4-2-21 Life update

it’s been a while since I have updated this blog. I’ve noticed more likes and follows despite this…which is better odd, but cool. I hope my meanderings have been useful in some way.

Today is the first day I’ve been on the metro in over a year. it’s a weird experience. I’m going to spend the weekend with a partner of mine. I think this is the first time I’ve been able to spend this much time with a poly partner that wasn’t basically a hotel outting. There’s a poly milestone for you. They’ve risen the bar for good partners. I feel at ease around them.

On the fitness stuff… I’m platued at 170 and 22% bodyfat. Sometimes I’ll drop to 167, but that seems to be mostly at the expense of water. I haven’t been doing the same amount of evening workouts and walka due to injuries. I’m in the mend now. My trainer is changing gyms so my schedule is currently in flux. I’ll know more next week on how I’ll move forward. Either we can make something work at planet fitness or I’ll have to work with a different trainer at my main gym.

My goal is still 15% bodyfat by August 15.

Fine ways to lift each other up, not disqualify.

Another thought train on the move. I was thinking on why things with my partner feel so right. I’m not getting that crazy limerice or nre sensation. I’m not feeling distracted by them (other stuff distracts me instead).

This person has made it part of their core to have people feel safe around them. I think I’m feeling the effects of that now. I’m able to speak of my passions and my vulnerabilities and not feel judged. If anything, my eccentries are celebrated. If there is something I don’t know, they are happy to teach me. They include me with their activities. They don’t hide me from their friends. They constantly try to remind me that I’m special, that I’m good. It might even seem a little repetitive at times and I don’t know what to say…but it sinks in.

inevitably I can’t help but compare to the experience with my ex during that last month. I still feel pain over all the thinga she tried to disqualify me for. I wasn’t this. I felt bad about things. My having feelings were invalidated. While I try to avoid casting blame as I’m sure there were a myriad of factors on her end, at the end of the day I did not feel wanted. It was one more person that I had to constantly justify my existence to. I adored her, but I just could not stay in that environment.

I need people who can celebrate my passions and interests and I will do the same for them. To help make each other the best versions of themselves. I don’t want to be in a relationship based on fighting to qualify.

Find our middle ground and just love each other.

3-2-21 Supported

This will be short. Being in good spirits probably doesn’t make for the most engrossing read but it is where I’m at. I recently met someone who has not only been incredibly sweet, but also amazingly supportive of my artistic interests. That means a lot to me. Having an avoidant/dismissive background makes it hard for me to share my passions with anyone for fear of the rejection. So I would just shut down pre-emptively shutdown to avoid the pain. To have it openly embraced feels really good. This one is special.

8-24-2020 finding myself annoyed

Quick entry but it is worth putting into words for myself. I’ll need to add this to my boundary list. My wife is meeting up with an acquaintance in the poly community to provide some accounting guidance, and maybe get some work. That’s cool. I did have health concerns once she brought up they were meeting up in person. She tried to reassure me that the person said she was minimal risk (this is akin to my thoughts on “Ethical Non-Monogamy”, what does that mean to a person?). That is too vague for me, especially after the scare with K. So I pressed to get more specific information. Questions like, is this person an essential worker? Have they been out for reasons other than supplies? I know this person has a good number of partners and so the risk is higher without knowing how all of that works, and their partners risk and so forth. My wife seemed to understand that concern, but still seemed resistant to my concerns.

Then she mentioned that she had said to this person that I had a high risk partner. That put me on alert. I don’t know this person well, and have little reason to trust in her discretion. Yes she’s a poly person but I don’t want my partnership status out there unless I put it out there. I’m only letting people know that it is relevant to. This reminds me of the time she told Rob about my status with S without my consent.

What seems to have really annoyed, and perhaps angered, me is that she then commented my concern was “very high school”. I realize I fell into the shame spiral trap again just there, trying to reason that yeah maybe it was.

But no. I realize I just had my emotional experience invalidated/belittled. That makes me feel unsafe in letting my wife know what I’m feeling if it is just going to be discounted. I think that counts as an emotional-relational boundary violation. She might not have to agree with my concerns but to toss it aside as irrelevant completely discounts my anxieties. It isn’t ok.

8-14-20 Feeling Better

I’m feeling better today. There’s still some residual angst. I let my wife know I had been feeling irritable all morning in the 5 minute overlap to see each other we actually had. It was intended as a heads up. I hadn’t woken her up that morning so she slept in till about 11:25, just in time for another meeting I had to be in. I just seem to be getting into more and more meetings, and that isn’t doing me any good mentally. Turned out she had been to about other stuff. Then towards the end of my meeting (which ran for an extra 45 minutes…) she texted me a photo of our friend (well, lately it seems just her’s) of her fever and how she’s concerned she may have been exposed to Covid. This made me worried about A, who I recently spent time with. Once I got more details, I had a slight relief that the exposure windows didn’t over lap. Test results won’t be available until Monday. So far my wife and I’s health seem just fine (exposure time for K was the day before she hanged out with my wife, so if my wife did catch something from that then we’re past the timeline when something may have happened).

Anyway, that led to a discussion about what happened with A, and how my wife actually wasn’t comfortable with it despite giving consent. That’s kind of shitty on her part, as now someone else’s feelings are engaged. Then we talked about the health of our relationship, and it isn’t great. I guess my anxiety is good for something. She doesn’t want me engaging in anything else really, though she feels conflicted about holding me back. So we made a commitment to spend direct interactive time on tuesday/thursday at minimum. This seems to help. Also having more regular talks is important too, as we just haven’t done that, being content to passively be in the same area but really that just makes us roommates at best.

I still find myself feeling some sort of anger/resentment on social media whenever I see anything from S or K. I had a bit of a realization this morning regarding that feeling and what my amygdala is actually trying to do. Both of these people made me feel joy, in different ways. Then they hurt me through rejection and abandonment. I think my brain is using those emotions to keep me away from them, to avoid me getting hurt again. Part of the same anxiety path way. I’m trying to think of people in my past who followed the same pattern, and how I got past it. A was an example…with her though I didn’t see much of anything on social media…in part because I had unfollowed her but also she was rarely active on social media (until fairly lately). Of course with her I felt a little guilt as well as I was the one that broke off the relationship. But still there was pain there. It got better. Then I thought about J. We went years without talking to each other, and what I felt for her as a teenager was very intense, even as a purely LDR. I think it was about 7 years before we even started talking again. And her’s was a case in which I was rejected. We didn’t have a frank discussion of what happened until after she invited me to ren fair. She apologized for what she put me through. I think, on retrospect, that helped repair the damage between us. All that distance gave me time to forget the pain. She’s still an important friend, even if we don’t talk that much now.

Now with K, I think even logically I don’t trust her that much right now. With her 1 blow up when I accidentally upset her, she went direct to fatalism and ending the friendship. That isn’t a mature way to handle things when people get hurt on accident. She is on the younger side, so I suppose that shouldn’t be that surprising. But it still brought up my trauma responses.

With S…I’m still not sure. I understand enough that her anxieties and traumas (what I understand of them) played a big role. This pandemic + her attempt to quit vaping (nicotine product) ramped up her anxiety responses in a big way. It led to a bad situation. My emotional centers seem to desperately want to find a way to label her as a bad person, to give me reason to keep away. But understanding this defense mechanism I have now, is that really true? Shit, over half this country might be falling into this same damn trap in respect to each other.

5-22-20 “May You Feel That You Belong”

Thanks to a friend I was able to make use of the “Calm” app to start practicing meditation more regularly. It has helped dull the edge of some of my anxiety flare ups, though they are by no means gone. And of course I still struggle with depression episodes that keep me from wanting to reach out to anyone. During the 30 day program, one of the episodes was about friendliness. One of the suggested mantras was to think the following to people you like, and dislike, and to yourself: “May you be strong. May you find peace. May you feel that you belong”. I think that last bit has started a bit of a ripple in my awareness. That sense of community may be the thing I really need to address. I don’t have that currently. I realize I did sort of have that in the past to varying degrees. The common characteristics when I did was a regularity of *sustained* interpersonal contact and it involved an activity that I was at least competent at and somewhat recognized for. I experienced this in MMA, Kenpo, Salsa, IT back in CBT, Dag for a little while, roleplay chats, Ren faires, and competitive online gaming (back in the late 90s to mid 2000s). D&D filled in some of that as well, more so when the games were regular and the group would have follow up meetings outside of that (which also led to meeting my wife; also this gives me more insight on why her working at renfaire was important to her, it was a community in itself). I don’t have the gift of gab, at all, so I’ve always had more success with people when an activity is the focus (but still required direct interactions, which is SF doesn’t give me that community sense).

One that requires skill, not luck, so no I’m not doing bingo or shit like that. Plus there is also my personality type to begin with…I do not do well with highly extroverted/loud/flashy type people. I don’t feel that I fit in with the local poly crowds here for that reason. That is not an adjustment that I can or want to make to “fit in”. The only reason I stay in that discussion group now is because the occasional good idea still floats up. I feel that as the numbers increase, the quality will continue to decline…so I suspect it will eventually happen. I still believe in the idea of multiple romantic relationships being valid and potentially helpful things, but they require a ton of work and patience for all involved parties (and *clear* boundary work and non-judgmental understanding of triggers). I can’t do casual, at least not in person when you start throwing around all those “love” chemicals that go off when being physical. It seems like the people that do all tend to be the flashy/loud types, and I just don’t fit in there anyway. I suppose the time I spent on Lit was casual, but my sharp internal world and ability to write evocative imagery was useful and appreciated in that place. Doing that requires an intense focus that my default personality fits well with…it does *not* work in a crowded bar.

Better to focus on my strengths. I’m just not sure where I’m going to find a community that I fit in with currently. All the physical in person things aren’t an option while COVID is still a problem. That only leaves online communities. Roleplay options (of any variety, but written) are a little hard for me to do right now, as I need to be isolated to really enter into that world of imagination. Being interrupted every 10 minutes by a cat/dog or even the presence of another human makes me feel uncomfortable. I thought about competitive gaming, but I haven’t really found an option that fits me. I can’t do the battle royale or “MOBA” type games. Too much drama, plus for the games I seem to enjoy more there isn’t a good way for me to break into that community. Though maybe it is also that I just hadn’t really committed to trying to break in. I also thought about looking into joining other D&D or even shadowrun games on Roll20. I’m not sure that’ll do it.

I need to do some more thinking.

5-21-20 Get out of my head

I really wish she’d stop popping up in my head. I keep getting these scenes of different arguments and the points I would make. I never really have the other side of that though. Then those feelings of shame and inadequacy start bubbling up, and it hurts. I’m struggling to not just cut off every connection I have to that community right now. I do not feel welcome. That is not my kind of tribe. I’m not sure what my tribe even is. I know I had it once long ago. I’m not sure where I can find it now. This plague doesn’t make things easy in that regard either. I’m not sure what to do right now.

3-3-2029 unworthy feeling

I’ve been having a harder time lately believing anyone really wants to be around me. I don’t have a lot of strong evidence for it…but there are the little things that I think are needling their way into my psyche. These aren’t direct quotes but they do represent the thoughts I’m battling..

“I am not extraverted enough”. “I don’t always know the right thing to say”. “She’s not really into me”. “She’ll lose interest and move on to someone that has the social grace I lack”.”I’m too much of a nerd”.”My intensity when physically intimate is too much”.”I need too much reassurance lately”.”I don’t give enough reassurance”.”Who I am isn’t good enough”.

I’m not sure how to get through these thoughts right now. Time? Will things get better? I don’t feel safe asking for help. I don’t feel like showing that vulnerability will help.

2-17-2020 Stepping outside of the comfort zone

I’m thinking about going to a bar event tonight. The primary reason I would go initially would be because of my partner, but that is not a sufficient reason. The situation is likely to be uncomfortable for me for a number of reasons. I’ve already come across people I don’t feel comfortable around and don’t trust. There is also the partner’s partners(?) and POIs situation that also feels like it could be potentially uncomfortable as I worry about possible conflict. But in a way, that is maybe the reason I should go. I’m not always going to be able to avoid these situations. My partner and I did discuss some sort of rough pre and post processing plan. And if I’m to practice navigating this situations…I’ve got to actually go there and learn how to course correct. As a result of the situation I’ve gotten myself in, I’m inevitably being dragged into more challenging poly situations. I need to be able to deal with these things. I’ll probably fail. But I can learn. Hopefully. I think my best way to get through them is going to be the recovery afterwards. Maybe getting some post affirmation from my partner might help (plus she will probably feel better just trying to make me feel better?). Also taking things easier afterwards and getting some solid introvert recharge time will be especially key. hmm…

2-14-2020 On Giving Validation

This is a thought chain I just had given not just the past couple of days, but really the past month and beyond. I’m starting to accept my words have an effect on people. Particularly the ones closest to me, but also the ones that don’t appear as close. I think it just occurred to me that a lot of what it has come down to is others’ seeking my validation…which is a bit mind blowing for me right now. There was a time I desperately wanted validation from others.

At some point in my life, I stopped seeking it. I couldn’t depend on people to help with it, so instead I focused on the things I could control to find my own internal validation. Video games were an easy path. When my health (mental and physical) became problematic, I turned to the gym and used the weight scale as a form of validation. When that resource ran dry, I turned to dance. Then I found myself seeking validation from a woman. That went badly. It hurt for a while. But it did lead to one of the most profound friendships I ever had. I miss her still.

Then I turned to MMA. I wanted to use gaining mastery of my body and how I moved as my next barometer. And while I made progress there, the validation I received from my instructors and other students took me a back. I was fully anticipating to always be considered less. That didn’t happen. I think this is part of why I had enjoyed that life so much. Not to fight, not to win. But to be around people that also wanted to see me excel, and I would do the same for them.

Then life changed and I moved out here. I did get into TMA but it was a small place. I was never able to earn validation there I suppose. I mean from one instructor yes, but the others never really set goals. Or listened. It was about doing things their way instead of helping me find a path that worked for me. FFA worked because when I sparred with a variety of students, I could quickly find my technique. I could prove it worked. I’m never going to learn things the way everyone else does. My brain just does not work that way.

Throughout all that, I could see now the issue. I did not really want their validation. Validation from other people tends to be…unreliable at best. It was always better to find it within myself and through my actions.

And so now I find myself in this place where I’m starting to realize now why I’ve given the impression to so many people that I’m disinterested. Because I don’t seek validation from other people. I don’t go to strangers or new acquaintances and go “you’re so awesome!”. I don’t trust it when given to me, why should anyone I don’t know trust it as genuine coming from me if they don’t know me?

I got interrupted there. Anyway. I also don’t ask for that validation either. I don’t text after dates and say things like “I hope you had a good time” or hope to see you again, etc. I just say something to the effect of thank you for a lovely evening. It is scary to do that sort of thing, the reaching out and offering of my interest. Vulnerable even. So if I’m to change that behavior, the only way I could do it and still feel authentic is by being specific whenever I do give out validation. That takes time and focus. I’m not sure how much of those resources I have to give.

Those resources are being prioritized for the ones I care for. That is where I need to put in more of that energy. Because for whatever reason, people need more of that from me. Which is still mind blowing as I’ve never thought anyone would really care what I think about them. Or need that. Or maybe not even from me. Just to have someone break the lie that is depression and focus like a laser about the parts of them that matter.

Try to bring a little more joy to this world…one kind word at a time.