Sunday, September 29, 2019

My thoughts at the moment.

The feeling of panic won't stop. That's not true. I get little breaks here or there. If I'm talking to a friend, or riding a bicycle, or drinking - I might get a pause. Drinking isn't good though, 'cause now it can also make things worse. So I'm trying to keep that in check. I'm taking that drug, Effexor, which is supposed to kick in after taking it for weeks. But I think the bulk of this panic is situational - breakup combined with being back in Pennsylvania, as unsure about what I am doing as ever before, and now yet another year older.

I want to be a good girl for somebody. I had that. A lot of the other parts of the relationship were a mismatch, but I loved being somebody's girlfriend. I'm told that can happen again. I don't want to look for it. I can't stand this dating stuff. I get way too close way too fast. I am blinded by the positives, and I ignore the feeling in my chest that tells me it isn't a good match. I don't trust myself.

Like a classic complete idiot, I tried to text or email Chance a few times. The way it ended, it seemed like friendship might be possible. I thought we were both sad, but on the same page, acknowledging that we have differences, and it would be best to part ways. Then Chance let me have it. They texted a good solid list of everything I did wrong, and what the DSM would medically diagnose as being wrong with me. I said I would look into it, apologized, and promised not to contact them again. Borderline personality disorder? Sure, some of the symptoms have a ring of truth, but it isn't a fit. I don't torpedo relationships. For the most part, I am healthy in that regard. And I hold hate for nobody. Emotionally abusive? Probably. I don't do well under pressure, and I get defensive. When I speak precisely, I sound like an asshole, while I am only trying to select words carefully. There's no malice. I try to communicate appropriately, but I get frustrated, and I fall short. I was a total dick more than a few times. Always sorry, but still a total dick.

What I need to do is stop replaying all of these thoughts on repeat. I try to practice mindfulness, and it is nearly impossible. The thoughts keep on cycling. I can only get brief moments of peace. At least I am glad that I'm trying. I probably care way too much about what people think of me. I try hard to live by a personal code of ethics. But the fact is, people misunderstand each other, and relationships are difficult. Over the past few years, I haven't had a good track record. Three people who I've become very close with have either cut me out of their lives, or I had to stop talking to them. I don't do well when that happens. I am not doing well right now.

What I'd like to do is approach my situation systematically - focusing on one step at a time. I have the exact same goals and ideas as one year ago before I moved to Austin for the second time. I feel like I have made zero progress. I have nothing to show for it. Maybe I need to make a third attempt to reach the same goals. Maybe it will just take me years rather than months to figure out where my place is, and what my simple sustainable life might look like. I want to find that life and stop moving around so much. I want to feel happy where I am. I almost had that in Austin, and then I got into a relationship. There were some positives about that relationship, but if I'm being honest with myself, I know I should have ended it much sooner. But I let myself fall in love. I completely surrendered. I tried to let myself get swept into somebody else's life and reality at the expense of my own sense of self. I am still coming back to my own personal reality. I hope I learned something.

I know what I want. I want to find a way to make money with sewing in any capacity. I want to stop selling books, and switch to sewing. I want to find a partner who rides bicycles and laughs. I want a partner who has an adventurous spirit. I can compromise a great deal, but for once I want to make sure the fundamentals are in place before I practically get married, and then bail out, leaving massive double heartache in my wake. I'd like to quit packing up my van and running away from shit. I want to belong to community. I want to get my meds sorted out, and have good helpful therapy. I want to continue practicing mindfulness, and feel connected to the earth spiritually on a more regular basis. I want to be satisfied with where I stand in the present.

Everything I want seems simple and possible. I believe I will find my place geographically and in spirit. Above all, I simply want peace. I am a wreck.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Good things that happened since leaving Chicago.

So yeah, shit feels pretty generally fucked up right now. And I like to type all about things that make me feel fucked up, 'cause I think maybe it's relatable, or maybe I just want to write it down, so I can crumble it up into a little ball and flush it down the toilet. So my writing is infused with all sorts of negative thoughts, when in reality I'm living a pretty sweet life. Sure, I am at a particularly low point right now, but good things still happen. Ask anybody who rides a bicycle: everything isn't all bad.

So let me think of some good shit that's been happening since I packed up my van and drove away from Chicago.

First thing I was able to get myself to do is ride a bicycle. Haven't been doing that nearly enough, that's for sure. I looked up the Bike Kennett schedule on FarceBook, and decided to go on the Monday ride. I texted my friend, Diana, who goes on some of the rides, and she suggested we meet before the ride. The Monday ride is for beginners, which we are not, so we planned to ride some extra miles with hills. I met up with my Hoopty, which is my only current operational bicycle, but fuckit that's the one I love. I wore my first and favorite skirt that I got in Austin. Diana wore some flashy gold sparkle bike shorts. All told, it was pretty hot stuff.

I can't figure out what people think about me. I know some people like me, but are they interested in me? I thought I could sense interest last summer when we went on rides together, but I also couldn't be sure if Diana thought I was gay. I mean... I tried to explain myself a couple times, but I'm not sure my words translate. She knows I had a wife. But on the question of whether I was into guys or girls, I paused. The answer is girls, but it's a little more nuanced than that. And when it comes to pronouns, you can just assume that you're going to confuse people. Maybe I should have simply explained that I am a shy submissive genderqueer anal slut, who also likes traditional values and vanilla sex. Instead I left it vague.

Deciding to put aside for the moment that I can't stand gender norms, especially when it applies to dating, I determined that it would be a good idea to be a little bit more direct and just ask her out on a date. I have absolutely no business dating anybody right now - being that I am crushed inside - but I didn't let that stop me. So a couple days after that ride, I texted in the morning asking if she'd like to go to dinner with me next week. The response? "Of course!"

It's hard to misconstrue what that means. Asking somebody to dinner is a date, right? I still had my doubts. First of all, she started beginning all of her texts with "friend" and further, though polite about it, I don't think she really understands queerness, or at least my specific brand of it. Whatever. I could clarify at dinner. Secondly, and perhaps more important, Diana is way out of my league. Her family has horses, and she hangs out with people whose shirts have buttons up the front. She has a career. I can't compete with that. You'd have to reeeeeeally be into me. Which is technically possible, because I happen to be cool as fuck. But it's still a stretch.

Well, dinner got downgraded to lunch. When she sat about 75 feet away from me, I began feeling more confident that I was correctly reading vibes. That's ok, because I like Diana, and it was beneficial for me simply to get out of the house. Plus, I'd never asked anybody to dinner before, and now I have - so practice. I did still want to be direct, so when it seemed appropriate in the flow of conversation, I admitted that I had attempted to ask her on a date. For some people this might cause an awkwardness, but I am fucking awesome, so it was not a big deal. The answer, which I was already almost sure of, is that she wants to hang out as friends.

I don't want to actually date. I just crave affection. If somebody would hold me, or rub my back, it would work wonders for my emotional pain right now. On the car ride back to the house, I filled Diana in on some of the details of my recently ended relationship, just to confirm that we had absolutely no common ground other than bicycling. And maybe a little bit of mutual attraction, honestly I have no idea. But she didn't know what pegging is, so that's not a very good start.

I went hiking with my friend Rochelle. We met on a platonic friend app years ago, because 1) I was lonely, and 2) We have a lot in common. Rochelle is an important friend. She introduced me to the term genderqueer, which is important, being that it describes me, so I should know about it. We've had some deep conversations and gotten to know each other pretty well on our hikes and over long hours of texting.

There is no need for secrets, so we can really open up about our lives. There are fewer boundaries than with some of my other less open friends. I suppose I push those boundaries, since I have a general tendency toward oversharing, but I think it has been mutually beneficial. I love Rochelle like a sibling. She calls me sibs sometimes, and it makes me feel warm and connected. None of this is to mention that every time we get together, there are going to be some pretty seriously hard laughs.

I'm a failure at planning and organizing. Rochelle knows all the hikes. All I had to do was show up at her house, and she picked a place for us to go. Getting outside is medicine. We went for a long walk in the woods and talked. We got to a riverbank with tons of flat stones, and skipped them across the water. The value of this is hard to overstate. It took a difficult anxiety-ridden day, and made it livable, and even enjoyable. Then she got me pizza and showed me the crafty projects she is working on. What would I have done otherwise? I'd have sat around broken and brain-fucked. Instead, I healed a little bit. I looked up through the trees and saw light filtering down. I am alive, and I will stay that way for awhile.

Saw my ex-wife.
Kristin thinks I should cut my hair. Nobody is going to want to have sex with me if I don't clean up my look. That's what she thinks. I'm dubious. I think my winning personality actually goes a long way. But I'm willing to listen, because our brains work in a similar way, and I trust her insight. Yesterday was rough. I didn't quite manage to leave the house, and in fact I was barely able to get up off the bed. I binge watched Netflix shows, and stared off into space. I finally mustered the courage to begin a profile on FetLife, and I texted her to see if she'd friend me and tell me what I'm doing wrong. She is well equipped to tell you what you are doing wrong. She used to draw a web comic called "This is What's Wrong With You."

Kristin is doing a lot better, I think. She's dating two or three people in some polyamory deal where they all date each other and it's somehow pretty much fine. It was nice to see her again, and her tiny dog Daisy who I absolutely miss and love. We caught up. She had some sound advice about love and sex and anxiety and ADHD medications. She has experience and perspective, and I either trust her judgement, or at least am willing to consider it. When it comes to makeup, she knows her stuff, and she showed me a few ideas that might assist me in feeling and looking more comfortably femme. She also thinks my hair and clothing are an issue - I'll explore what she's talking about, and see how it makes me feel. I self-identify as kind of a bum, and she says that's going to keep me from getting laid. I don't think I have the emotional strength to think about it much right now, but I do have a great fashion ally if and when the time comes.

In conclusion.
Everything doesn't suck. I have a good support network. I'm getting up and getting outside. I'm healing. I hung out with my friends Kat and Drew. They understand kink issues, and they tell me they love me and how happy they are to see me again. Kat made dinner, and we had a good time sitting around a fire. I went to a show in Philly with Shelly, and we got to talk and catch up. It was a good show, and I saw others who I knew. The anxiety was fresh and potent that night, but I managed to wear a pink polkadot skirt on Girard Avenue, and weather the storm with music. I face-timed with Mike until 4am one night. I'm going to a birthday thing for Kyler tomorrow to see Philly bicycle friends, and I'm going to hike for ten days on the Appalachian Trail with Jonas starting on October 1st. In short, yes I am a lucky person, and yes I will survive.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Picking gravel out of my skin.

I tried to hold on for dear life.
Eventually, it was too much, and I slipped.
I fell to the road surface, my body rolled; skidded to a stop.
Covered in cuts and bruises, I laid there for a minute.
Then I stood up and began to walk.
After a few miles, I stuck out my thumb.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Back in Pennsylvania

I still exist. I broke up with my human partner because I felt like I knew it was the right thing to do. I know it was. I am in Pennsylvania because I'm going hiking with Jonas soon, and I needed the safety net of the Harne house to crash land into. I left my person on good terms, but it was one of the saddest challenges I can remember. I was in love, and I never want to put myself through trying to date people again. I want to find my person, and I push real hard to reconcile any differences to make it work. I lost sight of myself, I lost my sense of self. I ignored my needs, my comfort, my reality.

I'm moving my health insurance shit back to Pennsylvania and never changing my official address again in my life. I'll move, but that address change shit is too much. My health insurance doesn't kick in until November 1st (also my birthday) so my wonderful mom is paying out of pocket for me to go to a new doctor and explore the options for anti-anxiety medication, which I am convinced will help, and eventually Adderall, which has helped with motivation and organization in the past. Right now? I can hardly do a single fuckin' thing. I'm broken.

I'm going to get better. The logical part of my brain recognizes the pieces of the puzzle and the path to wellness. The emotional part of my brain is falling apart, and I just keep sobbing. I found a human who knew my pronouns, and called me their girl, and loved me. They were always kind to me, and I felt like I finally had a partner who could take care of me with the things I am not good at. It wasn't enough. The move to Chicago was stressful, and I felt overwhelming panic every day. I began to hurt my partner with my words and actions, and I felt helpless to stop. Everything I said was misinterpreted, or correctly interpreted but infused with unfortunate frustration and panic. Eventually it was too much, and I had to do what I always do: load up my van and drive away.

I have a prescription for Effexor, which is an anti-depressant. I've been taking it for two days, but it's supposed to take 2-6 weeks to have an effect. My self image is not that of a depressed person, but I am at a point where I feel that I need to be open-minded about any help so I can start to feel like I am myself. I want to feel like I am operating my own body. I know that the breakup is a causal factor in how I am feeling, but also that the symptoms have existed at some level forever. I have been suffering. I know that my suffering is simple and lightweight compared to the struggles of others, and frankly I don't know how people live like that. Like this.

I will find my path, and I will soon enough be able to travel again and reach goals. Simple stuff. I am doing everything in my power to make it so. But for right now, I am only trying to hold it together. Keep it together. Mindfulness. Stop replaying every detail of the relationship which caused me discomfort and panic. Pump the brakes on the sobbing. Ride a bicycle. You've got this, Chris. You go, girl. It's going to be better than fine. Soon. Just hang in there.