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I'm alive. I can't even tell you. Here I am. I'm finally shedding my winter skin. I'm becoming human, I'm alive, there's a beating flashing core to my soul, the world pulls me into it, I can love things, I can want things, I'm alive. I'm remembering how to feel the kind of joy that I swear is visible in an aura around me, pouring out of my skin. I'm remembering who I am. This is who I am. I had almost forgotten there.

It's been a bad four months. School is bad. It's autodepression, flick the switch on with the first contact in the semester and then off again when it finishes. What does this to me? Sitting all day? Accepting someone else's absolute authority? Having no freedom to plan my time? Anyways, school is done for four months, and basically with my last exam I came alive, I came awake, I felt like I turned on a light and unfamiliar nothingness suddenly gave way to my very favourite room. I am my very favourite room. I love living here. So many years making myself, that partnership where all the bits of me shape each other until they fit, and it's for nothing when I'm in school, but it is Very Good in just living.

I was in a car accident that I could well have not walked away from in February. My car rolled; Taoshi was lost. I could have died there, and I would have died unhappy and not-me, but I didn't die. Thank goodness, thank every blessed thing, that I still have the chance to die properly, as myself, at some future date.

I don't want that date to be soon. Words are failing me. I'm sitting in bed listening to music for the first time in four months and it's filling the house, the air is vibrating with it, and my skin and the music are one continuous physical sensation, much as my... happiness, I suppose? is one single continuous piece with Devendra Banhart's voice. In the room next door to me my rabbits -- Mella with whom I have developed a close relationship since we lost Taoshi, and the two babies I need to bond her to named Juniper and Odin -- and they actively enjoy my presence, they are happier when we engage, and they are mine for their lives and I love them very much. When I think a little further outwards I can see, in my mind's eye, the beginnings of my garden. We've started tomatoes (stupice, cherokee chocolate, green zebra, sungold, Siberian, San Marzano, black plum, and silvery fir tree) and four kinds of peppers, and the two cold-weather lettuces (warm weather varieties to follow) and herbs (summer savory, thyme, thai basil and romano basil and sweet basil, curled and flat parsley, lovage that refuses to come up, sweet ciciley) and so many greens (including sorrel and good king henry and lamb's quarters and purslane and strawberry blite) and several kinds of melons and two zucchinis and three new kinds of scented geraniums and three kinds of carrots and chard and kale and ground cherries (two kinds!) and tomatillos and celeriac and and and and... It's still freezing out at night up here in Williams Lake (this was my first night in Williams Lake) and today the sky is bright and clear and beautiful and I will vacuum with the windows wide open and sing and alarm the rabbits with my noise and scandalize the neighbors.

I'm alive. I'm inhabiting my personality. I want to say it again and again and again because it is such a strong combination of relief and joy. When I was in school this semester I was actively afraid that I wouldn't be able to come back to myself, but here I am. What's the best gift you could ever be given? Double it, triple it. That's the feeling.

There's a bunch of great relationship stuff happening in my life right now. I start my summer job with a new company on Monday, and I'm terrified but very optimistic about that. My place in Vancouver will be there for me when I return in the fall so I won't need to house hunt. I have excellent friends and I got to see some of them before I left. I have a future that I can enjoy anticipating. I have so many blessings. But... everything is overshadowed by the simple fact that I can appreciate, notice, and think about these things. I'd lost that.

And here I am, even enjoying words again, enjoying the sensation of spinning pieces of myself out into the void. I have enough of myself to fill a page now.

Alive.
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I'm getting stronger at being myself.

I'm getting better at recognising my patterns, at predicting myself, at shaping the container of my life which I create to better fit my self which I suppose I also create but seem to have less control over. There's a core there I will not change. As time goes by I have less and less will to change it.

Change is inevitable. I'm moving into it with as much measured deliberation as I can muster this time. We'll see how those ripples make their way under my skin over time. School starts in a week and a half. My hobbies are turning under my hand: a little less brewing, a little more cooking, a little more travelling, maybe some sailing. I've changed my financial stuff significantly. I'm nosing back into the kink scene, or rather dipping my pinkie toe back into that pool. Change.

I'm comfort-reading again; burning through the Dresden Files a book or a book and a half a day. Reading is private for me. It takes me to the inside place that's totally walled off from the world, where nothing can get at me. I think I get the kind of rest from it that other folks get from vacations. I don't know if I'm hiding something from myself or just very tired of the world sometimes or maybe it's normal to need or want that escape.

I'm not as willing to eat or hold other people's pain as I have been in the past. I find myself acting straightforwardly more often and managing folks' feelings less now. It's colder towards other people, who have to deal with their discomfort, but gentler to myself. My life is feeling generally less intense than it has in the past, and also more solid. Picture the difference between jumping exhilarating stone-to-slippery-stone across a creek and walking across a solid wooden bridge.

So I think I'm in pretty good shape; not the greatest, but good. But tonight I am lonely.

I think the internet brings loneliness with it. I only had it reinstalled today after a summer away, and only reluctantly because I want to have it for school. But. It came today, and now tonight I feel cavernously empty, sad, like I'm all full of echoes of voices with no flesh to them. This is superstitious thinking, equating correlation with causation, and further ignoring complexities such as the way that writing allows me to recognise my emotions when, without this writing, I might just have been restless and gone for a walk before sleep.

Maybe I've been calm and stable because my emotions have needed to knock pretty loudly to get my attention without this focus?

I've missed rituals that give me time and attention and ability to look into myself. I think I can budget for a couple months of daily yoga again, like I did last winter, and use that repetitive ritual to check in with my body and my mind in a leisurely but frequent way (body and mind, two words as if separate, and yet 'self' seems so vague) to see how I am doing over an extended period of time. I'm not especially sure how I'm doing now, and here school is starting and my relationship is slowly turning towards more serious under my (yes, quite deliberate) touch. Change.

Whatever else I'm feeling, I am feeling so strong lately. So capable. So able to go through life in my own shape, on my own feet, creating my own connections and responding to opportunities as I decide to: not perfectly, but well enough to be mostly happy enough most of the time and sometimes very happy indeed. Strong enough to feel unhappy sometimes, or lonely as now, and almost shrug it off.

I'm afraid of this feeling strong. I'm afraid of having ability and responsibility gathered together in my own hands so completely. I'm afraid of being the one who can steer myself _best_, of not having someone else with the rules book because there are no rules to this game. I always come here to write when I've lost my compass and I'm feeling a little lost tonight.

There's a line from one of my favourite songs of the moment that always destroys me right now:

My first day walking on my own/ Well what if I'd been made that way?

I really am walking so much on my own this year. So much. And it's of my own making: so much effort put into slowly straightening my spine over the years. So much.

I'm rambling now, so I'm going to put the keyboard away. Goodnight.

Sweet dreams.
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I've been doing a crazy amount of learning lately, and I've been surging forward full speed on a bunch of decisions. Let's see if I can get some of it down.

Sunshine + exercise + food == happy Greenie. This is no news to me or anyone. However, I'd been depending on work for the exercise and sunlight, and work right now is a source of stress and not a source of any of those other things. I had been (have been) having a rough winter; I've got a lot of changes going on, much of the outcomes outside my experience or control, and I can't afford to let this stuff slide. So, I've let my competitive instinct kick in and started doing hot yoga like Dave, just... more often. Every single day I do it I feel better for hours afterwards. I am keeping an eye on overtraining issues and not doing absolutely every single say, but it's good so far. It levels my head so well and is conveniently close. I may keep this up even after I start bike commuting.

Sunshine was really forthcoming this fall until sometime in December, which is when I started to nosedive. Exercise can compensate to some degree for light, especially since I'm being kept too busy at work to get out into the light during the week. Ugh.

I'm getting real good at eating enough, and at asking for help when I'm having trouble. It helps that my neighbour is always up for eating together and I can use her presence to put myself into a better place for food. This all gets difficult when I'm financially stressed, though the meat box and farm stuff really helps.

Sex is a problem in a bunch of different ways. I thought I had this figured out; I thought that by taking back my bodily autonomy so I didn't have to ask folks permission before making choices around sex I would fix everything. Instead I only began a learning curve totally different from the one I've been on most of my life. How do I decide who to have sex with and when? How do I deal with humans when I decide to have or not to have sex with them in general? Per instance? How do I deal with the fact that in people's eyes when I don't have a primary partner I am always on some level available no matter how much I protest to the contrary? How do I let people know the ways in which I am more available than suspected, and how less? How do I deal with not having enough sex, or with feeling subtle coercion around sex? How do I deal with sex that I want beforehand but don't want in the moment? How do I calibrate desire vs complexity and work? How much do I like emotions involved in sex and what kind of sex do I like, anyhow?

I imagine you folks who weren't in serious relationships most of your life are laughing at me about now.

I'm learning that I probably want to have sex with fewer people less often than I thought I did, because the complexities that come with it are just not worth it. I'm also learning how sexual compatibility and emotional intimacy work together for me, and how they don't always go together regardless of how much I might want them to. I think I'm learning that when something works, I should let it work, and when I need to push and work hard on something, I should probably drop the sexual aspect of it.

I don't know that my original interpretation of solo poly will end up being what I choose, after all. Especially with the time and energy I'm putting elsewhere, it may just not be worth it.

Romantic relationships aren't enough. In fact, even non-romantic relationships aren't enough. I've made huge strides lately in learning to have friends, people with whom I'm close in non-romantic, non-partnery long-term and very intimate ways. That enriches my life immensely. I've been treating my home, careful selection and upkeep of my house, with as much attention as I have in the past given major relationships. I really enjoy the result. I have decided to add my career to the mix of important stuff to give that much time and attention to.

This has resulted in my making some information-gathering dates with folks at my old school, formulating a career path, and now doing some more information-gathering from folks in the field I want to head into and (this is scary) applying to, not a technical college, but a formal huge sprawling university-temple of academia. I'm formulating a support team (emotional, physical, logistical, motivational) which I can do really well based on my previous experience with working through my diploma. I actually feel pretty confident about this path of mine, though it's me against huge and arbitrary machines within machines, which is never easy for me to deal with.

I may not be in Vancouver forever. I may stay in the Valley forever or I may not, but a million tiny roots are shaking themselves and working their way loose. I had never thought to leave, before, but in a couple of years I will be able to if I so choose.
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I can tell I'm back to my own life in part because nothing goddamn stays the same for any length of time. And you know what? I'm good with that. I wear it much better than I wore the socially-expected stasis that was supposed to be easier on me, that is for sure.

So, Greenie, what's up, you ask? The answer is, everything. I realize that's not helpful, so:

I've discovered and enforced some boundaries around dating. I'm pretty proud of this one; I have spent so much time giving folks the benefit of the doubt, pushing through discomfort, feeling like I owe it to folks not to break up with them for silly/superficial/unacceptable reasons. Well, just at the moment I'm on top of this one. I'm exploring that same territory in sex, and I guess it carries over some into interpersonal. So, yay.

In fact, I think it may also carry over into work a little: the boundaries, not the sex, of course. Instead of pulling miracles invisible to everyone else out of my ass, I'm being a little more vocal about burnout, a little more vocal about how much work something will be, and have successfully got "thinking time" added to the paid part of my job description. This does lead me to hang out in the "maybe my job isn't so bad after all and I can keep it" zone a little more, which is a problem, but it's a step in a good direction.

And, hand-in-hand with being more open about things I don't want, I'm practicing being more open about things I *do* want. I still suck at this in a bunch of ways, but man does practice make it easier. Everytime I suggest something and no one freaks out or drops dead, it gets a little easier with that person. I'm afraid my general principles still believe that I'm either inconvenient or running the show, without a middle ground for negotiation, but on a per-person basis the back of my brain is becoming more reasonable.

I continue to dread the moving process. Right now there's not much out there that looks good, but hopefully things will move by spring. I'm thinking right now that I'll get a box (a la Ahhhsoeasy/pods/bigsteelbox/mobileministorage) dropped out here and fill it up with my stuff for Feb 1, then the box can either be transported to my new place or stored so there's not as much pressure on my house-hunt. I am sort of tired of this moving business and I don't want to settle half-assedly into a place I don't love.

My mourning process is still engaging in weird fits and starts, usually in public in restaurants or on transit. I've started wondering whether I should build "riding transit around for several hours" into my life to get through some of that stuff. You'll know when I'm engaging, of course, because there'll be a ton of lyrical, angsty, lovely posts here. Or... maybe this occasionally nagging sadness won't spill over into that kind of thing. I really cannot find it in me to regret, right now. I am just so, so done with pretzeling myself around other folks' issues. I mean, everyone has issues, but they need to have their issues some other goddamn place than their relationship with me, and come back when things are sorted.

I've slowed down on the brewing because I have too many competing ideas stuck in my head, which is cool with me. I am going to see if I can get some apple juice from the valley in the next week or two for 1) a second batch of graff and 2) the juniper-apple-(rowanberry?) wine. Apparently the Vancouver brewer's group found a place in Abbotsford that presses the stuff and will fill a carboy for something like 1.60/L. That's way cheaper than anything bottled I can find and has the benefit of being fresh and excitingly unpredictable. Everything I have smells amazing right now.

Intermittently cooking, pretty much avoiding gardening, looking forward to climbing, not biking as much as I'd like... I seem to have room for another filler-type hobby right now, something to think lots about but that doesn't take a lot of dedicated time. I don't think I'll end up geeking out about knitting so much, so I've no idea what will fill that space. Maybe pottery?

Well, there we have it, things ticking along pretty well. Be well yourself, guys.
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Tonight Andrew gets home, so I'll be living in my home again, full-time, hereafter.

I've been chipping away at it, and it's going faster than I expected; I guess I had forgotten what it was like for something to be done, then stay done (except, of course, the animals).

An incredible amount of garbage is coming out of this place. I wasn't doing much critical sorting in the last while, and so things that weren't immediately disgusting but were useless/broken built up. Things didn't get put away to the extent that I need to create places for them. And did I mention a lot of my plants died in that interlude where I wasn't coming home much?

It feels So. Good. to clean things. It feels amazing to see something wrong and just-- fix it. Immediately. It feels so good for my floors to be emerging. I do clearly need more shelves, I need to figure out how I'm going to force that into a budget. There is just not enough space for everything to go somewhere.

I continue to be careful about spreading around my attention; getting together with friends sometimes and lovers other, with any given person only once per week, making some solitude in there (which sure, I've been using to nap or clean house, but whatcha gonna do). I've also been enjoying time to chat online with folks; it really is a mode of interaction I appreciate. It feels like my native tongue.

I cannot wait to have people over to my place.

I love anticipating when I'm next gonna see someone now, instead of feeling anxious if they're not around for a bit. I quite enjoy that switch.

I discovered a program called Snapchat. It's a surprisingly intimate-feeling photo-messaging program, and I've been using it a fair bit. Somehow the impermanence, mutability, and control of my own image has felt really empowering. I'm learning to take pictures of myself that I think are pretty.

I have in no way figured out how to cope with my sex drive. Despite having maybe 5 people who could be considered lovers to some degree or another I am not getting laid a whole lot, and when I do it takes significant time because that's what happens when you see someone infrequently enough that you don't drop into routine. So I can't just up the frequency of those dates; I'd never get anything else done. I'm in pretty much my ideal sexual environment right now, so I need to come up with some strategies, or maybe it will settle over time.

The people around me continue to amaze me with their awesomeness, forthrightness, with the sheer fun or love or caring or interestingness of interactions with them.

My grief process peeks out around the edges once in awhile but is still pretty much in hiding. Not sure what it'll take for it to feel safe.
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I'm not sure when I was here last. I know it's been awhile. I haven't had time home alone in awhile, and that's when I write. I haven't had much time at home and awake in quite some time, truthfully.

School finishes at the end of June. I've given my notice today at work, officially, for the end of June. I've done that to push myself into finding something I actually want to do. I don't have any offers right now, but I do have some connections and some very interesting prospects that I should get on pretty damn soon.

Blake's been laid off, and it looks like all his job prospects are either in Seattle, California, or... New York? Kelowna? Not Vancouver, at any rate.

I'm seeing Angus again, a little bit, as time permits. Practising poly, as opposed to putting off the practice needed to break this relationship in.

I don't know what my life will look like in July, in November, in the future, but it will be different. It will be interesting.

I can't wait to come out of my school-work cocoon where I have no self and climb into the sunlight of my life again. I can't wait to be here more, to be anywhere with people more, to spend more time with my family and especially with myself (I think I am really my favourite person in the end, or I understand myself the best, or something). I loo forward to thinking about things again, and watering my garden and snuggling my rats and whatever else happens.

So here I am, scared, still cocooned, waiting... but with a date on emergence. I expect there'll be a big scramble in June and early July, but I expect everything will, in the end, be ok.

I feel loved again, not sitting at the bottom of the pit but held up by my web again. The web is sparser than it was, but each thread is stronger. I'm learning, just a little, to trust people with my weight.
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Another Poem About The Heart

When the floor drops out, as it has now,
you cannot hear the squirrel on the wire
outside your window, the wheels spinning
on the road below. You want only pity
and are presented with the unbelievable
effrontery of a world that moves on.
But wait: this is not the person you are.
You're the kind of person who
sits in dark theaters crying at the collarbones
that curve across the dancers' chests,
at the proof of a perfection they represent;
a person who goes out walking in a four-day drizzle,
sees a pot of geraniums and is seized, overcome
by how they can bring so much (what else
can you call it?) joy. You love the world,
are sure, at least, that you have. But be truthful:
you only love freely things that have nothing
to do with you. You're like a matchstick house:
intricately constructed but flimsy and hollow inside.
You're a house in love with the trees beside you -
able to look at them all day, aware of how faithful they are -
but unable to forgive that they'd lie down
leaving you exposed and alone in a large enough storm.

Jenn Habel

Hello again.

I'm in a life. It's my life, more-or-less, and almost completely different than any you've been aware of.

This is the life I lived when I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen: a life where I'm a world unto myself, where I speak to almost no-one, where I do a series of things required of me. School and work require the most, people almost nothing.

Once again when I write here the worlds echo inside my own quiet mind with no thought of an audience; I've forgotten what an audience might be like.

I spend a lot of time with Blake, all the shared eating-sleeping-reading time in which time slides by with few major features to mark its passing.

Sometimes I miss people. It happens less often now; generally only for the few days right after some sort of social contact with my old friends, but that happens so seldom these days.

I don't talk to my classmates much. I ordered african violet leaves instead of buying pants without holes for the winter because I wanted to nurture something green and alive.

Some days I forget how to love, or forget to know whether I know how.

It's going to be a dark winter. I'm in the womb again, still: I'll live here awhile. Whatever I'm to be born into this time around, it's far on the horizon yet.

Even typing just these words stirs up a little bit of dust. The love is in there somewhere.

I am, by the way, just finished bleeding and the winter still looks dark. That means something.
greenstorm: (Default)
So I'm leaving for Spring Mysteries in a few minutes. I'm proud of the fact that I'm happy and still alive in the incredibly intense lead-up to this. I've taken one day off in the last dozen, otherwise it's all school and work. I slept 3 1/2 hours last night (about 5 each the two nights before that) and woke up next to my lover to work on my take-home exam (in bed! on my iphone!) before rocketing off to put things in order so my brother can ratsit here. I'm packed. I have homework to take with me. My right eye has stopped the ceaseless twitching it had taken up yesterday.

I'll have time to catch up on not doing anything this weekend, out of cell reception and on a beautiful coast full of mostly strangers who believe in touch, the earth and shared ritual (well, maybe someday I'll write more about that, it's not strictly true).

When I get back I've only a week before my home is back in my custody and I can make it nice.

My brother is more-or-less moving into the neighborhood and we had a good talk like we haven't in years last night. I'm looking forward to more of that, more biking on the seawall and talking like friends with nothing to hide from Paul, Burn Notice with Andrew, gymming with Mcbain, maybe even the conversational black holes Kynnin and I fall into... friends, who I'll lean on heavily so's not to crash like a needy sledgehammer on Michael's head when I'm alone nights, and so I can find the strength to stand mostly unbowed in the storm of this change with Angus. I'd like to not desert him to heal, but instead to shift gently to wherever we're going.

Plus, school friends jumping the school/life barrier, gardens lifting, new home visioning and the move that will inevitably come--

life has promise. I've been really swingy lately, this is an upswing, but in general things are solid. They're especially solid when I'm too tired for angst, to be honest, but that's a reminder to keep my energy invested in the upward climb to... wherever it is I'm going.

See you on the flipside.

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