Beautiful Thieves

I’ve written before about friends that aren’t really. People that might show up to things you invite them to, but never invite you anywhere. I’ve been taking steps to remove most of those people from my life and I’ve been moving closer to a few people I’ve known on some level for years, but have proven that they are interested in truly being friends.

These people have enhanced my life and health a lot, and I don’t think I’d be doing as well as I am this year without them. Eli, Ilaena, Kat, and Meredith, I want to thank you for making me better. Though I’ve known a couple of them for a few years (it’s funny, Facebook says I friended most two years ago now), it’s been during this year that we’ve actually been talking more and more. Meredith’s positive outlook keeps me looking up, she also introduced me to Eli, whom is a wonderful person and fun gaming partner. Ilaena, Kat and I all share pretty similar brain space, we think the same and like a lot of the same things, we get along famously. Once again, thanks for being here, thanks for showing me a better way. I love you all.

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Hey Jealousy

“We’ve talked about everyone close to you, but what about the other person you’ve mentioned?”

And then she tells me about The Other Guy, and my brain begins gibbering incoherently in fear.

You see, in the monogamous world, this is the point where in my past relationships would end. Despite nothing being wrong, my partner would leave me for the other interest because they’re shiny and new. This can be called serial monogamy.

But here in Poly Land, it doesn’t matter. She can and does care for both of us. Neither is taking something from the other, there’s no threat. What she has with him is different than what she has with me, and both make her happy, which is my end goal. These are the thoughts that poke holes in my jealousy and fear.

A friend also pointed out that when a relationship first takes shape, jealousy and insecurity are worse because things are still forming, but they both fade as things get established. Where we go from here is still in the air, but I can explore that without these negative feelings weighing me down.

That’s what you get

“So I know what you get out of cuddles, but what do you get from making me food?” She asks.

Page over at Poly.Land has written about the five love languages before ( https://poly.land/2016/10/25/poly-love-languages-field-guide/ and https://poly.land/2016/09/28/polyamory-and-the-five-love-languages/ ), and cooking qualifies as Acts of Service. I’m not going to go into specifics on that particular love language (I might practice it, but I am not qualified to talk about it).

Making and sharing a meal is one of the most intimate activities we participate in. The kitchen, traditionally, was the center of the home, where you eat with the people you care about the most, your close friends and family. Knowing what those people like to eat, their allergies, the textures and tastes they can’t stand, all of it speaks to a level of vulnerability. They trust you to make something that not only will not kill them outright, but sustain them.

I cook food to make people happy. It’s a form of compersion, I guess. I get happy seeing the people I’m with happy, and I can get that reliably with my skill in the kitchen.

I cook to express myself, to show I care. that I listened, and also the unbridled joy on someone’s face when they bite into something delicious is about as close as I can get to heaven without a pile of puppies to cuddle with.

So why cook for someone? Because it’s a good way to show someone you care without adding pressure for any sort of reciprocity. Because sometimes its about showing love without saying it, or wanting anything in return. Because I’m bad with words but good with a knife and skillet. And at the end of the day, I love food, I love people, and I enjoy cooking, this lets me do everything at once.

 

The Despair Factor

It’s funny, mental health is a thing where you can convince yourself you’re better, but your issues are always lurking in the background and even if it takes years, they’re ready to strike.

I’ve been coming out of my depression for a few months now. Feeling pretty okay about myself. As well, It’s been years since I’ve even felt the urge to self-harm. However, getting out of the shower the other day, I notice I had injured my big toe. And given the warnings I’ve had all my life to avoid any harm to my feel less they need amputated, I immediately freaked out.

“Okay I think, mild panic attack, everything will be okay” and I sit down to my breakfast. Then WHAM! Full on suicidal ideation, completely crippled my brain for some hours, which is unfortunate because I was having a serious conversation at the time (I’m Sorry, I’ll remind you so we can finish).

A friend helped talk me through it (for which I am eternally grateful), and over the course of a day I got my mind back together. But, I find self doubt is worse. More and more I question how I’m going to mess up the good things in my life. Drive my friends away, ruin my job, wreck everything really.

I don’t have any answers.

The Third Temptation of Paris

“How do you feel about that?” She asks.

And it’s an interesting question I had been trying to put my finger on. My feelings regarding my relationship with this girl are complicated. And I tell her so, “We’re affectionate, we cuddle, sex is the only thing that separates our friendship from any of my romantic relationships. It’s different.”

Thinking about it in the ample work hours I realized why. Growing up in the football obsessed Midwest, a bastion of toxic masculinity, boys are socialized to view relationships with girls as the means to the ultimate goal: sex. Friendship is for other boys, where you bond over conquest, sports, games, and of course, women.

You don’t cuddle with other men, you don’t rub their shoulders, or lean on them. Men aren’t supposed to be affectionate like that. Awkward back pats, one armed hugs, faux physical domination displays, that’s how men approach each other.

Breaking free of this conditioning is an endeavor, it takes effort to keep my brain from moving her from “friend” to “girlfriend” category simply because that’s what it’s used to and brains take all the shortcuts they can. But it’s worth it to come to a place where you can express affection for women outside of trying to sleep with them, as well as breaking the other stigma where you cannot be close and affectionate with other men.

Que Sarahah Sarahah

So there’s this new app that’s been making the rounds called Sarahah. Named from the Arabic word for Candor, the app lets people send you anonymous messages. It was started to allow employees to give honest feedback to employers without fear of reprisal, but because of the appeal of anonymity, has spread like wildfire into the new fad social app.

I think that this is a useful tool for companies. Using Sarahah socially, however, is just… well I don’t like the implications.

The website says:

With Your Friends

  • Improve your friendship by discovering your strengths and areas for improvement
  • Let your friends be honest with you

My problems with this are that if you’re commenting to me anonymously, how do I improve my weaker areas without knowing who feels that way. Because let’s face it, some friends are always going to feel like you don’t give them as much as others, and it’s not always on purpose, we all have limited bandwidth to work with and people fall through the cracks. (Just ask my parents how often I remember to get back to them)

Beyond that though, “Lets your friends be honest with you”?  Why wouldn’t they be normally? If my friends don’t feel they can be honest with me, there’s a problem. If they are scared of me and that’s the motivation? I really need to know because then I have some behaviors that need worked on.

I mean, I get the appeal, everyone wants to set this up and be inundated with messages telling them how awesome they are, that someone finds them attractive, you have an unrequited crush. Many things that will boost the ego, make you feel great. But people are bad at anonymity, the prime lesson of the internet is that terrible people use the shield of anonymity to be the monsters they have to pretend not to be to be allowed in society. Nowhere was this more evident than 4chan and large sections of reddit.

 

I also feel that our reliance on anonymity and the internet is hurting our ability to communicate on a personal level. Why talk to the person you have a crush on if you can stalk their social media? With Sarahah, you don’t even have to fear rejection by telling them because you can just message them anonymously. But the only way for any relationship to work, with friends, family, or lovers, is to talk to them. Openly. Honestly. I know honesty gets a bad rap because a lot of people use that as a shield to be jerks, but that’s just an excuse.

So…. take a chance, tell that person they are amazing, ask out the cute person, tell your friend they let you down. Maybe one day we will all feel safe talking to one another.

Welp, I had a moment

Got into a “discussion” on Facebook today with someone spouting the Corporatist’s Creed of “Minimum wage is for teenagers” and wrote a reply I’m putting here for posterity.

Sure, I’ve got time for a quick lesson. Though I was already pretty concise.

“Min wage jobs are meant for unskilled laborers.”
– False. as I said, when FDR instituted the minimum wage it was to guarantee you could support yourself working a job.

– But let’s hit that other phrase there: “Unskilled Laborers”, no such thing. Customer service is a skill, standing on your feet all day fetching or making food for other people is a skill. What it is not, is something you get a degree in, therefore elitists like to look down their noses at the people that make their Big Mac or answer their calls when they forget to pay their Visa bills and are demanding the fee to be waived.

“Meaning the majority of people in them would be adolescents looking for work experience without education.”
– Why do you believe that younger people don’t deserve to make enough money to pay their own bills, establish savings, or hell, spend money buying things to help drive the economy? It’s simple economics.

– The average fast food worker is 31 years old right now. There are teens out there doing it, but also many retirees for whom Social Security isn’t enough.

– I’m going to hit that “Without Education” part now. So…. your implication here is that people without degrees don’t deserve to make enough money to live. Maybe think about that. Education costs money. Tons of it. Not everyone has it and has to go out and work a job to support themselves *and still* attend class. They need jobs with flexible hours. Hell, I’m pretty sure in here there was already someone that spoke of needing to work fast food for the flexible schedule because they needed to care for chronically ill family members. Do they not deserve to make enough to live?

My last point here is this: Not everyone has the advantages you do and it’s our job as a society to help them keep up. Not everyone can get a degree, there are many, many mentally disabled people that have to work to pay the bills. If the limit of their ability is to take your order or wipe tables at a Wendy’s is it right or moral to penalize them?

And yeah, I do seem angry about it, but it’s necessary anger, because the lack of compassion shown in the kinds of statements you’ve made is profound and hurts me deeply as a person.