This thought is latching to my brain today. It was triggered while browsing through FL. I was considering maybe looking at attending various local events, and came across my ex’s profile as a possible attendee. It brought back some painful memories. I’ll flat out say it, this person was a narcissist. They did a lot of emotional damage. The highs (or love bombs) were not worth the crippling lows. I went no contact a long while ago to protect myself. Now I’m afraid that my odds of running back into this person in the real world are more likely, especially if I try to attend any local events. I really don’t like confrontation. Meanwhile, this person *loved* to start arguments as a way to test people. That’s a massive waste of energy IMO. Now I could try to excuse this person based on the traumatic past they’ve had, but that isn’t okay. They were toxic. That experience is a poignant reminder for me that even as a polyamorous person, it is not worth pursuing toxic relationships, regardless of all of their other qualities. The damage to my psyche, and those around me as I stew in depression, is not worth it.
So back to this thought. It came up while I trained at the gym this morning. Working out is important to me as a mood regulator. I did not train at all last week due to being out for a wedding. Sure enough, come sunday I felt a melancholy just wash over me. Yes my social anxiety cup had runneth over, but also my bulwark was decayed. Then I remembered how I felt last year as I saw progress photos from last year. I was starting to like how I looked, for the first time ever in my life. It gave me an extra bit of confidence that I never knew could exist. I could actually see myself dressing in nice things that weren’t just ren fair garb.
And so as I struggle with trying to keep a fitness routine going I have this concern of confrontation in my head. I know the universe loves to fuck with me, and so at some point it’ll happen even with avoiding those events. I feel that I need to get my body back to where I was early last year. Rebuilding that confidence in myself is to serve as that shield for my mind when I fully expect this person will try to tear me down and/or emotionally manipulate me into doing that myself. I know the mechanical things that I have to do. It comes down to gritting my teeth and getting it done…and not injuring myself in the process.
I need to get up earlier during the week. The Tuesday/Thursday morning strength training is nice…but I can do more. If I’m making slow incremental process through this “part time” training schedule I’m on now (keeping my nutrition in check of course), then I can just imagine my progress should I commit. If I want to be ready to handle those barbs, then I need to commit to this phase of training. No one else is going to be be able to help me with this.
Okay, I feel a bit better putting this out into the ether. I know what I need to do.
I wanted to write down what I felt from an experience last night. It was a positive experience. I suppose that is a bit of a departure from how I’ve often used this blog to vent out difficult emotions onto a mostly unknown space on the internet. Why not do this one word files or any other number of offline solutions? I don’t know. Why hand write anything on a physical diary? It just feels like it is the thing I should do.
I listened to a podcast yesterday on an interview between Neil Gaiman and David Tennant at the suggestion of my wife. There were bits on writing that resonated with me. One of those was the experience of feeling a story inside of you that just needs to get out there. It doesn’t matter if no one ever reads it. It is just an act of creation that must happen. And so here I go, writing a sort of free-form poetry/prose about a muse I met at a bar that sparked something inside of me through a simple connection.
Borrowing on an idea from one of my favorite book series, the Dresden Files…I think I may have stumbled my way into a real life soul gaze. She was a dancer at a bar I visited as part of a bachelor party outing. There are many kinds of beauty out there, but her’s seemed to be something unique. There was something about her eyes that cut through all of the years of mental calluses built from a lifetime of people formed of false facades of spirit. I found myself smiling like it was the most effortless thing in the world. She smiled back…with her eyes. It was one of the simplest yet most profound human connections one can have, I think. It felt as if an incorporeal hand had reached into my chest and gently massaged my heart into accepting the joy that permeated this moment of time. All of my past stresses and future anxieties were put on mute for a spell and I found a rare moment of unfiltered human connection. This is a moment I hope to invoke in my future writing aspirations whenever I describe the start of the spark between two strangers.
Writing this stuff is an outlet for when I’m feeling down. It doesn’t mean I’m always this way. It just helps since I don’t have anyone I trust to talk about it (and getting a therapist that covers the areas I deal with isn’t an option right now).
I think I’m feeling that loneliness sensation again. Like I don’t believe I’m loved. Or perhaps that I even deserve it. I’m sure childhood trauma and depression are at play here. My only thought to keep this at bay is continue hammering down on my workouts and more importantly keeping my walking routine up. When I look back at my successful periods in terms of health (and mood, because they are absolutely linked), my step count is always high. Walking isn’t very fancy and doesn’t do a whole lot for optimal health but it sure does seem to make a difference in keeping my weight at a range I like. I’m aware of the narrative trying to decouple health and value…but fuck man that’s a hard road for me to get on. I struggle to find value in myself beyond my plain grit when it comes to that stuff. I think I struggle to see my value period. The only other thing I can look at are the couple of D&D games I run and the fact that my salary affords me the ability to keep a roof over the head of my wife, my sister, the pets, and myself.
Depressive thoughts can go fuck themselves in general.
I wonder if giving voice to the self loathing I’m feeling now might help. I know that depression is, for the most part, lies I feed to myself. But isn’t there some sort of core truth to it as well? A need that hasn’t been met. Boundaries that routinely get smashed. I’m not sure I’m lovable.
It started kicking in this morning. This is one of those thought based spirals I think. Though last night’s wife smooching on her partner (at least I think that is what I heard) may have kicked it off. I felt unwanted; unneeded. I guess I acquired a new abandonment trauma after my last partner left me due to me not being the right gender anymore. Maybe that was a lie too, who knows. I’ve had so many people lie to me, it gets hard to trust.
god forbid I have any emotions. That’s the impression I got from my wife and her partner’s bitching. It seems like my worth to her is entirely transactionale. That is to say, it is relevant to how I support her emotionally (and monetarily). Who I am, my quirks and faults, are undesirable. I wasn’t ok with being completely ignored and steam rolled several times in that group conversation? Well, then that only mattered because my talking about my experience made her feel bad about her actions. How I felt about it was completely unimportant, and probably irrational. In contrast, I had a friend there that was able to remind me that she likes me just the way I am. The implication I came away with, after a couple days, was that perhaps my wife and partner don’t like the fact that I’m not loudly gregarious. I’m better to her when I’m not present. Maybe this is why I’m struggling with those “I’m better off dead” thoughts right now. Just add in everything else that has happened and maybe it makes sense my mind would take that track. I don’t have anyone I feel I can talk to openly about my experience without it being about them. Yes a therapist would be nice but it is so fucking hard to find an affordable one that covers the topics I deal with. And I guess I’m also a bit worried, based on the last therapist I was with, that they might provide me even more reasoning to get out of the situation I’m in now.
I know social media is a toxic thing to look at. But I see several couples out there, even LTR couples that should be outside of the NRE phase, and I notice how they are still able to publically celebrate each other. They have a couple identity. I know the meme/joke about “couple goals” but there really is something reassuring when someone can be public about what “you” mean to them. I think that is part of the reason I’ve appreciated the thing I’ve had with that other “kat” online for over a decade now. She’s alkways reminded me of my unique value and that special name reservation. It’s not about the power dynamic. I’ve never really cared for that or being superior/over anyone. I just want to matter.
I’m feeling that creeping sadness today and the past couple days. not sure why exactly. maybe those demons of abandonment. that feeling of being unwanted, and so I retreat inside. I’ve also not worked out this week for a number of reasons…my mind always goes to shit if I’m not moving. gonna go workout now. I guess it’s part of my internal comforting since I can’t find it with people. gogo dismissive/avoidant attachment styles…
I’m listening to the Making Polyamory Work podcast series and came across the episode on Beyond the Five Love Languages, and it gave a good idea on writing down specific things that make me feel loved. So I’ll be putting those down here later once I’m less busy.
I’m not going to get too deep into this right now since I should probably be doing more work stuff, but I do find my brain making some sort of connection when it comes to predicting a type of human behavior. The term “Righteous Superiority” has been bouncing around the inside of my skull lately, a term Hank Green used on a video discussing FB after it went down for a day and the issues with it and social media. Here’s the link if you, random internet person, want to look at it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJtNmd1kV44&ab_channel=vlogbrothers.
Basically, it seems that people from all the different “Tribes” have a tendency to want to shame other tribe individuals into compliance with their views. This seems to be in disregard of facts, and sometimes in direct defiance to it. This occurs on all forms of social media, as far as I can tell. But when I think back, it has really always been the human condition. It’s no wonder I get such intense anxiety around groups of people. Whether deserved or not, I’ve been subject to group hate and/or exclusion many a time growing up. And it is known that (I can find some articles to back this claim up later, remind me) being exiled from a social group hits the same path as physical pain in our brains. There’s another thread to pull on depression as a result of that, but I won’t go into that now.
Fast forward a bit and I notice my previous trainer (cool black dude originally from the ghetto, something I only bring up because of what is coming up ahead in this blog post) linked a meme regarding Chappelle’s Netflix special “The Closer”. I don’t normally keep up with these things, and it was a meme joke so I promptly forgot it. Then as I was doing some work today and opened up firefox to do admin work, I noticed an article by GQ basically trashing it. What is it they say about negative attention being just as valuable?
Moving on, I found myself compelled to give it a watch. This article by time gives a view on it that comes close to matching mine: https://time.com/6105951/dave-chappelle-netflix-controversy/. It feels less like a comedy and more like a mental challenge…and if you read this blog any, you know I’m all about that shit.
What this brought me back to, strangely enough, was the game “The Last of Us 2”. It too had the issue of not having an obvious villain, and it receives a ton of flak for it from online communities. I viewed it as an exercise in empathy while dealing with opposing viewpoints. I understand how uncomfortable that can be.
I’m seeing all of these things as connected. Shaming people into compliance doesn’t work. It never has. The only thing that seems to have a chance, but it too backfires as most people in social contexts look to posture themselves for their given tribes, is experiencing other peoples’ lives. This is why I think stories from different view points are so important.
Changing someone else’s mind rarely seems possible. They gotta change it themselves.
For the record, I’m a 2nd generation hispanic cis het guy.
Every so often stuff happens in my life, either by choice or not, and a song somehow gets linked to the event. Songs, like any other artistic expression, tend to take on different meanings for people regardless of the intent of the creator. And so this song, “Addict”, has become linked to my choice on blocking all contact with an ex. I think it finally clicked on how toxic that connection could be, even as friends. I made my mistakes in communication and said too much, sure (I’m also wondering if I’m not at least a little Autistic with my trouble of being socially aware/adept), but she always used my mistakes as ways to try to break me down and find ways to make me feel even more like crap. It’s excessive, not constructive, and absolutely not healthy for me to be around. Social media only made it worse by constantly trying to push contact with her too. It’s part of why I’ve drastically reduced my time there. Removing that app from my phone has been incredibly helpful. I’ll occasionally look at it through my PC, but only in very short increments. And I realize, there isn’t much I’m missing.
I think it’s the opening lines that are sticking with me the most in this song.:
“This is a brand new start. And I think I deserve some praise for the way that I am”.
The end of the music video with the blowing up of the club feels fitting. Sometimes burning a bridge really is the way to go. Anyhow. here’s the video link. Serious trigger warning on stuff in there, so put on your thickest skin if you watch.
My brain has been cycling through this for a couple days now and I think I may have gleaned a few insights on some of my patterns. The point about turning anger on myself actually being the voice of my care takers when I was younger stuck with me.
I’m starting to see the pattern on when I experience depression (I haven’t had any episodes for a good amount of time now) and how it relates to conflicts I may be having in life at the time. They tend to occur when there are inter-personal conflicts going on in my life. Even when I’m not actively dealing with the issue, the negative energy (I use that term loosely) seeps into my psyche. I never lash out at people, nor is my first instinct to fight back when someone lays into me, even when they’re being unreasonable. This effect becomes more pronounced the more I care about someone. The result of this pattern is that I’ll experience heavy shame about myself for even simple mistakes. This easily transfers into self-loathing and depression. I can also see why sometimes that state will hit me out of the blue given. Long story short, I had a lot of experiences growing up where my authentic emotional self was unacceptable and led to trouble…therefore the natural response was for me to hide and shutdown what I felt. The problem is shutting down isn’t an effective long term strategy. It always came back to haunt me.
I coped with this problem by focusing on my achievements. Doing well in a video game or school worked for a while, until they didn’t anymore. That was a really rough patch in my life. Then I went back to school and ended up with a solid career. Then I started taking care of my body. Those became my new coping mechanisms. These were the objective measures I held onto like a buoy during the turbulent storm that could be my mind. I could have just as easily slipped into hard drugs and/or toxic crowds as a coping mechanism instead…and many people do. I was fortunate that I was such a shut-in nerd that I just didn’t get those opportunities and I had WAY too much social anxiety to want to hang around any crowds, let alone toxic ones. There’s also a lot to be said when it comes to toxic masculinity and CEN.
I know this is easier said than done, but I have work to do on separating the conflicts I have with people from my internal state. I do have a hard trigger that results in me feeling intense shame when people I love come down on me. Especially when I feel that it is coming from a place of anger. Here’s what I need to ask myself the next time I find myself in that place. 1. Did I reasonably know doing/saying (or not doing/saying) this thing would cause this reaction? For example, did I know this person had a cultural expectation that I trespassed on? Did they communicate this expectation to me previously?
2. Is their reaction reasonable?
3. Do I trust my intentions?
4. If a mistake was made, then learn from it and move on. If a mistake is continually and/or aggressively held against me, that is their issue, not mine.