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I keep having all these good intentions.

I want to be healthier, I want to be more active, I see Light and Abundance taking all the positive steps, and I don't know what to do, how to wrangle this unruly body and this intractable mind. And I want to make plans, this is what I'm going to eat, t his is how I'm going to exercise, this is what I'm going to do, find the formula that will make everything okay, find an autopilot where I don't have to decide to do anything, I can just do it.

I intended to fresh-start myself when we got back from St Louis, but arrived home with a wicked cold and haven't really stirred from the couch, hacking my lungs out, living on nyquil, mucinex and popsicles, fucking around on the internet to absolutely no purpose.  Second day out of work, can't go babysit Tank tomorrow, and I'm going into all sorts of baby withdrawal, missing him, missing my niece already.

I googled an ex yesterday.  Not Asshat, not Lesson, but the boy who tried to hang himself with a too-long rope, the one who cut himself, called me in a panic, and i raced down there to find something I could cover with my thumb, the one who told me my piercings were gross, who wanted me to be quiet and still during sex.  He still exists, he's on the other end of the state, I don't know why I looked him up. I don't have the nostalgia I associate with Lesson, or the rage I associate with Asshat towards him. I don't even think I have 

But, maybe tomorrow I'll feel better. Maybe tomorrow I'll managed to read real books, rather than stare at youtube videos.  Maybe tomorrow I'll clean the fridge, make the plans.  Today, however, I think I'll sit with this particular stagnant sort of depression I associate with summer cold, mull over the use of makeup and what I'd like to accomplish by using it, and pet cats.





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 I wrote myself a screed about how I don't want people to use crazy pejoratively, but I also don't want people to try to take the label away from me, to think that somehow high-functioning means that the crazy's gone elsewhere.  And then I tried to compare it to my alcoholism, but that metaphor ran away with me to somewhere kind of offensive-feeling.

I'm feeling particularly like I'm headed on my personal train to my personal crazy-town at the moment.  I'm in St Louis, with my sister-in-law,  helping her and her husband take care of my nieces while said sister-in-law recovers from her mastectomy. because she just had breast cancer and then chemo. And she's fairly blaise about talking about the whole process, and emptying her drains (while she still had them in) in front of me, and I've only had to cry a little once and managed to do it in the shower.

There's no privacy here, we sleep in a bedroom with a 6 month old, there's an absurd heat advisory on at the moment, so going out for a walk is outside the realm of possibility, since I don't actually want the privacy of passing out from heat stroke. I've been doing pretty well helping Light with the midnight and 4 am feedings, I'm absurdly happy while carrying a baby around. But i miss Abundance, and cats, and not having to sleep with clothes on, I miss my house, I miss a water quality that makes me feel like I'm actually clean after I shower.  

And even before we came out here, I could feel myself clenching. We're cleaning out  what was Light's game room to turn it into a room of my own, with a bed, and all my crafting things in one place, and all the politics of naming rooms are weird (technically, all the rooms are "our" rooms and the definition of our just shifts back and forth, but I want a "my" room.  Part of this process involved cleaning out the game room, and we unearthed the whiteboard I had from back when one of my coping tools was to schedule myself exhaustively, to always know where I was intending to be and what I was intending to do.

And now I keep a long list of events, and share it with Light and Abundance and Delight, in case they want to accompany me,and sometimes I can soothe myself just by looking for things to add to the list, even if we don't go, to whittle away at the thoughts about what I might be missing, what I might have forgotten. 

I started to brainstorm the things i wanted a day or a week to include today, and found myself making a grid where I parceled my weeks up into fifteen minute chunks, blocking out the things I knew I needed to do (Work, therapies, Tank, transit, date nights with Light and Abundance, work from home dates with Delight.  

And this regimented omnia would spend her sundays working out her week, planning all the meals and preparing some, laying out her outfits, making Abundance his breakfasts and lunches, portioning out what parts of her meals could be pre-apportioned, deciding what she's reading for the week, when she'll journal, when she'll work out, what she'll read.

And we all talk about poly like it is primarily a challenge of time management, but what happens when you want to micromanage yourself into stability, and the very things that keep you(me) stable are the things that are outside my scope of management?

I want each day to contain sleep, and journaling, and meditating, and some form of exercise, and my plantar fasciitis stretches, and cleaning, and reading, and crafting, and sleep, and sex.  I want or need my weeks to contain Tank and work and therapies, classes when I can, concerts and movies and trashy tv and thai food and all the people I miss. 

And I want to find ways to remember the larger goals, of figuring out a sleeve tattoo for at least my lower left arm, of learning another language, of getting a dishwasher and a garbage disposal, of going places I can snorkel, of learning to bike commute to Delight's at the very least, of all of the kink conventions, of learning how to be and how to be happy and how to keep growing and how to keep learning and how to do all the things.

and sometimes I just want to sign all my letters *f(l)ail*
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Well, I haven't posted April, May or June books, so here goes.

Novels:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Amazing. The first word that comes to mind is gentle when I try to describe the prose or the appeal.

Chaos Choreography
by Seanan McGuire.  As always, Seanan McGuire provides a delightful romp.

Unbound by Jim Hines.  Jim Hines is writing an ADD fanboy very well. And there's poly and queerness all over the place, but I'm starting to just want to punch the main character every time he speaks.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Came free with my Audible subscription, finally got around to listening. Not my cup of tea in many ways.

Hild by Nicola Griffith.  Even more amazing than The Goblin Emperor.  I cannot wait for more.

As with everything other other thing the man has written, I found Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel Jose Older wicked compelling. 

Attachments and Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell.  While not as breathtaking as Fangirl, it was pretty amazing.

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs.  Exactly what it says on the tin, more Mercy Thompson candy.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Smug as fuck.

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray.  On the one hand, I devoured them. On the other hand, once again, I wanted to shake the protagonist, who was naive in a way I found very hard to digest.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.  Started slow, and the female protagonist wasn't all that sympathetic, but I really liked the male protagonist's struggles.

Poison, Beauty and Charm by Sarah Pinborough. I do love me some dark fairytales, and I appreciated the aesthetics of the books and the interleaving was impressive, but it felt like Angela Carter lite.



 
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 Wednesday I went to what was possibly the world's most awkward meetup. And I was completely fine with it. I hung around for about an hour, and then bailed to catch a bus. 
 
I realized that once again I need to examine whether or not I can really successfully detach from desired outcomes, specific and vague, in order to feel comfortable posting to social media of all sorts.  I want the reaching out to be the point, not the response, now I just need to find the map from here to there.
 
But I'm also so focused on the connections that it's hard to remember what to feel when I don't feel like I'm making them. These things can be a chronicle, a record for myself that I just happen to put where other people can see it but that's not truly true. My personal journal is full of lists and flailing and repetition, and I try to keep this something other than that.
 
Teach is pregnant with younger sister for Tank (or whatever I've been calling my beloved nephew), due  this winter, and I'm terrified. Maybe all the awful genetic legacies my family has to offer only get expressed in girl children, maybe she'll be a depressed alcoholic with an addictive personality and the BRCA mutation too. Maybe there''s only so much nature nuture can fight. Or maybe this is all a cheap-ass rationalization for why it sometimes seems like my brothers grew up in an entirely different family than I did, even if we were right there in the same trenches. 

But Delight's suggested a handful of books to read, and when in doubt - do research to it! And Unexpected reminded me of all the diagnostic tools that have developed since then, and I didn't have a me in my corner.
 
(I left myself a journal prompt weeks ago that I still haven't managed to actual write anything about that says only "when and why and how did I learn my body was a battle I'd never win?")
 
 
 
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 I did something to my back yesterday, hoisting Tank down from the changing table, and have subsequently spent the past 26 or so hours in bed. It's better today, I make it to the bathroom without weeping, and hopefully it will be better still tomorrow.  But I want to shower, I want to clean, I want to be up in Portland with Abundance going to interesting workshops with a person whose niceness I was genuinely impressed with.

I finished my latest book on audible, and have now tapped out of both Rising Strong and Sex at Dawn as my next choices, the first few chapters of each of them rendering me anxious and a little bit weepy. and I hate this, this inability to look at things, without mapping my own shortcomings onto them, these are good books with things that would probably help me to learn about. 

But maybe another day. Maybe some other way.  Maybe I'll join a gym and learn upsetting myself on the treadmill is the perfect way to go. Maybe I'll learn not to be upset. Maybe I shouldn't attempt anything challenging when it's still hard to sit up.

ETA: I can listen to Max Gladstone serial fiction and cross-stitch. This is a better plan.
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 I'm flustered and tired all the time, and I think I might have had a headache since sometime last week.  I finally had the bright idea to take some allergy medication yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have helped.

I keep planning things like I'm running away from something. And maybe it's serious conversations I don't want to have with Light or Abundance, or examining my unhappiness with my career, or this looming sense of having done nothing with the first 40 years of my life other than having mostly survived them.

Abundance and I were talking about aptitudes this morning, about companies who hire for personality traits and then train. I said "I just want to be good at something" and started crying.

So far April has contained
- a bad for my feet Tai Chi class with Light
- a Heather Nova convert with Abundance
- the first of four sessions of a learning Ruby class.
-editting class
-an infant CPR class with Delight
-a The Sea The Sea concert with Abundance
-one day of PAX East with Abundance and Light
-volunteering for Foodbetter
-an amazing Emily Nagoski talk at Good Vibes with Abundance and Light
-individual therapy and couples therapy, a new pcp, two visits to an obgyn, and taking Light to the ER three times (he's fine, everything's okay now)
-Ibabysitting for Mech's kid, and driving out to Media's fancy suburban town to hang out with him and my other two nephews
-a lecture about avatars and biases with Abundance
-going to Abundance's boss's house for dinner

Tonight, I go to a performance of Arcadia with Light, Abundance and Delight.  Tomorrow I hope to go to Harvard Bookstore's after hours, boo shopping by flashlight event, and then Sunday Abundance's friend's birthday.

I know I'm pushing myself too hard, even though I still manage to bail on things (and feel like a failure every time I do).  I have this huge list of things I'm not doing, books and articles I'm not reading, friends I'm not seeing, crafts I'm not doing, emails I'm not writing, jobs I'm not applying for, house, chores I haven't done, art I haven't hung, work I'm behind on, homework I haven't done.

So basically, all the things, all the feels, no narrative thread.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
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 So, I just finished reading _Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules_.

And there's so much fucking food for thought.

There's a section about being single. I've never been sober and single. I'm not even really sure how much of my twenties I wasn't technically dating someone or in an intense non-sexual relationship with someone.  So maybe I've never been single.  Maybe I missed some critical developmental step in finding out what I want.  I hate the idea that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, but maybe I hate it because I've never mastered it.   I've grown enough that I no longer think less of someone for wanting to be in a relationship with me, but I have not yet mastered being my own superhero.

There's a section about building feminist relationships, and the bit that hit really hard was about taking up as much space as I want. Which feels a little glib, because I don't understand the process of figuring out how much space I want to take up.   And it's full of literal things, feeling embarrassed and ashamed of the thigh-touch that inevitably happens on the bus because I am a woman of broad hips.  But I also think I want too much all the time, I feel like I want too much from everyone, too much attention, too much energy, too much reassurance, too much commitment, too much focus, too much memory, too many processing cycles. My therapist and I talk about why this, what childhood messages I internalized, if I'm willing to try to stop believing that. So far, I don't know how to, but i'm a work in progress.

There's a section about navigating nonmonogamy, which I feel like I'm failing at six ways from sunday.  I am passionately devoted, in different ways, to Light, Abundance and Delight.  But I'm terrified I won't survive Abundance or Light dating, or more precisely, my relationships with them won't. I don't even know if I want them to date, but i want them to be happy.  But I also want to feel safe.  And I know stagnation isn't good, I want to move forward, I want to grow, but I'm so scared that my brain seizes up, I panic, 

There's a section on gender, on remaining childless, about opting not to marry, about knowing when to end relationships and how to do so.  And I'm sort of stewing in all of it, but also watching stupid youtube videos with Delight.  So you know, it's a Friday.
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I have two entries I'm not writing.

One is about my social life, how it feels lovely and full and like there's something I'm missing, some clue to adulthood, some backstage pass into a group where everyone knows everyone and they're all invited to each other's shindigs (yeah, I said it, shindigs) and hang out together on the internet, and...I don't even know what it is these mythical people do, I just know I'm not doing it.

I don't think I want more or different people in my life, I'm amazed by my partners,I love my friends, there are already people I miss that I have no idea how to reach back out to. (I get so trapped in the spiral of not responding immediately, which makes me embarrassed, which makes me less likely to respond, until I've worked myself up into a frenzy of never talking to anyone). So I'm not sure what's going on there, just little pangs, like hiccups, when certain things are mentioned, where I read certain bits of social media.

The second is about all the books and novellas I'veread. I didn't post in February, and in March I just decided to flip out and read as many re-reads and novellas as I wanted. So, here's the list..

February contained

Janet Kagan's novel Mirabile, her short stories "Standing in the Spirit" and "Fermat's Best Theorem".

A collection of short stories edited by Celia Tan called Sextopia.

Something I'm not sure what to call titled Don't Make Art, Just Make Something by Miranda Aisling.

Seanan McGuire's Indexed,and I managed to snag a hardcopy of her limited edition, published under Mira Grant, book Rolling in the Deep.

The unremarkable Splintered by AG Howard about a mashup of a teen romance, fairies and Alice in Wonderland. Great concept, not-so-great writing or pacing.

The delightful Blythewood by Carol Goodman. I'm such a sucker for school-fic, and this one started set in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, so I couldn't help but be doubly charmed. (not that the tragedy is charming, but the Judy Grahn poem has always stuck with me.)

The first trade paperback of Bitch Planet, which I've been reading by the issue, but all together was even better, though I missed the essays.


And the devastating, too-close-to-the-bone Cambridge by Susanne Kaysen. There's a bit where she recognizes she'll always be the outsider in her family, and so she decides to be the outsidest outsider she possibly can be, and it felt like a body blow to read.

March contained

Mostly Mira Grant. I re-read Feed, Deadline and Blackout. I finished the Parasitology trilogy by finally reading Chimera. I stocked up on all the novellas and read "Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box", "Countdown", "San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats", How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea", "The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell" and "Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus".

Also, Seanan McGuire's short "Daughter of the midway the mermaid and open, lonely sea" and Mary Robinette Kowal's "Forest of Memory."

On the nonfiction front, I
 read "happiest toddler on the block" which had the central metaphor that caregivers should consider themselvesds ambassadors between toddlers and the adult world, and as such learn to speak toddler, and be able to translate concepts into toddler-ese.  It also had the interesting suggestion they called "the fast food rule" which instead of being about bad eating habits, was about repeating what you heard back to the toddler, which meshes well with Tank's parents practice of telling tank when he's upset "You're mad, you're mad, you're mad.  you want the phone and kim won't let you have it".   Which seems so breathtaking a concept,  to have your feelings explained, and understood even at that level.

On the trashy side, I read a Mercedes Lackey Novel called Legacies about yet another magical school, but this might be an evil school that is tithing the occasional student to hell.  Or something.    Also H2O by Virginia Bergin, about a world in which a meteor has brought some alien microbes to Earth, and they multiply in the rain and live in the water and are wildly lethal.  The protagonist is kind of obnoxious, and the premise seems to have some holes in it, about water vapor and such. 

In the middle of the range of what I read was Planetfall by Emma Newman.  I picked it up because I was intrigued by the premise of a colony on an alien planet primary providing its material needs through 3D printers. It contained what felt like an excellent description of a hoarder (in the sense it was anxiety-inducing to read) and introduced the idea of a hoarder affecting a community by keeping valuable resources out of the waste-stream that the 3D printers got their materials from.  But it ended abruptly and with some sort of ascension solving all the problems. 

On the holy-crap-was-that-amazing was Uprooted by Naomi Novik .  If you  haven't read it, go read it. Right now.  and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, same deal.   Her protagonist Cath was so sympathetic as to also be heartwrenching.  To prove it, I will leave you with these two quotes.

" And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.” 

"“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.” "

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Maybe, if I keep writing it down, I'll figure something out.

I'm safe, I keep telling myself, I'm safe. Bad things can happen, stressful things can keep happening, I'm safe.

Today I told my psychiatrist that I feel like most people end up at forty with a career, or a degree, or kids. I showed up with a mastectomy and my sobriety. They're both laudable accomplishments, but they don't keep me warm. So maybe all this crying is mortality staring me in the face and asking me what I've done.

I can't find ways to frame my panic, I can't find specific things to face down or address, I can barely remember to brace my hands on the kitchen counter and breathe through the fear. I'm not losing anything, I'm not. Light's new romance, Abundance's new job, they aren't taking away anything I can't afford to lose.

I want absurd amounts of attention and focus, I know that. Or at least I believe that. And for some reason, I can't figure out how to feed myself the attention I need, I don't know if that' shitty wiring, shitty parenting, or maybe it's not a skill anyone has (oh, human condition, fuck you in the ear). On good days, I can think of myself as a high cost, high reward sort of game. I'm not having very many good days these days, but maybe they'll come back, and I can just read zombie novels until then.
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All the feels, all the time. Well, that and polysyndeton and sentence fragments.

At least the goddamn migraine meds have finally kicked in, or the combo of them and an inadvisable amount of caffeine and a totally advised amount of naproxen. (my spellcheck insists I mean promenade instead of naproxen and I want to know what an advised amount of promenade would be).

I'm having a bad time of it. And I always suspect when I'm having a bad time, I'm doing it to manipulate some situation. If I feel like I can't handle something, I must be lying to myself for some sort of gain. (thanks, dad!) I remember using my mother's computer at my parents house before we all drove upstate for Media's college graduation, and an incoming email from her college friend that said something to the effect of Omnia's just trying to steal Media's spotlight, because I'd been having a really hard time of it and had said something to that end to my mother. And it's always like that, since I can normally modulate my behavior to mask signs of distress, an inability to do so must not be an actual inability but instead a tool I'm using to get what I want.

I feel like a machine made for manufacturing tears and drama. I shouldn't be reacting this strongly to Light dating, I shouldn't be reacting this strongly to feeling like I'm trapped in my own kitchen by my inability to interact calmly with Labdanum. She hasn't done anything, I'm the one choosing to eat breakfast in the kitchen to avoid awkwardly sharing a couch with her, so I shouldn't feel resentful of her or Light for putting me in this situation.

And I pick a fight with Abundance last night because I want to lash out, I want to stop being reasonable, I want to be hurt by the things that hurt, and I can't marshal enough of my brainpower to explain what I'm upset about, so we just spiral into the same old topics, about the future versus the past, about location, about what changes and what stays the same.

There's a tentative plan in place, to clear out the room that Light uses for all his games, and the treadmill no one uses and I can paint it dovegray and get white curtains and a daybed, and use it as a sanctuary and a craft room. And on the one hand, maybe it can be a guest room too, on the other hand I just want a goddamn virginia woolf room of my own. And if Light has more sleepover dates, I'll get one of those shower caddies from college and duplicates of all my toiletries, and pretend I'm a transient in my own house.

I caved, practicing the sort of poly that I didn't want to practice with Abundance, and now I get to understand every single ugly feeling his wife had, and every single ugly feeling Light had/has, first with Asshat and now/then with Abundance. I'm not going to meet their partner for the forseeable future, we ended up in one of those situations where someone doesn't get what they want, and I let it be me.

I am not thriving, I am not doing well, I'm not making any of the kinds of progress I want to make. Things slide off my plate left and right, not because I forget them but because I frankly can't be bothered to fight for them, and then I get upset by stupid things, like my cat sleeping with Labdanum, even though I believe I should just be impressed she can tell Frye and Brat apart and that my cats liking people makes them more likely to be good people. (I'll never forget the time Funnyface swiped at my father when he tried to interact with her.)

But I don't feel like I have the oopmh to combat more forces eroding my boundaries, and maybe it'll be a matter of redrawing the boundaries closer to my skin, lying to myself until it becomes truth or indistinguishable from. Abundance tells me it's okay to feel my feelings, Delight tells me my only job for the moment is to let things happen, I can be happy for Light without requiring myself to say only happy things, and I'm absolutely sure my therapist agree, but if I can't slash and burn said feelings, I'll probably just opt for repress and bury them. and i don't know what right i have even to say this someplace where it can be read, since it just feels like anything other than placid acceptance and complete control is being unkind to someone but apparently I don't feel badly enough about it to not post.
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Been a couple of internally intense days.

I've resolved to think of Labdanum as an ally. I'm not sure how hard this will stick, but I did manage to inform Light that it was his responsibility to step up his planning game enough to trying to make plans for all four/five of us. (I'm unclear on if I get to meet her partner). I'm still full of prickly feelings, I'm still worried about the distances I see between what I say and what Light hears and then explains to Labdanum, but I have always been afraid of being mistranslated, this is just another example.

Delight took me to their house last night, and I got snuggles and internet shopping and sorbet and caramel and doggie kisses. I didn't manage to talk much after we got there, I'd been unable to finish my sentences at Clover, holding back tears or curses or both. I feel like I'm losing the coherency I can usually mostly bring to the table about my own emotions. It's all fear and self-loathing up in here, believing I should be better than each negative thing I feel and then trying to berate myself into to not feeling whatever I'm struggling with at the moment.

Labdanum isn't my competition, so being afraid of what change she'll bring with her makes me a shitty practioner of poly and a shitty feminist and a shitty wife.

Abundance has his dream job, something so engaging he's almost always deeply involved, and that makes him less present on the internet during the day and some evenings, and of course it does, it was never going to be the same as when he worked from home up in Maine, so feeling lonely and missing him is a shitty thing to do, because I'm saying I want him to pay more attention to me than to his dream, and if I knew this was going to happen (and I did) I should have been able to put coping mechanisms in place. And really, I'm only lonely because I want too much attention in the first place.

Lather, rinse, repeat. I want everything to be my fault, my lack, because then there's the illusion something someday might be controllable. I tell myself so often that things would be different if I was better, smarter, faster, thinner, happier because I believe that's better than the idea that things just keep happening.

But now I envy the idea of someone just being smitten with me from the start, instead of what has inevitably risen from my penchant for emotionally damaged boys, where I trip through minefields, half giddy and half tasked with remembering what it is I can't have, looking through cards to try to find one that doesn't say love, trying to understand how "probably" can be applied to loving me. (delight is an exception to this narrative, but our courtship and roundabout and hard to parse while it was happening)

(I like my coffee like I like my men, emotionally damaged by other people).

Therapy before class is hard, I'm distracted by my sore eyes, by trying to think through the things that came up, by trying to make pieces fit together. My therapist suggested that maybe crying is a sign of needing attention, as if needing attention were some value-less thing, and not the horrific manipulation I think it is, and asked why I wanted to be alone when I cried. And then she asked me if Tank wanted too much attention and I said, quite firmly, that Tank needed the exactly perfect amount of attention, and we did the pause and reflect quietly on my upbringing game as I tried to resolve the internal inconsistency.

Maybe tonight's the night I try headspace. Or maybe I'll try to track down why my house smells like something's rotting somewhere. Or maybe I'll just wash my glasses off and snuggle up to Abundance and pretend I don't have to solve anything right now.
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Poly is hard, yo.

Light is about to embark on the adventure of dating. He and his last girlfriend parted ways because she couldn't deal with Abundance and my drama. This time it's slightly different, she's a friend of a friend, and while I'm uneasy, it's at least a small relief to know that she's been declared good people by someone I completely trust.

I can't figure out where the weird sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach comes from (is this jealousy? it feels like fear, but maybe jealousy is fear). I want him to be happy, I want this to happen for him. I want all this self-esteem bullshit to just go away, I don't have some essential nature that boils down to me being automagically less important than everyone else.

Assertive techy girls terrify me. Seemingly charmed girls who know what they want and get it terrify me.

Things got fucked up a couple of years ago, I took a lot of body blows, I eventually managed to stand up again. And I'm still standing, this is not something that's going to take me out or take me down. but I'm also crying and I don't know why. (I do know why, it's fear. fear makes me cry. and tiredness with my brain. I would really like my brain to shut the fuck up about narratives and what kind of girl/woman I am and all the bad things that could happen, and how Light's time with Labdanum isn't going to get taken out of his video game and D&D bucket, but the me bucket.)

I want to just be happy for him. I want him to have all the fun feelings. Step one, though, is let it happen, and I've at least got that covered (so far.)
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Abundance calls this time my morning kingdom, when both the boys are asleep and I'm alone in the living room, drinking my tea and watching television of dubious quality, snuggling cats and cross-stitching. And I wonder what it is that I'm getting now, when everyone else in the house is asleep, that I can't get while they're awake.

I want to cultivate so many habits, and I can't seem to find the energy to figure out how to begin any of them. I want to stretch and meditate almost-daily, I want to wake up each day to a kitchen with all the dishes done. I want to drink a bottle of water, walk a couple miles a day. I want to read fiction and non fiction in equal amounts, I want to cook, I want to eat less takeout, I want to lose weight, get stronger, I want to find a way to swim that lets me still have blue hair. I want to spend more time doing things with my hands. I want to watch youtube tutorials about wearing makeup and practice, not necessarily so I will, but so I can if I want to. I want to post to social media, I want to stay in touch with the people I adore, I want to keep up my Khan academy streak, I want to learn more about coding, I want to...but I keep ending up playing my match three games.

I'm looking at my cookbook collection (I waver between wanting to rid myself of all my possessions, and wanting to collect one or two specific things (vegetarian cookbooks, bookmarks) and then want to weed them if they're not useful, and then wanting to collect again) and at one point in the past, I crossed out all the soy-containing recipes, unable to imagine a world in which I'd be comfortable eating it again (phytoestrogens, etc). And now I'm here, and I'm eating it again, and there's something sad and wry about it and I want to feel liberated and comfortable in my life choices and I guess I am, but my yearly DFCI visit comes next Friday and I always feel like such a fraud in the waiting room, traumatized by the choices I made, the steps I took to avoid, when I'm surrounded by people who had no choice.

I seem to be going more off the rails in the evenings, and then waking the next morning, still depressed, still in pain, but with a better sense of humor about it. Sure, I'm scared, I'm scared of what I'm feeling, I'm scared of what I said to Abundance last night (talking about my feelings while on ambien is almost never the right move), I'm scared of what happens next, I'm scared of nothing changing. But in the morning, I can also grin at having shown the boys the infectious children's song "Apples and Bananas", I can be deeply entertained by how Skitterypoof (the youngest tortie) drools when she's being snuggled, I can look for youtube videos of puppies learning to swim.
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Blargle.

You know those times when you think that a really good sobbing fit will maybe make you feel better and then you cry alone in the car for a while and instead of better you just feel more tired and your eyes hurt?   Yeah, it was that kind of day.    

I'm fine, I'm always fine, I'm just maybe crumbling a little bit under the weight of things too.

Can anyone suggest some good written-by-a-woman young adult fantasy novels?  I feel the need to be completely engaged by something.
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 There are a few disadvantages to having editing class half an hour after therapy. My face aches, my brain starts trying to figure out exactly what it was I was crying about,  There's an edge of unreality talking about em dashes after I've been sobbing inconsolably about how lost I feel for fifty minutes.

I'm feeling alienated of late, like I'm missing person-cues left and right.  I want to make plans with people, but end up flustered and tired by trying to figure out what to say, and i never want to leave the house and I never want people to see my house as it is now, I want to feed people but never want to cook.  

Sometimes, there's this person I want to be and I can almost put the distance between me and her into words but most of the time, I'm lost and flailing. I know I feel like I'm missing something, but I don't know what it is. My therapist asks me who I talk to  about this stuff and gently asks if the running away fantasies I'm having are actually thinly veiled suicidal thoughts.  And I don't believe they are, I just want to go away from everything that would expect me to function.

But all three pieces of clothing I bought from blame betty are fabulous and fit, and I bought myself a Dreamz to go Octo, who will shine lights in the shapes of stars and fish on the ceiling.  Maybe everything will seem better after I see Tank tomorrow.
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 Cleaned like crazy today, with Light and Abundance's significant help.  Hopefully soon many things will leave my house and more space will happen.   

I believe I should keep cleaning, there are so many more things to do, but I'm sort of drained, the sort of drained that has somehow led me to look up people I oughtn't on Facebook.  And the desire to read out kind of remains, I wonder how Lesson is doing, why he's where he is, I marvel at how old some of my boogeypersons have gotten, how unthreatening they look even if thinking about those parts of my life makes me a little sick to my stomach.

Things are slightly off, I feel like I can't find the right way to fidget, I want for something to sort, something to alphabetize, some small repetitive task (other than cross-stitch). I want to chew on my cuticles, or make elflocks in my hair.  I want to unravel a sweater, unpick a seam.  Nothing feels like the appropriate activity, not daydreaming, not crafting, not reading and certainly not looking at pictures of ex-friends.   Maybe i'll try making a cup of soothing tea and reading more about Montessori models. Or try to write some emails. Or do homework. Or eat leftover cake. Or paint my toenails.  Something, anything, for another half hour and then I can go to bed.
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 Strange and fussy place today.    I had a wfh day with Delight and Abundance, and it was delightful and I took a little nap, and cuddled a dog, and got a good dose of pinterest-sharing with Delight.  And then I went to couples, and it was hard and I cried a lot, but in no particular direction or about any one thing, and we touched a little bit on my refusal of comfort.  and then I passed the fuck out, and then there wasn't any parking at the movie theater, and then I tried to recommend a book to Abundance, and it wasn't his type of book and I'm just so fucking wrong-footed these days it's a wonder I'm managing not to stab myself in the face every time I use a pen or a pencil.

and my inside voice sings me a song about everything being doomed, and I look around at all these things that should be making me happy, that are making me happy and I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I don't know what to try next. I am happy, I can feel happy, I'm blessed/cursed these days with a reasonable amount of resilience.   But I also feel like things keep slipping through my fingers.

Maybe it's February, maybe it's turning 40, maybe it's something else altogether.  Or maybe it's nothing, and I'm just trying to string tiny pieces of narrative on a string and call them a necklace, when it's nothing actually that coherent.
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Back with the flea with a headcold and a fever.  (wrote this last night, decided to wait until daylight to post. cue revisions)

None of the things I want to talk about are coming easily out of my fingertips.  I want to rigidly schedule my days, to keep from feeling like I'm losing track of things.   I want to spend all my time trying to predict the outcomes of unpredictable things, because I'm having a harder time just being chill and letting things happen.  I want to read, but instead make endless lists of the things I have read, or the things I want to read.  I want to eat better, exercise, sleep better, but I don't.   I want to find some way to have more woo in my life, or woo at all, but instead search etsy for symbols.    

We went to a class called grounding, centering and shielding, and I tried some new imagery, I wanted to be sand.  teeny tiny rocks subjected to immense amounts of force, a thing that was itself, but was also alterable, the place where the ocean meets the shore without the shore becoming the ocean (I didn't really spend much time on the idea that I wanted to be someplace liminal and transformative, or in opposition to the ocean I figure I'll get back to that later). And later, hearing people talk about ordeal paths made me wonder if I've been putting myself through ordeals, without the language or the framework to recognize them.  

When Light and I went to Hawaii four years ago, I ended up deciding to give the ocean my mastectomy.  I wasn't sure exactly what I meant, but I knew the ocean was big and would be better at handling than I was. Part of what I want back is that feeling, that there are things bigger and better at handling me than I am, even if their handling is primarily couched in languages I can't understand.  One of my favorite bits about Ananke is that the greeks did not sacrifice to her, because there was no appeasing necessity, it just kept happening. And it seems disingenuous to want for gods and to have written one on my body, and survival might be a form of prayer, but I feel like she's not all of what I'm looking for.

and maybe it's that I've turned forty, and want for a cause to devote myself to, a place to put all my energy and that's combining badly with the depression, so half the time I want to be a housewife, and half the time I want to drop everything and run.  (and half the time I want a kid and half the time I want to make more money and half the time I want to find a career where I can do things that bring me peace and half the time I just want to stay very small and still and hope for the storms to pass)

So I make pinterest boards of food and clothes and inspiring house things and art projects and use the internet as some sort of rosary.    I put a fifteen minute timer on during the day, and do things in chunks.  Work, khan academy, clean, reimagine my house as a more comforting place, read.  I've been whiffing on the self-love course, but Abundance helped me through week two of the coursera course, and I'm pretty up to date on the editing course, though I suspect I'm going to opt to stay home tonight, in hopes a little extra downtime will make me all better enough to hang with Delight tomorrow.


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 Home alone today, no WFH with Delight, my initial bonus Tank time being unnecessary.  I've hung laundry and done dishes, and watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and now it's the part of the day where I've set myself a number of additional tasks, and am viewing them skeptically out of the corner of my eye.

I should:

Do work
Pack for the flea
run to the store for Light's scrip
sweep/swiffer mop all the things
shower
craft
do homework for either editing class or coursera class

I feel all grumpy and conflicted looking at my calendar.  Both Abundance and Delight have work trips schedule, and there's even an outside possibility that Light might be traveling in March as well.  I want to do all the things, and I want to sit on my couch and fuck around on the internet and never leave my house, and I don't know how to balance these things.

I should be looking online for new boots, not Hell Bunny dresses, I should write emails and make plans with the handful of people I've not been contacting. I should, I should, I should.  Instead, though, for the moment, I'm going to play on pinterest, and eat a blood orange and snuggle with a cat.


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Is it redundant to call a post "all the feels"? 

I feel so angry sometimes. And it's such an unfamiliar feeling, this desire to stomp my feet and say "no, mine, my turn, give me all the things, pay attention to me, think about hard things for me, take care of me, pick me, let me be selfish". And even typing that out makes me feel ungrateful and ugly, that I should be taking what people want to give me, and believe that it is enough. I don't know how to express anger to other people,  I'm too afraid of being left, of being unruly, of being difficult, of being unreasonable.  Most of the time, I know how to eat the anger, to turn it on myself, to feel like it's my fault in the first place for wanting things outside my scope. 

So maybe it's not unfamiliar, I'm just not used to it running so close to the surface.

I keep trying to give up on asking "why me?" because the answer is never satisfactory, even when it's a positive thing I'm asking about (maybe especially). The question "why me?" gets filed in the same drawer as words like deserve and fair and hope (and sometimes faith and grace).  Either I've done something and that's why things happen, and if I was smarter or faster I would have been able to keep them from happening, or there's no reason they happen to me, and I might as well just get on with the process of coping with my feelings about them happening.
 
I feel like this paints me too much as a victim. I'm chock full of agency. I'm just as much my own hero and my own villain as I am my own girl tied to the tracks, waiting. But I do want to control everything, and know that I can't control what anyone else ever does, so I try to control my reactions. I try to almost never say the first thing that crosses my mind, instead spend that split second running it through a reasonable filter. But I still can't remember most of my disagreements, I can remember the feelings but not the words, so I can never cite text when I want to talk about what we talked.  Mmm, stress response.
 
I tried to explain to my therapist how my wants were unreliable, it was hard to figure out which ideas were good or bad, the be busy all the time, the never leave my house, the desire to just pack up and flee, leave everything behind. Even writing this is making me cry at work, and I'm so afraid that I've got another depressive episode coming on, where everything seems hopeless and unfixable, and whatever calm I've managed to create around the chaos of my life shatters.  
 
But Tank still smiles when he sees me, and sometimes leaps off of things assuming I'm going to catch him and even if I don't know what kind of help I need, I have people in my life who will help me, and Tanning (who will henceforth be known as skitterypoof) still chirrups and demands pets, and these entries are indicative of the structure of my thoughts, where I dig myself trenches and then try to remember that things exist outside the trenches.  And then I read Marge Piercy's "For Strong Women" and tell myself that metaphorical throwing up does in fact develop metaphorical stomach muscles and listen to Dar tell me I'm aging well.
 
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