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stepwise processing: lists both ordered and otherwise / how I set goals
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

The other day Abby gave me feedback about my post on 5-steps to educate or eliminate that made me realize that I have subconscious processes for a lot of things, and when I make those processes conscious and concrete, they become more useful to me. So I'm probably going to be making more stepwise-processing posts in the future, and I'm gonna go back and tag the ones I can remember. The first one that comes to mind is how I apologize when I have hurt someone -- 1) empathize 2) explain 3) change (the order of that is VERY important). I'm including lists in this too, even when they are not ordered lists, such as my draws and dealbreakers: my reasons to fight for a relationship and my reasons to end one. If you can think of any of my posts that involved processing through lists, that would be super helpful if you'd tell me about them, even a vague topic would help me find them.


How I set goals: I set goals by my desires, and figure out those with these questions. I used to set goals out of guilt or fear or shame, but not now. I have to be pulled to make something a goal, not pushed.

1) What do I most feel a lack of in my life? What do I have the most unfilled yearning for? What do I most quickly start missing when I don't have it?

2) What are some ways I could get more of those things?

3) How can I make small daily habits or once-a-week tasks out of #2's answers?

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steal this idea and make this program please.
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

OMG I just had the best idea. Much of rhetorical power is in structure, so it should be possible to create a computer program where you can write a speech, then have it process it into a format that would create the desired result - being remembered and taken seriously. Things like repetition of key words, sets of three, rhyme, alliteration and assonance, even puns, those would all totally be programmable. ARGH wish I had the skills to do this.

Of course, it may already be done.

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5-step educate or eliminate / when I realize I'm wrong / reducing privilege effects
icon: "passionate (a red stylized gas mask: the Benjamin Gate symbol)"

Being able to tell when someone is not interested in learning is a vital skill in resisting oppression, I think. I have a system now. If you make a problematic statement, I will follow these five stepsCollapse )

If at any point, someone comes to me with a request for resources to learn, I will courteously and generously try to come up with the resources I think would be most helpful. I will give of my time, energy, and thought to do this. But I will not waste any time on someone who just wants to try to verbally fence with me. Pripois often find it entertaining to fight about social issues that have no negative effect on them, and I have no interest in providing their entertainment. (pripoi= privilege-poisoned person, one who denies privilege and/or refuses to try to reduce its effects)

I consider it a radical and important action to tell a privileged person that their opinion on oppression is useless. They are almost always shocked by this, and it sticks in their memory. Being flat-out told you are wrong and uninterestingly so is a rare experience for pripois. It encourages them to self-examine. I know this was true for me when I was privilege-poisoned. (I am still privileged of course, but no longer to the point of denying my own privilege or refusing to attempt to ameliorate its effects)

On realizing that I'm wrong, I often feel embarrassed if I think I should have figured it out already, but I also feel happy because it means I learned something new. I prefer to realize things myself because that's less embarrassing but I feel grateful when someone tells me information that makes me realize I was wrong about something with a lot of impact, because it feels like the world is suddenly profoundly changed and I have potential for many new understandings. It's a gift to have someone correct my misunderstanding -- yes, even if it's done rudely. Also, one of the habits I have built as a protection against embarrassment is to say, "yeah, I was wrong" as soon as I realize it. It prevents me getting defensive, and it allows me to stop calculating the extent of my wrongness and focus on figuring out a way to do better. It sort of short-circuits the shame cycle, for me. (if it is something I feel really bad about, I can fret about it later where the person confronting me doesn't have to deal with my self-centered guilt/shame)


How not to be a pripoi: an example.

An example of reducing the effects of privilege would be: you're a man and you're hanging out with a woman and a man. The man makes a sexist comment and the woman responds explaining the problem. You resisting oppression and reducing privilege effect would be saying something like "I agree" or "you need to listen to this" rather than making your own argument in the same vein. Men have the privilege of having their arguments taken seriously while women are ignored, and you can push back against this by being supportive without adding your own voice, if there is already someone who is not a man speaking. If no one else speaks up, then by all means, express your issue with the sexist comment. But if after your initial statement, someone who actually experiences that oppression takes up the discussion, remember that it's time to pull back and be supportive.

I learned that^ method by example, when a default (white hetero cisgender nondisabled male) posted a really sexist article and myself and three women had pointed out various issues in it. The default ignored all of our arguments. Then an ally who is a really great person (also a default) came in and said something that was a rephrasing of one of the same points. The pripoi default then suddenly acknowledged that point, while criticizing the rest of us. This was a fail of allyship because it allowed the pripoi to dismiss 90% of what we had said, and when I noticed it I realized that I have done the same thing before with issues where I am the ally (such as racism or mobility impairment). I determined that I would do my best to express only support in a discussion of an issue that doesn't affect me when others have it handled. However I have a shit memory and I know I have fucked up since then, so if you ever notice me failing on this please call me out.

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Writing prompts: only ones that would be hard for you to answer please! {FULL!}
icon: "voltaic (me, face at a sharp angle staring out of one eye with a slight smile and streaks of rainbow light on my face)"

Well, since bunnika, keiwontia, and aliki (and someone else I'm forgetting) are doing it, I think it's a good time for me too. Please pick up to 3 days and give me some writing prompts for February! But please, ONLY ask questions that if you were to ask them of yourself, you would have to think for a while before knowing the answer. You can use questions I have asked you before, if you want, and if I have already done them I'll give you the link *smiles*

the listCollapse )

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spiritually inspired/nourished / how I meditate / what eye contact feels like for me
icon: "woven souls (me and Hannah lying naked on black cloth, with legs entwined, laying on our sides facing each other with one set of hands entwined with each other's, and the top shoulder leaning back, relaxed. there is a red and violet overlay with the violet coloring me and the red coloring Hannah)"

I haven't been this regularly spiritually inspired and nourished -ever. I was gonna say "in a long time" but really, I think the previous longest streak that felt like this was a week and a half. I can't express how good it feels. I think part of what is fueling it is the fact that I've been keeping up with writing and daily photo-taking and daily unprompted openness and regular time with friends and time in nature. The flow of creativity and connection is very inspiring. Also I think I'm in a great place where I am starting to develop things that I have already discovered, and it builds much faster than when I'm initially just fumbling around.

This Wednesday I met up with Cass (a close friend of Heather's who I have known peripherally for a long time) and we had some great talks. Partway through we parted so that I could do my weekly meditation, and I sat on a dock next to the river and stared at the water for a while, and closed my eyes for a while, and had a difficult time settling in. Eventually I was able to get in the space (it is much harder for me when I am not in my sanctuary) and as I was meditating I realized that I want to re-make my sistrum with a heavier handle, perhaps with stones embedded. I felt really pleased with this prospect. After meditation Cass asked if they could ask me what my meditation was like. I said firstly, you can always ask me any question ever, and on the rare occasion when I don't wish to answer, I will just say so. Then I rambled about what I do and as I did so came to realize what it is that I do.

I don't ever do emptiness meditation. Sometimes I hold an object and focus on it, sometimes I gaze at something and focus intently on that, sometimes I look through a deck of oracle/tarot cards, sometimes I read a book, sometimes I chant, sometimes I dance, sometimes I focus on my breathing, sometimes I focus on a situation that I want to change. In a good number of these, I am thinking. But when I start going down a thought-trail I have already explored, I stop. And I just block off old thoughts, one by one, until new ones have a chance to come up. I developed this totally unintentionally but I really like it.

Cass also asked me what eye contact feels like for me, which was also a question I hadn't considered. I reflected, and said that with most people I become a mirror, they look in my eyes and see themselves reflected, but through a lens of compassion. The first time I did silent prolonged eye contact with someone, the person cried and cried (that one was at least 10 minutes). People always seem to have a strong emotional response. I tend to get a strong sense of their pain or longing when this happens, sometimes seeing bits of memories that aren't mine. I enjoy giving them feelings of being noticed, of being cared for.

I'd really like to get that feeling others seem to get, but I think that maybe that requires a skill most people don't have or maybe I unconsciously block off the flow in that direction or both. I know I need to trust the person on multiple levels: trust that they want to see me truly and without a role or pedestal, trust that when they see me they will be reverent, trust that they can handle my full self without crumbling, trust that they will not use what they learn to manipulate me whether on purpose or accidentally, trust that they will not attach to me or pull my energy from me. So, yeah, writing this out I realize why I have rarely had eye contact be so emotional for me; that list is a rare and extremely high level of trust. I have such a deep level of easy-vulnerability that the vulnerable-to-me level is something most don't seem to look for. Few people seem to realize that more exists, much less ask me to open that up for them.

I have had transcendent eye contact, mostly during sex. I feel like that is when people get in a space of focus where it is easier for them to try and see me without getting distracted by their reflection. Also, there was this barista I met in a coffeeshop when I was 19, who from the moment I met them locked eyes with me and it felt comfortable and easy and natural and loving, and we had amazing conversations for the 6 months that I frequented that coffeeshop. But between that person and now, I have had a number of experiences where people would make eye contact with me and try to attach to me or pull from me, both of which feel like someone trying to sneakily rub their genitals on you. It's awful. But then the people that I do trust tend to consider eye contact too difficult. So I don't make a lot of eye contact now, relative to me. Relative to your average person I make a SHITTON of eye contact.

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free small fractal print if you tell me your favorites in this poll!
icon: "hypnotiq (my fractal "Windwheel" -- an abstract swirl of yellow red and orange with a little green)"

Well, I got distracted attempting to build a website to function as a central hub for my art, so I didn't catch up on my flist yet but I hope to tomorrow.

If you will do me the HUGE favor of looking through my current fractal gallery (sorry no image descriptions yet, the site is still mostly non-functional) and telling me the titles of your favorites (the alt text gives the title, as well as the full-size page), I will delightedly mail you a small print (one of your favorites). Just fill this out, then comment with your address if you want a print (comments are screened). This offer is only good for the first 22 who do the poll* and request a print (not that I think there will be that many, just don't want to sign myself up for more than I can afford!). Yes I will send internationally. Good god so many parentheticals (too many).

Poll #1996460 fractal favorites

title 1:

title 2:

title 3:

title 4:

title 5:

I'm asking because I am attempting to put up some of my art at local coffeehouses, and I want to give myself the best chance by printing the most popular ones for display.

*unless you need image descriptions to do this, then I'll do it anytime after i get the descriptions up.

ETA @11pm EST Jan 26: so far, 10 claimed.
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why "can't we all just be PEOPLE" is not a valid critique of labels
icon: "ma'at (photo of a scale with a feather on it, and underneath it the word "Ma'at")"

Labels are important because people can find community using them (which is necessary for survival), and they give others a starting place to understand or learn instead of making assumptions in favor of default identity. There isn't this kind of "why can't we all just be people, I hate labels" backlash against political party labels or familial role labels or religious labels, because people don't feel like acknowledging variety in that way makes them take a new look at themselves. The reason privileged people push back against gender, sexuality, ability, and racial labels (and others related to oppression) is because those labels make one have to acknowledge privilege, which is quite uncomfortable.

If you have to label yourself as straight/cis/non-disabled/white, that is an acknowledgement that you do not suffer the oppression that queer/trans/disabled/people of color do. It recognizes that you have a different experience, and if you are at all aware, that experience is clearly privileged.

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Dream: revamped home, gardening, my paintings, jail, execution, flying, mushroom
icon: "mysterious (photo of the snow leopard Shingizu's face, staring straight forward)"

Dreamed I was coming home, and my mailbox was new and incredibly fancy. Some people, maybe neighbors, came over and looked at that and came inside, and looked at the house, and were very impressed. The house had purple and green trim. Then there was a storm coming up and as it started to rain I was sitting on the porch and the ground was red clay but as the rain came down it turned into a very rich brown soil. There was a tree planted in it and one of the neighbors stepped on it and broke it from its root. I took both pieces and put the larger piece without the root by into the ground and took the little piece which suddenly no longer had roots and put it in a glass cup with something else that had roots, so it could learn to grow them. The weather was getting much more intense and I picked up all of the loose little containers of plants and put them on the floor underneath the table on the porch. One of the plants started growing roots into the porch and seemed to be very disturbed at being moved, so I poured water over it to help.

The scene switched and I was at a restaurant and it was a weird combination between the glass divider prison tables, and a sort of ruby tuesday place. Across from me was an old black woman and we started talking about how we made a difference in the world and they got up and put mayonnaise in the oil lamps and told me that they did this so that it would be used instead of exploitative oil from other places. I asked wouldn't they just dump it out and use even more oil and they said no that no one ever noticed the difference. I asked if they had to come back to look and they said yes. A little later they started talking about the Constitution and how they felt that our country could have been well off with fewer amendments, & I said well I think the most recent ones are some of the most important, and they disagreed. They told me that they were around in the day and knew better than I did. I said yes they likely did, and I wasn't trying to argue but I didn't understand and wanted them to explain.

Scene switched again and I was in jail. Weirdly Bridget was there and my paintings were on the walls, and Bridget looked at one I had done and said that it was amazing. it was a self portrait and I had done really perfect perfect paint on the front part, with colorful shading on the lower left curve of my belly. But this painting apparently had two sides and on the other side on the back, I hadn't put enough shading underneath my butt.

Then I was in the bathroom with a bunch of other people and I was in a stall that was covered in pee and trying to clean it up with toilet paper and I finally got it cleaned up. A new person came in it who was supposed to fix it and they started measuring my head! They were talking about various aspects of my head and measuring it in various ways. Then we were listening to this voice telling us about how to handle rape, they were this horrible person who was hiding at first, and then I asked who is saying this, and they put their head out from these blankets from where they were laying on a mattress on the floor. Then another inmate came out of the next room started talking about how they did absolutely everything they could to resist what they were told to do. They would eat everyday sitting on the floor with their legs drawn up and crossed, reaching under and through their legs to eat from the dish. Then the person who was telling people how to deal with rape took a fork and stabbed them in the hand and they slowly pulled it out of there and then started stabbing themselves more. It became very chaotic and they took us, all of the inmates, out to this place in the water where they performed executions and they called out this person's name and then threw them down a long long long long tunnel to an electrified section of water at the bottom. They got burned up to nothingness. There's something in this that I can't remember, about someone getting punished and another person having to watch them knowing that it wasn't their fault. They executed two more people for even less reason. Then they called my name and went to throw me down and at first I was terrified, and then I realized that this was just the impetus I needed to be able to start to fly. So I flew up out of the tunnel and pulled off the giant net over it, and flew away. I dropped the net on the front of a ludicrously large sailship and went flying more. I realized I needed to fly higher in order to avoid having to follow the deep and wild flow of ocean waves, so I started doing that. Then I came upon someone from my past, Finnegan, and I tried to catch up with them, but they dove away from me into the ocean. I grabbed on to the symbol of them (a mushroom) and was pulled underwater, deeper and deeper, and started to worry I wouldn't be able to come up for air, when I woke.
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smelling like a human is forbidden truth, non-verbal communication
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

I learned shame about my scent from my biofamily and my first lover (who I was with for 8 years). They complained about my smell, or told me about it in lowered embarrassed voices, and so I washed it off, chemically murdered it, covered it. I learned I had to choose between the happiness of smelling like myself or the respect/admiration of others. Smelling "bad" (which for people read as female means not smelling like flowers) is associated with all manner of things that people judge for, like uncleanness, laziness, irresponsibility, lack of self-awareness, lack of 'intelligence.'

This is disappointing because frankly when I am alone I love the smell of my sweat and vulva. I can read my emotions in my smell and when my body is happy it is 'louder' and it sometimes smells like spices and sometimes smells like fresh donuts. I will draw it in deeply and feel the delight some people feel at smelling a flower. If everyone around me didn't care or liked my smell I would just wash my sweat off once a day so it was fresh and not wear anything to tone down my scent (which, if I do nothing after washing, emerges after about 3 hours). What I do now is wear deodorant that is 'natural' and doesn't mask my scent or add smell, but it tones it down a lot and keeps the spicy smell from happening. As for my vulva, I get embarrassed whenever someone might smell it unless I am in the process of having sex with them (and even then, most of the time I want to keep their face as far from my crotch as possible). The only person with whom this was not true was Kylei, because they were quite vocal in liking how I smell. Other people have commented positively on my smell, but that is just the toned-down version as I've only been willing to be "smelly" around Kylei.

I love the smell of other people's fresh happy sweat and will sometimes sniff the armpits of people I love, if they don't get weirded out by such things. I wish people weren't so violent in their rejection of this part of humanity. I think its a kind of 'privacy' in that body scent gives as much information as posture or tone of voice. People don't want to know or be known because the first brings too much responsibility (when you smell fear, loneliness, what then? you likely feel a responsibility to react) and the second takes too much risk (what if they don't like the real you?). If someone rejects their own human scent I feel sure that they will reject mine as well, or silently wish I would go erase it, so I just remove it before it has a chance to offend their sensibilities.
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Very productive day: school stuff, oneness blessing, connection ritual
icon: "woven souls (me and Hannah lying naked on black cloth, with legs entwined, laying on our sides facing each other with one set of hands entwined with each other's, and the top shoulder leaning back, relaxed. there is a red and violet overlay with the violet coloring me and the red coloring Hannah)"

This Thursday was a very eventful and nourishing day. school stuff in the morningCollapse )

I spent the rest of the day with LilyWolf: we talked for a while and then had prolonged eye contact (like, 20-30 minutes, way more than others can usually do). At that point I realized how tired I was and asked them to drive us to the oneness blessing, which they cheerfully did. The blessing circle was at someone's house instead of a church, and it felt much better. We used to meet in the rooms where the age 10-18 kids spend time, which feels rather chaotic and exposed: the room we meet in now is set up as a sanctuary and you can feel the calm infused throughout.

During the blessing, I first felt energy go into me in a kind of shower, flowing through me from the person's hands into the earth and then it sort of bounced back, so it was this ellipse flowing through me. That was true for the first few times, and then I started to feel a sort of pressure/fullness in the center of my forehead each time. As usual my thoughts got more clarified and creative as the hour moved forward, and I felt a sense of relief in my brain. I was really glad to have gone, just for that, and reminded of how good it is for me to go regularly because it has a cumulative effect and one of the things it seems to do is heal my mind a little from the ways that ADD stresses it.

Giving the blessing felt a little awkward and barely-trickling at first, because it had been so long since I did it last, but it opened up with each instance. With one person, I felt they had a sort of stern maternal deity, and when I let it flow from them through me to the person, I started to feel like I was floating up from my feet! I've never felt anything like that before and it was really unexpected from such a deity. The next person in the circle, I felt a sense of white flowy sweet gentleness that reminded me of Isis or Quan Yin but I don't think it was either of those, perhaps a saint. Then there was the one who always feels so open that it is super easy to flow with them: every time I give them the blessing I see a moonlit waterfall in a dense forest, and I feel that space giving to them (I think they worship a deity but it is always only nature I feel giving to them). Then I gave to LilyWolf and felt/saw a greenish face surrounded by leaves, felt a sense of Celtic isles, and heard the name Caerdwynn (later I looked this up and found Ceridwen). It was shorter than the ones I'm used to but it was every bit as powerful if not more so. I feel very inclined to go every week, and hope that I motivate to do so. It'll be difficult for the next few months because going out in the dark cold is so repulsive to me.

As we headed home we realized we were both very hungry and stopped at one of my favorite Mexican food places (the one with the best salsa) and I impulsively invited Topaz, forgetting how stressful last minute plans are for them. They'd already had a long and shitty day, and it was the last straw. I asked LilyWolf if they minded driving me to Topaz' to give them some delicious food, and they were happy to help, so we went and dropped that off. It helped Topaz feel better, thankfully.

When we got back to the house we had tea and coffee and I asked if they'd like to participate in a ritual for drawing connections in (both general and heart-kin) and they were quite enthused about the idea. So I let them copy my spells down, and gathered the necessary items.

I lit a yellow candle for joy, and then turned on some music so that we could raise energy through dance; that was really powerful. At first I was self-conscious but then I just poured myself into the music and gathered emotion from it. I haven't used dance in ritual deliberately before, but I realized that when I danced in church, it was like this. With singular focus, pulling up emotion deliberately, reaching to connect, to open myself for messages. (with this realization I am astounded at how terrible a structure the church service is, building energy that then doesn't get used at all because they go from that to a break where everyone just mills around! At the very least people should be encouraged to end with a prayer that focuses all that energy) As I danced, I felt it shift from just being my body interacting with the sound, to being my emotions interacting with the words, until it became movement that expressed the song as purely as if I was singing it straight out of the initial inspiration. Like a rebirth of the song, through motion.

Next I lit a rainbow candle and LilyWolf and I chanted my spell for drawing in positive connections, and then lit a green candle and together we chanted the spell for drawing heart connections, three times. At some point I lit vetivert incense, and after chanting the spells we just sat and silently meditated until the incense burned out, repeating the spells once more before the end. We took the candles upstairs and let them burn for a while longer until we went to bed. I re-lit them the next day and plan to light them whenever I am at home for a stretch of time. We infused them with the spell so that every flicker of those candles sends out the same intentions.

So far (within 48 hours), there have been five new sprouts of connection. I'm feeling very positive about the effectiveness of this!

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dream: reject commands, organize stuff, see art & flirt, go to party & witness sex, rescue recycling
icon: "dreamy (painting of a person in a cage, reaching out with swirls of color and light coming from their hand)"

So, I failed to keep my streak going, so I'm starting my 22-day over again. Here's a dream from January 7th:

Dreamed about living with my parents, a small child escaping abuse with my help, they also drove a car. M told me to do something in a rude way and I refused, they got angry, I got angrier, screamed at them in front of their guests. I went to my room and worked on rearranging my stuff- I had like 10 pairs of boots (in waking life I have one pair of daily shoes and an interview pair and that's it: I do not own boots). I went outside and next door someone had hung a big print of two women of color kissing, and I wanted to know who lived there. An Indian woman who was pretty butch came up and put an arm around me and I asked who lived there (their aunt and niece) and who the artist was (Stan something). They were flirty with me, we both went outside (out from under the awning I was under, where the print was) to the party and lots of people were having public sex, in sometimes very odd ways (a pregnant woman climbed on a cage that was full of people and spread thier legs as all of those people started kissing/licking/ stroking). I talked with some people and watched some, and the butch person came up and I petted their arm. When they left I went inside and started tidying the kitchen, sorting the fridge and pulling the recycling from the trash.
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why I use 'they' as my standard pronoun / I now require gender-neutral pronouns in reference to me
icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

For many years I used ze/zir for everyone, and fairly recently I changed to they/them (still working on it, I have all of the slip-ups). I made the switch for several reasons. One is that even though ze/zir does not refer to a gender and is thus a term for any person, it is taken as meaning "something other than he or she" and I have to acknowledge the common perception even though it's inaccurate. So I use they/them because that is actually taken as gender-neutral. There is also the fact that I am not the clearest enunciator, and people sometimes hear my "zir" as her and my "ze" as he. That doesn't work either! And lastly and most importantly, they/them is inclusive of people who are bigender or multigender and plurals (people who are multiple systems, multiple people living in the same body. FAQ). And because of the misconception about ze/zir, using that set for all people can be hurtful to binary trans people because it may be perceived as stripping gender, but "they" is less likely to be perceived as an invalidation of identity. So, overall I switched to 'they' to communicate more accurately and to be more inclusive.

Also, I realized recently that as a person who only feels mild discomfort at people using gendered pronouns about me, I am relatively privileged, and I need to mobilize this privilege for the sake of those who feel deeply wounded by gendered pronouns. So I have decided to require people to refer to me in gender-neutral terms, because that will make it easier for others to require it when they need it. I am not entirely sure how to go about this, because I haven't done it before, but it's my intention. Please poke me if you notice me failing to do it; that will help me to remember and/or have the courage to do it. And if you do not care what pronouns people use in reference to you, I urge you to also require gender-neutral from those who refer to you. You won't be hurt if people tell you no, so your risk is much smaller and you can make the world a safer place, in a small way. You never know who around you is wincing inside every time someone says "he" or "she."

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relationships: Kylei / Abby / Anika / Heather / KWT / Lilywolf / Topaz / Allison / Jaime / Adi / Kat
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Reflecting on my relationships this past week, I realized that I have been pouring a lot of energy out and not getting much back. This isn't a problem when I'm in a period of abundance, because I don't mind it in and of itself, but I'm still recovering from my 2012 suicidal depression, and last November/ December were hugely draining - so it's not something I can healthily do right now. So I have to figure out how to spend less energy and/or get more, hopefully without hurting feelings or sparking resentment. I feel a bit of a failure about this, because I was working so hard on reconnecting with people I love, and I feel sure that if I stop putting so much in, some of those connections will wither. But this is a pattern, and it's a bad one. I have to stop doing this. I need to be okay. I've been crying pretty much every day this week, and wanting to cut everyone out of my life. That's not a practical desire or something I would actually do, but it is an urge I get when I am not being nourished. It's a very bad sign.

relationship updatesCollapse )

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poll: naming that thing that means family without all the gross blood stuff
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

Poll #1995242 that thing that means family without all the gross blood stuff

pick no more than TWO please

truekin / trukin
connecting: ,

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strange feelings
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 very weird day, extremely strong emotions about lots of things. Feeling a little insecure about absolutely everything. Feel unspecial, unsexy, unimportant, lost, useless. No good reason.

The only thing I can think of is that I am very scared of school this semester. I feel the need to take a class that is really intense and scares me. I don't think that this fear is rational? But last semester I felt on the verge of losing my mind from stress for a solid month. I don't think that would happen again because my classes all seem to be well organized but now I am afraid I will forget some of the billion assignments. And one of the classes is online which is so easy for me to forget about. Ugh. Need to reset my brain.

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maybe I have a very bad habit - thoughts?
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

I have a problem with the sometimes sounding 'mean' especially with my favorite people. I think I throw bystanders for a loop when I talk with Topaz or Kylei sometimes because I will make fun of them sort of? but it's always about things that I have already discussed with them and they know I'm not being mean but expressing that I know them. I think it can come off mean though, and sometimes I'll forget and do it with someone who doesn't know me as well and they might take it as a passive-aggressive dig. I have definitely done it with Kei-Won-Tia and Anika and then realized that they might not feel like I am expressing affection for that aspect of them, and tried to explain, but I worry that that comes off as insincere. I feel regret for this habit whenever that happens. Not sure if I should try to unlearn it. Thoughts?

Like, if someone called me "as subtle as a brick to the face" I would feel loved and flattered that they were expressing this understanding of me, because I feel that my lack of subtlety is a quality that is fairly essential to who I am. But that may be a very strange quirk and what if I am making people feel like shit in my attempts to show understanding and affection? Ugh, dreadful possibility. If I have ever said something that was pointing out of one of your outstanding qualities in an over-the-top way, did it make you feel bad? or..?

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Self-awareness and other-awareness
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

Question from a friend: ...our culture actually encourages thoughtlessness and poor self-awareness and poor other- awareness. And yet, you have honed (and continue to grow) these skills better than anyone I've ever known. Did anything set you on that path? Was it just innate? A combination of things?

My self-awareness began with the church, I think. I went to a revival when I was 11 and promised God I wouldn't lie or steal any more (which I had done a lot before then). I stopped, and through monitoring my own actions I became aware of what led to them, slowly over time. But it also stalled out for a while because I shut down to everyone and everything to survive living with my parents and living in a city full of terrible painful energy. Later I started LJing and met Hannah, whose wonderful prying questions helped me open up to myself and others. When I started going to therapy for the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I became self-aware more acutely and I became aware of others in a deep way.

I realized that every hurtful action came from a hurt person, and that people didn't hurt you because they were just nasty people but because their experiences led them to think that their behavior was an appropriate response. It wasn't until I was with Kylei that I realized that most of the time, people don't realize the pain they are causing. Kylei and I loved each other so deeply and yet often caused each other terrible pain, never intentionally. I came to understand that my reasoning is just my point of view and that another person could have a positive intention for an action even when it seems to me like there could only possibly be negative intentions.

The biggest help for me with learning other-awareness is asking questions instead of deciding for myself what someone's motives are. Nowadays forgetting to check is the outlier, but it still happens. The biggest help for me with self-awareness is writing often and having at least one chunk of alone time per week. Self-awareness is a privilege, because it takes free time (at least for me) and free time is a privilege. Another thing that helps HUGELY is people asking meaningful prying questions, which is part of why I take them as a gift.

And reading people's introspection helps a great deal with both self- and other- awareness, because I realize new perspectives that others have and I realize my own perspective, in contrast. It helps me to notice the air I'm breathing, so to speak, to notice my ways and thus be able to engage with them deliberately rather than through habit. This is a huge part of my love for LJ.

Also, I think there is a part of my awareness that comes from my neuro-type; I see things in pieces rather than as a whole, especially people. So I notice small shifts that signal meaning, more often than I would if I was considering the whole. And lastly, part of it is a reaction to trauma. As a kid I learned how to avoid pain by paying close attention to my parents' moods and reacting accordingly. This is some intense training in reading emotion, in being aware of others. The harder to learn has definitely been self-awareness, for me.

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active, thoughtful LJ friends: recommend your friends and yourself!
icon: "vivacious (me, hugging myself and smiling engagingly)"

I've had a number of friends saying that they want to find more active, thoughtful LJ friends. And I always want more friends who write about stuff like:

  • an interaction they had with someone that made them realize something new

  • their introspective, thorough, and specific take on concepts that are often assumed to be the same for everyone: friendship, romance, sex, gender, relationships, parenting, etc

  • an experience they had that conveyed deep meaning to them

  • their specific desires, especially ones that aren't common

  • their core values and how they live them

  • events in their past that shaped their present

  • previous intense relationships (friends, family, lovers)

  • their daily life and how they learn from it (not interested in a recap without the thoughts and feelings that went with it)

  • their spirituality and how they invest in it (ritual, meditation, prayer, self-education, etc)

Have some friends like this? recommend them in the comments! if you have a lot like this, pick a random set of eight or fewer.

You are an LJer like this? Fill this out!

also feel free to spread the word!
connecting: ,

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Dream: leading, escaping cult, tricked by Aurilion, sentenced to execution, flying, battle
icon: "dreamy (painting of a person in a cage, reaching out with swirls of color and light coming from their hand)"

Dreamed that I went with my mom to a place selling plants, and there was a woman feeling bad, like they were too staticy or were gonna get hit by lighting. I told them I am good at grounding and offered my hand, and they took someone else's hand also and started circling around me. I first followed then stopped them and started leading, as heavy things began falling out of the sky and almost hitting us. I made us all dodge and be safe, then went back inside and my mom was there. There was some kind of cult leader who was making everyone take suicide pills, I pretended to but didn't. I ran away with some others and came upon a place where the cult used to be, looking around this weird house that had a strange number of heights, and floors that could be pulled aside to let things (people) drop through. We got captured and taken to the main house, giant building. Aurilion was there, and I was upset that they were ignoring me, I didn't interact directly. Aurilion eventually sat with me and handed me a strange device which I tried to figure out the use of. It was for sending messages and I realized they were trying to tempt me to send a message of help, I refused but because I trusted them I told them it was only to avoid punishment, so the leader came and had me taken off to be executed along with others. The method was catapulting. But the person in charge of the catapult was one of my people and we had already planned for this. Some of us could fly occasionally. The catapulter was gentle with the little kids (all of us were under 18) and with me was very precise, throwing me to a far distance where someone was waiting to help me land gently. I landed, me and this other one put on camouflage, and we could both fly and flew back. We arrived to the battle already happening, and we slowly took over. One interaction was one I had with a 20ish woman, who I shot with arrows but none of them went deep enough to kill right away. I was about to stab them with another when they rolled over and were like "I could have had you, you know" I knew (the people in charge told them to rape me). They told me they wanted to, but sex not rape and I said I know, that I wanted that too. They told me they were gonna die anyway, why was I still attacking and I said because they're probably in pain. They looked sad shocked and loved, and then I smashed their head with a heavy bottle and they died instantly. I flew off to the main hall and did disarming of enemies, grabbed one kid and made them go eat. Up in the corner there was an invincible enemy and I convinced them to go home and come back and work for us when we won, or work for the others if they're still around but avoid the hassle. They required three of my people to carry them off home. At that point there was very little fighting left to do, I had the leader and their 2 or 3 closest totally surrounded and outnumbered. I woke up.
connecting: ,

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Ritual for Nuit and Renenutet/ spiritual properties of stones
icon: "Renenutet (a relief carving of Renenutet, represented as a winged cobra, overlaid with a fractal coloring)"

Sunday I did a ritual for Nuit and Renenutet, the first real ritual I have done for a deity in many years. I lit candles and incense, then wrote prayers while topaz played guitar. While writing to Nuit I held lapis lazuli and held amethyst while writing to Renenutet. Nuit I already knew to be associated with lapis, but for Renenutet I pulled a stone from a bowl of stones I had gotten for solstice, and it happened to be amethyst. That makes a weird kind of sense to me, as I associate amethyst with naming somehow. After I wrote the prayers I read them out loud and then reflected on the intended recipient while holding their stone. I felt incredibly awkward reading out loud, and had a hard time focusing on the words, but I felt satisfied afterwards.

I didn't really put any stock in stones having metaphysical qualities until this past Solstice. My belief system is composed only of things that I have experienced, for the most part, and I'd never felt effects from a stone. But after I chose stones based on intuitional feeling and then people pulled the one's I thought were right for them, especially after I pulled snowflake obsidian and then realized that it was the only stone I had that was for stress, I began to feel meaning there. Then when I was visiting biofamily and I could FEEL a difference immediately when I wasn't holding the yellow obsidian, I was convinced. I'm a bit perplexed that I have never had such experiences before but I am glad to have had them now. Curious about how it might affect my future and my spirituality in general.

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Unethical behavior: loopholes out of agreements, poking people's sore spots
icon: "sceptical (my face, one eyebrow lowered and the other raised, one side of my mouth pulled back in a disbelieving look)"

Being around my biofamily made me realize all these things that used to be normal for me that I now consider super shitty behavior. Using loopholes to escape things you agreed to do: this is treating someone as your enemy. If you know what the point of their request was and you are deliberately looking for a way to avoid that, you shouldn't have agreed to do it in the first place. The ethical thing to do would be to go to them and say, "I know I agreed to do this but I'm not comfortable with it, let's renegotiate." You should be able to trust that if someone ends up breaking an agreement, it wasn't due to lack of effort to honor the spirit of the agreement or renegotiate to one they could honor. You should not have to think of all the ways people could say yes and then blame their not-doing-it on your phrasing in order to lock people into an agreement they can't wiggle out of. They shouldn't agree to things if they are willing to try to wiggle out of those agreements.

I hadn't realized that it was M who was responsible for inversely-teaching me to not poke people in their sore spots or say things just to irritate. That is disrespectful. If you know something causes someone upset, be sensitive if you HAVE to discuss it and if you don't have to discuss it, just don't do it. Deliberately causing distress for one's own amusement is not making a joke, it is being unkind and disrespectful. Also, I realized how effective my method of stopping that behavior is: describing it and explaining how it is unethical. If you protest with distress, that gives them the 'fun' they were looking for. M's 'jokes' may be technically harmless (implying to P that they resemble someone P thinks is unattractive/unpleasant) but the effect is where you know the ethics of a thing.

(meta-note: I haven't had time to do more than write lately but I promise I'm not ignoring anyone, I just want to keep momentum with writing. I will respond to posts and comments when I next have time)

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Visiting biofamily and Anika
icon: "exuviate (a sparkly green dragonfly standing next to its just-shed previous skin)"

Yesterday I went on a walk in nature with P and we talked a lot about their relationship with M. As usual I was revolted by the presence of sexist norms and unethical treatment of each other, M taking advantage of P when they can and P doing it because M did it first. At least it's not as violent as it once was? But it's certainly not a positive relationship.

Anika picked me up from my biofamily's house in early evening. I really expected my biofamily to put up a fuss but there wasn't even a slight protest. Usually when I visit them, they are super greedy of my attention and do little else than spend time with me. This time, the first two nights after about 6-7 pm they all checked out, watching about 3 hours of the TV show they're currently on (without even trying to engage me) and then going to bed. It was really weird to me and I'm not sure how to take it. I like that they're being less controlling but it's like they're all addicted to escape. To be fair, M & P were sick and S did spend an evening talking with me very meaningfully. So maybe I just caught them at an off week. Anyway, I waited to tell them because I didn't want them to have much chance to manipulate me out of it (turns out it didn't matter).

So, I went with Anika and Suzu to their house and saw the dog again, met the rabbits, got sat on by the cats, watched the fish, and held the snake *grins* Menagerie is aptly named. Anika and I spent the evening talking, driniking, and eating ice cream. I got to see their altar and learn about the items that are a part of it.

They grimaced with pain at one point and I offered to rub their back, they accepted, and I did my best (probably not that great). I asked if I could energy them and they said yes, so I did some clearing out and then poured energy into their center, and tried to smooth/reconnect some shredded areas. Later I asked what they felt and they said they had been focusing all of their pain into one spot, which made me laugh because I have never had someone work to help while I was doing this, instead of just accepting. I think that was why it felt weird to me and I couldn't get much of a read on where the pain was (because they were moving it). I said that I want to try again sometime when Anika is not working simultaneously but is instead just receiving, and they said ruefully that they weren't very good at receiving but would give it a shot.

I felt really super happy to see Anika when they picked me up, happy in a glowy way. I'm sure some of it was the contrast between their lovely presence (and Suzu's) and my biofamily's sadness and exhausted hostility (between the parents), but I also think I felt more open and sensitive to their presence. I usually get discouraged when I can't easily (energetically) feel someone's affection for me, and get pulled out of the moment worrying that they don't really care or something, but that didn't happen this time. I didn't get distracted or fretful. Partly because they had just gone way out of their way for me and that makes me feel very loved and very sure of it. And partly, I think, because I felt a kind of subconscious understanding that only became conscious the next morning. As it did, I expressed that next time we have a few days together I would like to deliberately work on dropping the walls between us. I feel that there are some protections Anika has built after trauma that make it difficult for me to feel their spirit or connect fully. I sort of said these things while realizing them, speaking straight from intuition without editing. They said they feel that is true and they like the idea of trying that next time though it makes them nervous. I feel happy and relieved after sensing/realizing this because I had been perplexed that I couldn't feel what I felt years ago and worried that I had sensed wrong then or remembered wrong or that something had changed to make it impossible. Now I feel like I can be confident that it did and does exist and is reachable and I also feel like I have felt a piece of that again.

I also had a little talk with my parents about their habit of hostility and suggested that they try an experiment of not saying anything negative to or about each other for a week (and if they must express it for some reason, they have to write it not speak it). Including 'jokes' because M likes to say things to irritate P as entertainment for themselves. I suggested that if one of them slips up the other can kindly- not snarkily- say the code word "flower" to remind the other that they are trying to do this thing. They said they wanted to do it and were going to start right away. I'm taking that with a grain of salt, but if they really both earnestly try I think it would help so much (especially since they are going on a trip together tomorrow).

Also, I got them to finally hang artwork that they'd had sitting against the wall for probably at least a year, and after I asked if they had consecrated the house, P told me about the dog having seen spirits and a little later M decided to go ahead and do it. It wasn't the ritual I would have done by a long shot, but it seemed to be soothing for them and to help them to feel more settled and connected. It was immediately before I left so I didn't really have a chance to feel it out and see if I could feel a difference. I definitely felt the art made a difference (even though the quote one certainly wasn't what I would have chosen). I think P gets a lot of their sense of self-worth from their dedication to Christianity and that was how my parents connected initially so P takes M doing something Christian (like praying) as a sign of love or hope. Since they won't leave each other I hope they can manage to learn to be good to each other.

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goals for 2015
icon: "progressing (the verdant tunnel of love in Klevan, Ukraine)"

So my personal new year starts at various times -- sometimes November 13 (my spiritual birthday), sometimes on Solstice, sometimes on USian New Years. This year I did a burning-release on Solstice so this has felt like a sort of gestational period for the new year, as when I've had a chance I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish with my next year. Obviously I want to graduate school, but that's just a required hoop I have to jump through and isn't personally meaningful. I'll be relieved because I no longer have to put as much of my progress in other people's hands and because I can start making money, something I've never really done before. The most I've ever made in a month was like $850, and that was a fluke.

Anyway, I'm setting some goals, minimum intentions below, not ordered by importance to me:

500 photos taken that I like.
365 instances of unprompted openness.
365 days of keeping up with text responses at least once daily.
365 days of taking one cellphone snapshot daily.
303 days that include a spiritual practice, aiming for early in the day.
252 LJ entries.
88 love bank entries.
77 fractals.
55 dreams recorded.
55 artworks created.
55 intuitions recorded.
55 days of reading a spiritual book.
44 me-initiated text conversations with KWT, Abby, Anika, Kat, Allison, Jaime (each).
44 me-initiated fb messages to Heather and Kylei (each).
30 30-minute meditations.
16 intimacy practices.
13 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 hangouts with KWT, Kylei, Heather, Jaime, Allison (each).
11 new casual friends made.
8 crafty parties.
7 new park visits (parks I haven't been to before).
4 concerts.
4 sets of talismans made.
3 sets of icons made.
3 new good friends made.
2 22-day writing streaks.
2 sets of card readings.
2 musicsharing posts.
2 art inspiration posts.
1 new tattoo.
1 long (3.5+ hour) drive by myself.
1 burn-centered event.
1 class led at a convention.
More physical exertion.
More work on my etsys and art fb and local selling of my art (yellow daisy festival?).
More writing in my book of magic.
More new kinds of sex/physical intimacy.
More energy work with more people.
Redo my "characters in the story of my life" post.
Do year-overviews for 2012, 2013, 2014.

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Love memory bank: April through November 2014
icon: "shows -- xena happiness (Xena and Gabrielle looking at each other and smiling as they walk)"

love memory bank entries Collapse )

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Motion-sick/ Marina Abramovich art inspiration/ plant spirit magic book
icon: "voltaic (me, face at a sharp angle staring out of one eye with a slight smile and streaks of rainbow light on my face)"

I'm on a bus headed for D.C. I'm feeling a bit motion-sick, which is a recent development (before this December I never experienced it). I am not sure of this is just a bad thing, or if it is a negative symptom of a good thing. It would make sense to me that as I become more rooted to my place I become physically uncomfortable with travel. I'm okay with that, mild discomfort is more of a reminder of the meaning of what I am doing. I just hope it doesn't get more intense. I like that I am traveling during the calendar transition to the new year; earlier Kylei mentioned that and it suddenly felt very right.

I watched the documentary on Marina Abramovich and it fucking ripped my soul out. I was quite irritated with the voiceovers but seeing Marina's work, fuck, that is what I want to do. At one point they had a performance piece that was them sitting at a small table, silently, and making eye contact with whoever sat in front of them. Every day, 7.5 hours a day, for 3 months. I could feel that, so deeply, and I wanted to do that. I want to give that. I told this to Topaz, feeling sad about my lack of access to a space, and they said that I could do it at a burn. That is SO true and I yearn to do it. I have to figure out logistics but the next burn I go to, I will offer this. There are enough people seeking new experiences that I know I will at least get to do it with a few. I want the lengthy experience because I feel that my ability to sense things about people would grow exponentially, but it is also something I do not have the emotional or financial resources to do. So, a few hours a day for 3 days, will be my experience.

Also, the most sacred thing I can imagine, Marina had the support staff take photos of each person, and then Marina wrote notes under their photo, put it all in a book. When I saw that I felt like I had seen Godde. I cannot exaggerate how intense my reaction was. I don't think I have ever felt holiness like that in my life, nor any emotion that strong. I wanted to wash Marina's feet and kiss them. I wanted to thank them for this incredible gift to the universe. Even if there had been no documentation it would have been such a gift. And with the documentation (voiceover commentary notwithstanding) it can have more ripple effects. In the documentary the thing that affected me second most was seeing two children sitting and making eye contact, silently. I want to inspire people to create more intimacy on their own.

On this trip I brought "Plant Spirit Medicine" a book someone bought for me after seeing it on my amazon wishlist. Glancing at it in person, I realized the author was a default, and my heart sank. What appropriation and sexism will I find in this book? I thought. But then I happened upon a page referring to the spirit of Plantain (which I know grows nearby and has medicinal properties) and read that paragraph and decided to give it a shot. So far (35 pages in), it feels respectful. I hope to learn from it. I feel inspired to dream more deliberately again (something I used to do to avoid nightmares, or to feel things in my dream that I had no access to in waking life).

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Suggestions please!
icon: "magical (Michael Whelan's "Beanstalk" with a fractal overlay of color)"

I want to create more spells but I've done all the ones I can think of for things I need. So can you help? What do you feel a need for in your life? What do you see people around you in need of? If I can create a spell for the thing that you suggest, I will share it with you.

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recently: time w Abby, Anika, Kat visiting / Solstice celebration & ritual / Mercury died / xmas
icon: "night -- atlanta (a photo I took of Atlanta at sunset viewed from an airplane window)"

Kylei and I attempted to make a plan for the first time since our big clash about lack of interactions, it failed but I decided to go to the park we'd made plans at anyway and it's on my list of favorites now. It was very well-wooded and though it is hilly, the switchbacks are gradual enough that I don't hate it for the incline. There was one spot that made me feel a sense of holiness. I can't wait to go back after the trees have put out leaves again.

I picked Abby up from the airport when they came into town and after we had dinner at my favorite restaurant and I petted their hair a bit they crashed out. The next day they ran errands with me (including an AWFUL stop at the incredibly crowded post office) and helped me talk with the new coffeeshop owner about putting up fractals for commission there. I felt cozy going around with them, though they were still frazzled from the day before and we spent a good bit of time in silence, especially while crafting (both finishing solstice gifts). Then Topaz and Abby and I all went to the grocery store, came back and had dinner together while watching a Xena, and I spent the night. The next morning we had breakfast and coffee together and then I went home to do all the preparation things (partially so they could have one-on-one time). When I came back I tidied Topaz' basement with Abby's help -- poor Abby was just wiped out, so we didn't hang out much.

Solstice was a giant bustle of activity, with me, Topaz, Abby, Anika, Matt, Suzu, Kei-Won-Tia, Christo, Kat and their friend Sause, Heather, Brian, Kylei, Allison & their person Jonathan, and Jaime. More people brought food than Topaz and I were expecting (Topaz made adorable delicious tiny sandwiches and got fruits and veggies and I made my superfood dip), so we actually ended up with more food than we needed. After most everyone arrived, we had ritual: a shared damiana shot (with damiana tea for the little one), writing down things to let go of and then burning them, a spiral hug, and then drawing stones from a bowl of water and water beads. I had brought a number of stones and written all the meanings in my book of magic, so after everyone drew a stone (without looking) I then told them what their stone meant. I was a bit disappointed at mine -- snowflake obsidian -- but then when I looked at the meaning I laughed out loud because it was so perfect. Anika chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Kei-Won-Tia chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Topaz chose the stone I had gotten thinking of them! I was pretty blown away by that, and pleased. I remember thinking that all of them were appropriate but I don't remember what the others got.

After ritual we started opening presents and it was WAYYYY too chaotic for me, I got very overwhelmed and almost had to leave the room, I just couldn't deal with all the things happening at once. Overall I learned that I need present opening to be more structured for me to enjoy it at all. Last year it was so much calmer just because everyone had been laying around cuddling I think, and only one person was walking around at a time. Next year I want to do Topaz' suggestion of having each person take turns giving out their gifts. I really like seeing people open my gifts and also present compersion -- watching Kylei open a gift from Heather, for instance. I hope everyone is okay with that, I think they would be but no one thought of it. Later we all had food and alcohol and played a little bit of truth or truth. Allison arrived and I gave them my present -- a fractal I'd made for them, mounted on canvas with a painted border. They seemed to really love it which made me happy and relieved (I'd never done it before and was worried that it wouldn't appeal). As things wound down, eventually it was me, Kat, Jaime, Allison (and their person, who seems to appreciate Allison exactly as they are which makes me SUPER happy), and Topaz (maybe someone else too??). I got super great cuddles, playing with Allison's hair and getting a hand massage from Kat. It's very blurry (I was drunk and exhausted) but I remember feeling so loved that these people were not just spending time with me but investing in learning about each other. I have no idea what we talked about but the energy and cuddles were very nourishing for me.

Next morning I got up and helped make pancakes, did a billion and a half dishes, had breakfast, and said
goodbye to Kat and Sause (who I didn't get to really talk with, but seems really easygoing and open; I feel like it would be fairly easy to connect with them in a much smaller setting). Then I tidied more, hung out with Jaime until they had to leave for work, and talked with Anika and Abby while massaging Abby (who had neck/shoulder pain). After Anika and Matt and Suzu left to go to Sanctuary with Kei-Won-Tia, Abby and I took off for the nearest park under grey and horrid skies -- right after we arrived it started raining, so we climbed a baseball tower (no idea what it is actually called) and watched the rain and talked about solstice.

We went home and I saw Mercury (one of my bettas) looking dead and freaked the fuck out -- turns out they weren't dead just very lethargic and with a giant wound. After flailing a while I set up a quarantine bowl and put them in it, still incredibly rattled and upset. Abby and I sat around talking for a little while as I tried to calm down, and then I drove through rain and dark with wiper blades that won't work properly, terrified, and arrived at Topaz' even more shaky, with my hands literally shaking. Abby asked how to help me, I didn't know, they gave me a hug which helped some. Then Topaz arrived and comforted me too, and I just started crying, overwhelmed. Topaz put their hand over my heart and gave energy (I checked to make sure they were pulling from elsewhere because I am not at all comfortable with people draining themselves for my sake) which helped hugely. I wouldn't have thought to ask for it but I was very grateful. I decided to go lay down for a while as Abby and Topaz made dinner. Once it was ready we watched "Playing By Heart" because apparently Abby had still never seen it??!??

Later I realized I felt sad and told Abby about it -- that I felt sad about not intentionally connecting. We talked about it and I explained that I wasn't blaming them or asking for an apology, that I just wanted a fix for the future. Eventually we felt agreement and I asked them to sit with me holding hands and put our foreheads together (I initially suggested that we make eye contact but they felt that was too intense). When we did this I felt relief, and connection, like that missing bit finally clicked.

Then suddenly Abby and Topaz were full of playful energy and played hide and go seek, I 'found' Topaz who wanted a backpack ride but when Topaz jumped on, they were too close to the wall and smashed their knee (which hurt for days and I felt SO bad, forever after the jump-on part only happens in the middle of the room). Abby went to talk to Darryl and Topaz and I wrestled and made out (which made me happy partly because in the past Topaz wouldn't have done that in the common area if there was another person anywhere in the house). Topaz had suggested 3-person cuddles and I asked Abby, who liked the idea, so we cuddled with Abby in the middle and then Topaz in the middle. I gave Abby face pets and they liked them (yay!). But then Abby was falling asleep so we just left them to it.

Next day Abby and I went over to Sanctuary to hang out with Kei-Won-Tia, Anika, Waylon, Matt, and Suzu -- Christo was supposed to join also but was busy. We played a long game of Truth or Truth and I got to know Waylon a bit; they seem like the most humbly-hungry-for-understanding person I think I have ever met, which I love. When it got near time for me and Anika to leave, I was sitting next to Abby and feeling sad that this would be the last time we saw each other for a while, not really sure what to do with that feeling. Kei-Won-Tia suggested that Abby and I go cuddle to say goodbye, which was so perfectly the thing needed. We had really sweet cuddles, very connected -- possibly the most connected cuddles we've ever had, at least to me. I felt a validation of my hope the night before that the intentional connection would have a lasting effect. Then Anika rode with me to my house in terrible dark rain again, and lounged on my bed talking and occasionally cuddling for about seven hours. It was really good to have one-on-one time and while I can't remember what we talked about (arghhh) it was meaningful and nourishing and I felt we built more connection.

The next day when I woke up my fish still wouldn't eat -- three days of not eating when this fish is usually very excited about food -- and the wound looked worse, and they seemed so depressed that I felt bad about their suffering. I looked online to see if there was some painless way I could help them die, and everywhere said that clove oil would work to make them go to sleep (it's used for fish surgery) and then a much larger dose would kill them. I had clove oil on hand so I tried it -- and they freaked out and swam all around and I felt like the worst creature ever to live, but there was no going back, so I felt trapped and had no idea what to do, I looked online again and they said to wait 10 minutes for it to work, ugh, I went back and they were still so I poured the lethal dose in, ugh, ugh, I feel like the worst person, gasping and crying, saying "I'm so sorry I'm so sorry." After, I found someone else who said they had the experience I had and apparently I either added it too quickly or had them in too large of a container or both, fuck. Never ever again. Apparently you can buy a euthenasia powder online, I'm going to do that as soon as I have money, in case this happens again. I just can't trust a method that caused distress, even if it was because I did it wrong. The video I watched about it had the fish so peacefully drifting off... *deep sad frown* Later that night Topaz picked me up and I spent the night with them, doing nothing I can remember.

Next: Topaz' biofamily christmas. LOADS OF PEOPLE ALL DAY and I had to be all demure and shit. The highlights were Topaz' parents giving me good coffee and gel pens, and me giving people small fractal prints in envelopes with the title on them. I was hoping that people would at least count it as a gift but didn't think there would be a strong reaction -- but almost everyone I gave them to exclaimed over them and seemed really happy about them! I felt so happy and gratified that they seemed to mean something to people. And I loved when they would point out ways they interpreted it. Later one of Topaz' parents referred to me as an artist which was the first time I think anyone has ever called me that (at least, to my face).

That night I had weirdly intense dreams about moving and school and Firekat and visiting a church (like, testing out a christian church to see if they were non-poopfaces). I had to pack all my things into a truck bed and I had 7 huge shelves of spices and way too many books. According to the internet, spices mean a yearning for variety, books mean calm slow progress, and packing means change ahead, putting the past behind you. My first thought was that I couldn't possibly take all of the spices, then I thought of selling some of them, and then of bringing only the ones in plastic jars (so they wouldn't break), and finally deciding fuck it, I want all of them, others wouldn't appreciate them enough. With the books, I was intrigued to see ones I hadn't read, but I didn't feel attached to any in particular (I had already packed my favorites). This all took place in the basement (subconscious). So, I'm taking that to mean I'm getting to the end of a learning phase and my focus is going to be more varied. That in rejecting limiting my options, I get to actually have it all. Later I talked about this with Topaz and they said it sounded to them like it was about me being poly (which was the same feeling I had gotten). Topaz expressed that they don't want me to hold back for their sake and I said that while I do feel I am getting to the point where I actually have the energy for additional romance, I don't have anyone in particular whom I want to pursue that with, but I will let them know if/when that changes.

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Why I am rude to pripoi defaults on purpose
icon: "contemptuous (my face making the most horrified contemptuous frown, as though I just watched someone eat fresh shit)"

I have little understanding of 'common' etiquette because I have always lived in unusual subcultures. So if you think I am being rude to you, it is extremely likely that it is an accident. UNLESS you're a privileged person talking about oppression - then I am most likely being rude on purpose.

People seem to think that my recent development of rudeness toward defaults is a product of emotion or perhaps burnout. It isn't. I'm very skilled at remaining calm in conflict, and very skilled at phrasing things delicately when I feel the need. And I'm good at disengaging from unproductive conversations without emotional difficulty. It is much easier to just not engage at all with defaults. It's emotionally easier to obey their rules of conduct and thus deny them their favorite argument, "if you had been nice I might have let your thoughts matter."

My choice to be rude is deliberate. I know that a person truly wanting to be kind and decent will learn no matter the tone, so I say things partly for the silent observers.

But mostly, I do this because defaults (white cis etc men) never get called on their bullshit. They think they're right and they think people like them because no one ever tells them otherwise. I can do this safely because of my relative privilege, and so I will. If more people demanded evidence for their baseless claims and mocked them for their lack of skills at empathy and critical analysis, they might eventually start realizing that something is wrong with them. I can promise you that arguing politely is never going to change their mind. Scorn, dislike, and dismissal might, since it's a new experience. So, when I tell a white man that their opinions on things they haven't experienced are useless, ridiculous, and unwanted, I feel quite strongly that I am making the world a better place.

I know a few decent defaults, maybe 6 total. I know it is possible for me to be rude and for them to know that I value them and consider them worthy people. All it takes to be decent is to accept other people's experiences as reality, understand that you cannot understand oppression you don't experience without being taught, humbly seek to learn without being defensive, and apply what you learn.

(Pripoi means privilege-poisoned.)

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Impact play is energy work for me
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)"

(I'm frustrated that I haven't written about my recent life but I haven't the time to do it tonight, so here's a quick thought)

Percussion/impact play for me is a kind of energy work. The first time someone consensually beat me, I felt it creating this bloom of energy above the place of impact. After they stopped I asked them to gather up that energy and put it into my energy cores, and they did, and it felt like one of the best energy cleanses I've ever experienced. Since then there are certain kinds of overstimulation or exhaustion or drainedness that make me feel a need for that particular kind of relief. I'm not actually into the pain much - it's sort of neutral for me, at least so far.

Being the giver of percussion play doesn't feel quite the same, but I haven't ever had a really prolonged session of that yet. I'm wondering if I am the only one who experiences it this way. I think I'd like to engage in a more lengthy session, perhaps with no sex involved or some sort of lengthy break (so that I can completely wear out my arms without feeling regret).
connecting: , ,

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notes to various unnamed
icon: "egyptian (abstract fractal I made that looks like a vulture's head in greens and oranges)"

anonymous notes, most are advicey-things, take only if it resonates with you:

I hope you learn how to walk out of that cell. The door is not locked, you're just afraid of trying it and finding that it is locked.

I hope you maintain that wall. Your garden needs it to keep the wind from blowing away all your just-scattered seeds. At least let them take root.

Stop only looking at your needs in this interaction. Consider what is best for the other person; otherwise your actions are the OPPOSITE of loving. Stop, stop, stop. Don't make it all about you.

You are a brave soul and you can overcome this. I am pleased to be able to provide some support in this transformation. Keep on building yourself, I hope you don't get distracted!

You are lovable, you are worthy, you deserve all that is good. It WILL come to you, I know it, I feel it, but your doubt pushes it farther. It hurts to trust and be failed but it actually allows more growth in your life. Just distrusting will keep what you want from coming into your life.

Try. Don't tell yourself stories about how it is not worth it. Tell yourself stories about what could happen if your efforts succeed. I believe in you.

I hope you believe in me. I will give to you everything I can, when I have it. I have been running out every day lately, but my love has not diminished; it has grown. I hope you can ask for what you want and be happy with what I have to offer.
connecting: ,

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sharing some of my latest fractals
icon: "colors of the wind (my fractal "Colorflight")"

I realized I've shared these pretty much everywhere but here, so have some of my latest fractal art:


"Psychoactive Prism"
Abstract, overlapping trapezoidal shapes twist and clash with each other. The shapes are colored in very bright stripes of yellow, hot pink, teal, blue, and lime green. Some are chopped into ripples like waves on a shore, others are slanted so sharply they become lines rather than a shape. It could be a puddle of magic or amoebas dancing together. It's trippy and intriguing, wildly colorful but layered and subtle in line.

Apo7x64-140707-28 secret garden

"Secret Garden"
An angular, unevenly spiraling pattern of green and red forms this fractal. The background is black and the colors appear translucent against it, with flecks of brighter color. Near the bottom right is a cluster of red, orange, yellow, and green. The edges look like they fade into empty space.


"Ship of the Imagination"
An abstract fractal of goldenrod yellow and slate blue hovers in the center of a black background. The yellow swirls are roughly triangular and the slate blue forms a web-like pattern at the short end of the long yellow shape, and arcs up from the front of the narrow point of the triangle. It could be a spaceship or a sailing ship.


"Quercus (Oak tree)"
This abstract fractal of swirling spring green stands out against a black background, taking the form of a very full tree. Occasional lines of white and teal wisp through the branches evoking a feeling of mist or smoke. Arching roots, short trunk, and wide canopy appear to loop into each other with no beginning or end.


"Star Blooming"
This abstract fractal has a fiery 8-pointed star of orchid, capri blue and pale yellow emerging from a stem or perhaps a cocoon of bright yellow, orange, and red. If nebulae fruited in stars, this is what it would look like.


"The Musaeum at Alexandria"
This fractal towers with columns of black against which shine patterns of aqua, apricot, violet, and teal. A reflection thrown at the front might be light shining out from the open door of the massive building.

I LOVE knowing what other people see in my fractals, so if you see something different please share <3 I love how much these are about a person's interaction with them.
connecting: ,

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Lily visiting - retreat space / processing Aurilion w Lily / people staring / social anxiety spark
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

So far having a houseguest (lilywolfsolomon) has been kinda nice- its a little hard to tell because the first week I was working on my last final and this week their mother is in town to visit them so they've been staying with them at their hotel.

I really love the idea of people being able to use my place as a retreat. I meant it when I said if you ever need a place to stay, you can come here. I can't meet any needs except space and internet, but those are easily sharable. I want to set things up better for guests though- after one mattress was sent to my lil sis and the other was thrown out, there isn't much bedding. Just one twin bed, the couch, and a short cushion (works for a kid or a fetal-position-sleeper). When I have some money I want to get an air mattress. Lily said they'd help me with some stuff around the house so I want to get that empty bedframe out of the guest room, get it tidied and pretty.

Aurilion just blocked me on facebook again, I'm guessing because of me giving Lily a place to stay. I am bemused. It's weird but good to have a chance to talk with someone who loves Aurilion perhaps even more than me, with such a similar experience. Makes me feel understood. And it's interesting. I had assumed this time Aurilion would be gone for years and perhaps forever, but something tells me that some big changes are coming their way. I have such empathy for Lily, the first time Aurilion cut contact with me it was fuckin awful and made me doubt my understanding of all things. Now it's just something I expect as an eventuality.

I had a weird experience the other day while out to dinner with Lily and their mom and their friend. I caught at least three people staring at me at different points. None of these stares were immediately after I did anything noticeable, I don't think (I may have laughed?). My first thought was about the spell I did recently to draw people to me, but none of the starers seemed like my kind of people. When I mentioned this to Topaz, I said "it may be just that I am suddenly noticing because meds allow me to take in more information" and Topaz was like, "yep." I said "whaddaya mean, 'yep'?" and they said that it is normal for people to stare at me. I find this really perplexing. It requires further testing for me to see if it's something good which I chose (the spell) or something irritating (normates treating me like a sideshow). I also had someone come up to me who was in a class with me years ago, who I was friends with on facebook for a while (I went through my emails to check) -- they expressed happiness to see me and said they liked what I said in the class. I felt soooo awkward not remembering them, and I wanted to give them my contact info but didn't -- until later, I got one of my cards out and called them over. I was quite proud of myself for overcoming the awkward to reach for connection, but now I feel super weird, because what if they blocked me on facebook or something? Oh well, I followed my intuition, yay me even if I was wrong. *cheers self* And Lily's friend, who I just met, also asked for my contact info, which I felt flattered by because 99% of the time I initiate connections.

Also, realized that a particular kind of social sets off my (now fairly rare) social anxiety. A group of fewer than 8, with more than one person whom I don't know well. It took a while to figure out because that situation almost always coincided with meeting a metamour or someone very important to someone I loved, and I thought "whoa, is this jealousy? why do I feel painfully overwhelmed?" Several times when I met Topaz' friends I got overwhelmed and had to go hide alone, because I was in a deep depression and just didn't have any energy to cope. Last weekend I was hanging out with Topaz and Adi and Jacob and Heather and Brian. Both Brian and Jacob I have only barely met a few times. I got really overwhelmed and disappeared into my phone a few times, but managed my anxiety well enough. Since I felt confident this wasn't jealousy, I finally realized what was causing this feeling. This situation makes me feel a pressure to perform, socially. If there is just one new person, then I can concentrate on them without worrying that others will feel slighted (because they know me), but if there is more than one, I feel completely all over the place because somehow I feel like I have to concentrate equally on everyone. I don't get it, but there it is. Ohhh, I just realized, it probably also has to do with leftover ex-partner stuff. In social situations I felt responsible for making sure they were comfortable, and now whenever anyone seems not-outgoing and maybe uncomfortable I feel impelled to try to put them at ease, and this is not possible with more than one person at a time. That's not all of it though because I also get overwhelmed by obviously-comfortable obviously-outgoing people if they are strangers in a small group with me. If there are going to be strangers, I like a group of three (including me) or 8+ where there is a majority of people I know. Weird, because the scary situation is often the case at my crafty parties, but I feel okay I think because I can throw myself into whatever I am creating and feel justified in not caretaking everyone because the point of the gathering is to create. I am glad I realized all this because now I won't feel guilty if such a situation is more than I can handle, and I will know what to watch out for and check myself to see if I have the energy reserves.

Also, I can tell that these meds are helping because when I forget them for a day everything falls to shit and I start forgetting the most obvious things. Today after forgetting my meds all day, I brought milk home and forgot to put it away for two hours. Luckily it was in a cooler with ice! *shakes head*

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overwhelmed: too much everything, school, relationships, car, art, work, families...
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Whew. I have been so massively overwhelmed for SO LONG. Not all the overwhelming things are bad but they're just such a lot.

Since the first week of November I've had at least one gigantic stats project due every week. One with a presentation, two that were exams, one that took me over 24 hours (as in, counting the hours spent over a week) to complete... ugh. I think the shortest one was 6 hours, most were at least 8. So fucking much work, and the kind of work that takes all of my brain and leaves me exhausted after.

My car threw a belt at the beginning of October - luckily it was the AC belt so I could keep driving but I held my breath every time because the others were just as worn and if they broke my car would be hopelessly shitted and I might die if it broke at the wrong moment. Finally got that fixed last week but my car's been making a horrible scraping noise and I'm so tired of broken shit I haven't taken it back to get that checked.

In addition, working on some weekends for Topaz' parents (who I feel on high alert around because I have to act normal) to make some food money, a conflict w Kylei that kept getting put off because I was trying to do it in real-time (finally got settled this week because I gave up and sent an email), going to Topaz' family thanksgiving, cleaning/organizing/planning in preparation for solstice, getting/making presents, working a lot on my various art shops and (with Topaz' help) setting up a central facebook page for it, being a support to a friend going through intense trauma, going to Ashe's birthday where there was one person who has an unresolved conflict with me and another who I'm pretty sure hates me, oh, and the loads of hoop jumping for getting meds. And a houseguest who is still a very new person to me (they needed a safe place) - it has turned out wonderfully but I was pretty nervous about it and put a lot of energy into setting it up. Plus I'm sure some other things I can't think of because my memory is shit.

And I'm bad about journaling when I'm actually on LJ because I'm always "well I wanna read first" and then I run out of time. So. This is on my phone.

*deeeeeeep sigh* really hoping that my professors next semester are better organized and don't drop everything on me at the end of the semester.

Also, there's a kind of spiritual shift happening with me, which I haven't had a chance to really explore yet. And my fractal art makes me so fuckin happy, I feel like I have talent with it and I'm building skill quite fast lately. My amazing friend chillychilly22 is supporting my art via patreon and that keeps me motivated, but I have had so little time and I've felt bad about rendering because my stats programs take up just as much effort for the computer and I don't want to cause it damage by running it full throttle all the time. Overall though, I've been making stuff I'm super proud of, and I've even had two strangers buy my art! Can't wait to make new things over my (very short and busy) break. School ended late and starts early, what is that. And I'm going to visit my bioparents (and Anika) over New Years, which is a stress hanging over me. It'll mean a thirteen hour bus ride each way, which (except for visiting Anika) will be the fun part.

Next week, I have 6 things to make to finish up my solstice gifts, and I've gotta help Topaz finish preparing for guests. Also Abby is visiting, then Kat and Anika! SO MUCH HAPPEN.

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