Curious Expectations

Ugh, another emotional roller coaster this week (9/11-17).  I worked on some serious mental and emotional shit that’s been following me my whole life, stuff I’ve been actively avoiding for the past 10 years.  I’m learning about my true thoughts and feelings about dating and long-term partnership and working as “a person who happens to have a doctorate degree in clinical psychology,” aka an unlicensed clinical psychologist (let’s just call it what it is, shall we, APA?).

Here’s an overview of what happened this week: 1) there’s trouble in bumble land 2), bought colored contacts for Madame Kiki, 3) showed up during class 6 of improv, intaking new clients, and Lyfting for over 15 hours, 4) worked out some old and new shit in group therapy, 5) enjoyed real food and real talk with some real friends (Quangel, Mama B, Kasian), 6) played with my nephews as Meow Masi, 7) expanded my online dating options, and 8) met a new group of friends thanks to Boldy Locks.  There’s probably a bunch of other shit that happened, too.  I don’t know, we’ll see.  You keep reading, I’ll keep writing.


Monday

So my bumble boy, ABJr, hasn’t responded to my texts since Friday.  As revealed in my last post, Roots Don’t Fear Wind, I went through a lot of emotional turmoil because there was no communication.  This is a huge trigger for me because I grew up with benign neglect and had internalized all the things that went wrong in my relationships.  My friends tried reassuring me that perhaps ABJr just very stressed out with a family situation that is demanding his attention.  I don’t think they wanted to say that he was ghosting me, at least not yet.  So, I sent him a heartfelt text:

A couple of my close friends read this after I sent it and they gave me some solid feedback.  They believe this was an act of courage and vulnerability, and that this was an emotionally mature message indicating my understanding, my responsibility, and my interest.  I admittedly felt better after sending this text knowing that, even if there is no response from him, I said my peace.  Now I just have to let go of any expectations.  On our first date, ABJr told me that “expectations are a mistake.”  I had to keep repeating that over and over again in my head while putting my hand on my heart and breathing deeply.

I had plenty of stuff I needed to do today, like finish last week’s blog post and read a book given by my new boss, I’ll call her Ms. HBIC (stands for “head boss in charge”), for the first day of work tomorrow.  It’s an interesting book actually, one that talks about power dynamic relationships within the BDSM, kink, and poly community (mtbr on this).  I had to keep myself distracted otherwise I’d be an anxious preoccupied mess, all attachment related stuff (read last week’s post for more).  My friend Mama B had some great feedback:

I think you’re laying it out there basically saying “yo- no contact for days at a time is kinda making me anxious although I know you’re very busy with your mom – if this is just how you’re coping, I understand and I’m ok, but if this is you giving me the brush off, then I’d rather know sooner rather than later.”

Mama B thinks I’m being too nice about things and that I should get to place expectations on a relationship, for instance, “don’t fucking disappear on me for days on end bc it’s weird and shady.”  My other friend Meekachu agrees that ABJr should respond with some brief “thanks for this nice message” out of courtesy.  She also asked:

It’s nice that you put in there you not expecting him to respond but this also may make him feel more ok to not respond – is that ok with you?

To be honest, no.  No, it’s not ok that he doesn’t respond at all.  I understand the world of online dating has it’s own unique features, and ghosting is one of them.  So of course ABJr was on my mind all day.  I held on to hope that he’d text me at some point.  I would get a hot flash of anxiety where my stomach would drop and my heart would race.  Like an insta-second flight or fight response to this uncertainty.  Any time I’d hear my phone make a sound for an incoming text, I’d secretly hope that it was him responding with something similar from last week, like “thank you, that was a nice message.”  I was torturing myself with this.  His words were echoing in my mind: expectations are a mistake, expectations are a mistake, expectations are a mistake.

I can’t imagine that I’ve done anything to lose his interest because we had such a fabulous date last week.  I’m struggling with going over thoughts that I had done something wrong or that I’m too much for him, all beliefs I’ve carried with me since I was a child.  These are my insecurities, things we all have from our childhood that have been reinforced and reaffirmed from life experience.  I had to practice a lot of mindfulness self-compassion and radical acceptance (i.e., it is what it is).  Oh well, let’s see what happens.

Eye for an Eye

I had an appointment to get colored contacts to add to my drag persona.  I’ve never spent three hours at an eye doctor’s office before, but the optometrist and opticians were so helpful and friendly.  I go back next week for a follow-up and to pick up my colored contacts.  I decided to go with grey and bright blue, so we’ll see how this’ll pop the drag look.  I’m pretty excited about it because I’ve got a photoshoot gig coming up next Friday (9/22), which also happens to be my 32nd birthday!

Unexpectedly, I told one of the opticians, the one who helped me find the right colored contact and a new pair of frames that’ll be coming in from Denmark in a few weeks, about my bumble boy struggles.  She’s married with two children and she’s the same age as me.  She believes that ABJr is “just being a guy,” and that I should learn to accept that for what it is rather than trying to change it.  She’s trying to protect me from feeling hurt and in a subtle way saying to let go of expectations.  I suppose she had a valid point.  But there’s still something in me that says be that as it may, we can still do better.

Improv This

I had class 6 of improv where Mr. Green Eyez, the one who has googley eyes for me, was actually making winky faces at me tonight.  He also had the unfortunate task of improvising a scene in which he had to use the line “I’m not Jeffrey Dahmer” and it was so creepily accurate about Jeffrey Dahmer’s life.  Ugh, if only I could have snapchatted it for the masses.  I’m not trying to be mean or make fun, although there is a slight truth there.  I did give him a look that suggested please don’t make winky faces at me, which I think worked because he kept his distance the rest of the night.  However!  There were several times I could feel homeboy just staring at me, like not a quick glance or a short gaze, it was like 45 seconds of intensity that I could sense from my periphery.

Bleh, anyway.  We learned a few more things in class today, like a new game called “Hitchhiker” and “A Panel of Experts.”  We’re gearing up for the big show next week!!!  I’m honestly very nervous about it and was rethinking inviting my friends, but Quangel and Kasian insist on being in attendance to support me, which feels really nice and also nerve-wracking.  Meekachu can’t make it because my show is the same night as her improv class.  Bumble boy ABJr was also invited, but I’m doubting that’ll happen given the sense that he’s busy and may not have time to drive out to Ann Arbor from where he lives.  We’ll see, though.

Side Note:

I just made a shit ton of money selling clothes at Plato’s Closet.  They took maybe a fifth of what I had to offer and they told me to come back in March because most of what I have is better for Spring/Summer looks.  I’m also in the process of selling textbooks, although I’m not sure where to do that exactly.  I’m looking to buy an outfit for the photoshoot next week, and I’ve got to start auditioning for other marginalized folks to pose along with me.  I also need to rent a dance studio a couple times a week so that I can start rehearsing the songs I’m going to perform to as Madame Kiki.  oh Shit.. I’ve also gotta find some songs!  There’s so much to do it’s like I need to hire a personal assistant.


Tuesday

Ok, so no word from ABJr yet.  But whatever, I’ve got other things to worry about, like the fact that I started seeing clients at my new job today!  I had to do some “loving kindness meditation” on the way to work because the anxiety was fucking reaaall.

First Day

The second office location is in this beautiful house that was built in maybe the late 1800s or early 1900s?  It’s big, old, and creaky, but beautifully decorated with a lush backyard.  It’s weirdly located right in the middle of a bunch of strip mall type shops and apartment complexes.  It looks so out of place, but you can see the house from a major street intersection and it just looks like a goddamn gothic castle, I absolutely love it.

I was the first one there, 8:30am.  I had trouble opening the front door because I was given so many keys that I thought none of them had fit.  So I ended up calling Ms. HBIC who walked me through it.  I was responsible for setting off the alarm and waking up the house with lights, fresh water, and music in the lobby.  It was weird being alone on my first day.  I hadn’t had a tour of the place yet, but I knew that I had to find my office to set up shop.

My office is located right next to the kitchen, which is convenient, but also very noisy.  We’ve got these noise machines outside of everyone’s door.  I like these compared to others that just play white noise.  I had the options of playing rainforest sounds, beach waves, thunderstorms, etc.  I picked a babbling brook or stream of some kind.  It was soothing, and it drowned out any other noise because of how loud it was.  The house echoed, so that may have also had something to do with it.

Being an independent contractor is vastly different than what I’m used to from past training and job experiences.  I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to insurance and billing, so I wasn’t able to answer any of my new clients’ questions about that.  The actual office I sit in is really nice, though.  I have a window that has a view of the trees, which I absolutely love and am so, so grateful for.

The only inconvenience is that there is a built in sink right next to the clinician’s chair and it’s higher than comfortable for my back when needing to use the counter space as a desk or end table.  I could feel my back cramping up because of the uncomfortable twisting.  I hope I can reach out to my boss and ask if there’s any other rooms available for the full day, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

I also had some printer issues, and I’m noticing that some new clients aren’t filling out the intake paperwork ahead of time so then we have to spend over half the initial assessment session on it.  I feel bad because they’re getting billed for the hour and we barely got to cover anything meaningful.  I think I’m gonna have to make a very clear statement when reaching out to potential new clients like hey get that shit done so you don’t get charged!  

Even though I had two clients in the morning, I spent an extra three hours there because I was getting used to the online forms needed to be completed in order for Ms. HBIC to sign them for insurance, legal, and ethical purposes.  I also got a grand tour from a colleague, I’m still thinking of a nickname for her.  The house has a basement with offices as well as huge rooms for yoga and dancing.  There’s also an attic type space that’s sequestered off from the rest of the house but there are these beautiful windows bringing so much natural light and warmth into the space.

Tomorrow I’ll be in the downtown office.  I think I’ve got about 8 people scheduled for this week, which is a nice pace considering I’ve been out of work for over a month and haven’t been doing therapy for a couple months at least.  My last job would have very slow summers for short-term therapy but we’d see plenty of people for crisis or consultation.  I was worried that I’d be a bit rusty, which I think to some degree I am, but I’m confident that those skills will come back and it’ll feel natural again.

Fuck Boys

On another note, later tonight my friend Mama B planted a seed by wondering if my bumble boy is actually a fuck boy.  A very good question and hypothesis, indeed!  It’s actually really helpful to think about, even if it’s not true.  Who cares!?  I’m gaining some distance and perspective.  It’s helping me see that there were some “orange flags” that are very telling and worth considering.  For instance, ABJr demonstrates behavior that is noncommittal, which means he’s not gonna be as invested or determined to put in equal amount of effort and time.

He’s also not been the greatest at communicating, even if he wants to create distance or space, the dude should at least let me know.  I can’t read your mind, mang!  And, he’s not one to take initiative or be very assertive, which means that most of the work to have a conversation or like do anything will be on me.  I’m already a planner, I don’t want to keep planning at home.  I find it attractive when a partner can take some of that load off of me.  I’m realizing that all of these things can become huge problems in any relationship because these are my basic needs.  Communication, authenticity, transparency, vulnerability.  I don’t know if it’s fair to ask if my partner is also skilled at emotional attunement, or that they already have a secure attachment from a (mostly) positive upbringing.

I’m starting to think maybe ABJr isn’t someone to invest in, or as they say put all my eggs in one basket.  I fear coming across as clingy, needy, or desperate, and I worry that I already have.  So now I’m close to feeling the humiliation of being a fool thinking that we had more of a connection than what was really there, or that these insecurities and personality flaws are the reason for my rejection and abandonment.  All great stuff to talk through with my therapist, Mr. A., of course.  Even though I know there’s a lesson and message from all of this, it still doesn’t mitigate or ease the emotional pain and psychological torment I’m experiencing as a result.


Wednesday

I woke up feeling less anxious than the past few days.  I wonder if that’s because Mama B said that my bumble boy is acting like a fuck boy.  Now, I don’t think ABJr is a full-blown fuck boy.  I think there are varying degrees of fuck boyerie.  I think ABJr does have a lot going on in his life, and he’s had a rough few months, so I can understand that shit is intense right now to be dating.  I also think he’s either scared of investing in our emerging relationship, either because he does not want to fall in love or because he does not want me to fall in love.

Without any communication, I’ll never really know what the answer is.  I don’t think I can demand answers either because he doesn’t really owe me anything.  But still, is it really a lot to ask for?  Why do I have to sit around and guess or wonder?  How does that not fuck with a person’s feelings?  I think that’s why he’s got some fuck boyerie in him because that can be absolutely maddening!!  And this is just a month into talking!  My good friend, Alvarez, told me that I’ll have to use this experience as one that is teaching me about what I do/not want in my relationships and to be grateful for the good moments I had with him.  She reminds me to accept things as they are, even if I don’t like or agree with it, and to approach the things that make me happy and are more consistent with my values.

Aye-aye-aye, what a mess.  I feel sorry for whoever’s next in line.  No, I shouldn’t say stuff like that.  I want to release any judgment or criticism I’m having about myself for the current circumstances I’ve found myself.  I need to be more compassionate and validating.  Now, I couldn’t have predicted that we’d hit it off, nor could I have predicted that life would happen and fuck shit up.  I have no control over any of that.  Even the connection and chemistry between ABJr and I.  We both believe it should be organic and not contrived.  I believed we had that, but maybe I was wrong.  Regardless, it’s cruel of me to say that he or any partner should feel sorry dating me or being in a partnership with me just because I have attachment anxiety and a shit ton of other insecurities.  No.  I’m a fucking catch, and I’m a grown as woman who’s actively working through her own shit.

My snapchat video below talks about attachment anxiety, something that’s a major impact on the journey of dating and being with my partner.  Now, there are some personality constructs that are created through attachment trauma, this means that they didn’t have a caregiver that was very consistent meeting their needs, or the caregiver didn’t help the infant/child feel safe or secure.  The children then don’t develop self-soothing skills to effectively regulate emotions or control one’s thoughts.

There’s a lesser form of this personality composition in which the person endures attachment anxiety, which is still shitty, but these folks have some of a capacity to self-soothe and regulate.  Ultimately, both needs external validation and support to get through the anxiety related to relationships.  This is something that I want to actively work on because at the end of the day the only person who can ground me is me.

What A Clinical Day

Today was my first supervision with Ms. HBIC.  She took me to an Indian restaurant.  It was lovely and delicious.  We got to know each other a bit better, which was nice.  I felt like I had to explain that my anxiety is heightened because of my life transition and current circumstances.  She reframed that by saying, “I see it as you’re a conscientious person.”

I appreciated that because I can be very hard on myself for my anxiety, especially because this was the primary reason a person at my last job was so rejecting of me.  This person focused on my delivery, aka the anxiety, rather than on my message or intent, so instead of training me, they wrote me off and added some passive-aggressiveness to the dynamic.  They also told me “it’s all in my head” when I approached them about the tension I felt.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t a safe space.

The worst part is that my new boss, Ms. HBIC, knows the person at my former job, which is why I haven’t disclosed who this person is.  I’m trying to make a good name for myself, the last thing I need is to entangle myself into some bull shit.

Today also felt like a full clinical day, even though I saw only three people.  I’m used to seeing maybe up to six clients in a row on a busy clinical day.  I’m not a fan of that because there’s barely any time to write notes, consult, relieve oneself, or eat let alone take a walk or nap.  That’s pretty much what all the years of training have been like, and I don’t want to feel like that in this new job because that’s how folks burn out real quick.  Compassion fatigue is one thing, but burn out is the killer.

For instance, after having delicious Indian food for lunch, I had to shit immediately.  But I couldn’t because I was with my new boss, Ms. HBIC, and then I saw new clients back to back.  I can’t hold that shit in!  Literally!  I had to pick up my third client from the lobby almost 10 mins late so that I could not sweat profusely and make weird faces let alone noises when getting to know them.  Also, I was getting real hungry at this point, so I legit pulled out a banana towards the end of my last intake session.  Luckily this person understood what it was like to be hungry on the job.  We laughed when I said I was modeling self-care by eating a healthy snack at an inconvenient time in order for my body to function and perform.

I’m also getting nervous that I might not know enough to help my clients who are in non-traditional relationships or who identify as LGBTQ+ only because of a lack of clinical exposure.  So, I’m trying to educate myself through independent reading and consulting with other clinicians about this work.  It’s been helpful so far but I’ve got a long way to go. The best advice I’ve gotten was to treat every client as if they’re an ordinary person with ordinary problems and I’ve worked with that hundreds of times before.

Side Notes:

1) My podcast equipment is not working and I’m too fucking tired to drive Lyft to buy another mic.  

2) I also got a phone call from my cousin on my dad’s side who was so sweet to be listening to my podcast and reading this blog and wanted me to know that she was thinking of me.  She also told me not to worry about ABJr because it shouldn’t be this hard in the beginning.  I’ll be visiting her house on Saturday because she just had a baby and I need to make more of an effort to spend time with my dad’s side of the family.

3) Lastly, I re-did the hennah on my hands from last week’s drag look.  I think I’m just gonna do this all the time from now on.  In fact, I did my right foot, too, and it looks fucking dope.


Thursday

I’m going through the motions with my bumble boy, from compassion, to confusion, to frustration, to paranoia, and back to compassion.  I still haven’t heard from him, which is annoying af, but I’m trying not to ruminate on it as much as I have been because what’s the fucking point.  I intuitively know that his presence has a lesson in it for me to learn and work through.  The advantage I see is that a seed of hope has been planted, and that’s enough for me to continue nurturing that in whatever way feels the most organic and purposeful.

I really do have gratitude for the work I’m doing to confront these fears and anxieties now because they won’t be too much of an inconvenience in the future, when it matters the most.  If I want to sustain a long-term relationship, then I can’t go about letting just my logic or emotions run the show.  No, there has to be an understanding between the two.  In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT; a treatment approach used to help folks need help regulating different systems of living), this relationship between mind and heart is called wise mind, or that intuitive wisdom (the third eye, if you will), that exists within us all and is function is to help us navigate this life with other people and in this world.

Wise mind is another way of saying “dialects” in DBT because it’s asking us to “walk the middle path.”  Learning how to access and maintain wise mind is a crucial life skill that should be taught at a young age because that could save years of unnecessary conflict and suffering.  It is a challenging skill to master, well… I don’t really think we ever could master it bc at the end of the day, we’re all human.  We’re bound to lose our cool or not think things through at some point.

So, this bumble boy is teaching me about how to walk this so-called middle path.  And it fucking hurts, honestly.  Both mentally and emotionally, it’s just a fucking lot to handle on top of everything else.  I guess I’m also admitting that it’s difficult for me to work through internal conflict, whether that be in my mind or my heart, or even my spirit.  Since I struggle with that I’ll also struggle with interpersonal conflict.  At this point, I don’t think bumble boy and I have conflict between each other (partly because he’s not communicating at all so by that logic there’s no argument to be had).

Logically, I know that he meets a lot of advantageous criteria like similar interests, humor, and lifestyle.  We had a moderate overlap with our value and belief system and some of our coping style with and general outlook on life.  But I think we clash the most when it comes to communication style, time and energy investment, and coping with life’s responsibilities.  I already mentioned what I feel emotionally above, but each of those different emotions represent a different message.

I think that’s actually what I kinda love about emotions, even though they sometimes are too intense.  I like that emotions are mysterious because they always carry a secret or hidden message.  I have begun to see them as opportunities for exploration, adventure, and discovery.  I like that emotions serve a purpose and specific function, and I like that they’re transient and fluid.  When I think of emotions, I think of the ocean.  When I think of the mind, I think of the sky or space.

Over the course of this past week, I’m learning that my anger and grief is because I feel jilted by this bumble boy and disillusioned about the prospects of finding a life partner.  The message beneath these emotions say I’m not important enough to even have an honest conversation so I’m going to keep you tormented by wonder, and It’s hopeless and not worth investing time and energy into romantic relationships because it’s always gonna end the same way – badly.  These thoughts are full of cognitive distortions, or what I like to call “stinkin’ thinkin’.”  This list below demonstrates common unhelpful thinking habits that human people do.  By being able to notice when I’m engaging in stinkin’ thinkin’, I can then identify it, accept it, challenge it, and reframe it.  Easier said than done, obviously.  The first step is mindfulness, the rest is just a willingness to be resourceful.

It’s not helpful for me to “feed the bad wolf,” as they say.  In fact, it only fuels my anger and sadness when I engage in stinkin’ thinkin’.  The reason these distressing thoughts and feelings linger around for longer than I want is because the feeling of shame and thoughts of unworthiness weigh heavily on my heart and mind.  It’s quite a vicious cycle, and it’s one that we all have because we’re human people and that’s what life is.  It’s a fucking mess, but a compassionate and curious mess.  It’s actually something I’m learning to fall in love with life about.  I just find life and people so damn fascinating that I couldn’t possibly want to die for fear of missing out on what happens next.  Aannnyway..

By accessing my wise mind or walking the middle path, I acknowledge or validate that what I’m going through emotionally is real and it matters because I care.  I identify the emotion that I’m feeling most intensely and I let wash over me like a wave.  Even though it can be a painfully overwhelming wave, I trust and know that the emotion will come and go.  There’s some hope and relief knowing that there is an underlying meaning or message beneath the emotion that may not be figured out right away or if at all.  The only way I can get through distress is that I gotta name it to tame it and I gotta feel it to heal it.  Eventually, my mind will clear and my body will relax because the emotion was felt, heard, and understood.  This image below is actually very helpful for me when I need a reminder of what to do with distressing emotions:

My bumble boy is giving me all the opportunity to practice what I preach as a clinician.  It’s incredibly useful skills to know how to work with my thoughts and feelings, particularly when walking the middle path or operating from my wise mind.  The only way I get better at this skill is if I practice, even when I’m not in distress, I still rehearse these skills so that my brain/body can automatically access them in darker moments.  That way, I won’t have to think as hard and I can just trust that I’ll (eventually) be ok.  And even then, I’m reminded to give myself permission that it’s ok to not be ok.

Got Group?

So, last week I revealed way more information about my past experiences with self-criticism and suicidal thinking since my youth than I may have wanted to.  There were two instances I recalled when I felt in a very low place, one at 8 years old with a suicidal gesture and another at maybe 12 years old with verbal and emotional self-abuse.  I regressed back to my 12 year old self in the middle of group because I didn’t feel very held or supported, so instead of saying “hey guys, I’m feeling kinda dropped after revealing so much,” I turned inwards and was being very self-critical and trying not to become engulfed in shame.  I was beginning to dissociate and the group picked up on that.

It’s not my fault that this happens when I feel “dropped” or ignored, dismissed, invalidated, or neglected.  This is and has been my experience throughout my life.  However, group therapy gives me a space to work through all of that.  So what I did differently was giving myself permission to feel whatever I needed to and to regress to whatever age so that I could learn to hold myself in that space in order for me to hold whatever distressing experience.  Of course, I couldn’t access my words while regressing because I was too busy trying not to drown in my shame spiral.

This week, I went into group thinking I don’t want to be vulnerable today.  Mainly because I’m sorta tired of doing most of the work in group, or at least starting the group off and maintaining the depth or modeling the courage to be vulnerable.  One member validated that the group was unable to hold me during that major reveal last week because it brought up painful shame within themselves.

I continued exploring this resistance to being vulnerable in a space where I feel that others are not as vulnerable as I am.  I noticed that even in my family of origin, I’d have an emotional experience to something and go to my parents only to be met (mostly) with rejection, criticism, judgment, or invalidation.  I didn’t have permission to feel my feelings, because often times my mother would get mad or my father would tell me to pray/let it go.  None of which was helpful at the time because what I really needed was a safe space to feel heard, seen, understood, and comforted.

So when one member had an emotional reaction of frustration in response to my so-called temper tantrum, as Mr. A called it last week, I was triggered even more.  This is what we call a reenactment in session.  Basically, what I went through as a kid was happening right here and right now in the therapy room.  This is why I regressed to a childhood age and acted out in the same pattern I did as a child.  This is what the group was responding to, not what I had revealed earlier that made me feel scared to be vulnerable again.

This week was helpful to talk through this experience with other members because I learned that others are learning through me.  There is a real value in my courage to be vulnerable, not just for me but for the group as a whole.  I don’t want to toot my own horn, but because I’m savvy as a therapist, I’m pretty savvy as a client, too, and quite honestly, I bring a different perspective and energy to the space (all intended to be helpful).

It was comforting to hear that others in the group wanted to comfort me by giving me a hug or wanting to take away my childhood emotional pain.  It was nice to hear that others want to connect with me but that when I shut down and disengage, I’m inaccessible and that’s what creates tension in the dynamic.  Even Mr. A had to correct old patterns of thinking, an insecurity of being too much, by saying “Look, we’re all still here.  Is it possible that you can be too much and still have people there for you?”  This is a powerfully transformative statement, one that was difficult to receive because I was trying not to feel vulnerable.

This is also something that Mr. A has done before when I say something like “I’m being really difficult right now,” or “I’m being such a pain, I know it,” his response has always been, “And? I’m not going anywhere.”  Meekachu and Quangel have responded to me in similar ways when I feel like I’m being “too much” or a burden.  They both said that they still love and accept me for who I am, that none of that changes just because I’m in a bad mood or have an attitude or whatever the case may be.  I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t leave me, so I had to learn how to receive that for what it is.  To accept it, especially because it is terribly inconsistent with messages I’ve received from childhood.

In a way, this so-called temper tantrum, or me shutting down after feeling invalidated/dismissed, is how I push others away.  I begin to punish myself and my relationships by turning inward and not letting myself feel vulnerable.  Even though this was protective, adaptive, and effective in my youth, it’s not longer serving me well.  Group therapy gives me the opportunity to experience those same patterns and to relate to myself differently by changing the way I think or act in those times.  I can’t do it by myself because those problems weren’t created by myself.

There’s a reason we need relationships, they cause and solve our inner problems.  I need group to help me through this, so I’m going to keep showing up even if I don’t want to “be vulnerable.”  Somehow, whatever needs to happen does and I’m just learning to trust that and go with the flow because I know that it’s all meant for something good.  It’s all movement and progress, which gives me hope and makes me feel like my shit is more manageable, or at least somewhat in my control.

Friendship For Friends

I had to cancel having dinner with Kasian because Quangel called to see if I was available (they never call like that), so I knew I had to go.  Kasian understood of course, but I know she’s been going through an interesting journey with her bumble boy.  In the meantime, Meekachu is currently in California for a Mindfulness Self-Compassion retreat.  It’s very similar to the one I went to back in June (one that I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about – I’m sorry, ok!  It’s been a really fucking busy few months.  It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen! #mtbr).

Hanging out with friends always puts things into perspective.  It’s nice to have someone to call and say “hey, I’m going through a rough time right now and I really don’t want to be alone.”  It’s nice to have that reciprocated too!  It makes the relationship feel more valuable and purposeful.  Having the friends I do makes me realize that I want people in my life who can support me, of course, but also empower me, challenge me, protect me, and grow with me.

These qualities are very important in friendships and also partnerships.  I ended up revealing a lot more to Quangel about my past, especially the year of 2007 when I endured a handful of painful relational traumas.  They were shocked, to say the least, and they validated my experiences and said that knowing this history explains a lot about why I feel so skeptical in my current relationships.  I’m not going to go into detail about the year of 2007 right now because it’s not the right time (#mtbr).  Quangel also said that these experiences describe what my character is, which is loyal, trusting, and generous (to a fault).  They encouraged me to show myself self-compassion for going through what I did and to give myself credit for how far I’ve come.

Side Note:

1) I think I’m gonna quit kickball.  I really don’t want to but I realized that many opportunities to dress in drag are on Friday nights.  Not only that but I could be making more money Lyfting.  I may sign up again in the Spring/Summer but on another weeknight that isn’t as bustling with opportunity.

2) I emailed a dance studio to see if I could rent a space an hour a week for $25 a month.  Also I can’t believe how long the waitlist is for a monthly parking permit and how much we have to pay for parking in downtown Ann Arbor!  It’s frustrating because it means that I have to Lyft more often in order to sustain the daily parking fees.

3) I requested to change office spaces with a new trainee at work (she was actually a former trainee at my recent employment) because she uses a wheelchair and her legs were getting cramped under the desk in her office.  It felt good to be able to give up my office space with more room to someone who needed it more than I do.  I hope she knows that I’m not doing it out of pity or charity but because that’s just the kind of person I am.

4) I had a full clinical day today and it’s more lonely than I thought it would be.  I’m going to be busy seeing folx back to back and I’m realizing how much I need connection with others and how important it is for me to follow a self-care routine both at home and at work.  It’ll be challenging, but I want to hold myself accountable for eating healthy and exercising.  I also want to get better sleep because it’s taking a toll on me.  I gotta put my fucking phone down!  I will say that the eating has gotten mildly better such that I am choosing healthier food options and trying to eat when it’s time to eat, although I still struggle with “forgetting to eat” and end up waiting until I’m about to pass out before I eat.  This is not good, it’s very uncharacteristic of me.  It tells me that the anxiety and stress is having more of an impact on me than I had thought, which means I need to be more on top of my eating patterns.  It’s very difficult but I’m doing the best I can with what I have right now.

5) Lastly, Quangel and I had this absolutely bizarre encounter with the owner of piercing parlor – read this yelp review for the story.


Friday

Wow, I seriously can’t believe been a whole week since I last heard from my bumble boy, ABJr!  My compassion for his current circumstances are fading.  I’m now starting to think that homeboy is no longer interested and this is just his way of avoiding the conversation that no one wants to have.  He’s ghosting me.

I reinstalled the Bumble app on my phone, but then deleted it again after I saw that ABJr had not deleted his profile and had in fact been on it recently because he had rearranged his pictures.  I won’t lie and say that it didn’t hurt to see that.  Rejection is painful, especially when they just disappear on you.  Oh well, I’m learning more about myself and about what I want/don’t want in a partnership and I’ve realized that ABJr is not worth investing in.  I kinda hate that he beat me to the punch though.

Next bumble boy I will pull back with the vulnerability and need to control the energy/vibe and just go with the flow.  I’ll be a bit more reserved I think and not reveal too much too soon.  I guess I’m experimenting with all this because I really don’t know what to do.  I also need to consider that not everyone has the same capacity for vulnerability as I do, something that I experience in group therapy but also in my family of origin.  That’s why this has all been very triggering is because I feel alone and it fucking sucks.  I can’t beg people to show up with me.  It’s painfully humiliating.

Side Note:

1) I signed up for beginners improv 2 class that starts in a couple weeks!!  I’m very excited about this because just about half of my current class has signed up for the same class, so it’ll be nice to share in this experience together!  But, every course costs $225, which is not cheap at all.

2) So of course, I have to do more Lyfting to support this endeavor because it’s important to me.  I usually donate stuff I don’t need/want anymore, but because my creative outlets are more expensive than ever before, I’ve been selling these items for some quick cash.  Every cent counts!

3) I’m also trying to save as much as I can, but there are some areas that I struggle, especially with food.  I went grocery shopping earlier this week so that I could make breakfast, lunch, and snack options for work, but I need to do better at making Blue Apron meals.  It’s just that sometimes I get similar ingredients in all 3 recipes for the week and I get frustrated by that so then I don’t even bother.  I know that I can just go online and customize what I get each week, but honestly, I’m so lazy that I don’t even care and I let it all go to waste.

It’s terrible and I want to change but I just don’t know how to motivate myself.  I wonder if there’s something beyond the laziness and lack of motivation though.  Mr. A would assume that there’s something else I’m trying to avoid, which is correct, I don’t want to treat myself with self-care sometimes because I feel undeserving, but also because I don’t like the unsolicited attention I get from the world when I’m feeling happy, healthy, safe, and sexy in my mind and body.  Ugh, I’m already tired of talking about this now because maybe I’m tired??? Maybe I just don’t want to confront the real issue just yet.  So I’m going to honor this inner wisdom and circle back to it when it naturally occurs again.


Saturday

I Lyfted late into the night after leaving Quangel.  They had a family emergency that needed to be talked through, and I would’ve dropped everything to be there for them because they very rarely ask for help.  It felt good to be there for Quangel last night because they’ve consistently been there for me.  So, I Lyfted until 4am and didn’t wake up until just about noon today.  I had to get ready to visit my cousin on my dad’s side who just had a baby.  She requested complete privacy, so I’m going to respect her wishes as best as I can.  This does not preclude me from talking about my own experiences, however.

It was nice to see my nephews, which is weird to say!  I don’t mind kids but I also don’t want them for myself because it’s honestly too much work and there’s so much stress and worry about what will happen to my adult child.  I’m afraid for them growing up in a world where the socio-political climate is so fucked.  Anyway, we played with bubbles and chalk on the side walk, and we had some pizza that was way too greasy that it made my stomach hurt the rest of the night.  I tried firing one out at their house but their almost 2 year old child wouldn’t let me relax to dump discreetly.

It felt good to be home with family.  Also, my cousin and her husband just bought this amazingly big beautiful home that was previously owned by a Persian family.  So all the walls and decor had that flair, which was nice to look at.  I’d like to experience that one day I think.  I mean, its terrifying only because it’s a soul crushing weight of responsibility that I just absolutely don’t want.  I’m scared of fucking that up too.  I’m basically scared of being an adult and I wish I was back in grade school.  The nostalgia of being a kid can be intoxicating.

Also, while I was Lyfting for 5 hours and received $150, I was getting progressively more and more pissed at ABJr.  Like, why haven’t you reached out yet?? What the fuck did I do to you??  Don’t you see how rude that is? How insensitive and cruel it is to know that you’re hurting me by withholding communication?  Do you even care? Thoughts were swarming around about this while driving and it was irritating me that it was happening right there and right then.  So I’m trying to get in a place where I don’t think about him anymore, but it’s been hard only because I thought there was a real connection there.  I suppose I was wrong.  All of this is feeding into my insecurities that I’m too much, so it’s challenging me to think and act to that differently (more effectively).  All a work in progress.

Since ABJr is treating me like a fool, I decided to sign back up for Bumble.  Except I had not just deleted the app from my phone yesterday, I actually deactivated and deleted my account.  So, I had to start over pretty much.  Also, I’m writing up my profile for Match.com, so we’ll see where all of this goes.  I’ll be attending speed dating with Kasian and Meekachu soon, so stay tuned for that.


Sunday

Today was mainly spent trying to write this blog post.  I had brunch with Kasian at this delicious cafe.  There were a lot of men that reminded Kasian of her bumble boy, who btw is a complete dick for the way he treated her!  He basically swooned her with promises to give her this future life and then blind sides her by saying he’s no longer interested in dating her.  There’s a fuckboy for you!

Kasian is an amazing friend, though.  I want to be there for her as much as she’s been for me.  I especially love her because she tells it like it is!  That’s a true friend, even if you don’t want to hear the truth.  She lays it on you in a way that is well-received.  It feels good to know she’s on my side and in my corner, and that she’s genuinely excited for me as a podcaster and drag queen.  In fact, she wants to help me find better podcast equipment, renting a dance studio, planning the photoshoot, and getting connected to the right people in Ann Arbor.  She also gave me a referral for reiki healing, so I may check that out too (especially because I get a steep discount).

I’ve been looking online for very specific drag stuff, like rhinestone pantyhose, long false eyelashes, costume jewelry and assorted accessories.  I probably spent about $200 on some stuff that I hope comes in before Friday’s birthday photoshoot (fingers crossed).  I’m excited to see how to actualize what I envision, but I’m even more excited that Kasian will be there to help guide the creative process.  Meekachu and Quangel will also be there on Friday to help with the creative process.  I’m looking forward to it only because it’s wayyyy outside of my comfort zone but the only reason I’m doing it is because of these supportive and encouraging friends, otherwise I don’t think I could do it alone.

Boldy Locks and the Interactive Games

Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I met Boldy Locks at improv.  She invited me over to her house tonight to meet some of her friends.  We played these very fun interactive games on jackbox TV and I had some sour mango beer that was very good.  I met another queer female who also doesn’t shave her legs, and that felt so incredibly validating and affirming that I can show off my hairy legs too!  I actually wore shorts tonight because I wanted to feel brave and bold.  I thought I’d be alone, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that I wasn’t!

It kinda feels weird to be so accepted right away.  I used to walk into a room and wonder if people would like me, I guess I still kinda do.  I’d like to get to a point where I don’t think about that, nor do I think about if I like others in the room.  I’d like to be the kind of person who can walk into a room and connect with anyone, and to accept that if I don’t then that’s ok too (and has nothing to do with any of our worth).

Apparently Boldy Locks has been talking to her friends about me.  Apparently Boldy Locks is my number one fan, both at improv and drag stuff.  She’s incredibly supportive and encouraging, and she’s funny as hell.  I really want her to join improv class 2 but she’s on the fence.  Me and her other friend (well, her ex who told her about this improv class) are trying to convince her by offering to pay the $225 enrollment fee, but she understandably feels uncomfortable.  We’re hoping that she’ll feel such a rush after Tuesday’s show that she’ll sign up right then and there!

The three of us demonstrated an improv game to her other friends.  We played Hitchhiker, which was kinda hard to do with just three of us, but whatever, we had fun with it.  Also, Boldy Locks had another friend who was very excited to meet me and invited me to a corn maze thingy in a few weeks.  It’s nice to meet another group of people to connect and have fun with.  Now that I’m rooting myself in Ann Arbor, I want to make it my home.  I love that Boldy Locks hosts at her house all the time.  It’ll be a great hub to connect and hang out, so I’m very much looking forward to how all of this unfolds!

Side Note:

1) So, I signed up for Coffee Meets Bagel, as suggested by Kasian.  What the fuck is up with these bean points??? So confusing and unnecessary.  Also, there’s hardly any queer dating apps, which is kinda frustrating.  What if I wanted to date a trans man?  How will I find him??  Anyway, now I’m on 3 dating apps, CMB, Bumble, and Match.  I was on OkCupid last year, very briefly, but I didn’t have a great experience, so I won’t be joining that again (although that’s how one of my cousins met his wife).

2)  I stumbled across this reddit thread about Bumble dates ghosting and I wanted to share some really good advice that I learned:

Here’s the deal. For some stupid reason, ghosting is a part of the dating culture right now. The reason why someone ghosts you is largely irrelevant. You’re awesome, and you should be with someone who recognizes and appreciates that. If they don’t, that’s their loss. The reason doesn’t change that. Now you still want to look back and see if you did or said anything rude or something along those lines but short of that don’t dwell on it. Even if you knew, even if people were honest and said “well I didn’t think you were as attractive as your pictures suggested” or “I think you’re boring” or “I’m intimidated by your intelligence” would any of that make you feel great? At the end of the day anybody who disappears on you essentially just stopped wasting your time and got you closer to finding your actual person. Don’t waste your own time concentrating on that, just focus on finding that your person and being a better you while you look.

So basically, here’s the conundrum: Show too much interest in someone and they will write you off as low-value. Show too little interest and they will think you’re unavailable/out of their league. The key to modern dating is finding the right balance between the two.

My advice is to detach yourself emotionally until after the 3rd date. Use those first few dates to get to know your potential partner, and always remember to have fun. Treat them like you would a friend and drop all of your expectations. If they’re still around after the 3rd date, you can be reasonably sure they’re planning on sticking around. That’s when you start to open up and if they reciprocate, then you’ve found a winner.

Shit, there was another quote that was absolutely helpful but I can’t seem to find it on this thread.  I can’t even remember what it was along the lines of.  If I find it, I will update this post.  Otherwise, here’s the link to the reddit thread for your reference:

Bumble ghosting horror stories and advice? from Bumble


Good golly Miss Molly.  What an endurance test these past few months, hell- years!, have been.  I’m learning so much, mainly about my attachment style, my emotions, my thoughts, my behavioral patterns, and my interactions with others.  It’s been a whirlwind, honestly.  I feel challenged and supported enough to continue moving through the motions of life, and I’m holding the space with more curiosity and compassion than I ever have before.  I think it’s because I’m giving myself this outlet as a platform for speaking out about common human issues in today’s day and age.  I’m giving myself permission to experience whatever it is without judgment, expectation, or comparison.  I’m allowing myself to be more than a clinician or a marginalized individual, and it feels so fucking empowering to finally experience that liberation.  Stay tuned on what’s yet to come on more to be revealed.

share what's on your heart and on your mind...