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An almost-friend had a gathering last weekend in the name of just fostering community.  I couldn't attend, being the sickfaced sad thing I am right now.  (I can see germ-sharing being a way of building community, but it doesn't seem like a particular kind one), but I've been thinking about it since the invitation.
  
I'm screening responses to this, but right now, I think the best thing I can do to feel more connected (other than give money and look for volunteering options) is send some love through the mail with no expectation of return, just hope of brightening someone's day.

Leave me your address and I'll send you something.  Hell, if you know someone who could use a little random love by the post, leave their address.  
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There's a Gwendolyn Brooks poem I keep coming back to.  "First fight, then fiddle."   It's not exactly right for the situation, I'd like to simultaneously fight and fiddle, but it turns out I don't think I know how to do either.   But both are works in progress, I'm a work in progress, and the Kate McKinnon cover of Hallelujah is still making me tear up, even on the tenth watching.  And of course, the word fiddle brings up thoughts of Rome burning, but I am no Nero either.

These days are making me crave community, crave interaction, crave action, crave volunteering, crave contact.  I paint my self-portrait in shades of grumpy introvert (occasionally with a heart of gold, but more often with a heart of fear), and yet I want puppy piles and cookbook clubs and to be a safe space, to create safe spaces.  And I'll figure it out, I'll do something, it's no one's job to tell me how to be an ally, how to be effective, when they're fighting their own fight, I'm going to keep trying.

But there's also a feast holiday coming up, to start off a season that I'm still determined to make my own, to create my own families out of whatever I can get my hands on.  And in that spirit, here is my idea of plenty, here is my grand plan before I whittle it down into something slightly more approachable that remembers I only have one stove and so much counterspace.
 
tofurkey
shepherd's pie w/ cheese-crusted leeks
caramelized onion gravy
cider chestnut stuffing
spinach salad w/ pomegranates and manchego
sweet potato biscuits
Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Leeks and Apples
Green bean casserole w/ goat cheese, almonds and smoked paprika
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
balsamic cranberry sauce
Gingerbread Upside-down Apple Cake
Chocolate Chocolate Cake
 
and 
 
Honey Whipped Ricotta-Stuffed Scones for breakfast the day of.
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I don't want to talk about the election.  By which I mean of course i want to talk about the election, but so  many people have done it so much better than I have, and I fear/feel all I have is fear and slogans. 

I'm sitting with this fierce appetite for community that is not at all blunted by the fact that I'm socially awkward at the best of times and a wild introvert most of the rest. So, for the moment, I'm going to try to write things in places other people can see them from the comfort of my own couch, drinking my fourteenth cup of peppermint tea in the vague hopes this cold will at least be a quick one.  

I've been taking a memoir class this semester, and the only assignment is to produce, each week, three pages of writing that could conceivably be from my memoir.  And I've wandered all over the place in my topics, two pieces about BRCA+, one about Lesson, one about Braids, one about Red, one about my childhood, one about being my own unreliable narrator, one about celebrating 13 years of not smoking, one about hyper-vigilance, and I'm working up to convincing myself to turn in the one I wrote about the night I tried to kill myself.   (I hadn't intended to write that one, I had instead written a piece that in editing I had decided needed to start with a strong disclaimer, and I chose "I do not want your pity" which led to me writing another piece entirely about that time that someone said to me all I wanted was pity, which lead to talking about M, which lead to talking about J, which lead to that night.)

It's been hard, it's been seeming to suck up a lot of my energy and I'm contemplating posting some of them here, with all the proper names changed.  And it's been making me think about why I don't have college friends, high school friends, Northampton friends, why I'm someone who is discarded, someone who discards, how I'd ever reach out again and why, with maybe three (at most) exceptions, that's such a bad idea.

Light seems like he's just about to accept an offer for a new job, and I  have been trying so hard to absorb the understanding that this is how software engineers career paths go, jobs just get changed every couple of years,and so I don't ask about the longevity of a job, I only ask if it is something that will make him happy and how good the benefits are.  But I'm also still that anomaly who has had only two employers in the past fifteen years, a community hospital and then the Beast and I feel like that says something about my desire for loyalty to count, my desire for stability outweighing other things that might benefit me more.

And now I'm going to be self indulgent and listen to Leonard Cohen.

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My first impulse is to tell everyone I love how much I love them.

My second impulse is to become a kickass activist and then figure out how to reach the next generation and teach them to be kickass activists.

My third impulse is to stress bake.


I love you. And if there's any way in the moment for me to help you or the people you love, ask me.
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 I don't know what happened this morning.
 
I can set the scene, full from the cream of wheat that Abundance makes that I probably shouldn't eat so much of, just off a solo bus ride, Light too sleepy to get up with me, my right foot aching from the distant early warning of recurrent plantar fasciitis, reading a Gladstone novel on my phone, listening to a K Flay song (she's replaced Alexander Hamilton as my soundtrack of choice), walking behind someone smoking, the scent of cut grass, that tiny early morning chill that smells like the leading edge of fall.
 
And emerging from the low droning sense-of-the-routine hum of my morning, I felt like dropping to my knees from the weight of despair, the desire not to be here, not be this. I've never been stabbed by anyone but myself, so I can't tell you it felt like that, but it felt like something drastic, something violent.
 
And of course, I didn't drop to my knees, I was in the middle of a goose-poop covered sidewalk, trying to balance my parasol and my cup of tea, I had to go to work.  And I stuffed it back down, mostly, I know it's a passing fancy, I know that I'll pick up all the complicated threads again, I'm here in the office now, with the aforementioned tea and my stack of paper, disliking my job, all this salary work about other people reminding me that I'm really not making that much.  And everywhere I look, it feels like everyone else has less of an ass-in-a-seat job, and instead something more about the amount of work or the quality of work they do, and I resent that.  But it's my own fucking fault I don't have one of my own, I was too broken, I am too fragile, I will always be too frangible.
 
I've always liked the similarity of the words brittle and bitter.  
 
I either want a sense of routine or adventure, but all I seem to be able to feel is terror or stagnation frosted with helplessness, real or imagined.  So it's both and neither, all at once.
 
I want to flay my schedule down to the bone and build it back up into something that finds me happier, leaves me happier, makes me happier.  I want to figure out why I'm not talking to anyone but Abundance, Delight and Light, figure out how to correct it.  Or realize the answer is social media, public or private channels, and that I don't know how to do that, don't know how to learn.  (that's some 301 level being-a-functional-person shit).  

I'm remembering the strangest things. amaretto sours at a goth club, the conviction that the utility van parked across the street from the apartment I lived in when I was 23 was actually watching me, the desk that I set a little bit on fire in my teens that I ended up giving to someone whose usename I've forgotten, that plotless story I tried to write about Lesson and the redhead, those strange bedsheet dresses from the costume shop.  I'm used to remembering lines of poetry, crises, betrayals, the tips of the icebergs, not this flotsam.  I suspect this memoir class is going to be a bit of a wild ride.
 
Sometimes I think I just need to abandon everything in the quest for a consistent bedtime.
 
I know where my time goes, though.  It goes to sitting on the couch, to etsy, to pinterest, to youtube videos about makeup or puppies, to jigsaw puzzles, to Starbound.  And when it's not going there, when I'm actually doing something, it's going to reading, cross-stitching, cleaning, to the gym, to my nephew.  And even then, I'm not doing enough of any of those things, I'm also not cooking enough, or putting my room together, or....
 
I'm surrounded by partners I love. I'm going to have a room of my own with furniture and everything.  Gabapentin might actually be made of magic. I know this mood passes, but my bones don't believe me. 
 
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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.
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
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.
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
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.)
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
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.
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
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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