March 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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my experience at Atlanta's vigil for the slain at Pulse in Orlando: profound gratitude & joy & hope

icon: "feminist (the trans-feminist fist symbol colored in a rainbow gradient, with the words "intersectional or bullshit" on top)"

I went to a vigil at the Center for Civil and Human Rights for those slain in the Pulse massacre on Tuesday. I went because Topaz wanted to go, and didn't realize ahead of time but I was expecting it to be dissatisfying and maybe terrible, whitewashed normative cis gay stuff that was all fluff and no meaning. I have not had good experiences at any mass gathering and I expected this to be no different.

Instead, it was profoundly beautiful and very nourishing and actually gave me hope. It was held outdoors despite occasional rain, because there were more than 2,500 people there. It wasn't perfect of course but it had so few sour notes. I was overwhelmed with pride in my city over the fact that we were represented in our diversity -- and not as an afterthought, but truly throughout. The speakers were varied, with Latinx, Black, Muslim, Indigenous, Trans, Two-Spirit, & Jewish speakers as well as white Christian ones. There was Spanish translation over the same audio system (and one speaker spoke in Spanish followed by English translation) and there was ASL interpretation. One person from an Atlanta Muslim organization told us about reaching out to the LGBTQ community in Atlanta and being met with reciprocal concern (that people would use this as fuel for islamophobia) -- hearing that made me cry. And having Amina Abdul-Jalil, a Black, queer, Muslim woman, speak to us was a moment of profound hope for me because I felt such a kinship with her rareness and how she spoke of being rejected from each group for being part of another. "I know what it’s like to feel like you have to choose," she said, and my breath caught with such strong resonance. She also said that prayer was great, but "the work starts after the amen and after the ameen," and we all applauded.

I was also deeply moved and very grateful for the words of Two-Spirit Collective activist & Lambda legal organizer Holiday Simmons, who said "Remember, it was our Christian siblings who wiped out indigenous people in the U.S." It needed to be said, considering that people keep calling this the worst mass shooting in US history when in fact we've done far worse to Native peoples and to Black people. (Pulse Massacre Horrible. Not Largest Mass Shooting in US History. by Sam Diener) Simmons also said "We want to be mindful of using this word 'terrorist.' While in fact this was an act of terror, such words have become inflammatory in these times, and they only strengthen public Islamophobic sentiment."

Some articles with more info: Atlanta Vigil Held Tuesday To Honor Orlando Shooting Victims by Mary Claire Kelly (this one has some wonderful quotes from the speakers at the end). Atlanta 'We Are Orlando' Vigil Conveyed Message Of Inclusion by Lisa Hagen (this one has the quotes from Amina Abdul-Jalil). Atlantans say 'We are Orlando,' demand Pulse shooting not contribute to bigotry by Camille Pendley (this one has the quotes from Holiday Simmons).

I went with Topaz and Serenity, and we met up with Hope and Allison and two of Topaz' relatives. Allison gave me hugs and pets when I got so overwhelmed that I started crying. I felt so full of love and connection and hope at an event with literal thousands of people. I've never felt anything like that except at TBC, and I have never felt that on that scale. I am so grateful to the organizers, so grateful to the speakers, so grateful to Topaz for driving us and paying for parking, because otherwise I could not have gone.

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Euphoria 2016 / why I go to burns / new housemate feeds me, helps clean & tidy, & crafts with me!

icon: "burn baby burn (a photo of me silhouetted dancing in front of the effigy fire at my first burn)"

I went to Euphoria and camped with Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Brian, and Hope. It was a mix of pleasant and irritating, leaning a little to the irritating side. The best bits were sitting around the fire talking with people, smoking hookah with Topaz while petting Evelyn's hair, running an 'intimacy roulette' game, having people gift me and Topaz with exactly what we wanted, giving Rocky a meaningful hug when I came across them seeming in need of one, kissing Topaz, and kissing Evelyn.

The worst bits were our hugely inconsiderate dudebro neighbors who made loud noise and pointed floodlights at our tent all night, the unbelievably selfish shitsop who squeezed in front of me at the burn itself and blocked all my vision with their body which was a foot and a half taller than me, witnessing far too much waste and ableism, and getting sunburnt. I really was not expecting to get burnt because 1) I had been taking vitamin D religiously, and 2) I stayed in the shade the entire time. But I think that I didn't absorb what I had been taking, because [supplements blather]I've been taking zinc and apparently it blocks magnesium sometimes, which is necessary for absorption of D (if I understood what I read on it). I started taking magnesium daily since then, and the purple-pink has turned tan far, FAR quicker than usual, so that's good at least. I ordered a calcium-magnesium supplement to balance out the zinc, and copper because the zinc I currently have doesn't contain copper and zinc can deplete copper. I recently started taking iron too, because I found a vegetarian source and I know that it is unlikely I get enough from my diet. Once all this stuff arrives I have to figure out what not to take with what, bleh. Never thought I'd be taking a bunch of supplements every day -- but I only take what I can actually feel an effect from, with the exception of these new minerals and curcumin, which I take because I've read that it helps with dementia, both prevention and cure.

I talked with Topaz after and realized that the reason I go to burns is purely to skill-share and/or for art. If I was not going to do that, I wouldn't be motivated enough to go, because I've never met a person at a burn who became important to me. Even though I have a lot of burner friends, I've met all of them in some other way. (technically I met Seth at a burn I think, but I met Seth through Abby so the burn was just a convenience) Other reasons to go to a burn are not relevant to me because they are already part of my daily life: self-expression, nudity, play, cuddles. For a lot of people burns are where they can really be themselves and feel accepted, but accepting me would require a lot of learning that people do not do, so I never feel accepted (it is nice that people try, but there's not much that can be done in the moment).

I go to burns because I like that people there are often willing to try new things, and so if I bring a skill I think will help make the world better and people are willing to practice, I can make change there in a way that is not possible elsewhere. This time I felt like I did kind of a bad job with planning, and that meant that the intimacy game I made did not reach many people, but it was still worthwhile. I think the few strangers that came and participated appreciated it.

In other news I have a temporary housemate, Serenity (also called Twilight) who has been WONDERFUL to have around. They were in need of a place to stay and I had a room which wasn't being used so I offered it to them. I didn't ask for anything, but they have cooked for me four times (delicious healthy vegetarian meals) since they got here 10 days ago, and have done dishes and swept! Also, having them around as a tidy person helps me to be better about tidying also, so the kitchen table is usable again for the first time in ages. And they wanted to craft which got me crafting too -- now I have a new project half-done that I think I will actually complete soon. They have a service dog who is INCREDIBLY sweet and Kanika is slowly adjusting to them. I am really enjoying having them stay with me. We've talked a lot and I feel a lot of resonance with them.

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characters in the story of my life: present and past

icon: "shows -- xena happiness (Xena and Gabrielle looking at each other and smiling as they walk)"

It had been 2 years so it was way past time for an update. I didn't include all of the people from before but those are still available via tags *smiles*
If you're wondering what spirit-kin, heart-kin, soul-kin or mind-kin mean (or -twin, the stronger version), read this post.

If there is anyone I've mentioned often who is not included here, please remind me.

all of the people! it's pretty longCollapse )

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cuddle communion #1! so nourishing! / consent agreements / cuddle list / leading to fill a need

icon: "healing (a photo of me and Hannah curled up together, naked, with Hannah's head resting on my legs and my arms around/over them. it's colored in violet with a fractal overlay of purple, blue, and green.)"

I had a really lovely nourishing evening last Sunday. I hosted a gather I called "Cuddle Communion" which was based loosely on cuddle parties I'd been to in the past. I went over a short list of consent agreements to begin with, and then we did structured cuddles, had a break for snacks and coffee, and then had unstructured cuddles and played truth-or-truth. I felt really connected with almost everyone there, and I definitely want to do it again. Next time I'm going to set the structured part into a flow from least to most intense, because I just did them randomly this time and that was okay, but could have been way better. Also, I want to finish the structured cuddles before the break, because after it is too hard to get back into that. And I looooove that truth-or-truth was the mental focus of the unstructured part this time, but others might want something less intense, so I want to try to set up something to listen to or watch, at least as an option.

consent agreementsCollapse )

structured cuddle listCollapse )

After most people left, I was hanging out and talking with Serah and Alison about social change and leading things. Serah used to lead a spiritual gather but got burnt out, and I understand that feeling so well. I mentioned that that is why my ideal leadership is at least three volunteers who take turns and step down when they get tired. Usually what I see happen is one person leads and no one helps, and the leader gets so burnt out that they quit forever and the group disintegrates. I really think that any good leader doesn't lead because they want to lead, they lead because they see a need that no one else is filling.

Speaking of which, I felt so supported a few weeks ago when I was too exhausted to participate in intimacy practice, and the others took leadership and made it happen without me. I don't want to feel like it's mine, I want to feel shared ownership and care of IP, and that definitely made me feel that way.

I was talking with Saleena a few days ago about the same thing (good leaders just filling a need). Saleena and I are going to run a local community discussion/connection group together. The original idea was that it would be for trans people, but we want to expand it to all othered people and make it a safe space to talk or listen. I'm worried about creating a safe space where strangers can attend, because if an unsafe person attends that can be horrible, but there is no perfect solution. I think as long as Saleena and I are willing to call people on being problematic, we can make something good and safer than life in general while being imperfect.

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Who speaks to my soul w their existence? 1st impressions? How do they inspire?

Prompt from Kei-Won-Tia: Who are the people in your life who speak to your soul with their existence and what was your first impression of them? What qualities in them inspire you to better yourself?

There are a lot of people in that first answer! I'll go chronologicallyish, name then first impression then qualities. Remember these are not characterizations just first impressions!

Allison. first impression: small, bouncy, happy, clever, creative. Ze inspires me to get in touch with my more expressive self, and be unabashedly enthusiastic.

Hannah. first impression: brilliant, careful, compassionate, silly, generous, yearning. Ze inspires me to ask prying questions, to seek a more blunt truthfulness, to embrace my tenderness (used to be very difficult as I prided myself on toughness).

SabR. first impression: fierce, wild, bold about beliefs, generous, welcoming, easily angry, confidently creative. Ze inspires me to put more of myself on the line with my art, to be bolder about sharing vulnerable beliefs, to be wild (like a leopard not like a spring breaker).

Aurilion. first impression: too interested in being seen as more evolved than the next to be really honest about anything, loving, seeking (I didn't connect w zir much at all until we met in person). Ze inspires me to believe in my intuition and to be open to possibilities.

Ashe. first impression: sweet, affectionate, loyal to an extreme (I got annoyed with a girl who was deliberately flirting with our crushes but ze was infuriated/outraged and I'm pretty sure hated that person from then on). Ze inspires me to believe in myself - I think ze was the first person to believe in me, which is a huge damn deal.

Anika. first impression: angry, open, curious, creative, clever. Ze inspires me to share more, to yield less, to grow and learn and be unafraid.

Viv. first impression: anxious, eager to explore, cuddly. Ze inspired me to explore my transness, undo my partnership, reconsider my whole life, take emotional risks with no security.

Vola. first impression: quiet, intense, very thoughtful and thorough, determined. Ze inspires me to think (through zir thoughtful sharing) and to be true to the more analytical, ethereal parts of me. This is kinda rare because people tend to like my sensual, affectionate side more.

Nea. first impression: impossibly kind, compassionate, nonjudgemental. I think Nea is still the most nonjudgemental person I've ever known. Ze inspires me in that way and also by being a person who doesn't share many words and yet is as open-hearted as can be. It makes me see more possibilities in people.

Laura. first impression: honest, creative, loving toward everyone but zirself. Ze died last year but continues to inspire me with zir hope in all things. I want to believe. I miss zir so much, I hate that ze's gone.

Angie. first impression: sweetest, gentlest person I've ever met (that initial impression is still true). Ze inspires me to remember that there are still kind people in the world, even when surrounded by cruelty, not everyone becomes cruel. Ze makes me believe in love.

Lisa. first impression: honest, cheerful, directionless. Ze inspires me because I've seen zir take ownership of zir life and unflinchingly examine where ze can change to bring about the life ze wants, and then just fuckin do it. (Not directionless, obv)

Firekat. first impression: opposite of me, adventurous, risk-taking. Ze inspires me to take risks! I've followed in zir footsteps in a lot of ways (not intentionally, but partly given courage by seeing Kat) and been the better for it.

Ben. first impression: argumentative, stubborn, smart, affectionate. Ben inspires me with zir desire to grow and learn. I almost never see this in someone who passes as a privilege-pinnacle person, and it gives me a little hope for the world.

Arizona. first impression: sharp-minded, open to any new idea, enjoying life, stable and secure in zirself. Ze inspires me to believe in my ability to sense magic. Ze was the first to affirm me in that way (we got together because I dreamed we kissed and then I asked zir out as an act of trusting my intuition).

Kylei. first impression: extremely emotional, creative, impulsive, open, affectionate. Ze inspires me to be more open, honor my feelings, follow my heart.

Heather. first impression: friendliest person ever, totally free and kind. Ze inspires me to share (because ze read my ENTIRE journal even the early parts and still liked me) and to see myself as a relatable person even though I get socially overwhelmed sometimes (if it can be true of the friendliest person ever, I must be relatable too).

Abby. first impression: nervous, creative, generous. Ze inspires me to treat emotions as a shared unfolding of knowledge, a collaborative project, and ze inspires me by sharing new knowledge.

Adi. first impression: bold, honest, unafraid. Ze believed in my goodness at a time when I felt everyone would judge me and it made me feel hope that I could be myself without going way out of my way to explain and still have people see me truly.

Topaz. first impression: capable of listening intently and engagingly, caring about social justice, fierce, free, unavailable, sexy as fuck. Ze inspires me to continue learning and attempting to educate others (because ze also self-educates and agrees and supports me) and to go after what I want (because ze believes in zirself and prioritizes zir needs so I feel I can too).

Camellia. first impression: no idea because it was so long ago and ze was just a kid. Ze inspires me to be welcoming, because ze makes me feel like that part of me is appreciated.

Kei-Won-Tia. first impression: distant, loving, self-deprecating, a bit lost. Ze inspires me to practice gratitude, build intentional connections, trust in people, share what I learn.

There are many others, really.

Also all of the good parents I know: Anika, Jess, Clare and spouse, Christine, Issa and Joshua, Mandy, Brian and Sarah, Ksej, others- people raising their children with love and creativity and understanding and freedom, giving them the chance to flourish instead of squashing them into a mold like most progenitors. I feel this very deeply and personally, as if in doing so they are giving me what I never had. It moves me to tears.

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relationships: Kylei, Kei-Won-Tia, Ashe, Aurilion, Ben, Hannah, Topaz, Heather, Anika

So when I was at TBC I had an intense discussion with Kylei about how I was upset that ze wasn't working toward a renewed connection with me. I told zir I wanted zir to be developing strong self care so we could be close without triggering my urge to fill all the need and that I have been working to strengthen my own boundaries and know myself better and learn more self-care so that I could meet zir too. Ze told me that ze didn't think I meant it when I said I wanted to be close again and had given up. We sort of opened all the things and made a plan to talk later, and a week after we met up to hang out for a morning.

That morning ended up being most of the day -- we talked about building closeness and we talked about values, forgave each other -- that happened in the first two hours or so. Then we went to Kylei's house and lay on zir bed and talked at a very slow pace. We made a lot of eye contact, and Kylei said ze was overwhelmed with feelings. I felt happy and resting and contemplative but also very strange. I realized as we shared silent overlapping energy that part of my broken-reality feeling last year was because the damage to our connection broke a part of my ability to sense things, so it's like when you're in shock and you look at a shard of glass stuck in you and you know it should hurt but it doesn't. But it's like that about a sense that is important for me to feel joy. And looking in Kylei's eyes I knew that that part of me is not as completely shattered as it was, but it is still broken. At the same time I felt safe with Kylei for the first time in more than a year and a half, and I feel like rebuilding our connection will help me to heal my magic-sense. And I felt vindicated. Once I love someone it is there always, just sometimes I can't feel it. I know this, but when I can't feel it I doubt it, yet it's really important to my sense of self. I decided to stay past the time I had planned to, and I waited while Kylei went to an appointment and when ze came back we cuddled and played -- I asked Kylei if ze wanted to be a pillow and ze said yes, so I lay my head on zir belly. Then ze said something and I said "pillows don't talk!" and ze laughed and I said "pillows don't laugh! bad pillow!" and bit zir, and ze giggled more and then I lay my head back down and we dozed a little. Play is an important part of our connection and it felt like an affirmation of rebuilding to play again.

Then this week we met up in between two classes to hang out near my school, and we ate lunch together and went park-hopping and found a really beautiful place (after two duds). We wandered together and apart, and I realized that part of the reason that it has been difficult for us to reconnect is that we've been meeting in places we can't really cuddle or feel magic (restaurants) and that it's important for us to share time in nature/ sacred space and cuddling alone. It was kind of rushed time we had and I had a lot of ambient stress about school work because this week has been a beast, but it was still good, and adventure, and promise.

Kei-Won-Tia is someone I'd known kinda peripherally for years but had never hung out with much until last month. After spending some one-on-one time with zir ze's become an important person in my life, very quickly. Ze's possibly the most empathetic person I've ever met, and so incredibly loving and generous. When we talk I often feel like ze's reading my mind and I like it. We have a lot in common with how we feel about the world at large and what our values are. I feel grateful for the chance to get to know zir and I hope we get to spend lots more time together.

I hung out with Ashe recently and we talked for three hours but it didn't feel like that long, which is a sign of great time spent. I feel like it's going to be a slow route to be close again because Ashe is dealing with some heavy shit and we're starting from scratch since we did more misunderstanding than understanding of each other before. But I like that we've begun and I feel like we're heading in a positive direction.

A few days before Aurilion sent me that email, ze found a ring that I had ordered made for zir (a blue topaz in a sterling butterfly setting) that ze had thought ze had thrown away years ago. The circumstances were very strange -- it showed up on a desk and zir parents said they didn't move it. Aurilion referred to it with awe and called it deep magic. I feel like it's significant that this happened three days before the email; I feel like it sent a message that Aurilion rejected. I imagine that ze has changed zir interpretation and probably discarded it again.

My emails with Hannah and Ben had gotten stalled out early this month but started up again this week. I don't know where the Ben interaction is going, but I feel good about it. I feel really hopeful about the interaction with Hannah. It's just so important to me to be connected with Hannah. I want to share the piece of an email from Hannah that made me cry with a mixture of joy, pain, and longing:

... I want to be able to spend time around trees and in the company of other special living things with you. I want to sit quietly with you and think and just be. I want to create art with you. I want to discuss art with you. I want to read poetry and books with you or discuss them with you at the least. I want to discuss colours and impressions of people and things in the way only you can. I want to one day be able to be outdoors, in the car, at night, again. I want to share music and other joys. I want to discover new things with you, that I don't know about yet and can't expect. I want to hear your feelings and for you to hear mine. I want to express my opinions and thoughts and hear yours. I want to cuddle. I really miss looking at your face and your eye-contact. I want to discuss many topics, social justice included, with you, analyse, deconstruct, build, express. I want to enjoy being a living thing and a friend with you. I feel those things honestly. I want to write letters, I want to share truths.

We both have anxiety around certain ways of communicating and they're opposite in several ways and long-distance is hard anyway, but I think we're finding a way that will work, I'm afraid to believe it will, I'm afraid to think that maybe the wait is over? Even typing that feels utterly terrifying. I'm so scared that Hannah will get overwhelmed by my feelings and run away.

Godde I was so lonely for so long :-( I'm writing this and I'm feeling overwhelmed with the idea that Kylei and Hannah might be part of my life in a deep way again, crying. My connections with them are the equivalence of spouse-connection, if you can imagine your spouse having to go on a trip that left them out of touch for years, and then them coming back, then you might get a feeling of it. And the time when neither of them were openly connected with me was terrible, even though I have the same depth of connection with Topaz -- I would never not feel the loss, there is no replacing.

Speaking of Topaz, we've been spending less time together, but it hasn't felt bad for me, which I credit to me having developed self-care in a way I haven't done for many years. We have both been overwhelmed lately, zir with work and me with school, so we both needed a lot of down time and our time together was turning into all slush time since we didn't have any space to decompress. So we stopped spending so much time together, which was hard because our shared touch is so perfect and we're both cuddly creatures, but it was good because the time that we have spent together has been more deliberate and we've had more focus time.

I've been communicating more with Heather and I just love zir so much. Ze started journaling and I feel like every post is so wonderful, I love being welcomed into zir brain-space. I would spend way more time with zir in person but we live pretty far apart and zir car is not reliable and I get sick of driving because I do so much of it, so it doesn't happen super often, but I still feel like we're getting closer quickly because of zir in-depth shares. Ze understands me really well, I feel, and I want to catch up.

Anika and I have been communicating regularly, mostly through LJ, and it makes me feel so happy to be able to be home here with zir again. I feel like we have a chance to build a connection that was almost there and then lost -- we've come together in a place where we have similar values and desires and it's so nourishing. I wish ze lived closer.

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love memory bank 2 - Topaz, Heather, Kei-Won-Tia, J, Abby, Kylei, Roger, Hannah, Anika, Ben, etc

I haven't been keeping up but I just was reminded in a sort of roundabout way by kiwi of how important it is to remember the good, so here's the latest from my love memory bank (and I have set an alarm on my phone to check it daily)
love memory bankCollapse )

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Openness: reflecting on past lack of skill and future intentions.

I'm behind on the prompts and it's probably going to stay that way -- I'm gonna keep going through them but I'm not going to stress about it. It started making me not able to post because I felt like I had to do the prompt first so when I felt the urge to just write I resisted it. That's NOT good. It has to be okay for me to post anytime, about anything, or else I will slowly become more and more guilt-ridden and avoidant. So I'm gonna ramble about recent thoughts.

nosswhispers had told me at Solstice that as our romantic relationship ended the first time in 2009, ze was feeling that ze was giving tons to me in openness and I wasn't giving anything back. I had felt that I was giving tons in listening and not getting any questions back. In looking at that I realized that I hadn't been initiating much sharing, and while I still want questions, I also want to be better at sharing without getting confirmation of interest first. Then Ashe and justben both emailed me to work out the endings of those relationships in 2010, and working through those things made me realize more about how unskilled I was at in-person openness.

From a letter to Ashe: "in writing I was good at [openness]! I not only didn't know HOW to be open in-person without prompting, I didn't know I wasn't already doing it. No one had ever told me, no one had ever requested more openness from me. I'd never been in-person friends with someone who didn't 1) share very reluctantly or 2) just want to be heard. I just didn't have the skills, the extra energy to experiment, or even the knowledge that it would be better if I tried to share unprompted. In all of my life up to that point, no one I saw on a daily or weekly basis had EVER said, "I want you to share all the things inside you." Instead people had tuned out or had no response or a really shallow one that showed they weren't really listening, or had wanted me to share more but had not expressed that. I had no way of knowing that you wanted me to share with you. I know it probably seems like I should have. Part of it is that when I share in person, there are lots of pauses and stares into middle distance and wait-back-ups and I feel frustrated with it so I imagine that the other person will too (due to the previous seeming lack of interest). In writing nobody has to deal with that and something about the act of typing helps me to focus so that I don't get stuck on words as much. I feel the quality and accuracy of my sharing is a lot better in words I have typed, which is why I feel that people don't really know me if they don't read my journal... I didn't realize how important it was to me to 1) write and 2) have people share with me through writing. It's a kind of intimacy I need because it's the only kind of sharing that doesn't get trapped in my ADD and end up draining as much as it nourishes."

So I've been realizing that while I might be skilled at openness through writing, I am not skilled at it in person (I'm great at listening and encouraging others to express but poor at sharing unprompted). I can tell that this is still true because it feels naked when I do it, even with Topaz. But a key difference is now I have people who I know without any doubt that they are interested in what I have to share, because they have told me so. That is what intimacy practice has given me: confidence that my openness is valued. It's only a matter of learning the practice of actually volunteering the information.

I also realized that I used to have a very bad response to passive-aggressive behavior OR what I perceived as passive-aggressive behavior. If someone acted that way towards me once, I got defensive and started looking for more manipulative tactics in their behavior, put up walls and made assumptions. After being with Kylei and Topaz and having a habit of asking questions about everything, I no longer do that, but I'm pretty disturbed/grossed out/repulsed that it used to be normal for me. Nowadays I can just be like "hey, did you mean this thing when you said that thing?" and the answer is almost always no, I was misreading it.

It's very strange to me to be looking back four or five years and see that I wasn't very good at communication. It's been described as my super-power by more than one person in the past 3 years. I think it's due in equal parts to Kylei and Topaz. Kylei and I had conflicts (both calm and wild) so much we practiced communication for upwards of 1300 hours while we were together, no idea what the actual number was but it was a fuckton, so I got SKILLZ, especially at stripping things to their core issue. Topaz and I don't have many conflicts but I feel safe to share with zir because ze makes me feel heard and because I can talk to zir about stuff that's bugging me without it needing to be a painful discussion; I'm learning openness in person. I'm super grateful for these people helping me learn, and determined to get better at easy in-person/real-time openness. I've made it a goal to share at least one unprompted thing with a person other than Topaz (in addition to Topaz) every day.

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love memory bank 1 - Topaz, Camellia, Allison, Viv, Aurilion, Firekat, Heather, Anika, Adi, etc!

Something I've decided to start doing in keeping with LJ being my external memory is to keep a "love memory bank" on my phone to jot down when people make me feel extra-loved, and post that in increments here.

from my birthday to nowCollapse )

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characters in the story of my life: present and past (updated for the first time in 4 years!)

If you're wondering what spirit-kin, heart-kin, soul-kin or mind-kin mean (or -twin, the stronger version), read this post.

If there is anyone I've mentioned often who is not included here, please remind me.

all of the people! it's pretty longCollapse )

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important events in 2010 / overwhelming change, desire, and passion wrapped in community

a drawing titled "Adolescence" by Norman Lindsay
& a fractal titled "Conception" by sideoutman:

2010 was such a huge year that I'm intimidated by the idea of trying to sum it up, but combining "Conception" and "Adolescence" is a good start. The fractal is expressive of a coiled, freshly-created energy and purpose, which I certainly conceived in 2010. The drawing (oh Norman Lindsay I love you <3) is full of exploration and communication and relating. I see myself in quite a few of the characters, and the harpies and sphinxes with their worshipful open faces speak to me of turning lack and mystery into love and knowledge. The horned characters make me especially happy, as the presence of Pan in my life this year has been quiet but oh-so-profound.

Last January I declared 2010 the year of passion, and oh GOD/DESS yes it was! both good and bad kinds. It started off with a BANG -- hate (which I hadn't felt in years) and fury (over the ex-partner), followed by a few months of stress and worry (mostly over finances), then a few days of delirious happiness (in an almost-triad with strong energetic exchange), then depression and anger (break-up pain and mistreatment), then an explosion of sheer joy (Arizona!) which increased (Serendipity!) and increased (Chip!) and increased (Kyle!) for two months, then contentment and productivity (living & working with Serendipity), then stress and shifting (school again! culture shock, not dating justben actively), then horrible pain (herpes AGH), then exploring/adventuring inspired by Kyle (meeting more people, going new places, having more sexperiences), then an emotional breakdown as I finally reach my coping limit (so much change! so much intensity!), then my first burn-type event!, then breaking up with Arizona, then lots of intoxication with dancing and kissing, and lots of friendship exploration (mostly in Kyle's social group).

Or, most everything I expressed gratitude for at the beginning of the year. It was DEFINITELY "filled with all the love and sex and joy and passion and boldness" that I could handle -- and I was able to handle more than I thought possible. And I certainly met more people with whom I connect deeply, and learned more about sex and the role it is to play in my life. And for the first time, I've experienced being satisfied by the amount of loving touch I get, and for the first time since the Wynnes I've felt fully understood and appreciated and accepted and desired. And I've become more comfortable sharing my art (I did photoshoots! with people I didn't know well at the time!) and became healthier. The only thing that I feel didn't increase is my understanding of my spiritual connection with nature and having my lil sis live with/near me, so those move to my 2011 presumptuous thanks :D

important events in 2010Collapse )

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what home means to me -- a resting place, not a living place

I've recently realized that the way I spend time and the way I think of home is different than most people I've lived with. Home, to me, is where I go to rest and feel secure -- and this usually involves being relaxed/passive/solitary. It's not where I want to spend most of my time -- it's where I want to go back to after adventures. If I'm happy and healthy I want to be OUT most of the time (at least 5 days out of 7), interacting with people and exploring. Being out satisfies my yearning to wander. The only times I spend vast lengths of time at home is when I'm feeling depressed or need to process/recover or feel like I have no one to explore with (I can explore on my own if it's warm, but if it's cold I need people with me to motivate me to brave the cold).

But for most people, "home is where the heart is" and home is where you are happiest spending your time. I remember this being a point of conflict when I lived with the Wynnes -- I loved that family more than anyone else I'd ever known, and I LOVED my room SO much (it was FULL of light and they let me paint it purple and green and it had a built-in-desk and its own full-of-light bathroom), 'yet' I was out all the time. I was working full time and going to school full time and dating and going to group therapy (which for me was a wonderful social activity), and I loved the whirl. I think Paula started to feel like I didn't care about them because I wasn't often home, and she started asking me to call when I was going to be out late (ostensibly so ze wouldn't worry but really I think because ze didn't want to feel forgotten) -- which I could never remember to do until it was already past the time ze'd be asleep. I didn't realize (until now) that it is possible they felt unloved or like I didn't want to live there -- yet it was probably my favorite place I've ever lived.

it was also conflict with Ash and Ben and ArizonaCollapse )

All this makes me worry that I'm not suited to live with people I'm close with because it seems really difficult to get around that expectation. My daydream looks like this: sharing living space (a house or multi-room flat) with people I love who are either wanderfooted or solitary or not emotionally invested in me; having my own, separate space; having communal space where everyone living there has equal freedom to invite people to (this is very important! I've NEVER had this and yearned for it all my life); having no one be sad if I'm gone for days at a stretch, and no one be upset if I'm home but don't want to interact. I dunno if that's possible. I hope so, and I want to try it with my lil sis and Kyle (who is probably more out-oriented than I am even) and maybe some others. Am I the only one who thinks of home like this?

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photos: May & June 2010, nature & Arizona & Kyle & Ben & Nicole & Atlanta & Coyote & Chip

photopost! I'm getting my confidence back at last ♥

36 photos from many different daysCollapse )

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more memory-bank posting: meeting Koronah, time w Anita & Kyle & Chip & Christa & Ben / visiting Ace

more list form posting -- the 22nd through the 28thCollapse )

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the crazy happenings of the past 11 days -- relationships and Dreaming

my life has gotten even MORE insannnne and at this point I'm going to have to start posting outlines in order to get anything down. This past timespan has been just... massive. And there is so much I haven't said!

the 11th through the 21st in list form!Collapse )

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ramblings / setting a photo-challenge for myself

disjointed ramblingsCollapse )

Also I haven't really taken ANY photos in AGES. My confidence got shaken and now I'm afraid to take portraits and I haven't been out in nature lately. It's really bothering me. Which is part of the reason I miss Hannah, because Mx. Clickyclicky is quite shutter-happy and it's easy to make photo-taking normal for me when it's normal for someone around me. I think I need to set some sort of challenge for myself to get me back in the habit. Maybe "every day, take at least three photos of each person I see." Even in bad lighting. Yes. I'm going to get myself out of this funk. I don't promise to share any though -- we'll see if I can manage some improvement on the CRAP I've been producing lately.

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memorial weekend at Serendipity -- bits I want to remember

I'm going to put this whole post under an LJ-cut so it looks all tiny when really it will be EONS LONG.

Serendipity hosted a memorial weekend partyCollapse )

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connecting: , , , , ,

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overcoming worry / Serendipity / going to live with Ben and Nicole

This weekend my car would not start and then the power went out at my apartment (it's still out) so Anita and Christa drove me to the interviews I had set up (!) and then I stayed at their place for three days.

I love interacting with the family -- words pale, really. Anita's family consists of three other adults (Chip, Christa, and Kim) and three children (R (age 12), P (age 11), and G (age 3)). They work together in this matter-of-fact way that I wish I could put into words. I'm sure they have their frustrations and resentments like any family but those things don't stop them from functioning together as a whole in a really beautiful way. And things I wouldn't normally enjoy (like cleaning) become meaningful and satisfying because they're part of the flow of the family working together.

Even though stuff keeps happening to get in the way of creating the life I want (like car fail and power out!), I'm starting to have more hope about it. I WILL find work and living space and I will become settled and self-sufficient. I am finding the tools I need and putting things in motion. And Ben and Nicole have been so amazingly generous as to offer to let me stay with them until I get my feet under me. I'm grateful and also very curious as to how that will feel... it's been a plan of mine to NOT live with a lover but life had other ideas I suppose ;-)

sounds: Elsiane - Vaporous | Powered by
connecting: ,

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job quitting and new job training / plans w Wade / Ben & Anita & Green & Chip & Christa energy flow

I'm in a weird state at the moment. new job possibilities, nervesCollapse )

Also I'm hanging out with Wade tomorrow and I'm happy and nervous about that. Wade is Rob's housemate -- I've only really talked with zir once but it was a wonderful conversation and we cuddled a bit and that was even more wonderful so I think it'll go well. I feel a little ridiculous opening all these doors when I don't know anything about the direction my life is taking, but intuition says go, so going I am. (and I did ask the universe for as many lovers as I can handle... haha)

The borderpagans meeting tonight consisted of myself, Ben, Green, Anita, Chip, and Christa. Something about that collection of people felt just amazing. I mean, it could have been that I was just high from being around both Ben and Anita but I think it was more than that -- the energy just seemed to flow really easily between the six of us. I really loved it -- even before we went to dinner and Anita and I cuddled, hee (there are these moments when we're not even touching and I just feel this wave of lush calm from being in zir presence -- it's incredible). I think maybe it's that I felt like I could really trust each of them and that each of them were open to connecting with me and the others. And also that I really like each of them and want to know them more so I was very open to them.

It completely blows my mind that there are so many amazing people in my life. Such an abundance of love and acceptance and generosity of spirit! I am incredibly grateful.

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sad over loss of barely-budded connections / time with justben is so healing and beautiful ♥

I've been missing all of my people this week and just feeling very alone and sadCollapse )

Time with Ben somehow just keeps getting better. The dynamic between us baffles me because it's so... shifty! I dunno how to describe it. When we're not together it's like it's on pause, and then when we're together it's like flying. Yesterday ze came over and spent the night and for a while we kissed and kissed and sort of dancy-swayed together to music and OH MY GOD that was intense. And afterward there was a new sort of energy between us, something even more tender and intermingled than usual. It felt really healing and restful. Then this morning we got up with the intention of going to the Etowah Indian Mounds but they're closed on Sundays :-p so we just went driving around... we came across a power plant, which I'd have expected to hate (because eww pollution and eww mass-production) but I LOVED. It felt so wonderful to be near it! vibrant and clean and, well, powerful! I wanted to just go and sit near, but of course it was all fenced in and guarded. (but Ben drove back and forth a little so I could get photos ♥) We also drove by a tree that had the most amazing silver leaves (I think it was a silver linden but can't be sure, didn't get close enough to see the leaf shapes) and a whole stand of babies, gorgeous! I forgot how much I love being driven around and getting to experience just the movement and the feeling without having to focus on driving. I lovelovelove that Ben did that.

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yearnings, missing you, maybes and ifs, I need Georgian summer

Kisses! how I long for more -- why can't I kiss everyone in the world? and oh God/dess, hands. Really, I'm such a hands person. Hands and mouths (because it's mostly the lips but it's also the whole structure, y'know?) but hands first. There've been moments when I've held hands with someone and it felt more intimate than kissing or fucking.

I'm a little baffled at what my mind returns to lately. I'd have expected to pine and mourn and suffer over the Ash & Rob thing but I haven't been. Parts of it just sort of evaporated (can't really explain that because it's not only my story and it's too near) and the bits that are still painful I'm just avoiding the fuck out of. So instead what fills my mind is other doomed attractionsCollapse )

Also if I have to move out of state that means that Ben and I will be on hiatus because ze doesn't do long distance. So that's a little depressing. It already sucks that living this far means I only get time alone with zir once a week. I mean, I'm grateful for that, but I need more intimate-connection-time than that. Not necessarily with the same person, not even necessarily romantic, just more. I need mindful cuddles everyday. I need naked, open conversation at least every other day. And you know? now that I'm thinking on it, if I were to move with the biofamily, I would get cuddles and naked-open-conversation all the time from my lil sis. And right this minute I want that more than anything else. :-(

But but! if I can stay here I can be with Ben and mayyyyyyyybe one of those who have laid claim to my mindspace and who knows what other possibilities? I do have a few leads on jobs (nothing definite yet) and I feel pretty sure I can find a decent place to live if I can find work that would actually pay my bills. And I could go back to school for free. I want that so much. I want THIS. I want here, this is my home.

And the idea of not being in Georgia in summer makes me ache and weep. I love Georgia in summer more than I've ever loved a person and I think more than I ever will love any single person. It's the most unbearable beauty and it breathes and embraces me, I need it. NEED. Please God/dess, please don't make me leave before I've had at least a little of it. I beg you, All-That-Has-Compassion, let me taste true summer.

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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.