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There's a ghost in the machine. I'd forgotten.

I've been busy for the last couple years. School-- there's always something to do or to think about, something that should be done. I still have a couple things that should be done, in fact, on that front.

This was the first week of work and it's a learning curve. I'd managed to forget how much I liked learning; the knowledge of it was obliterated by the awfulness of huge classes; terribly planned timelines; arbitrary structure; and useless, required, and strictly measured outcomes. I couldn't remember how I'd come to start this whole path, couldn't recall the girl who liked learning so much she worked through a two-year diploma program just to gather the knowledge it offered.

Well, this week and for the easily forseeable future I'll be learning a lot. It's a whole mix of things from physically driving gravel roads and seeing precisely through a forestry prism to the liminal skills of pacing and awareness through to complexities like achieving the correct sampling error for lowest man-hours when double-sampling across multiple blocks where some are pretty far from the road and others are more heterogenous. I was a little nervous about it, but I think I can learn it, and I'm enjoying learning it. My current boss is an exceptional teacher, I know pretty well how I learn, and it's so nice to be figuring out a thing in the world rather than accepting an expert's word on something without any ability to fiddle with it myself.

That's not what this post is about.

I put an offer on a house today. I was originally going to put an offer on a different house, but the expenses of weird incidentals on that house was very high (heat, but also housing insurance and internet and property taxes and basically all the little things that *could* add up) and I got nervous about my budget so instead I went for one that is significantly more modest, on a nice 7 acre chunk. I will grow out of this house if I don't add on or put in lots of outbuildings, but for now that's okay. I have some debt to pay off and I'll be able to do that expediently this way, and if something goes sideways with my career and american politics (see also: softwood lumber) then I'm not as worried as I could be. I put in the one offer previously, for a lot that had a pretty run-down house but also a gorgeous gorgeous garden. This house is better, the garden will take more work. We'll see.

I feel much better about spending a little less right now.

That's not what this post is about.

Last weekend I was arriving here, this week I worked a lot, and this morning I ran around looking at homes and finalising my offer on the house. This morning I also went to look at a farm and talked for hours to the two women who ran it for twenty years: they retired into it and now are too old to keep it up. We spoke about orchards and brewing and bees and deep-mulch gardening and cows and fungus dyes and a ton of stuff and I loved their company and they offered me tea and seemed to enjoy mine. On the way to the realtor's place, driving, I waved to people in cars as they passed.

And now I'm done for a bit. I can feel myself slowing down. I can feel myself looking at things: the strawberry bed, the river. I feel like I'm becoming a person again, a being with *awareness* rather than merely an automaton doing all the things I'm supposed to do. Both partners keep talking about how happy I seem up here, even just this week. I suspect I haven't even begun to dip into the community here and how happy it makes me, and beyond that there's my life waiting, and how happy *that* makes me. And I may, soon, even be a person who's being happy, instead of a fleeting sensation on my way to doing the next thing.

I took time to email my mom.

I am lazily contemplating dinner.

I could wash my bedsheets or tidy up.

I could search the internet for more potential dogs or goats.

Or I could write, here, because I have the luxury of knowing what's going on in my life well enough to write about it. So here I am.

It's very good.

That's what this post is about.

Head Down

May. 11th, 2017 08:18 pm
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In Fort. First week of work. Busy getting up to speed, there's a bunch of learning curve around many things, both mind and body. Househunting, but don't have anything to come home to right now, so my days are mostly focused on work. Hobbies will come when I have a space for them and have settled in. It's nice, in a way, to be able to focus so much. It would be nicer to have someone waiting at home to distract me.

Josh is keeping himself very busy on the coast fixing up a new boat; there's a six or seven week span where I'm seeing him only for a single day. Tucker is coming up one week a month, but this is not that week. No new dogs till I have a home for them. I am getting my rabbits in two weekends, which will be excellent. My current landlady is really great to talk to and live with, but not the same as someone waiting to snuggle me.

More about work and houses when I know.

How do you decide if a house is the right house?

"Spring"

Apr. 16th, 2017 05:18 pm
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Spring used to be hard on me. There was a buzzing in me that wouldn't let me settle. I vibrated all the time unless I was in the garden.

These last years, with school, I've been disconnected from the seasonal cycles and spring has meant getting ready to leave. It'a been, perhaps, a fitting use of the energy and not as bad as it has been previously.

This year, well. School has been difficult. I'm usually okay with time management. I'd thought I wasn't great, but this year was nearly all group projects, nearly all the time, and I'm not sure I met anyone who worked on anything more than two days earlier than it was due, so I'm upgrading myself in my own eyes. I like having things due a couple days before deadline in case anything happens, and so I don't worry about it. But, with all the group projects, and in particular the capstone 10-credit course in which I worked with four other people who mostly didn't do stuff until well after deadlines, my time management this term was fucked up. I tried to front-load my parts of the work, but some things required group decisions that people wanted to wait on, some part relied on other peoples' parts being done, and I didn't feel up to just sitting out the last minute crunch altogether. So.

So basically I lost actual weekends off, maybe all in the last two months or so, because I was always worried about something or doing something last minute. There was always a deadline that was past but stuff wasn't done and my part was contingent on others' parts or somesuch. In a couple cases there was a deadline past and someone saying something was done but it just wasn't online yet, which was not in fact true. It was tremendously stressful, hard to plan (because then suddenly everyone would decide things should be done and work overnight to do them, without lead time to do them in orderly fashion) and intensely unmotivating (because if no one else is doing work, why should I? End product is gonna suck if it's not well-edited anyhow).

All school year I was in places I felt uncomfortable using the kitchen. Halfway through I ended up at A&T's, which was at least let me feel less guarded about clothing and whatnot, but the majority of my hobbies were curtailed. My sense of self lost ground, motivation to do even things I enjoyed lost ground, and I became pretty disinterested in anything at all. It was yet another semester I wasn't sure I'd survive, but because of the difficulty of getting in to counselling at UBC I didn't go see anyone.

And now it's over. It ended four days ago. I spent a day with Tucker doing errands (getting bike in to shop, cleaning house a little, packing up rabbits) and came up to Josh's for Easter weekend. I brought the stuff for marmalade I'd been meaning to make for a couple weeks at least.

The first day was very low-key. I've been researching animal options for a future property, even possible dairy animal options. I've poked a lot at nigerian goats, Guernsey goats (serves me right to fixate on a breed that is basically impossible to find), and highland cattle. The rabbits went to the vet to board for... well, until there's somewhere for them to go. The next day we got stuff for a rabbit hutch, rabbit-tractor-style, for them to live in outdoors over the summer wherever I end up. I cooked some stuff and made marmalade and wandered around the garden. By evening I was turning the main garden, which I hadn't planned to do.

Now the main garden is 2/3 turned and planted (doesn't sound like much but that's a lot of crab grass!), the sunny small fruits patch is mulched with straw, and I'm... not happy, but part of the world again. I'm sad that I may only see this garden once more during the summer, when I come through to go up to Fort. I miss the rabbits. My relationships are in a somewhat rough state. I don't remember much about the last eight months. But. I suspect I'm going to be okay, and that I'll be happy again.

And soon, I think, I'll be able to feel relief and happiness that school is over, and that I've made it out the other side.
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When I first came to Vancouver it was fall. A huge windstorm blew up, with waves cresting the seawall in kits and cherry leaves, neon orange and improbably bright yellow with the season, blowing in through every open window.

Now it's spring, and the wind is blowing me out with cherry blossoms and rain. On to my life.
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I guess there's a theme to this week. It's a theme I'm already aware of, but that's particularly highlighted by recent goings-on.

For instance, I'd been having some fairly rough motivation/mental health times this last few months. Got back into yoga, have set myself a 30 days/30 yoga classes goal, may add some running back into that, and my body is doing much better, as is my motivation to do, well, anything except the terrible arbitrary class at school. This is the one with no marking rubric, no feedback on what is supposed to be in the final product, and no grounding in the real world. I remember, now, that when my mental health gets back into normal levels, it rejects things that are bad for me: just pushes them out of my life so I can get back to doing proper life things. And school is bad for me, at least this course is. Means I need to put a lid on wellness enough to be externally motivated by school (ugh) but keep myself well enough to make it through (just a few more months).

The internal/external sufficiency is coming up in relationship stuff too. With Josh we're pretty hands-off about each other's stuff: help if we're able, but the default isn't leaning on each other. The newer relationship is a little different than that, and it's been running in a weird pattern the last several weeks: we've had big chunks of time, then big chunks of apart. I'm having a lot of trouble switching between being comforted/buoyed by someone else being here, and being happy/comforted by my home and my self after stressful days. Everything seems to run fine if I alternate days, but not if I alternate longer multi-day stretches. Part of the issue is that I set a default as to who to talk to about interesting/important things (myself via LJ, home partner, friends network, whatever) and have trouble switching that back and forth quickly.

And, of course, my future is a very large dependency/independence question: dependent on the job, independent in a house of my own, etc. It's pretty scary to be talking to mortgage brokers and thinking about making big decisions like this on my own. I want people to talk to about it, but so many of the people I know have a very different experience than I do. How do you weigh intangibles against each other?

But, time for yoga shortly. There's lots to say but maybe not enough of a pattern to write it out yet.
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Figured I'd post pre-Wednesday meltdown just to change it up a bit.

There's an industry group I'm part of that has monthly meetings. It's been a really fantastic way for me to, well, network; not only do I meet people I think are neat or who can teach me a lot about the profession in a ton of different ways, but sometimes I also just have time to chat with people I've formally met but wouldn't enter casual conversation with otherwise.

So, tonight I did some networking about ethical tropical forestry. Now, last week I also followed up on this, trying to figure out where and how I could work somewhere warm, doing interesting work, without terrorizing indigenous ecosystems or populations. From that I deduce that I might want to do this sometime, just to try, maybe mainly because I want to live somewhere I can grow fruit year round and yes it's winter here, how can you tell?

Chatted for awhile with head of alumni relations, which was an interesting conversation as well.

Also got to gesticulate a lot about urban forestry, then see another one of my people doing a presentation on it, in a lot of ways overlapping what I'd have said. On the other hand, same dude said some pretty terrible stuff about homeless people and I didn't know what to do as an audience member. Perhaps I should ask my ethics prof and see how she responds to a real-world situation. She's been keeping class away from those for the most part.

I've been eating a ton of veggies from the local Persia Market, because it's cheap and a joy to shop in and they're fresh. I say this as a lead-in to mentioning that they have seville oranges and they would make a lovely marmalade mead, and my goodness I'm making a lot of booze this year. It is definitely a stress relief valve. I really have need for the future these days, just as something to hold onto.

I miss my rabbits, I just haven't been home to interact much. Still loving this set of housemates; it wouldn't be long-term sustainable but is truly lovely for this timeframe. They remain a good channel to my mental health: when I came home this evening I found myself saying "you look so cute, is that so I'll keep loving you? I'd love you anyhow, you know".

Anyhow, don't have much time, but thought I'd touch in before Wednesdaypocalypse, which is pretty reliably awful and doesn't give a representative sample.

And yes, I ran yesterday.

Edited to add: apparently I posted yesterday and forgot. Memory is terrible lately. Oh well, overlap.
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Running today. Sunny out. Lots of homework but feeling above water; really I end up feeling above water whenever I do things un-school-related and manage to hit school goals at the same time. Today's un-school-related? I went grocery shopping. There will be ribs for dinner tonight (I'm enjoying my instant pot very much, thank you) and I'm contemplating going back to buy seville oranges for mead. The urge to brew, well, it's good to feel it again. It means hope for the future.

Yesterday I made soap. Actually, I taught a mini-soap workshop. I have some friends who have scent sensitivities, which I'm getting very sympathetic to as my own scent sensitivities get worse. We got together in a space that was safe for all of us to breathe (!!) and played with fat and lye. One of us was allergic to coconut, so my normal recipe (tallow, olive oil, coconut oil) was out of the running, and I don't like palm oil (which normally replaces coconut oil to make soap bubbly and extra-cleaning) so we all brought the oils we had and played around with an online soap calculator for awhile. We ended up making one soap with butter, which was fun and experimental, and one with just tallow and olive oil. It was so nice to bring a framework of knowledge and then just play with that knowledge for awhile, basically like getting instant colleagues or co-hobbyists or whatever, rather than doing a hierarchical knowledge transfer. It was, however, exhausting.

Day before that was some play that ended in a reminder that, as a top, I definitely need aftercare and reassurance. Fun though.

That said, it was a rough-feeling weekend; my reserves are depleted and so everything threatened to feel really awful when it didn't go just right.

I have some time to myself this weekend and I'm thinking of filtering and bottling some of my two-year-old apple boozes and starting a mead or two; maybe a seville orange and either the red currant or blackcurrant from my freezer. The apple boozes are long since unlabelled but I should be able to figure out which are which by taste (I'd better be able to!).

There's also a slow avalanche of homework deliverables now, but I find boozemaking and homework complement each other nicely; I do well at both as punctuated focused efforts which weave one to the other as I get tired of each.

I really miss gardening.

More another time; be well.
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So: Wednesdays are reliably not okay for me. Wednesday nights I can barely bring myself to stare at a wall. Thursdays, therefore, are difficult.

I need to figure out some strategies for getting myself through the next four weeks (at least) of Wed/Thursdays.

One thing that's always been difficult for me, and that's been slipping lately, is anticipation for activities I like. I tend to feel like I should husband my strength for other activities (mostly relationships because "people need me"), so I don't plan things I like (brewing, garden stuff, good emails, chatting with friends) for specific time slots, I just do them when time comes up. That leads to less anticipation, and thus, I can't pull myself through rough patches by looking forward to these things as much.

I think perhaps I should start planning Thursdays to be good-for-me days.

Also need bigger chunks of things to look forward to in February.

On Cue

Jan. 13th, 2017 10:20 am
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Greatpoets has some offerings for me.

The Promotion

I was a dog in my former life, a very good
dog, and, thus, I was promoted to a human being.
I liked being a dog. I worked for a poor farmer
guarding and herding his sheep. Wolves and coyotes
tried to get past me almost every night, and not
once did I lose a sheep. The farmer rewarded me
with good food, food from his table. He may have
been poor, but he ate well. And his children
played with me, when they weren’t in school or
working in the field. I had all the love any dog
could hope for. When I got old, they got a new
dog, and I trained him in the tricks of the trade.
He quickly learned, and the farmer brought me into
the house to live with them. I brought the farmer
his slippers in the morning, as he was getting
old, too. I was dying slowly, a little bit at a
time. The farmer knew this and would bring the
new dog in to visit me from time to time. The
new dog would entertain me with his flips and
flops and nuzzles. And then one morning I just
didn’t get up. They gave me a fine burial down
by the stream under a shade tree. That was the
end of my being a dog. Sometimes I miss it so
I sit by the window and cry. I live in a high-rise
that looks out at a bunch of other high-rises.
At my job I work in a cubicle and barely speak
to anyone all day. This is my reward for being
a good dog. The human wolves don’t even see me.
They fear me not.

by James Tate


Prof of Profs

I was a math major—fond of all things rational.
It was the first day of my first poetry class.
The prof, with the air of a priest at Latin mass,
told us that we could “make great poetry personal,”

could own it, since poetry we memorize sings
inside us always. By way of illustration
he began reciting Shelley with real passion,
but stopped at “Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” —
because, with that last plosive, his top denture
popped from his mouth and bounced off an empty chair.

He blinked, then offered, as postscript to his lecture,
a promise so splendid it made me give up math:
“More thingth like that will happen in thith clath.”

by Geoffrey Brock

Dreams

Jan. 13th, 2017 09:59 am
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I had a very intense schoolweek, I guess it's been the second week of school. My classes are frontloaded into the week, there's mandatory home school stuff to get done in that period, and my intricate monthly schedule trying to see Josh and Tucker both in ways that are most convenient for them came apart, and I was exhausted (and still switching courses, since I didn't get my schedule till the first day of class due to "UBC is just like that").

Last night I made it to yoga. And then... I have every second Friday off. I woke at the normal time, then had breakfast and apparently caught up on some dreaming.

I dreamed I had a young/barely adolescent dingo I'd brought home, and I was trying to keep him in the room with the rabbits but he kept getting into the rabbits' enclosure, though he didn't hurt them, and also I was rooting around in the massive deep freeze trying to find meat scraps for him. I dreamed mom was making massive quantities of green and of purple grape jam from on-sale supermarket grapes (mom wouldn't do this). I dreamed dad (!) brought home a pair of rabbits (!) and put them in with my rabbits, and wouldn't tell me how old they were or whether they were neutered but they were mine now. I dreamed there was a family in the house that was going to an expensive student theatre production their kids were putting on, and they had so much money they just stank of it.

I know where a lot of these come from, and some have left me puzzled (hi dad?! Er).

In more outside-world news, the term-long capstone school project I was looking forward to because it had to do with the real world is... not the real world. They ganked data from a place (close to Josh's house) but our client is, unlike other years, entirely fictional. We will not be doing a field trip to the land, nor working with actual controllers of the land to give them a plan they could use. It is deflating, and changes the task considerably: our land is "private" and run by someone considerably like us who happened to inherit it; I've gotta learn about the rules for forestry on private land pretty quick, but we won't need to negotiate with a First Nation that's got actual human contradictions and needs.

One of the people on my five-person team is a gardener type, lives near Lumby with his fiancee, and they want to do market gardening in greenhouses. That's excellent. My chance of surviving this term with an sort of sense of self intact is suddenly so much higher. A tool I will use when I am about to spiral into awfulness is, "Nick, tell me X about your greenhouses/property" (they are currently rehabilitating a seabuckthorn orchard for the landowner).

I got some dog-snuggling time yesterday at school, and realise it would be really nice to have a dog. Still logistical difficulties, of course, but...

And now that I'm circling around to it: the relationship with Tucker is starting to mature, or rather, the NRE is slowly lapping out like a tide and is leaving... us. So we are starting to want to set our boundaries and enclosures with each other, starting to feel the work it takes to make it go, and basically develop sustainability in the thing. I haven't written about him much; you never got an intro post to him. Someday you will. But, he's very special to me and he's here in town and he's also otherwise partnered and so there are things to be figured out.

Probably the relationship is in the place it is because this will be a very demanding term. It requires a lot of physical presence, a lot of writing, and a lot of getting along with people. It is clearly my priority, unlike last term where I didn't much care. I want to get things done, so I will. But, that leaves limited time and energy for everything else, thus learning to set boundaries rather suddenly in the eddies of NRE and also the complications of a distance relationship.

In great news, I've moved into a connected-but-seperate suite in a house shared by my ?girlfriend and her partner. It's been a great decision, though it puts me half an hour further away from UBC: I sleep better here, I can wander around naked (so, so vital to my wellbeing apparently), I can have loud sex, and there are often snuggles and food upstairs in the livingroom if I'm feeling social. I feel more rested, more at peace with myself, and moe comfortable here.

I guess that's the most of it for now. Time for schoolwork. Be well.
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Well, term's started; this is midway through week two.

Last term was okay. This term is not okay. Our schedules for the major capstone course weren't released until the first day of classes, and then of course they conflicted with absolutely everything I've been running around shifting my class schedule around a whole bunch where I can, but I'm still double-booked in a couple places (university says: just attend alternate classes from each). Meanwhile I'm trying to juggle a long unpredictable commute to school and poly scheduling and homework, which is starting off at a pretty intense level.

I'm scheduling fatigued. I'm burnt out already. I need both time to myself and time to plough through the considerable set of tasks ahead of me, and at least see progress. The idea of seeing or interacting with humans makes me feel like dropping water on a heated skillet, or trying to force the opposite poles of two magnets together. I kind of hate everyone.

And I've committed to a lot of social events and cooking this weekend, which seemed great at the time, but now--

Bah.

Some of this is both time and emotional fallout from heading up to Fort on Sunday to view a mobile home I could have been able to afford /right now/, and deciding against buying it because it would require too much work. Some of this is emotional fallout from not getting enough sleep or exercise (I got back to yoga on Monday and it felt so good). Some of it is just living out of boxes and not having the wherewithal to unpack, then repack in a couple months, then unpack, then repack, etc. My printer power cable is in one of those boxes, and I need it for school, and when I find that it'll be something else.

I'm trying to decide if cutting back on people will help, or just make me feel worse.

I don't want to be doing all this self-care meta-work. I just want to get things done.

Anyhow, gonna start trying to record mood points on here and see what patterns come up.

No yoga yesterday, date with Tucker tonight: do those bear on it?

Huh

Jan. 1st, 2017 08:40 pm
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Just realized, perhaps it should have been obvious, that I am very very cautious about being happy around folks who are not either deeply trusted or strangers. Happiness is when I'm vulnerable, when anyone can step in with a cutting remark and actually cut me, and when there is actually something valuable to be taken away.

I avoid being happy around a lot of folks for this reason.
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I'm good at doing things in my life that I'll like; good at making it into an edifice that suits me, that fits me. In general I'm purposeful about shaping my life to fit myself. I consider knowing what I want and need to be a practice, an ongoing activity that requires increments of time and effort on a regular basis to achieve. I get some pretty good results this way.

People are a little more difficult. My relationship to my relationships with people (apologies) is more complicated than I can easily get a handle on. Maybe it's only difficult because I don't like the answers.

I've been reading a bit of poly stuff lately (seems people have continued writing and evolving ideas on it in the last fifteen or so years) and a bunch of terminology has been helpful: comet, nesting partner, anchor partner, relationship anarchy. No one's used the term kite string, but I can visualise it as a slender anchor that would snap with too much wind. These words have been helping me to think about what I want from relationships, especially romantic or sexual relationships. I haven't really been mindful about them lately.

There is some degree to which I take what I can get. In general I like people, and I like being close or intimate with them in a lot of cases. Any one person is fairly unique, an opportunity I will not get again, and I don't like losing those opportunities. I want to experience people.

There is some degree to which I want more than I can have. I've been in a lot of relationships. Very few were entered with the idea they would end, and yet somehow here we are, with so much water under the bridge. There was something about all those people that was not a good fit, was not right, was not enough to stay together. Sometimes it was only they didn't want to stay with me. Sometimes, I didn't find them a good match. Here's a secret that's maybe not a secret if you've been reading all these years (I know you haven't, but I have): I want someone to stay, to weave through my life for a really long time. Many of my relationships are founded on principles that should lend themselves to some form of permanency, but I think those principles are inherently contradictory; I want someone sturdy and independent enough to survive me, but pliable enough to shape their life around mine; I want someone who grows and changes enough to keep my interest, but who retains a recogniseable self to which I can attach. I want someone who can live with me, share the daily routines of breakfast and bedtime, but I don't want my home or my heart to need to exclude my many loves for someone else's comfort. I think many of these may be impossibly contradictory, even granted that humans can contain multitudes.

There is some degree to which I want less than I get. My life is intensely engrossing and fulfilling. I really like my life, I really like engaging with it, and a relationship where I feel I need to stop my life or put it on hold is frustrating. It's a waste of time when often there are things I'd enjoy more, but frequently as a relationship gets older I feel like time spent is a duty rather than a joy or contribution, and yet I'm committed to it. Truth is, sometimes I'd rather be writing (or brewing, or on the pottery wheel, or dancing, or reading, or staring out the window, or researching houses, or or or).

There is some degree to which I don't trust other people. I have spent a great deal of time and effort shaping this life, and it's easy to steamroll someone else who likes it, and equally easy to be uncomfortable with how little mindful effort some people put into their own lives. I see that one's own user manual is becoming a Thing, now; I've been working on mine for more than a decade and someone who hasn't put that work into their own, who doesn't engage in /both/ introspection and active self-work, just seems like a lot of extra work for me. If you haven't bothered to learn how to make your life work on your own, how can your life work with mine, and why on earth should you think I should bother to put that effort in for you?

There is some degree to which I don't like other people near. This springs from the lack of trust. People are messy creatures, walls and emotions everywhere, and learning to navigate that together is a lot of work and gets in the way of other things I might be doing. More to the point, it often hurts and is disruptive and is made worthwhile when it becomes a shared journey. I don't like someone flailing in and it becoming my job. People are not my job, though partnership might be. People are their own job. I consider myself my own biggest work. If someone does not consider themselves significant work, pretty much all they can do play bull in my china shop.

Well.

No answers here, but there is a little clarity.
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I'm running still. It's good. My body likes it. It does seem to take years to build this level of... comfort? ...even if those years are intermittent. That's reassuring. I never thought I'd be able to run this well (slowly, continuously, for half an hour without it being even very difficult).

I'm passing classes in school, hitting my target grades on average (90 or above I'm misusing my time, 70-80 is about right). This contempt for the knowledge offered me is not coming easy, but school's contempt for my time and individuality is fuel enough to keep me in balance. Note that my professors are not, for the most part, to blame. It's simply that the terrible edifice of higher education is designed to suck people in, grind them up, and spit them out cheaply and efficiently.

I guess I have one more term left.

I've been cidering this fall, and it's very good for me. I'm hoping to get persimmon wine up too. Anything I put up this year will hopefully be done for my housewarming.

I have feelings towards my property that maybe other people have towards being married? I mean, I've felt these warm/expectant/partner/solid/trust/love/dependable feelings before for people, but never for long enough that I could continue to feel them on the lead-up to entering into a contract about them. But my land, in the future? Yes. And the delay doesn't make me doubt them, it makes me merely gently impatient (sometimes less than gently) for When The Time Is Right.

Relationship-wise I am definitely overextended. I'm waiting. I don't trust anyone really to follow me to Fort; I love the people in my life now; I'm sort of holding the space precariously to see who shows up there, who keeps up with the distance, who will remain in my life. I guess it's defaulting to letting other folks make choices instead of making them myself. That's a thought.

I'm pretty excited about my job next May. It looks like I'll be doing more complex, challenging, higher-level work than I originally expected, working directly with someone overseeing a systems change. I mean, it might not be so much working directly with ecosystems, but... well, we'll see. I'm impatient to start that too. I want to see what it's like. I should start poking a budget for that time, and I'm planning to talk to a financial adviser. Sounds so grown-up, no?

The last couple years a lot of the richness of my life came from my work and my involvement in life systems. Now there's some relationship richness, sometimes the dirty messy kind, and also there will be the outdoors. I wonder how those will balance?

Building

Nov. 15th, 2016 09:36 am
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The words are starting to come, in bits and pieces and fits and starts and little flashes behind my eyes. I've been running around with my arms outstretched, gathering up the world, and soon I will see if I can shape it into something.

In the meantime, in other news, here is Steinbeck:

"Results, not causes; results, not causes. The causes lie deep and simply — the causes are a hunger in a stomach, multiplied a million times; a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security, multiplied a million times; muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create, multiplied a million times. The last clear definite function of man — muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need — this is man. To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house, the dam; to take hard muscles from the lifting, to take the clear lines and form from conceiving. For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man — when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live — for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live — for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know — fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe."
greenstorm: (Default)
I started running last week; it became apparent that yoga was going to take some working to make happen (I may have to drive to school for one of my classes on yoga days, to make yoga without completely sacrificing the whole evening, just with the placement of schedules and the general awfulness of buses) and my shoulders were sore and I'd just been generally neglecting my body. Starting to drink soylent in the mornings for breakfast got me past worrying about not having enough calories in the day (eating can be a challenge for me, let alone eating within my time and money budget) and so the next good body step was exercise.

So it has been a week. I'm starting the same couch-to-half-marathon schedule that injured me a couple years ago, but spacing it out a little but more to avoid that same outcome. It was pretty magical, last time, the way following a relatively scientific schedule got my body doing so much so fast, and I'd like to experience that again. I'd also very much like to be in good shape when I start work in May.

I still need to find a way to get yoga in, but in the meantime I'm not doing nothing.

And of course, my sleep is better now, my energy level is up, the swings in mood I was starting to experience have settled a little bit, at least so far. And... I'm feeling things better, as in, my emotional apparatus is working in a more nuanced way, and is more integrated with my thinking bits. Also, food tastes better, etc, all that normal exercise stuff. So I guess school wasn't as far from hitting my depression triggers this year as I thought, I was just maintaining a high mood while losing a bit of functionality.

Good save, self. Keep running now.

Incidentally, my mom completely self-medicates her depression with running. My mom's life is always both an inspiration and a warning to me, in this as in so many other things.

This whole thing is helping a great deal with sorting through my complicated poly/partner/identity/desire situation. My identity seems to be stabilizing somewhere between relationship anarchist and solo poly. I'm finding a middle ground between trusting my misgivings and just plain trusting. It helps to remind myself that I can place my trust in the future, in my ability to navigate the future, rather than in particular outcomes. It still leaves me in a shaky place sometimes, wanting things from people who in turn care about me and therefore don't want to hurt me (but maybe can't give me what I want) but wrestling with the issue is no longer taking up all my spare thoughts.

Without interpersonal demanding all my attention, I'm free to get back in touch with myself, and also with my career. The issue of stewardship is arising. Stewardship is forestry code for thinking in the long term, thinking in the bigger picture, thinking outside the axe and pile of logs that comes to mind with the word forestry (okay, fellerbuncher and processor, but those didn't start attaching to the idea of forestry till I started doing it). Stewardship over the forest is something that arose this summer: I was working with a 'stewardship-focused' person when I found a happy place this summer. Principles of stewardship also apply to friends and community. There's an underlying responsibility, I think, that if I can gently steer the future towards a place I consider to be better, I should do so. With forestry that might mean not cutting certain areas, replanting with a wider species mix than necessary, working in partnership with people who have other interests than I do. With community and relationship that has meant, lately, making safe space for emotions and human tenderness and just generally those things that make us feel a little vulnerable and also connected.

Well. Time's up, so have a lovely day. There will most assuredly be more later. And: this is also more, from later. For instance, my life will once again be mine soon: http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/757766.html

Gratitude

Oct. 25th, 2016 09:43 am
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Today I am deeply grateful for the years I've spent learning myself, assembling a user guide so that when I need to work with myself in challenging circumstances I can do so. I can catch myself when I begin to spin into dark places, I can accept love and help where needed, I can sense what forces are at work and come up with a pretty good idea of what's good for me and what's not. I can self-monitor pretty well. I can be brave about my needs because I know they are actual needs, relentless, and heading them off at the pass is the simplest way to deal.

I am grateful for my people-picker which surrounds me with folks who really do seem to care and do good things in my life.

And I am grateful for my hope for the future, for my ability to envision a life that is better than my current one, reach for it, take it or something similar, and therefore iteratively improve my situation. Over and over.

Oh.

Oct. 24th, 2016 12:08 pm
greenstorm: (Default)
I found it, at least a lot of it.

It's just that I don't know if long-term, high-contact relationships are possible without scarring for one or both parties. I suppose it hinges on interpretation of scarring vs growth, but: there it is. I suppose I can't know (?) but that's the missing information underpinning this thing, it's why I'm vibrating back and forth on it so much.

Got it.

It's always so anticlimactic pulling stuff out from the pile of work.

Gifted

Oct. 24th, 2016 05:26 am
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I don't have an attribution.

What I want
is all
of this: each breath,
each step,
each bead on the string,
and the cross, too,
if that's part of the deal.

(posted without comment at 5:30am)

Abundance

Oct. 12th, 2016 06:40 pm
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Well now, here I am again, and so soon.

I guess I have some things to say.

I guess I have some work to do.

I'm at one of those places in my life where everything is pointing me to working through something, making some mindful decisions, but where I'm scared because I don't think I can get what I want and I'd hate to choose a thing mindfully and then be left bereft.

Going to school was a risk like that, where I knew I could take my life up in my hands and shape it to get the things I wanted: a home, a permanent garden, some assurance for the future that wasn't dependent on friends liking me and thusly being supportive. I went back to school. I started going away for the summers. I did these things to further my own life. As happens when I work strongly on my life, other things changed. A relationship ended because there was no future for it with this new plan of mine. I met someone else. I met another someone else. And I have met another someone else.

Now.

What can I do with this, and what do I want to do with this?

The most recent someone is a conversationalist. We talk, we overanalyse, we pick things apart. In short, we do a lot of that internal work that I can only do if I'm writing or talking. I haven't been writing lately, but I have been talking. I've been poking around in there.

He posted something the other day about his wife, a fragment of poetry by Elsse Matthessen

"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."

It has undone me. It's a couple words that have brought me to the heart of a thing that's been ravelling for awhile.

I have people who have been around for a long time, but the people who have been around forever have moved on, and the people that I meet recently come near and then drift away again, or sometimes are forcibly ejected. Either way, I have not found continuity in relationships. I have not found a relationship that could be made to fit actual-me forward into the future, one where I would not need to make myself smaller or resentful to maintain closeness. I have loved a lot of people; I still do. I enjoy time with people. I like knowing them deeply. But.

But.

I've always wanted someone who knows my context; someone with whom I share my day-to-day until the patterns come clear to both of us; someone I learn to read and who reads me, and who can communicate volumes with a glance across a crowded room with that knowledge. I want... daily routine, not every day but often enough, and mutual caretaking, and the kind of trust that's built on years. I want that, and I thought I had it with Kynnin when I was fourteen, and many of my relationships since I've been hopeful about it.

I am well loved right now. I am so well loved. It feels impossible to turn down a gift like that, and yet I think it's what's giving me the space here to think about what I want.

Maybe thinking about what I want isn't good. I can think it to pieces, after all, and I *want* everything: Josh and our greenhouses and making a pizza oven and a still together and that lovely house (but not Josh who doesn't want other people in his space and cares for me very much but just cannot say yes unless he's sure of logistics when I want someone who is willing to bend logistics for me the way I do for other people?), James who loves me so much and a supportive, nourishing home full of the feeling of family and kindness (but not James who is dependent on me as his whole support network in a northern town and who prefers to background in the world rather than reaching his power out into it when I want someone who proactively creates their life and with whom I perhaps do not share so many activities as all that?), Tucker and who knows what yet with words and poetry and his way of catching the nuances of my meaning and his interest in opening up my insides (but not Tucker who is otherwise committed to his wife and life in Vancouver and who, well, honestly is so new to me I don't even know what else yet but that is a pretty big start). I want someone who takes joy in my poly-ness and who can communicate their needs in a household. I want someone I can hook into for a long time and who puts just as much shoulder against the universe, who pushes hard enough to change it, just like I do: but I want them to do it for me.

And I am not willing to give so much of myself up now as I was, so maybe the cracks will show sooner now, or at least I can't put as much hope in any on thing as I did. I am not willing to take a terrible job I dislike. I am not willing to give up my other loves. I am not willing to sacrifice a home that is open, hospitable, and welcoming. I am not willing to sacrifice my land where I plant trees from which I will, in my lifetime, harvest the fruit. These things are me, and to be permanently partnered would require these things to be loved *as* me, to be accepted as extensions of my actual-self.

I don't know. I mean, I do know. I'm that person for myself, I am my own person. Other people come and go but I am my own heart. I suppose that's sad and huge all at once. I know I haven't met anyone else who would have been as fully up to the task as I have been.

There's more work to be done on this, but this is as far as I can go for now.

it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.
-Li-Young Lee

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