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on dating yourself
Tuesday. 6.4.13 12:42 am
"If you're not dating yourself," I told him, leaning against the opposite wall, "you're doing it wrong."

He looked at me like I was crazy. He, the person who just told me that going to the beach alone and relaxing was "weird." The person who told me he never considers enjoying a night filled with solo pampering.

This is not a woman thing. This is a human thing. Love yourself, date yourself.

I've been doing that. I spend time with my friends often, and really enjoy my day, but then I make sure to come home and check in with me. It's a growing thing. A lot of body positivity has come from it; just like falling for anyone else, I'm suddenly finding the peculiar, disproportional largeness of my hips to be endearing, rather than aggravating and disheartening. They've even started to become...my favorite body part on myself. I'm starting to love other people a lot more, too. Out of nowhere, the other day, I saw a photo of an old friend I'd lost touch with, on Facebook, and on a whim messaged him to tell him I was happy that he seemed so happy and in his element, in his new town. We're having coffee and catching up, this weekend. Sweetness is contagious and a reward in itself.

Funny how I embarked on this journey to loving myself, and how, after a while, it's entirely perpetual.

One week after a rather emotional loss of trust (the usual for me, someone who doesn't trust easily), I decided to lay it all down again and message someone who was giving me mixed signals, to tell him I was back in town. Today, I found out that he's quite glad, and we're getting together, later this month. Tonight, one of my very closest friends on this earth asked me to trust him not to do something that was really spooking me, and I just agreed to it. My mind was swirling with all the possibilities. "Make it worth my trust." "Should I trust you?" "Do you promise?"

Instead, I just agreed. Brain, shut up. Either he messes up or he doesn't. Whichever way this goes, just give him the dagum trust.

And hey, that's new. It's constantly new. These days, it feels like I'm constantly rediscovering myself.

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proper lane change
Saturday. 5.25.13 1:14 am

I think the big difference between now and before is that, before, I would have felt the flags going up and done nothing. Now, when someone doesn't seem right, when they hurt me, when they don't want what I want, I tell them and I make sure it's fixed and that I'm where I want to be...or entirely without them, in some cases. I lived with the same burden for two years, and it cast a freezing shadow over what could have, otherwise, been a passionately academic and exciting friendship. Now that whole world is dark.

I'm not going through that again.

There are people in my life that I'm unhappy with, and it isn't their fault. This is the cost of silence--disappointment. I let people push themselves into parts of my life, where I don't want them, and I let them get comfortable--or, conversely, I let them stay put, just wishing they would move forward. I let people say things that hurt me, rather than risking telling them who I am and why I don't want to hear those things. If you don't communicate and ask for what you want, it 100% won't be on your terms, when you receive what people are willing to give. There's a difference between neutral and passive.

The fact that I'm passive is new to me, but probably ancient news to everyone else. I never saw it, but it's this huge, malignant aspect of my personality, when it comes to relationships, and I don't want to live like that, anymore.

Initiate the conversation. Set the mood for the discourse. Be the first to express expectations, and express them honestly. Approach problems as they arise. Engage.

We made fun of the whole "sit in the front row of your life" thing, but now I'm starting to wonder whether I'm actually at the wheel in my life, or if I'm subject to a string of chauffeurs in my place.

Keep changing, says my brain.

You've still got a ways to go.

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Saturday. 5.11.13 9:55 pm

It's day five and they tell us to pair off with someone with whom we've connected on a deeper level, and to take a walk and talk about our goals. I mention aloud that I have no idea who to partner with, and the person beside me suggests we just go ahead and partner up. We've really just met for the first time, and it's great timing, because I've just seen a major change in myself.

We walk down the gravel road to a dock on the water, and he leads me through the tall grass to a bench that looks over the lake, and it's so incredible and peaceful that we lose time and end up nearly missing our next session. I pour my soul out about some things. It feels normal. It isn't.

That night, we spend a good amount of time together with everyone else, playing games, dancing, talking outside in the late summer chill...and, walking back to our cabins, we make a pact to get up before everyone else and go for a run, which turns out to be a long walk that I wish could take even longer. We end up leaving off around 7:20 to shower and get ready for breakfast, and then sit together while he sips at coffee--cream and sugar, by the looks--and I munch on fruit and some dry French toast.

This week changed me, and it was entirely not because of this person. We met on the fifth day, after I'd already become someone entirely different, so he doesn't even know old me. I feel like my body is twenty-one but my mind has just been born.

I cry at graduation, with about sixty people I met less than a week ago. We have five families, each of which have spent so much time together, really talking and being honest with one another, that it feels completely normal to say that we love each other. When our family leader has us up at the front with him, he tells us in front of everyone--voice cracking--that we filled an enormous void in his heart, and we circle around him right then and there, all eleven of us, arms around each other, and we just cry in front of everyone, and they're crying too, and it's all so euphoric and honest. I'm halfway between a laugh and a sob the entire time.

The ride home is quiet and introspective. Clif and I are in the front seat, across the row from someone with whom I originally thought I might end up forming something romantic. He lays down in my lap and rests his eyes, and it doesn't occur to me until later that, before this week, that wouldn't have been something I would offer--and that, before this week, my mind would have been on the other person, rather than the open soul resting in my lap.

I think I relearned humanity and vulnerability, this week. It's so hard--after living through years of rejection, half truths, complete lies--to put myself out there and just let people see me in my entirety, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do that, and that people just...were. They didn't place judgement on one another, they didn't express hate...it was just all peace and appreciation.

I told Andrew, who was sitting behind us, that he should just trust that people are being sincere. He was texting someone he just met and really found interest in, after having a hard night of serious doubt about reciprocation. Clif nodded emphatically, but he doesn't see things through my lens, so he can't possibly know how ridiculously new this all is to me. I've never before told anyone to trust that others are sincere. I've never trusted in that.

On top of all these amazing, new things, I scraped my knee for the first time since I was probably seven. I wrestled with people, and laughed until I was crying, and didn't feel any need to impress anyone. I have a bruise the size of my forearm on my leg from being boosted over a twelve foot high wall, and several people told me it was beautiful and that it looked like outer space.

So it goes.

I'm not releasing my grasp on this new trust in people, so I hope you're ready for my honesty.

And I'm so ready to get back into town after California and see him again.

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only because apparently this puts me in good graces
Tuesday. 4.30.13 10:25 pm

Since I'm going on a retreat on the 6th and not coming back for a week, then taking like THREE DAYS before heading to California for a week, I'll update now.


Nothing is new, really. I've been having a stressful day--like, the type of day where my eye starts twitching during a meeting because people are that terrible and aggravating. I had to use all the will in me, today, to keep myself from pulling a guy's trachea out through his anus because he kept making jokes that trivialized the situations women are actually put in on a regular basis.

So there's one more professionalism session I'll have to bring to a club that shouldn't need it. He was jokingly complaining about how we only have one guy on the board... Well, mate, you're really giving us a great reason to reduce that population even more.

I saw my ex-boyfriend, yesterday, and I think he made an attempt to smile at me. I had many things I wanted to say. Namely, "Don't try to push your horny repentance on me; I don't want to look at you, much less feel obligated to smile at you. You're not coming back into my life, not even as a three-episode guest star."

If you leave, stay gone. If I ask you to leave, stay gone. After either point, I don't want you back without a big old "I was wrong and here's how and here's what I've done to change."

Without all that, I'm just getting back into my same shitty situations, and that just isn't me, anymore. I don't know why it ever was. I guess I was afraid of what it would feel like to cut someone out.

--For the record, liberating. Liberating is how it feels.

I'm excited for the retreat I'm going on in a few days. At the meeting, I looked around, found some friends to sit with, then saw this guy I've been admiring from afar after he called out and waved to me--so, he's going, too, which is exciting, since we'll be out in cabins for a week. Kind of rustic romantic. I hope. Unless my giant gay antelope keeps making jokes about the two of us going out into the woods and making out. And then it will probably not be rustic romantic.

Weird how, at this age, you make the closest friends by threatening to kiss them BUT NOT ACTUALLY KISSING THEM because that is not friendship.

BECAUSE THAT IS NOT FRIENDSHIP, she screams at her past.

But anyway yes, here I am turning my leadership training into a romantic comedy. Watch me go.

I accidentally spoke French during my Spanish oral. Twice. She asked about changing my last name after marriage, and I gave her my usual spiel (just in Spanish)--it's weird how women fundamentally change where men don't, with marriage. I mean dude, "Mr." was originally the abbreviation for "master," and "Mrs." the abbreviation for "mistress." A LITTLE OLD FASHIONED?

I don't like my last name at all. It's traditional Irish, which typically means it sounds like something icky (like Doherty--sounds like a word you could use to describe your spit) or a bar (but really we were famously drunk long before they started naming bars after us), so I'm not exactly loving it. But I'd rather keep it than change so fundamentally. It's all about equality. I'm hoping that, if someone ever proposes to me, we're both standing and looking each other right in the eyes.

I'm not here to tell you how to do your marriage stuff. I don't care how other people do it. Some people enjoy the tradition. Some people don't have the same priorities that I do. That doesn't mean I'm wrong, and that doesn't mean they're wrong, but when people try to convince me to be less strict about my own beliefs and principles, it's half past time to fuck off. I get that a lot. "But it's just your last name." No. "What if your husband really wanted you to--" Spouse, first off, and second, I really want whoever I marry to be cool with me riding a motorcycle, but that doesn't mean it will happen AND it shouldn't be something that ruins an otherwise solid marriage. Also, maybe I want my spouse to change his/her name (I don't, but). Ever think about that? Well THINK about it. Quietly. Over there. "You might change your mind when--" Yes, obviously, thank you for your input.

I'm all good with people asking questions. "What would happen if you married someone and it was extremely important to them that you changed your last name?" for instance. Valid question, but kind of invalid, when you think about it, because I definitely don't attract that type, with my rampant feminism and aggressive activism.

I feel like, usually, when the person you're marrying is known for, oh, I don't know, immediately responding to "We all count" with "WE WILL NOT BE ERASED," and telling men to get out of her house when they try to use offensive sexist terms, you already know what you're getting into.

And it probably kind of turns you on.

Anyway, that's that. Don't marginalize minorities or be a sexist poop this week okay? Also stay away from the mindset that activists are too over-the-top, because really, friends, everyone under that top is doing jack shit for the movement and it's never an easy battle.

Oh and the person I'm admiring from afar shared some knowledge, on Facebook, this week, that I was especially happy about (in fact, one may say that I freaked out on seeing him post this), because I've studied this in-depth and it's one of my favorite psychological THINGS. So, it's connected. Enjoy:

"'Repressive desublimation' is a term German philosopher Herbert Marcuse employs to describe the process whereby people unknowingly give over their liberties to tyrants in favour of material or sensual satisfactions. At first glance, the term seems oxymoronic. Why? Because in Freudian psychology, 'sublimation' refers to the process whereby a natural human drive (eg sex) is transferred or 'sublimated' into a more socially acceptable form (eg film or music). 'Desublimation', however, posits the reverse. It’s when the subject is allowed unrestricted, direct access to their desires (eg porn, rape).

"By attaching the seemingly contradictory modifier of 'repressive', Marcuse thus challenges common sense to come to terms with the potentially repressive effects of desublimation. In other words, when the gratification of immediate material and sensual needs becomes the prevailing concern of men, then the ideals of freedom and democracy have no chance."

Weird source, but explains correctly.

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