I had a terrible crash last tuesday where I realized that I don't have any real friends at work and I have no idea how to make friends with anyone. I want to be here for a decade and this makes me feel doomed to spending most of my waking life for ten years feeling like an outsider, which sounds fucking awful. I have to figure out how to make a connection with someone who is part of the fabric of the place. I am terrified of trying and then learning for sure that no one wants to be real friends with me, but it's better to know I have no chance than to feel tortured by my own cowardice. So I have to reach out again.
The day after I wrote that paragraph I had a pleasant conversation with the person at work that I feel most comfortable with, and they sort of sideways made plans for us to eat lunch together this week, and were just kind and friendly and made me feel not so alone. So I am feeling a little more hopeful. If I can be real friends with them, that will make me feel like I belong. And I just really like them and want to be friends.
My relationship with Topaz is better than ever. The other day I saw a romantic scene in some show and suddenly remembered that I used to feel sad whenever I saw scenes like that because I always felt like I loved others with my whole being but that no one ever loved me back like that. It has now been so long since I felt unloved, unnoticed, unvalued, unappreciated, that I forgot that I used to have that feeling. Even when Topaz is caught up in their own stuff they take time to be there for me. They have developed habits that make me feel loved.
One example is that I feel really loved when someone brags about me in front of others, because it feels like the opposite of being ashamed of me (which was how I felt for most of my marriage). I told Topaz this a few years ago and they started doing it here and there and it has turned into an unprompted, natural expression. The other day I tidied their kitchen and made them dinner because they had had an awful, dreadful week, and they told their mom about it and their mom brought it up and thanked me for being supportive of them. And in that case, they hadn't even told their mom in order to make me feel loved but just because it had become normal to them, through practice I guess. I love that they have developed habits of expression out of love for me.
Also our sexual relationship has been wildly and beautifully intense lately. It feels full of fresh possibilities because there is still so much we have yet to explore, and yet the things we have done before are so fucking satisfying and nourishing that we do new things less often than we repeat. It's like a favorite restaurant where everything is good and you're excited to try something you haven't had, but also your favorite is so damn good that you have to get it at least every other time! (also new things require a lot more activation energy, so we are more able to do the repeat things) I'm really looking forward to Topaz being out of school for the summer, so more things are within our realm of possibility.
Allison and I had an intense conversation recently about some things in their life that are draining them. They apologized for discussing an emotionally heavy topic but of course I told them no need to apologize, that I feel pleased to be trusted with their difficult thoughts and feelings. We reaffirmed that we want to be in closer contact and have been trying to develop more of a habit of texting.
I asked if I could go to the a local annual art festival with Allison and their spouse and they said yeah, so I met up with them on Sunday. I had a lovely time walking around with them, but afterwards I worried that I didn't improve their time there and that maybe I was messing up their romantic time. And more so, I fret that maybe I made them uncomfortable discussing money -- I offered to pay for part of a thing (because I couldn't afford the whole thing) as a birthday present and they didn't really respond. Belatedly I realized/remembered that my attitude toward money is unusual and that people have been offended or even had hurt feelings by my attitude before, and I texted them to ask and preemptively apologize. They sent me a quick "no don't worry" but they're dealing with some other life stuff and haven't gotten to fully respond yet.
This also made me realize I don't think Allison and I have had any real argument for like a decade, and I don't know how they'd react if I hurt or offended them. I think mostly it's because we have extremely similar values and communication styles but now I worry that we won't weather a disagreement because we don't have practice. But at the same time I feel like we finally got past the "too polite" stage where I wouldn't discuss my worry that I upset them, and that makes me happy.
[quinn and sande, hearts and crafts]
Quinn left snapchat which is a choice I can respect but also feel sad about, because we did connect on most days through that app and I'm not sure if there is another way to connect with them so regularly and so easily. They have been coming to our hearts n crafts gathers pretty often though, which pleases me greatly. Sande also has been coming to hearts n crafts, and though I haven't seen them otherwise, I feel like they are present in that way.
At the last hearts and crafts, one person was low on funds and gas and didn't think they could come, and another (or maybe two others) offered to send them gas money. And both expressed that they'd been dealing with shit but felt the need to have that creative, communing time. I finally felt the click I had been hoping for, where this thing has finally grown a life of its own. It's like when you can finally put a seedling in the ground outside and you don't have to worry that it's gonna die if it gets too hot or if it rains too hard. I feel like I don't have to worry so much, that others have become invested in making this happen.
It was also the first time that Topaz was able to come, which made me extra happy because I had been hoping they would join but they were worried about allergies. We rotate locations and I think probably Topaz will not always be able to come, but I plan to give my house a good allergen scrubdown soon so I hope they will be able to come for a few hours without a problem.
[kylei and anika]
I haven't actually spent time with Kylei in a while, but we got a snapchat streak of almost two months before we lost it! I know that might not seem like much but for someone like me who has prosopagnosia, seeing a face in 2D every day allows me to have a better emotional grasp on the existence of a person and it automatically makes me feel closer. I cannot bring a face to mind but I can bring up an impressionistic version of photo of a face to mind (the brain stores these differently, at least for me). So to me, it means a lot. I am glad to have this way of connecting.
Anika and I have also been snapping fairly regularly and I feel more connected in that way, though we have drifted from our original writing goals. I hope we can get back on track with that, because I really enjoy it.
My relationship with Serenity has been strained for a long while now because I have been needing to live alone but they couldn't find another place for a long time. They finally found one that sounds absolutely perfect for them in every possible way, and I am so happy for them both because they deserve to have a living situation that fits them perfectly (my house is wrong for them in so many ways) and because I hope that with that strain gone we can reconnect, after the flurry of moving settles. And I just crave the rest of being truly alone.
With several friends I don't know if the people we are still lines up. I have become so much less spirituality-minded in the past year and that is a huge part of life for several people. I just... am not even sure what to do with that.
I just don't care about the idea of magic that is bigger than what I can do. I think I used to be really invested in it because I wanted a chance to not feel powerless, but really that is always an illusion. Everything a not-rich, not-famous human can do is tiny and our only hope is in getting many people to do the tiny things. And there are no spiritually rich people who somehow have more invisible power; you can't pray a lot to get more sway over the world. I invested in that idea because I wanted to be that, but it doesn't exist. It is a fundamentally fucked up and very capitalist idea.
Among other connections... Saleena, an old friend of mine died a few weeks ago, unexpectedly. I met them in 2010 and had a huge friend-crush on them for like two years but they were too busy for me and I was too full of self-doubt to be overt with my friendship overtures. Then I moved into a different social circle and rarely saw them, but still wanted to be friends. I just never really followed through on the effort and then they died. I started feeling more anxious about the people I am currently disconnected from, feeling sad at the idea that they might die before we ever really had the chance to know each other. Some I have no way of contacting. I hope that I do get that chance.
It used to be that Aurilion was one of those people that I hoped to eventually reconnect with. I last reached out to them with a text that just said "hey" about 8 months ago, but rather than them responding, their spouse called me and left a threatening voicemail telling me to leave them alone. My first reaction was to feel worried that Aurilion was being kept from connecting with their friends, because that angry voicemail creeped me the fuck out. Then as time went by I just started to get disgusted that Aurilion would allow their spouse to talk to me like that.
I can imagine what happened very clearly. I sent a text and Aurilion got it while with their spouse, who read it and got jealous because Aurilion cheated on them with me a few years ago (while telling me that they were broken up). The spouse reacted angrily and Aurilion defended themself by saying that they didn't want to talk to me but that I just wouldn't stop bothering them. The spouse demanded their phone and called me, leaving an angry voicemail. Aurilion framed this controlling behavior as love and then used me as a scapegoat so they could be the helpless maiden in need of rescue for a few weeks or months and feel loved by the "protective" behavior of their unaffectionate spouse.
Of course, I'll never know if this is true, but considering that I reached out MAYBE once a year before that, the reaction was so disproportionate that it was either that Aurilion lied to their partner or their partner is massively controlling, or both. Whatever the case, if Aurilion thinks I'm gonna try again after they pulled that shit, they can think again. They are not a child and they are responsible for not reaching out to me after that. They are a clever person good at hiding who is perfectly capable of reaching out to me privately.
I've realized that when it comes to romantic relationships, I am vulnerable to people who need to be adored. I get caught up in admiring them and enjoying their enjoyment of how much I admire them, and I feel like they are giving something to me by enjoying it, but practically speaking they aren't giving anything. It is easy for me to confuse what is essentially a solo experience for a true give and take. When I look back for actual evidence of care from these people I see none or very little on their part.
This was definitely true with Aurilion. I used to feel so baffled about why they would abandon me because I assumed it was something I did that they didn't like and I couldn't figure out what since I hadn't done anything new or unusual for me, but now I realize that it was because I stopped doing something. Whenever they were feeling low they would get back in touch for an easy ego boost, and then when they felt better or when I stopped being 100 percent adoring and started challenging them, they'd dump me again. The moment I stated a need or set a boundary for what I would give is the moment they'd vanish, because they were flat unwilling to expend effort on my behalf.
My definition of love is a variant of bell hooks' definition:
love is a willingness to spend effort -- without repayment or reward -- in order to help a living being grow, heal, and/or be nourished.
Which means, by my definition of love, that Aurilion has not been loving to me since we were first together. I am pretty sure that in the past 8 years they never even thought about my growth, healing, or nourishment, except as a means to something that directly benefited them. That was a pretty sobering realization. And I think it has been true of a number of people whom I have loved.
It explains why my relationship with Topaz is so far above and beyond what other relationships have been for me. We both seek these things for each other passionately, and want to spend all the effort we can spare on helping each other.