Tags: love memory bank


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!

such freedom in no longer needing to be needed

icon: "wild (me with vivid violet hair standing in a forest, viewed from above with my head tipped back and a wide, wild grin.)"

A friend of mine was describing their feelings about being a support and it reminded me of this post: fear of love being taken away if I'm not comforting & helpful / my worth / who I am vs what I do and I realized that finally, FINALLY, after years and years of struggling with this compulsion, I have it under control. It's still there, to some extent, but I can tell it no.

And really Topaz gets all the credit for that, because they went in with me on a hiatus of our relationship and then still loved me after I hadn't given to them for a month and a half, and that taught me that I can be loved without being needed. And in the time since, when I have said that I need time for myself or said no to a request for help, they have been supportive -- not perfectly but so often that it averages out to them having a positive response when I say no to something they want me to do. And if I can value my needs without fearing losing my closest person, then I can observe my other connections in that light and know that they should support me in valuing my needs as I support them in valuing their needs.

This gives me a freedom beyond what I can describe. Being needed is a kind of burden that I always thought was the sacrifice one must make to be close to another person. To be able to be at the most profound level of closeness I have ever experienced, without either of us expecting the other to meet most of our needs in general, or any one of our needs in particular -- even our greatest needs? I wouldn't have even imagined it possible. I'm so grateful.
bel bites happy apple hannah

play intimacy: sillinesses with Topaz

icon: "bel bites happy apple hannah (photo of Hannah and I from their first visit in 2006: they are smiling into the camera awaiting my kiss on their cheek but I'm biting it instead)"

^side note: holy shit it is exactly 10 years today that I first met Hannah in person *glowy hearts*

Topaz and I have a LOT of play intimacy. My connections with Hannah and Kylei were also very playful, but not this consistently. I think that part of the reason we have so much play is that Topaz really enjoys competition, and I hate it, but in play we can do it and both have fun.

A lot of our play is physical silliness. Topaz will bite me and I will bite back a little harder, and they'll bite again harder yet, and so on until they say "ow!" and we stop and rub our sore spots. Or they will try to kiss my cheek while I try to kiss theirs, both of us trying to avoid getting kissed, and landing kisses on random bits of face. Sometimes we will have raspberry-blowing battles where we both try to blow against the other person's skin to make a fart noise. Sometimes I will give them sloppy pets on their face and hair, which I would find unbearable but it makes them laugh, and I'm amused at how rude I'm being. Sometimes I will kiss all over their face, and they'll say "oh thanks, thanks, thanks!" while scrunching up to avoid the kisses. Sometimes I bite the apple of their cheeks.

Or they will try to kiss my neck, which tickles me, and so I will try to kiss theirs without baring mine, and we wrestle and giggle until we fall apart, laughing. The other day we were doing that and they accidentally blew in my ear, so I blew at theirs, which made them laugh harder than the kissfight, and they blew at mine, and we went back and forth hardly able to blow for the laughing.

We also do silly forms of affection like the 'flamingo hug' where we wrap our arms around each other and each lift one leg and wrap it around the other, so that we are both standing on one leg. It never lasts long because it is so awkward and unbalanced, but it always makes us laugh. And we will do 'puppy excitement' at each other because we decided that greeting each other as if we were lonely puppies whose human had just returned home was a fantastic way to show love. That always brings giant smiles and giggles.

And we sing silly made-up songs to each other, send poopin selfies, and poke at each other about our idiosyncrasies. We tell each other made-up stories, talk in silly voices, and color together. We used to play word association games but haven't done that in a while. We over-the-top complain about the other one's farts or bad breath, and laugh if we are the one creating the smell (but will also brush teeth or whatever if requested because we're considerate).

We also play in a more cuddly, animalistic way, where we make noises at each other and playfully demand attention like a cat (usually this is just through texting). I bunt (a feline gentle headbutt that expresses affection) and Topaz squeezes themself into my lap or between me and what I'm doing. We nip, and nuzzle, and do 'tooth hugs' (soft holding and gentle shaking with teeth). We wrestle, and sometimes when I start to get up they cling like a sloth. Sometimes I give them rides on my back (though not often lately as I am not very in shape right now). Sometimes I squeeze them until they squeak (happily).

Often after we have had a little play-bout they will hug me and say "You're so fun!" and I tell them they are so fun too.

love memory bank

icon: "giving (two cartoon figures: one fills in a heart with red marker on its chest while the other watches. Then the other points at it and "...?" appears as a thought above it. The one with the heart on it smiles and glomp-hugs the other, who looks startled, then blushes and hugs back. The first one pulls away again and the heart has been copied onto the second one's chest. both smile. image repeats.)"

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what i have learned from Topaz, from being w Topaz, and from the last 3 years in general

icon: "connate (the characters Keenan and Joan from "Playing By Heart," facing each other with their faces so close that their noses almost touch, both with eyes almost closed, wearing slight smiles)"

(from Topaz) What, if anything, do you think you've learned FROM me; And, what, if anything, do you feel you've learned from being with me; And, what, if any, big things have you learned since we got together?

Ummm... I have learned a huge lot and my memory is full of holes, so I'm not even gonna try to make this comprehensive.

From you?
I have learned what media really means. I learned that even hostile anti-theists can have understandings of the world that fit with my spiritual beliefs. I learned that nail polish can be butch. I learned that chameleoning can be a powerful tool against oppression and that it doesn't always touch your soul. I learned that Carl Sagan is wonderful, and that wonder is a core value of mine. I learned about and came to love Michael Jackson, M.I.A., Lowkey, Melissa Ferrick, Sonia Leigh, and Ani Difranco. I learned that I dearly love giving presents to people who love getting them and have a variety of interests. I learned that sometimes, doing dishes can be worth it. I learned that I can enjoy cauliflower. I learned that I like many kinds of sex that I hadn't been interested in before. I learned that sometimes climbing a mountain is not the worst thing. I learned what a migraine is, and why it is so not the same as a really bad headache.

From being with you?
I've learned to be more patient with communication, and that 'I can't tell you yet' is not necessarily code for 'I'm going to put this off until you forget.' I learned that I can't deal with much indirect communication, and I learned how to respond to it in a useful way. I learned that I really love sweetness. I learned that I can ask for what I want without fear of pressuring someone into giving it. I learned that I really value (maybe need) independence in a lover, mixed with willingness to express needs and desires. I learned that I can brush someone's hair for literal hours, and that I miss having hair long enough to brush.

Overall big things?
I learned I don't believe in an afterlife or in spanking (both from logical conversations with you). I learned a ridiculously huge amount about racism, cissexism, ableism, and oppression in general. I learned that I have talent in stats. I learned that my ADD is bad enough that I can't really function without meds. I learned that my fractals are beautiful to more people than just me. I learned that I suck at picking people and need to get input from my insightful friends. I learned that LJ is still alive and that I can be 'in' it like I did years ago. I learned that I can motivate myself to do things with colorful stickers. I learned that my mental health is negatively affected when I don't eat breakfast and lunch. I learned that I can forge on ahead with something completely new, even when my future rests on that thing. I learned that parts of my biofamily are kinda great and that my bioparent M is the most selfish person I've known. I learned that I need group focus time as well as one-on-one. I've learned that I need for my lover(s) to combine specific compliments with touch for me to feel desirable or aesthetically pleasing. I learned that nourishing connections are increasingly difficult for me to find. I learned that similarity of inner self or similarity of overall goals doesn't make a connection nourishing: that I need connections with people who are on a growth spiral and not too far away from me. I learned that my privilege as a colonizer race means that it would be inappropriate for me to profit from doing spiritual healings or divination (since I only have access to these things due to historical and modern spiritual theft). I learned that I can build spiritual practice that is more growth-inducing, challenging, and meaningful for me than any externally-created practice I have come across.

mixing money w art is hell / act of kindness and trust from M / stress tanglebrain is the worst

I feel like I've been dull in my posts of late. For a little while this was because I was swamped by the amount of posts on my suddenly super-active friends page (that hasn't been a thing for at LEAST five years and I can't even EXPRESS how much better it makes my life). Also I got really discouraged by my recent attempts to attract people to my art, especially in a financially supportive way. I still have two important steps to do but the next one incurs fees and I feel so stressed about money (especially money that may be 'wasted') that I keep putting it off. And that blocks me from writing because I feel like I need to do this other thing first, and also because I feel like over the years SO MANY people (literally thousands) have said that my writing and art has helped them a lot yet no one seems to feel a desire to give back even a little, which makes me feel like the gift must have not been very worthwhile, that they must have been exaggerating. And when I feel like my art and writing isn't valued I don't want to make it. Which is why I try to avoid mixing money with anything because when I do it invariably makes me feel worthless and it ruins my motivation. [p.s. please do NOT give me advice about this, I've heard it all before and it's not helpful] But if I want to make it happen I have to try, and I have one idea that seems good that I haven't tried yet so I have to try it or my failure might be all on me.

I also tend to withdraw when I have no money, as it feels like any extravagance of expression or motion will take the last of my resources. This works in practical ways like driving less to save gas, and in emotional ways (that make no sense) like feeling less able to have conversations and make art and be expressive. But a weird and altogether welcome thing happened this week where my bioparent M put a little money in my account without me asking. That has never happened before, because not only is M a pinchpenny, but usually when ze knows I have a need, ze withholds until I do something ze wants. So the money was not only filling a really important need, it was kind of an act of trust (that I would talk to zir even if I didn't have a desperate need) and kindness (that I didn't have to do the horribly stressful act of asking for money and justifying why I needed it). It made me cry, I was so touched and grateful. And now I could afford to go get my medication but that would take all of it and so I don't feel safe doing that :-[ ugh my stressbrain is so counterproductive. Also a friend is moving next week and offered money in exchange for help, which is a relief. I'm not going to fret if the money doesn't happen though, because I want to be able to help without payment, but I do hope they follow through.

So to wrap back around: despite money stress I want to keep writing, so I'm aiming for a post-every-day this month. And I'm going to try to remember to write first and THEN read my flist, so that I don't run out of time or words.

why I'm in love with Topaz: the condensed stream-of-consciousness version

I'm so fuckin in love with Topaz. It's super frustrating how hard it is to find words that adequately express the things that I love so much and why I love them. I love how physical zir excitement is -- even though the wild pounding on my arm/shoulder is not actually pleasant, it's adorable in a rude way. I love how ze tucks zirself up against me in hugs or in laying cuddles, filling all the space between. I love how ze is pleased when I teasingly mock zir for being a brat. I love how ze plays with me, I love this so very much. The other day I kissed zir neck in a way that tickled, so ze tried to kiss my neck to tickle me back, and we had a laughing war for a little while. We often have bite wars like that, or Topaz will smack me in response to me teasing zir and I'll smack back and ze'll cry 'ow!' and smack me harder, so I smack harder, and ze's sort of trying to win but only kinda, and laugh and go back and forth until ze calls it off. We laugh so much, cuddle so much. We wrestle, and play tag, and annoy each other just to the point of fun and no further. I brush zir hair a lot, and hold zir and pet zir and kiss zir all the time, and ze hugs me a lot and nuzzles into me. We are sometimes kittens and sometimes other creatures and often communicate without words. I cry when I am moved by music or a concept or a scene, and Topaz looks at me and I can feel zir feeling it with me. Ze says ze loves that I cry because ze has the same feeling and ze can know that I feel it too by looking at me (I'm paraphrasing).

Ze holds my hand when we go to zir garden, almost every time, and I've just realized this is probably in reference to the first time it was cold and dark and Topaz wanted to show me things and I didn't want the discomfort and ze begged and I said that if ze held my hand and led me then it would be an adventure instead of a discomfort and so ze did, delightedly. I love that when we are holding hands in the car and I pull my hand away for something (usually because a turn is coming up and I don't want to be the reason ze doesn't have two hands on the wheel) ze gestures frantically for my hand back as soon as the impetus is over. I love that ze values holding hands and sees it as the most romantic gesture.

I love that ze takes me seriously anytime I want, and doesn't believe small things to be large when I say they are small (as in, if I have a mild desire to go to a place and ze doesn't, ze doesn't think I am minimizing my feelings for zir sake but trusts that I am being frank). I love, love, love, love, that I can ask for anything at all and be SURE that Topaz will not say yes unless ze is a yes. Sometimes ze will have difficulty saying no, but the awkward stop-start-silence is easy to read as a no so it works just as well, I drop the topic and ze brings it up when ze is ready. The lack of feigning agreement is the important thing. I also love that if ze can't talk about it now, ze will remember to bring it up later so I don't have to fret that it is going unresolved. I love that sometimes Topaz will look over my shoulder when I check email or texts, or will ask who texted me or what I am writing (I do not have a privacy setting with anyone that I want to know me who is willing to offer the same openness). I love that ze gets me little presents that show ze was thinking of me -- a dark chocolate and mint bar, or a pretty tea tin, or cinnamon altoids, or a real-ginger ale.

I love that ze is unafraid to express missing me and also doesn't pressure me for more time than I want to give, but rather expresses encouragement to me for doing things that matter to me. I love that ze has devoted so much to learning me that ze can see emotions/motives in me sometimes before I have realized they are there. I love that ze enjoys some of my word idiosyncrasies and uses them also. I love that ze values the things I give to the world and that I don't feel like it's sympathy but instead genuine belief in my art forms and my esoteric gifts. I love that ze values my beliefs even where they differ from zirs and will refer to them spontaneously sometimes -- it bolsters my faith and often happens just when I needed to be reminded. I love that ze loves my body on zir own and refers to it independently, not just when I ask zir to notice it or comment on it.

I've never felt so loved by one person in my life. I think perhaps others have loved me as much, but they did not express it in ways I could feel so deeply and fully and often.