Thursday, November 17, 2016

Abstinence

After a Summer of following every joy that came to mind, I have found that bliss is a bit overrated.  I realized that my search for all things joyful was being fuelled by a need for distraction.  Generally, I was not self-destructive, however there were choices that I made that, if facing the same ones today, I would choose differently. I learned about boundaries, my own limits.  I danced. I made art. I made memories. I embraced chaos and created some of my own.

Towards the end of the Summer, breathless and spent, I began to truly understand that I can plan ahead more than a few weeks.  Not only in activities, but in relationships as well.  My illness was not going to suddenly sweep in and rip my legs out from under me again.  My romantic relationships need not be whirlwinds of swirling insecurity pulling in while my fierce need of independence chased behind.  I could start building real relationships with the people around me with a feeling of safety and longevity.  I became relationship based in my goals.  I remembered that feeling of family, that my children and I felt when we moved to the shelter and the chaos was shut out. I wanted to expand that feeling to include many of the people in my life.

Peace is an inside job.  It really is.  So I looked at what desires were creating chaos in my life. Sex. That was the main one, way too much of my mental energy was spent on sex.  Alcohol, though I rarely drank more than a beer during a night out, made me feel irritable and anxious the next day.  Caffeine, same thing.  My diet had become unhealthy as well, lots of fast food.  It was time to give these things up completely, a fast of sorts, or a cleansing of the palette, if you will.

It has been 3 weeks of no sexual acts of any kind, no alcohol and I just finished weaning myself off caffeine completely 3 days ago.  I've cut out gluten and nitrates as well as other high histamine foods as a way to see which foods could be triggering my headaches.

You'd think I'd be fucking miserable.

I feel great.  I feel like I am more able to deal with stress, or perhaps it's best to say: I find less things stressful in general.  I'm calmer with my kids and I really do enjoy my time with them more.  I can feel myself growing spiritually.  I am learning how to be happy without anything beyond just having the people I care about around me.

For example, Halloween, I had vertigo so bad I had to have a bucket beside me incase I puked.  It was 3 good friends and I sitting around playing radio BINGO.  I felt genuinely happy the whole time.  My head hurt and the room was spinning. I didn't affect my mood negatively in the slightest.  I found I could separate my physical from my emotional because lessening my distractions helped me become more self-aware.  There is also something I find incredibly empowering about taking control of something that used to take control of me.

I'm not sure how long I am going to continue abstaining, but for the time being it's working for me.  It  may be challenging to do research for my sex blog, then bring my mindset back to that of celibacy. I think I am up for it though.




Friday, October 28, 2016

Warmth

Snow has blanketed everything.  There's an excitement in my chest, there's an anxiety as well.  I feel like I have so much to make up for.  Last year our Solstice was a success, we were sponsored by another family through the food bank and under the tree looked as full as it did before I was a lone parent.  Our house was bustling with family and friends coming in and out. However there was a bumpy few weeks ahead of time where some serious healing needed to be done around past holidays. Jack shared with me his heartbreaking experience of how his father told him there was no Santa.

I know that taking on the responsibility of another's feelings is not only damaging, it's futile.  It makes it hard for them to express their feelings around you.  So I'm not going to go out of my way to make this the best Solstice ever.  I'm simply going to love them.  I'm going to love my friends, my family. I'm not giving a lot of gifts, but I will give them the gift of peace and safety.  I'm going to prepare an environment of warmth and comfort by emanating those things from myself.  I will love them by loving myself.  I will let them see what a gift a loving community is. Also there will be food because food=love and I love food.

Over the last year the most beautiful group of people have come into our lives.  My friendships have deepened and family reunited.  I finally feel worthy of the amazing people in my life. Bless you all and see you at Solstice!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Peace

When we moved to the shelter, we were told it was a violence-free zone.  No violent tv shows, no violent videos and certainly no violence allowed between the families staying there.  I figured this was to stop women who were victims of physical violence from being triggered, but it was more than that.

The place had a quiet about it. The fridge hummed and the tv babbled in the background.  The doors opening and shutting echoed in the hallways.  Even shared dinners with all the kids we spoke softly to one another.  We were careful with our words.  We were careful with each other. No one asked why the other one was there. There was a respect, an understanding.

I didn't realize how much living in an environment like this would affect how I lived my life for months to come.  I had not expected this particular outcome:  I became sensitive to violence again, in all of it's forms.  In that I was able to recognize what is not acceptable because I knew now living without violence is possible.  The contrast between nonviolent and violent behaviour became more distinct.  I could point it out and say: No. This is not okay. I will not accept this in my life. It made drawing boundaries easier, it made enforcing them easier as well.  I had a taste of the good life and anything else felt like hell.

Life got stressful, and because I was not taking proper care of myself, I allowed myself to fall back into a habit that I find is violent.  I began to yell at my children again. For the first few months after leaving the shelter I didn't yell at all, we talked everything out and I found alternative/non-violent  ways to get my children to pay attention.  But here I was, in that pattern that seems easy at the time but leads to guilt and fear down the road.
One day I found myself yelling at my son after finding out he had lost his lunch bag, got in trouble at school, didn't finish his work and lost his pencils and erasers.  Then I hugged him right afterwards and remembered how good that peace felt.  I decided that once again we would be a violence free home.

Violence free doesn't mean stuffing down your anger. It means using coping techniques, but more so it means building your relationship with your family.  Talk to them, find out what they are going through, play games with them, laugh and blow off steam that way. It gets easier as time goes on.

So, here's once again, a thank you to the Women's Shelter.  Your support and positive influence continues to improve my family's life even to this day.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Step Up

I'm trying to think of an analogy for my guy friends to understand what it feels like to be harassed by a male in a bar.  Okay, so imagine there's this guy, he's at least twice your size. As soon as you walk in to the bar, he looks you up and down, he's sizing you up.  He's got this look in his eyes, this look that says, "You and me, we'll be taking this outside later."  For some reason this guy has it out for you specifically.  You wonder if it was something you wore. Is your t-shirt offensive? But you're out with your buddies to have a good time,so you shrug it off.

You are standing at the bar waiting to order your drink, the big guy comes up behind you and stands uncomfortably close, orders a drink over your head then bumps into you with his body.  You don't turn to look at him because you know this will just invite more interaction and you just want to get your drink and sit down at the booth.

You are trying to enjoy the conversation with your friends, but this guy keeps shooting you looks.  You have to take a piss, but you are pretty sure he will follow you to the bathroom and try to start something.  So you sit in the booth uncomfortable, trying to ignore him and your bladder.

The guy starts walking towards your table. You get this sinking feeling in your gut.  He makes jokes with your friends, they seem to like him and now you feel like you have less support.  Then he leans into you and jabs you in the side, laughing.  He messes with your hair, tries to give you a bear hug. Basically he is proving to you that he can do whatever he wants to you. The whole time you are pushing against him, but you are worried if you really take a stand it will get violent and then you'd be in some serious trouble.  This guy could break you.  So you take it and try to make light of it, humiliating as it is.  Then when he finally has to take a piss you excuse yourself, pay your tab as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there.

Now add to this fear of physical pain, the knowledge that this man wants to shove his dick up your ass to pleasure himself. Welcome to the world of the average woman being harassed at the bar.  So please,  if you see a man disrespecting a woman's boundaries, instead of avoiding interfering out of fear of it becoming a nasty situation, realize it is already a nasty situation for her.  Step-up and you guys who are watching a guy step up for a woman who is being harassed, you step up too.  Because this isn't between two men fighting over a woman, this is about behaviour towards women that we should not accept in our society.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm Doing It!

Where to start...

I get into relationships quickly, I click with someone and I just feel this "thing".  That "thing" I feel takes over my common sense. It's like I don't hear what they are telling me,  I just interpret it to fit my imagined idea of who they must be in order to feel this "thing" I feel.   Sometimes I'm dealing with other stuff and my insecurities colour my view of what is going on.  Mostly though, I fall in love with the feeling of the "thing" and not the person themselves.  I will ignore signs that it might not work out. I will be the best girlfriend ever.  I would make that person feel like they are the most important thing in my life.  Though, really it's maintaining the feeling of the "thing" that was most important.  My partner would feel loved, adored even, but when they did something to disrupt my view of the "thing".  I would get annoyed and frustrated.  I was in love with the feeling of love. Not the person themselves.  This didn't happen in all of my relationships, mostly just the ones I entered not feeling whole.  Sometimes it started out with me loving the "thing" then moved past into loving the person, but not without struggle. I have a great imagination, and who I imagine people to be can be very hard to live up to.

I love romance and dating.  I love the idea of going out with someone and knowing there is something there still not acted on.  However, I rarely make it past the second date.  I need spark.  I look for the "thing".  I've come to realize the "thing" is a mixture of hormones and traits I find sexually attractive and don't necessarily make for good long term relationships.  The "thing" is further intensified by every fantasy I choose to focus on about this person when we are not around each other. In other words it's not truly reality, and it's not fair to the person I am dating.  Lust is a large part of the "thing" and lust is a good thing, but I recently found that when I take that aspect out, it's easier for me to truly love someone.  By that I mean unconditionally love them.  To want them to do what they feel is best for themselves because there is no "thing" for their choices to interfere with.

I met this woman.  She is beautiful and cool and smart and... I want to hang out with her.  I want to get to know her slowly. For the first time in a while I really understand that the feeling I have around someone, is not necessarily who they are. When she texts I feel a genuine warmth in my chest, when she doesn't I'm not disappointed.  I don't hesitate to contact her if I have something I want to share, there are no communication games or rules that I'm basing that on. There's no pressure on either of us. The urgency of the "thing" isn't there.  I'm in no rush.  In fact, tonight as I planned what I was going to buy for food to bring to her house on Wednesday night, I paused and asked myself:  Do I want more than friendship?

Yes.

Am I ready though?

I didn't ask myself this because I was afraid of getting hurt (which is my usual motive behind that question). It was because I didn't want to hurt her.  I didn't want to start something with her that I couldn't emotionally commit to and create something negative in the future for us both (Some of my readers who are also close friends will see the dual lesson in this).  This time it's not about me, or the "thing" or loneliness.  This time it's about the opportunity to  build something worthwhile, there's potential for an actual healthy relationship with interdependence vs co-dependence. This is territory I haven't explored for a long time.  I may just stand at the edge for a while.




Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fear Dressed In Wisdom's Clothing

I have this friend, we meet for coffee and talk for hours.  I always always leave those conversations with massive lessons.  This one was huge.  I wrote a blog post months ago about being a lone parent. I was very much in the mindframe of never wanting a romantic partner involved with my children. I thought this stance was practical and pragmatic....Funny, how we can dress fear in a costume we call wisdom.

I was scared, angry and devoid of hope.  I'd rather go without the warm feelings of sharing my family with someone I care about romantically then risk letting someone in who could hurt them.  I never thought of how fucking selfish it would be to not let this person be involved in such a huge part of my life.  To expect them to forgo the hope of feeling like a family with me, to keep them at a distance and to only share the small part of me that exists between bedtimes, wake times and mommy days.  I didn't realize that this is only a partial relationship, a stepping stone with nowhere further for my partner to step.  Even the word "partner" can't apply.  I couldn't see that.  I couldn't see a future with anything beyond a boyfriend/girlfriend in it and with that, I couldn't see the true validity of their concerns for the future.  I simply didn't see my children as a factor in my relationships, because I didn't want the worlds to mix.  Yeah, they may run into each other occasionally, but no plans together, no dinners or outings.  My children were MINE and my ex's, no one else need be involved.

I'm still not looking for a co-parent, but I'm no longer closed to the idea of someone I care about becoming involved with my children (slowly) after a substantial amount of time seeing each other. I can see now how this mindframe held me back in many ways.  Here I am, nearly six months from a point at which I thought I was ready for a relationship, realizing how much I wasn't.  I feel like I'm ready for one now... We'll see if the woman I am in 6 months agrees.




Monday, September 26, 2016

Purge

I got the family iPad when I left. My mother paid for half, we paid for the other.  I took a dive financially for it, but whatever, I needed it for business and communication. Problem is it's in my ex's name and iTunes account.  Although I can get into my iTunes for music, I can't update a damn thing without his password.  Every time an update would pop up I'd see his Apple id and I'd feel nauseous and/or anxious.

So today I am transferring my favourite photos, videos and documents to a new computer, then wiping this one clean and staring fresh on my iTunes account.  This is pretty much the last tie between us, and I would have done it earlier but my little computer is dying and couldn't take the load.  Thankfully, my mother and father gave me a gently used lap top with plenty of memory space.

So here's to a fresh start.