressed because one of the gatekeepers seems to have become massively uncomfortable with me and will no longer make eye contact or small talk with me. I fear having to talk to them.

I'm way too easily overwhelmed.

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tired and excited
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

whew, I'm so late going to bed but I finally caught up on LJ. And earlier this week I re-wrote my profile for the first time in years. It's not complete- I need to update the list of important posts - but it is way more reflective of who I am and what I want.

I'm really excited about tomorrow (later today); I'm gonna have a truth-or-truth night with alcohol and so many of my favorite people. Kylei and Heather are spending the night with me and Topaz and I think I am the most excited but I have felt excitement from each of them about it too, which makes me feel so happy and close and loved.

and I have used up too much brain for a longer post, bleh.

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realization: I need group intimacy as well as one-on-one
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a glitter goatee, looking down pensively with woods in the background)"

realized yesterday that I was craving intimate time with multiple people simultaneously in person. I'm not sure if it has actually been a while since I've had this? it feels like it. I've had casual time with multiple people and intimate time one-on-one, but last intimacy practice was like a month ago and I think that was the last time I had in-person group intimacy. But it could be because I'm finally appropriately medicated yet no longer spending all my energy on school, so I actually have time/energy to reflect on what is causing my feelings.

I didn't even realize I had a need for this but yeah, I do. I've been feeling a weird kind of lonely that doesn't go away from anything else. So I made a plan w Heather and Kylei and Topaz to have a sleepover and I can't wait. I think that I need specifically this for two reasons: 1) it is a broad kind of love (that many people associate with 'family' which I have nearly never experienced in biofamily situations) which brings its own nourishment, and 2) only by spending time with mutual intimates can I be deeply nourished by seeing one person's love for another. and I think maybe 3) flowing back and forth in my focus from person to person makes me feel a harmony and unity I can't feel otherwise.

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dreams: radio SJ speaking w Snoop, epic dystopia w devil gold ring programming
icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, standing with arms out and head back, knife in one hand, sabertooth tiger snarling by their side)"

dreamed something about driving a yellow firebird, the owner asking if I want to buy and me asking how much. they said 200 and I thought that that was either far too low or far too high, so just made an excuse. at another part I was falling from high above the ocean and used a thread from a disintegrating sailboat to save myself. there was also something about a grocery store.

I don't remember it all, but at one point I was at Snoop Dogg's house with them and their friend (a big muscular white dude who used a wheelchair) talking about how a bunch of racists had caused a shitton of damage in retaliation after snoop had a giant expensive party. I said something about defaults not wanting to see anyone else have money, and then explained what I meant by default. Snoop agreed with me about racism as a motivator but said that sexism/cissexism/ableism is not that bad and I explained how it is serious and systemic, not just a few bigots: people die. Then me and Snoop were talking on a college radio about oppression and defaults, as one of the college high-mucketys stood in the doorway. Snoop thought it was amusing that they were just letting me go at it. then I introduced Snoop and handed them the mic, and soft music started playing and the mic stopped working! I tried to fix it with the controls back there but it had been done elsewhere, as a way to shut us up, or maybe just Snoop. then the scene switched and there was something about a house magically lifted and tipped 20°.

Also when Snoop and I were setting up equipment, I coughed and found a blue cord in my throat. I pulled it and it came out and out and out, like three yards of it, and then it was attached to a pink one that was shorter. I started to get nervous that there was gonna be poop on it but I pulled it the rest of the way out (no poop) and looked carefully at the join place, which I thought was a knot but on carefully looking, realized was a tangle, that it was one cord that faded from blue to pink with a tiny section of purple.

Earlier there was a tiny dragon I was trying to catch, but not a normal one, a salamander one. about the size of my finger. it hid in a box of a toy with gardening stuff, and then begged me to get it out. it ran all over the place, very fast.

epic dream about evil 'devil' and sci-fi dystopia. started when I and another kid were left in a boxy stone gazebo and someone came up, loudly told us that our punishment was finished, and took us out. just behind us, someone else went into it with a captive and began torturing them. the one who rescued me and my companion took us to another spot with a bunch more children and we decided to try disappearing into the bamboo. when we did it and the others couldn't see us, they excitedly followed too but they wouldn't be quiet. I kept trying to shush them, getting to the point of wanting to hit them and waving violently and shouting in whispers instead.

Scene switch and everything looked dead and dried up. there were people in charge and reluctant followers who carried out their will. don't remember everything except gold rings were programming, and at one point someone said "this will change it from white to white Jesus." (meaning, from white supremacy to religious white supremacy) To deprogram oneself, a person had to take off their ring (which was illegal). we plotted to destroy the central power. at one point this line of people at the top of stairs who were the evil leaders were no longer in power. I don't think they could move from their thrones. we brought them food and they haughtily cast it down, thinking it wouldn't be long before we were killed and a new regime began. then one of them threatened us with its belly that it could apparently blast sound out of, but I took a butterknife and stabbed it through the stomach and popped the organ. this didn't seriously damage the person but it took away their weapon.

a little later I was watching a scene unfold that was very similar to the first except the aesthetics had changed, and felt disheartened, but then all of a sudden things were very different and people were removing their rings, even the super privileged. There was one 'princess' that my lover helped to remove theit ring (there are sometimes failsafes designed to punish as you try to remove it so you stop: you have to be careful) and they had three separate programming markers: the ring, a coin, and a flower that they wore in their hair. when they took it out it got angry and tried to stab my lover in the eye, but I could tell what it was about to do and warned my lover in time.

then I and someone else were tied up w a bunch of gold rings (bracelet size and massively thick), in the ocean, trying to sink, and the devil came along and pulled us out. we laughed because we were tied to a huge mass of more rings and people, and the devil couldn't pick it all up (they were the size of a human but able to hover). They were furious at me and told me to try and hold on (as it prepared to try and break my back). I braced myself emotionally but didn't care, I'd succeeded in helping all those others escape.

Then I was on a plane with others who had deprogrammed themselves, and I saw an AFAB intersex person who had stopped shaving their face and had the beginning growth of a beard, with a female-appearing companion who said something to them about liking them and all their accompaniments (meaning the fact that they were intersex).

Then I was like "okay, five stars for THIS movie, I'm gonna save the last 15 min for when I watch it with Topaz, who would love all the dystopian stuff." and woke up.

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my eating habits: what I don't eat at all, what I generally avoid, favorite meals & ingredients
icon: "delectable (photo of a snow leopard licking its lips)"

I told Anika that I'd compile a list of my dietary restrictions, avoidances, and preferences, and figured I might as well share.

the nopesCollapse )

preferences, favorite ingredients, and other things I often eatCollapse )

favorite meals (all best with NO oil or butter, or as little as possible):
tacos/burritos/salad w salsa and a shitton of raw veggies, plus beans and mushrooms
lasagne (almost never get a good one -- they all have those mushy squash or zucchini UGH)
chili (almost never get a good one -- it's like people don't know how to flavor and thicken without meat)
paninis (warm crunchy sandwiches mmm)
pizza! with fine-cut broccoli, black olives, spinach, roma tomatoes, banana peppers, red onions, portabella mushrooms, & roasted red peppers.
veggie soups, especially fresh, thin ones w lots of fine-chopped veggies
thick chunky tomato soup with brie on rye toast
thin pastas (angel hair or rice noodles) w lots of tomato sauce and added veggies/mushrooms
cheese w lots of raw veggies, herbs, and whole grain crackers or bread.
smoothies w fruits, peanut butter (w no oils, salt or sugar added) or whey protein, whole milk yogurt.

favorite desserts:
super-gingery ginger cookies and hot spicy tea
spearmint (NOT peppermint) gelato or ice cream w as little sugar and few bits of chocolate as possible
chopped fruits and Topaz' fruit goop (a mix of cream, soft cheese, and sugar)
dark dark chocolate bar w ginger bits (I savor this in small bits -- usually have 1/8th to 1/6th of a bar at a time)
lime sherbert (or it would be, if I could find some that didn't have too much sugar)
sheer bliss pomegranate ice cream w dark chocolate bits (not sure if it still exists, haven't found it in stores in years. but most pomegranate ice cream has WAYYYYYYYY too much sugar because people try to overwhelm the tartness)
connecting: , ,

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fuck you perfection I'm taking action: sweeping, crafting, gardening, tidying / time w Kylei / jobs
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

frustrated with myself because I've been writing, but not posting because I get to the 99% done point and stall out. Gotta edit, reread, edit, reread, wait and see if I think of something else, ugh. And then I don't write little random posts like this one because I have such a better one and I want to post THAT instead. Whyyyyyy do I get so fixated on perfection? Why do I break my own ethic of taking imperfect action?

Though, I did a number of things today where I didn't let perfect be the murderer of actually-getting-shit-done. Instead of thoroughly sweeping the back porch & stairs and getting every little flake of leaf off, I just did a quick and dirty job -- first time in ages that that porch & stairs has been swept. The pile was more massive than me, no hyperbole. I also set up a rig (not fancy, but sturdy) so that I can hang fabric along the side where there aren't enough trees to block the neighbors, so that I can sit out there in nature without having to think about my terrible neighbors or ever suffer their gaze. I'm sure not all of them are awful, but at least some of them are. Last year someone(s) deliberately smashed my two glass globe solar lights that were my shimmering joy (I took a photo because it smacked of hate crime (my car makes it super obvious that I'm queer) and I wanted evidence in case something worse happened) and recently someone sent me a nasty note for not having a tidy yard (it's since been tidied, because that has been my intention for months but I haven't had the spare energy).

Also I planted my newest garden baby, a sweet orange pepper that Topaz gave me. I also have a sweet green pepper (poblano I think), a Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber and another that I don't remember the name of, Ititarod Red Dwarf tomato and some kind of small green tomato, a purple tomatillo, and cinnamon basil. Topaz has some seedlings for me that I'll hopefully be able to add soon.

I swept more things and watered and did lots of tidying and dishes, went to lunch with Lily and Tasha (whose cat is living in my basement room right now because Tasha can't keep them where they live and can't move yet), and spent time with Kylei. They were exhausted like always after a burn so they came over, took a nap (I made them up a bed) and then a shower, and then we had dinner (on plates at a table because Kylei wanted a ritual dinner; I enjoyed it more than I thought I would). We lay on my bed and stared at my fairy lights, which I tried on a new setting, slow glow (they have 8 patterns for flashing/fading). It was utterly hypnotizing and beautiful; definitely my new favorite. I can't believe I hadn't tried it before. When it went to red especially I felt like I was being bathed in healing. (I'll try to remember to get a video though I have no idea how I'd describe it!) We cuddled a little and Kylei told me about their burn experience. We hung out for a few hours and then Kylei went to bed but couldn't sleep, so I gave them melatonin and silent hair pets for a little while until they seemed almost asleep. I haven't heard them up and about since so I think it worked but now I'm afraid to go pee because I don't wanna wake them up *awkwardface*

I have two prospective jobs, one where I am 99.99% sure I have the job (waiting on paperwork) and another with an interview scheduled for tomorrow. I reeeeeeally want the one I'm interviewing for. It's an absolute dream.

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essential qualities to be a good cuddler: good at consent, emotionally present & aware, not in need

icon: "woven souls (a photo of me and Hannah laying nude on black fabric, holding hands and facing each other with legs intertwined at the knee. the photo is overlaid with a scarlet and violet color filter)"

The qualities that are most vital are being good at consent, being good at staying emotionally present, and not radiating need. Consent is vital because any touch needs to be consensual and a cuddler needs to know how to navigate that and give someone safety. Being emotionally present and aware is necessary because that is the building block for being able to give cuddles that are emotionally nourishing as well as physically pleasant. Not being full of need is necessary because even if you are otherwise perfect, if you have great need you may unintentionally drain people with your presence unless they know how to guard against that, or you are amazingly good at putting it in a box for a time. (for people who are full of need, guess what would be great for them? a professional cuddler!)

1) A cuddler needs to be good at consent: good at noticing non-verbal "no"s and asking clarifying, specific questions such as, "is there any part of your body that you would like me to avoid touching? Is there any particular kind of touch that you do not like?" and things like "would you like to be spooned? would you like me to stroke your arms? do you want me to play with your hair?"
2) A cuddler needs to not be touch-starved or affection-hungry. If they go into a session without their own tanks full, it is quite possible that their touch will drain the client rather than nourish them.
3) A cuddler needs to be good at boundaries. They need to be able to state their own comfort level and to be willing and able to say no and perhaps end the session if the client is not listening to those statements and honoring them.
4) A cuddler needs to have calm, settled energy about them, so that the cuddles they give will be relaxing and they won't transfer any stress to the client.
5) A cuddler needs to be comfortable with other people's emotions, able to listen, care, and hold space without getting swept along.
6) A (professional) cuddler needs to be good at separating sexual touch from affectionate touch, so that they can both offer touch with no sexual energy and they can read when a client is not being platonic and set boundaries accordingly.
7) A cuddler needs to be good at paying attention and good at reading people's reactions, so that they can tell how to adjust their touch according to what would be the most nourishing for the client.
8) A cuddler needs to be very comfortable with cuddling, so that they don't feel self-conscious and make their client feel awkward and uncomfortable about receiving their touch. They need to have a level of confidence and willingness to change something that is not working for the client.

Only the last one is really about physical aspects. The rest is all mental! Not all of it is stuff you can control -- obviously people don't have a lot of control over how much they need or how calm they are or even how emotionally present they are (some disabilities can break you out of being present no matter how hard you try). Some of this is skill, and some of it is just qualities that you might have or you might not, and some is a combination.

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my mood

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