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Family shit

You might wanna read this before reading what I’m gonna write here.

I never did write back to my mom to say I’m sorry she’s going through stuff. It just slipped my mind. Now I’m kind of glad for that because I think she really would have interpreted that as me caring about my father, or tried to use my concern for her as leverage to make me talk to him.

I’d sort of forgotten about the whole Serious Health Issue thing TBH. My mom had phrased it like it was a discrete incident that was now over, whatever it was. But the other day I got an email from my father – sent to my uncle and apparently BCC’d to me (my uncle’s email address is the only one on the “to:” line; mine is nowhere to be found. So a BCC is all that could be, right?). In the email, my dad says his surgery has been postponed but will hopefully happen in about six weeks, and that in the meantime he guesses he’ll have to have a home care nurse back to change his catheter because they’re only supposed to last about six weeks and he’s had one in for seven now. (Because of course he has to tell us – albeit indirectly – about his penis. I’m sure we were all dying to know.)

The email didn’t say what kind of surgery. I suspect my dad assumes my mom told me more detail than she did, and that his email is a reasonable follow-up rather than a weird tease, but I don’t know. I also don’t get why he BCC’d me instead of sending it to me openly. I hope it was only out of privacy concerns – my uncle doesn’t have my email address and perhaps my dad assumed it wasn’t his place to (indirectly) give it to him. My parents have always been really into privacy/confidentiality. Of course, I didn’t have my uncle’s address before this, either, and that was fully on display. I don’t know.

I asked The Dandy what kind of illness would require catheterization, and if “catheter” always meant a pee-tube or if it could mean something else, something heart-related maybe. The Dandy said that “cardiac caterization” refers to the tube through which they do angiograms, angioplasties, etc – nothing that would ever be left in for a week. The Dandy guesses that having to wear a urinary catheter 24/7 might mean prostate cancer (his dad died of prostate cancer so The Dandy knows something about this).

I really wanna know what this mystery illness actually is, and how likely it is that my father will die from it. This vagueness – this sense of things being up in the air – makes me antsy. Because, here’s the thing: I hate this man. Every time I’m forced to remember that he exists (when he sends me an email, when my mom tries to guilt me into talking to him, anything) a bunch of the childhood shit I usually repress comes bubbling back up and I have nightmares for a while.

Once he’s dead (or at least once he’s been dead a while), that all stops. He wouldn’t be out in the world anymore. There would be no chance of me having to interact with him ever again, and a drastically lowered chance of me having to ever hear about him. My mom wouldn’t spin my fuckin’ head sideways for days by whining at me to wish him a happy Father’s Day.

Although, directly after he dies, there would be a funeral. And my mom would probably ask me to come home for that. And if I did that, there’s a very strong chance she’ll use her grief as leverage to try to make me say nice things about him in order to soothe her ego. I don’t mean she’d ask me to give a speech at the funeral (although maybe she would). I mean I strongly suspect she’d push me to tell her, personally, that my father was super great and I loved him.

My mother has, I think, built her entire identity around the idea that she’s great at raising kids (she works as a nanny, that’s why I didn’t specifically say “the idea that she’s a great parent”). And the fact that she sat idly by and let my dad abuse me doesn’t sit well with this self-concept, so all that stuff about my dad won’t stick – it just sliiiiides off her brain like a fried egg off a Teflon pan (even though she directly witnessed a lot of things). For a long time she denied that the abuse ever happened; then her story changed to “I’m sorry, I believe you that it happened, I just don’t remember any of it.” I think that’s probably true, I think her brain simply rejected all those memories so she can still tell herself she was a good parent to me. But I also think that the memories are there, they’re just suppressed*.  So it’s like this ongoing thing for her to push me to be closer to my dad and say nice things about him and stuff, probably more so she can feel less like a failure as a mother than for anything to do with my dad himself. And I honestly do think that if she were grieving she would use that as a tool to make me say nice things about him so that she feels validated as a parent. “I’m just so sad right now! It would help me soooo much if you would tell me how much you love your father!” type thing.

So yeah. I wish I knew exactly what this illness is. Should I get my hopes up that he’ll die/brace myself for whatever emotional manipulation will happen from my mom if he does, or is it too soon? I don’t know and there’s no way in hell I’m asking either of them for more info.

Originally, I assumed mom hadn’t given me details about my dad’s illness because she was trying to provoke me into asking so she could tell herself I care about him, or because she knows I probably don’t wanna be all enmeshed in this but figures if I follow up and ask for more details, it’s tacit permission for her to lean on me in her time of emotional turmoil (and I am not interested in opening up that floodgate).

The Dandy gave me another totally plausible explanation, though: my mom thinks I get mad at people for being sick.**

So all I can really do is wait and see what happens, I guess, because I am damn sure not going to ask for details or updates.

 

*If she really didn’t think my dad was abusive, she would have reacted to my litany of complaints with shock and hurt and confusion, I think. She would have said, “What? Why would you even say these things?!?” Instead, when I told her (not for the first time, because as I said, these things never stick) a list of the traumatizing shit my father has done to me, she snapped, “THAT NEVER HAPPENED.”

**More background that’s not in the linked post because I hadn’t figured it out yet: a bunch of years ago (after I’d cut my parents off for a while but then come back and re-established a relationship with my mom only) my mother started joking-but-not-really about committing suicide. I told her she seemed to be showing symptoms of clinical depression (not just in the suicide talk but other things too) and she should really see a doctor and get that checked out. She was like “nahhhhh it’s probably fine” but kept on making the little “tee hee, today I didn’t make specific plans for exactly how I’d kill myself so I call that a win!” comments. And finally I basically said “Either take steps to fix your super obvious clinical depression or don’t seek treatment but STFU about suicide, but if you continue to casually talk to me about killing yourself without taking steps to fix the problem, I can’t have a relationship with you.” But, see, my mom is a great parent who would never drive her child off by being shitty. So the time I cut her out my life for five years and specifically told her “dad was abusive and you did nothing to stop it so I need to get away from you both for a while,” her brain translated it to “BLARGH! I’m volatile and unreasonable and I’m running away from home for NO REASON!” And later on with this depression thing, “I can’t stick around and watch someone I love talk about killing themselves; get help or get out” has magically turned into “BLARGH! I’m volatile and unreasonable and I’ll threaten to ghost on you JUST FOR GETTING SICK!” – that’s why she didn’t tell me about her hysterectomy and that may be why she’s not saying much about my dad’s mystery ailment.

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Score

I just indicated my interest in sexual stuff to The Dandy by putting on an old-timey carnival barker voice and calling out “Penis touching! Getcher penis touching heah!”

He laughed. But then he wheeled his computer chair within mouth-reach.

And here I thought I wasn’t very suave at seduction.

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And the shit just keeps on coming.

The Dandy and I watched Russian Doll right through to the end, and by then it was 4am. I was completely exhausted – crying does that to me, plus obviously it was really late. The Dandy said he needed to go to bed, and because I was riding high on happy brain chemicals from being petted, I wasn’t mad at him anymore so I asked if he’d like company (ie I’d sleep next to him instead of in my own room). He said that would be nice.

We didn’t go immediately, though. We continued lying around on the couch goofing off. I started playfully tugging on his facial hair and he snapped his teeth at my fingers like he was pretending to bite me. I laughed and said “watch it or I’ll tie your mustache to your beard and then you won’t be able to open your mouth!”

“I’d start talking so much politics,” The Dandy threatened (he knows that would bore me witless).

“But you couldn’t open your mouth properly so how would that even work?”

“I’d go MMMMUMMMUMUMMMMUMMMMM!” (imitating speaking loudly with lips clamped shut).

“Ehhh, I could drown that out with the tv easily enough.”

“I’d knock on the floor,” The Dandy countered, triumphantly.

He was referencing my terrible harpy neighbour at my old apartment. The one who terrorized me by – among many other things – banging on her ceiling/my floor every time I made a sound. She scared me shitless and to this day if I hear banging at approximately that pitch it sends my brain completely fucking sideways and plunges me right into the headspace of shame and fear that I was constantly in back then.

I recoiled. “That was mean,” I said.

“You were threatening to tie my mustache and beard together!”

“Yeah – I was playfully threatening to do stupid cartoony things that wouldn’t even work in real life. Retaliating by pushing one of my PTSD triggers is completely inappropriate.”

The Dandy didn’t apologize or anything. He just wandered off to bed.

I started wondering if I’d misinterpreted him and he’d meant something else. Maybe when I brought up PTSD triggers he didn’t know what I was talking about and that’s why he didn’t respond?

I came and stood in his bedroom doorway. He was lying on the bed and looked up at me when I appeared. “You were referencing the Harpy pounding on the ceiling, right? I didn’t misunderstand you?” I asked. The Dandy confirmed that yeah, that’s exactly what he did. I had not misinterpreted; he really did deliberately invoke an emotionally scarring situation that got so bad I’d consulted the police about getting a restraining order. A situation he knows I’m still fucked up about.

He put those memories back in my head, on purpose, just to win a stupid joke-fight. He threatened to do a thing that would – I cannot stress this enough – completely fuck my brain sideways, throw me into a panic attack lasting an hour or more, make me feel like noplace in the entire world was safe and I’d be better off dead. To win a stupid joke-fight.

I walked into my room and started crying again, uncontrollably. The Dandy came in and, for maybe the first time ever, actually said the words “I’m sorry” to me. I thanked him, but I still couldn’t stop crying. I wanted to yell at him some more – to fully explain the extent of what he had done – but he never apologizes for anything and I wanted to reward him for doing so by, like, concluding the fight and not dwelling on it with him. I did say to him “making a loud knocking sound is a good way to ‘keep me in line’ or whatever, but if you do it I will never stop hating you, so choose carefully.” He said he would never actually do that. He was hugging me during most of this. The Dandy seems to think that his hugs are the solution to absolutely anything I’m upset about, even if I’m upset at him. At first I appreciated the gesture, the willingness to stay up even though he was tired and try to help, but his proximity quickly became grating. When I tried to disengage from him he just held me tighter, until finally – still sobbing so hard I could barely speak – I managed to say “I don’t think you being near me will help with this” and then he finally let me go and went to bed.

And I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and tried to watch some kiddie cartoons on Netflix to help bring me down and then decided I was tired. I couldn’t stand the idea of being alone with my thoughts so I figured my choices were either stay on the couch and fall asleep to Netflix or go crawl in next to The Dandy, who was hopefully awake enough to skritch my head and drown out my thoughts. I did the latter. He was awake enough.

But I’m horribly, horribly reminded of times that a loved one has asked me if I’m ticklish. Nobody ever asks this hypothetically; it’s always because they want to actually tickle you and they’re wondering whether your reaction will be entertaining or not. I am ticklish. It feels awful and makes me want to peel my fucking skin off, but for whatever stupid reason my instinctive reaction to it (aside from curling up in a defensive ball) is to laugh. And when I was a kid, relatives would tickle me – perhaps assuming I was enjoying it because I was laughing, but actually probably not, most of my relatives were dicks – and it was agony. I tried to physically fend them off and I couldn’t, I was too small and being tickled makes me completely spaz out and lose all hand-eye coordination anyway. I tried to say “no” or “stop” but I was laughing too hard to catch my breath. I was panicking, unable to breathe or speak, and feeling like my organs were being pushed inside out, but the person doing the tickling acted, the entire time, like this was a benign and hilarious game. And I was completely helpless to stop any of this. It ended when they decided it ended.

So now even someone jabbing me just once in the ribs brings all of those memories flooding back.

And for a long period in my life, almost everyone I started falling in love with or considering a very close frined, at some point they would grin and ask me “are you ticklish?”

“I am,” I would tell them, “But tickling is linked to a whole lot of childhood trauma, for me. Tickling me is the worst thing you could possibly do to me. It will throw me into a fight-or-flight fugue state that will ruin my entire day. I will probably try to kill you, and I will never want to talk to you again.” This spiel used to be a lot shorter. It used to be just “yes but I hate it.” I kept adding further reiterations and clarifications over time, though, because – as you have probably guessed – the spiel didn’t work. I kept thinking that people didn’t get it, and if I were just clear enough, then they’d respect my wishes.

But no. Most of these people, after I told them I hated being tickled, got a sly, fascinated tone and said “Reeeeallllly…?” as they began to raise their fingers toward me (or sometimes just lunged at me and poked me in the ribs).

The horribleness there is twofold: first off, now the shitty childhood memories are back in my head from having to talk about this. Secondly, I feel that sense of helplessness all over again because this person I thought cared about me is perfectly willing to do something that I have expressly said will traumatize me…because they think my trauma response might be entertaining to watch.

When I was a kid I told myself that my relatives just didn’t know I hated being tickled. How could they, when people generally think of tickling as a benign and hilarious game to play with children and I was laughing? It wasn’t their fault I couldn’t catch my breath long enough to say “stop.”*

But with these subsequent people in my adult life (again: people I thought cared about me!), I expressly said “do not do this, I don’t like it.” That’s what I thought was the magic key to not being tortured anymore. And it didn’t work. Them claiming to care about me meant nothing. My boundaries meant nothing. If someone actually did start tickling me instead of just threatening to, well, I’m not great at self-defense at the best of times and if/when the person made contact I’d certainly end up convulsing too hard to effectively put a stop to it – so the torture would just go on until my assailant decided they were done.

And this is how I feel about The Dandy lobbing a Harpy grenade into our conversation for funsies. He was there for the tail end of the Harpy saga. He saw me freeze up and start to cry when Harpy would pound on her ceiling, or when she and her boyfriend would be screaming (with full intent for me to hear them) about what a loud shitty terrible person I was for walking from one room to another or taking a bath or setting my groceries down on the floor. The Dandy knew that Harpy freaked me out so badly that I wasn’t sleeping or eating and finally I went to the police about her (twice!) to see if there was any way they could make her stop harassing me (spoilers: nope). The Dandy saw me melt down when – long after that, while living here – one of the cats flung themselves at the closed door of my bedroom, making that exact same loud wooden BANG that Harpy regularly made on her ceiling to let me know I had no right to exist – and I let out a long, lung-busting scream of pure rage and then went foetal and cried for half an hour.

And he still chose to casually bring that whole thing up in conversation and claim that he would give me those feelings – that meltdown – on purpose. For fun.

think he realized afterward how awful that was. But I don’t know. I don’t know.

 

*Oddly, I don’t recall ever choosing a moment when tickling wasn’t happening and saying “Hey, don’t tickle me anymore, I hate it.” I don’t know why not. I think every time it was over I just wanted really badly to believe it was a one-off that would never happen again, and put it out of my mind.

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Rough night

Brain was being an asshole yesterday. Depression was kicking in hard and I had PMS on top of that. I had the day off, so at least I didn’t have to deal with people. But all kinds of stupid little things were making me cry all day and when The Dandy finally got home from his after-work social outing at like 11pm, I told him I was having a bad brain day and really needed to be touched/snuggled/petted at his earliest convenience.

I don’t think he understands/remembers that when I say “need” I really do mean neeeeeeeed. I also don’t think he understands that when I’m stressed out and need pets, I’m talking specifically about targeted, dedicated, deliberate attention to my most sensitive areas so that it triggers a petgasm* that helps right my brain chemistry. I suppose I need to be more specific. It’s hard to assert myself in this because it’s such a nonstandard thing to need and I feel like a weirdo.

Incidentally, I’d also said “I need to be petted” the night before, and I’m pretty sure I did add some detail indicating I wanted a lot of attention and for it to be deliberate. The Dandy obligingly got into bed next to me for a bit as I was going to sleep, but mostly just absent-mindedly skritched my head like he does. It was better than nothing but nowhere near what I actually needed, and I didn’t feel I could demand more because it was 2am and The Dandy needed to get to sleep.

So anyway by yesterday evening I was in an even more desperate state. But I didn’t want to tackle The Dandy and barrage him with demands the moment he came in the door, so I phrased it as “I’m having a bad brain day and I need you to pet me sometime in the very near future” or something like that, and then continued sitting on the couch watching Netflix and feeling like I was gonna jump out of my skin if someone didn’t touch it soon.

The Dandy nodded. He really had to pee, so he went and did that…and then I heard the creak of him sitting down in his computer chair. Well fuck.

In a little while he came out and said he was thinking of ordering food (if anything was still open) and did I want anything. Nothing available at that time of night was of interest to me so I said no. And then I said “Once you’ve ordered food, would you come watch an episode of something with me and pet me?” He said okay.

A few minutes later he came out of his bedroom again and went to the kitchen for a glass of water or something and then headed back toward his room again.

“Did you order food?” I prompted. He said that he had, and started to continue down the hall. I clenched my jaw for a second to keep from screaming and then managed to say “Come watch something with me” in, I think, a fairly casual tone of voice.

I put on Russian Doll because people in my Facebook feed have been saying good things about it. (It was really compelling and we ended up binge-watching the whole series in one night, btw.) The Dandy sat on the couch next to me…and slouched down with his hands behind his head. I put my legs in his lap; nothing. I nudged his belly with my foot and made the “meow”-sound that means give me attention. After several nudges and meows, he plunked his hand onto my calf and started absent-mindedly moving it around, with no particular finesse or attention to detail and more-or-less failing to hit any of my most sensitive spots.

You have to understand that depression and anxiety lock me up. I get all slowed down and it’s a huge physical effort to speak at all, for one thing. For another, it’s a huge psychological effort to ask for help. I feel like a burden and I feel like the things I need are stupid and I feel like I should be able to handle my mental issues myself. It took monumental effort, both physically and mentally, for me to even choke out the words “I need to be petted” the night before – I mean it was physically difficult for me to open my mouth and make sound come out. And then The Dandy didn’t really give me what I needed and I’d used up all my courage already and didn’t have it in me to say “No, not like that, I need you to actually put effort into it and touch my upper back rather than my head.” So I lay there frustrated and silent and then spent all of yesterday rallying myself to ask for what I needed again last night. And then he still wasn’t doing it.

The Dandy’s food arrived and – after working out how to phrase what I wanted and then spending two or three minutes opening my mouth and only managing to make a tiny squeaking noise – I managed to say “when you’re done eating, could you pet me like you know I’m there and you’re trying to make me feel good?” The Dandy nodded. Infuriatingly, the expression on his face was neutral; as best I could tell, he wasn’t thinking “Why is she asking like that? Was I not seeming attentive the first time around?” or “Yeah, I guess I was kinda halfassing it before.” It’s like he just accepted my wording as normal and missed the huge implications of it. WTF.

Russian Doll continued. The Dandy finished eating, left the table, came back to the couch, flopped onto me like I was a pillow, and flung one of his hands up over his head to idly skritch my hair.

I should mention here that, in times when I wasn’t all fucked up from anxiety/depression, I have explained the following things to The Dandy in very straightforward terms:

  • I have a hard time asking for help when I’m fucked up.
  • If my voice and movements are all slowed down but I manage to choke out a phrase like “I’m not doing very well” or “today was not a very good day” it is not a benign statement that my day at work was mildly annoying or something. It’s me DESPERATELY TRYING TO CRY FOR HELP and all I can manage to say is these minor-key statements because I HAVE A HARD TIME ASKING FOR HELP WHEN I’M FUCKED UP.
  • If I say I need to be petted – not want but need – I’m not fucking around. I need it and I expect him to give it pretty much right fucking now unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • What I’m specifically talking about when I say “I need to be petted” is being given a petgasm, which takes maybe ten minutes, tops, of lightly stroking my skin (especially my upper back) and then – *bloop* – it flips a switch and I shudder and cry and feel ten thousand percent better.
  • Nothing I am capable of doing myself is as quick or effective at turning things around as getting a petgasm from him, and it takes just five or ten minutes out of his life, so although I know it’s nobody else’s job to “fix” my mental issues, if he consistently refuses to pet me in my times of need I’ll probably start to hate him.

So, he knows all of this. There is really no reason why I should have to tell him I need pettings multiple times or specify that I need him to pet me with intention rather than just randomly flailing at whatever part of me is closest. That he makes me ask so repeatedly and specifically is absolutely exasperating, especially when my mental health is going so badly sideways that it’s hard for me to even talk at all. It’s like if I had laryngitis and was pantomiming that I wanted a glass of water and he just kept saying “Yeah I can’t possibly piece together what this ‘drinking’ hand motion means. What do you want? What is it? Just ask me!” It wouldn’t take that much effort to figure out what I want if you actually thought about it for two seconds, Dandy. Stop making me do all the work when I am not equipped to do it.

So The Dandy was halfassedly skritching my head and I was sitting there kind of seething and finally I managed to say “I need you to pet my legs and back.”

To his credit, I guess, The Dandy immediately changed position on the couch to facilitate me putting my legs in his lap. His leg-petting was also halfassed and barely-there, though. I twisted this way and that to put my erogenous zones in the path of his fingers and he skirted around them every damn time – which is almost always how it goes, with him. I’ve often wanted to ask him to list my favourite places to be touched, just to see if he knows and is avoiding them for some reason or if he just never fucking took a cue from my moans or, like, me directly telling him “the backs of my knees are very sensitive” eight fucking times.

My feet, of course, are another huge huuuuuuge sensitive spot for me – one of my biggest. And, as with all my other “good spots,” I have explicitly told The Dandy many times that my feet are one of my favourite places to be touched, and implicitly told him so by moaning and whimpering and squirming when he actually does touch them. After a while of enduring The Dandy’s halfassed leg pets, I readjusted my position to present my feet to him. My legs have some spots more sensitive than others but my entire foot from the ankle down is super-sensitive so I figured if I directed him there, it would be impossible not to get the fireworks and tension release I was needing so badly.

Except – as often happens with him – he still didn’t touch my feet. I’d placed them squarely in his lap and kept nudging his belly with my toes and meowing and flexing my feet at him and he kept running his hands down my leg to my ankle bone and then turning around and going back up again. This, for the record, would be like if The Dandy asked me for a hand job and I ran my hands slowwwwly up the base of his cock but always, always stopped before the head.

And, as I said, The Dandy regularly does this – he pets around whatever erogenous zone I’m presenting to him, or he’ll be petting me and hit a spot that makes me screeeeam and thrash in pleasure but instead of thinking “ooooh, let’s explore that place for a while,” he just goes right on past it. Almost any time we’re watching movies, I put my feet/legs in his lap for pets; I usually have to butt my foot up against his hand numerous times before his touch strays below my ankle. If he’s deliberately trying to tease me, he’s awful at it – the way to draw things out and make me insane (in the good way) is to work your way down toward my feet slowly, hover at the edge of my sole for a long time, paaaaause, and then finally give me what, by then, I’m really dying for. The Dandy doesn’t build things up to a big finish in that way. He’s just hit-or-miss, hit-or-miss, hit-or-miss.

I’d decided a while back to try to accept the medicore sexual/sensual stuff The Dandy provides because I feel that he compensates for that in other ways. But this was too much and I just got infuriated. (I did say I had PMS, right?)

I paused Netflix and said “When I present an erogenous zone directly to you and you come close to it but don’t actually touch it, are you fucking with me?”

The Dandy didn’t say anything. It took so much for me to even have asked the question that I was afraid to look at him, so it’s not clear to me if he thought I was being rhetorical or he just didn’t know what to say.

After a super long silence (five minutes at least) I was frustrated enough to start free-associating. I told The Dandy that I can count two or three times, total, that he’s given me thorough, attentive petting that really rocked my world…including during sex. And we’ve been together for around two years now, soooo that’s not great.

I said to him, I’m not exaggerating when I say two or three times. Those times of him actually making an effort stand out to me so much that I can pinpoint them specifically. One was the time we were first dating when he swirled his fingers on my inner elbows until I was a whimpering mess, and the other was one morning after I’d moved in with him, and I was about to get up to get ready for work and he just started petting my back. Annnd actually I can’t remember a third so I guess it’s just two. Yeah, there were other times he gave me petgasms, but those were always after I’d asked repeatedly and pretty much ended up grovelling for them (like last night) so it feels like they were done way more in the spirit of shutting me up than out of any particular interest in making me happy.

I said if he had places to touch that elicited such huge responses I’d have my hands on him constantly and I’m sure he knows it. I don’t understand why it always feels like it’s such an imposition to him to be asked to put in a few minutes of effort to make me feel like my entire skin is orgasming.

After going on a while in that general vein, I ran out of stuff to say and fell silent. The Dandy didn’t say anything, but he did start petting me properly and (as usual) I immediately burst into tears that were a 50/50 mix of “yessss this is the tension release I had originally sought” and “why do I have to beg for this simple thing every fucking time it is so humiliating and bleak.”

The Dandy still didn’t have anything to say, apparently – no apologies, no explanations – so after I got all my crying out, I just turned Netflix back on again. But venting and then crying had unstuck my brain and despite feeling like the fundamental issue with The Dandy was still hanging there unresolved, I found myself talking at normal speed again and cracking jokes and stuff.

So, my depression was relieved and the horribleness of the day was over. OR WAS IT. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion.

 

*When someone lightly caresses me in the right spots, it can trigger the brain parts (not the crotch parts, unfortunately) of an orgasm. There’s a sudden sense of release and my brain floods with happy chemicals and usually – if I am anxious or depressed or overwhelmed – I have a stress-release cry and feel one thousand times better.

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Attitude shift

I’ve been low-key obsessed with my weight for a while now. It feels as though I abruptly gained 40lbs of fat a few years back (although it may have happened gradually and I just noticed abruptly) and I can’t get it off.

I would care about this less if I worked in an office or something, but I’m an art model. And although artists pay lip service to the idea that figure drawing is strictly about learning to draw a body – any body – and all types of models get hired for the purpose…I have doubts. I’m still not what you’d call “fat” but my metabolism ain’t gettin’ any faster with age so I don’t know what will happen in the future, with either my body or my job.

Anyway. On a few different occasions now, I’ve attempted some sort of diet. Nothing crazy or unsustainable, just stuff like cutting way down on mayonnaise and sweets and trying to eat more salads. I like mayonnaise and if left unchecked I’ll put it on/in evvvvverything, and I’d gotten in the habit of eating pretty large amounts of chocolate every day, too, so I figured by not doing that anymore I would surely be taking in hundreds if not a thousand fewer calories every day.

But after a week or two of doing that…nothing. No fat lost at all, as far as I can tell (meaning: my weight fluctuates by a few pounds all the time anyway, but the range of fluctuation wasn’t getting any lighter. I’d start off waffling between 204-207lbs, and a week or two of dieting never brought the low end of that lower. Not even by a single pound).

I’ve weighed 204-207lbs for like a year now while eating mayonnaise and tons of chocolate; my weight was stable, not going up. So if I’m eating a certain amount of calories every day and maintaining the same weight (not gaining), cutting a bunch of calories back should mean weight loss. Shouldn’t it? How the fuck did I stay the exact same?!?!? How is this even possible?

So I’m discouraged.

I once read a collection of articles by Gloria Steinem, one of which was about female bodybuilders and made the observation that women tend to think of our bodies in terms of just fat or thin, forgetting entirely that there’s a whole other aspect we have some power over: muscle.  I think I’ve been falling into that trap slightly (I’ve been meaning to start weight training again but the main idea there was to speed up my metabolism and maybe get thinner that way…).

And as someone who used to be very thin but also very unhealthy, I have thought a lot about appearance vs functionality. Back then I’d think to myself, “I’m pretty sure I’d rather be fat but able to do stuff than lie around sick and dizzy with a 28″ waist.” I feel like I’ve lost track of that idea, too. Not that I’d trade in my current body for my old thin one with all its problems. Just, I’ve been focusing lately on appearance more than functionality and I think that’s kinda fucked up.

The aforementioned health issues were mostly caused by undiagnosed celiac disease: all the gluten I was eating was damaging my intestines and preventing me from absorbing the nutrients in my food. Other people would talk about how they felt so much better when they ate healthy vs eating junk food, and I thought they were lying because I didn’t feel any difference at all. What made me feel good and slightly less lethargic than usual was sugar, which my body could absorb. So I ate junk allll the time.

Now, though, I’ve been off gluten for years and my gut has at least mostly repaired itself. And I do feel a difference when I cut back on junk food! (Not necessarily a lot of difference, though? Which makes me wonder if I fucked up my gastrointestinal system beyond repair back in the day…).

So. New plan.

I try to forget about weight/fat loss/etc. I focus on my body’s functionality.

If I do cardio it’s because I want to be able to dance longer or run for a bus without getting winded.

If I weight train it’s so I can get stronger and more capable.

If I get my sugars for the day from swill* instead of chocolate, and eat salads instead of burgers, it’s because doing that makes me feel more energetic so I can work on art projects and make the apartment look nice and stuff.

Sometimes my body will need chocolate or mayonnaise and that’s okay.

Sometimes my body will need rest and stillness and that’s okay.

From now on I will try to listen to my body and give it what it needs. My appearance will sort itself out however it’s gonna.

 

*This is what I call the fruits, veggies, and juice I blend up and drink most days.

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Ugh

I’ve been lax on doing my taxes for a few years now, but The Dandy has asked me to at least get last year completed because I was living with him for that whole year and he’s claiming me as a dependent or they need to know my income in conjunction with his because we’re partners or something, I don’t know.

Tonight I took the preliminary step of going through my internet banking and writing down the deposit total for each month of 2018 so I can calculate my income. In August and September – slow months, pay-wise – the deposit amount was weirdly high. Upon closer inspection I realized it’s because that’s when The Pedant paid back the chunks of money I’d lent him to take Raver Chick places.

It sucked to be reminded of that and it sucked worse to be reminded that he’d asked me for those two big loans during my slow season. Fucking insensitive assmunch.

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Change of plans

OMG. A guy who used to be The Dandy’s direct supervisor in an old job is now working at a very well-known company and wants to recommend The Dandy for a job opening. And the job opening would have The Dandy working under the guy again, so I feel like there’s a really good chance he’d get it. Like, being referred to a place by someone who says “Oh, yeah, I know him, he’s great” is good, but being referred to a place by someone who says “this person was on my team before and we worked together so well that so I want him on my team again” is excellent.

The company is based in our city and, according to The Dandy, the starting salary for the job is around 50% more than what he makes now. So maybe we won’t move, after all. 😀

In talking about this, The Dandy once again framed our current situation as him being “poor” or “on the edge of being poor” or something. And I laughed again and he was like “Well okay I’m not poor, but if the job market here tanks, I’ll be screwed!”

I said “If the job market here tanks, anyone would be screwed. But you make enough that if you didn’t buy yourself knives or pens or other shinies for a few months, you could easily save up enough for first and last month’s rent plus moving expenses and just go somewhere with more jobs for you – people who are actually poor don’t have that option. And you work high-level jobs that pay a lot, and you’re good at them and come across very well in interviews, so you’d find a well-paid job easily wherever you ended up.”

The Dandy had the grace to look slightly contrite.

I added: “I totally understand that you love being able to buy yourself cool shit all the time and if we had to move out of this rent-controlled apartment you wouldn’t be able to anymore and that would suck. Anyone would hate having to give that up. I’m just saying it’s funny to hear you talk about being ‘poor’ when I have debated walking an hour and a half home to save three dollars’ bus fare, and decided not to because the wear and tear on my shoes and my increased appetite from burning all those calories would negate that three dollar savings. I have had years where I owned one bra. Do you understand what I’m saying? One. Bra. Because a half-decent bra for me is thirty to fifty bucks and I just couldn’t justify buying one for every day of the week when I knew I needed to be saving up money to get me through the summer slow season. I have been poor enough that I seriously considered stealing toilet paper from public washrooms because that was the only way I could think of to save more money – I didn’t have cable, I didn’t have internet, I didn’t buy new clothes, I didn’t go anywhere, I ate as cheaply as I could and went to food banks – there were no more possible corners to cut. I feel like you’ve probably never had to have these sorts of internal negotiations.”

Now The Dandy looked contrite and embarrassed, which was satisfying.

Again: I don’t fault him at all for wanting to either move to a cheaper city or make a shitload more money so he can continue to buy himself fun stuff on a regular basis. It is absolutely true that if we decided to stay in the city but move out of our current apartment, our rental expenses would probably double; on The Dandy’s current salary, that would mean that we’d live pretty comfortably – his expenses would all be covered and we could grocery shop without having to pinch pennies – but he probably wouldn’t be able to go out to eat or order food in nearly as often, or buy himself the amount of cool shit that he does. I’m not a believer in asceticism; I don’t think there’s any inherent virtue in denying yourself pleasure. Fuck yeah The Dandy should arrange his life so he can keep on buying himself luxurious things. I just don’t think he has the right to call himself “poor” or “almost poor” because one day (not even now, but one day) he might not be able to spend a thousand bucks a month on fripperies, for fuck’s sake.

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