End of Year Reflections

Yes I know, these End of Year things are a cliché. This is less about what happened in 2016 may it be with celebrities, politics or my own life. It is mostly about Imposter Syndrome and how I perceive myself as well as how others seem to see me, or well how I think they see me and how they might actually see me. You get the idea.

I started work this year and with it came crippling amounts of anxiety. I also discovered Imposter Syndrome which very much resonated with me about how I feel about my professional self. Surely some day someone will find out that I am just making it all up as I go along right? Even on the days that I feel I do well and am on the ball, I still have those thoughts. It’s weird but a few people have assured me that most professionals feel this way, especially when just starting out. We are all just faking it ultimately.

The feedback and insight of other fellow humans came from social media. I find it wonderful how many are open about their anxiety, depression, self doubt and other struggles some of us face daily. I also love how many of my friends ask for help, or kittens and other things to cheer them up and how social media responds with memes and other supportive gestures.

I was much quieter on social media earlier in the year and now engage a lot more to not only show my love and care for my friends but also to ask for support and share my insecurities. In larger social groups I tend to be the loud one. I am very vocal and even often come across as aggressive. One on One is most likely the situation I show my softer self. It is important to me to show that behind the fierce person that I usually am, I have loads of doubts and fears like most people. This came from a comment of a dear friend, that I often seemed cold or uninterested, in person as well as on social media. And the more I investigated the more this was echoed. Many people I admire and adore thought I didn’t like them very much.

At first I was confused that my brash and loud manner scared people off. I worked a lot on becoming who I am and crafting this part of my personality. It is a mixture of self defense as well as the aspiration to be fierce and independent since I was very young and now these lovely people didn’t realise how dear they were to me. I have since reached out to a few people and tried to be more vocal about how much they and others mean to me. This has made for wonderful connections. But I feel it is not enough, and I worry that people are intimidated by me. I will never be the warm and cuddly type, or not in most social situations, but I do want to let the world know that if you have met me and I come to talk to you when I see you and such things, I do like you and probably admire you and the things you do.

My social circle, the communities I move in and my facebook feed are full of amazing and wonderful people that I greatly admire. I am only the one I am today because of them, the things they do, the spaces they create and support and the articles they share on social media. Chances are you are one of them reading this. So here is my End of Year Reflection, of my inner self, doubts, thoughts and care, showing you that I admire and love you.

 

Love and Be Loved

ThePolyOrange

A piece of Creative Writing about Breaking Up

Break ups are necessary. The time apart is key. Out of sight of our mind. That is when dynamics change, when feelings subside. When anger and hate fade away and calm has a chance to be restored.

This time apart allows for friendship to grow again, as it once was there and you don’t understand where it went. You just can’t see how your admiration ever became disdain. How someone you loved and wanted to care for became someone whose pain and failure makes you roll your eyes. You don’t know what happen inside of you, that this person went from loved to hated. Now you scrabble on the floor of your heart for positive emotions. For love, for care and all you can find is apathy.

 

Where did it all go? Or was it me? Did I not do enough, give enough, love enough? Am I selfish? Am I arrogant? Am I a bitch?

The pressure of the love that is still there fills me with guilt. This guilt that clings to my brain just making things even darker. The simple thought of having date night makes me freeze. If I keep going, what good is there in that because I fail to hide how I feel. I am mean. I am not fun to be around and all I do is raising question marks about who did what and who is responsible for this strained mood.

How do I make it stop?  There is no way I can not cause pain. There is already so much pain. I feel like I am failing. I have failed.

I want to run and hide. I don’t want to drag this out. I want to do the right thing. The right thing. I want to do right by the person I once loved. It needs to end, so that maybe one day we can be friends because me seeing you is not filled with guilt and pressure and you seeing me is no longer painful and if I am lucky you have forgiven me. I am sorry. My hope to be forgiven reminds me of how selfish I am.

 

Heartbreak

Break ups don’t get easier. I have gone through many. Some hurt more than others. In this case, a partner of 5 months broke up with me. I was so happy, and so in love with him that he officially became a partner, instead of a boyfriend, quite quickly.

Two weeks ago, we were watching a film, and I spoiled a couple of things, and because he was a bit annoyed about it, I went internal for a bit to process and to calm myself to not spoil any more things. It felt like a good thing to do to sit back for a bit. My phone opened on an article I had left there for later reading. So I read it. It was an everdayfeminism.com article on women’s emotional labour (http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/06/emotional-labor-womens-lives/). As I read it I started crying. It resonated with me so strongly. He leaned over to check in and I requested that we keep watching the film but he insisted on talking to me. And it got a bit muddled and I said that I didn’t think he could relate to this. The next thing I know he has left my house without an explanation.

I wrote him to ask what was going on. He asked me to leave him alone but in my confusion I pushed. He then responded saying we were done. After two weeks of silence, he has confirmed that this is the case and he actually meant his last message to me. He also said he probably doesn’t want to talk about this as he doesn’t see the point.

I feel like I am 15 again. Blaming myself, asking myself what I did wrong. Wondering if or when I could contact him. What the best thing to do was. In the end, his message indicated that there was no right thing to do. He had made up his mind. I love him dearly still and feel like I would beg on my knees to have him back.

But I am 27, and I know that I am not the defining factor here, there are two of us and we both hurt each other. Yes, I made a mistake but I have now apologised. I wanted to talk so I could explain and apologise but he does not want this.  He doesn’t want to talk. I don’t get to know what went on inside his head, he doesn’t want to know what I thought or felt. I could learn a lot from knowing what he felt. I like growing after all. So I will grow by finding my own way of stopping the blaming questions in my head, the regret that forms a lump in my throat and the pain that’s twisting my heart.

 

Luckily enough so many wonderful people and partners are out there, who lovingly support me through this. I can only hope it will be another 5 years before I get dumped like this again.

Female Friendship

Growing up I never had many girlfriends, like friends who are girls. I had one which was my neighbour until I moved out of that area of town in primary school and then another one, who is still a friend for now almost 15 years.

But for a long period, especially as a teenager and in my early 20’s, I was convinced that I didn’t like other women. I wasn’t girly and didn’t like fashion or whatever else girls typically talk about. Because it is that simple, and women are that one dimensional, right?

Over the last couple of years I have gained many more girlfriends. I not only enjoy the company of women but I actively seek it. We have so much to share, and I don’t mean make up tips (although that is another great thing about having women as friends), I mean life experiences, how we perceive and are perceived by society, how we handle the dating world, how we deal with men, how we see and deal with our bodies, like stuff about sex, food, clothes, drag queens, Ghostbusters (now with female leads) and periods!

I am so excited to be able to talk about these things not only openly (I did that anyway before) but to people who can contribute, engage, challenge and enrich these discussions.

Now as to why I never used to like women – patriarchy! Well it is my main suspicion. I always wanted to be one of the boys, because girls were stupid. Femininity is silly. I also wanted to be attractive to men, and be admired by them, and be on their good side because that makes life easier. I was so obsessed with appealing to men that I never learned the beauty of female friendship, because as much as I would love to, men just don’t understand many of the things women experience (and vice versa).

Well now, and mostly thanks to my increasing awareness of society’s stereotypes, internalised misogyny and well feminism stuff in general, I care less about the approval of men and more about my own being as a woman in our society. I also delight in being in a mutually supportive environment with people who care and understand the things I care about. I love my angry feminist friends, the queer, vegan, femme, crazy, kinky, poly, loving, caring, creative, supportive, wonderful and amazing women in my life! (insert more labels and adjectives that fit)

And I love that we openly talk about periods, even around men, and that is totally cool and amazing. Feels like such a small thing but it is quite groundbreaking to me!

Safety Net on the rollercoaster

Recently life has been good. Recently life has been not so good. Professionally and privately things are actually really good. Other things out of my control, happening to other people are not so good. The problem is that these bad things are affecting me and I need to protect myself from them.

I am trying to deal with a close one, who is not like they used to be, who is not doing well. This person has made poor choices with unluckily bad consequences which have drained and exhausted their close ones including me. I am hurt. Sadly it was not anything malicious, just something silly that went badly wrong and now I am struggling to handle how it affects me and the others.

Same as a few years ago when a very close friend confused me with his aggression and demands which ended our friendship, I am now again not really knowing how to move on. I will never likely get a genuine apology, an explanation, a gesture that will help me find closure. I need to find my own way to resolve the situation in my own head and heart.

In both situations, I am notable to ask the question: Why? I want to know what went through their minds, or how they feel about what happened once the dust has settled. I worry about my performance as a friend and if I did all I could do. I question my loyalty. I see my self protection as selfishness. I judge myself. I worry about my friends and community judging me.I wonder what more I could have done. The answer is: nothing, without doing harm to myself. I decided to focus on helping those who have given their support. Strengthen the web of mutual help and support.

So many things are wonderful right now, but these unresolved emotions lurk in the back of my mind. I get reminded of what it used to be like to have those people in my life. Because I made so many ties to activities and things to these friends in my mind, the reminders are everywhere.

For you own protection, you sometimes need to cut the ties, although that takes time.

Nice Guy / Bad Boy

We have heard it all: ‘But I am a nice guy!’ Or ‘Why do women want bad boys?’

This post is not about men complaining about this. It is more a thought about how black and white the dating world seems to see this. Having spend more time on OKC, reading profiles and various online dating horror stories, I started to think about my own behaviour in dating as well as a friend.

I am usually busy. In the last few months I added full time work, two new hobbies and a lover. Adding this to my existing partners, friends and other engagements, my schedule is rammed. Reevaluating my priorities and finding ways to split my time in a satisfactory manor is a hard an ongoing process. And then I drop the ball on people. I went on two OKC dates which were fun but I just forgot to respond or chase up and well, now there is silence, which just gets longer and the longer it is the harder it becomes to find the strength to respond, as now you need to apologise for the delay in responding. I might now be considered a bitch, or a ‘bad date’ or just anything negative really as I failed to communicate to these people that I am to busy to really date them. Ironically I have failed to communicate that I am too busy, because I am so busy. I have hurt people and been mean to them without meaning to do so. I still consider myself ‘nice’.

With most of our communication, including planning being done in writing, the main thing getting lost is tone. Is this short digital message really meant the way it sounds in my head? Will the person think I am rude? Do I sound too pressuring? Add to this that our communication about emotions and intentions in real life can be stifled, delayed or just inexistent. Honesty can be very scary. Silence is often easier then finding a way of letting someone down. Facing the pain you might cause is hard, just vanishing is easier, right?

So people go silent, feelings get hurt and Boom someone is a bad boy or a bitch. There are so many variables that influence someones behaviour. We like to find malicious intent where there might only have been carelessness or even fear. In cases like the ‘I am a nice guy, women only want bad boys’ trope, could it be that we want to see these bad boys/girls as more evil than they are to soothe ourselves or even to justify our own behaviour?

Someone I briefly dated who then became my friend did mention this ‘nice guy’ stuff a few times. I was at the time dating a person who was not really good to me, but who I know never intended to hurt me. My friend saw me suffer and wanted me to be with him, as he was ‘nicer’. We are no longer friends because in the end he was actually malicious to me. So who is really the ‘nice guy’?

It should really be kind not ‘nice’.  It would be kind to show understanding and forgiveness. It would be kind to be honest and respectful. It would be kind if dating would be easier 😉

 

Love and Be Loved,

ThePolyOrange

 

 

I have a confession to make

Over the years, growing more into polyamory, being intimate on various levels with many different people, I have finally come to terms with one thing: I am not a cuddler.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hugs. I love hugging people as a greeting, as a lovely intimate moment of connection. I love feeling the persons heartbeat against my body, breathing in and out together, feeling the comfort. they-do-love-to-cuddle-imgurBut cuddles? That is a tricky area for me. I like to cuddle for a few minutes at a time, maybe only 30 seconds. I don’t like skin on skin, as it gets sticky and sweaty really quickly. Also often my shoulder ends up hurting if I lie on it weirdly trying to snuggle someone. A little here and there is good but I always felt that the message about cuddles is : ‘More is always better’ or ‘There can never be enough’ cuddles or ‘Cuddles always help’. Cuddle piles and ‘Send cuddles’ status updates seem so lovely, but for me it doesn’t sit right.As it is a huge part of the loving poly community, I thought for a long time I needed to love cuddles as much as everyone else seems to. There was cuddle pressure. I have recently admitted to myself that this is not on my ‘likes’ list. I put the pressure on myself. The loving poly community loves me as I am, cuddles or no cuddles.

Love hugs, love kisses, don’t like cuddling. Limited Cuddle Time available – Book now. Or something.

I feel like a cat – independent and stroppy. I want a bit of petting now and when I have had enough I will scratch you and wander off. And this is in no way a judgement or grumble at people who love cuddling. Please go forth and enjoy all the cuddles! 🙂

 

I don’t really know why I wrote this post – Random Post Achievement Unlocked!

 

Love and Be Loved,

ThePolyOrange