It's been over 6 months since I last did this... I have dealt with a lot of loss, but some healing has happened in some relationships too.
[not friends with Heather or Cass any more]
I don't think I posted about Heather and Cass. Cass did something I find profoundly unethical and harmful and then refused to take responsibility or make change, and Heather supported Cass in that choice, so I'm not friends with either of them any more. If I can't trust someone to be ethical, I'm sure as hell not going to invest in them. I consider Cass an unsafe person and I don't say that lightly. I couldn't post about it because it was still in semi-active conflict until a few months ago, and I just haven't known how much to explain. But I'm just going to leave it at that, so this can stay public. If you are connected to them and feel you need more details let me know and I will figure out if there is more I can share privately.
I find the loss of Heather so huge and intense that it makes me a little nauseated to think of it and I have mostly been avoiding thinking about it. Heather has been a major force in my life for years and I had expected that she would always be. But for me, if you value maintaining your connection with someone over holding them to a standard of bare decency, that's a fundamental difference that I can't get over. If my most cherished person did what Cass did I would have told them "act better or get out of my life." I have broken up with people for far milder breaches of my core values (usually lying). I just don't value loyalty above ethics, ever, and I can't understand or empathize with that choice.
[reconnecting with Kylei]I made two plans with Kylei in September; the first time we went to Fernbank Forest (an old-growth forest in the middle of Atlanta) and just walked around and talked. Kylei expressed that they now appreciate that I was trying to warn them that they were getting lost / burnt out, and I was glad they said that because it made me feel trusted again and like they value my input. Near the end of our walk Topaz met up with us and then the 3 of us went to my favorite organic vegetarian-friendly restaurant. We laughed a lot and it felt so nourishing and healing after the painful, wrenching fall-out due to their breakdown at the end of 2016.
Soon after we made another plan; I went to their house and we just hung out and talked a lot and ate and cuddled. (Cuddles make connecting so much easier for me. When I can't cuddle someone I feel like I have to be "proper" in a way, like there is a barrier between us. I am really frustrated that that is true but it's not getting any less true.) It is a testament to my social overwhelm that I only realized from writing this that it has been three months since then and we have yet to make another plan. We've texted a little bit since then and while we may not be super close right now, I feel we have healed the rift and I am really happy about that. Kylei is coming to Solstice and I'm so glad.
[connection w Serenity is strained due to my need for alone time at home]
Serenity and I haven't really talked in months, mainly because I never want to talk when I am at home and both of us are rarely up for making plans to go out lately. I've also realized that I really need to live alone for at least a year, because the amount of social I have to give to work is still near my max capabilities after a year of adjustment. So I talked with them about it and they said they'd work on finding a new place for them and Lily.
I think if I am able to spend one stretch of at least 18 hours each week with no risk of human interaction, I will be much more capable of many things. I really want to have more active local connections but I always have to initiate, and I only have so much energy, so I need to increase that energy. Other than with Topaz I haven't planned one-on-one friend-time in the past 2.5 months. I was doing pretty good at twice a month until it started getting cold and dark.
[summer blips of social]
At some point this summer I met with Katie, which was delightful but bittersweet because I found out they were moving, and then before I even realized it they were already gone (in October). I was disappointed with myself for not reaching out again and missing the opportunity to see them again before they left. I feel such a strong connection to them but because they are not connected to anyone else I know (which would keep them in my peripheral vision, so to speak) I keep forgetting to reach out.
In August I did get to meet a new friend for coffee (the one I thought was gonna be my writing buddy earlier this year). As usual it was great for sparking new thought pathways but we haven't really talked since then. Unfortunately when it is extra lovely to spend time with someone, I am extra disheartened when they vanish, though I know logically I shouldn't be. And it is hard for me to believe someone enjoys my company if they never request it -- and then if I don't think they want to, I'm not going to try to change their mind.
[Anika and I are working together to stay active with writing]
I've been having a little more regular interaction with Anika via text since we started prompting each other at the beginning of October. I appreciate the creative push and the sense of shared reflection, and I like that I feel more connected to them and to LJ. I'm glad that they texted me when I did my "I'm drunk ask me questions" thing at the beginning of September. We talked out a good bit from the last friend break-up though I'm still hazy on a good bit too; ultimately it lead to such a lovely thing (for me at least, and I hope for them), being able to write again.
[Evelyn reached out then vanished again]
Evelyn reached out recently which was surprising. I was pleased for a minute but then they didn't reply to my response so I guess they're still not up for time together or anything like that. Ah well, at least I didn't get my hopes up this time and have to deal with a crash. Doing better about managing my expectations there.
With several friends I think there is a lot of emotional support they need that I feel kinda bad that I can't provide but at the same time, I don't have the emotional stamina to do more than two social things a month right now so it's probably best. I know me, I'd shoot for the moon and land in a pile of cactus, damage myself getting out, and then be useless for months. I've become much more protective of myself than I used to be and it is becoming easier to acknowledge and center my own needs in my life. I look back on the amount of emotional labor I used to do as a matter of course and it's like that was a different person because I so can't imagine doing that. It looks like torture.
[loss in my family-by-proxy]
My lover's grandmother went into the hospital 2 days before thanksgiving and died the Sunday after. I feel for Topaz and their family about the timing, because they all value that holiday, but I feel glad for Memaw about how wonderful her last day was. She got to go home, see all her friends and family, have ice cream, and get fussed over. I'm sorry that I wasn't there because I would have liked to say goodbye but at least I do feel sure that she knew I loved her.
My relationship with Topaz is better than ever, same as last time I wrote about our relationship. I marvel over it often. We just passed our 5 year mark. I am so fucking lucky! I'm amazed that a single relationship can be simultaneously so comforting and so growthful. It's like getting into a ideal-temperature bath and relaxing and then getting out and realizing all of your muscles have been worked out. It's like taking a super-comfortable nap and waking up feeling like you had a 3-course meal of perfectly-prepared nutrition. The only drawback is that being with Topaz is addicting so it's easy for me to default to spending all my free time with them, which leaves no time for other friends and alone time. I have to be careful about it, but luckily they are very supportive of that. When I say I need time alone, they help me stick to my decision by actively encouraging me.
[time with Allison and Topaz]
I didn't have any one-on-one friend time in November but I did make a group plan with Allison and Topaz -- we went to the Fernbank forest which was gorgeous and amazing as always. I really adore Allison and I like the feel of hanging out with them and Topaz together a lot because the conversation is very lively and I can interrupt without anyone going silent, and I can talk unedited without any fear that if I mis-speak I won't be able to fix it. And I can just listen and not be bored because the conversation stays meaningful and creative. Earlier this year the three of us watched the eclipse together which was the perfect experience for that! I loved all the joy and wonder we shared.
[impressed by Sande]
In September I made a plan with Sande; we went out to an Ethiopian restaurant and ate and talked and it was a nourishing communion though I felt guilty that my brain was so fried I could only hang out for a little over an hour. Sande has accomplished so many major life changes in the past year that it is amazing and definitely impressive. I'm hoping we can spend more time together in the future.
[building connection with Quinn]
In October, SAD hit and I didn't manage anything until the very end of the month when I made a plan with Quinn; they brought a project up to my house and we crafted together. (I had invited Serenity and Sande as well but they couldn't go) I interact with Quinn probably more than anyone else except Topaz because we send our snapchats directly to each other and chat responses (mostly about cats). They've become a real bright spot in my life and I'm glad to be building a friendship with them.
I talked with Allison, Sande, and Quinn about doing a twice-monthly creative gather and we planned the first one already! I reached out to them because they are the locals that I feel like are most likely to really show up -- but even if it's just me and one other person some weeks, that will keep me motivated. I really hope this will help me to work on my long-term creative projects which always feel too big and I hope I can develop closer connections with them through this also. I'm going to start creating a book from my LJ. Every time I think about this I get a nervous-happy flutter in my chest, which I have never gotten for a creative project before. I've been super happy before, but never this fear-spark anticipatory.
My relationship with my body is decidedly better. I have been eating more often instead of fasting all day and having one uncomfortably large meal; I have been getting about 6 hours of sleep on work nights which is not ideal but is worlds better than the 4-5 hours I was getting; and I have been power-walking while wearing a heavy backpack 2 to 3 hours / 4 to 6 miles per week. I already feel much stronger and more myself, after just 2 weeks (I started 3 weeks ago but skipped a week during vacation). This weekend I got myself a mi band (a $30 version of the fitbit) and I'm excited about being able to track my activity and heart rate. I am so motivated by creating charts and graphs that it's ridic.
My relationship with my inner self is also much improved by the amount of writing I have been doing lately. I love riding the bus because it is far easier for me to concentrate on writing or reading LJ there than it is at home!