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Thursday, March 12, 2015

1:12AM - Levels of surety

When asked a yes or no question, there different levels of surety in the answers given.

This is how I use the terms--if I'm not sure how your answer fits into the system, I'll ask for clarification. :)

Let's say the question is:

Do you want to go get Mexican for lunch?

From the top!

1. Yes/No/No preference

Ex: Yes, that sounds great! Mmmmmsalsa
No, thanks, I'd rather eat something here.
I'm not really hungry, but we can go wherever you want.

There's no ambiguity! A decision is made; further action can be taken! YAY

*An important note about no preference*

"No preference" means you're actually fine with arbitrarily picking one of the choices.

I will often poke a "no preference" to make sure it's not actually an "I don't know" or a "toaster" because people are imprecise about it. I don't mind people poking mine, but I usually try to be careful in what I mean.

2. Maybe, it depends.

Ex: Maybe? I want to, but I have to finish this project, and I have work at 2, so only if I'm done by 12.

Maybe means there's a conditional that you don't know the answer to yet, and ideally you should specify what the conditions are. This is less sure than a definite answer, but still pretty concrete.

(It's possible that I use this definition of maybe to justify my facebook RSVP-ing habits. Maybe almost always means "yes-ish, if I have the energy and don't have something else I'd rather do come up.")

3. I don't know

Ex: Dunno? I'm kinda hungry, but I'm trying not to spend money and I had a burrito for dinner, but I realllly like their soup so...dunno.

"I don't know" means you don't have an answer to the question and don't know what it'll take to make a decison

(If I'm feeling too anxious to make a decision and don't want to pick, I feel like that's definitely an "I don't know, you pick," rather than "I don't have a preference, you pick." The latter implies that I know either is fine with me...the former means that I can't deal with choosing either.)

I feel like the best way to handle receiving either a "maybe" or an "I don't know" is to say "Okay, if I don't hear from you by X time, I'm going to do this" ("this" usually is the action you would take if the answer was a no.)

So, in our example: "Okay, well, once you decide, let me know? I'd rather eat lunch with you, but if I don't hear from you by 12, I'll probably just get something to-go."

At this point, I find people's reactions amusingly mixed. Some people have clearly felt more was needed to explain things, and some people as I proceed to the next level have reacted with a shocked "Wait, there's more?"

Oh yes. There's more.

4. Toaster

Ex: ...toaster?

Toaster means that for whatever reason, you just cannot engage with the question. You don't know the answer. You don't know *if* you know the answer. You don't know if there is an answer. AUUUGGHHHH QUESTIONS WHAT.

(Credit to Kylei for coming up with the best way ever to answer a yes or no question when you can't.

"I can't think about that right now" means the same thing, but at least for me is way harder to get out in most circumstances. Also, "I'll get back to you about that" is business-speak for "toaster,"--effectively the same, but less honest and open.)

For a question this simple, I'd probably only say toaster if I was in the middle of something else that was stressing me out and that I had to engage with (doing taxes?), but it comes up fairly often when either the question or life feels unbearably overwhelming.

If someone says toaster it is definitely not helpful to give them a deadline, (extra stress auuggghhhh) but I think it does help to let them know what you're going to do without their input.

Ex: Okay, I'll just figure out lunch on my own. *hugs*

If you absolutely cannot proceed without a decision from the person, do let them know how long you can wait.

And finally:

5. Twaddle

Ex: Well, I've been on a special diet, so I have to be really careful about what I eat.

It sounds...almost like an answer. They're sort of talking about the same thing you asked a question about. But not only does it not give you any actual indication of yes, no, or how sure the person is, the person isn't even engaging with the fact that that they're not engaging with the question.

(Meta-note: I'm finding myself really self-conscious about this last example. I'm in no way saying that being on a special diet is twaddle, just that the statement as stands without further qualification or detail is a twaddle answer to a yes-no question about Mexican today.)

This, again, is more likely to come up in more emotionally charged conversations. I feel like the best way to handle it is to point out as gently as possible that they're not actually answering the question, while acknowledging what they did say.

Ex: Okay, what kind of foods are okay for you? Is there anything at the Mexican place we like that would work, or should we do something else about lunch?

I'd like to be able to just say "Nope, that was twaddle" and have people apologize and answer the actual question, but that would probably not be kind or effective.

Just satisfying. *sigh*

Part of the reason that I'm so excited about having the option of "toaster" is that I feel that people twaddle because they're not up to thinking about the question--but most people don't have the tools to recognize when that's true. Moreover, in general there is a social stigma about saying "no" or "I don't know," let alone "toaster." It's seen as disappointing people, or being weak, which is ridiculous and obnoxious. If people lie or twaddle instead of giving an open, honest answer, you just have a bunch of people very few of whom end up actually understanding each other or getting what they want. (See Exhibit C: any sitcom ever)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

7:54PM - Tonight had the prettiest sunset sky

When I got out of class it was still full light, with the sun bright and visible above the trees from higher ground--and just a bit to the left, there was a fluffy, misty cloud at just the right angle that there was a small secret piece of rainbow created. It felt like a present, a little bit of improbable loveliness.

I really wanted to share, so I called Sam, but her house was too low to see it (she was happy I called and tried to share it with her anyhow)--but in talking to her, I thought of Nichelle, and her love of sunsets and coincidences and beauty, so on impulse called her too.

She'd already seen it and loved it. :) :) We got to have a short but sweet moment of connection over our happiness, and quickly touched base, both saying "Hey, I still like you a lot, we just aren't really in overlapping worlds right now." She had to go, so I left with "I love you, and I hope I see you soon, but if I don't I still love you." :) <3

That left me feeling...softly glowy, and well, rainbowy.

The rest of the sunset was just as amazing-- when the sun was still visible, but much farther down, the sky shaded from saturated pale blue to saturated pale pink, with pink and gold light highlighting this cloud that looked almost exactly like a double helix (there were a bunch of short discrete pieces that must have gotten spun?). Later, when the sun wasn't visible, the whole horizon turned to rainbow, with actual purple on the bottom edge, shading up the colors through bright red-pink and a lovely orange to purpley where it met the sky.

I don't usually do description, because it's not how I think. But damn, that was gorgeous, so I had to try.

And I'd had a really good day of teaching class, so I was actually in a really good space to appreciate it--there've been lovely sunsets before (it's a perk of a long drive home facing west around sundown) but most of them I haven't had spare spoons to spend on paying attention to it.

(That sends my brain off on a tangent about a lot of things--self-care being hard because the most effective things take energy to do in the first place, about classism in new age-y stuff, about what it really means for me when I don't feel up to putting effort into things that make me happy. That last, especially, I really want to try to think about in detail. Sometimes pushing through that feeling actually is worth it, but a lot of the times it's not, because I can force myself to do the motions, but can't force myself to actually have the extra energy. So. That was shorter than I thought actually--it seems like a pretty clear line then, that it's worth it to push if just going through the motions would still get me the benefit. But, I wanted to keep this short and immediate, because I keep thinking of things I want to write "soon," and soon is the same thing as never for me a distressingly amount of the time. More "now" instead is definitely a thing I'm cultivating.)

I also thought as I was driving home, that I find it odd how much I love sunsets, considering that I hate transition and change and I hate bright lights in my eyes. But...I love the night, and the end of the day, and I love gorgeous washes of color. So I think I can make it make sense in my head. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014



So. All the shifts in the last little while.

I'm not going to Seattle-- Taz decided they'd rather do the trip and the settling in on their own so they get started as they're going to continue and let me know that Tuesday night.

(Also, that led to a weird conflict because they'd been nervous and had to work themselves up to telling me so, and that felt really hurtful because I'd put A LOT of work into being non-pressurey about the whole thing and making it clear that I only wanted to do it at all if they actively wanted me to and then they got hurt at the way I expressed that that hurt and made me feel less able to be close to them? Because it felt like they were unable to see or interact with me because of ghosts. I apolI sat and talked with Steve about it for an hour or so and that helped a lot, and I also called Brian to explain it out a little again and then get sleepy tuck me in cuddles.

(I also went on a really weird tangent with Brian, cause I asked him if he liked it wehen I called to talk, or if it was just something he was okay with and that he was glad made me happy...and his answer was that those aren't really two different things for him? And. What? My brain just doesn't even. Those are such different feelings for me, and it makes me feel weird about my sense of what's good for him and where his boundaries are? Also meh.))

And then this morning I found out that the leasing company needs us to move out of Steve's house because the owners want to sell it, so I couldn't have gone to Seattle anyhow, cause *I'm* moving apparently?

I hate things being in flux.

Steve's looking at moving closer in to town though, so maybe things will be less than 30 minutes away sometimes. That'd be cool.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

3:57PM - Also, Steve conflict

As explained to Ben, cause it illustrated some things I hadn't thought out til I said them out loud and I want to save them:

Forgive the sloppy sentencing, please. I'm the laziest when I'm text chatting, which is part of why it's so low activation energy for me.

I mean leaving my room
there are people home
that's what the blerg with Steve was about cause I'd been assuming the house would be empty and I'd get alone time and stuff done
and then he and alex were here and came in and asked me about working today
and I was all
I would be working
nope need empty space
and so that set off all his guilty triggers and he was all BUT WE CAN GET OUT OF YOUR WAY I'LL MAKE THIS WORK
and I could tell if I actually came out and asked for it, he'd do it, but that he really didn't want to and that it'd be really mentally and emotionally stressful for him
and he wouldn't fucking take that into account
so I had to take that into account and refuse to be super direct about saying I want them out of the house omigod yes please damnit
and do his emotional work for him while I was super fucking emotionally crashy
sorry, kinda pissed about it
and I don't really think I can even explain to him what it was I found so frustrating
he's not going to magicaly develop boundaries just because it stresses me out that he doesn't have any

3:40PM - Skills/Needs. Rambles beforehand. Ohai lj

I desperately need to ground, and I'm hoping writing will be able to do that for me right now. I feel. Weirdly selfish? To be posting when I feel like what I have going on isn't as intense as what Annicka and Abby and Roger are going through and posting about. But. I know that's a ridiculous feeling.

At least I don't feel anxious at the idea of writing. I have been for the past while. I haven't really been able to pin down why, either. This journal has been about me, not about presentation anyway, been a place to spill raw feels and make kind of a mess of them.

I'm massively over-extended emotionally and didn't notice until late last night. Stretched and stretched with a combination of just plain being around people and a lot of that interaction being really, really intense.

I really liked a prompt Belenen put forward as a suggestion to Abby, that they write out the skills/needs they have in relationships. So. I'm stealing it. It feels really hard to figure out what my needs would be at all, so I'm not starting there.

(I started writing this in the third person, but yah know, I like it a lot better in second person. It feels a lot more...connected that way. Also, possibly more arrogant.)

I listen. I'm really, really good at listening, at taking pieces of what you are saying, or have said, your body language, your tone, your posture, and then taking that and integrating and reflecting it.

I hold space for people in my mind. This is vague, and weird, and weirdly important to me. If you're an important part of my life, there's a corner of my mind that is always running a model of you. I'm aware of what you're doing, what you might need, what you might want, what might make you happy, what your schedule is like, when you might be available to interact with me. I wish this extended to me being casually good at gifting objects or acts of service, but it doesn't so far. Different skill, different programs.

I'll watch out for your boundaries at least as carefully as I watch out for my own. This is a new-ish skill, but incredibly important to me. It's honestly where I've spent most of my dots the past few years. Increasingly often, I'm having to talk people out of doing something for me that I really want because I can tell it's not something they're actually okay with doing. This. Makes me really happy on most levels and is really frustrating on others, cause I still wanted the things I wanted damnit. And I could have gotten them, too, if it wasn't for those meddling moral systems I've embraced where I value people's happiness and autonomy over the things I want.

I'll answer any question you ask to the best of my ability at the time. This has always been a huge part of me--I don't hide or try to filter out parts of myself. If you want to know me, I really want you to be able to, and I'm happy and flattered. A new part of this is being able recognize when I cannot engage fully or honestly and saying "Toasterrrrrr?" instead of constructing some sort of rational-sounding explanation so you'll leave me alone about it.

I care.

I care so fucking much about the people I let in. It's part of why I get to know most people slowly, why I have so hard of a time letting go or easing back on relationships. I don't know how to define it as a skill though, beside saying that I care. It feels definitely like a skill though. I feel like a lot of people I've watched hold back from emotionally committing to a person, from letting the other person's emotions and life impact their own. I can do that, but only if I keep someone below the level I consider a close-ish friend. This is a technical term.

I cuddle. I will cuddle the shit out of you. And pet your head and your back. I'm not expert at matching the cuddles to the person, but I'm getting better at it. It's one of my favorite ways to connect, because it's one of the only things I know of that can consistently be net-energy-positive for both people.

I'll give you whatever space you need, emotional or physical or both, especially if you ask for it. I'll also continue to reach out to you and remind you to come out of self-imposed isolation, but only if you specifically consent to that and only for so long. I am good at that, but it's really hard for me.

I work hard to maintain balance in my relationships-- to not ask or give more than you're willing to give or receive, and I try to keep it so that it feels fair to both of us. (grumblegrumbleTaz)

When I have the energy, I'll reach out to create time and specific types of connection with you. Initiating is high cost for me, but I still seem to end up doing more of it than the other person in most of my relationships. Or that could just be bias on my part. Maybe it's like sharing chores with someone and *everyone* feels like they're cleaning up more than their fair share of the other person's mess. But anyhow. I can and will initiate, and I'm pretty good at using what I know of the other person to initiate in a way that is non-pressurey and to do something they enjoy.

Huh. I was thinking my skills and needs would end up really different, since I've generally felt like a lot of my relationships were more about complementing each other...but I think that the skills I have to give to map really well to most of what I'd need or desire from another person.

The big thing that's not on the list that is really important to me and that I don't think I'll ever be good at is the ability to disrupt head loops and change the mood of an interaction. Ariana, Brian, and Kylei are all really good at that in fairly different ways. Ariana can break though most things with a really dark joke that catches me off guard-- a lot of times she'll do it for herself, too, when she's talking about something heavy. Brian just. Is Brian. <3 And somehow manages to guide conversations and interactions away from me perseverating and into happy chill hangouts or conversations without making me feel like my upset wasn't heard in like. A fraction of the time I would have stressy talked out my stuff with anyone else. Kylei can't always do it, but they get so excited and wrapped up in a thing and swing that excited everywhere, and sometimes then I can just jump along for the ride and it's great.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2:51AM - awakeawakeawake

I don't know why staying up forever or sleeping forever always seems like it'll solve something. But it does seem like that.