1.2.23 Reflections on 2022

Time to reflect on the past year. If for no other reason, to understand where I was and how I got to where I am now. I think I might break this down by month.

  • January
    • I was experiencing depression and loneliness.
    • I was doing a lot of work on undoing the damage left by a narcissist ex
    • I noted how important a high step count was to my weight maintenance. I should focus on that again, especially since the weather is nicer right now.
    • I was struggling with my wife’s emotional availability (she had her own challenges).
    • I started talking with H again. They were going through surgery and I wanted to support them as a friend. I had thoughts of Stefy and how important it was to be there for a friend even if there had been romantic feelings in the past.
    • I started scheming on how to bring Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf into one of my D&D games.
    • I started taking local improv classes (workshop, ~once a month)
    • I think I was already back in the work office. I was dealing with security issues mostly. This was in the old building.
    • I had a covid scare
  • February
    • H and I got back together. I think I struggled opening up emotionally for a little while since I had been abandoned before.
    • I think I was actively training in SF and Kenpo
    • I put together my digital map case. I made a fun bridge encounter. The party was body blocked by trolls on one side and ogres on the other. The giants were arguing amongst each other on who owned the toll bridge. Meanwhile, the weight caused the bridge to start collapsing in random chunks. I rolled on a grid axis to determine which board fell. One of them was under a player. They made their dex save to not fall in. Eventually, they convinced the giants to form an LLC and got through.
    • I hit a PR on a 275 lb deadlift.
    • I had a talk with V and broke things off.
  • March
    • Things going well between H and I.
    • I think this was when I wrote that big kink negotiation document.
    • I built a pyramid scene using the 5 room model. It was a lot of work but I was proud of it.
    • I had a busy schedule between bootcamp, str training, kenpo, and online improv.
    • I replaced my laptop for a new one.
    • I got a new backpack with straps from REI. It helped quite a bit.
    • I was talking with Mia more.
  • April
    • H went on a 3 week cross country tour
    • I spent some time learning how to work with the levels module in Foundryvtt. It was cool but ultimately only useful for online only games. It had a lot of issues working correctly for in-person games.
  • May
    • Started on massage sessions
    • Attended wedding for my sis-in-law
    • I had a good connection with a striper. I wrote about the emotional experience in hopes I could write it into a story later.
    • Got together with J unexpectedly. Seems to be a comet situation.
    • Narrowly avoided Covid
    • Got reminded of my ex while browsing through munch meetups. Reminded me how important it is to be careful with the relationships I get into.
  • June
    • I was struggling with sleep. I had plans to get my home gym going but it never really happened effectively.
    • It looks like this was my busiest soldierfit month. 16 sessions. This doesn’t include my gold’s sessions. I’d like to see if I can beat that record this month.
  • July
    • I started talking with C again and went out on a date (well, hangout…I avoid calling these things dates to avoid implicit expectations)
    • I got surprised by a yard project my wife had gotten a quote for. I was frustrated, but ultimately let it through. It did prompt a financial review. That project ended up being a scam though, and we got conned out of that money. It hurt. My wife learned to always check licenses for contract work in the future.
    • My ex showed up again on a dating app (not her profile, but she was in group photos). It spurred more painful memories. I wrote about it and doubled down on my fitness goals.
    • I think I started experiencing foot pain (later turned out to be a bone spur, requiring orthodontic fitting to help mitigate)
    • I did a good gnoll voice that surprised my wife.
  • August
    • I got sick with some kind of flu. It wasn’t covid. The coughing was pretty bad. It came after attending the wedding of a friend.
    • ren faire season began. I didn’t make the weight I wanted to. I was able to still wear the pants at least. My wings never came.
    • I put a post out about accountability buddies for fitness stuff. A few people responded.
  • September
    • Took a trip to Ocean City with the wife and her partner N. Things became more physical/romantic with N and I. It was nice.
    • My sister made plans put down her old dog.
    • H attended ren faire with me several times this season. Looking at my writing, I noticed my depression stopped coming up. I still struggled with thoughts of my ex and how I was hurt. But I also finally accepted I was in a good stable relationship with H.
    • With H’s help, I got better with eye make up and tried several different looks through ren faire.
  • October
    • I met A at an event at the ren faire. We had met first on an app, and it seemed to be another dead end connection. But they came up to me at the event and apologized about it. We got along pretty well and made tentative plans to meet up again in the future.
    • I had some stress with the office move prep.
    • I went ham on halloween decorations and did a haunted walk through our backyard. I was proud of it.
  • November
    • Moved to the new office building. I had to be there the entire week the first week. I ended up catching Covid for the first time after that. It took me about a week to recover. I had the bivalent vaccine a month before and took paxlovid.
    • Before I got sick, I see I had some sort of argument with my wife. I didn’t want to come home as much.
  • December.
    • Had a great New Years spent with H and my wife. It was chill
    • I got a lot of DND/writing work done. I started using worldographer and Dungeon Alchemist. I might get back on Dungeon Draft soon too. The world stuff will be useful for my scifi world.

So all in all, I think 2022 went well. Fitness-wise it did not go great. But I have this year for that. I also really want to make progress on a book this year. I tried to make 10k words for the world ember went but did not make it in time. but H pointed out that 10k words is 1/4th of a novel. I had made 4k words with just my short story without realizing it. Writing a novel isn’t as far out of reach as I thought. I have hope for this year.

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11.3.22 How Hungry are You?

This is the mantra that is repeating in my head right now.

Many years ago I had a palm reading done. While I don’t believe in any of the mysticism associated with that, tarot card reading, and general psychic mumbo jumbo, the prompts do offer a chance to reflect. Maybe not in the present, but it does come back around. One of the main things that stuck with me was the reader’s comment on how I have the ability to change my program, unlike a lot of people.

I had a bit of a spat with my wife last night over her fears of failure, adhd, and her dependence on external validation. I got a bit rankled towards the end when she accused me of not listening (maybe it was the format in which it was delivered that got to me, “You aren’t listening” vs “I’m not feeling heard”). I was also annoyed by her loop of heavy gaming on diablo/overwatch, which I admit is a bit ironic considering my heavy gaming when I was much younger. I recognize it as an ultimately unhealthy coping mechanism. If she was playing with a regular group of people (social engagement, which was crucial for me getting out of a severe depression when I was a teen), or even jumping between different games for different experiences (new ideas/experiences can spark creativity…input leads to output) that would be a more fulfilling experience. Then she complains about her health and general satisfaction with life when she does nothing to make it better. Just sticks to the same damn loop. I tried to help, but that just backfires. I need to let go and let her figure it out. Or maybe she won’t. I just can’t keep carrying.

I still felt that anger lingering this morning. It was more directed at myself. Something I just remembered now that anger isn’t always bad. It can be hard to think that. I still have a traumatic memory of feeling frustrated with my mom when she was dying and experiencing dementia from the stroke/cancer combo. She kept calling for her brothers, one of which was dead (shot in the head). I had to keep reminding her they weren’t here. One day the frustration slipped into my voice. She had one of those semi lucid moments in which she pleaded with me to not be angry. It broke my heart then. It still hurts now to think of it, 22 years later.

But anger is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs changing. My body is not where it needs to be. Which is probably partially why I’m experiencing this foot pain on the ball of my foot whenever I’m doing lunges. The podiatrist diagnosed it as a bone spur and had me put into special sole inserts to help correct the orientation of my foot. The thing is I’m not super convinced it is helping. The doc wasn’t familiar with Bulgarian split squats (and he’s on the larger size) which is leaving me a little less confident. Also it doesn’t help that my insurance didn’t pay for these rather expensive inserts. And they squeak like clown shoes.

Anyway. Back to my anger. I’m using that anger to keep on my 5:30 am bootcamp workouts. I’ve always been the most successful with these. It just gets really hard to that and be involved in social stuff. I just need stronger boundaries and more rigidness. I have a hard cut off at 9pm. That’s it. Once I get gym access at the office, I’ll be doing that after work. The at home stuff isn’t working with the constant crap that stacks up front.

I also want to be at home less. I’m getting stressed out with my wife’s issues. I don’t want to be around for it. I still have those writing aspirations and it is just not going to happen at home. So to that effect, for the nights I don’t have a game to DM, I’m going to find a place outside and bring my laptop and work on my writing. I’ll leave my wife the option to come along with and use the time to do something that’ll make her feel long term productive, but I am not waiting for her. She had a choice. Stay home in the same fucking loop or take a risk on failure and do something more. Once upon a time she was inspired by what I did and used that energy to better herself. Now she mopes. I’m going to send out those letters for her therapist hunt and let that person talk to her. From then on, she can choose to do something or not.

Meanwhile, I’m hungry to do more with my life. I’m thankful my main job takes care of me and respects my time. But I still have that dream to publish some books. It isn’t going to happen without change. Change is uncomfortable. But I can look at the long game. I want to lean out again. I was there, and I could actually look at myself for a bit and not cringe. That’s more important than eating crap food or looping through the same old games that can’t even present a good story.

I’m loading a new program. I hope whoever reads this can do the same.

And finally, a song to go with this. I’ve been looping this as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwywLJAVj2E&ab_channel=Halocene

7.28.22 how do I know what I think…

The other day while burning some distraction cycles on one of those dating app (if you’re new here, hi I’m polyamorous) and i ran across a profile with a group photo that included an ex. There were feelings as you can imagine. And so to enact one of my favorite quotes, I write to see what I say.

I don’t feel hate. But I still feel swells of anger when she surfaces onto my consciousness. While I can understand how her behavior came from a past that included trauma and dealing with narcissistic personalities, it does not excuse it. I did not have to tolerate unexpected verbal lashings, shaming, gas lighting, and attempt reinforcement of toxic masculinity traits (e.g. “I should be able to have my temper tantrums without it effecting you ” and questioning whether I was “dom enough” because I could feel sad).

I allowed myself to feel the kind of emotion I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager. It was a kind of love. Not the secure trusting love I find myself in now, but the burning passion type instead. The kind that led to me having an overwhelming need to vent those emotions in form of prose and poem when a physical outlet was not possibe. I understood romantic poets a lot more during that time. I made honest mistakes since I wasn’t at my clearest mentally. Instead of making them moments to learn from, they became arrows of shame to be shot at me, again and again. I became vulnerable to her and it fully taken advantage of to cause maximum harm. That is why I became so focused on building my boundaries afterwards.

As I’ve often done in the past, I channel those potentially more damaging emotions into more useful activities. When I feel the anger and shame well up, I redirect them into my fitness efforts. I guess in a fucked up way I can thank her for reinforcing that aspect of myself.

When I had my first major success in weight loss (80 lbs in a year), I had this thought implanted in my mind by a coworkers back when I interned at an airport. “Your mind is only as strong as your body”. That idea has been my solace when I encounter hard times. That same idea is playing out when she enters my mind. I recognize it. I wasn’t weak but my past traumas were exploited. My fitness journey includes reinforcing my psyche. Because I know how the universe works. Despite my cutting her out of my life for my own safety, I know that someday I’ll run into her again. I need to be as sure about myself as I can be.

I won’t allow her to find anymore chinks in the armor I create for myself. I have people in my life who love me and celebrate me for who I am, flaws and all.

5.10.22 How bad do I want this?

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.

12.5.21 giving a voice to that self-hating demon

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.

This is enough for now.

10-29-21 melancholy

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…

Ear Worm / Burden feeling lifted 7-30-21

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.