Posts in category "Random"

semi-poly

I hope I’m not belabour­ing the point when I say I’ve suf­fered a lone­ly exis­tence. For much of my life, I’ve kept those clos­est to me at arms-length, out of a sub­con­scious fear that they’d hurt me. I could nev­er turn to my par­ents for any kind of sup­port, cause they were more con­cerned about how I made them appear than how I felt; I had no sib­lings with which to form an alliance when they became my great­est ene­my. The best friend I car­ried into adult­hood was a per­son who nev­er tru­ly under­stood me, and my best friend after that aban­doned me at the first sign of dif­fi­cul­ty.

Managing my rela­tion­ship needs has been a life­long strug­gle. Much of the grow­ing I’ve done (or been forced to do) is inter­twined with the soli­tude I’ve faced; being able to change myself gives me a small sense of con­trol in what would oth­er­wise be a messy and chaot­ic exis­tence. An added dif­fi­cul­ty is that I keep evolv­ing, and my social needs evolve in turn. It takes years to devel­op the kinds of rela­tion­ships that nur­ture me. I’m in the mid­dle of a tran­si­tion, and my sup­port net­work is the small­est it’s ever been.

Living with a part­ner has helped, but at some point my attach­ment to Heather grew unhealthy. It’s not fair for me to put so much pres­sure on her to be my lover, friend, ther­a­pist, care­tak­er, gam­ing bud­dy…every­thing. When I start to resent her for my needs going unmet, I know I’m in a bad place and need to check myself.

Continue read­ing “semi-poly”…

not choosing fear

Stepping out of my com­fort zone late­ly means let­ting some­one hear my mate­r­i­al before it’s ready, say­ing I love you with­out the expec­ta­tion of hear­ing it back, post­ing pic­tures of myself I find unflat­ter­ing, being an atten­tive lis­ten­er dur­ing dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions, wor­ry­ing that spous­es will know my secrets but telling friends any­way, lis­ten­ing to songs that remind me of her, hold­ing impor­tant peo­ple account­able for hurt­ing me, ask­ing for help before I need it, accept­ing the fact that no one can be every­thing I need all the time, lov­ing some­one from a dis­tance, let­ting boys hold me when I’m upset,

girl kissing boy

dar­ing to dream that things will be okay,

putting myself first in the destruc­tive rela­tion­ships I can’t escape, say­ing no instead of find­ing excus­es, mak­ing love with­out some kind of reas­sur­ance about my looks first, let­ting myself miss the peo­ple I no longer like, being first to call after exchang­ing num­bers, not know­ing when I’ll be home and going out any­way, hop­ing I’m not judged every time I ask her to do that thing I like, giv­ing myself space from peo­ple who adore me but don’t nur­ture me, not try­ing to please every­one all the time, play­ing even though I have a decent chance of los­ing, not cut­ting some­one out after they’ve wronged me, rec­on­cil­ing with old lovers, empathiz­ing with peo­ple I hate, going out when I’m not high, spend­ing time around peo­ple I find dif­fi­cult, say­ing sor­ry and mean­ing it, try­ing to hit chord tones in gen­res I nev­er lis­ten to, and pay­ing atten­tion to the friends who call me on my shit.

a reckless careening of emotions and actions

That’s how you described your­self, soon after your dad died. A girl lost in grief, try­ing to drink and smoke and work and fuck her way out. Living her life like she was the only one who had­n’t fig­ured out what to do with it.

It’s hard to imag­ine you being so sad once. Or sad at all, and secure enough to admit lone­li­ness. You even had the objec­tive­ness to know that you shrank from oth­ers even though you did­n’t make your­self hap­py. That’s why I keep going through these entries in your old blog. Not just a dream jour­nal, but a jour­nal of dreams. Before you became trapped in a domes­tic life and your heart turned into a lump of stone.

Continue read­ing “a reck­less careen­ing of emo­tions and actions”…

Princess Dolly, 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capa­ble of pro­found love (or burn­ing hatred), and that loy­al­ty made her feel more like a lit­tle per­son than a com­pan­ion. With the abil­i­ty to rec­og­nize peo­ple through win­dows, I’d often find her sit­ting on the sill at the front of the house, wait­ing to greet me with a cho­rus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a rit­u­al only spe­cial guests may be privy to, if they’ve pre­sent­ed the princess with enough presents.

I adopt­ed her in uni­ver­si­ty, and she was a con­stant pres­ence through many res­i­dences, house­mates, girl­friends — we even shared our space with oth­er cats for years at a time. When find­ing me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, invit­ing me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spend­ing a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just pass­ing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blan­kets and stare into each oth­er’s eyes; there was as much com­fort to be found in her purring as my warmth and atten­tion.

I could tell our bond was spe­cial from the start, and being fear­ful that I’d nev­er share any­thing like it with anoth­er cat again, always made sure to cher­ish every sec­ond.

Continue read­ing “Princess Dolly, 2003–2018”…

quiet revolution

Depression has added an extra cost to every­thing I do. Something as sim­ple as buy­ing gro­ceries means mak­ing sure my ener­gy lev­els are care­ful­ly paced for a few days before I leave the house, and being too burned out to do any form of inter­ac­tion for a few days after. If some­thing goes wrong dur­ing the process — a night of poor sleep, a sick cat, a loss of moti­va­tion, a col­i­tis flare-up — and I run out of spoons, the prob­lems cas­cade and I end up hav­ing to can­cel my plans.

That’s why I choose to spend time with peo­ple who under­stand what it tru­ly costs me to func­tion; they hap­pen to be the ones who are con­sis­tent­ly reli­able, very under­stand­ing if I have to can­cel, and put as much effort into main­tain­ing the rela­tion­ship as I do.1

Heather portrait

Heather start­ed taper­ing off her dose of ven­lafax­ine cause she feels sta­ble enough to take the risk2, and wants to start work­ing with­out the asso­ci­at­ed men­tal haze. Even though music is still a joy­less expe­ri­ence, the fact that she’s get­ting excit­ed about Halloween again is a sign that she’s final­ly heal­ing.

She does­n’t mind car­ry­ing more emo­tion­al labour (and I remain will­ful­ly igno­rant, for the time being), cause she knows I’m play­ing life on hard mode. My job is to make sure she feels appre­ci­at­ed for doing more than her fair share. The crises we’ve been weath­er­ing togeth­er since we met means our hon­ey­moon phase was cut short, but nei­ther of us mind, cause inti­ma­cy is what we were miss­ing for so long.3

self portrait at 35

The fact that it takes me few­er days be to com­fort­able around any­one when my inse­cu­ri­ties get the bet­ter of me means I’m gain­ing some small form of equa­nim­i­ty. I still have moments when I feel too dam­aged to be hap­py, too worth­less to be loved, or too bro­ken to be fixed, but it takes me less time to realign my per­cep­tions with real­i­ty. The lows aren’t as debil­i­tat­ing­ly deep either.

I’ve been using the momen­tum to take small steps out of my com­fort zone; spend­ing more time in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, learn­ing to be emo­tion­al­ly vul­ner­a­ble, explor­ing new ways of express­ing myself4, pro­cess­ing parts of the past I’ve tried my best to for­get. Even though I’m anx­ious to feel nor­mal again, I’m forced to rec­og­nize my lim­i­ta­tions and keep myself paced. I know I’m not where I want to be, but I’m mov­ing in the right direc­tion. That’s enough to keep me going for now.

  1. Also, per­haps not-coin­ci­den­tal­ly, usu­al­ly peo­ple who have deal with some form of depres­sion or chron­ic ill­ness in their lives. []
  2. I still have no idea whether mine are keep­ing me afloat, but the fact that I don’t suf­fer any side-effects means I’ll be on them for the fore­see­able future. []
  3. Finding my under­wear washed and fold­ed one day — a respon­si­bil­i­ty I’ve nev­er shared with any girl­friend — gave me the weird­est bon­er. []
  4. The only lux­u­ry pur­chase for me this year has been an Impact LX-49 MIDI con­troller. []