Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tolling Bells and Parting Glass

LARP for me started out as an excuse for my hobbies. A place to focus my creativity in role play, sewing, knitting, fitness, and any other skills I'd want to develop. It was also intended to be an escape from day-to-day life, and a place to build connections reminiscent of my ren faires of the past.

So far, its been so much more than that. This past weekend, in particular.

Friday night was incredible. As with most Friday nights, game on was called and the newbies were pulled away for the intro mod. A few other small groups trickled off, but most folks lingered in the tavern to wait for the usual large battle that would mark the start of the weekend.

Finally the call went out. It was raining a fair amount, but not enough to deter most folks. I ran out into battle and fought fairly well, getting sufficiently soaked in the process. I was taken down a few times before running back inside to heal properly and catch my breath.

After a moment of shaking off and fixing my armor, I step back out onto the porch.
That's when the sky really opened up.

A torrent of rain began to pour, forcing most players closer to the tavern for any inkling of shelter provided by the sloping roof. The monsters attacking us did their best to pursue, but as they were also players, they began to slink back under trees, smaller buildings, or just grudgingly attempt to continue fighting.

I didn't hesitate.

I sprinted down the steps and past the huddled cloaks trying to penguin their way onto the porch. It was impossible to hear anything over the downpour, and almost as impossible to see. I imagined myself cutting a swath through sheets of water, taking advantage of the distracted (and probably discontented) "monsters" doing their best to escape the rain. I pursued relentlessly.

Three hits, back up. They turn around, confused that someone is even out there. Three more hits. Dance around to their side, keeping just out of reach. Three more hits. Down. Deathstrike. Sprint off to another one. Repeat.

I didn't bother with called damage - it was too loud. I didn't bother searching them for loot for the time it would take. I ran on. I ended up taking down two on my own before meeting with another player to take down a third one. I didn't get hit once. There were roughly five or six other people on the field but I wouldn't have known it until hearing someone else's recounting later. Everything about the situation had me feeling I was alone against the world. And I was winning. And it felt wonderful.

I almost lost a contact lens twice. My tunic from that battle was still wet when I went to pack two days later. It was all so worth it.

Unfortunately, I play a shape-shifting character. I say unfortunately because the creature I shift into is a fox. I tend to walk around with ears and a tail, and after being in that kind of rain for so long... well... I looked rather sad. There were a few other shapshifters in the group, though not as drenched as me. We collectively took great joy in standing near anyone who looked too dry, then shaking off dramatically.

Saturday night was by far the hardest time I'd ever had at LARP. In contrast to the night before, it was a trial on both a physical and emotional level.

I was part of a decoy group meant to hold off a slough of undead until a secondary group could get away. The battle was a long one, with the undead getting stronger and stronger as time went on. It was the Harrowing, and at this time of year they had the power to turn our own comrades against us. They did so several times, and we were forced to cut down our friends only to bring them back again, luckily, in their right mind. I don't have a lot of health, as I tend to fight more "sneaky" and dodge often. But as the enemy got stronger, it would only take one hit to bring me down, and I couldn't afford to take as many risks.

As our friends became Harrowed, they were taken down by us and tragically left along enemy lines. I myself became Harrowed twice, but was recovered. The undead were too many for us to recover everyone safely. Quickly, fallen friends 'along the lines' became 'behind the lines' as the undead pressed their attack. We tried going back for a few, but then more would fall and only add to their number.

The call went out for retreat. The other group was successful and it was time to back out.

The undead got stronger.

One by one they called out for large numbers of our group to become Harrowed. More and more went to join their ranks, and more fell as a result. One in particular was the in-game brother of a dear friend of mine: Coral. She cried out as he fell and was promptly overrun by the undead. She's mostly a healer, but she looked ready to charge back after him. I grabbed her and physically dragged her away as she screamed for him. A long, gut-wrenching scream that echoed as one of the enemy walked up to her brother and swiftly ended his life. Someone else grabbed her other arm and we pulled her further, looking behind as one by one our comrades were slain where they lay. More screams and cries went up from the living as we were forced to retreat, leaving them behind.

Once safe, she sobbed bitterly that they would convert him into something evil. That he wouldn't come back, or if he did, he wouldn't be "him." She leaned against me as we sobbed together, my words of comfort ringing more hollow than the death bell. Slowly, we walked back to the town.

The death bell rang out as each spirit of those who fell made their way to the archway. With each toll of the bell, a cry or gasp went up from those around. Three times. Four times. Then with the fifth one: Hart; Coral's brother. She wailed once more, and her quiet sobs turning into open weeping.

We sat outside of death's archway for what felt like hours. We cried for our fallen, weeping openly as more and more people joined us in mourning. Each spirit of the dead went in to greet death, and see if they would be restored to life. Long moments of silence would follow as a new spirit entered. Eventually, one by one, they would come back to us. Usually with some kind of obligation to fulfill as an exchange for their return to life.

Then it was Hart's turn.

By then, quite a few people had trickled away, so only a handful of us remained to see him through. Coral began weeping again as he entered. I told her he'd come back. Everyone else came back. He will too. He'll be okay.

Long moments passed as we waited by the entrance. Finally a creek of wood was heard and he stepped out, tears visible in his eyes, and made a gesture to indicate it was over. He would not return.

Coral screamed.

He started walking away as we began crying anew.
Suddenly, death called out loudly for his return and we hushed. It turns out he had given death a writ, allowing him a second chance. He returned to the archway and went back inside.

Normally when we mourn for the dead, we sing. This time we didn't sing, and I believe it was due to some complication surrounding the amount of dead waiting for their turn. With only Hart waiting inside, we could now sing again.

The bard came over and started the song of mourning. My throat was broken from crying and talking for so long, but I kept along as best I could. I put my heart into it - we all did.

Another eternity passed. Still, we sang.

Finally he stepped out and we fell silent. He took a deep breath, then smiled. An exhausted cheer of relief went up as Coral ran to him and they reunited.

I ran.
I went around the secondary stairs to the tavern and collapsed against the wall. I cried harder than I had all night. Harder than I had in weeks. As hard as I had for Sarah. I was crying for her now, as much as myself.

I had been holding it together well when comforting the others. Crying softly in camaraderie as it felt appropriate. But I'd been holding it too long. A lot of the last few hours had felt so real - when fighting against our comrades, dragging people away from the battlefield, and waiting in suspended time as we mourned. It felt like too much.

Then I was okay.
I was exhausted on many, many levels, and suddenly remembered enough of my surroundings to feel cold. It must have been well past midnight, but at least it wasn't raining. I felt at peace.

I cleaned my face as best I could and went back into the tavern to relax by the fire. Everything hurt, but I felt content - as well as a bit foolish. Its just a game, right? Right...

Then I had to tell happy stories to a crazy murder-doll-person or it would go nuts and kill everyone.

Happy Harrowing

I realized that I do not participate in LARP to "have fun" or to use a vessel for my hobbies. I was already well into my hobbies before I started, and have only added to them since.

I LARP to be a part of the stories I've only ever read about. To feel a real connection with people in profound situations. Not to romanticize war or battle, but to know greater struggles beyond a "normal" life. To bond in suffering as well as joy. So that my greatest complaint in life wont be related to traffic or a hard day at the office. So that I have a touch more empathy and fortitude should greater hardships in my life, or the lives of others, truly arise.

To feel a greater spectrum of life.

Friday, October 26, 2018

My Type of Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates in some form or another, and its interesting to note the differences between individuals. Some folks wait until the night before to do their homework. Others are the kind to put off larger projects in favor of accomplishing smaller things in order to feel more accomplished. Still others put off tasks for fear of failure.

I'm the kind of person who procrastinates on the things I don't want to do.

Luckily, I consider myself very genuine on what it is I do want. I want a clean house, so I frequently prioritize cleaning. I want to improve my music skills, so I practice where I can fit the time. I want to get better at eating right, so I meal prep on weekends. I also want to get better at self care, so I'm getting better at not beating myself up when I can't get all of these things done.

I'm also getting better at balancing my wants with my needs. Yes I want a clean house, but I really *need to get this costume finished before Halloween. As I mentioned above, I'm getting better at self care too, so I'm not killing myself trying to keep up with dishes. It used to stress me out a TON when I would let the house go to shit. I'm finding myself having to get home, eat, then force myself to actually work on my projects in order to make any sense of progress. Yes, the dishes might only take 10 minutes, but its a slippery slope to putting the clothes away, cleaning the fridge, mopping, and other cleaning tasks. I depend heavily on Newton's first law to keep me moving once I get started, so my first priority always has to be the task I expect to need the most force.

*Need: Subjective. Usually associated with tasks that have a deadline. Frequently, tasks I've set for myself.

Thus, I'm now in a state where I'm cleaning forks in order to use them, and digging through my [clean] laundry bin to find clothes for the day.

And I'm okay with this.

Its strange to reflect on, but I'm no longer in a state where I'm trying to convince myself to be okay with it. I'm actually at peace with the mess in my home, because I've been able to successfully prioritize my other tasks and actually get my costume done. My costume is done, and not on the day before Halloween.

Now its Friday, and I've been invited out for drinks. Am I going to say no in order to stay home and clean? Hell no! I'm going out. And it still feels good.

So what DO I procrastinate on? Genuinely?

Cleaning out my car. The stove. The litterbox. Putting crafty stuff away.

And lately, my job. I've been snoozing more lately; getting in later. When I do get into work I'll spend some time doing non-work tasks (like right now, for example). I hesitate to open my email. I've started to hate finishing my day at home, feeling like no one would notice if I was working anyway. Everything feels like a struggle. I'm tired all the time, and would rather be at home relaxing.

On one level I still love my job. I love the work itself, when I can actually get it done. I just think that lately I've hit a wall, and while walls come and go, I'm getting tired of always climbing over them. At this point I'm either going to bust through, or find a path without a wall.

I think its time to find a new path.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


I've spent my adult life waffling back and forth when it comes to the concept of family. Of what it means to have a home.

Growing up, family was such a toxic concept. It meant gossip and secret hated. Horrid secrets and remnants of false Catholic shame. It meant belittling divergences - from threats of therapy (as if it was something so horrid) and no patience for different mental conditions (let alone acknowledgment of them). The pretense of wealth without any - to know the rituals and mannerisms while wearing highwatered uniform pants to school. Going into it now would take multiple blog entries, but suffice to say its something I'm still working on moving past.

I spent my earliest years escaping, and then trying to forget it. Even as a serial monogamist I never thought further than the short term. I still romanticized the concept of marriage, and perhaps even looked forward to it one day. Then that day came.

It felt like a fairy tale. Meeting back up after years apart, instantly back in love. It was the one time I let my emotions rule reason, and the main cause for why I'm so inclined to the opposite now. My emotions have always run a bit high, and he found just the way to use that. I forgave him every insecurity for the opportunity to share emotions with someone similarly impassioned.

I betrayed the first rule of an order to which I hold most dear. Never let passion rule reason - either out of fear of it not being true, or the hope of it being true. Hope really does belong at the bottom of Pandora's box. The worst of the horrors indeed.                                                                                                                                                             
Later, when I accepted Christians proposal, it was because I felt we'd be a good fit. Of course I loved him - I still do - but to be with someone so sincerely it would take more than that. We shared similar values, interests, and life goals. Mostly it made sense. Until it didn't.

Since then I've finally allowed myself to move into a more poly mind. When I do anything new, I tend to move with an aura of belonging. Perhaps its a self-defense mechanism left over from a lonely and bullied childhood. Fake it til you make it. Because if someone can tell you don't belong - they'll make sure you know. Sometimes survival depends on belonging. And I mean to survive.

I thrive on the compliments bourne from a gifted child. When I appear talented at a new pursuit. When folks were surprised to hear it was my first time LARPing. When I appear experienced in a poly world, full of new emotions and conflicts and joys. My modest excuses don't hide the ego boost that comes with praise. For all my hard work to have come this far, I have no doubt I've earned it.

I once told my ex-husband that "I don't feel guilt like most people." - Of course, he interpreted that to mean I don't feel guilt at all. It was far easier to believe I was a sociopath than to believe he did anything in error. But more importantly, I find that I also don't feel jealousy like most people. I do feel it, but its closer to envy or regret, or even longing. I don't hate the people who feel or have the things I wish for. In fact, I feel joy when people are so happy in their lives. Sure I have wished misfortune on those who have wronged me, but not with any lasting sense of the thought. Mostly I feel glad to see their lives doing well. If anything its further affirmation on my end that we weren't meant to get along, whatever the intent of our relationship was.

When we had been married, I finally felt a sense of family again. I let it in and promptly lost it once more. I tried recreating it again with Christians family... but that just broached more conflict. Back and forth I go again, hating and then striving to create a sense of family. Of home.

Cutting back to today - I find myself once again contemplating the two and how they tie together. Every time I move somewhere new, I take a few years, build my family, then move on again. I have family all over the country now, and even different parts of the world. People who would put me up if times got hard, and for whom I would do the same.

But is it enough? 

Is it my upbringing that provokes me to tie home and family? Is it cultural norms? Why do I feel this longing to gather everyone I love into one area? It sounds selfish and hypocritical of me.

Family in Washington, Oregon, and all over California. Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Florida and Pennsylvania and Virginia and, and and and...
And that's just in the U.S.

But to have a home. Home was made for coming from, where dreams are going to. Which with any luck, will never come true.

I've been watching Downton Abby lately. I do find the upper-class drama fascinating, but beyond that its a family drama. One far more believable than sitcoms of the 90s. I just started season 3, and this line stood out to me:

"We're brothers-in-law with high minded wives. We've got to stick together."

My first thought was, "I want that" I want someone to say that about me. I want that person to have someone of like mind to say that to. I want it to be in a poly context, even if the specific thought of wife or marriage isn't there. I must work to let go of romantic notions of marriage. It can be rough when societal culture does nothing but bombard you with it. But in full logic is not something I need.

But I do want a family, more and more. Since I cannot live with everyone I love, the next best thing is a poly family. My partner and their partner and so on. Supporting, taking turns, building a life, sharing skills. Hell even rearing children - since its fully likely that someones' partner will want or have kids. For as long as people want to come and go.

Even if I'm the one who ends up going.

Although for the first time ever, that thought isn't so pleasant.

I want to stay. I want to build more of those connections. Now I just need to figure out how, while tempering my urge to rush everything. I can't force such a connection, but I do tend to go overboard once invested. I need to temper my impulses. Reason. Logic. Breathe. Its all new, after all.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Finding Your Passions

My faux mother once told me "You are a Maker. You need to be creating something to be happy."

She was right.
Lately I've been drifting in a haze of anxiety and restlessness. I've felt lost when it comes to my life goals, and I've become more jaded at the thought of attaining any. I think its time to re-evaluate.

So - What am I passionate about?

  • Art & Creativity
    • Painting - minis, acrylics, digitally, etc.
    • Costuming
    • Sewing & Knitting
    • Music
    • Writing
  • Travel
    • Doing it.
    • Reading and planning it.
    • Foreign language
  • Fantasy
    • LARP
    • D&D - world building
    • Reading
  • Nature
    • Plants and gardening
    • Caring for animals
    • Learning survival skills
  • Spirituality and self-care
    • See "nature"
    • Meditation
    • Fitness
After writing this down, I realized that "Gaming" isn't on my list anymore. There is my disconnect. I no longer am passionate about gaming. Its something I still enjoy tangentially, but most of my emphasis is on tabletop these days. I think if I were to stay in digital/console/mobile gaming, it would have to be for something "I" am making. 

According to a video I found, the best way to think about this is to find where three or more of my passions intersect. Then find a way to make that into a purpose. It was hard for me to find more than two to interact. I suppose its a way to balance multiple little "Etsy-like" jobs. But it also leaves out other stipulations from your passions. For example, I also want stability, healthcare, and a method for working remotely. I want to get up, walk to my in-home office, and sit down at my job. I want a regular and at least semi-reliable source of income, and employer-provided or regionally mandated healthcare. With that in mind, I don't see myself living in this country much longer.

Lets see how to combine these.
  • Painting + D&D = commissioned figurines. Not stable or viable. 
  • Painting + Travel/Nature/Spirituality = owning an art studio where I sell paintings. Not profitable unless very, very lucky. Don't want the hassle of being a small business owner.
  • Writing + Travel = travel blogger. Which EVERYONE and their mom does these days. Not profitable unless very, very lucky.
  • Writing + D&D = professional campaign writer. Dream Job - not viable 
  • Writing + Spirituality/Self-care = Book author. Not sure I really want to write fluff all day.
  • Nature + Spirituality = Park ranger? Camp owner? Not profitable
  • Nature + Spirituality + Fantasy = LARP manager. Lol.
It's hard to balance my desires for travel and stability. I want a home. A place to come back to but with the freedom to leave. Maybe I can own a seasonal business, like an art studio in P-town. I'd run the shop from May to September, then paint and/or travel from October to April. Gods that sounds perfect. Maybe if I had that lifestyle I could build the energy up to care about world issues again.

The video above suggests finding fifteen challenges in the world you'd like to see solved. That is the part I struggled with (and am still struggling with) the most. I've felt so tired this last year, it's hard to pinpoint any challenges I'd want to help solve. There is plenty wrong with the world, but I find myself not caring - not in an active sense. Not wanting to be the one to help fix it. I just want to live peacefully and not have to fight anymore. Does that make me a bad person? I don't really know. 

"I no longer try to change the world, dragon, I just try to get by in it." - Dragonheart

I know I'm tired of people and petty concerns. It feels like everyone in my life has been annoying me lately, save for a small handful. I catch the hint of drama or negativity and I want to flee. Just leave me alone with your bullshit.

So lets sum things up in a way that makes sense:
  • Remote or seasonal job 
  • Annual salary of ~75K depending on location
  • Has to do with art or nature. 
I don't think I would like a job that tells me where to travel - the whole point would be exploring on my own. I'd want a job that supports my ability to travel. I'm feeling "done" with people, so I wouldn't want to teach any skills or run classes. I think if I had to pick a world issue I'd want to focus on climate change, incorporating my passion for nature to find solutions. I just wouldn't know where to begin.

Come the winter, I'll start actively looking for more remote work options. I'm still content in my field, so I'm keen to stay here for now, pay off more debt, and in July maybe move somewhere cheaper. I'm so tired of moving, but at the same time I've made my peace with it. Now I just got to get better at minimalizing my life to move easier.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fomo Brain: Amplified

This last month has been beyond arduous. I can't remember a time where I felt so chronically exhausted.

My FOMO brain kicked into high gear after Sarah's death. It has been such a harsh reminder that life can end at any time. I have so much I still want to do. Art to make, people to meet, and places to visit. It's maddening that I can't do it all. Even with infinite time and money I'd still find more. I've started to resent my job for holding me hostage to a paycheck and "wasting" more than eight hours of my day. My productivity has suffered slightly as a result, but I've managed to bounce back and force myself to focus again. I do love my job, I just have so much more I'd rather be doing instead.

During labor day weekend I traveled to Phili and spent time with Chris. I had been back and forth on that for a while. In the end we realized it was the only free time we'd both have for several months, and I decided it was worth the time. I was also grateful for the opportunity to meet his live-in partner and spend time with her. It was incredibly relaxing to hang out with them both, explore the city, and get some crafting in. Very, very much worth it.

After that, the month disappeared. I know I worked a few long days to get ready for a busy October (its anniversary month) but I couldn't tell you where the rest of my time went. I know I did some art - painted a few minis and entered my first contest (yay!). Painted acrylic paintings as gifts, knitted and sewed a bit. But there is so much more I didn't do. And I constantly feel low-energy.

I still haven't finished cleaning my meditation cushion or the rollout carpet my cats peed on back in August. I've barely visited with Matt twice since he moved back to the Boston area. I didn't finish my armor upgrade before LARP and I probably won't before the next one, either. I have torn clothes to mend and big clothes to tailor. Music I want to learn. A Halloween costume to make and a vacation to Orlando to plan - one that I've been wanting to take for ages. Not to mention with Yule around the corner I need to get started on my gifts. Maybe I'll just cop out and give everyone a useless knitted leaf :P

Between Sarah's funeral and my Phili visit, I haven't had much time or energy to miss Burning Man this year. Then Matt and his other partner started talking about going next year, even going as far to set up shared docs for planning. It got me feeling emotional again. I'm so jaded I don't want to hope that it will actually happen. The ecstatic joy of my first visit came back mixed with memories tinged by disappointment from trying to coordinate with Christian on my second visit. I don't want to deal with anyone else. I don't want to plan with anyone else or herd cats or force people to care.

I know it's not fair to bring that up again. Christian has been really amazing emotional support the last few months. He encouraged me to go to Sarah's funeral, and even gave me some money to help pay for the flight. He's probably the only reason I DID go. I doubt I would have otherwise.

The service was lovely. People shared their best memories of Sarah and all her nerd-dom. Even the woman giving the sermon speckled her speech with quotes from Harry Potter. Afterward, we wrecked mayhem bar-hopping in Oakland and taking turns in a T-Rex outfit. It was perfect.

LARP last weekend was incredible. I got to spend some time with Chris beforehand and it was wonderful RPing with him in character. It was a great relationship test, and although we didn't state it explicitly, I'm fairly sure he saw it as a test as well. When connecting again after game, our shared sentiment was: "Yup - that went well. Was it awkward or strange for you? Nope? Me neither. Awesome." If anything, I felt for him much deeper after that. It's getting harder to come back to real life afterward - almost like decompressing from Burning Man, funny enough. Being so far from Chris is getting harder as well, but its more of that beautiful sadness I enjoy on a deeper level. Being this sad means I have something wonderful to be sad about. 

This month I'm going to try to relax more. I'll go mad if I don't finish some of my projects, but I won't beat myself up over not doing more. Plus its already getting cold, and I'll have to make time to winter the house soon. Yay basement life.

I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Winter break.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sarah Rose

It's been difficult to know where to start with this.

A few weeks ago, one of my best and dearest friends died rather suddenly. It's difficult for me to convey how much her friendship meant to me. When I left California, I had a group of roughly five people who I kept in touch with regularly, and with whom I made a priority to visit when I went back last summer. She was in that group.

I'll take an excerpt from a recent Facebook post I made:

"She was a tomboy in all the ways I was, and “girly” in all the ways I wasn’t. Together we sang karaoke (me poorly, her beautifully), went wine tasting in Napa (her poorly, me beautifully), and shared a spa day mud bath with a hot-tub afterward. She taught me that indulgence and self-care are never bound by traditional gender roles."

We met while working at EA together. She was the office manager, in charge of herding cats and keeping the place in line. She had a no-nonsense sass and easy sense of humor about her. We hit it off right away. During a summer convention we dressed up together; her in the Daenerys Khaleesi outfit with a fabulous white-blonde wig, and me in my dragon outfit. We were quite the pair.

Even after she moved on to a different job, we hung out fairly regularly. Sometimes going out to Karaoke, where she put forth her southern vocal skills and captured everyone in the room. You see, she also sang in a band. Well, multiple bands, and she had an INCREDIBLY powerful voice. She made it look so easy as she lazily held the mic up to her lips, then let it drop with seeming disinterest during rests. I was fortunate enough to see her perform live multiple times around the greater Sacramento area. After one such performance in Folsom she called me her favorite groupie.

We would always joke that we were each other's wine-drinking buddies, even though we did much more than that. Okay, maybe not much more than that. Some days I'd just drop by her place with a cheap bottle of chuck wine, an expensive sampling of cheese, and we'd watch stupid movies for hours. She introduced me to Cabin in the Woods - and she probably doesn't know this, but afterwards, I always saw it as "our" movie. When we were taking a break back at the room in Napa, we relaxed naked in the hot tub with a bottle and turned the tv on. Cabin in the Woods had JUST started.

She was a master of southern cooking. Two things I've always done poorly were gravy and hollandaise sauce. Three or four times she had me come over to show me how, but when replicating at home something would always go wrong. When seeing comments from other people on Facebook after her death, I was flooded with emotion by how many mentioned her exquisite cooking. Someone even posted a grits recipe she had given them. She loved to share her cooking with her friends, and we were blessed to sample it. No one ever left her home hungry.

She developed a love for those silly inflatable T-rex costumes. She used to flood her facebook page with people doing all kinds of things in them until finally, she purchased her own. A few of her friends (myself included) have resolved to trade off on this costume, ala "sisterhood of the traveling pants" and continue her silly adventures. I'm already looking forward to when its my turn.

I knew she had kidney problems from the start. When we met she was on the donor list for a transplant. After a few years of waiting, she started living on borrowed time. It never stopped her from pursuing her doctorate in religious studies. After finishing her undergrad in Sac State, she moved down to Berkeley for her masters. By then she had gotten a new kidney (or two?) and was doing really well. A few months ago she went in for some sort of treatment and had to stay a few days but after that, it looked like she had fully recovered. She earned her masters, but never finished her doctorate.

It was a few days before anyone noticed. I'm still processing my anger over that. I'm not sure what I'm angry about, or at who. She didn't show up for a treatment one day, so the doctor called her emergency contact, who then sent the police to her apartment.
I don't understand.
She had friends nearby. She had roommates.
All I can think of is how she died alone. Did she collapse suddenly? Did she have pain? Did she try to cry for help? I try to believe she passed quietly in her sleep, but my brain won't let me. It keeps conjuring horribleness and rage. The helplessness of being on the complete other side of the country, unable to do anything. What could I have done anyway? I don't think I'm feeling guilt - just anger. Anger that someone closer didn't "do" something. That they didn't notice sooner.

Her funeral is in a week or so. I'm so broke right now that its hard to justify the $500 last-minute round trip, plus any other expenses. I feel like a shameful hypocrite for having recently visited Philidelphia to spend time with my partner there. I spent another $30 on books... that could have gone to my credit card or toward a plane ticket. The money on meals and booze. Its easier to nickel and dime myself to death than spend a larger sum. But I'm going to go anyway. I'll figure it out.

Barely one month before she died, she'd gotten her first tattoo. It read in Latin: “Nihilominus Perseveravit” - Nevertheless, she persisted. It feels bittersweet to think of, now.

Go now don't look back we've drawn the line 
Move on it's no good to go back in time 

 I'll never find another girl like you, for happy endings it takes two 
We're fire and ice, the dream won't come true 

Sarah, Sarah, storms are brewin' in your eyes 
Sarah, Sarah, no time is a good time for goodbyes

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Spoon Management

The last few weeks have been up and down.

My back flared up again, leaving me hobbling when I walk and forced to stand all day at my desk. While arguably the latter part of that is a good thing, it does make me miss the simple comfort of sitting. Luckily, the people around me have gotten used to my occasional need for laying flat on the floor as my back relaxed, hearing the pop-pop-crunch as my spine works its witchcraft. Its left me feeling fatigued each day for lack of sleep, and even seeing my pain specialist last Friday only relieved it temporarily.

I'm still working out, albeit carefully. Saw my personal trainer last night and everything went well. He's been a godsend for keeping me motivated on my fitness track.

My partner from Phili, Chris, visited last weekend. That was wonderful. The Friday beforehand I drove down to West Hartford for the night. Had a nice dinner, did some light bar hopping, and read my book a while. Stayed the night in my car then met up with him in southern CT with some other LARP friends the next day. It was fantastic hanging out with folks outside of LARP, eating good food and practicing our sparring techniques. Even ran a short module, and got to NPC for the first time.

We wanted to stay a bit longer, but it was getting late and we had to drive 2.5 hours back to my place. We arrived to find one of my cats had peed around the bedroom (on the new meditation cushion I had JUST HAND MADE) and pooed on the bathroom rug. I was so mad and tired that I just tossed everything in the basement to deal with later. I figured the cat(s) were just mad at me for being gone a day and that was their protest. It was really out of character for them though.

Sunday Chris and I went to a 1920s themed dance and had a blast. He's an amazing dancer and took me through a few basic steps. We had some drinks, browsed the shops, debated the meaning and origin behind the statues, and enjoyed a romatic sunset with incredible views. It was wonderful. Afterward, we stopped over at a dive bar and capped the night.

The next day I had taken off work, so we slept in and went to lunch with Christian. I was so glad they got to meet! Now Chris has met both my metamours, and only Christian and Matt have to meet. Now that Matt is moving back to the Boston area, I expect that'll happen when it feels natural. I'm really looking forward to having Matt living closer, even if I do admit to feeling cautious managing our time together. Luckily he has a few other partners to spend his time with out here, so I'm not worried at the thought of him being lonely (or with me feeling obligated to spend more time with him than I'd be up for).

Originally, Chris and I were talking about visiting again over Labor Day weekend, but in the end I had to decline. I really need to take more weekends to finish some projects - especially in time for LARP. I'll get to see him at the end of September, even though there's a chance we won't be as intimate as we'd like to be. I'll most likely spend some time helping Matt move in, then spend the rest of it on projects.

On Tuesday night Christian came over with the original plan to check out a Viking ship in Salem. I don't know how he did it, but somehow he knew to suggest staying home and cleaning instead. I've been trying to let things go more and take more time to relax, but having a messy home stresses me out. The cat pee (which I would later discover was also in my bedroom rugs) was the worst of it all. I was so blown away by his thoughtfulness and generosity. So we stayed in and worked a frenzy around the house. Removing rugs and cleaning the whole of the bedroom. Dishes, several loads of laundry, vacuuming, moving furniture, and more. It was not how I planned our evening to go :) but I was so grateful. We went to bed roughly on time and slept in a bit the next day.

The lack of sleep has been getting to me though. I broke down and ordered a new mattress last week (what's a few more hundred dollars of debt, right?) and used it for one night. It felt pretty good, but I knew I'd still have to adjust. Last night I get home around 9pm after working out and getting caught in the rain to find that one of my cats had peed on it. My new mattress. That I used for one day.

I lost my shit. I was tired, cranky, and just wanted one evening I could come home and relax. Instead, I had to throw sheets in the wash with some vinegar, then stay up late while they washed so I could throw them into the dryer. I soaked up as much of it as I could with baking soda, vacuumed it, then added another layer to soak more overnight. With tearful eyes and a sore back, I bedded down on the couch for the night.

Such a small thing to get upset about. The next morning I felt better. Physically sore, but emotionally better. My poor kitties must be sick - since it's not normal for them to pee on things like that. Hopefully its just one of them. I took a moment to feel grateful for everything. I have a couch to sleep on. I have a livingroom in addition to a bedroom, so I wasn't shut in with the smell. I have two kitties that I love, who are telling me they're hurting in the only way they know how. I know I'm broke, but I'm getting better at managing my bank account. I have so much love in my life right now, its almost unbelievable. My life is going fairly well. Its just a minor issue, and the vinegar I used this morning seemed to clear up the stain almost immediately. I started to feel silly.

Now, here at work, I'm feeling good. I'll be calling the vet on my lunch break, as well as my pain specialist for my back. I'll take more steps, make more progress, and keep making time to replenish my spoons.