Relationship post

So I’m sort of dating people? Like, multiple people? I’ve tried looking through a couple of polyamory blogs for help with seeing the future and avoiding unnecessary drama, but they kind of skew towards really heavily sexual relationships. Which is great! I mean, I don’t want to sound like a massive downer about sexblogs, it’s just that blogs about what to expect when it comes to having sex with multiple people don’t help a whole ton when you’re on the asexual spectrum. So I’m pretty much going in blind.

Disclaimer: I’ve already talked to all the real-life people involved about everything I’m about to write and gotten their permission to write about it on the internet. Nobody needs to worry about advising me to tell my partners about my emotions, they already know. Believe me.

I’m not sure how to tell this story, so I’m doing it in parts in no particular order (chronological, I guess?).

1. Griffon: I dated this dude for about three and a half years and we broke up a few months ago. It was nobody’s fault, I just sort of realized that I had needs that weren’t being fulfilled by the relationship for reasons that neither of us were capable of fixing. Basically I didn’t think I could marry him and be happy. It’s difficult for me, because that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to end a relationship. Without getting into too much social conditioning and psychology stuff, let’s just say that it’s taken me until this point in my life to learn that wanting to break up is a perfectly valid and acceptable reason to break up. I keep having to remind myself that it’s okay to have certain things you really NEED relationships to ultimately do for you. I have always planned on finding a partner and marrying them because I wanted to spend my life with them, and if it doesn’t seem like the committed monogamous relationship I’m in can give me that experience, then it is not the relationship I want. Which makes it all sound so easy.

2. Slyph: I met a girl through the internet a while ago. We have most of the same interests and she likes me a lot and I like her back. She lives really fucking far away and we’re both poor and can’t afford to travel. I haven’t been in a lot of relationships, but all of them have been mostly long-distance. I hate doing that. It’s incredibly painful and difficult for everyone involved and it puts so much strain on the relationship. Also I haven’t been dating anyone and I’m a very physically affectionate person, so this is sad for me.

3.I asked Griffon if he was okay with an Open Relationship/Friends Who Also Make Out situation, which he said he was open to the idea of trying. I talked to Slyph about it and she is super cool and understanding about it. I don’t really know how to explain. We aren’t dating, technically, because we live really far apart and pretty much communicate entirely over Skype, but I really like her and I don’t really want to get seriously involved with anyone else if there’s even the slightest chance that this might happen someday. Maybe this will change, maybe it won’t. I am not a fortune-teller.

4. Pulling no punches here: I’m still in love with Griffon. I never felt any need to stop being in love with him, I guess. No one did anything wrong or intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. We get along really well, stayed friends, and kept hanging out, and he’s a really fantastic boyfriend (seriously), we just aren’t a great match romantically in the long-term. It’s kind of hard to get “I don’t love you anymore” out of that mix. This is probably the stupidest part of this entire thing. This is the part that makes me ask myself how I don’t see what a bad idea this is.

Pros/Cons

Of the situations, not the people, calm down, I am not that petty. Or stupid, Slyph reads this blog. Hi bb!

I feel more inclined to get into the negatives, but that’s more because I want to explain was I was not expecting and the challenges than talk about what I already knew was going to happen. I don’t want it come off as if the negatives are far weightier than the positives, they just take more explaining. I mean seriously, I get all the talk/text/phone conversations I want with people I love! And also backrubs. How can you not love this?

Pros re: Slyph –

We have the same interests for the same reasons, we share similar worldviews, we can have discussions about opposing views without arguing, she makes me laugh, and did I mention pretty? Seriously, she seems like the kind of person I could really fall for. She called me on my birthday to sing to me. It seems like such a silly sentimental thing to get hung up on, but if it’s an indicator of how much silly sentimental stuff would be involved with dating her, then it is a very good sign indeed. I can tell her anything, she loves to hear about my life and my thoughts, I can send her stories without worrying (much) about how stupid they are, she fangirls over things with me and gets excited about my accomplishments, she’s open and supportive and wants me to be happy, and I am honestly excited to tell her about things, even inane details about my day. If it’s interesting to me, it’s interesting to her, if it’s important to me, it’s important to her. Even if it’s only interesting because I’m interested in it, or important because it’s affecting me. This is a big deal! Hopefully I convey some percentage of all this back at her. I think I must, because she keeps liking me.

Okay I sort of went into personal pros instead of situational pros.

Cons: She lives in fucking Narnia. I don’t think I can do another long-distance relationship. At least not long-term. I can’t see a path in which we live anywhere near each other for years, and again, we are both broke as hell. Visiting might be an annual occurrence, and that’s a terrible and barely viable basis for a relationship, especially one that’s just starting out. Also, I don’t know what dating her would actually be like. I don’t know what, if anything, positive or negative, I’m projecting onto her and not legitimately observing. We just don’t get enough time. I don’t know how she deals with relationship things. I don’t know how she’d handle me sobbing on her about godknowswhat at 3 am. And this is a legitimate concern when it comes to dating me. I have some social anxiety and I tend to bottle things up and then have horrible breakdowns about what pretty much amounts to nothing. Or generally something that could have been resolved with a non-crying conversation at a reasonable hour. I have emotions. And it’s selfish and childish to heap responsibility for hand-holding me through them onto my partner, but that’s one of my flaws. I feel like I’m a total nightmare of a girlfriend. For what it’s worth, my sources say I am wrong about that.

Pros re: Griffon –

I believe I already stated that he is a fantastic boyfriend. What with the aforementioned backrubs. I like him a lot, and I enjoy spending time with him. What I’m really enjoying about this relationship is that I can let go of all the relationship anxiety I built up over the course of dating him. The vast majority of the time, I can focus on the here and now. I like him, he likes me, I’m happy and being around him makes me feel good. I really enjoy that I can have that without freaking out about where this is going and what do I want and this particular second isn’t exactly perfect, what am I doing with my life? It turns out that those are fairly common parts of being socially anxious and depressed, so even if that doesn’t make me feel better per se, at least I feel like less of an overemotional freak. Relaxing and enjoying what I have right now is exactly what I want, and when I can do that, I’m so blissfully happy that it feels like I must be getting away with something somehow.

Cons: If I may be so bold as to dispense some advice, readers, don’t start casually dating someone you once planned to marry. It’s really not the greatest idea. :\ Like I said, I love Griffon. We have an established boundary that I’m not allowed to tell him that. Not in those exact words, but that’s the effect. For some reason, that boundary makes all the issues I have with this arrangement much, much worse. It’s a perfectly fine boundary, and I don’t want to make him uncomfortable, so I have to deal. It’s just that, and this is a difficult thing to be honest about: being in a relationship with someone where you get to have everything you used to have except for the part where you got to plan for the future and say you’d be together forever… it really, really fucking hurts. It really hit me when we had the Can I Say Love To You conversation. I never saw myself as someone who could deal with Friends With Benefits/Poly for pretty much this exact reason. Also I get really stupidly awkwardly jealous but that’s a post for another time. I don’t like thinking about the end of relationships. I don’t think anyone does, but it’s difficult for me to even be with somebody if I don’t know if we have a future and knowing we don’t is heartbreaking. I really wish I could approach this relationship with the kind of appreciation poly people seem to have. That idea of “you could be seeing other people but instead you choose to be with me.” It’s a beautiful sentiment, but I’m not sure I can adapt to that. When we hit the bottom line, we’re talking No Strings Attached, and as much as I’d like to be that girl, I love my strings. I love talking about the future. Not having that hurts, and that’s the entirety of it. Well, there’s also the uncomfortable fact that he still feels like he could be happy spending his life with me. Which is amazing in itself, but painful because that means I could have him if I chose to, and I’m still not choosing to, even though part of me wants it so so bad. Maybe I’ll try to coherently explain why we don’t work as a couple another time. Right now all I’m saying is that I know the future does not include us being together, and that fact is painful.

To end on a lighter note: Cons of the whole relationship – I have nothing to call these people. For Slyph, “friend” isn’t descriptive enough, “crush” sounds unrequited, “girlfriend” implies more than what is actually going on… Conversely, calling Griffon my boyfriend implies more than what’s going on. I’m rather partial to “ladyfriend” but there’s no male equivalent. “Gentleman caller”? I am in an open relationship that is both sexless and I’m technically dating no one. What is my life.

ETA: WordPress suggests I add the tag “unnecessary drama” to this post. I’m not sure I like your tone, website.

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I just bought my first binder

[Trigger warning: descriptions of gender dysphoria]

I live in the Bible Belt. I managed to get through two middle school “sex ed” courses and two high school classes all about having babies and raising babies without even learning the term “vulva”, let alone learning about gender expression and sexual orientation. It’s not surprising that it took me this long to find out that I’m not a complete freak. When I was growing up, there were two sexual orientations, Straight and Gay, and I was lucky to have that much. Thinking back, my high school was surprisingly progressive, we had a handful of Out gay kids and a transvestite that nobody dared mess with. Granted, he was a drag queen built like a linebacker, and he only showed off his femwardrobe in public once, but damn. Still, I was a bit of a loner and a lot insecure, and I really didn’t know what was wrong with me.

In the last year, I’ve come out as asexual, which is a huge relief as it was my biggest area of confusion, and I’ll probably talk more about that later.

When I was growing up I thought I was trans. I didn’t have the vocabulary to identify it, but I thought I had to identify as one gender or the other (because of course there were only two) and I was not 100% comfortable as a woman, so maybe I would be happier as a man. I never talked about it to anyone, and generally it wasn’t an issue, because I just kind of accepted that I was never going to be happy purely female and went on with my life. I’ve always been a tomboy. I had more guy friends than girls, I liked playing sports and hiking more than gossiping and makeup, etc. I sound like I’m stereotyping, but seriously, you should have seen the kids at my school. Eventually I found less “girly” girls that I identified with, but I never really felt like I belonged in their groups, many of their shared experiences were foreign to me, and many of my issues were alien to them.

It wasn’t until very recently that I learned about gender dysphoria, and even more recently that I realized that’s what I was experiencing when I was feeling betrayed by my body and out-of-place. I’m not trans, I’m sure about that. I’m not a man, but I’m not a woman. I’m uncomfortable with both labels, it’s just that when I was younger, I didn’t realize that there were more options. I really like the term genderqueer, and I feel like it describes me, but I also worry about appropriating it. I’m comfortable with female pronouns, and I have come to actually like my body (to varying degrees depending on the day). These are luxuries that many who identify as genderqueer do not have. I’ve hesitated to enter into genderless, genderqueer, or androgyne spaces because I feel like I am too at peace with my body, and I would be an unwelcome and overly privileged voice.

But

I have days where I feel unquestionably female, and days where I am equally male. I have spent most of my life hating myself for one reason or another, and much of that self-hatred was directed at my body. It’s hard enough growing up cisgender, but going through puberty with no idea who you are or what you actually want your body to look like is a living nightmare. Some days I would wake up and be too curvy, too soft, too feminine, and then I would turn around later in the same week and not be curvy enough, no hips, no breasts, too broad-shouldered and, my jaw was too wide. When I got my first period, I was so disgusted with myself that I cried in the bathroom and spent most of the day locked away. I may be comfortable with the state of my body now, but it was a long road to get here.

I have reached a point where I feel comfortable with the term genderqueer, at least in my own head. The thing is, I’ve been spending some time with various communities (LGBT+, genderqueer, asexual, feminist, social justice), and all that has taught me that it doesn’t matter what the accepted definitions are. I don’t fit into the most widely understood or accepted boxes, and that doesn’t matter. Despite what my teenage self thought, ‘finding myself’ doesn’t mean changing myself to fit labels, it means changing labels to fit me. Of course there are still boundaries to this, appropriation still exists and it’s important to understand what that means, but I can be Queer and Ace and Panromantic and Non-binary and GQ all at the same time, and the only person I need to justify all of that to is myself.

I bought my first binder today, because to me, being comfortable with my body and myself doesn’t mean presenting as female at all times. I’m comfortable with myself because I am comfortable changing myself to fit my self-perception, and I’m adult enough to understand that this won’t always work well for me. I know I’ll likely always be perceived as female, no matter how short my hair or how flat my chest or how baggy my clothes, but fuck society’s perception. I realize how privileged I am to be able to say that, and I am so thankful that I live in a place and time where I don’t have to force myself to conform.

 

Illness

I have a few posts on the cutting room floor. I’m excited to be writing, but I need to edit and review, which takes time. This is a lesson I am teaching myself. It’s difficult to be patient when I’m writing about things that I care deeply about, but it’s very important to me that I phrase things exactly the way I want them. I can’t control what people take from my writing, but I can control the way it’s presented.

So, while I’m stitching together my more difficult posts, I thought I’d take some time to talk about a rather important thing going on in my life. See, I’m sick. I’ve spent a large percentage of my life being sick in some way or another, but I’ve never really been bothered by an illness the way I’m bothered by this one. I just have a fever. I’ve had a fever since February. Tomorrow will mark the third complete month I’ve had this fever. This is the worst because it’s not enough. The fever itself doesn’t really count in my daily calculations of  “how productive should I be able to be today” even though it obviously should. Instead of focusing of the cause, I weigh the symptoms. How badly does my head hurt? How far can I walk before I get so fatigued that my options are ‘sit’ or ‘fall over’?

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life ill, so I have a thousand other experiences to compare it to, and it comes up lacking. I’m not comparing “I’m too tired to get out of bed and I can barely stand” to being perfectly well and in zero pain, I’m comparing it to vomiting for nine straight hours. Being sleepy isn’t as bad as that, so why am I giving them the same amount of consideration? Why do I get to sit at home, missing work, bundled up watching Star Wars when I’m not even in pain? Inevitably, I end up trying to multi-task or do something productive and suddenly I have a migraine so bad I can’t see straight. And then I sit there wondering what happened.

I am stupidly dense when it comes to listening to my body, but I feel like I have to be. I’ve spent so much time sick that I’ve had to learn to push myself past my own barriers and disregard comfort as something I can regularly experience. This is at its worst when I have classes to attend. My job is part-time, flexible, and I am capable of working from home, so it generally bends to accommodate my schedule. Classes do not. Attendance counts. Participation counts. Sitting in class with my hands shaking, staring at the trash can and trying to estimate exactly how many seconds away it is –just in case- is still sitting in class. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been tempted to drop out. When a good day is  measured, not by the quality of my interactions and the information I absorb, but by how successfully I’ve managed to pretend I wasn’t in pain… it’s hard to get enthusiastic about that. Days when I am actually not in pain (or nauseated or so tired I could cry) are wonderful, special gifts where everything is beautiful and everyone is important. Sometimes I get several of these in a row and it’s the greatest thing ever.

I honestly used to think it was like this for everyone. I was sick a lot, so what? Everybody gets sick, and come on, I’m not sick that often and it’s not that bad. I always did my best to act normal when I felt awful, and I figured everyone else did the same. I never understood why authority figures kept insisting we should have perfect attendance. I laughed them off for setting unreasonable goals and impossible standards. Adults, right? And then I really started listening to my classmates and friends, and I realized that a lot of people DID have perfect attendance, and many only missed days because they skipped, or they only felt sick because they’d been out partying. These people went entire years without illness. All those rumors I’d heard about teenagers being healthy were TRUE.

When I became an adult, it still took me a long time to actually believe that being sick is uncommon for most of the population. It seemed so weird. That was also fun because I suddenly realized that I’d been being undeservedly judgmental of others. People freak out when they get strep throat or the flu, and it’s not because they’re whiny, it’s because it’s actually unusual and upsetting for them. Holy shit. I still accidentally freak people out sometimes through casually mentioning things  and not realizing until afterwards that I’ve said something bizarre. “Oh yeah, I would have loved to go to that, but unfortunately it coincided with my bi-annual sinus infection.” “Oh, my phlebotomist loves that book, are you enjoying it?

My favorite part of this current situation is that no one can tell me what’s happening. Looking back, I’ve had this same weird fatigue/illness thing happen almost annually. The only difference is that this one hasn’t gone away in the standard time period. Normally, the process is 1. Get sick 2. Wait a week 3. Go to the doctor, where they tell me “It sounds like mono” and take blood samples 4. Wait for them to inevitably call back and say that not only is it not mono, they have no clue what’s wrong with me. Bonus points if I’m already well by the time they call. “Maybe it’s mono” is a big inside joke in my family. All evidence suggests that I’ve never had mononucleosis in my life, though I’ve been diagnosed with it over a dozen times

It seems important to note here that I’m not fishing for sympathy. I hate being pitied. I talk about my illnesses and my pain etc. because it’s a big part of my life, not because I want belly rubs and special treats. I do appreciate empathy and I need the people in my life to listen to me, but only as much as anyone else does. You need to vent about your job and your boss and your family, I need to vent about my medication and my headaches and my doctors. Besides, I’m very much in the middle of a spectrum. The majority deals with less of this shit than I do, but there is a substantial percentage who have it far worse. There are people I love who deal with chronic pain that I can’t even begin to imagine. I have less abled privilege than many, but I can see and hear and walk and work and attend class, all of which are privileges, and all of which I am so extremely grateful for, even when I’m complaining.

Two days from now I’m visiting a different doctor at a different office, where I will sit in a different chair and a different phlebotomist will draw my blood.  Wish me luck.

About a Blog

The point of this blog is personal navel-gazing introspection. I want that clear immediately. I am speaking on my own life, from my own perspective, using my own experience. I will do my best to do so in a non-exclusive or erasing way, but I am flawed, and limited in my view.

The reason I’m starting this blog is thus:

I’ve had a few major revelations about my life and myself in the last six months, and I’m still reeling. I’m not even sure how to handle myself right now, let alone how to move forward. I needed a place to stop and catch my breath, where I could talk about the little things and the big things that I find myself dwelling on or I am unsure how to tackle. Talking (or in this case, writing) things out has always been a very important part of information processing for me. I am insanely lucky in that I have multiple people in my life who I can dump things on and know that they will listen to me babble for as long as I need to in order to process and unwind, but I think I’d like to have a record of where my mind was during this time of change and attempted personal growth. I still need and love my confidantes, but it’s reassuring to have a safe space meant for me to meditate on my own thoughts without worrying about inconveniencing others. If you find yourself inconvenienced while on this page, it is very easy to find the door.

I want to write separate posts about the major revelations in my life, my struggles with them, and why they’re a big deal, so I won’t explain them here.

Other than those things, I am also working on changing myself for the better, which I know is a project I’ll be continuing for the rest of my life. I am a feminist, and as such I know I need to work out a lot of internal garbage that has been placed on me by society. I don’t accept “society made me like this” as an excuse for anyone else to use, so I absolutely can’t accept using it myself. If you tell me society made you the way you are, my only response will be “Well, what are you going to do about it?” My answer is a lot of research, soul-searching, and an attempt to get my shit together.

I’ll try to back up my points with facts when possible and link to additional reading occasionally. I want to keep this journal pretty closely tied to my individual experiences, but I really like the idea of being able to provide resources for those that want/need them.

Aside from personal junk, I’m likely to talk about Rape Culture, Feminism, Skepticism, Current Events, Politics, Various Geekery, and swear a whole fucking ton. And I’ll moderate any comments like a merciless totalitarian dictator. Ye be warned.