September 2019
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relationships: Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Hannah, Allison, Sande, Roger, Cass, Rocky, Arizona, Tinder

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

So I have a goal of examining all of my connections every 2-3 months, to help me stay aware and keep from getting into any ruts. I'm a bit late but I think that's because March was muddy for me with literally everyone, and I couldn't have explained much of anything.

My relationship with Topaz is still quite muddy. Today our break ends and we're going to see each other for the first time in three weeks. I'm quite nervous actually. I feel like I've realized ways I can change to make our connection more healthy for both of us. One of the main things is that I go a bit too far in trying not to pressure them; if I think they may want something and be afraid to ask for it, I offer it as if I have no preference one way or the other. Often this is upsetting for them because it makes them feel like I don't care about something that I do care about, which is confusing and sometimes hurtful. I talked about it vaguely with Heather last week, and then today I did it out of habit and it hurt Topaz' feelings, and we talked about this habit and I told Topaz I would work on being more frank with them and practice trusting them to assert their needs and desires. Last week I also told Topaz, "I want to be able to trust that if I say 'I have a need' you will react by reflecting on what you can possibly do to meet that need, and then telling me what steps you will try and what you think the likely outcome will be." They said they can do that. I think these two things will help me to not get stuck in a pattern of subverting my needs.

I had a clash with Kylei that lasted way longer than usual (more than 2 weeks), because I kept trying to arrange time to talk about it and it kept not happening, which was the very thing I was upset about. We finally did talk about it -- I told them that usually when plans don't work out it is disappointing but not hurtful because it's true for everyone, but lately I have seen them prioritize other things but not me. And that it feels impossible to believe that I am important to them when with other things that are important to them, they find a way and make it happen but with me they don't. They agreed that they hadn't been prioritizing time with me and that they were sorry about it but didn't know why it was happening. We talked about making plans but this month is too full, so we have a maybe plan for the first week of May. I feel better, not angry or frustrated any more, but I still feel in limbo and I feel sad and a bit hopeless about the idea of ever being reliably close again. If there isn't a cause that can be found, there isn't a cure that can be found.

Heather and I have spent time together recently that was very nourishing for me (and hopefully for them). A few months ago at their birthday party I had the urge to kiss them, and asked -- they said yes and we kissed very briefly. Then about a week after that I asked to kiss them again and it was brief again and I felt some hesitation (at least this is how I remember it but my memory is not great) so I asked them if there was hesitation and why, and they said it was emotionally complicated and we should talk about it later. When we did get time to talk about it, they explained that they feel we are not compatible for a romantic relationship, because of what they see me wanting from a romantic connection. I talked with them a bit about it because I felt like they were going on outdated information, but the sum of it was that anything romantic is not desired for now, at least. I feel a little weird that there is this "off limits" bit just because I'm not used to it existing, but it doesn't reduce anything.

The next time we hung out we talked about how we process things, and Heather mentioned that the main thing they give is not a thing I value (validating people's feelings), but I don't consider that the main thing they offer me at all! I think the thing they give to me the most, which I value so intensely, is a new perspective on things. Almost every time (I don't have the memory to be able to say for sure every time) we have a significant conversation they tell me something that makes me go "oh wow I hadn't realized / didn't know that" and that is literally my favorite thing a person can do. Realizing or learning something new, especially about the way people work or the way I work, is the most nourishing thing for me. More than eye contact, more than cuddles, more than people showing curiosity about me. And this in itself is a new realization which I had because of this conversation with Heather. I feel very nourished by our friendship.

Speaking of the realizing/learning something new thing, I've most often experienced this with Hannah. Partly because they were close with me during the most intense learning period of my life so far, and partly because they are very good at asking prying questions. Most recently they made me realize that art is more vital to my life than I have acknowledged, even to myself. I remember when we used to spend hours looking through deviantart, sharing links back and forth and explaining what we loved about the pieces. I went to an art festival yesterday with a person I had just met, and they were interested in the art but weren't passionately analytical about percieving and assigning meaning. That is something I think I have only experienced to any length with Hannah, though I think I could also experience it with others and I want to try that at the next opportunity. Anyway, that realization I had through talking with Hannah led to me starting a facebook group and communitydata, places for describing and transcribing art. I'm hoping that they can eventually become full enough that people with visual and auditory disabilities can come experience the art.

Allison and I have not spent much time together so far this year, but we have each reached out to each other in crisis, and that is new for us. I felt comforted merely by the realization that I could reach out to Allison if I was in need, that I wasn't afraid of them being bothered or anything, and then when we actually talked I felt really cared for. They have been in the process of moving so things have been unsettled for a while, but I think soon we will be able to spend more time together and I am looking forward to it.

Sande and I have spent a good bit of time together so far this year and it was all lovely. I was most impressed by the way Kanika interacted with them when Sande came over to my house. Kanika allowed Sande to pet them at the door which is usually a place of high stress for Kanika where they are more likely to be snappish. Then when Sande and I were sitting on the couch, Kanika sat between us and put a paw on Sande (this is Kanika's equivalent of holding hands). All this even though Kanika was feeling very jealous of my attention (I hadn't been home much for 2 weeks before then). Then Kanika was in a squirrely mood and Sande played with them, and was good at it! Very patient and they moved things in the way that makes a cat curious. I've never had someone click so well with Kanika on first meeting them. We also had some great conversations in the times we met up before but unfortunately that was long enough ago that I have forgotten them.

I was feeling really down and posted about it on twitter a few weeks ago, and Roger texted and offered to come to my house and bring pizza. I was flabbergasted and deeply touched, because that was such a generous and perfect offer (as in, it actually sounded like a thing that would be nourishing without also being draining). I had something else happening that night so I said no thank you, but it meant a lot and when I was feeling bad a week later I reached out to see if they were up for cuddles. They were out of town, but they liked the idea, and we've texted back and forth some since then. It's all very theoretical at the moment but I feel hopeful about connecting.

Cass has been dealing with a lot of stuff and now that I am thinking about it, I haven't reached out to them much if at all. I think I subconsciously assumed that they were too busy and I would be bothering them? I don't think that's true because they reach out to me, and I don't know where I got the impression that they were just being dutiful and did not desire my company but somehow that was my subconscious idea. Now that I have realized it I can undo it. Cass made a special effort to read my journal and expressed regret for missing something that I had friends-locked because they hadn't logged in, which showed me they know how important my LJ is to me and that made me feel understood and valued. They also reached out to me about what they saw as a potential for me feeling left out, which I appreciated very much because there are definitely circumstances where that is how I would have felt. (it made me realize how much better my anxiety is now because had the same circumstances happened last fall I would have been an absolute wreck over it.)

I hung out with Rocky one-on-one for the first time, and we had a really nourishing conversation though I was a bit thrown by how difficult I found it to read them. We made another plan for hanging out but ended up deciding to reschedule because they felt iffy about it the day before and I was invited to an event happening that same time. I think we could be great friends though, so I'm hoping we don't get lost in the land of scheduling mishaps.

I've actually been communicating with Arizona fairly regularly via snapchat, and we had a videochat last week! I miss them a lot and hate that they live so far away, but it is lovely to be in touch again and we have a tentative plan to meet up when they come up for APW (Atlanta Poly Weekend). Sydney had also been in the middle of moving and changing jobs so we haven't talked much. Kat I haven't been reaching out to, which I just realized (sorry Kat!).

I have a new relationship with a social media app, Tinder. I got curious about it after like 4 different friends mentioned using it (including using it to find friends) within the span of a week, so I made an account. It's basically like OKcupid, but apparently less racist? At least that is how it seems to me, because on OKC my matches are like 98% white, but on Tinder it's probably more like 45% white. Atlanta has a good mix of people and I appreciate how that is actually reflected on Tinder. I met up with a new person yesterday (which was fun, a little awkward but overall definitely worth it), and I have plans to meet with two other people. I had a long conversation with another person but it just stopped, and we didn't talk about meeting up? it might have been that they realized I live outside the city proper (a dealbreaker for a lot of people), or maybe they thought I lost interest. I will follow up and see.

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re_vised ══╣╠══
I like this reflecting and analyzing on your friendships.
belenen ══╣pensive╠══
I'm glad!
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
I've been on the receiving end of this "whatever you like" habit. It can really feel like indifference towards what you do with someone, and it can also be dishonest (if you actually do have a preference). Plus, it means that the other person has to make all the decisions. I remember that while the other person wanted to accommodate me as much as possible, it was stressful for me at times. And I really want to be able to trust the other person that they are taking care of their own needs and will voice them when necessary.

I hope now that Kylei is aware of what they were doing, they will pay more attention to it and either stop that behavior or, better yet, find out what was causing it. If it isn't about you or your friendship, it could also be because they're overwhelmed and you're generally more understanding than others?

Heather sounds great!

I love it when people click with Salem. I think how a person reacts to an animal says a lot about their personality. And if I want that person to spend more time at my place, they have to get along well with Salem, or it would get awkward.

Is the OKC algorhythm really racist? Or are there more white people matching your criteria on it?
I've only heard of Tinder in the context of hooking up for sex; using it to find new friends is new to me. Hope it will work out well for you!
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I really want to be able to trust the other person that they are taking care of their own needs and will voice them when necessary.

me too!

Is the OKC algorhythm really racist? Or are there more white people matching your criteria on it?

Either it is racist in the algorithm or most of the people who use OKC are white, which would also indicate a system-level racism. Of course, I am using 'racist' in the sociological meaning of the term, not the common use as a reference to racial prejudice.
webgirluk ══╣╠══
You remind me so much of myself the way you reflect on and analyse your friendships. I too feel moved by the joyful moments you described like someone offering to bring food on Twitter or someone doing something to show they see and understand us.

I love it when people teach me something new about myself and the way people work as well. I also love a curious nature and interest in world sharing/learning everything about each other and their connections, too.

It's interesting how we can imagine what people enjoy our friendship for but in reality, they may place value on something completely different we don't necessarily notice in ourselves. I've posted on this in the past in years gone by.

belenen ══╣analytical╠══
It's interesting how we can imagine what people enjoy our friendship for but in reality, they may place value on something completely different we don't necessarily notice in ourselves

I know! I wish I could observe myself though other people sometimes.
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.