September 2019
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icon: "hopeful (close-up photo of me wearing cat-eye makeup, jewels on my cheek, and a violet glitter goatee. I'm gazing off to the side with a hopeful smile.)"

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Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back: my core motivation is curiosity

icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

Once when I was very young, my grandfather was reading me a book about Madeline, an orphan who sneakily adopts a stray dog. As he read, I would point to the dog in each scene and ask "what's that?" When he got to the most complex page in the book, a park filled with dogs, he preempted my questions and just said "dog dog dog dog dog dog dog."

My dad loved to tell this story, but told it as a story that illustrated my grandfather. I think it illustrated one of my core traits: curiosity. I could tell that the four legged creatures were all probably dogs, but I wanted to be sure I was interpreting it correctly. I didn't want to miss a chance to learn something new. As an adult, I refuse to make assumptions that most people consider "close enough" to the truth, and my habit of suspending judgement makes it easy for me to adjust my thinking whenever I am wrong.

Curiosity is my strongest motivation by far. I don't have much drive for physical pleasures like food or sex, but there hardly exists a non-numeric fact that I don't care to learn. (Numeric facts are their own thing because I have difficulty comprehending them)

I am so incredibly lucky because part of my job involves me reading bits and pieces on literally every subject. I learn about everything from microbiology to astronomy to exercise science to audiology and beyond. (The downside is that my job is very mentally demanding and I often have no energy left for thinking when I get home)

I find people fascinating in direct proportion to how many new thoughts they can evoke in me. This can come from them asking questions about something I said, or from them talking about life experience they have that I don't, or from them talking about their similar life experiences in a thoughtful or analytical way. The most fascinating people to me are the ones that constantly seek to learn and grow, because then they always can evoke new thoughts in me.

My curiosity drive has most often been focused on my own mind and emotions, because they have the largest impact on my life. In my self-examinations, I have learned that I am:

ADHD and otherwise neurodivergent, with CAPD;
a non-binary trans person, with no gender;
fat and proud;
a relationship anarchist;
a Southerner and ATLien;
a tree-hugger;
a social justice activist;
a communalist;
a consent advocate;
a creativity catalyst;
an atheist;
an eco-vegetarian;
an artist;
a coffee clergyperson;
a growth-seeker;
a content creator;
a critical analyst; and
a writer.

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moment of kindness from a stranger: joy

icon: "artless (a painting of a nude person in sun-dappled shade, unselfconsciously pulling off red stockings. They have a soft round belly and breasts that slope down)"

I was at the grocery store today, as per usual with my arms overfilled, and bent down inside the glass-front fridge to get a bottle of cream. I was expecting the door to fall on my shoulder as I had let it go, but a stranger caught it. I stood up and flashed a brief smile, walking away as the person continued to hold the door.

I expected them to get something after I was out of the way, but they let it fall and started to walk away. I realized my mistake and said "oh! Thank you! I thought you were getting something." And they said "I just didn't want it to hit you." I think we smiled at each other but my memory stops there because I was distracted by my surprise.

It was such a sweet moment of kindness and it made me feel recognized as a valid human being (whereas most strangers look through me and expect me to step around them, or they stare). It felt good for a stranger to take that risk just to make a tiny moment a little more pleasant for me. And it felt pure because when I said nothing, they said nothing, so I didn't feel obligated by their kindness. When I looked at them as they held the door, their expression was neutral, and I felt safe in their lack of expectation.

Thank you stranger, for offering me that small kindness. It was a moment of true joy.

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LJ Idol season 11

icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

I'm gonna do LJ Idol again! Indie has been helping me motivate to write by trading prompts with me that we both write on, but this would be very helpful too!

You can join too if you want, just sign up at the link!

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why I'm a late-night person / looking forward to less stress after I move

icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

Prompt from Indie: Are you a morning person, a night owl, or both? Explain why and what you enjoy doing in the morning and/or nighttime.

I've never been a morning person. It doesn't matter if I have gotten up at 6am every morning for a week, if I have the chance to sleep in, I will stay in bed until 10:30 a.m. at the *earliest.* My best schedule is waking up at 11 a.m. and going to sleep at 3 a.m..

I have learned that while I am always tempted to stay up later and get up later, getting up any later than 1:30 p.m. or going to bed any later than 3:30 a.m. is a really bad idea for me. If I get up that late, I will miss too much sunlight and it will make me feel wilted and depressed -- especially in the winter. And if I go to bed later than 3:30, any time after that is wasted time. My ADHD goes haywire and I can't get anything done, and even doing brain-rest things stops being restorative because I can't focus.

I think the decreased stimulation at night is why I like being awake then. There is less ambient noise from outside, less mental noise from people doing things, less visual noise because it's darker.

I would enjoy being up early if I ever got enough sleep, but I can't ever go to bed on time because there literally isn't enough time in the day for me to decompress. I'm hoping that I struggle less with this after I move, when I will have a much shorter commute.

Speaking of which, I realized recently that for the past 7 years, I have basically been living in 2 houses -- mine and Topaz'. I have two toothbrushes, pillows, phone chargers, etc, because I have spent at least 2 nights a week at their place for so long. I didn't realize how much back-burner stress this caused me until I started thinking about what a relief it will be once I am moved.

To not have to wonder where my stuff is or pack and carry sets of clothes. To not have to worry every weekend that something terrible may happen to my cat and I wouldn't know until it is too late. To be able to have a smoothie on the weekends! To not have to try to remember which house I actually have food in. To not have that stress of having to remember all the things when I leave in the morning.

To not have to choose between dinner with Topaz or sleeping in my own bed. To not have to choose between spending the weekend with Topaz or by myself, because it will be easy to mix it up. To not have to choose between getting to have friends in my space or getting to spend time with Topaz. To not have to choose between tidying my living space or spending time with Topaz.

Really hoping that the lifting of these stresses will have a noticable effect. I'm certainly less stressed than I was last year, but I still am barely functional in so many ways.

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Breaking down the myth that demisexuals don't like sex as much or want it as often as allosexuals

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)"

A myth about demisexual people that I wish would go away:
"Demisexual people don't like sex as much, or don't want it often."

I enjoy sex very much and sometimes I want it very often. Not wanting sex often or not enjoying it much is called low sex drive, and demisexual people can experience this just like allosexual people can experience it. But it is not a part of being demisexual, because being demisexual is about how sexual attraction or desire is created, not about intensity or frequency.

Sexual desire for me does not come from being attracted aesthetically (looks) or mentally (personality, interests). For me, sexual desire is created via conscious choice. I only have sexual desire for someone if I decide to: it's like a switch that I flip in my brain.

There are a number of factors that go into whether or not I flip that switch, but the key one is knowing that they are sexually interested in me. And when I say knowing, I don't mean guessing -- I mean they explicitly told me. This can make it complicated when the other person also needs an explicit statement, but I can know that I want to *try* it and then we can figure out if we want to do more.

Since most people are not explicit about being sexually interested in me unless we are intimate, I have very rarely had sex with people I wasn't emotionally intimate with. But on the occasions I did, I enjoyed it then too, and I'd like to do it again.

my sex drive

When I have a partner whom I have a sexual dynamic with and feel nourished by (and I don't have a depressive crisis going on), my sex drive is above average. I think about having sex with my partner at least once every day that I spend time with them.

If they are a strong initiator, I will probably have sex or sexy time (which is what I call sex that is brief or non-intense) with them more days than not. If they are not an initiator, sex will happen less often because it is work for me to initiate and I don't always have the energy. I also don't initiate generally if the other person seems to feel tired or ill. But it is rare for me to have a day when I wouldn't want any sexual interaction at all with someone who I am in love with and have a sexual dynamic with.

the enjoyment that I get out of sex

When I am having sex with an intimate partner, the most satisfying part for me is feeling emotionally connected. I have had an orgasm from someone putting their hand on the center of my chest and both of us focusing on that, with no other touch. THAT only happened once but many times I have had orgasms from giving my partner pleasure, without being touched myself. My emotional state is more tied in to my sexual pleasure than any physical stimulation.

I feel deeply emotionally satisfied from giving sexual and/or intimate emotional pleasure to someone I'm in love with. I enjoy this more than receiving, usually. I can easily spend hours on end focused on giving pleasure to my partner, and I crave this far more often than I crave receptive sex.

For sex with people whom I am not in love with, it would only be worth it if the sex was of a style that I haven't had or have rarely had, but want. I am insatiably curious and I love intimacy and am good at creating it, so I think it is likely I could enjoy new experiences with people even if I was not emotionally intimate with them already.

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organization of objects

icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Organization techniques/tools I use and areas I would like to be more organized/organize differently

I prefer everything around me be organized. I love organizing and have tidied other people's closets (with consent of course) and enjoyed it. So you'd think that all of my stuff would be organized, but no.

When I get depressed, I can't motivate to clean or tidy. I will only do what is necessary and things being tidy is not necessary. So right now, the only things of mine that are organized are my clothes and about half of my craft stuff. My books were organized but then I gave a ton away and now they're half disorganized too.

Part of my problem is that I have a huge mental block against throwing things away. Even donating things I find difficult because what if I know someone who wants that thing?

I did a sweep of some stuff to donate but I need to go through again with this question "will I miss it?" And if the answer is no, it needs to go in the donate or the trash. And I have to be willing to put things in the trash that are useable but will not be wanted by people at the thrift store.

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androgyny: 2 binaries is not better than one

icon: "antagonistic (a photo of me in cat-eye makeup with violet hair, snarling with bared teeth and staring intensely into the camera)"

Content note: gendered assumptions about body parts

Androgyny is a concept I had always found appealing because I thought it could be a way to break down the gender binary, but it isn't because people refuse to recognize androgyny that isn't one of these two things:

1) "masculine" clothing on someone with body qualities that are stereotyped as feminine, such as breasts that protrude from the chest or hips that are wider than the waist.
2) "feminine" clothing on someone with body qualities that are stereotyped as masculine, such as flat-chestedness or dark/long facial hair.

This is fucked up because your body should not be considered a marker of your gender (or lack thereof!). But not only is your body considered a gender marker, some parts are considered so gendered they cancel out everything else. Take me for example.

My appearance includes these cues which are considered "masculine":
*I don't shave my armpits.
*I don't shave my legs.
*I don't ever wear concealing makeup or "neutral" makeup, and don't wear makeup more often than twice a month, max (usually less).
*I don't wear a variety of shoes: I have one or two pairs.
*I wear black tie-up sport shoes exclusively, never heels or flats. I choose them based on practicality.
*I don't style my hair: most days I braid it and that is all the attention it gets. Many days I literally do nothing to it.
*half of my head is shaved.
*I don't wear necklaces or bracelets.
*I don't wear perfume or ever use sweet-smelling hair products or scented laundry detergent.
*I never wear clothing designed to flatten my belly.
*I do not pluck the long, dark hairs on my chin, nor the short dark hairs on my upper lip.

And the cues which are stereotypically considered "feminine":
*I wear skirts most days, and dresses a few times a year.
*I wear bras.
*I wear form-fitting tops.
*I wear colorful clothes.
*My long hairs are longer than ear length.
*I occasionally wear makeup or dangly earrings.

Looking at these cues, if people considered everything, I would be considered androgynous if not masculine. But people do not consider all cues, they just look at my boobs and think they can assign my gender based on their size and the clothing I put over them.

So in my mind, "androgyny" is just a reinforcing of the gender binary by cross-matching body assumptions and clothing assumptions. It's just two sets of binaries: one for clothes and one for bodies. It's a gender uniform based on your body qualities, and I don't like it.

connecting: , ,

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a place I remember fondly from my childhood

icon: "gamine (a photo of me as a seven-year-old child, freckled with frizzy hair and a solemn expression, leaning against a tree)"

There aren't many places I remember fondly from my childhood, since I don't remember much, but one stands out: the home and neighborhood of my best friend Rebecca, from when I was 15 to 19. I loved Rebecca passionately and wanted to spend all my time with her, but I loved her family too because they made me feel safe and gave me a place to escape feeling dismissed, ignored, or attacked. It was a place where people treated me as if my thoughts and desires mattered.

I had such positive associations with their house that it crushed me when they finally moved. That house was a four-story tower, originally the home of the architect of the neighborhood, but it was just barely enough space. The bottom floor was about a story and a half off of the ground because it was built at the edge of a steep slope. It was very quiet and dark, and it was where Rebecca's dad, a computer programmer, worked from home in a highly modified, sensory-reduced setup.

The next floor up was called the "blue level" because the carpet was blue: this was where Rebecca and the other two oldest kids lived. There was a kitchen, a bathroom, and two bedrooms (Rebecca shared with her sister), as well as a large main room. In the main room, there were long folding tables on top of which were three or four desktop computers. During the day there were always at least 3 boys playing (silent) games, and I would often sit and watch them if Rebecca was busy.

The next floor up was the main level, with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, a TV room, and a sitting room called "the peacock room" because of the large ornate peacock rug hung on the wall. There was almost always someone in the kitchen and/or TV room, where the younger kids would play console games or watch movies. Along one hallway was a built in bookshelf filled with books that Rebecca's mom lent out. I think I read at least 90% of them.

Finally the top floor had the master bedroom, three bedrooms, the laundry room, and a bathroom. When I was younger, Rebecca and her sister had one of the upstairs rooms, and their other siblings shared the other two. I think at that point the blue level was occupied by people who worked for Rebecca's dad. But when I was best friends with Rebecca, the three upstairs rooms were occupied by her four younger siblings.

I loved that place so much. The way it smelled, the way it felt, the way it was decorated, how it was always untidy but clean. I loved how much ownership the kids got over their rooms, and how if I wanted company I could have it and if I wanted to be alone I could have that too.

Outside, a creek ran through the yard. The younger kids would play there, and Rebecca and I did too. More often we ran through the woods next to the house, to a place we called our "clubhouse" which was a little clearing next to the creek that we decorated and spent time in. I loved feeling wild and animalistic running through thick woods, leaping onto and off of logs. I doubt our clubhouse was more than a quarter mile from the house, but it felt a world away.

connecting: , ,

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smiles from strangers are reserved for white, pretty, non-fat, and/or cis-passing people.

icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess)" (my bare belly and breasts covered in colorful washable marker drawings with spirals on my breasts and a butterfly over my belly button)"

I keep thinking about the ways that stranger kindness and friendliness is reserved for those who are:

1) white,
2) "pretty" and/or "well dressed"
3) thinner than average (which is a size 14 btw), and
4) read as gender-conforming.

Recently I was in a coffeeshop and the barista didn't look at me when taking my order and said as few words as possible to me. Then someone that was all four of those things came up to the register and the barista turned on the charm like a light switch.

I am ALWAYS friendly to service workers because I know how shitty it is to have to perform for people who don't return any of that energy. So I try to bring some and give some. I always smile, I always tip, I always give them my full attention. So I know it wasn't a reaction to me. Especially because the next person was mostly talking to their friend.

I don't think the barista had anything against me -- I think I just didn't register as a real person because I am fat, dress weird, and have a very assertive way of carrying myself (not gender-conforming).

For me the biggest change in how strangers treat me happened when I shaved my head. All of a sudden, when I smiled at white strangers they did NOT smile back. I never got casual smiles from white strangers of any age or gender when my hair was very short. (However, black women strangers smiled at me and even complimented my haircut on multiple occasions.)

I still am not sure why a buzz cut would have this much effect on how people treat me, but it really made me think about how much more effort it is to be in public when people look at you with a blank face, or stare. Every single time that happens it sucks away some energy.

And I think about this whenever I see children of color. I notice when older white people smile at young white children and look away or even frown at young children of color just for existing. I don't usually smile at strangers but if a child of color looks at me in a friendly or curious way I do smile. I don't want to be a dead staring face that saps some of their energy.

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Recurring plotlines and symbols in my dreams

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)"

I have a number of recurring themes and symbols in my dreams.

There is a recurring theme of "fear realization" -- where my psyche helpfully puts me through my greatest fear at the moment. Previous fear realization dreams have involved:
* people coming to my birthday party and ignoring me;
* Topaz dying or hating me;
* the most compassionate celebrity I know of disliking only me;
* my family-in-law not inviting me to a gather and then getting annoyed when I happened to stop by, unaware;
* being fed roaches, etc.

Sometimes after these dreams, my fear has been worked through, but if I wake up crying and can't get back in the dream I end up feeling like it really happened and having to get over it like it was a real event (but less intensely). Sometimes I have an experience in the dream that changes how I feel about the thing in real life; I used to be afraid of roaches but after I dreamed about someone cooking them and serving them to me, I stopped being afraid of them.

In my most recent fear-realization dream, I was hanging out with a group of new friends with Topaz, and Topaz and I sat on either side of a long table. As the people came up, they all sat on the other side of the table with Topaz because no one wanted to sit next to me; no one wanted to be my friend. I woke myself up near tears, and then went back to sleep and into the dream. I can't remember the details, but I was looking through a stack of papers where the friends had put their photo and some facts about them, and even though it wasn't about me, somehow that convinced me that they didn't dislike me.

My dreams also have recurring plot lines, such as:
* killing a rapist or other evil person, usually with a blade of some kind;
* fish suddenly being out of water (the aquarium breaks, etc) and me trying to rescue them
* hosting a party, especially my birthday party, and everyone avoiding me or ignoring me
* trying to escape people or a place and then remembering that I can fly

And recurring symbols:
* water: oceans, rivers, weird clear flowing swamps
* trees: massive, often sentient and able to move their trunks and branches at human speeds
* magical objects (buildings, tools)
* magical creatures (mermaids, witches, harpies, centaurs, glowing miniature dinosaurs)
* celebrities (Angelina Jolie, Sia, Adam Lambert, James Marsters, Michael Jackson)
* my biofamily (especially my dad)
* my ex-spouse and his family

I find it super annoying that my dreams still use my dad and my ex-spouse as symbols so often. I don't think about them in waking life hardly at all, yet they are often characters in my dreams.

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I require my friends to be ethical with sexual consent

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)"

I do not value loyalty over ethics, especially when it comes to sexual assault. Being my friend doesn't mean I will ignore or excuse what you do to someone else, even if it is someone I dislike or don't trust.

I also do not throw people away without being sure that I should. People make mistakes. Literally everyone who has sex will make some kind of consent mistake at some point.

So to bring these things together:

When I learn that someone I am friends with has violated another person's consent, I feel it is my responsibility to reach out to my friend and say "please explain." Then from that explanation (or lack thereof) I will decide if my friend's actions make them an unsafe person or not.

A safe person:
1) made a mistake, which was not a conscious choice to disregard the other person's boundaries
2) responded to learning it was a mistake by sincerely apologizing, offering to do whatever they can to help the victim in the healing process, and changing the way they interact with all people to prevent it happening again.

An unsafe person:
1) made a boundary-violating choice on purpose to try and get the victim to do something they would not want to do if they had all the information, or something they clearly expressed not wanting
2) responded to learning it was a mistake by trying to explain it away or defending the choice
3) did not offer or did not follow through on what the victim said would be helpful
4) did not change the way they interact with all people to prevent it happening again.

If my friend didn't realize that they should do 2, 3, and 4, but is willing and does something like those after I mention it, I would not consider them unsafe. If they are not willing to do these things they are no longer my friend.

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It's vital to acknowledge abuse for what it is

icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

When your parents or childhood caretakers have abused you, it is profoundly important to admit that it was abuse* (at least to yourself), regardless of your current relationship. Childhood is where you get your sense of normal; if you were abused as a child, your subconscious sees abuse as normal until you retrain it.

Trying to just "see the best" in your caretaker's actions or excuse their behavior is not a positive habit because if you don't label their behavior as wrong, you are extremely likely to end up doing the same thing. You might not do it exactly the same ways, but you can't tell what to avoid until you face it with complete honesty. There are just too many ways to act it out without even realizing.

You can still love them if they abused you. You don't have to throw them away to acknowledge that what they did was wrong (but also if you want to throw them away, that is 100% fine). Even loving parents can be abusive and often are, because it is common for abuse to stem from a sheer lack of understanding of what is going to be helpful.

Sometimes when they are trying their best to be good parents is when they cause the most damage. Their intentions do not make up for their behavior. You can acknowledge that they tried to be good while actually doing harm.

*I'm defining abuse here as actions or neglect by caretakers which caused long-term emotional or physical harm to the child they raised.

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I used to preemptively distance myself if I felt pushed into competition

icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

It used to be that whenever I was dating someone and I thought they'd rather be spending time with someone else I would back off and not ask for any of their time. I didn't want to feel like I was competing and I didn't want to be interfering in their chance for maximum joy.

This was a wrong choice, not just because it was self-defeating and resulted in me missing out on my best chances to be close with some of my favorite people, but because I was essentially trying to make someone else's choices for them. It's not my job to predict how much of me someone else wants in their life, and I should be relying on them to tell me that, not trying to guess it based on my own observations. Also, someone might appear to be happier about something else, or even actually be happier about something else, without that meaning that happiness about me is invalid or not valuable.

So in the future I am going to resist this urge as much as possible, and if I feel like I am being put into a competitive situation or used as a consolation prize, then I will discuss that with the person. Or if I feel like we have different levels of desire for each other's company then I will ask them to define what they want from me.

Whatever the case, I will not allow my impulse to back off to be my first response to feeling like my time is not valued or desired. First I will ask questions.

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my intentions & desires in all connections: goals

icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

(This is part of a post I made 3 years ago: relationship anarchy: we each only do what we want / my intentions & desires in all connections)

I am committed to doing my best to always:

respect your personhood: never mock, belittle, or call you names; never shut you up or treat you dismissively; never complain about you behind your back; never assume rights to your things; never try to deliberately deceive you for my gain; never use your vulnerabilities against you; never deliberately or carelessly hurt you; never treat my convenience as more important than your need; never consider myself better than you; never break an agreement without explanation or apology; never use 'loopholes' to justify behavior that I know goes against the spirit of what was expressed.

respect your bodily autonomy: never to touch without consent and never to verbally disrespect or attempt to sway your choices on what to put in or on your body.

respect your agency: never to try to persuade you to do something you don't want to do; never to use emotional manipulation to get you to do something; never deliberately or carelessly make it difficult to say no.

(all of the 'respect' ones are my minimum requirements for friendly acquaintances)

harm none, if possible: do my best to not cause harm to others or myself, yet maintain willingness to cause slight harm to others if the cost of not doing so would be significant damage to myself. Considering not to whom the harm goes, but which harm would be greater.

negotiate expectations: never have any non-consensual expectations of you, nor tolerate you having them of me.

build expectations from desire, not fear: base expectations on practicality and the needs and desires of all affected rather than blocking out scary things.

allow relationships to grow or shrink on their own merit: never invest in or maintain a relationship just because of its type or role. be willing to take breaks or break up if there is a harmful pattern. note patterns and set boundaries if a pattern of behavior begins to cause me damage.

prioritize needs: consider who has the greater need when making decisions on who to give my energy to if I have to choose.

share with you: whatever resources I have to spare I will share with you.

allow you to be the only one responsible for your self-care: never to try to caretake you in a way that has not been negotiated. If you want or need me to caretake you in some way, you are responsible for explaining this and for accepting if I cannot do it. I will not try to read your mind or predict your desires.

support you in your self-care and growth to my best ability: encourage you spending time and energy on activities that nourish you and help you grow and learn, even when they are not at all beneficial to me.

be responsible for my own self-care: never to assume that you will caretake me in any circumstance, and to be prepared for you to be unavailable at any time. I will never expect you to read my mind or predict my desires.

respect my needs: check in with myself regularly on if I am getting my needs met, express it if there are unmet needs, accept help when it is offered and I want it. If one person cannot meet my need, seek another person instead of trying to get the first to change.

pay attention: absorb and try to fully engage with what you share with me. (also, express that this is a need for me!)

avoid error-full judgement: assume best intentions and ask questions before assigning meaning to behavior.

compassionately work shit out: kindly and frankly express and resolve upsets before they become resentments or harmful patterns, and empathize and explain before problem-solving.

respect your other connections: make room for them to be nourished and grow.

express affection: when and how I feel it, with consideration for how you feel most loved.

balance kindness with firmness: easily forgive mistakes and be gentle with people's feelings whenever possible, but never invalidate my own experience because the other person is sorry. Be willing to affirm when someone says they acted badly, if it is true.

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There is no such thing as "perky" breasts ugh

icon: "antagonistic (a photo of me in cat-eye makeup with violet hair, snarling with bared teeth and staring intensely into the camera)"

If I never hear breasts referred to as perky again, it will be too soon. They can't be perky because they are not sentient. Calling them perky is a groveling bow to misogyny because that's what endowed them with sentient characteristics in the first place.

It is no accident that young, immature breasts are usually the ones being called "perky." This is in the same category of language as calling a young person's clothes "provocative." It is stealing agency from the person and giving it to objects as a way of manipulating young people into thinking that they are to blame for being objectified.

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no longer fetishizing spiritual connection: falling in love is for mutually nourishing relationships

icon: "artless (a painting of a nude person in sun-dappled shade, unselfconsciously pulling off red stockings. They have a soft round belly and breasts that slope down)"

It has been about 2 years now since I last got my heart broken, and it has been about 3 years since I last fell in love. For a while I would fall every year or two and get my heart absolutely trampled, but I've been cautious for a while now.

I can afford to be cautious because I am fully nourished by my relationship with Topaz and I am more in love with them than I have ever been with anyone. I do want to experience falling in love with someone else again, since I know it will be such a different experience now.

I don't fetishize my relationships anymore which is a completely different experience that allows me to observe them in a much truer way. By fetishize I mean, I elevated the importance of connection far above the practicalities of helping each other get needs met.

In the past I have endured people putting no effort in, trying to push me to give to them in ways that would harm me, not expressing appreciation for who I am and what I do, not expressing encouragement for my growth, not being willing to learn themselves, and/or not trying to understand and fully know me. I did this because I felt an intuitive connection with the person and I wanted to keep experiencing that so badly that I was willing to suffer for 90% of the relationship for the sake of that 10% of connection.

I'm no longer doing this, not because I made a choice to stop doing it, but because I stopped over-valuing "spiritual" connections. It was a leftover fetish from when I was religious, and it was a really damaging one because I put that sensation at higher importance than anything else. I still love feeling an intuitive connection with someone, and it is still magical to me and something I feel super lucky to have with Topaz, but it is NOT more important than being treated with respect, appreciation, consent, and curiosity.

Before I let myself fall in love again, I will need to know that the person can be: appreciative of who I am (not just what I do), more than willing to navigate conflict with me, curious & eager to know me, independently growing, encouraging of my growth, open and honest, willing and able to invest effort in building our relationship, considering my emotions as important in making decisions that affect me, and not yearning for more than I can freely give. All of these things I offer in a relationship and for me to feel fulfilled I need to receive them as well.

If I never find another person like this, that is okay. I already got luckier than I would have ever imagined possible to have all of this and more with Topaz. And I can still build meaningful and nourishing connections without being in love.

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selfcare: love memory bank

icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"

One of the best things I have ever done (and do) for myself is save memories of people being loving to me or showing that they know/understand me.

I call this my "love memory bank" and at first I was writing stuff down but then I kept forgetting, so now it is pretty much a collection of screenshots from snapchat or texts or fb, whenever someone says something that makes me feel loved or understood.

Whenever I try to think of someone being loving to me, I can't remember almost anything, because my memory is the worst and anxiety makes the good stuff the hardest to access. But when I look through my love memory bank I am amazed at how sweet people are to me, and it is "proof" of being valued which is something my anxious brain needs.

Bonus: I can make myself feel loved anytime without anyone else having to do ANY work for it!

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A scene from Shrill has me wishing I could watch people watching me

icon: "revolutionary (a gif series of four nude self-portraits of/by me: one from the back with me looking over my shoulder, one from the front with my arms up and arched, one with an upraised, arched arm and the other arm across my belly in a dance pose, and one from the side with both hands raised in a shrug gesture)"

Mild spoilers ahead for "Shrill" episode 3:

I keep thinking about this one scene where the main character is trying to cross a street at a crosswalk but is being too polite/timid and letting cars go first, and a tall fat person who is dressed literally head to toe in bright red (a fat person no-no), in a *jumpsuit* (another fat person no-no) and *heels* (a tall person no-no) walks past her and across the crosswalk with hardly a glance at the cars. The main character then follows the person in red down the road, into a flower shop, and down the road again.

I have had that impulse to follow someone based purely on how they commanded a space (but I resisted because I didn't want to creep them out), and I know that ah-ha moment that you can get from seeing someone-like-you doing something that you didn't think people-like-you could do. And the fascination and curiosity about how they got there.

I think that I have become that confident fat person who dresses head to toe in color and takes up space without apology. I wish I had the ability to notice when people are watching me because I want to see this happen.

And also if people make disgusted faces I want to round on them and out-face them. Because they'd probly dissolve like cotton candy in the rain and I would enjoy that just as much *wicked smile*

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"Shrill" is an amazing show

icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess)" (my bare belly and breasts covered in colorful washable marker drawings with spirals on my breasts and a butterfly over my belly button)"

Holy fuck the 4th episode of Shrill had me absolutely sobbing with joy. Bodies that look like mine, dancing and swimming and just happily existing in bathing suits and not a goddamn skirted 1-piece in sight.

If you have never been fat and you have hulu, please watch this show. It is literally the only show I have ever seen with multiple fat people in it and where being fat is never a joke and the usual trope of fetishizing food or eating a lot is not present. It's so goddamn real.

[vague spoilers ahead]
I'm so fucking annoyed with the piece of shit boyfriend but also that is such an important story to tell because I did that, and for similar reasons. I put up with greedy, selfish, useless, entitled fuckwads because for so many years it literally did not occur to me that I could say "no" to something my datefriend wanted. I felt like I had to make up for my "inferior" body by accommodating their every whim and soothing their every uncomfortable feeling. And this idea was so deeply embedded that I didn't realize I was thinking it until after I had stopped doing it. While I was doing it I could not recognize it.

Also I don't know if non-fat people would get this, but in the second scene of the first episode, when the barista and customer say that she reminds them of Rosie O'Donnell, that is almost as bad as the overt harassment. It says that the only thing they see is "fat woman." It was a second cut-down by people who were trying to be nice, and for me that hurts so much more. It is worse when people are trying to be nice and they reveal themselves as so ignorant and alienated from your experience that they accidentally stab you.

I don't like that the main character gets so self-involved that she doesn't listen to her friends' needs. I feel like this is a trope when fat (or fat-ish) femme characters start to assert themselves and value their own needs and I think it comes from the writers not actually knowing any people who go from full-time-comfort-blanket to actual-human-who-still-cares.

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I blocked my own self with guilt

icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I have posted an average of once a month since October. Part of this was the deep depression I was in (which is starting to lift now) but most of it was just guilt at not replying to comments and not commenting on people's posts. I kept thinking that if I didn't let myself post until I commented, I would comment but clearly that isn't working. So I need to just face the fact that I am not going to do it, and hope that y'all still value me posting, or else my relationship with LJ is going to die and stay dead.

Please do feel free to unfriend me if this is upsetting to you because I don't want to be upsetting people every time I post. I just can't manage a good reciprocal relationship here. I wish I had the executive function to comment, but I just don't. That doesn't mean I don't value your posts because I really do, I just get lost in the context switch between reading and replying.

Does the new friends feed offer the ability to comment from your actual friends page without opening a new tab? if it does I may switch, because that would be immensely helpful.

I'm going to try to post every day for 22 days to get back in the habit.

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on "tidying up" and a reverence toward objects

icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

I watched a few episodes of "Tidying Up" recently and it made me exclaim a lot because so many of the things that Marie says are literally things I have said. When I am helping people tidy I say "where does this live?" and "does this have a home?" because in my opinion the most important thing for tidiness is for things to have a home. I do things like greeting a home and waking up books (though not those specific things).

I LITERALLY FOLDED MY SHIRTS THE SAME WAY, before ever watching that, so that I could look through them at a glance. and I fold my skirts like Marie folds ties. I do the same thing of small boxes organizing the inside of big boxes.

and then in my memories today I found an entry I posted last year where I talk about having an ethic of things belonging to whomever will love them more. When I was a kid, I stole or gave away things based on that.

The show makes a lot of assumptions about people being able to buy replacement things, which bothers me, but I do love seeing someone else have as much reverence for things as I do. Though it bothers me that some people appear to just throw away useful things rather than donating them and Marie doesn't scold them, wtf.

But I think a better question than "does it spark joy" (especially for people who get joy easily) is "if you lost it, would you miss it?" and if you don't know, box it up and put the date on it. if a long time passes without you feeling the need to take it out (and you don't have a practical need for it), then you can give it away. That's also how I decide whether or not to get something at a thrift store -- would I regret NOT getting it?

This is part of why it is such a sign of me being in a bad place when my home is untidy. When I am in a good place, I don't even have to try to get things tidy... when I'm not, it looks horrific, because I just drop things everywhere. I get in a very "if I can't get it right why bother at all" mindset. I know it's destructive but that's my brain when it's being a jerk.

connecting: , ,

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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.