Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Right Now...

I am tired.

I have stayed up too late, and I am as sleepy as I was tired of driving today. Four hours in one stretch (though stretch is a misnomer here), without leaving the car.

I am tired of the idea that mythological evil monarchs and ghosts out for revenge must be female. I am tired of a culture that has prevented me from noticing this before today.

I am tired of that jar of pasta sauce I told you not to buy. I told you I didn't like it, and I wouldn't eat it, and you assured me that you would use it when I wasn't around. But you didn't, and I'm tired of reality being misrepresented to me, and you left but that fucking jar of sauce remains.

I am tired of this body I loathe because I often pretend that it is where my value lies. I am tired of that feeling, and I am tired of my own hypocrisy because I do not place a value on other people that way. And I am tired of that feeling when one of the things I want most is for society to see other things before physical beauty anyway.

I am tired of cleaning up cat vomit, and the worry that comes with having a twelve-year-old cat who keeps vomiting. Even though I know it's her habit of eating dry food and drinking too much water, which she demands I give to her from a running faucet. And I am tired of giving in, even though I know better.

I am tired of thinking about all of the things you did. I'm tired of being annoyed at you, at being disappointed in how you decided to be, and I'm tired of thinking of you at all.

I'm tired of expressing my exhaustion with the world, when I should be asleep.

Right now, I am tired.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Construction and Deconstruction

     I was building a building for a while.  One of the other parks in my park system was getting a new office built, and I got to help frame it.  It was very cool, and I got to learn lots of things which will help me in the future.  I also got to spend time with a couple of my former coworkers and the other Park Manager... and she's basically who I'm going to be in twenty years, so that was fun.  This week, we found out that the project had run out of budget, so there's no more work this year. 

     During the summer, I was under the impression that there wouldn't be any upward mobility at my park.  It turns out that Assistant Manager is most likely not coming back, and so the position will be vacant.  But I've also already kind of committed to applying for that position at another park... so I guess I'm probably going to apply for both, and see what happens.  Regardless, there will be benefits and challenges, as always, and I still have a couple of months to dwell on it.  But one way or another, I'll have a County Parks job next year.

     I've constructed a solid friendship with one of my coworkers, much to my simultaneous delight and frustration.  I don't trust myself to accurately represent the situation with words, but suffice to say that I both enjoy our friendship and think he smells really good.

     Oh, right, and I recently turned 34. 

     The past year has been a pretty amazing one for me.  For my 33rd birthday, I went to a place I'd never been to before.  Then I:

  • Decided to see what kinds of job opportunities were available
  • Realized that I actually had the experience to do a job I'd always wanted to do
  • Applied to a job in a place I'd never been to
  • Interviewed and landed said job
  • Found a place to stay in that location
  • Spent copious amounts of time alone for the first time in years
  • Was forced to finally see many good things about myself
  • Started realizing how strong I really am
  • Was happier than I've ever been
    
     I also learned a lot more about what I do and don't want in my life, made good friends, and exercised valuable skills.  I found simultaneously more adventure and more security than I've ever had, and met my personal poly hero.  The breakup with Horus wasn't exactly a happy thing, but it ended up being the healthiest thing... After learning that he has some pretty inaccurate ideas about how things were between us, we aren't going to be friends as I'd hoped.  Frankly, when someone starts making outlandish statements that make one wonder whether they're seriously that delusional, or if they're merely trying to mess with one's head, it's hard to have any regrets about the end.

     Regrets about the middle, and even some that go back to the beginning? Definitely.  I wonder what caused me to allow so much that I would never allow if it started now.  (I mean, I actually know.  It mostly goes back to patterns learned in childhood.  But why I didn't even see it is another thing entirely.)  I never misrepresented myself, even down to having a line about not being a good match for highly emotionally sensitive people in my OKCupid profile, but the majority of our relationship included the falling away of facades Horus could no longer maintain.  I grew in positive ways, and that was a threat.  I became a more powerful, independent me, and that was treated as a subversion of his personal power.  I stopped letting him control me, and that was seen as trying to control him. 

     I wish him well, always, but he is a deeply unhealthy person who is really good at slapping bandages on crippling wounds.  And I certainly don't need that in my life.  Not when a person doesn't actually want to get better and instead passes blame.

     I probably needed this experience in some ways, though.  Every challenging moment, every difficult past, has been leading me to a much better future.  And I have a much clearer idea of the kinds of people I need in my life.

     I'm also not sure whether I actually want to seek a "forever" with anyone.  I've never really made that promise to anyone, because I think there should *always* be reasons people would be willing to end a relationship.  But there is a difference in intentionally stating that I am not seeking a forever.  I want to have experiences where we learn and grow in exciting ways.  I want to be with people who would be able to be happy for me if an amazing opportunity took me away from them.  I want to be with people who enjoy who I am, rather than an attachment to me.  I want to be with other people who renew their choices all of the time...  I want to be with people who hear me, and not their assumptions or ideas of who I should be.  I want to be with people who embrace my me-ness, even when that means it takes me away from them. 

     Ptah gives me those things, so I know it's possible.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A New Chapter.

     So Horus broke up with me.  There was a process, of course, and we'd talked about living separately for a while to reset some of our unhealthy behaviors toward each other.  But in the end, it was completely an immediate emotional decision, and unilaterally his.

     It's funny, I managed to live and have relationships up until the past year which ended sometimes by my decision, but almost always by mutual decision.  And now it's been solely someone else's decision twice, approximately a year apart.  I'm sure there was a lesson I needed to learn, and I hope I've learned it.  It doesn't matter how much benefit I can see from the end of a relationship, it doesn't matter how dumb I think the reason is, there is still some hurt.  And in my case, it's sometimes assumed by the reasonable things I'm capable of saying that there isn't any hurt. 

     Honestly, I think the assumption that I wouldn't have feelings about it probably hurts more than the actual breakup.

     Anyway, he has most of his things from the apartment now.  I'm hoping that we can have an actual friendship at some point, but I had to be gone today while he was here.  It's just a little too difficult at the moment.

**********
     In other news, I have been approved for unemployment.  So I won't have to worry about paying my bills and feeding my cats all winter.  And, Ptah landed a full-time position at his work.  So we're both doing better in a lot of ways than we have been in a long time.

     One of the benefits of currently being without romantic partners is that it will be easier for me to aim for the kind of radical relationships I believe in going forward.  But although I've had the urge to date for a while, it doesn't seem terribly wise to pursue that option fresh on the heels of a breakup.  Even though I have the situation reasonably handled, there may be challenging feelings I haven't gotten around to yet.  And I know how most people perceive dating shortly after a breakup.  It's a little different with poly people, but still...

     Anyway, there has been a lot of change in my life lately, but it's mostly been good.  And I'm really coming to like the me that I've been forging.  To the future we go.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Falling Into Stasis.

     I'm done with work for the season, I'm looking for fall and winter work, and I've filed for unemployment.  I truly loved my work, and I plan to return next year, but for now, I need to find something else to do.  I don't like not working!

     In addition to all of the obvious benefits of the job at the park, like learning new skills, doing something I found fulfilling and enjoyable, and earning more than I'd ever earned before, there have been several ancillary benefits:

-I've never worked enough hours to claim unemployment during the slow months before.  That bit of security is a *huge* deal. 
-I've never had three coworkers to use for professional references before, and now I do.
-I feel more confident in my capabilities.
-I made friends at my job.
-I learned that I *can* actually handle interacting with the public, at least when we have a shared love of public spaces.
-I learned to be alone again.

     All in all, the past several months have been a transformative experience for me.  I'm well aware that next year will not be the same, but I still look forward to going back.  And in the meantime, I look forward to utilizing my free time... if only I can get myself moving again.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Neuro Logy.

     I like to say that people are systems with known, and often predictable, responses.  I believe this to be true, and the majority of the internal data I've collected through the years helps me to make assessments on what people are likely to do, how they are likely to feel, and the reasoning behind their feelings and actions.

     This does not mean that I understand human emotions on an intrinsic level. 

     I don't.  I tried to figure out how to figure out human emotions via cause and effect precisely because I am not equipped to inherently grasp the emotional human experience.  Horus sometimes says things like "any reasonable person would know that would be hurtful." or "any reasonable person would feel the way I feel about this."  I am clearly not "any reasonable person," and I generally don't understand how he can even make those statements.  I can't extrapolate everything through data, ya know?  But just so we're clear:

     I AM NOT ANY REASONABLE PERSON.  And it's probably best to stop expecting me to be one.

**********

     I'm also a pretty highly empathic person.  This might seem counterintuitive, but I suspect that it's actually easier to feel the emotions around you when you aren't terribly busy having emotions of your own.  I know that when I *am* in an emotional state, I get very wrapped up in what I'm feeling, and don't notice much of what's going on around me.  But most of the time? I notice things.  I know that my boss and his wife were having a conflict over something recently, even though I saw and heard no actual evidence of such.  I know that my coworker is afraid that she'll lose the happiness she's found, even while she's talking about how fantastic her relationship is.  I know that Horus has some trepidation about a facet of my life he shouldn't have any trepidation about, even though he's taken care to not bring it up.  I know that Ptah is doing his best to not show me how much my considerable absence actually affects him, and also that he's handling it better now than he was a month ago.

     Sometimes I have to remind myself to give people their privacy, and not mention the things that I know, but which they do not tell me.  And other times, I'm completely oblivious to the emotional landscapes of others, when they think it should be obvious to me.

     When people are tense and angry around me, I have a hard time functioning.  Especially if I don't know why they are tense and angry, which often leads to assumptions that they must be angry at me.  This is partly my nature, but also partly the history of growing up in environments where there was a lot of tension and anger, and I was powerless to do anything about it.  I can't listen to aggressive music, as I feel threatened by most of it.  Sexual tension (and even aggression, as long as it doesn't veer into violent territory) in music, however, is something I can enjoy because I've enjoyed it in real life.  I prefer my movies and television shows to be light-hearted or profound, and have well-made characters which are believable against the backdrop of everything I've learned about human hearts and brains.

     When a character on the screen is cold, I shiver.

**********

     I don't know my own feelings much of the time.  I generally have to think, and sometimes talk, things out in order to figure out how I feel about a person or situation.  I get frustrated when my feelings don't follow a logic.

     Sometimes I marvel that I've been able to maintain any relationships at all.  I know that I can be good for people, but I also know that I can be extremely difficult to be with at times.  I've mostly gotten over the urge to break things when I feel strong negative emotions, at least.  When I was a child, I'd semi-regularly destroy things, and it got to the point where the best advice my parents could get was to shut me in my bedroom and just make sure I didn't hurt myself when I flew into a rage.  They gave me pills... I don't know what they were, but I can vividly remember what they tasted like.

     I gave up on trying to be normal some years ago, and started embracing the individuality within myself and others.  But in my teen years and early twenties, I spent a lot of time miserable over my lack of ability to be "normal."  The funny thing is, becoming more comfortable in my lack of normalcy has coincided with my ability to hack social scenes, and understand people better.  So as I have become better able to fit in, my desire to do so has gone away.  And now I don't even know why I ever wanted normalcy.

**********

     I could go on and on about myself: how I work, and why I work that way is something I constantly study. 

     I've long held the belief that I wasn't exactly a good example of a neurotypical person.  I've done a fair amount of study on Autism and related subjects, particularly when Thoth tried to say that he probably had Asperger's to avoid being an active participant in our relationship.  I didn't particularly buy that, as he liked lying and saw no problem with it, and generally fit the traits of someone with some social anxiety and a sense of entitlement better.  Anyway, I was reading about Asperger's Syndrome again recently, in part because I was curious how the DSM-V handled blending it in with generalized Autism Spectrum Disorder.

     In case one is curious, most of the rest of the world is leaving Asperger's separate from the general Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Also in case you're curious, I've never particularly seen Asperger's as a problem, so much as a different but valid way of operating.  One that society in general can use to help hold a more functional society, because it can't all be about social constructs... we'd never get anything done if it was! So the DSM is only vaguely interesting to me in the first place.

     However, in my reading, I stumbled upon a page that mentioned the differences between the way Asperger's presented in women and men.  The majority of the studies done have been with predominately male subjects, and there has historically very little perception that Asperger's is a thing women can actually have.

     So imagine my surprise when I opened a website all about Aspie women, and started reading a list of traits I possess.  Everything from my distaste for gender expectations, to my fondness for soft fabrics, to the fact that I find haircare tedious, to my empathic nature was in there.  It took me a week to process the idea that I might not be a bizarre snowflake, but a textbook case of something.  Or at least, would be if the textbook had been printed.

     I still haven't exactly decided how I feel about it.  But I know it would explain a lot, including how I'm not "any reasonable person," no matter how hard I try.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Right now...

Right now, I am trying to take a nap. But first, I intend to send an email.  Which requires hunting down a link. Which means loading a website with very little signal.

My entire day has been like that, only with physically demanding tasks.

Which is probably why I need a nap.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Older Enough

I cannot wait for the day,
When I am older enough and grey.
When I no longer put up with stupid crap,
Stop plucking hairs,
And grow a fine mustache.

I'm sure I'll still be round and busty,
Empathic, generous and lusty.
I'll release myself from bodily cares,
And I may even
Let you see my ridiculous chest hairs.

Maybe then I'll take to dresses,
With fine mustache and keep them in guesses.
I will not permit any shame,
For this body I hold,
When I am older enough and grey.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm Sorry You Guys, but I Love My Job.

     My job at the park is going really well.  We have a good team of people, with complementary skills and personalities.  All of us are able to feel valuable and appreciated.  The park itself looks better than it has in years, from what I understand, and our more remote parks are also doing well. 

     There are some challenges involved in working in an environment which is removed from the administrative people who make a lot of the decisions, but there are also many benefits.  And all of us in the park are more suited to more immediate responsibility and less oversight.  All in all, I truly feel that I have found my calling.  I want to continue in public parks, and someday manage one myself.  I know I have the skills needed, so now I just need the experience. 

     The Manager and Assistant Manager at my park aren't going anywhere for *years* and so there won't really be any positions available for me to move up into in the future.  So, I'll work there this year, and probably another year or two, before moving along to somewhere else I can gain new experience and hopefully move up the ladder another rung.

     It's funny, I never thought I would aim for a career, or have career goals, but I finally do.  At 33.

     I still want to homestead.  Growing food is still something I find valuable and fulfilling, and I still want chickens and goats and to build my own life.  But in the meantime, there is something I find valuable and fulfilling, and can help me form a better future. 

     I'm sorry you guys, but I love my job.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Memory.

     In my late teens, I helped put on concerts by local, mostly punk, bands.  Our awesomest show was actually a benefit for the local Planned Parenthood, and we were able to donate $1500 after costs and small payments to the bands.  We had a bunch of bands, mostly local, though a band named Charmless, from California, came up to play.  I occasionally get one one of their songs stuck in my head, 14 or 15 years later.

    We held the show in a pretty rural area, and called it StickStock, by the way.

     I'm sure it's mostly due to the pattern-seeking behavior that comes so naturally to the human brain, but between wildfires, meeting a recent transplant from the state, and talking about the times I went to California, it's been in my mind.  And because one of the other bands that played StickStock was former Seattle indie band Peter Parker, their song Goldenstate has also been swirling around in my brain, and led to those punk show memories, in a vortex of Californianess.

     Peter Parker's album Migliore! is here, along with the song I'm referencing.  I used to absolutely LOVE this album:
http://www.last.fm/music/Peter+Parker/Migliore!

Monday, May 5, 2014

If I May...


I am spending a lot of time on ferries lately, though not as much as I thought I would be.  My third day of work at the new job, I serendipitously met someone who had a part-time living solution for me. 


My keyring.  I even have a few more keys now than I did when this picture was taken.


I really like the ferry windows for framing photos.


I took the sunset sailing back from Lopez Island a couple of times.  It was pretty darned lovely.


Rainbow from the apartment porch.  It's interesting living partly in an apartment in the middle of a small city, and partly in a rustic structure on a sparsely inhabited island.  I really enjoy both things, so it's actually very nice for me.


Lovely clouds.


One of the downsides of the sparsely populated island, reachable only by air or sea.  I try to buy gas before I get on the island.  Well, I mean, my apartment home is also on an island, but Whidbey is reachable by road.  And even if one chooses to take a ferry, it's a much shorter and cheaper sailing.


The view from my bed at my second home.  It's been dubbed The Mud Hut, by the owners.  They're happy to have someone staying there, and I'm happy to stay there in exchange for an average of a few hours of labor per week.


The outhouse.  I told you it was rustic.


The main door in.  Though the giant sliding glass door/window wall also opens.


Seriously, when was the last time you even saw a gas pump like this?


Tulips, of course.


Apparently, this is called a Pheasant's Eye.  They weren't at the house last year, and I don't remember planting them specifically, but we did plant some mysterious bulbs in the fall.  So these were probably some of those mysterious bulbs.  Leaving the house is still sad.  And stressful, in fact, as we are still not quite done.  It's almost 10pm, and the guys are moving stuff from there as I type.  I had to sit the evening out, as working two jobs and never getting two days off in a row is really getting to me.


I wish I could intentionally slow down a bit, instead of operating at maximum output until I crash. 


One of the parks on Lopez Island has a few of these old, mossy paths and picnic tables.


And last, but not least, lilacs given to me by the owners of The Mud Hut.  They're such nice people.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I GOT THE JOB!!!

     So we get the keys to the apartment on April 9th, and my first day on the new job is April 10th.  The new job is a Park Aide position with San Juan County, and will be based on Lopez Island.  I've long thought it would be really great to work in public parks, but didn't know or believe that it would actually be a possibility until recently.  I'm really excited to start on an actual career path doing something I would enjoy and believe in.

     When I went for the interview, Horus and I camped at the park where I would be working, and did some exploring of the island. 




Exiting the ferry.  Commuting to this new job will be a time and money investment, but the experience will definitely be worth it, and lead to even better job opportunities in the future.


Red currant bush.  There is also a lot of black currant growing on Lopez Island.  I look forward to the foraging opportunities.


It is a place of rocks and moss, and blue-green water. 


The park actually has a very nice beach, especially by Washington standards.


 Part of the campsite where we stayed.


Azalea in bloom.


Random wild daffodils.  Daffodils are definitely one of my favorite flowers.


So many different plants in such a small space. 


This dock is just falling apart.  I'm guessing there isn't much that can be legally done with it, now that the area is a nature preserve.  And the sunken dock will make a good habitat for many creatures.


 This came out looking like a postcard, didn't it?


Back at the campground.


Rainbow Trail, at Lopez Hill Preserve.


I don't like to eat fungus, but I sure do like to photograph it.


The cutest outhouse I've ever seen, at Agate Beach Park.  Most of the public bathrooms we saw were vault toilets.  The San Juan Islands are very conscious of resource use, because of very clearly having limited resources.  All of the drinking water on the island comes from rain, and many people have rain catchment systems at their houses.


Lunch break at Agate Beach Park.


The food establishment at the ferry dock.  It wasn't open when we were there, but I liked the logo.


I waited for a ferry to come in to be able to take this picture.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Small Update, and some photos.

     First, the "where to live?" question has been answered.  We were approved for an apartment.  In fact, it is an apartment where I lived before, and one of the few places I've lived that I would even consider going back to.  It has an extensive south-facing porch, where we should be able to grow some food in pots, and it is within walking distance from Ptah's workplace.  We should be able to save a lot of money, which will be helpful for creating a better future.

     I have a job interview in a few days for a potentially life-changing opportunity.  It will look really good on my resume, anyway.

     We might be able to get a plot in a community garden for the main gardening season.  It only runs from April through October... which drives me nuts, as an all-season gardener, but is better than not being able to grow at all.  Horus found a storage solution for our building materials and such, which will also give him a place to have a shop and work on his welding and smithing.

     I'm sure I'll have more to say after the interview, but for now, I have a few pictures from an adventure on Ptah's birthday, and a couple other random outings.




































Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Smell of Spring.

Melancholy strikes.

     It is time to start some of the vegetables we like to grow.  The garlic, planted in the beds last fall, is starting to come up.  Some seeds I scattered in the fall are also making an appearance.  Flower bulbs we planted around the yard are coming up.  It's a lovely spring day in my yard, and I'd like to get started out there, but there really isn't a point, so I'm in here typing instead.  We haven't found a new place to live yet, and don't know if we'll be able to garden where we end up living, so starting plants seems pointless. 

     The Fundly campaign is up to a hundred bucks, but only because I supplemented it with money from my income tax return.  My mom, who was supposed to be sharing the campaign with family members, has let me down yet again.  I got a "not interested" letter from the job I most wanted... but I do have yet to hear back from several more.

     Horus and I went camping last Friday, the day before a winter storm came to the area.  It was cold, but good, and I left feeling a little freer, but also envying the job of the park caretaker.  I have two goals, really: One is to have a homestead and be self-sufficient as possible, and the other is to have a year-round job in a park.  These are not necessarily incompatible, especially with other people to help me accomplish the first.  As for the second, all of the jobs I've been applying for would get me more solid experience with which to land a job like that.

     I'm trying to make a better life, really I am.

********************

Of course, I have a few pictures from camping to share with you. 


Firelight.


Friday night, we walked around and took pictures by flashlight.


This was probably my favorite.


Breakfast Saturday morning.  There was a bit of snow mixed in the rain, but I managed to roast some pasilla peppers to go with the rest of our meal.


One of the trails down to the Dungeness Spit area.


From the bottom of the trail, and the very beginning of the spit.


Stack of rocks.  Horus contributed the top rock.


Starfish.  Also, there were lots of cool rocks on the spit.  Several types that we're not used to seeing, and lots with interesting colors.


View through a driftwood log.


A bench we saw on the way back up.