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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.

"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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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.

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?
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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?
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Well. More love in my life, my ribcage stretching open like wings. Friends, sweethearts: I'm in the middle of a season of connection. I'm renewing old ties, and the age of those ties has meaning. I'm forming new ones.

I'm not spending an excess of time on school, and basically none that isn't in plain sight. That may hurt me long-term. Having written these words, between that last sentence and this, I was inspired to send off an overdue email or two. Writing is good accountability.

Another love post is ripening. My relationship landscape is shifting again and I haven't taken the time, yet, to feel out all the various ramifications. I'm noticing a new level of ...comfort? confidence? in my people now. I trust folks to stick around, not just in the manner best for them, but also in ways that are good for me. It's been a long road since my first couple of posts, since I couldn't believe I had anything to offer or that anyone would find me interesting over the long haul.

I like the long haul.

My car has become what my home used to be, the place I can sing aloud to myself and no one can see me, the place I can expand to fill the space. I am finding ways to exist in my home more-or-less happily. I am spending too much money. I am attending most classes. I am telling myself that I will take my bike to school, or do yoga, but I keep putting those off (yoga: see also: too much money). I am petting Mella the bare mimimum she will allow, but talking to the rabbits more.

I am daydreaming, a lot, about having my own home.

After such a hard winter followed by a numbingly difficult summer, I am back to feeling myself surrounded by love and warmth every day. I am interested in people. I am... human again. It is the paramount wonder of the world.
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Well. Back in school. Best Forestry Student In Canada, according to one metric (it's on a medal and everything). Proud of it, I guess? But here's the thing. Good-student-ness and happiness don't coexist well for me. I was originally a good student because I was terrified as well as innately curious. I've retained my innate curiosity, perhaps currently my most valued trait (it's only in the last couple years I've considered anything more than "a machine made for loving things" to be my most valued trait), I'm still attuned to details. School requires a particular ability to create absolutely nothing, though, to make something that will be sent down a black hole and never seen again, and when I'm not seeking approval to convince myself I'm allowed to exist (kinda done with that) I find that hard to stomach.

But! I have discovered that if I ignore that part of school by alloting myself a very short amount of time for that stuff (think "I am being paid hourly for half an hour of work here" mindset) I can go on and enjoy things. I am currently both in school and enjoying things. What am I enjoying?

I am enjoying asking my instructors questions about First Nations (Canada) vs American Indian situations, and about what to do in particularly ethically sticky work situations I've encountered.

I am enjoying volunteering with a Canadian forestry organization in what is also a student rep/student council position and thus meeting folks like the Chief Forester (who is a woman for the first time and who is delightful in person) and older folks in the forest industry who are technically retired and have lots of stories and young women with whom I feel some level of comradeship.

I am enjoying my people, so many people I love so much.

I am enjoying plotting this fall's boozemaking when the apples are pressed (three cysers, maybe?) and also tasting some of the things I made two years ago at this time.

I am enjoying living in the same room as my rabbits, being more intimate with them after a summer of not-so-much contact.

I am enjoying having my own bed, both to lounge in alone and to invite people into it as I see fit.

I am enjoying proximity to my mom.

I am enjoying Suhaylah, my SUV, who affords me the ability to travel despite increasingly awful transit systems in Vancouver which often make me sick even if they're not overcrowded or late or taking an hour and a half to two hours to get somewhere.

I am enjoying anticipation of having a home, a real home where I could live and put things and maybe stay there for more than eight months at a time. I've been looking at houses in Fort and I can do that there.

I want to go into detail about people, but it's long past my bedtime and I'd be here for hours. I haven't seen half the people I need to see, but I *can* and that is wonderful.

So anyhow, my overwhelming experience right now is not that of school, it's that of my life around school, which is excellent. School is a problem when it's my focus.

Conifex in Fort St James has said they want me back after I graduate, so I'm tryins g to treat this window as the last, most extended vacation I'll have down south. It's working so far.

Moving twice a year for school is very difficult, worse than moving twice a year for the rest of my life because there is such a long distance at play. My nail clippers are currently in Williams Lake and my bedside lamp has been missing in the stack of boxes for two years (I hate typing with long nails). It's hard to do hobbies, I'm tired of setting up my computer, I didn't get to tuck my garden in for the winter nor do I get to ever live near that garden again, the air always feels to dry or too damp, and I miss my bed which I haven't got out of the storage locker yet.

I always live my life for the next day, or the day after that. The trick seems to be including short as well as long term in "the next day". Use long term to pull myself through short term; use short term to recharge my soul so it's strong enough to be pulled.

Anyhow, tired. Missed you, felt lonely. Late to bed now. Be well. A couple years and you can come visit me and stay in a guest cabin I made you with my own hands. How lovely will that be?
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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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So I've been habitually posting on weekends. Then Dave came up for a weekend, then I went to a music festival for a weekend. This coming weekend my mom is coming to visit, and the one following that I'm going to hang out with a new um-maybe-friend in Williams Lake and eat oysters and see what physical proximity does to our interaction, then the one following that I'm heading to the Mission Folk Fest, and then to the other side of Canada for the first time to visit Nova Scotia with Dave. So there's a lot to catch up on, obviously, and I may not update lots.

I do, however, have lots of things going on in my head.

The level of casual friendly to strangers here is about the same as the level of casual friendly in Vancouver to someone you've been introduced to through a friend but not previously spoken to much. It's turned up a notch from Vancouver-stranger. I like it. It's ok to talk to folks, coworkers are more invite-able to things, every interaction is just a little bit closer or at least allows for more than the equivalent one in the city.

One of the fun/frustrating things about sex is that you basically reinvent it with each person (unless I guess you wanna follow the standard het escalator vanilla template?). You never quite know what's coming down that pipe.

The Smithers music festival was fun; it had more different types of music than I was expecting. I went up with two co-workers, Jeremy who was the instigator and who's my fellow summer hire, and Brett. It was nice to hang out with them some; they definitely viewed it as a drinking/hanging around experience, and were maybe slightly distressed that I wouldn't accept drinks. Thy hung out in a group together; I realized I'm maybe more independent than I think I am, an definitely moreso than my twenty-year-old self could have understood. I danced a bunch and stayed in a tent. It was really, really good for me. I discovered a couple local bands, one called Black Spruce Bog who write about things like salmon and who might play over here in Fort St James in the fall.

Instead of getting a ride home with my co-workers, I caught a ride with the okc person I met a couple weeks ago. It was basically an excuse to talk, and talk we did... and then the next night we spoke on the phone pretty late too. He lives about four hours away, towards Vancouver, so he's not entirely local, but he's close enough for visits. I'm enjoying the feeling of spark with someone. We'll see where this goes.

Interest in someone else is definitely making me miss Dave extra-much-a lot. Poly is always like this for me; my desire for long-term/current partners always flares up when I find a new connection elsewhere. I love how contrasts highlight each person's individuality. So even though Dave was just here, the separation is hard right now. I just got extended at work, so I'll be here, likely, till November. That's a long time to be away, and I guess that's also hitting me.

I have no idea what will happen in the future. My original goal taking co-op at school was to do a co-op term in a different place each time, to get to know different parts of BC and see where I wanted to end up. I really like it up here, though, I like the company I work for and I like the town. I likely could come back next summer no problem; it wouldn't let me go work on the coast or Vancouver Island to check them out. It's really far to visit.

I don't know.

An 8 month/4 month lifestyle split between locations is maybe even possible for awhile. Do I want that? It's early to tell. I need to sit with it. But, it's definitely in my mind as a possibility.

We'll also see how I feel about the town and the job in six months when I'm not flush with the novelty of it, or when the winter comes. If I'm here during snow, I've promised myself I'll learn to cross-country ski on the lake. How out of character is that?

Everyone here is really outdoorsy, not the Vancouver weekend-outdoorsy but they all seem to play on multiple sports teams and kayak and hike and camp all the time, not just once in awhile. And everyone means everyone.

And there are so many places that are logging-road or boat access only that you can go and there are trees and water and no people.

Yeah, typical poly dilemma of always feeling like, even when some things you love are here, others are distant. It's not like I'm any different with places than with people.

I want to write more, I may tonight, but now I have to (get this) clean my room for my mom. Ha. Since I'm going to install her here when she gets here, it likely shouldn't have clothes and sex toys in her way.

I'm really happy here. It's miraculous how repeatable and reliable the method for making me happy is. Outdoors all day, some space, some people, enough sleep.

Be well, folks. Love you.
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This is a busy weekend. I had plans for it, or rather, I have plans for it.

Today I'm meeting someone from okcupid; we were going to meet at the beach and bbq some food but it's raining.

I was going to go to a coworkers' and have a fire and do meat and wine around it tonight for Solstice I'm not sure if he knows it's for solstice), but it's raining.

It rained on us at work on Thursday for the last half of the day, and Friday all day, and that was comfortable and felt like home. It was the first time I've been in the bush and got rained on, and the folks I was out with seemed a little less comfortable with it than I was, so that was something. It felt good to be able to use one skill, at least, that I already have.

Incidentally, I'd made a shepherd's pie the night before and been suffused with the glow you get when you know you'll come in out of a long, cold, wet workday and get fed really well for minimal work, then got back to the office and there were hamburgers waiting for us. My fridge is getting very well-stocked.

I'm not sure what's going on with my plans today, though. They are all outdoor plans, and the outdoors doesn't seem super conducive right now. I guess we'll see what happens. What I really want is a hot tub to sit in, out in the rain, and listen to the sound of falling raindrops on the lake.

Other than that, Dave will be up here within a week, so that's awesome. Tomorrow is national aboriginal day as well as solstice, so there should be things going on around town; I believe there are fireworks.

The garden is still pouring out cucumbers, and it's about to start pouring out spinach and swiss chard too. That's pretty exciting. There's also a ton of raspberry leaves for tea, and likely strawberries as soon as the rain turns off and the sun turns back on.

I've been bidding on/buying a few vintage kimonos on ebay lately; they're beautiful, and although I can't indulge myself in many of them they are a nice thing to collect intermittently as long as I'm careful about only getting things that I both really love and that are below my entertainment budget threshold. I love the landscape-patterned ones, full of trees and bridges and people and boats and houses. There are some absolutely breathtaking ones that are ink-wash painted misty mountain- and sea-scapes, which I can't afford but can enjoy looking at, too.

Over the week a couple of my coworkers went up to camp; I dogsat for one of them, and got taken out for a walk by a very energetic terrier in the rain. It was nice. I'm certainly not ready for full dog ownership with my life the way it is, but I might try to see if there are any organizations that hook walkers up with seniors or other folks who keep a dog but can't quite manage the physicality of a walk. I know there are organizations like that in the UK.

...or maybe I shouldn't add anything else to my plate?

Registration at UBC starts on the 30th. I'm trying to get my work situation sorted by then, to figure out whether I'm staying for another (part-)term or whether I'll be back in school for September. I've gone through all the correct hoops at work, I'm just waiting on my supervisor to figure out how much work there will be. I guess I can always register and then drop courses, come to think of it.

I definitely always feel better the day after (or the same day that) I go outside for work. Right now I'm feeling comfy and cozy and lazy and enjoying being indoors while the rain is out there. It doesn't hurt that hanging out with folks today is on the horizon.

Hope all is as well with all y'all.

Suitability

Jan. 6th, 2015 05:16 pm
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I'm halfway through training for a half marathon I mysteriously signed up for that'll take place in February. I didn't think I'd ever be a runner, mostly because mom is one, and I still don't think I *am* a runner... but this sort of exercise regime suits me down to the ground. In building physical capability the basic idea is to do low level stuff for awhile to build a "fitness base" or basic capability, then to add intensity for while (in my case, distance) in small increments. So I got through the part where I built a base by running and walking various proportions of 2-4 miles for awhile, now I'm maintaining the base by running 4 miles twice a week and adding distance by running a long run every weekend.

Every weekend I add 1 mile to the distance I ran last weekend. A half marathon is 13 miles. My previous longest distance run ever was just under 5 miles.

So right now, every weekend, I run further than I ever have before in my life.

This is amazing and motivating to me. I may try to keep running as a sometimes-hobby-thing, not at this level of intensity, but I don't really like running. I do like something where I top my personal best once a week in easy-to-understand numbers (5 miles! 6 miles! 7 miles!). It's great.

Semester has also started; I'm two days in today. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but a couple of my classes seem to be going better than expected from the weird start-up stuff around them. We had a lab today that was tromping around the botanical garden looking at plants and I don't think the instructor thought much of me (I didn't need to look at a hemlock, I can ID it at all scales from a distance) but before I could feel too antagonistic towards him he mentioned that he has ghost tree moments on campus -- moments when he'll be in the middle of a building, or a road, and be aware of how not too long ago there were huge silent forests there, maybe a tree on that very spot. I feel that all the time, and I haven't met anyone else with that awareness, so it's hard to be antagonistic now, isn't it?

I also have a class that's four or five people, mostly masters students I think, and we're going to sit around and talk about the politics of land tenure in forestry and its effect on the environment and especially on different groups and also about the history of it. How great is that?

So we will see. I'm definitely too busy, but my first-ever student loan is coming in to fix that (I think) and I'm starting to get a handle on how my time will flow this year. I'm applying for summer jobs far and away, and making bits of time here and there to be social, and that's about it right now.

It's not perfect, but it is pretty good.
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So I'm definitely neck-deep in school right now, and I'm remembering which specific issues I have that clash with the university model.

Pretty much, when I set my goals as "getting approval from distant and arbitrary authority figures" I have trouble with my life. School, especially UBC, is 100% under that category, especially when I'm trying for scholarships or particular grades.

My parents were extremely arbitrary and pretty distant authority figures: mom because of depression and other needier kids, dad because of his underlying issue of whateverthefuck. It's pretty easy for me to be triggered into the passive, desperate obedience required of a dependent in that situation since the behaviour was gauged so deeply into my head for so many years.

I dealt with this in high school by getting good grades, accepting the grades-as-approval-structure and excelling in it.

I dealt with it at BCIT by, eventually, getting to know my teachers, being friends with them and thus getting away from the idea of them as authority figures, and also by learning their criteria and styles so they weren't really so arbitrary. I developed a group of friends at BCIT who were all going through the same work as I was. Those friendships affirmed that we were all awesome people aside from marks. I had ultra supportive partners who loved me. Basically, I had other sets of external validation.

Over the years, my source of validation has been shifting from external to internal. This had partly occurred when I was at BCIT, but it has definitely become stronger since then. (As part of becoming acceptable to academia I'm training myself out of the trades talk I trained myself into: less concise but more 'correct'). So when I hit UBC this time I was almost entirely internally-validated. I had a great set of checks and balances to deal with moods, hormones, and other events. A lot of those were actually developed through this journal.

Part of being at UBC is submitting yourself for approval over and over. Yes, I know, it's submitting your *stuff* for approval, but-- at this level, in classes of over a hundred people, where everything is marked by TAs, pretty much a number and a sentence is what you get. So it's pretty hard to frame as submitting my stuff for feedback; to get feedback I need to make an appointment with the teacher by email, go in, bring the thing in that they haven't seen before, and we talk. That's feedback. The other is arbitrary (poorly-defined beforehand, not enough assignments to get a feel for it) approval on my work in an institutionally-enforced absolute sort of sense. By this I mean it's not a matter of taste, it's a matter of me having done it /wrong/.

So I'd kind of... sloughed off a lot of my external approval mechanisms, in favour of internal stuff (no one else really thinks my brewing or organising my house or caring about local farming is SO COOL like I do). And now I'm submitting myself for approval by this arbitrary body, and I don't have counterbalances. I can't just pull my validation back inside, because I need to care enough to do the stuff, even when the class is poorly organised and the information is easy to look up when I need it and so not necessary to memorize or whatever. I *cannot* use my judgement in this, so I cannot trust my judgement.

So I'm doing really poorly. Compounding everything is the way I have no time or money to do things that self-validate, because I'm working enough to eat into basically all my free time but not enough to have extraneous funds (tradespeak: extra cash).

Making friends at school helps SO MUCH. They are also having trouble this time of year, it's hard, just being assured that it IS hard and often arbitrary helps. But... I don't really have time to make friends, with work.

Talking to profs about assignments helps SO MUCH but. It got me through the assignment angst, but it can't get me through not knowing what my midterms tomorrow are going to be like, how they're going to be marked. 'A university-type answer' doesn't really tell me what's up with marking (I think tradespeak is more expressive there).

Brewing helps SO MUCH but. Money. I swear I need a patreon or a friends group at school that will pay me for beer.

Writing this, figuring out the issue, helps but. It's started me reorienting my validation to an internal source, and I know I'll pass things, so it drains my ability to shoot higher (I need to hit certain grade targets for both co-op and scholarships, and those are fiddlier than 'I know I'll pass things').

Long-term goal is to get student loans so I have time to have friends and do cool stuff. In the meantime, O suppose I can only be mindful of seeking validation in good places. When my friends are dicks about being critical of a thing, I tend to feel bad in myself because I place myself on the receiving end of it even if I'm not normally part of that thing.

I probably need to seek out friends who are especially kind, empathetic generally, and not given to vitriol. This will most certainly help me both short and long term.

Funny to think how things have changed. Fifteen years ago I was so into jerks.

It's also interesting to think about me, in school fifteen years ago, with all these things happening to me without my knowledge of what was happening in my head. I guess that's the growth of self-knowledge.

Hm.
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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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This weekend I haven't gone anywhere; not out of town, not to Dave's place (Dave is out of town), not yet to work. Instead I started yoga again and spent some time feeling like I belong in my home, like my space is my own.

It's a great feeling.

All the things I like are here: stuff to make booze including booze to clarify and prep for bottling and bottles to play with and frozen gooseberries to start into wine, my kitchen stuff (I just made a batch of beef stew for tonight and loaded the slow cooker with bean/veggie stew for the week), stuff to clean up (not my favourite, but gives me a sense of power over space), my rabbit friends, my books, my music, my houseplants, and my door to lock the world out.

So nice it rained today. That's always restful and helps me slow down.

I'm reminded that I can make a life I love. I guess I entered the summer needing to be social, and when my social needs filled up I forgot to check in and start cancelling things. So now my social is topped up, and I've been desperately needing this time to myself. Dave's two-week trip back home was a great space for me to catch up on all the things I needed to do (I've been SO BUSY. Too busy, I don't like the pace) and now finally to catch up on myself.

I'm also reminded just how important exercise is for my mental health. The bike or walk to work from the new place here in the west end just isn't enough for me, and I was having trouble getting out of bed and being excited about my stuff. After just a couple yoga classes I'm back to being pretty happy and level feeling, and also to being super productive. This is a lesson I'd best not forget.

School starts next week. I'd been worried about going into the school year completely burnt out. Now I have a little breathing space, and it will be ok. I'm not really looking forward to being on that kind of budget again, both time and money, but my goal is to actively tweak the time thing until it works for me, and I have a bunch of stored wealth (wine kits! books! Fabric! Unlimited yoga pass!) to coast on for awhile.
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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.

Mmmph

Oct. 22nd, 2013 07:36 am
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It's been a dry, dry, dry year. We had a long rainless summer, and then after the briefest of rainy weeks our sunny clear fall began. We're still in the midst of that fall; I'm still watering at work, and it's nearly November. It's part of why work is such busy chaos right now.

A big fog has settled over the valley these last several days and I remember I only really sleep well when it rains, or when it's cloudy. I've had to be at work extra early with the change-out so I couldn't get the benefit of the fog, but today I slept until 7am! Seven! When I've had so many 5/6am mornings lately. If this keeps up I'm in danger of being a human again, instead of a won-out reacting mess.

Look, I can even write without panic!

What I came to say, though, is that I've been looking at schools again. I remember this feeling http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/710356.html and the burnout that felt so immediate and meaningful, like this http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/740534.html because it had a set end and because I was achieving an end thereby. I love challenges. I love barely-achievable goals. I especially love achieving the impossible; I love surpassing my limits in the service of some worthy end. BCIT let me do that all the time with that crazy schedule (were there only three of us that worked through it, in the last year?) and at the same time rub my brain against Norm's and those of the other profs. Sure I came home and cried from sheer exhaustion after many-to-most days in second term, sure it took I guess this long to recover, but I loved that set of circumstances.

So now I'm thinking about doing something much gentler, about adding one or two courses a term. I should see what parts of my BCIT stuff will transfer to UBC. I am pretty ultra skeptical of much of the UBC agroecology stuff these days. It would be pretty ironic if I ended up in something foresty over there after deciding so many years ago it wasn't for me. Botany/ecology would be great in theory, but I've never talked to those folks. The other option is Kent Mullinix's Sustainable Ag degree at Kwantlen, but that's a pretty damn big commute and a very new program. Of course, it has <3 Kent Mullinix <3 and I don't think UBC has anything like Norm. I should look up Deb, who teaches at UBC now, and speak with her about options.

But maybe I should avoid making decisions until I've transitioned my job, honestly. If I end up in arboriculture instead of just a different landscaping job I'll need to spend some time in a less-flexible job I can't do amazingly well with my mind tied behind my back.

I was going to title this post "crazy" but I've been super sensitive to negative language around mental health lately. I do, after all, have brothers who are "crazy".
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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.
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Failure is rarely an option for me nowadays. I've lived a bunch of my life gently, allowing myself weakness when I have it, sometimes perhaps over-indulging in things like calling in sick to have sex or backing out of interpersonal confrontations.

I still try to live the relationship side of my life gently now that I've learned how, spending time with people who are good for my soul.

At the same time I have a rigorous schedule that leaves no leeway for my humanity.

For instance, I've been working and going to school both near full-time and keeping the rats and two boyfriends and something of a social life on the go. That translates to between 20 and 30 classroom hours per week, 12-15 hours of commuting per week, 30-ish to 35 hours of work per week, plus one day per week rat cage cleaning and whatever the people stuff adds up to, plus of course all the cleaning stuff.

I keep myself going in a number of ways. Some are gentle: I put something shiny in the next week or so, and I work hard to get through the week to it; I support myself and encourage myself and tell myself that I'm awesome and accomplish a lot; I pay attention to beautiful things around me and let them inform me of my right and fitting place in the struggles of this world. Often this is all it takes.

Some ways I get through are less gentle: I tell myself how badly people will be let down if I don't do something; I give myself a little time to break down and then remind myself that no one's interested in interacting with me if I cry and whine all the time; mostly I just keep working, through the dark part, through irritation to mental fury, through my brain spitting bile and insults at every contact, through fantasies of great pain or bodily harm to myself or people around me, through everything my mind can send at me I just go from task to task to task. I get things done and let my mind gibber.

There's sometimes a price for being harsh on myself. I begin to lose faith in the givingness of the world. I begin to forget what happiness tastes like and why I would desire any sort of human connection. Finally, pushed too far, my mind short-circuits and leaves me suspended and hanging in an abyss of static, snarling at any intrusion of consciousness.

Things fix this. Time to myself abates it; time with people I love, touching and being touched, talking and being talked to, draws me back into the wonderful parts of the world and gives me reasons for continuing on this path. I can recover quickly, especially if I haven't pushed too far, but I do need time to recover.

This month it feels like I don't have time to recover. I think I have a total of three or maybe 4 days that don't contain work, school, or most often a combination of both. Many of these are 14-hour days. There just isn't enough space.

I'm coming to my computer as a blank screen, to livejournal as a space that doesn't talk back. My own voice will heal me, I hope, that first increment so I can reach out to people for a little more contact. It seems to be working; allowing these feelings and these words to be of value, even if only to myself, is pushing me erratically from blankness through furious anger and towards tears.

It's a funny balance there, actually, seesawing between anger and compassion at myself for this barren painful feeling. It wobbles back and forth from one second to the next. I let it happen, no sense wishing it was some other thing.

That's enough writing for now, I suppose.

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