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Transitioning into liminal space

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(no subject) [Apr. 15th, 2018|01:35 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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Me after work on Friday: "I'm going to be productive on Friday, more productive and then social on Saturday, and then play games and relax on Sunday!"

My unconscious: "Nah bro. It's time for two nights of nightmares about the stuff you've been anxious about this week."

Me now. "..... I just got up at 1:30. Wanna go back to bed. But I'm gonna have a pizza and play Parkour Pirate (otherwise known as Assassin's Creed IV) instead, and angst about not doing the electronics work I wanted to do this weekend. That sounds good."
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(no subject) [Apr. 14th, 2018|12:14 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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Poor light on his perch up on top of our living-room bookcases make for a grainy, high ISO photo. But here is our new kitty, Seregil, wondering why the silly human is standing with one foot on a chair and the other on the window sill and pointing a shiny box at him.

Seregil

Also, I just found my Pickett slide-rule that I thought I'd lost *months* ago! Yay!! I have two others, but they're older and less sturdy and I don't want to use them.
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Fear and Confusion [Apr. 13th, 2018|12:13 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |confusedconfused]

This past Wednesday, I told Dee that I really like them, I think they're a great person, I want to do more stuff together, but I don't want to have sex with them. It was really hard for me to do that and made me feel like a bad person. (This is not connected to my rational thoughts about the situation.) I still kind of feel like a bad person. We had a nice evening together regardless. We snuggled for a while and going to an art supply store.

In text yesterday, they asked whether this was for just right now, or for the foreseeable future. The short version of my answer (sent today because I couldn't figure out what to say before that) is that this is for the foreseeable future.

I don't know why I feel this way. I understand bits of it I guess, but not all of it together.

I talked with Danae about how I'm feeling in general. I'm so confused about where my head's at. I was so excited at first about having a play partner! I enjoyed sex with them. But then I didn't. I think part of it is me being bad at expressing what I want combined with us both being basically subs/bottoms. But there's more, and not all sex has to be about kink or power dynamics.

I know there's more because, right now, even the idea of of playing with other people, or being at play events, feels really scary. I'm on a Facebook list for a kinky social group that a friend (who I was sort-of-but-not-really dating [because, appropriately enough, I didn't know how to express what I wanted with] the summer before Syracuse) organizes. They are planning a play-party, and there is discussion happening about it.

It would be the first such event I've been to at a private home. People are talking about various toys they will be bringing. There will be needles, rope, floggers, a fuck-saw (penetrative toys mountable on a Sawzall) and maybe other stuff. I've wanted to feel welcome at an event like that for *so* long.

Instead, I feel scared. Really scared. Knot-in-my-chest, cold chills scared.

I think some of it is tied to my experience with Dee. But I don't know how. And some if it is a feeling that I wouldn't belong and be welcome, which I've felt before Dee when there was discussion about such get-togethers with this group. And there's more fear whose source I don't have a grip on. Thinking about being there makes me want to be safe at home with my safe partner and my safe kitty playing safe games. It makes me feel scared and vulnerable and endangered. (Yet not going makes me feel scared that I'll seem aloof or that I'm rejecting overtures of friendship and inclusion.)

I've been talking mostly about Dee with my therapist the last couple of visits. About how I don't want to have sex with them and how I don't understand that feeling and how terrifying it is to express that. Next week I'll go through this more general fear.

When I talked with them about not having done much explicit discussion with Dee about sex and kink before getting involved, they (my therapist) asked whether I'd read much about these issues. They noted that I'm fairly widely read and asked why I hadn't read poly-kink related things like The Ethical Slut or The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book. I didn't really know.

My ex had a copy of The Ethical Slut and wanted me to read it when we were transitioning out of monogamy. I started to, but the book, combined with the deeply uncomfortable situation I was in, was too much and I didn't read more than a few pages. Maybe that has something to do with it. Thinking of reading that book now feels threatening. Dangerous.

I think it would make sense to read the topping and bottoming books; it could help me learn how and when to express and negotiate sex and kink interests and activities. (I'm planning to order copies.) Right now, I get stuck. This is what happened with Dee, I think. At first, talking explicitly about sex seems presumptive. It would be rude to assume the other person is interested. And later it's somehow too late and doesn't feel natural. I'm looking for a perfect time and there isn't one. The therapist suggested this might be an issue and it made sense. "I'm looking for that intersection of curves on a graph," I laughed. "Let's see; the lines intersect right there; ok! Let's talk! That was easy."

Dee has suggested I get on Fetlife again. Someone that Danae and I met at LRA (and with whom we spent an hour or more talking about electronics work and restoring vintage vibrators) gave us their Fetlife name too. But being on that platform again is terrifying too. Years ago, someone sent me a message suggesting we get together. It was mildly suggestive at most, but it was terrifying and I left the platform because I just didn't now how to respond. Thinking of being there is still both scary and, because I don't seem to relate to people on social media the same way most other people do, frustrating.

I really want to be a part of this social world, but then...something happens. Maybe it's only appealing in theory. Maybe I just want to want these things. Or maybe I'm just so terrified by lack of structure and not knowing how to behave that it overwhelms any positive feelings.

I talked with my therapist about structure too. I'm terrified of a lack of known, understood structure to operate within. I'm terrified of trying to impose my own structure on others because I'm petrified at the thought of feeling that my needs are more important than (or maybe even as important as) those of other people.

Detail aside, sex feels scary right now in ways that it never has before. Now, not only does the thought of sex with Dee give me great anxiety, but even thoughts of sex with Danae are making me feel, if not exactly anxious, a bit nervously disinterested. In the past, even when I've had negative sexual experiences with others, I was still very interested in sex with my partner.

Now, instead, while characters in silly furry smut seem very appealing (for instance, a cute story on Literotica about a human military group working with lagomorophic aliens who relax through sex provided the basis for fun casual daydreaming), sex in real life, especially with people other than Danae, is scary.

I don't know why, and I don't like feeling this way. Through a lot of my 20s and 30s I felt like I was missing out on so very much, sexually, that I wanted in my life. I felt deep fear that maybe I missed my chance to do all these things that I wanted to do and people I knew were doing but circumstances kept me from. Do I now not want those things? Or am I just too scared about them to realize I want them? I've even flirted with the thought that I might not be interested in romantic or sexual relationships with other people. That maybe I'd be happy just being involved with Danae exclusively. I don't think that's true, but it feels safe.

Feelings of safety are very appealing right now. There isn't even really that much to be afraid of, but I feel afraid of things I can't even really identify.
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Kitty kitty kitty kitty! [Apr. 12th, 2018|12:01 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |excitedexcited]

That kitty we weren't sure whether we were going to keep? We're going to keep him.

His former person named him Zeke, but Danae has decided that he is Seregil, a character from Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner books, who is also known as "The Rimini Cat" in the guise of his work as a spy and thief in the city of Rimini.

Pictures are forthcoming.
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(no subject) [Apr. 9th, 2018|08:17 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |tiredtired]

The kitty we brought home for a trial run is almost perfect. He's mellow, friendly, snuggly, and cute. He's pretty nervous right now, but has been amazingly interactive for a cat who's just gone somewhere new. He would be perfect for us, except that Danae is allergic. Not severely, but enough to make him not a good fit.

It's going to be rough, getting to know multiple kitties only for a short time, seeing how much we like them, and deciding they just won't work out. With the house feeling so empty without Piper, it hurts my heart all the more. I hope it's only a few kitties.

In the meantime, we've already had nearly the full cat-owner experience. He hid somewhere strange that we couldn't locate, was shooed from the dining room table and kitchen counter several times, scratched at doors he's not allowed through, and - as I saw this morning - threw up on the carpet.
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Piper Emergency, but all is OK. [Apr. 7th, 2018|04:00 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |crazycrazy]

It feels like a lot longer than five days since I updated here.

Just a day or two after Piper was adopted, I got a phone call from her new people at work. I didn't know the number and voicemail got it. I checked after getting out for the day and it was a message saying that there was a misunderstanding about her insulin dose and they hoped to talk to me as soon as possible.

That was the beginning of one of those moments where time seems to slow down. I called them back and got voice mail. I called the shelter to see whether they'd been in touch and talked to N, one of the staff there. N said that they had apparently given Piper 20 units of insulin rather than 2. "Oh my god..." I said. Piper was at the emergency vet where it seemed likely, but not guaranteed, that she'd pull through.

I desperately wanted to go to her and take her home, take care of her, make sure she was ok, tell her how loved she is, and know that she was safe in my arms. Instead I had an hour and a half long ride home on the train feeling scared and helpless. I texted a few people for support, and Lisa was kind enough to meet me on the way home and come with me to Evanston. The three of us and Danae's parents had dinner together and I managed to not be a complete mess. Then, on the way home as just Danae and I walked along a stretch of sidewalk where I often walked with Piper I completely lost my composure. She led me back into the condo, occasionally stopping to hold me as I hugged her against me and sobbed and moaned against her shoulder.

Piper is ok. We got some text updates from her new daddies as time went by, and the last one said that her blood sugar was back where it should be and she'd gone all day with no seizures. Thinking of her having seizures brought that acute pain in my heart back with a vengeance, but after calming down I felt good to know that she seems to have come through alright.

I know that her people really love her. They've gone to great lengths to take care of her through this. I'm sure that the emergency vets went over her care in great detail so I can't imagine this will happen again. It's just been so very hard for me. This was exactly the sort of thing I worried about when I kept irrationally worrying that other people won't be able to take care of her as well as Danae and I have. If it was another dog without her special needs, it wouldn't have been nearly so hard to let her go. But I got past it and saw that she had caring people when I met them and was managing alright. But then Piper almost died and I was just a wreck.

I've been dealing with the mental fallout from that most of this week. I'm feeling anxious about all sorts of things, and to a degree that I don't usually. I don't really want to go out and do things; I just want to be at home, in my safe space, with my safe person.

But Piper is going to be ok, and next week is a new week. And yesterday, Danae and I went to meet a couple of kitties at the shelter I volunteer at and it looks like we'll be bringing one of them home with us. More on that as it happens....
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(no subject) [Apr. 2nd, 2018|09:41 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |stressedstressed]

I think I'm reacting to Piper's adoption a bit like I reacted to King (our former housemate's cat) having died. As time passes, I'm feeling it more. It helps that Piper is with people who love her, but it's so hard not to wonder if she's confused or scared, and that makes me start feeling really sad. And because she's so dependent on careful management of her health, and I know what she's like when her blood sugar crashes, I worry about how well she's being taken care of.

The latter worry is not rational, and the former is unavoidable and will slowly pass, I hope. But it's hard. If my mental stability was as low as it was a year and a half ago when I started volunteering at the shelter, I'd be a wreck. There was one night when I was lying against Danae on the couch crying my eyes out because I couldn't stop thinking about how sad, confused, and scared the German Shepherd Dog I'd just met at the shelter that night must be about being in a kennel.

I dunno. It's hard for me to articulate how I feel, or in some ways even understand how I feel myself. As I write, feelings flit butterfly-like around my brain, disappearing into the woods or changing color in patches of sun or shadow.

I want to have another animal around the house. It's so strange not having one. Danae will find a cat who she loves (and who doesn't maker her sneeze), and we will take it in and love and snuggle it. Once the kitty's settled in though, I'd really like to foster another dog. Part of me wants to say that I'd like to not have one with special medical needs like Piper because it makes it harder to trust in someone else to take care of her, but in actuality I would take one again. I know that I *can* take care of animals that can be hard to manage, and that makes me feel like I can offer something special as a foster parent.

If I had space and land, I'd foster a big energetic dog, one who's hard to place because it seems intimidating, who needs some socializing and training, and I'd spend some time helping him or her be more adoptable. I have a small condo instead of space and land, but I can still help dogs who may not be as adoptable as others. I did that with Piper and I want to do it for more dogs.

Normally cute dog pictures make me smile, but for a few days at least it'll be other things distracting me. A variable power supply kit I ordered should be there when I get home, for instance! More soldering fun to jump into!
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(no subject) [Apr. 1st, 2018|06:21 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |indescribableindescribable]

Piper was adopted yesterday by a couple who seem like they will love her and take good care of her. One said that his late husband was diabetic and he has experience administering shots. Danae and I went to visit her at her new place to bring all of her supplies and talk about her care and feeding routines.

Piper was happy to realize it was us coming into the unit, but she was ensconced on one of the men's laps and decided that that was where she wanted to stay. That makes me feel a lot better. I want so much for her to be happy and not miss us for long.

This has been pretty hard for Danae and I. I guess I don't know what to say other than that. I'm happy, but quite sad at the same time. Our home feels a lot more empty.
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General Update [Mar. 27th, 2018|07:43 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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I stayed home from work on Friday because I was feeling...I don't know. Worn out? Too anxious and depressed to feel very functional. I got ready to go that morning, then couldn't find my keys or something, and by the time I found them I was going to miss my regular train, and then I suddenly felt like I just wasn't up to dealing with things. I made the appropriate notifications and went back to bed. Then I realized that I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor at Rush that day so I'd have to go down there anyway. I drove and parked in the hospital garage after spending twenty minutes or so trying to find a parking space in the surrounding neighborhoods. The doctor got x-rays, poked and prodded, and said that my wrist seems structurally sound. He had me schedule an MRI for a deeper look. I could have waited and done it that day, but decided to go home and wait for Monday when I was at work anyway.

I had a quiet weekend mostly at home. Dee came to visit and they and Danae and I played some Overcooked together. I even went out to the new local Target to get a third game controller so we could all play. It's a silly cooking-based time management game that often involves lots of throwing food on the floor and running into each other and starting things on fire. Silly was good.

Dee also helped me troubleshoot my ESR meter a little bit and we managed to determine that my oscillator is, in fact, producing a sine wave whose amplitude can be modulated correctly by a trim pot, so that whole stage is now working as it should. It makes me so happy to, for the first time, use my scope to view a signal produced by a circuit that I built myself! I don't understand theory well enough to know why that collection of parts produces a sine wave, but I'm taking things in steps.

Danae and I also drove out to visit Posi and have dinner with him and a couple friends from Kenosha. I think that's as much being social as I've done in one weekend for a long time!

Monday started off well, though I developed a mild headache earlier in the day. At lunch, I walked over for my MRI. Being inside that softly lit, cozy tube is soothing and, as I did during my one other MRI, I ended up mostly falling asleep by the end. Still, even with the ear plugs in my ears, the noise was aggravating my head. It wasn't too bad immediately after, but by three o'clock it had progressed to a serious level of awfulness. I decided to leave my bike locked up outside and take the train because I wasn't up to riding.

Danae drove to Howard (the far north side of Chicago) to pick me up from the train so I didn't have to ride all the way into Evanston and walk home. I was late because I had my eyes closed on the train to avoid the light and was zoned out enough that I rode four stops too far on the brown line and had to go back to get the north-going purple.

Once I got home, I went to bed for the rest of the night. Danae made sure I had some dinner, and also gave me one of her Tylenol with codeine pills (OTC in Canada). Typically, I avoid taking pain meds for almost anything, but I even took another one a bit later when I still hurt. I think so anyway; my memory is fuzzy. This morning, I must have finally felt good enough around 4:30 or so that I woke up and was out of bed.

I can only remember having one headache that was worse than that one, and that was about ten years ago, and bordered on what I've read people describe as migraine-level. I don't know how people who have those regularly deal with it.

Anyway, things seem better this morning, and it looks like my bike is still at work. And the weather is warmer too. I hope the rest of the week will be better.
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Terrorism [Mar. 22nd, 2018|10:24 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

What does terrorism mean to you?

To me, it means the furtherance of an agenda related to political power via violence, but one that is not embarked upon by a nation-state. (There is some wiggle-room for state-sponsored terrorism. Nothing is black and white.)

If the meaning of terrorism is something other than that, what exactly is it? And, if that is the case, what do we call violence by non-state actors planned or committed in furtherance of a political agenda? Maybe we need to define subtypes of terrorism? For instance, political terrorism vs.... what? Disaffected terrorism? Racial terrorism? (Racist agendas, though, are often political agendas, though perhaps not always consciously so.)

Are serial killers terrorists? I'm inclined to say no, but maybe there needs to be a subtype of terrorism that includes them? Sexual terrorism (for sexually-motivated serial murderers)? It seems like we're going far afield here.

Lots of people are talking about terrorism, and many of them are disagreeing about what that means. Without shared language, communication is difficult or impossible. When two people disagree about whether something is terrorism or not, let's talk about *why* that disagreement exists and what it means, rather than trying to convince other people based on who can shout more loudly and pervasively.

In a way, this reminds me of discussions I've had about what constitutes murder vs. assassination. It's the same act in a different context.
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