Oct. 8th, 2016 03:14 pm
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For the longest time there were two categories of people in the world: those I trusted and those I did not. You'll be shocked to know I took this to extremes both ways, and didn't know how to navigate the middle ground. It's been a long, slow process but I'm learning to put people in the middle now. I can place a little more trust in people I don't know personally; I can play around the edges of mildly risky interactions rather than keeping myself rolled up tight and safe. I can be close and open (oh, English, really?) with people and trust them so far, but maintain watchfulness and self-preservation. I feel like the whole process doesn't damage me anymore.

Now, in the kind of real, exciting news that drives the world forward: I am doing another cider buy, 5 carboys this fall near the end of the month, and I'm gaining confidence in my ability to write again after the accident. Cider is cider, the play will go over on my canning blog; writing is... like being whole again. Nearly being able to hold things in my head again. Interplay and structure of thought. Thank goodness. I hadn't realised the extent to which I was personally diminished by the absence until it came back enough to feel again. I imagine it'll come and go, but it's very good when it's here.

It's raining. Josh is here before he starts a new job which will offer a cycle of serious absence and then serious presence. I've been driving a lot and loving how it saves time and makes me not-sick on the bus (straight up time savings is one thing, but I'm really starting to notice the time saved by not having to lie down when I feel awful after the bus too). Finances are a little rough but I'm feeling confident about my ability to navigate them, at least subject to my talking to my bank.

Fall festival is coming up next weekend; I need some ritual in my life and I am so looking forward to it.

I've realised that after I graduate I'll still be in training (doing "school") for another two years anyhow, which somewhat reduces my drive to plough through as fast as possible. If I'm one course behind and need to do something by distance, well, I'll be doing that for awhile anyhow.

Nothing is perfect, but things are deeply okay and some are really very wonderful.
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Today I'm thinking about how people end up in proximity to other people.

Work sorts folks according to aptitude, interest, class and luck. You end up with folks of somewhat similar backgrounds, most of the time, and a shared set of conditioning -- whether that's certain sets of university training, family tendencies, whatever. This isn't to say that people who work together are the same, but there tends to be similarity.

The internet sorts people according to interests: polyamory, Star Wars, women's football, local food.

School sorts people by age, pretty much.

In cities folks are often heavily sorted. At least in Vancouver, the way people deal with having so many people everywhere all the time is to ignore large portions of them, to exclude them from the probable-friends realm. Then we build other structures to make probable friends in a more orderly, sorted way: online dating websites, cooking classes, walking groups, photography clubs. And again we end up sorted by interest or hobbies.

So it was my expectation that, in a small town, there would be a lot less sorting and you'd need to get to know people who weren't in the kinds of categories that work and school and interest-groups sorted you into. With fewer people, you'd end up knowing more people by physical proximity.

It hadn't occurred to me that physical proximity often came about because of certain sets of interests, aptitudes... and personality traits.

So here I am in a small town, and I've met an upper class Mexican woman who's ultra social and friendly, and I connect with her really well despite the fact that we share few interests or age categories or whatever. I wouldn't have met her back home. One of her skills seems to be the ability to connect well to almost everyone, which I find pretty great. I'm curious about how she would make friends in the city, just because she knows *everyone* here (and also apparently everyone who has ever lived here).

And I've also met an eighty-something woman (who I will be living with) who is from one of the founding families of the town, who brews and quilts and gardens and sands and paints her deck and kayaks and just separated from her husband of many years because she felt he was getting too dependent on her. She has a greenhouse with tomatoes and cucumbers. She has apple trees and a raspberry patch. She is, honestly, like a little window into the life I always hope/expected to have at that age.

So that's two strong awesome women I've met in the first week. I do not have to struggle or work hard to make friends. I do not have to force myself to meet people where they're at in order to broaden my mind, nor do I have to limit myself to make people comfortable (although the poly cat isn't out of the bag yet).

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I had a similar experience when I went to volunteer at the botanical garden looking for a redheaded gardener boy to date and received a bunch of amazing surrogate grandmothers instead. I guess I'm surprised to meet awesome women outside my age bracket. I guess I'm surprised awesome, fully realized humans exist where I had previously set a tidy stereotype box.

I guess I enjoy people, and respond well to people, in ways outside the sorting boxes I'm used to using to find friends.

Oh, and I guess I like people again? It's been months, at mimimum, since I could say anything like that.

This summer is a good choice for me.
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"Give me one good reason why I should never make a change"

That's pretty much the intelligible lyric in the long I've got on ultra repeat this week. Here's the thing: change feels less like change lately. The things I do don't penetrate so far under my skin. Circumstances might alter, but however much change there may be, it doesn't touch the core of me. I'm just.... myself, in a slightly different setting. That's not entirely new, but it's becoming dependable. S'kinda neat.

And there has been a lot of change.

I'm back at school (very challenging) and I'm probably going to accompany that with a big lifestyle change: instead of the stable home I've been working on making for the longest time, I'm giving serious thought to giving up my apartment and doing serious camp/bush work over the summer and then coming back to a much less expensive home experience in the meantime. Most of my stuff will probably end up in storage.

I'm piloting mindfully through a relationship, trying pretty hard to avoid coasting through something that's easy or that I like. I'm trying to avoid defaulting to partner status with someone who doesn't fit the things I need from a partner, and who isn't into committing in a similar way that I do.

I'm embracing that I'm a moving target. I think I'm gonna get myself a post office box and give up on changing my address every year or two. I love lots of people. I like lots of things, and need to be occupied with things that offer diversity.

And I think I'm pretty happy. I like change, and I like challenge. I like feeling dirt under my fingernails from scrabbling to hang on to edges.

That said, there are some things I don't like. Time really is at a premium, and money at the same time. That's why I'm thinking of getting rid of my place for something a) cheaper and b) that I don't have to pay for over the summer. School is a giant bureaucracy that generally doesn't give a fuck about anything -- my faculty is small and friendly but I was, for instance, refused service at the UBC clinic for not having my name changed on all my papers since citizenship, and there's stuff with room changes and mandatory courses only offered once a year that's pretty annoying. I don't know many folks at school, nor really feel any warmth towards them, and I haven't had time for my own friends.

But all-in-all, I'm enjoying my life, not sharply and intensely but quietly. I enjoy anticipation of things: I'll walk along the water and feel such a strong longing to be on a boat that completes itself in the glow of knowing I soon will be; I start gooseberry wine and have such an intense curiosity for how it will turn out; I look forward to the wilderness swallowing me up next summer and to the friends I'll make and to the sex I seldom have time for these days. Anticipation has always been one of my strongest emotions and it's pleasantly employed these days.

I'm enjoying my body, liking the feel of doing yoga again and also navigating the strange waters of dressing myself for days I don't need to wear a uniform and feeling myself as embodied in a large group of mostly very normal strangers.

I'm experimenting with kink and with various forms of intimacy and asking for what I need emotionally. I'm experimenting with where patience feels good and where it doesn't.

I'm reading on social justice when I have the wherewithal.

I'm practicing being mutually supportive adults, especially with Dave: I help him evaluate apartments and he helps me send off for my credit score. We take turns making dinner. We practice doing things we prefer to do alone some nights and things together others.

So, I'm doing alright at this point (except for my current massive ear infection, ugh). Hope it's as good for you.
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Impossible to capture the perfect day, but they do happen. Each has a different face.

Waking to snuggles and the inimitable touch and interaction of a loved one and sunrise at the foot of the bed. Breakfast: s'mores and scrambled eggs and bacon, cooked for me, but in my very own cherished home. Lazing and every kind of touch until my body is near brimming with it, then bottling my first successful batch of lovely-tasting graff. Magicking together a full-on thanksgiving meal with turkey, roast veggies, miso-maple squash, orange-cashew quinoa, mashed potatoes, perfect gravy, and my whole dear family in 2.5 hours then relaxing while someone else does the dishes. A house full of love, the perfect playlist on my computer. Turkey stock with frozen hoarded celery leaves already boiling as the door shuts for the last time, leaving me so tired and a little lonely with clothes to fold off my bed but--

I am so lucky. My life is so full of love. I'd never hoped for any of this. I had never known how good it could be, when I was waiting to see which brother would kill himself, with mom depressed and stressed and busy, trying to figure out what was important in my own life and struggling to know what I wanted. My week has been a parade of people I care about and am close to and enjoy and who in turn care about me. My weekend has been a closer, deeper nesting into people I am learning to be vulnerable to. Next week will be more folks I love, more folks who love me, all so bewilderingly and fascinatingly and dazzlingly different each from each until the tapestry of my life might as well be woven from the sun itself, too bright to encompass with these senses I am given.

The loneliness is itself part of the perfection of tonight, this reaching outwards from the base of my sternum and the way my ribcage cranks open as if it could fir the world in there.

Now, bedtime and another day.

I am blessed indeed.
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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.


Mar. 1st, 2011 07:39 am
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I am splitting my time between being in love, not being in love, and schoolwork.

My routine's altered a titch, and will continue to be a little different for the next little while what with the six-day schoolweeks.

Right now everything is humming along with my chosen people. I seem to be at the point where the people who I make an effort to include in my life are making efforts back, there's stuff to say and do between us, and everything is flourishing. It helps that depression seems to be taking its ugly fingers off my friends this month.

I've been skipping the occasional big social event in favour of downtime: either sleep or time to myself or homework. This has been a fantastic choice on my part. I've been ramping up the exercise, which, when combined with my incipient period, means I'm tired all the time but this will pass. My body feels good. My weight is up and muscles are starting to show up. I have a fitness goal for firefighting and a physical ability goal for yoga: 5-minute balances, yo.

Sewing's gone underground in favour of sleep and homework, for now. I have some pants I really should get done, though: I want the products of that sewing, I really do.

My baby rats are stupid-crazy adorable, and my BEWs are still white-- this is a breeding goal I've been pursuing since the beginning, and only just achieved-- and one of the boys is an excellent shoulder rat already. I want to be able to take my rats to school in the evenings, I mean one or two on my shoulder, but nuts to me. I don't think it'd go over well.

My freezer is super well-stocked, which means that the money shortage at the end of the month doesn't stress me out as much as it might.

I need to do something about my branding, about my taxes (which involves sending off a written, signed document), and study for my citizenship test.
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I always feel like I come across as either manic or trite when I write about being happy. There's some tooth to angst; there are things to dissect, it's easy to say 'where else do I want to be' and 'how can I change' and 'why are things this way'. I have much more trouble doing that when I'm happy-- mostly because I have not often given myself permission to feel purely happy.

I now have that permission. I have permission to look into dark spooky corners and to find either something terrible -- and still be happy if I wish -- or to find nothing at all, to find dust and candles and an empty room where I can curl up for awhile in peace if I wish. I have permission to be afraid of anything I wish, even if it's nothing, even if it's getting in my way, even if it's getting in someone else's way. I have permission to exist in the darkness as well as the light-- not to run gibbering through it, not to surf above it on analysis, but simply to go to those dark places and sit awhile.

This time, you see, when I went to be reborn: I wasn't. I was strapped to the wheel, it turned, and when it came back around there I was, still whole. The things I've been carrying: they're still mine. I'm more than sufficient to carry them as long as I wish, and set them down when I will. And, because I am not carrying such a terror over failing, and I am not so afraid of my own fear, these are steadying burdens instead of crippling. The loves and relationships in my life that take work and that I sometimes fuck up on and that make requirements of me are also provision against isolation and abandonment in the future. Carrying some of those weights at any time, and feeling them as weights, is merely part of the process. I have the image here of leaving on a hike and having a backpack full of food for the duration: it's something to carry. It's worthwhile later. It may well be annoying, it may hurt your shoulders a bit and sweat up your back and you may well complain about it sometimes, but it's ok. It's part of the process.

I could not stay on theme right now if I tried-- see me wander! I went into the dark and I felt welcomed. There was a smile there. I can stay there and play. That's all I'm trying to say.

There are many incidental wonderful details too: snuggling, a driving wind that literally pushed me around despite my best efforts, new faces and old ones made into potential friends, old static remade into play, poetry and song (literally!) and light and clarity and the resurrection of Blue Girl. It was, as they say, all good. I even got to talk a very little about agriculture and gut ecology at one point. I got to watch Angus in a makeout/painplay puddle which was totally involved and totally beautiful. I got to commune with a rosebush. I had conversations and I had silent being-togethers. Oh, words, how impossible you are as tools here. The things that happened, the feeling of them, can't be communicated-- they only sit inside me and influence my actions and maybe you'll see hints of them sometime in my actions, or maybe in a little bit of peace around the corners of my eyes.

In home news I lost Mikaela and Princess before I left, and Rocky when I got home. It's a sad thing. We think it was his heart, and perhaps it's good that he didn't get bred, but he was a sweetiepants. My flowers are starting to die down in the deck, just in time to move. I have trouble re-engaging my mind with the list of things I need to do (pay tuition, change address on drivers license, get contact lenses, maybe get a bus pass: all that busywork which takes so much of my space).

Now I have the urge to do some sewing (!!!?) and rest a little more, then go out into the world. My bosses left the day open as to whether I wanted to work or not, and the weather has confirmed that it would be okay for me to take this day to myself.

Really, Greenie? Sewing? How about a shower first? I know those skirts are already cut out, but don't you want to wait till your machine is up and running again?
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It's only seven thirty and it's getting dark. Fall's here, and with it our lovely amazing indian summer full of clear blue skies and crisp air. Walking around outside makes me feel like I'm drugged-- I suppose if I wanted to be literary about it I'd call it intoxicating. The air is clear, less of an obstacle to vision when there's light out, and things are sparklier. This weekend held the equinox.

I'm sitting in a place that feels like home, but it isn't my house. I'm over at the House of Boys- Angus, Dan, Tyler, and Nick's place. We did the cooking for Mabon, Patti's big dinner party, here, and I just finished doing some dishes. It was a big party weekend-- first Piotr's birthday, then Ty and Brit's anniversary/Ty's birthday/this place's second housewarming, then Mabon on Sunday night. They were three very different experiences but interestingly there was a core of people that showed up at all of them; Tim, Navi, Anthony, myself, Patti and Tyler that I can remember off the top of my head.

It felt wonderful to hang out with people I love again. It feels wonderful, because really I'm still here. The boys are gaming in the other room, I'm making soup with the leftovers and trying to think of how to write here.

I recently finished a book called _The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay_ that was full of the most moving writing. I had forgotten how much a turn of phrase could stir me. I had not read anything in a long time that made me want so badly to call someone and just read it to them. It was a bit difficult to get into the book, the characters took a little bit before I cared about them so much that their salvation or lack thereof really mattered to me. It was a beautiful book, that said.

I feel like I'm home right now. I mean, I'm in what feels like familiar territory. If there wasn't all this food left from Mabon I'd make muffins for the gamers. You know that role, right? When Kynnin had people over to play D&D it's the same role I chose to take.

Ramble, ramble. I always approach my points sidewise, support then thesis. Sometimes it's anecdote then thesis, but it's all the same style. I'm working up to saying that Mabon was wonderful, everyone I love in the same room, and that it was a lot a lot of work. I'm working up to saying that Angus is my boyfriend again in an official sort of way. We're both smiling a lot. It's lighter than it was. It feels really good.

It's funny, you know, I was so tired of poly. It had been sort of like a cheesegrater, not always but enough that some important bits of me were abraded away. These were the bits of me that automatically expected emotional gentleness and also the bits of me that automatically gave it. I always have had the tendency to fall into hardassery.

Kynnin and I just made some mistakes from which we never recovered, and I was never out of a relationship for long enough to stop and reset-- things kept carrying over and carrying on, different iterations of the same carelessness coming up over and over. I didn't expect to get what I wanted, and that hurt me so much that I was afraid to even know what I wanted, and then I couldn't communicate it, and then of course I couldn't get it. You see the circle. Further, I was always afraid of being left, of the Kynnin thing repeating, and so I brought in a new boy for backup and distanced from the old one in preperation for the inevitable ending, often causing it.

I'm not saying this is the only way of looking at my relationships, or the only thing that happened in them; it's not the only reason they ended or began, it's not even close to the whole of my experience of them. I'm just saying, I was caught and it had gone on long enough that I was beat down.

Let's try an explanatory chronology.

A couple weeks ago I had a party at my house, and Ty's roommate Dan came to it. We ended up talking there, and have hung out since. I made him sushi one night; he made me a steak and shiitake salad another. We had a lot of fun sleeping next to each other. He initiated the STD talk before I did, the first and only person to do so. He's twenty years old. I really like him-- for all my second guessing (do I like him because he reminds me of Marvin? Is it this or that other thing?) that statement is both true and the only one I can make about it at this point. He's the first person since Angus I've both been attracted to and liked freely, like water flowing from somewhere in my chest. That's why so much second-guessing, and also why I'm so tentative. It's been a long time, and relief is always coupled with pessimist's caution for me.

I'm not sure whether it's that which drove me into this weekend. Perhaps it's also Sickle, which is something that requires Angus' presence in Seattle every Sunday, and he works Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm-3am; it's a hard schedule to spend time with him in, and now I'm starting my Master Gardener program imminently and I'm busy Saturdays and generally Tuesdays and Thursdays till late starting the week after this one- this doesn't leave us a lot of time together. In any case, I tried to break up with Angus this weekend despite the fact that we weren't dating. What ended up happening was that we had a long, long talk and we're dating now officially, and we're tentatively poly.

I had never had any of the poly talks with Angus. I had never needed to; people told me he was hardcore monogamous, and when he expressed discomfort with me being with other people I let them slide off me like water off a candle. They just slipped away. See? New boy/old boy, but it was different this time because there was no one else.

When we broke up we were by default poly because we weren't in a negotiated structure that excluded other people. When you're not in a structure, though, you spend minimal time defining that structure. We still hadn't talked. Now we have.

We're not sure what shape this is going to take but it's more intentional than last time. He's been doing amazingly at figuring out what he wants and acting to make that happen, something he couldn't even conceive of back then. I've been independent some, not leaning on a second boy but just doing my own thing. Those are both pretty important things to have done.

So. I'm happy. I don't know what's happening next. That's all.

Oh, bleeding like crazy.


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