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Ten years. Ten years since I swore an oath and jumped on a plane and headed over to Fort Jackson, SC. Ten years since I met a man who would break my heart but still change and help so much. Ten years since I met friends I would lose to war. Ten years since I started down a road that would quickly lead to me being crippled for life. Ten years since I started down a road that would quickly make me stronger, louder, angrier, more passionate and sure of myself.

I was 19, days from being 20. My MEPS experience wasn't much different than the first 10 times or so that I went. The girl they put me up with in the hotel was going for her very first MEPS visit and was so nervous. I wasn't. I felt like I should have been, but it'd taken me a year to join and mentally I was mostly too impatient to feel properly nervous. She asked me what I was doing at MEPS this time, and seemed floored when I told her I was shipping out. I think my calmness threw her off... but helped, I hope.

They keep you at MEPS all damn day when you ship out. You do the usual cup-peeing, you sign a lot of things, you do the oath, then you just sit there for hours doing nothing. It's on purpose. The flight isn't until that evening and they want you exhausted when you get to reception. Hell the flight took forever and they still had us sit as the airport for ages.

I met some one at that airport who is still my friend despite us playing with that whole relationship thing for a while (it was a miserable failure)

Reception was quick, starting technically on the 26th in the wee hours of the morning when the bus took us there from the airport. Most people spend a week processing. You get all your clothes, your dog tags, do a lot of paperwork, get your shots, some MORE paperwork, blood drawn, they talk to you about so many things you'll forget in almost no time. Again, this normally is covered over the span of a week, we had two days.

We got on the bus to Basic on the 28th, my 20th birthday. I might talk more about that later. I just kind of wanted to talk about the very very beginning.

I was so different. I mean, duh... 30 and 20 are massively different ages, mentally, emotionally, socially. But I wouldn't recognize myself if 20-me met 30-me. Back then I was beaten down, underweight, quiet and shy, terrified of the world. But I was tired of being terrified. I was tired of being afraid and abused and manipulated. The military was an extreme form of escape, one that left me permanently scarred, but it did exactly what I wanted it to. I came out of the other end changed so much that my own family was shocked by the person I was by the time I got home. I had become so much stronger. I was bold, loud, angry, passionate. I didn't put up with the same shit I put up with before. I cut ties with people I needed to cut ties with, people who I'd been terrified to do that to before.

I wouldn't change it. I mean, sure, small things... there's always small things. But I learned a lot. And I didn't stop there, I've been growing so much in these 10 years and I'll do so for the next 10 years, and the 10 after that. I'll die of old age while smiling and saying I still don't understand a damn thing, and I'm still not done.

I'm never done. I could be bedridden with pain, breath caught in my throat because of it, brain screaming in terror from a dark memory... but none of that will beat me. Nothing ever has, nothing ever will. I'm not done. The Army broke me in so many ways and built me up in others. I don't regret it. Anything that can break any part of me is also something I can use to become something far more powerful than I was before.

Ten years... it's been a good ten years.
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"I'm Not Like Those Other Girls", or "How Striving To Be The Low-Maintenance Perfect Woman Has Actually Harmed My Relationships"


Warning: the language used in this post is going to be fairly heteronormative-sounding due to the usual types of relationships and interactions that seem to bring on this toxic issue. However non-hetero people can and do fall into the same traps.


We’ve all heard it when we’re starting up a relationship. “You’re amazing,” he says, in awe of you. “You’re so laid back, you’re into all the stuff I’m into, you’re not dramatic or high-maintenance… you’re not like other girls.”

It sounds so nice, doesn’t it? It sounds like a compliment. Like you’ve risen above your basic evolutionary failings as a girl and you’ve grown into a confident emotionally mature (and therefore attractive) woman. You don’t stoop to those low levels of backstabbing catty jealous girlhood, which is something everyone seems to quietly agree is “the norm”. You’re not like those other girls - you’re better.

It works for a while, doesn’t it? After all, your relationship is going well. You have so many things in common, you feel confident in his devotion to you. You’re in love and when you’re in love there’s no need for drama, no need for insecurity, no need for arguments and demands (all of which are clearly failings on the Other Girls’ end). He goes on and on about how this all makes you the Perfect Woman.

But it doesn’t last, does it? Suddenly you start noticing little things here and there. Logically you know it probably means that New Relationship Smell is fading away. Which isn’t a bad thing, you’ve become established as a couple. But it means you’re suddenly needing more. You aren’t as comfortable with him blowing off important things in favor of his own hobbies and interests. You aren’t okay with the way he teases your shortcomings. You aren’t as easy-going when he forgets to call or text when he’s out late drinking or partying with his friends to make sure he’s safe. All seemingly easy things to work on, right? Unless you’re still striving to be his Perfect Woman.

It’s not easy, is it? You have to make a choice. Do you sacrifice your status as The Perfect Woman and bring up these issues? Do you ask him to make changes to improve your relationship? Or do you stay silent, because his insistence on your attractiveness being rooted in your lack of “Other Girl”-ness seems vital to your relationship.

So now what? You have a choice. You either smile and nod and pretend these things still don’t bother you the same way they didn’t bother you in the beginning (which, despite what he might say, is not hypocritical… people change)… or you fight for your relationship to evolve and grow and demand the same level of respect and compromise from him that he demands from you. In the first scenario, he stays comfortable. He stays happy. He still sees you as this paragon of girl-ness, this amazing hero of femininity that doesn’t come with the awful complications thousands of movies and books and TV shows and comedians insist exists in every woman… but you sacrifice your own happiness in pursuit of this ideal of “perfection” he’s encouraged. In the second scenario you stand your ground and insist on your own happiness’s importance, and you strive for an adult and equal relationship… while running the risk of losing the person you love because his illusion is shattered. In an ideal scenario he’ll appreciate your candor and independence of his vision of you. He grows to love you as the individual and not as the dream. But that’s not always how that ends - you know this. And loneliness is a powerful fear. Is it worth the risk?

I personally struggle with this constantly (even more so in poly when his other relationships might be a bit heavier on “drama” - it’s easy to want to be the stable thing he can count on). In every relationship I’ve started with a man, he’s fallen head over heels in love with the idea that I’m Not Like Other Girls. I match his interests and hobbies, I’m patient and relaxed, I’m confident, I’m selfless. Everything is drama-free and upfront, everything is good and wonderful and “perfect”.

Which has put me in a bind every time. Because when a problem does arise, suddenly I’m not sure if me fighting it is going to be seen as being an independent individual (with the confidence he claims he loves) or I’m going to be seem as Just Another Dramatic Girl.

The easy solution here is to stop seeing these Girls and Women as a hive mind. Every woman has a different heart and mind, every woman will be bothered by things another woman won’t, every woman will find some things fun and others frustrating. There is no “Other Girls” (In fact, I prefer not to be called a “girl” at all but that’s not the issue at hand here). I’m a grown woman, an individual. I’m not unique in this. I AM “like other girls”. I will have flaws and perks, I will have strengths and weaknesses, I will like one thing and hate another and it will be just as unique and different as every single other woman out there.

This is a flaw in everyone’s logic, men and women alike. Some women like to brag that “they’re not like those other girls” - I’ve been guilty of this same thing. This is, we think, a compliment. Girls are backstabbing, girls are shallow, girls are catty, girls don’t like “boy things” like cars and sports and geek culture, girls are fake, girls are over-emotional. Some girls backstab, sure. Some are shallow. Some are catty. But all of these traits, good and bad, are gender-neutral. But the assumption that women are the “other” whereas male is the assumed dominant gender means that it’s easy to lump them all into one category. It’s why stereotypes are assumed to be truth - the “default” needs to categorize and limit in order to, in their minds, “understand”. There is no understanding women, same as there is no understanding men. You can understand on an individual level only. Seeing an individual and limiting them to the stereotypes of their group is unfair… it limits them, it limits you, and it limits your relationship.

So yes, this has harmed my relationships, over and over. Because over and over I find myself not liking something a partner has said or done, and I stop myself before speaking. Will I be seem as too confrontational? Is this a legitimate problem, or “just drama”? Am I being unreasonable? All of these things are questions the “Perfect Woman” has to keep asking herself. Everyone has a limit, everyone has something they won’t be happy with when interacting with another human being. That’s not “drama”, that’s not “over-emotional”. It’s conflict, sure. But some conflict is healthy. Without conflict and individual cannot grow, and without conflict (from both outside and inside) a couple cannot grow either. I don’t mean constant fighting or anything, but a relationship should be between two individual personalities and people with individual wants and needs, and conflict is necessary and normal. It’s not easy, but it’s healthy.

This can’t and won’t be fixed overnight with me. Every time a man is excited that I’m not dramatic or jealous or reactionary, I worry that any negative in our relationship is going to shift his perspective and his vision of me will be destroyed and I lose that connection. In an ideal world I’d shrug this off with a “well I can do better - if all he wants is the idea of me and leaves the second I’m not as low-maintenance as he wants, I’m better off”… and as an idea that’s correct. But that risk is always going to be there, that concern and worry in the back of my mind… even if they’ve not really done anything to cause or encourage that concern.

The best way to rid ourselves of this is to accept that there is no “Other Girls”. Because I am like other girls, honey. I am. I am unique, yes, but so are they. There is no universal feminine trait, there is no hive mind. Do not compliment me by putting other women down. Not only do you insult other women, you insult me, and you set our relationship up for failure from the very beginning. Because now everything about me that you end up not liking will be lumped as a “woman” thing and you’ll either ignore it entirely (“Honey it’s just your time of the month, this isn’t a real problem” or “Why do girls always get so upset about this?” - which rids yourself of the responsibility as my partner to engage in this discussion and work on it with me) or you’ll feel betrayed because you thought I was somehow above the pack.

So, yes. In all ways I’m not like other girls, in the exact same ways that I am like other girls. Hell even you, male reader, are both like and unlike these mystical “Other Girls”. There are no feminine traits, there are no masculine traits. Jealousy, shallowness, cattiness, anger, avoidance, passive aggression… all of these and more as seen as “Other Girls” traits, but both men and women have them. Yes even that Perfect Woman that you think is exempt from human flaws.

Stop. Stop saying I’m not like other girls. Stop establishing early on that these flaws and hurt feelings aren’t allowed. I am like other girls. I am like other women. I am like some men, too. And until you realize we’re on the same page emotionally, we’re not going to work. The less pressure out there to be “better” than others in your group, the more we can have an open and honest and healthy relationship where we can BOTH discuss what bothers us and what makes us happy. Even if those things are “stereotypical”.
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I'm depressed.

Not in a particularly overt and obvious way. As far as my shining low points of depression, this recent bout doesn't even make the top five. But it's still there.

One of the main ways my depression manifests is apathy. Just a complete and total lack of interest or motivation for anything.

I don't think I really realized until this week that the apathy is my brain's way of protecting it from getting so, so much worse.

I knew I'd be depressed this week after coming home. Not because of the home, the home is wonderful. It's what... who... I left behind. Long distance is never easy.

Last time this happened I told myself I'd throw myself into chores. Cleaning the house, decluttering, even decorating. That didn't happen (thank you pain) and I got into a pretty bad headspace as a result.

This time I set my goals lower.

Video games.

Dragon Age: Inquisition just came out. It made me realize I had yet to actually finish Origins (I've played several times, but I have an alt problem so I kept restarting it to choose a different background/class) and also Dragon Age II was on sale last week for like ten bucks. I spent the ten bucks and the second I was home I reinstalled Origins and played through.

I think it took 50 hours of gametime to finish.

I did those 50 hours in less than a week.

(If you're curious, I played a Casteless dwarf warrior... turns out I was instantly attached to the character, named Magrid, and it allowed me to focus long enough to finish instead of restarting)

I've now started Dragon Age II.

I have work to do this week, work I've been pulling myself away from the games to do. I've managed, but barely. And the second I'm away from the games, that focus goes away. Suddenly I've not got something distracting me from my sadness. Suddenly I feel tense and upset and lonely and scared.

The simple thing here is to pull away from the games a bit. Give myself a daily limit (or just a to-do list that I have beforehand) Learn to embrace all the suck that's going on in my head so I can actually deal with it instead of disappearing into a fantasy world in order to avoid and barely cope.

I played almost all day yesterday. I came out of the office to get a drink and talked to Will a bit. He has his birthday party here on Saturday. I promised him that tomorrow the goal was cleaning. To get the house in order. Then I needed to do some commission work (our mortgage payment went up, gotta make up for that)... then AFTER everything was done... THEN I could play.

Chores and work might seem like another form of distraction, but it's not as much. It forces a different kind of focus, one where my mind is actively engaging. Video games require SOME of that, but it's far more removed.

Art and manual labor... that's when my hands are actively involved in creating something, and that's when my mind usually wakes up and everything gains clarity and I'm able to work through whatever it is that's bothering me.

This time I already know what's bothering me. I just need to work through how to handle it... because this is not something with a "fix". I like to fix problems, rather than accept and work around them. That's not an option right now. I can't fix this. What I need to do now is work on convincing myself that not being able to fix something doesn't mean I'm powerless. It doesn't mean I have to choose between shutting down and hiding away, or outright melting into a worthless puddle of self-loathing. There's another choice here.

So, yeah. That's what's going on with me.
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I'm slowly evaluating my emotions right now.

So last week a thing happened that upset me. I've talked it out with one of the people involved but not the other. No maliciousness was involved, but I was still hurt. Hurt, angry, upset, and sad.

But these emotions are so much easier to handle when they're directed at something or some one.

Right now... I don't really have that.

I sometimes crave more irrationality. I have JUST enough to feel the more wild and untamed emotional responses to things, but not enough to direct them at some one. Instead I feel the emotions, and say "Well it's not really that person's fault, they didn't mean to hurt me, it was an innocent act on their part, they just made a mistake"... especially if the person has already apologized and started to make amends.

So now I have all these feelings and nowhere to really direct them at. I think at this point most people would just go ahead and let themselves feel the anger at the people involved, but... I don't want to do that. It'd be easier, probably. But it wouldn't really... help. Yes I still need to keep the lines of communication open and work through it, but... I need to cool off and NOT turn this into anger and attacks and accusations. It only makes it worse and pretty soon there's WAY more hurt involved than there needs to be.

Right now I just need to figure out what to do with directionless negativity. Mostly... I just need to find ways to burn it off. Music, maybe. Socializing or quiet time. Baths. Meditation. Art. Writing. Just... embrace the anger and hurt and pain and let it burn itself out like a controlled fire, rather than trying and failing to snuff it out too soon and watch it slowly burn way too much around me.

I think this sounds like the best option. I don't know. It sounds good to me, right now... but it could also be me in my desperation for control grasping at this situation like a drowning man for a lifeboat. I'm lacking in control in my life right now and it's driving me a bit nutty and, yes, that tends to sometimes manifest a little stronger when I'm emotional. I get angrier with myself because I can't control my emotions and I end up just shoving them down and not addressing the problem.

I'm working on it. So far I'm doing better this time than I normally do.

We'll see.

Ugh, growing and maturing is a pain the ass.
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Communication is one of my weakest points. It's weird, there's layers of communication... SOME of them I kick ass at. If we're gonna go nerdy with this, I apparently have a pretty high charisma score with my specialty being diplomacy (and as others have told me, intimation, which I guess is also accurate but I don't need it as often)... I'm diplomatic as all hell. I have skills in tact and careful clear communication. In high-stress situations, particularly in a professional setting, this has been useful.

But the grittier parts of communication? Between friends, in romantic relationships? BSOD. I just... freeze. I don't even know what I'm doing there. Yes the tact and diplomatic skills come in handy sometimes there, but then there's those pesky "emotions". It's really not easy relying on those skills when you're discussing strong emotions (especially the more negative ones). I still try. But the whole point of the diplomatic/tact skills is leaving the emotions out of it. So there's where the problem comes in. It's pretty hard to communicate the strong emotions you're feeling while leaving emotions out of it. And maybe I shouldn't! Maybe this is just a whole new level of skill I've left unexplored (often on purpose because I've hurt people in the past when I let things like anger take too much control in a discussion) and need to start really focusing on that. Clear, honest communication WITHOUT completely hiding and hyper-controlling the emotions I'm feeling.

There's still a time and place for tact and diplomacy and emotion-free communication. But I've spent enough points leveling those up, it's time to focus on the parts of communication I've neglected because I didn't think they were as important. I was wrong. They're important, they're VERY important. I've spent years letting that lack of skill harm my relationships and I'm tired of ending up lonely because I refuse to work on that.
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I don't do the emotionally vulnerable openness thing very well. Every time I try it, I... GUESS I eventually get it right? But I feel like I'm stumbling constantly, like I'm a newborn baby deer who hasn't quite figured out the concept of its own legs. I'm technically, in this baby deer scenario, walking... I get to my destination eventually... but my legs are shaky and I probably look like a bit of an idiot and I'm hoping whoever is around to witness it is more likely to be patient and encouraging than just pointing and laughing at the idiot who hasn't figured out the very simple task of walking.

I'll figure it out. But the whole vulnerable emotional thing is going to take a lot of work... those tiny deer legs are going to be wobbling for a long damn time. :P
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A couple of years ago my intuition was ignored... by myself. I looked at some one and red neon flags popped up everywhere but everyone else seemed to disagree so I kept my mouth shut. This ended... very badly. But it was months before things came crashing down around her and in those months I had to question my normally-good intuition. Everyone insisted I was wrong about her and yet the gut feeling stayed and got worse and worse. Even though it turned out I was right, I'm still struggling with trusting my gut again. Every red flag since has been spot on, but I don't feel confident in it. I try to voice my worries better but I always sound uncertain, I always hesitate to speak up. Worse is that this wound in my confidence for this sort of thing is making it harder to read people. I second-guess myself so much that sometimes all I see in a person is that something is "off". And who the fuck cares if I sense something "off"? "Off" can mean a LOT of things, and not all of it dangerous, so speaking up about it seems pointless. I do keep an extra sharp eye in case things become clearer but I'm not reading people as well as I used to. I don't know how to fix that, really. I think part of me is also full of doubt because I worry that the first experience up there would make me HYPER-vigilant against perceived red flags. It seems in guarding myself against that happening I've gone a bit too far off the other end of things.

(Keep in mind even when I "warn" people about the red flag I'm seeing it's really only if I think those exact people might be affected... like I can see warning signs and not really give a shit until that person shows romantic interest in some one I care about, THEN I usually say something to the loved one so they can make their own decision from there... I don't get that "off" feeling and then run around telling everyone that a near-stranger is bad news or something)
shinga: (Default)
August starts tomorrow. To say that I'm nervous is... a slight understatement, but only slight. I've pinpointed SOME of the sources of the anxiety spikes in the last week or so (surprise, surprise - it's control issues!)

I need to sit down and make a big ol' to-do list for August and schedule goals by the week. If I just take this one week at a time in goal-terms, and one day at a time in routine terms, I can hopefully stave off as much September-related anxiety as possible.


One of the most frustrating things about my control issues is trying to find that balance... because dammit I LIKE being in control, I don't see that as a flaw. But it becomes a flaw when anything OUT of my control sort of just breaks something very vital in my brain. And I do mean rather big stuff, at least... I'm not going to freak out every time some one else is planning an outing, or some one else makes a decision... unless that decision is something I disagree with or affects me negatively I really don't give a shit. I LIKE other people having their own control too, and having input. It's... it's big life stuff. Stuff I'm not sure I'll control as well as I hope I can.

I've come to rely on the level of control I have in my environment. When that environment has a big change... it's not that I consciously think "I can't do this, I can't handle it", but I'm pretty sure it's where the anxiety comes in. I logically and reasonably KNOW I CAN FUCKING HANDLE IT. With grace, with ease, with as much "fuck you world I got this shit" attitude as I take on just about every shit-pile that's ever been thrown at my head. And yet... always, ALWAYS, in the back of my stupid head... what if I don't this time?

... And what IF I don't? Will people leave me, realize I'm weak and not want anything to do with me? Will I lose everything I've worked for in my life, suddenly end up in the streets because I didn't handle ONE bit of change very well? Yes these are extreme things - but therapist recommended going super ridiculous with things sometimes just to point out to my Floating Anxiety Buddy* how fucking ridiculous its being.

So... I have a lot to work on in the next month. Get work done. Things around the house, financial-type work. Work harder in therapy on NOT actively avoiding working hard in therapy... actually try to pinpoint some of this bullshit and work on it for once. September is a big looming scary thing and I can kick its ass.

* )
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One of my more frustrating and confusing flaws is that I hate being new at things... or at least obviously new. If I'm trying something and some one can look at it and say "You're new at this, aren't you?" I feel humiliated and ashamed and angry. For MOST things I can work around this by practicing alone, but for some things that's just not feasible. I either have to learn from some one (and therefore being open and honest with another human being about my inexperience) or take a class or it's just a rather social skill that REQUIRES working with people in order to get better at it (learning a language, as an example)... most of the time when I realize I'll have to be openly new at something I just sort of... avoid it. I convince myself that it's not a big deal and I don't actually need or even want to learn it and I can just find something else. This is... unacceptable. I've made it work for my entire life and the more I look back the more missed opportunities I'm seeing because of this humiliation and prideful need to be perfect at everything all the time. It's something I need to work on, and I'm not even sure how to start... outside of opening up to people with requests like "please don't laugh at me" or "just be patient", things like that. Maybe after a while I'll start to see that there's nothing to be so afraid of.
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This whole "in a fuckton of pain" thing really got to my head today.

I hurt myself last night. Not on purpose, not that kind of "hurt myself", nothing intentional. We were sitting and playing Pathfinder. I was in the comfiest chair. The chair helped. But the chair was also very close to the chairs on either side so every time I had to get up to use the bathroom I had to pull some fucking acrobatic shit just to get free. This involved some hip twisting... and as careful and deliberate as I was, I still managed to twist wrong and ended up hurting myself pretty fucking badly.

This was about three hours before the end of the game. I managed to focus enough to get through it, though a couple of times I had trouble adding numbers or remembering when it was my turn in combat. For the most part I'm pretty sure no one but Will noticed (except one person making a snarky comment about me getting my numbers wrong - he meant it playfully and I wasn't upset at him but it did make me feel a bit awkward for a while)

We ended around 10, the ride home was long and quiet. I took painkillers as soon as I got home (had forgotten to bring them with me - honestly didn't think it'd even be a problem) and crashed hard. Woke up around 2am when Will came to bed. The pain was... dizzying. I remember checking my phone and messaging for a bit before falling asleep on the couch. I woke up several times more throughout the night. I didn't want to take a second painkiller.

Woke up fully around... I don't know, eight or nine. I did okay for a bit. I don't remember much about this morning, really. The pain stayed consistently bad. A fellow local chronic pain person on FB mentioned that the weather might be a problem but that the pressure SHOULD change by tonight and hopefully relieve some of it.

My mood was pretty awful. I was hungry but unable to get up and make anything. The simple solution would be "ask Will or Roq for help", but I just... I got tired. I got exhausted. I'm so... so fucking sick of needing help with almost every aspect of my life. Yes this is a pride thing, in part, but it's also just craving very basic levels of independence and I don't think I'm being absurd or irrational in wishing I had these simple capabilities. Things like, I don't know, "being able to fucking feed myself", or other things like "getting myself to the goddamn store to buy milk instead of needing some one else to do it", or "drive myself to a doctor's appointment for once instead of begging every fucking time for help" or "pay for a meal for once instead of needing some one to pick up the fucking tab because you barely make enough money to pay the bills much less buy anything else because you can't have a normal fucking job".

I'm just tired. It's easy for people to smile and say, "But people love you! Just ask for help, they'll help!" ... I know they will. But I'm tired of HAVING to ask. And yes I'm also paranoid that their patience will run out. That eventually Will's going to wake up one day in a year or five or twenty and say, "I'm done, I am fucking sick of taking care of you, you offer nothing in return and I'm drained and I can't handle it anymore" and leave. It's not that I actively think he'll do this, or expect it to happen, but I still worry. Because I feel in my heart that it's true - that he has to take care of me and that there's a huge lack of balance in this relationship and eventually it'll destroy him, and us.

I don't know. It's not always so bad in my head. I know there's more to me than my physical capabilities or my ability to bring in steadier income. I know I offer more than that. But when I'm so overwhelmed by pain that I can't even eat? Yeah it's not easy to remember. It's not easy to convince myself that I'm worth a damn.
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Been feeling more social. It's been building up over months, mind you. I rebelled against the idea for a while because I had my routine and I did not want my routine fucked with. I had my ONE social obligation in the week and I was satisfied and comfortable in my routine.

Now? Now the routine feels... stifling. I still like it just fine, it's not bad or anything. But I want... I need... to start shaking things up.

I mentioned that I might be attending Panoptikon two weeks in a row after having not been for over a year. Some one commented saying it was a result of the engagement - that it tends to poke at the social parts of the brain? I don't know, I was half-awake when I read it. I didn't respond but it bugged me a bit. Maybe it was just a joke. And I'm not doubting that it had an effect. But this was already happening... as much as I love Will and his extroverted self is definitely an inspiration to my own extroversion, him putting a shiny piece of jewelry on my finger is not changing my personality.


But yeah. I'm still not SURE I'll go tonight. I had a rough week due to pain and exhaustion. Wednesday was my normal social thing and I didn't handle it as well as I was hoping... left early. That was partly me not feeling well (yay rain!) but it was also feeling quickly drained. Pain is draining in so many ways... this apparently included my ability to be around people and socialize worth a damn. So that means that I DID go out and see people this week, but I'm still left lacking in that type of fulfillment.

We'll see how I feel by tonight. I had a lot of fun last week, and I know I'd enjoy it tonight if I'm up for it. I don't quite know what to do today to sort of mentally build myself up to it, though... I know how to handle self-care AFTER being overwhelmed by people... but self-care that helps me get out more? Been a long time since I even cared about that.
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"There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go."

Hard to find a balance there, apparently. I see plenty of people roll their eyes and gripe that they shouldn't be held accountable for their past because, hey, it's in the past. But that only works if you paid attention to the "grow from it" part... because it's not all that "in the past" if you're still making the same mistakes and hurting those around you in the same ways.

Yes if you've grown and changed and become a better person and some one is STILL bringing up shit you did ten years ago, call them out on that BS and tell them it's high time to let it go... or (because as I've ranted about before no one is owed forgiveness) tell them it's probably time to get out of each other's lives if they can't move on from who you used to be.

But don't sit there and shrug everything in the past off until you've actually grown and learned from it. You keep ignoring who you used to be and the lessons to be learned, you'll never become anything more.

And on the flip side, if you OVER-focus on things you fucked up on in the past (I do this sometimes) you'll become so consumed by it that, hey, same result... you can't grow and learn and be happy. So yeah. Acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them, but don't dwell on them to the point of useless self-punishment and stagnation.

Yay balance.
shinga: (Default)
I think the whole "holy shit my hair is fixed and beautiful" thing is actually really finally hitting me on an emotional level. Like I'm getting randomly happy-weepy about it this morning. I don't really know WHY? Maybe it's because I got kind of emotionally raw/strung out last night so I'm just kind of more open to feelings and such right now.

Maybe this entire week I've just been hurting too much to really FEEL much of anything outside of trying to survive the pain. Now that painkillers are working I'm suddenly able to feel things I've been putting on the back burner. Hell that'd also explain last night... nothing of note exactly triggered that mood but suddenly I was sobbing out of massive insecurities I've not been weepy about in months.

Pain does strange, strange things. On one hand too much of it tears down emotional walls and suddenly you don't have the energy to avoid those problems. On the other hand the pain is taking all of your focus so you might feel emotional and weepy but don't have the mental capacity to figure out WHY because, hey, the pain is SO FUCKING LOUD.

This was supposed to be about my hair and now I'm talking about chronic pain and its emotional fuckery.


It's been an interesting 12 hours or so.
shinga: (Default)
[I haven't talked much about it due to the massive amounts of shame and self-loathing that's come with it... but several months ago life went to shit and I wasn't able to maintain good self-care and my hair became traumatically tangled and matted, from the bottom to root... considering my hair was down to my thighs this was a HUGE problem. I wasn't able to fix it, I was terrified and ashamed and I felt awful. I didn't know if there was any hope or if I'd just have to shave it all off and start over... it broke my heart. I needed something about me to be fixable, SOMETHING, especially my hair... the one thing about myself physically that I prided in, the one thing I had so much control over. Luckily one of my best friends has a puzzle-solving mindset, massive patience and availability, and was willing to work on it every week for months... without her I would have lost my hair. I'm still filled with shame over the whole ordeal but I've learned a lot of patience from it, and it brought me closer to my friend... give me a while away from this mentally and I'll be able to comfortably say I don't regret that it happened because the good outweighed the bad]

Okay with the backstory covered...

My hair is, for all intents and purposes, done.

It's weird, it's... it's amazing right now. It's brushed out, soft, looks like it was never even tangled much less matted beyond recognition. Yet I'm still anxious and expecting to wake up with it all matted up again... I'm brushing it obsessively and I braid it before bed to ensure this doesn't happen, but I'm still worried.

I haven't posted any pictures. I still need to dye it... I'm afraid to ask for help with that for some reason... the shame is still there, maybe that's it? Like anyone who is going to dye my hair is going to be able to tell how bad it got and I'll cry and it'll be this whole huge emotional vulnerability thing. I don't know. I might just do it myself.

Maybe it just hasn't completely sunk in yet that it's fixed. It's done. Sparrow's amazing patience and diligence paid off, it's incredible. I have no idea how I'll ever repay her. God knows I wouldn't have been able to do this on my own... maybe that's part of the current anxiety, I don't know. Now that it's done and I'm back to regular maintenance by myself I'm worried about a "relapse"... that because I got myself into this mess I'm clearly not able to be trusted.

Logically this is ridiculous. It was a perfect storm of circumstances out of my control that led to this happening in the first place, circumstances I REALLY don't see ever happening again (and if everything DOES go as tits up as it did then, I'll be far more careful)... I'm in a good place now, taking care of my hair will be easy. I'm not as sick as I was, I'm in a stable home environment, etc.


I need to relax and let myself just kind of get used to it all over again. It's been finished for a grand total of two days, it's okay that I haven't really fully accepted it yet.

I have my hair back. I have it. It's mine. I feel like a timid Sampson, granted power back but not trusting that I won't lose it again the second I take it for granted. Is that what's bothering me? I think I'll not appreciate what I have so I'll lose it again? Because that's 1000% not how that works, if I'm seeing this from some sort of fucked up universal karmic justice sort of viewpoint. Even if the universe had some sort of say in this, I doubt it gives any shits whatsoever about how much I appreciate my fucking hair. The universe would have far better things to concern itself with.

I think I'll feel a bit more... "right" as soon as the roots are dyed. I'll feel a bit more right when a lover's fingers run through my hair and touch my scalp. I'll feel a bit more right the more and more I brush it and it doesn't hurt. I'll feel a bit more right the more I have it down and feel it touching my skin. All those little things will add up and soon all the dread and shame will be gone, left as nothing but an echo of something I used to be.

It was a process to fix it, it's going to be a process to accept that it's fixed. It felt weird to tell my therapist yesterday that I felt... so far... weird. Just "weird" was all I could say. She asked if I was excited, if it had boosted my self esteem. And the answer was no... I mean, not yet. Yes there's SOME excitement, there's SOME regained confidence but it's not all there yet. I'm holding back a lot of it. Like I'll get excited or confident and immediately shove it down with "not yet, we're not there yet, listen to your fear instead".

The mind is a frustrating thing. Self-awareness of this only gets you so far. But the more I'm open about it... willing to talk about it... the more I'll be able to crawl my way back to what I used to be before this all happened. Wait, actually... fuck that. I'll not crawl my way back to shit. I'll march my way to something better, stronger, wiser, and more powerful than I could ever have hoped to be before. This situation, the last few months, sucked... but goddammit I'll take it into me and use it to be stronger and better. I've done it for far worse things... just because this wound is still pretty fresh and aching does not mean it won't become a pretty kickin' badass part of me. Soon.
shinga: (Default)
Tired and hormonal and overthinking things... like the difference between forgiveness and letting go of anger. I don't think forgiveness is required, I've said that before. And the argument for forgiveness is often "well it's freeing" or "you can't move on or be happy without forgiving them" etc etc.... and I call bullshit. COMPLETE bullshit. I have moved on and let go of a lot of anger about stuff and people who I will never forgive. Their actions aren't magically erased or made okay just because I'm not angry about them anymore. If that person actually attempted to make up for those actions or something that's one thing, but the people I don't forgive specifically don't feel apologetic or anything. And that's up to them. I don't waste a ton of energy or thoughts on these people, I don't spend a ton of time dwelling or pouting over them, I'm not still angry or hung up on it or anything, I've simply not forgiven them... but I HAVE let go of the anger. I know most think it's impossible to do both and if it's impossible for THEM that's fine, forgive away. But it's doable for me, and I do not "owe" forgiveness to anyone, and I don't NEED to forgive just so I can "move on" or be happy or something.

This isn't about any one person right now, or one situation. There's a very short list, yes, but MOST likely no one reading this is relevant to this.

I'm also full of "I don't have to be the one DIRECTLY affected by some one's bullshit to distrust and dislike that person, and I'm not required to give them a chance just because they've only screwed over other people and not me" thoughts but that's a whole other rambling thing for another time.
shinga: (Default)
"They're not the same person I married", "You're not the person I met a year ago", "I don't even know you anymore".


In therapy recently we were discussing marriage/relationships and the struggles therein. She said something that's kind of stuck with me pretty hard. She made a good point, which I'll try to repeat and elaborate on here.

You're a different person than you were six months ago, and very different from a year ago, and hardly recognizable after five. Depending on what happens to you in those times, you could be that unrecognizable person at just six months. And with that in mind... fuck, no wonder relationships are hard. No wonder marriages and friendships fall apart.

The more I've spent thinking about this, the more it's helped. It's weirdly comforting, actually. Sometimes things fail, sometimes you lose that deep connection you used to have with some one... and sometimes it's not that either of you are at fault. It's just that you're literally two different people now, and while the people you used to be worked out very well, the people you are now... not so much. There just isn't that connection anymore.

I could probably look at this as something depressing. Kind of a "so what's the point? everyone I love, everyone I connect with, we both eventually change and drift apart" thing...

But I see it as the opposite. Now that I can see this clearly... I'll be okay. EITHER WAY, I "lose" that person I knew six months/a year/five years ago. THEY ARE ALREADY GONE. And either this new person is some one things will work out well with, or they aren't.

I'm seeing this as something good. It's an opportunity to get to know my friend/lover/partner all over again. It's an opportunity to find a way to connect with them, to strengthen the connection we started out with.

There are times it's not gonna be possible. Like I said... marriages fail, relationships fail, friendships fail. Even when people keep in mind that the person they're trying to connect to is different, changed, grown... EVEN keeping all of this in mind is no guarantee. Sometimes the differences and changes are negative, or they're just so deeply incompatible that there's no coming back from that. The connection might be severed, it could be years before the people the two of you become could connect again and possibly not ever.

But even if I lose these "new" people along the line... I still had that connection when it was possible. I still loved them, unquestionably. Their growth is not something I'll find myself bitter towards. Sad? Sure, nostalgia and wishful thinking aren't going to suddenly go away. Some of the connections I've made with people were very, very hard to lose. But I'm a different person, as are they - as we are NOW... it wouldn't be the same. But you know what? I had that connection at some point, and it made me a better person. I hope it was a positive for them too.

I don't know. It's something I'm going to keep in mind. If anything it'll help me maintain the relationships I have now - to never assume the person I'm interacting with is the same person I interacted with a year ago. To never expect them to stay stagnant for my own comfort and need for that familiar connection. The relationship has to constantly grow and change with us, or it'll die.
shinga: (Default)
"Your element is WATER. There is a lot of depth to you, probably much more than you let on. You prefer peace and little conflict but have no issue standing your ground when you are wronged. You have deep emotional currents, some you can't even explain, many might be intuitive. You must remember that despite your strong empathy, you cannot judge people so quickly. You also need to learn that it is okay to say no. Your avoidance of problems leaves you in more trouble then when you deal with them. That aside you are seen to be full of love and wonderful energy. You can help people relax and bring them back to a healthy state from a toxic one."

I get uncomfortable when dumb internet quizzes have some good points.
shinga: (sad)
Trying to figure out how much of my discomfort/anxiety right now is... okay, "valid" isn't the word. Relevant, perhaps? Urgent, currently necessary? Basically I'm trying to pinpoint how much of this is stuff from the past creeping up on my mind and how much of it is just worrying about future bullshit "maybe"s, and the actual relevant stuff... ie, the present. Things that actually ARE happening. Stuff that's not me dwelling on nightmares from years ago, stuff that's not me making up the worst case scenarios for later. Stuff I can actually do something about, take action. It's not that I'll shove all the past stuff down and ignore it... that just means I'm not dealing with it and growing. But there's a massive difference in facing/learning from the past and dwelling on it and letting it control me. And the future stuff? Pretty much all of that can fuck right off. I can be prepared for the worst without expecting it and fearing it, I can keep consequences in mind without being too afraid of them to take action. Balance. All about balance.
shinga: (pissed off)
I don't do "anger" very often. It's a powerful thing, though.

I hold back with people, a lot. It sort of ties into perfectionist bullshit ("I need to say this thing perfectly with no chance of being misunderstood or upsetting the person") but also the active avoidance of negative confrontation. Hell even positive confrontation I'm not good at. My communication has VASTLY improved over the last few years but there are some really weird hurdles in there. I swear sometimes I need a few drinks just to compliment some one. Why do I need courage for that? Stupid brain.

Anyway, anger is a violent thing. I like to be a positive influence in the world. Make people laugh, smile, feel better about themselves or the world, etc. I'll fight things that are wrong and sure that might make some one grumpy but if it's ultimately for a positive reason I still count it.

Anger... anger kind of erases all of that. Well no, not erases. Just... pushes aside. It takes over and screams and drowns out everything else.

Like I said, this is rare. VERY rare. Not even once a year rare. I can get annoyed, frustrated, snippy, cranky, all sorts of things, but ANGER? Flat out RAGE? No. All those other emotions can be felt quietly, and in sync with other emotions. Rage takes over, rage kicks everything else to the curb and takes the wheel.

But... sometimes that's not all bad. Sometimes anger is the thing that finally tips you over the edge and forces you to take action for something you've been avoiding. Sometimes it blinds you so much that you forget to feel nervous or cautious or concerned about the feelings of the wrong people. It shoves you into the situation, hands you a sword and says "attack"... and it's the only voice you hear, and you do it.

For this reason I'm glad it's rare. But for this reason I'm also glad I'm capable of feeling it at least sometimes. I have a very very very long fuse. This one situation has been months in the making and today I finally got angry. I finally let rage take control for just long enough to face the problem directly and shout it down until it was finished.

It might have been messy - that's the problem with rageful confrontation. I might not have been as clear as I would have been if I hadn't been all "berserker".

But when the fire died down and I stopped shaking I took a breath and reread the conversation. I was surprisingly quick, cold, and direct. I was clear. I left no room for misinterpretation or discussion, I said what I needed to say and I stopped. So... that's good, at least.

Let's hope this is done. But if it isn't... let's hope this ONE dance with rage is enough to fuel me through any more hard discussions.
shinga: (lovey icon)
I think I need to let myself be just a little more chaotic, a little more spontaneous. Obviously that's easier said than done physically and financially... and maybe that's why I'm drawn to chaotic and unstable people. Not romantically really, though I do find a certain level of "free spirit" appealing... it's more just the type I find fascinating and magnetic. I want to soak them in, be around them, be wrapped up in their adventures. Which is fine to a degree... but it's easy to get enthralled and pretty soon I'm thrown into some one else's chaos and I'm drained and have no idea how I got there.

Maybe if I let go of some of my own control issues, my constant need for stability and perfection... then I can embrace a bit of the unknown, the unstable, the chaotic... under my own terms, seeking out what I want and need... then maybe I won't end up drowning in a chaotic person's life and drama.

It sucks. These people I find myself drawn to are good people, but... it's hard to be safe. Usually I luck out and their chaotic ways end up just naturally leading them away from me. Either they move away or they just grow bored with their surroundings and dance away, off to new things, new things I'm not included in. Part of this is their appeal to me. The freedom they seem to grab and claim despite their own shortcomings and limitations... am I drawn to them out of jealousy? Am I selfishly clinging to these people to live vicariously through them?

They usually tend to be artists. They usually tend to be extroverts. They attend these parties or events that I find myself wishing I had the courage to embrace. They're emotionally unstable, unpredictable. When they see you, truly see you, they make you feel amazing. And again this is pretty much never a romantic or sexual thing with me... and that's fine (though I'd be lying if I said I'd never accidentally fallen for some one like this)... but I admire so much about them. Things that, ultimately, will burn them and leave them hurting. Things I wish I could do, or be, but I know it'd break me eventually.

These people rarely have stable... anything. Mentally and emotionally they are... wild. They are fire. Yes fire can be used safely, it can be healing and powerful and wonderful. But goddamn is it dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. I do my best to keep my distance, just close enough to enjoy it without getting burned. Because trust me, they burn people. They hurt those who get too close. I don't know if they care, in the long run. Well... they do. But their freedom, their chaos, is far more important than others. Stable relationships are rare. They're emotionally nomadic, staying in the lives of people around them until they get antsy, and they run.

I don't want to be them. But I need to start questioning why I'm so drawn to them. I love stability. I'm afraid and uncomfortable and I lash out when I don't know what's coming. I can read people and situations I'm in, have a good idea of where things are going, I can expect what's coming. And I do love that. I do. But... there's no room for chaos in there. There's no room for me to stare ahead and think "I have no idea what's coming - and I don't want to. I'm okay with that. I embrace it".... because when those situations DO happen, I freak out a bit. I find stability and cling hard to it, and it often means shutting myself off to... everything... the most important of those things I pull away from is growth. Can't grow if I refuse to embrace anything.

So yeah. Something to consider for myself. Chaos can be beautiful, it can be used in a good way, it doesn't have to be this wild dangerous thing that I wistfully stare at from a distance. I can find my own spontaneity. I can embrace my own wild side. Will it be the same as theirs? Maybe, maybe not. But I think I can find a balance between the stable and the unstable without breaking. I can find room for adventure in a life that is otherwise comfortably predictable.


shinga: (Default)

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