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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
First Editions 
11th-Jun-2015 05:34 pm(no subject)
Last night, I went to a Buffy-themed burlesque show.

I've been going to a lot of burlesque shows! It is awesome fun in a way I'll write about elsetime. And since Aimee moved in a few weeks ago, I've been dressing up for them more and more. (That move, by the way? Totally awesome. Best housemate.) Last night, I wore the big pink ballgown Adam got for me on Freecycle and went as prom!Buffy with Aimee's Faith and Adam's Oz (with the "GOD" nametag - Adam's first dress-up!).

Aimee and I won the costume contest, but this isn't about that, it's about an interaction I had after the show. A woman said to me "I got turned around coming out of the T station and didn't know how to get to the venue, but then I saw you and thought 'Well, I'll just follow Buffy!'" And I loved that, and I've been thinking about why I loved that.

It ties in to how I went full ludicrous with my clothes at times at Wiscon. If you didn't see on Facebook: I got an ankle-length silver sequined coat thing at the clothing swap, and a velvet dress slit up to THERE, and a black faux fur cape, and I combined all of that with the mesh-sleeved shirt and the vinyl/lace/chained/studded bolero I brought with me. I was told that I spent the con moving through stages of David Bowie. :) And I wore that ballgown to an 80s prom at Legoland the day before Wiscon, and did 70s key party realness for a theme party the Saturday after Readercon. I bought a feather collar/cape. I have The Mermaid Dress, which I'll be wearing to a faerie-themed party on Saturday.

I had a date with Ten today, which was absolutely wonderful in so many ways. One of those ways: my schedule has been jam-packed, too much gogogogogo, and I slow down when I'm with Ten. I get grounded. We have the spaces between the notes.

But also, we have great conversations, and we were talking about many things today, an intersection of which was him saying "that's why people are drawn to you - because if the music is good, you're on the floor. You don't need anyone else to get there first to make it okay for you. You make it okay for them."

My not-fully-formed tipsy thought on Facebook last night was "I will be the outlandishly dressed person who lights the path." And: yes. I have not always been that. I have had that shyness, that difficulty stepping out, being first. But now that I know - I have been learning for a while now - how wonderful it feels to step out and beckon to others, to give them permission to be a little silly by being a lot silly... (EDIT: As an example: At Legoland's 80s prom, Ten and I did a spontaneous interpretive dance to "Total Eclipse of the Heart". FULL DRAMA.)

I'm happy with it.

I'm happy.

I've been quiet here because the case against Judah has been grinding me to paste. He and his lawyer have been doing a lot of stuff that's retraumatized me. April, in particular, was a nightmare of situational depression. I had a lot of days when I did not feel capable of living. I had to tell myself "okay, you need to do two things today: you need to walk the dog when he needs walking, and you need to eat three meals. If that's all you can do today, that's okay. But you have to do those things." I knew this was temporary. I knew that it would end. I just had to be patient and not be angry at myself and my brain and body for having this reaction to horrific stress. And many days in April, that really was all I got done in any day. Walking the dog, and eating three meals. But I did it. Every day. And I emerged.

I emerged angry, due to particularly heinous Judah shenanigans. And I emerged into a horrendously busy month, a Red Queen's race, where I had weeks like "Wednesday: Elayna moves into her new apartment. Friday: Aimee moves in." And then, days later, Wiscon, and I have been running.

I have been determined.

I may be quiet about Judah stuff for a little while. This post is your warrant canary. If I am, know that you can ask Adam. Or Aimee. Or anyone, really. If I am, know that it's because it's the best route to achieve my goals. And know that I will eventually tell you everything.

But that is the one thorn in my life right now. I look forward to its removal.

I'm sipping sweet tea with mint today. Aimee made it, using leftover mint from a bunch a lovely friend brought over to our Pig Cotillion on Saturday - our biggest and best party ever. Eight hours of barbecue and the perfect coconut layer cake, mint juleps and Sazeracs, people from all over our social circles having a blast. I won that Buffy costume contest with Aimee, and I won a Sparkle Spelling Bee with Toby last week. (The day before that, I was actually onstage for a dancer-friend's burlesque routine, but that's a different story.) Aimee is fitting perfectly into our household - she and Adam could geek out together about horror movies for hours. I had an amazing date with Ten. I'm going to a party on Saturday night at Matthew's house. Matthew, who said he doesn't tend to date, but who now looks at me in absolute delight and wonder sometimes and says half to himself, "You're my girlfriend!" I am seeing so many of my favorite people; Ten said today that he was excited to meet Mink on Saturday, because he knows she's one of my Important People. And all of my Important People have such affection for each other...

My tiny dog is sprawled next to me, and it's a quiet June afternoon, and my wonderful husband will be home soon.

This is what I've been up to. Running. Fighting. Living. Glittering all over the place. Loving. Being the first person on the dance floor. Reaching out my hand - join me.

6th-May-2015 09:27 am - My Wiscon Schedule!
As usual, I'll be staffing the Interstitial Arts Foundation's "Coffee, Tea, and Subversion" table during the Gathering! Come say hi! Other than that...

Friday, 4:00pm: Imaginary Book Club
Five panelists discuss books that don't exist, improvising critiques and responses. This year might include: Ann Leckie's Star Trek tie-in book Ancillary Enterprise; N.K. Jemisin's run writing Wonder Womanfor DC; and the new reissue of Neal Stephenson's previously out-of-print vampire romance, BIETME.

Saturday, 10:00am: Parenting Beyond the Binary
Progressive parents are aware that gender is far more than a simple spectrum, but schools and peer groups of one's children may not have that same knowledge. In a society that seems fascinated with shoving ever-narrower expectations of gender upon the current crop of under-10s, what can those of us who lived through the gender-bending 1980s do in our parenting to nurture a healthy attitude in the kidlings under our care?

Saturday, 1:00pm: Spindles and Spitfire: A Reading
Join us for sinister whimsy, folkloric sensibilities, dark humor, and SNACKS! Gwynne Garfinkle is a red headed hellion who will capture your heart and put it in a jar above her writing desk. Nicole Kornher-Stace will drag you to bridges made of the dead, and you'll thank her for it. Shira Lipkin has returned from the castle beyond the goblin city. She brought you a present. Patty Templeton misses the ghosts that used to keep her up at night.

Sunday, 1:00pm: Intersections of Class and Disability
While they can play out differently, many of the assumptions faced by people with disabilities are similar to the assumptions regarding working class and poorer families: that our problems are our own fault, that we are simply lazy, that we just do not know how to eat right or take care of ourselves, that we are less fit to parent children, and so on. What happens in the spaces where these two categories overlap? How do race and class intersect with disability issues like accessibility and access to medical care and accurate diagnoses?

Sunday, 2:30pm: Intersectional Body-Positivity
Body positivity comes in many forms, but some mainstream attempts at defining or championing it end up pissing on one group even as they attempt to make another feel better. Body-positivity is not only about fat acceptance, it's also about accepting yourself at any size. It's about acceptance of all trans people with gender-nontypical bodies, and their right to identify in ways "contradicted" by their physicality. How can we support all people in finding their embodiment awesome? What does that look like?

I am, as always, totally going to Geekeoke and the Floomp. I don't have my meals scheduled yet, so if you want to do lunch or dinner (or breakfast, so long as it's at Short Stack Cafe, which has GF pancakes and cheesy grits!), let me know!
Originally posted by time_shark at The CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 5 Kickstarter is alive

Last week I launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund Clockwork Phoenix 5, which I hope will be the next installment in our critically-acclaimed, award-nominated flagship anthology series.


With the costs of shipping and printing having risen, and the professional standard payment for fiction also having risen, my funding goal for this new book is pretty epic, $11,000. But we’re six days in and more than 1/5 of the way to the goal, so we’re off to a promising start!


CP5_cover_mockup_smallThis campaign has been in the works for months; I haven’t made a secret of it. I hope folks can forgive the social media barrage that I now need to generate to properly promote this project. But man, I sure to want to get this project secured so I can put together a book worthy of Paula Arwen Owen’s amazing cover.


So as of this writing we have 24 days to go and we’re 23% of the way to our goal. I have stretch goals I’m hoping to deploy but first we gotta get past the long haul to fully funded — and by the way, as soon as we reach that goal, I will open the book to submissions, even if the campaign still has time left.


I hope you’ll check out the cool rewards we have to offer; there’s a lot, and I’m going to be adding even more as we proceed.


I’m also going to be holding giveaways as we go along to add additional grease to the machine. You gotta be a backer to be entered. These are what I’ve got planned so far:


And that won’t be all. Stay tuned!


In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out our Kickstarter page and consider pledging. And I also hope you’ll spread the word, as we need all the help we can get, heh.




Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

3rd-Apr-2015 02:08 pm(no subject)
As proof of "still alive, just busy life":

* Right after posting, got a request for the full manuscript from an OMG dream agent. Ran around in circles, babbled incoherently to people on Gchat, sent manuscript when I could be coherent. :)
* Got an e-mail I'd been waiting for for a long time that I'll be able to talk about soon, but it is large.
* Date afternoon with Ten! <3
* I'm trying to step out of my comfort zone with regard to going to things alone, so I went to this; it was super great, and I got to talk more to people I know from other shows and make new friends. :)

Today was errand day because it is warm enough out!
* Post office to mail packages to Elayna and ashlyme
* CVS to pick up two of my three prescriptions
* Library, where apparently the librarians recognize me on sight. We might check out a lot of books.

And now I'm home, where next I'll wrap Adam's birthday gifts, shower, and make something for the Texas BBQ seder I'm going to tonight!
2nd-Apr-2015 09:44 am(no subject)
Not dead yet, I promise. :)

So on Monday, I sent out query letters.

I finished the book late last year, finished revising it this January? February?, sent it to beta readers and got feedback - and the feedback was mostly "this is ready now", with a few individual questions and two typos noted. (Individual questions are okay - what I was looking for was "do a bunch of readers not understand how we get from A to B? because if that is the case, I failed to make it clear and need to fix it.")

I... had very little to fix. Which was disconcerting.

Scrabbled about and agonized over a title, because the working title is good as a shorthand but terrible as a title for a book in stores. Found one that works. Agonized over a query letter.

The thing is that I use humor as a way to defuse stressful things, so I could not get past a wacky jocular tone for it. Which would be fine if it was a funny book. It is not, in fact, a funny book, although it has some funny bits in it.

So Adam, who'd been researching How To Write a Query Letter right alongside me, turned to me and said "Do you want me to-" and I said "I WAS JUST GOING TO ASK YOU." Because that way he could get the tone right, and I could go over it and see what was omg Adam no wrong and what else really needed to be in there. Altogether, we turned out what I hope is the perfect query letter in not much time.

And I sent it out. With personalized bits for the agents in question and excerpts of the requested length et cetera et cetera and now? Now the entire process is out of my hands.

So that's where that is.

I have a lot of other stuff going on! But every time I think about what to write, I find that thing X bleeds into thing Y which affects thing Z and it's not all coalesced yet. I am having a lot of thoughts, basically. And a lot of them tie into the book and why I've been procrastinating over it quite so much! But I wanted to post something. :)

Not dead. Quite busy. Deep in thought.

EDIT: And just got a request for the full manuscript from a freaking dream agent. *hyperventilates*
23rd-Mar-2015 09:39 am - Liminality #3!
It is here! *throws confetti* For your reading pleasure.

“Musicide” – E. H. Brogan

“Blood and Honey” – Andrew Watson

“The Animals, Who Are In Your Mouth” – Vajra Chandrasekera

“Drowned City” – Ruth Jenkins

“Bones” – Amy Fant

“Among the Dead” – Lev Mirov

“The Occupation of Millers Creek” – Robyn Groth

“On the Tree” – Alexandra Seidel

“Myth of the Mother Snake” – Carrie Cuinn

“Merlusine” – Nin Harris
2nd-Mar-2015 07:14 am(no subject)
MLP: Pinkie So Excited
Hallo! It is my birthday! *throws glitter confetti*

What do I want for my birthday? I want you to sponsor me in the BARCC Walk for Change! Help BARCC help survivors!

You can also sign up to walk with me and Adam on Team Venture!

I went up to Burlington, VT for pre-birthday shenanigans... a birthday party, gizmometer's show, a brunch, Dobra Tea, many friends and lovers old and new. <3 Low-key day today because yesterday was travel, but I have fun planned for the rest of the week and another party Saturday. <3 It's a good life.
24th-Feb-2015 09:48 am - The Gojirawitz Bestiary
Just scrolled back to see if I'd talked about the current group of pets in any depth, and I really haven't. Last year had lots of things in it!

I know I've talked about Nicky. Adopting him continues to have been one of my best decisions ever. <3 He's snoring delicately in my lap right now. Sweetest boy! He's grown more and more comfortable with new people... the guy who doesn't have a code name yet (EDIT: Matthew has decided he doesn't require a code name, although the disambiguation promises to be hilarious - not Ashlyme, not Mangosteen, the other Matthew!) immediately joined the exclusive club of people that Nicky instantly adores. Flopping over on his lap begging for pets. Adorable. Nick's a happy boy. <3

Bash is still a Murder Cat. And an expensive one - we spent over a thousand dollars on his cornea late last year! >.< He's better now, and he'd better stay that way. We've had him almost two years now. The belly is only sometimes a trap.

We got Whisper on Mother's Day last year, a long-distance gift from my parents. After years of maintaining a three-cat household, having just two pets felt weird! Whisper was Elayna's choice... I wanted a feistier cat or a lap cat, but the shelter wasn't sure about giving a feisty one to a household that had a 13-year-old cat. Bash is feisty! *pout* But Whisper utterly charmed Elayna, and gradually but definitely became her cat. I have told her that when she moves into her first apartment after college and takes Whisper, she owes me a cat. Whisper is given to surprise episodes of lap-catting and very firm head-butts from behind.

And then there's Charlotte, the baby of the bunch at ~2 1/2. Friends in NYC had to rehome her because she needed more constant companionship than they could give her. She's happy here; she often perches on my file cabinet when I'm in here working, and on the mantel when I'm in the living room. She is *not* a lap cat, but she *is* a snuggler when one is horizontal. She is soft and pretty and deeply uncertain about hugs, and peeps wonderfully. She and Whisper do not love each other. :/ We were looking into rehoming her because of all the fighting, but thankfully they dialed that back. Now they just choose to not be on the same floor of the house as each other.

And that is the current makeup of our household! Plus me and Adam and, soon, fairylogic.
20th-Feb-2015 10:43 am - Some stuff makes a post!
The snow continues to be a burden. I know I haven't blathered much about it here (or much about anything here), but it is just exhausting. Nine feet in three weeks is ridic. I posted this link on Facebook before our most recent two-more-feet storm. Still accurate. So there's the physical obstacle of the snow, and the psychological impact of being snowbound. February is being very difficult.

Seriously do google around to find pics of the epic snow, if you haven't seen them already.

A couple of beta readers have finished the novel, yay! Intimidatingly, they... are not giving me much to fix. They really like it as-is, which the occasional question that I can resolve with an additional sentence here and there.

I was unprepared for this? Honestly it only got a little expanded from Draft Zero, and... the received wisdom is that you do a shitty first draft and then you do like 6 more drafts and then you throw it in a drawer and write six more novels that you lather rinse repeat with, and then you turn out a competent novel. So. I was not prepared to spend a chunk of yesterday looking for agents. Hello I am bewildered but... I guess I have to do something with the book?

The answer to "who are you dating" is increasingly complicated, but in a way that is really working for me. :)

Hm. What else? My birthday is coming up! The thing I want more than anything else is for someone to come help me paint my home office. Small room, quick job, but my hands don't work well enough to tackle it on my own.

The thing I want most besides that is a four-poster or canopy bed - wood, not metal; metal gets cold - so if you see one for cheap, let me know.

Also I have a wishlist that cleverly links to the rest of my wishlists. I do not need stuff but if you like to get people stuff, that is the stuff I am particularly interested in.

Yes, that's a 40-pound crate of cereal marshmallows. I AM FOLLOWING MY DREAMS.

Okay. Showertime so I can make my hair pretty, because tonight is Adam's and my belated Valentine's Day dinner at Alden & Harlow! (Thank you for the gift card, Aunt Mary Ann!)
17th-Feb-2015 09:12 am - Nyargh.
Coffee ideas
So while I was writing the novel, I wasn't writing much else - a few poems leaked out around the edges. A few stories, when I spent my summer unable to work on the novel because kid.

But that didn't stop the stories from gathering in my brain.

So. Aagh. I am in a place right now where I'm not stuck because I have nothing to do, I'm stuck because there is a bottleneck issue. I have so many things competing to be first. What I want to do first is the poetry project, but that feels like something I'll want to dive into when I know I have time, and with this constant snow fuckery, I can't rely upon having worktime. That, and I don't know when my readers will be done with the novel. The time travel story and the robot story will both mess me up, so even though I feel like I could do those quickly, I really don't want to be wrecked. I have essays on the list, but my brain wants fiction and poetry first.



Normally I would take a walk and the answer would sort itself out. But. Snow. Everywhere.


Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys chipmunks writers.

EDIT: I made a list; ten stories competing to be written next. Two individual poems as well as the book-length poetry project. Not counting the memoir things and future novels.
11th-Feb-2015 12:46 pm(no subject)
Some things can&#39;t be fixed
I keep being reminded of the fact that I have not said this explicitly here!

Those of you who googled Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type IV when I posted about my diagnosis may have already come to the conclusion that we did, which was:

Given that kids in foster care are already traumatized, it would be hideously unfair to them to pt them in a position where they're likely to have to deal with the sudden death of their primary caregiver.

So we are not doing the foster care thing after all. Still glad we took the classes, and we'll find other ways to help.
9th-Feb-2015 01:32 pm(no subject)
I don&#39;t feel the need to explain my art
Aaaaand revisions are done. The book is with Adam and ashlyme, who were its first-readers.

I feel slightly dazed.

Also looking for a few more readers, people who *don't* yet know the book intimately. Ideally a mix of writers and non-writers. Let me know if you're interested! Not all volunteers will be chosen... want to keep it to just a few people. It's a thriller, not SF/F. Some disturbing content; if you need specific info on what triggers may exist, ask.

*stretch* What now? Well, today's a snow day, so I may as well do snow-day things. I have a stack of library books. I haven't cast on any knitting I care about this year; maybe I'll do that? (My problem there is that I have a bunch of projects I really want to do and I don't have the yarn I need for them! Some skint months lately, mostly the fault of the thousand-dollar cat on top of holidays on top of Elayna's lack of financial aid for fall.)

I have a BARCC volunteer gathering tomorrow, if the streets are not impassable (oh yeah we have four feet of snow in our backyard and are forecast to get 12-20" more today), and I have dates Wednesday and Thursday. I am, surprisingly, suddenly dating. Ten, but that's been building since New Year's; someone else who I'd seen a few times late last year and enjoyed, but holidays/sickness had kept us from seeing each other for a bit, and when we got to see each other again, BAM, and it's a thing now. :) Thursday I'm going to the Boston Grown-Ups Museum thing with Ten. <3

I have to think about what else to talk about now that I'm on pause-until-feedback with the book!
6th-Feb-2015 10:44 am - Friday Memeage real quick
...because I haven't posted in a while! Combination of head-down work, Judahstuff, snow days (when Adam is home and we watch stuff). Real quick because I only have 20 minutes!

Wearing: Purple argyle sweater, jeans, lightning-bolt knee socks.

Reading: Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality by Max Tegmark and Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova.

Writing: I am *thisclose* to the end of novel revisions.

Knitting: I am a bit stuck there! In a place of "I want to knit specific things that I don't have yarn for." Birthday next month. I will treat myself.

Planning: I have a date day today and a party tomorrow, and a burlesque show on Friday! And then snow. So much snow. All the snow.

I hate snow.
28th-Jan-2015 03:39 pm(no subject)
Everything is novel revisions lately. I am bearing down on the end of this thing. :) So excuse my almost-total absence!
26th-Jan-2015 09:01 am - How to ask
We&#39;re All Stories in the End
"Would you like to stay?" he asked, his hand on my waist and his eyes on mine.

His code name, for now, is Ten, due to his resemblance to David Tennant. It was his New Year's Eve party, after midnight, before one; I knew I'd have to decide soon if I was staying or leaving in order to catch the last train and bus if I was leaving. I'd lined up a ride home in case I wanted to stay longer. But honestly, I'd already decided that I'd stay if he asked. We met at sexy-exploration-welcome parties and had had a lovely time at the last one, but beyond that, he gave me and Murder Cat a ride to the vet and we had excellent conversation all the way there and back, and so I knew I really liked him and wanted to pursue this. We'd had a night full of fond looks and casual touch and people who didn't know me assuming we were already dating, which we weren't.

But this isn't about that; this is about how he asked.

Because he followed that question up with "If you decide at any time that you'd rather go, I'll pay your cabfare home."

Thus removing at a single strike any of the things that might have made me feel trapped and/or pressured there, if, after the last bus, after everyone left, I changed my mind.

1. Made me aware that he understood that consent could be revoked at any time and he would respect that.
2. Made money not a barrier to me leaving whenever I wanted.

He did not yet know that I was a survivor of sexual violence. This was just his baseline for interacting with people - this deep understanding of the multiple factors that could get in the way of enthusiastic consent, and the need to settle for nothing less than unimpeded enthusiastic consent. Getting home is not a problem, leaving here whenever you want is not a problem - given that, what do you want?

And there are other proofs, from that night and now others, but those are more private. And I haven't spoken of this because I wanted his permission to say how he asked (which I remembered to ask him for yesterday), and also because I've been enjoying being on this path with him and figuring out what that means between the two of us. We're a Thing. It is good. <3

And it really started that night when he showed how deeply he understood consent. How important it was to him.
21st-Jan-2015 11:52 am - Well that was a learning experience
Unable/Lack of spoons
My schedule was less jam-packed this year, so I was really frustrated with myself for feeling quite so run-down and spacey at Arisia.

Until I got home and stepped on the scale.

Oh. Under the weight at which my regular beta blocker dose becomes an overdose. I was pushing through hypotension for... how much of Arisia? Unknown. A lot.

The con itself was great! I only managed to attend three panels and a reading that I was not actually on, but honestly, that's more than usual at Arisia. Unfortunately, between that, the mandatory program staff office hours, the six panels and a reading I *was* on, and various time commitments to various people, I didn't get to actually hang out with people as much as I would've liked. Part of that problem is just that there are too many wonderful people at Arisia!

Balance. It's a process. And now I know that my #1 priority at cons has to be three square meals every day - scheduled. No relying upon the green room or grabbing snacks. Actual full meals. I've never attended a con this close to that weight threshold, but this does seem to be the weight my body's stuck on for now, so I need to be aggressive about keeping it up.

Anyway, all of my panels went well, my reading made people cry, and I had some awesome times. And thankfully my plans for yesterday got rescheduled, so I was able to take yesterday as a total rest day! Today I had an interview and am about to finally jump back into novel revisions. :)
15th-Jan-2015 11:11 am - Obligatory I'm Not Dead Post
* I will be at Arisia this weekend! Whee!

* Partly I have been absent due to civil case stuff; a lot of the past two weeks has been focused on that, and next week will be as well, and can we fast-forward to the part where that's over and I can write everything I need to write about the experience and never have to deal with him again? KTHX.

* After I wrap up this round of civil case stuff I'll be able to go back to novel revisions, yay. I have been getting twitchy. This is the 15th day of this year and I still have not gotten even one hour of writing time. (Elayna returns to school on Monday.)

* I have had a lot of awesome surface in my life over the past two weeks in wholly unexpected, still-forming ways. I look forward to being able to talk about that.

1st-Jan-2015 03:49 pm(no subject)
Figuring shit out
I've talked about 2014 being my Year of Being Brave; I need to write a good wrapup post on that! And the Year of Being Brave has changed my life. Brave every year from now on. :)

But I did something else, something more subtle, something I didn't talk about as much:

2014 was the year I stopped calling myself lazy.

It used to be a tired old call-and-response thing - "I don't/didn't do X, because I'm lazy." And people would say "You're not lazy!"

And I realized that this was true. It helped that people pointed out that wow, I actually do a lot of stuff. Scroll down to my Year in Shira writing/editing post, and that's just one aspect of my life. I am driven and efficient and I do a lot of things and I do them well! So why do I call myself lazy?

The best answer I have? Part internalized ableism (I don't have a day job because disability, so clearly I am lazy) and part internalized misogyny (I don't do a lot of Lady Upkeep things, so clearly I am lazy).

Neither of those is a good look.

So in 2014, I looked at that, and I asked myself "why am I not doing the things I'm not doing?"

And the actual answer was "Because I have limited time and energy, and that's not where I choose to allocate it."


It seems simple, but that reframing helped immensely. Talking about hair dye? "I don't dye my hair even though I could because I'm lazy" becomes "I don't dye my hair because upkeep on that takes time and energy that I'd rather spend elsewhere." I'd like rainbow hair, but I like what I'm doing more. Maybe I'll get some clip-in rainbow extensions from Etsy.

"I didn't clean the house, god I'm lazy" becomes "I was really in the zone with my writing, and this novel is more important to me than my toilet bowl being spotless."

These are all choices. Time/energy choices. When I say "lazy", I'm not just disrespecting myself, I'm devaluing the totally valid choices that I've made, that I'm making.

Plus it is just not true.

So that is my challenge to you for 2015. What negative thing do you say to yourself about yourself? What story are you telling yourself that isn't true or fair to you? Find it. Nuke it from orbit.

"Be very careful how you talk to yourself. Because you are listening." - Pat Cadigan
31st-Dec-2014 01:39 pm - A better place and a midnight kiss
We&#39;re good. Yes we are.
I posted on Facebook yesterday, "The difference in my life from last December to this December is really huge and 100% positive."

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - turn of the year and all. But it was brought sharply into focus by two things, one yesterday, one a few weeks ago. The one yesterday? I thought "where did I go for NYE last year?" and realized that I had turned down all party invites and stayed home on Gchat with Michael. This year, I still don't know how many parties I'm going to make it to, but I am hella going out.

The other one requires a bit more unfolding.

I go to a lot of parties! Some of these parties have an element of friendly makeouts and the pressure-free option for more than makeouts. I actually want to write about these parties and the way they're sex-positive without the sexy element being intrusive for those who don't want to take part in that, and the nifty consent-culture rules; I need to write up a draft of that post and send it to the hosts for approval! The particular parties that are relevant to this topic happen... quarterly, I wanna say? Every few months. And last December's, there was some crappy weather, enough so that I didn't want to go without getting a ride. Which I secured.

And then Michael and I had the biggest fight we'd ever had.

We always fought over these parties. (This is why I was late to every one of them in 2013.) He did not want anyone else touching me, ever. I was fine with committing to nothing below the waist, but being able to kiss people and get touch-comfort was important to me, especially in the wake of Judah (Judah and I went to one of these parties once; he was petulant that I got more attention than him and insisted upon leaving early). I needed to be able to make choices regarding my own body.

But this fight was different, was worse; he had a complete meltdown. He refused to believe me that the weather was safe for driving. ("It's barely snowing," I said; "The Weather Channel says it's unsafe," he said, and I kept repeating the actual reality of the weather, and he refused to listen.) He wandered off from Lynne and the other people they were out with to yell at me. He repeatedly blamed me for upsetting him.

I finally got off the phone with him just before the friend giving me the ride showed up. I was visibly not-okay when I got in the car; my friend could tell. And Michael kept texting me, and I kept texting back, and my friend kept glancing over at me in deepening concern. Finally he said "Y'know, 'song..."

And I automatically responded with "He's not always like this."

And we both looked at each other in perfect horrified knowledge of the script we were reciting.

Because we know this script, we know it, we know that's what they always say, and I had not fully realized, until the words from the script flew out of my mouth, that that was really where I was. Judah hit me. Judah raped me. This wasn't that, so it had to be okay, right? Even if it was tense, even if things like this happened, even if things were always my fault, even if my fooling around made him angry so it was always my fault he was angry...

My friend just looked at me like "you know," and I looked at him like "if you love me, don't make me say this or look at this tonight. Just let me go and drink and kiss people and not have everything collapse right now in this car."

And bless him, he let me.

I hadn't thought about that in a year; more dramatic stuff was soon to follow, et cetera, and it faded. But the same friend gave me a ride to the same party this year. He looked back at me and quietly said "This is better than last year."

Another friend in the car said "Oh yeah, the weather last year!" and we all nodded, but I met my friend's eyes in the mirror, and we both knew.

Y'know, it was. It was all around. The weather was better, yeah. And good friends from out of state were there, and I was bold enough to make eyes at a cutiepie I'd met at another party, and we ended up all having delicious fun that it would be inappropriate to recount here without the permission of, um, a bunch of other people. ;) And the next morning, gizmometer and I Skyped with ashlyme and told them all about our night, and though we'd missed each other, though everyone wished ashlyme was there with us, they were happy for us; we were all happy.

(ashlyme was worried, when we started dating, that their anxiety would be a problem for me, after things with Michael. No. And there's an example of why. They missed me, but were happy for me. They did not scold or shame me.)

This has been a Year of Being Brave in so many ways. And it's been a year of freedom. It's a year of being accepted and respected by my partners - I looked very hard at everything before taking the plunge with beloved ashlyme, and to my relief and delight, they've been very, very good for me. <3 And so has everyone else. I've experimented... kinda a lot. Most of those experiments totally worked. One didn't, but in ways that gave us both interesting data, and we are still friends, so that's still a great outcome. (There is something oddly freeing about "Yeah, wow, that was a mistake for both of us! Fascinating. Still wanna go get a drink?")

Having my world kicked out from under me yet again in January gave me the opportunity to reframe, restructure, rethink, rebuild. I waited a while before becoming involved with anyone even long-distance, and even longer before becoming involved with anyone in person, because I needed to look to myself first and make decisions about what I wanted, what I did not want, what was best for me. And I've been fairly ruthless about cutting out the things that don't serve me. I joked recently that I turned a guy down for wearing those Vibram shoes, that's how picky I am!, but really, yeah, I will no longer cut off parts of my Self to be with someone. It isn't worth it.

And I am so much happier this way.

Adam wasn't sure I should write this, because it's me talking about the exes again, but: I have been carrying this, and if I never say it, I'll never get to set it down. And I want to set it down. I've had a fair amount of bullshit from people this year that's been directly attributable to the fact that I talked about a bad breakup amongst people who were pretending to be my friends. I never got the memo that we're not allowed to talk about our lives and about shitty things that sometimes happen. And I think the shame here should lie with people who play at friendship to get intel. Lots of people should look at their lives and look at their choices. It's helped me to do so.

Last December was bad in ways that I didn't have a handle on yet, because I was kept in crisis mode. This December? I had a great visit with my Florida family. That party was huge for me in all kinds of ways. The second issue of my magazine came out. I've revising my novel - you guys, I wrote a novel, I'm still chuffed about that. And I have a well-earned calm and happiness.

Last New Year's Eve, I stayed in. Tonight, I'm going out. I will wear glitter; I will dance, and I will have champagne, and I will have a midnight kiss.
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