escape artist

“Suzanne is forty years old and has never had a close relationship. She spends most of her spare time reading books and browsing the web. Suzanne is most comfortable with casual, friendly relationships where nothing very personal is discussed.

Suzanne is married to a man who is out of touch with his feelings. He’s more interested in being married than in being married to Suzanne particularly. He has few friends, and does not expect closeness from Suzanne. He wants a woman just so he can fulfill the conventional role of husband. Their relationship is based on traditional roles, not on real intimacy. They rarely confide in each other.

Suzanne has smoked marijuana her entire adult life. She insists that she is not addicted — she tells herself she only does it for recreation, and that she has control. Besides using drugs on a regular basis, she tends to drink in settings when she doesn’t feel as socially capable as others.

Suzanne became depressed, but was not in touch with her feelings of abandonment and defectiveness. She spent much of her life making sure she was not in touch, and trying to escape her feelings.

Continue reading “escape artist”…

consider this place

It’s getting harder to write.

Not that the spirit is unwilling, although that was the case for years, when the things I needed to talk about most were the exact things I needed distance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak1, but a lack of certainty in which to ground my perspectives has become an obstacle. The biggest sign I’m getting older isn’t the white hair in my moustache, but the recognition that I’ve shed some youthful arrogance that used to feel like wisdom.

FTL: Faster Than Light decision

Do I let fate reward my bravery with an extra crew member, or give it the chance to fuck me over by killing one? Or do I avoid the choice completely?

It’s easier for me to accept a bad outcome if I remember that every decision is made with the best intentions, and the only goal is survival.

HBO shows2 and games with consequential choices based on randomized events3 have been a huge influence on my thinking. Media with mosaics of morality, while characters grow and evolve across several spectrums (along with my opinion of them). Where decisions have to be carefully made with limited information and resources, then balanced against competing interests from foreign spheres of influence. Situations where a person can make all the right moves, and still fail through circumstance.

Continue reading “consider this place”…

  1. Thanks to a remission in colitis, and consistent use of a SAD lamp. []
  2. Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under []
  3. Europa Universalis 4, FTL: Faster Than Light, Moirai []

eight lives left

A little while ago, Byron stopped holding down his meals, and we’d consistently find chicken parts scattered about the house shortly after he ate. A visit to the vet, along with the usual blood tests, came up empty. It was only an x-ray at the ER that showed a small object lodged at the start of his small intestine, blocking the path of digestion.

It didn’t come as a huge surprise. Byron was a relentless cat when it came to searching for food. I couldn’t tell if he’d roam the house for things to eat cause he was hungry, or if his hunger came from the constant roaming. Sometimes we’d find chewed up toys passed through his system, but more often than not they came up the other end, covered in bile. It was only a matter of time before something got stuck.

cat in cone

The face of a killer defeated by a furniture screw.

I try to have a pragmatic view about my cats. Operations of this scale on any single one are hard for me to justify, when I could use those resources to save several more (especially when I wouldn’t love a new cat any less). So I left the decision up to Heather, considering the fact that she’s the breadwinner now, and she’s had a stronger connection to him ever since she started taking care of the cat’s meals.

It wasn’t a difficult choice for her, and she gave the vet approval to operate without a second thought.

Cat at Wintersday

Heather’s spent more hours as his ranger alter-ego, Byron Tightslasher, than any other character. Every detail of his virtual persona is carefully chosen to mimic Byron in real life, from the patterns of his fur, to the tilt of his muzzle. In keeping with his personality, even the ranger pets that follow him are named after foods, such as his juvenile eagle called Drumsticks.

This Christmas, Byron’s “Santa Claws” persona includes a snowfall aura, Wintersday weapon set, wreath backpack, and Ho-Ho-Tron mini with matching santa hat.

After leaving Leonard at the hospital for an emergency operation, then finding out the next day that he was gone, I was terrified that I’d never see Byron again, but he soon came home with a new collar and a shaven belly, weak from not having digested a proper meal in so long.

It’s been a few months since, and he’s rebounded quite well, though a lot more cautious when it comes to the things he decides to put in his mouth. I suspect he’s learned a very painful lesson about not eating something just because he can, which means by now he’s at least smarter than most puppies.

shaved belly

BELLY NEEDS BOOPING

I could tell Heather loved my kitties, cause she obsesses over their health, projects their personalities onto other animals, and talks about them ceaselessly (whether it’s to me or people she just met). She even role-plays as them in Guild Wars 2, her favourite part of every season being the chance create a new costume. But after seeing the how much effort she put into saving my little boy, then nursing him back to health with delicate patience, I’ve started to understand that love goes deeper than I realized, for both them and me.

backstory

It’s taken me a generous distance, as well as a healthy break from the pain, to realize I don’t understand what my mom thought of me. In my earliest years, I believed she loved me, cause none of her demands were unreasonable. After all, children are often helpless and don’t even know what’s best for themselves. Then I grew up, and developed an identity of my own. That meant I had distinctive needs separate from hers, and she would deny every one of them unless they were in line with what she wanted. It was impossible for me to believe there was any love at all when she was the cause of so much of my pain. I’ve since come to realize that relationships are full of nuances, and that it’s possible to love someone wholeheartedly and be terrible for them at the same time.

Continue reading “backstory”…

facing eternity, or the lack thereof

Heather managed to snag a job at a great company on the other side of town. She started her training last month, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for making the cut after months of resumes and applications, hope and patience.

While it makes sense for her to start working, I’ve been forced to deal with an unsettling void in the house — like the deafening silence of a blackout, when the electronic hums and glows cease to provide their perpetual company. We never spent more than an hour apart before this, when she might have stepped out to grab some groceries or a prescription1; nearly two years where we couldn’t help but be closely in tune with each other’s needs and moods. Now, it feels like we barely have a chance to get our dailies with a bit of extra content before it’s time for bed.

Cadem Forest in Plains of Ashford

I always travel with my menagerie of cats; this month with Zuzu, Cat of Darkness at my feet (in celebration of Halloween) and Brill on my back (who’s actually a tiger cub).

Losing so much of each other has been a difficult adjustment. I wasn’t ready for this. It wasn’t a decision I made. I’m not use to being so alone, or even taking care of myself, for that matter2. When she’s away, the void makes it painfully clear how much I surrounded myself with her. I can’t even write without mentioning her, cause there’s rarely a decision I make without considering her first, whether it’s how we’re going to spend our time or what I’m going to say next.

It’s a difficult reminder of many years spent without a partner or parent to rely on. I’ve been trying to reclaim my independence by picking up small responsibilities. Something as simple as making my space more comfortable, whether it’s a thorough cleaning or new lighting arrangement, turns into a chance to succeed and feel accomplished. Even games become little projects, ways of exercising my creativity or keeping myself sharp.

I knew Heather would eventually be working, and I’d be alone. Now the day has come, and I’m constantly wondering: who am I when I’m by myself? What do I do to fill the hours that she’s away?

At least it’s given me a chance to write again. The break hasn’t been entirely intentional. Part of it is the fact that writing takes energy, and I rarely have any to spare when I’m trying so hard just to feel okay. Another part is the fact that I haven’t needed this in the same way since I met her. She’s become an important outlet, one who always makes herself available to me. There hasn’t been the same longing to write, cause I haven’t needed to vent, or sort out my thoughts, or feel validated.

Nevertheless, this period of emptiness has become a chapter in itself. A change that will be a great deal of the rest of our lives. I’m stuck here, while the days stretch out before me with endless possibility. The hard part is finally stumbling into the life I’ve always wanted, finding a partner who fills in my gaps in all the right ways, but not being ready for it all.

  1. Aside from a few days she spent visiting her family last year. It was the first significant amount of time we were away from each other since we met, and I had a panic attack before she was out of the city. []
  2. She still handles the meals, and has a system where most things are done in the slow cooker; all I need to do is pour the contents of a bag into the pot and turn it on at a certain time, although, some days, even this can slip my mind. []