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17 February 2017 @ 08:15 pm
Two years later, we're finally where I hoped we could be two years ago, and all I can think is that I don't want to give up now. We have hugs and cuddles now. We're about a quarter of the way to actually being able to talk about important things out loud and in person. That was what I was aiming for, Valentine's Day two years ago. But there was a giant bottomless chasm between you and me, that I had no idea how to cross, and you weren't going to put forth any effort to come toward me. Not being able to do it was what made me decide it was time to give up and move on. But we've come so far since then. The chasm is crossed. We can read each other's minds (more or less). Sometimes there's even conversation in our shared mindspace in real-time.

And now you're trying to leave.

I said what I wanted to say about it on Monday. If you went away and left me, I wouldn't be able to hug you anymore, and that would make both of us very sad. The only way to not be sad is for you not to leave me. Don't do to me what you've always been so afraid that I'd do to you.

So then there's two ways to go. You can either stay here with me, or you can take me with you. You seem pretty determined not to stay here, therefore, I guess we're both going.

Of course, that opens up whole new categories of things for you to find terrifying. Actually planning a cross-country move and coordinating something that will work for both of us is not trivial and not something that will just magically happen by itself, and we need to start talking about the logistical details as early as possible. If I'm leaving, work needs to know in advance. There's a whole lot of people who are doing their best to find funds to keep me employed, and I don't want to be an arse by not telling them. Academia is not like the corporate world where they just throw you away when they don't need you anymore. It's a good workplace and they deserve respect.

I also can't just follow you to where you want to go by myself. I'm not going to be able to pay for anything until I find a local job, and even then, Academia (at least in my field) is not known for high pay or cost-of-living adjustments. So if I'm coming with you, you're going to have to help. With actual money. Your money. I can't say I find it reassuring that your track record for material generosity in my direction has been ... shall we say, extremely limited thus far. Not wanting to pay the extra cent at dinner on Wednesday did not help with that.

Also, we should probably plan to live in the same place. Maybe it would be easier anyway to move together into somewhere new, than either of us barging in on each other's established spaces. I've thought for a while now that a lot of things would be easier if we got married first and worried about how to interact with each other after, when we could at least be secure in the knowledge of having each other. Sometimes arranged marriages have their merits. But I guess that's yet another category of terrifying thoughts to you.

What it all boils down to, and this is the next ten feet, is that if they offer you the job, and you accept, and you get to the part where you negotiate salary and look for somewhere to live: do it for two. It will at least keep the option open, even if you later decide that you're going to be a big chicken about committing to anything and you'd rather choose sadness and emptiness than plentiful future hugs (not that I'm biased or anything...), and at least you'd end up with more money.

And then, getting to a train of thought I might've overheard yesterday. You don't want to stay here, but also don't want to take me with you, because the whole point is to end up somewhere that you've never been, far away from anyone you currently know, so that you can start your life over from scratch. Well, why? Is it an elaborate ploy after all to run away from yourself? Because, one, it won't work, and more importantly, it would be a really stupid reason to leave me. Since it isn't me that you want to leave, that's more a side effect, what are you really trying to run away from?

Meanwhile I keep hoping that what you're really doing is waiting on offering me anything more than platonitude until you have something financially solid to offer, which wouldn't be until after you accepted a job somewhere. Which sounds great on paper, but in practice just leaves me hanging and unable to plan.

How I feel about you is still the same. I still just want to be with you.
11 February 2017 @ 11:41 pm
So... Diablo 3 Season 9 Chapter 4. I'm playing a barbarian. Good things that happened today:

I'm currently wearing two pieces of the Immortal King set, where the 2-piece set bonus is "Call of the Ancients lasts until they die." (Normally they only hang around for 20 seconds at a time.)

Meanwhile, my hired minion, the Scoundrel, is wearing a token that says "Follower cannot die." Somehow the game has interpreted this to mean that the ancients are also followers, therefore they also can't die.

So of course the rune I'm using with Call of the Ancients is "50% of damage dealt to me instead goes to the Ancients."

Thus: I have four really good invincible minions following me around at all times (3 ancients and the scoundrel), and I take half damage.

I'm also wearing four pieces of the Might of the Earth set. The set bonus at 2 pieces is "Timers for Leap, Avalanche, Ground Stomp, and Earthquake are reduced by spending fury." The set bonus at 4 pieces is "Leap causes Earthquakes."

Earthquake is one of the high dollar powers. It normally has both a lengthy timer and a fury cost, but since it goes off with Leap, I don't have to put it in a slot and it doesn't cost fury. Leap has a default timer of 10 seconds, but with the 2-piece bonus, I can pretty much use it all the time.

And speaking of reducing the timer by spending fury...

I'm ALSO wearing two legendaries. One is bracers that say "Hammer of the Ancients is 50% faster and does 193% more damage." The other is a weapon that says "Hammer of the Ancients does 100% more damage" and "Hammer of the Ancients returns 25 fury when hitting 3 or fewer targets."

That last doesn't sound like much, until you remember that Hammer of the Ancients costs 20 fury. In practice, since I don't hit more than 3 targets at a time very often, it means Hammer of the Ancients is free. (And does 293% more damage.)

BUT, that fury is STILL SPENT before it's returned, which means that not only is it free, it reduces the timer for Leap, Avalanche, and Ground Stomp, all of which I'm using.

I have thus equipped Hammer of the Ancients (normally a high dollar power) as my default left-button attack. And I can go around with my four invincible minions hammering the crap out of everything. :D

To make things even better, one of the last things I found as I was wrapping up my playtime was a ring that says "set bonuses for one less set piece (minimum 2)." Meaning, I can get the 6-set bonus for Might of the Earth while only wearing 5 pieces. So... if I had the chest armor, I'd be wearing 5 pieces, and then I could keep on the hat from Immortal King and keep my Ancients...

Might of the Earth is the barbarian set to earn this season. I've earned 4 of them so far. I've found two others, so I do have 6 pieces, but two of them were boots. I tried to Kanai Cube the boots, but they turned into shoulders, and I already have those too. I just need to find more Forgotten Soul so I can try for the chest armor again. (Or finish Chapter 4 to earn the last two pieces, which I will be doing anyway because I'm going for the pet.)

This is the first time I've had a character that has been well-equipped enough to actually go beyond Chapter 4. (I play casual and usually solo.) There's not anything notable to earn past that point without doing a ton of work though.

I wonder if any of this post will make sense if I come back to read it ten years from now...
08 January 2017 @ 12:21 am
So here we are, standing together near the bottom of the mountain.

You keep looking at the top where we'd like to be, wondering and/or daydreaming about what it's like up there, and feeling intimidated by the enormity of getting all the way up there because you don't have the faintest idea how.

I want to get there too, but I'm focusing on the ten feet immediately in front of us. We're not going to get all the way up to the top in one go. But each individual step forward is reachable from the one before.

So to me, if I ask you to come play a board game with me at my place, the most challenging part for you is to agree to show up. Everything else about that plan is something you've done before (from my perspective, anyway). You'd arrive, I'd hug you, we'd play, I'd hug you some more, and you'd leave. There might also be food. There might also be a quick goodbye kiss.

Meanwhile, you're thinking about what else could happen, that maybe you wish would happen, and then you seem to become completely paralyzed with fear about trying to do any of it. And then you're upset with yourself for becoming paralyzed with fear, which makes it worse...

But nothing else is going to happen. Not in the next week or month or probably several months. I'm not expecting you to do anything you don't know how to do yet, and I'm not planning to do anything you aren't ready for. Not until you're completely comfortable with everything again and start showing signs of wondering what "move forward" entails next.

We'll get there. Just not all at once. One step at a time. Don't look at all the other steps up to the top of the mountain. Just do the step that's next.
30 December 2016 @ 03:54 pm
So, in case it bears repeating: these essays are powered by hugs and cuddles. If the cuddle-meter is low, it takes a lot longer for me to get up the motivation to write anything. If the hug-o-meter is low, you're sad, which then makes me sad too and want to hug you more...

Which I guess brings us to the current problem.

I mentioned in a previous post about kisses with no plans to actually do it. But then you looked like you really wanted to go there. So we did...

The first one was intended to be comforting, because you looked sad. I assume it was because I'd found someone else to watch Star Wars with this year (but didn't conclude this until a few days later). From my perspective, it was the simplest way to handle the situation. You weren't going to watch it with me this year either, I dislike watching movies in theaters by myself, I'm not going to NOT watch that particular movie, and I didn't want to repeat how it went last year. Therefore, after you said no, I asked someone else with no one to watch it with and went with her. The end? Except this was apparently not okay with you either, which prompted my previous post that you should figure out where in the train of thought you're having a problem with it and why, and maybe get back to me on that. MY preference would be to watch all movies with you, and for you to watch all movies with me, whether we're also with other people watching it with us or otherwise.

The second time I kissed you was also not planned. You just looked like you really wanted me to, even though you were also terrified. I am proud of you for holding still for it, and elated that we've reached a point where I can do that now.

And then you stopped being excited and started withdrawing from me again, pretty much like when we first started cuddles and hugs, and I guess you're probably going to find yourself in the same discomfort zone every time I do something completely new. I guess it's a matter of intellectual trust vs body trust. Your mind trusts me to not hurt you, but your body doesn't, and the only way to get past it is if I keep doing the same thing enough times without hurting you, until you can internalize that I'm not going to.

It does make me wonder if you were ever abused or molested as a kid. If you were, I kind of need to know that. It means there's going to be all sorts of land mines everywhere if I do things similar enough to what someone else did to hurt you in the past.

Either way though. I'm not going to push anything forward before you're completely comfortable. I won't kiss you again if you aren't ready for it. We can go back to just hugs and cuddles. But I also get the impression you don't really want to stop either, so, the way I figure it, I'll kiss you once at the end of whatever we're doing, in exactly the same way as the other two times (casual neck pecks), and not add to it until you're ready. And only if you look like you can handle it that day. Otherwise it'll just be hugs.
18 December 2016 @ 11:09 pm
If the way you think about things and the way you feel don't match up, it's time to rethink how you think about things.

In case you need me to expand on that, consider the following:

1. First, how do you feel? By that I don't mean how you think you SHOULD feel, or how you WANT TO feel. I mean, how do you ACTUALLY feel.
2. What situation is making you feel that way?
3. What would make you feel better?

When you can answer those for yourself, you can begin living a life that is truer to yourself.
When you can answer those for me, we'll be able to start having a real relationship.

I think the upcoming year will have to be about figuring out how to talk to each other about all the things that are important, including all the things that seem to be trivial on the surface, without you negating the whole relationship in the process. It's another natural progression from where we are now to where we could go.

To be more specific on the rethinking. Up to this point you've been doing your best to treat me like I'm exactly the same as everyone else to you. That I neither matter more nor less. That's the part that doesn't seem to match up to how you feel, and doesn't seem to be working out very well for you anymore either. So... try something else.
12 December 2016 @ 11:38 pm
One of the things I'm trying to keep in mind is that what looks like a standstill to me might be more like a brisk walk to you. I know now that I was trying to go too fast with everything before, and I'm trying to not do that again. (And at the same time... if things didn't go faster, will we have gotten anywhere by the time our paths start going separate ways?)

I'm also getting some glimmerings that you want to move forward, or are at least wondering where "forward" is and how to get there. So, if I'm not just indulging in wishful thinking again, I guess I'll put forth some suggestions. If I am just indulging in wishful thinking, we can of course not do any of it and just stick with me hugging you whenever I see you and call it good, and probably you should skip reading the rest of this post.

On the physical affection front... after we're comfortable with hugs and cuddles while standing and sitting, then there's hugs and cuddles while lying down. That means going into each other's homes. You're welcome to come here whenever you want, but I'm pretty sure your place contains more entertainment options than mine, unless you're comfortable enough to go straight to the nap together (fully clothed) option. Either way, for some reason visiting each other's homes feels like it would be a pretty big step, and I don't know how to turn it into several smaller steps. I suppose I could invite you over to cook again or something.

There's also kissing, but that's a whole slew of separate skills that I'm not going to even start on while trying to pretend like we're being platonic.

On the relationshipping front. The way it generally progresses:
First, you go to various social events because the event itself is of interest.
Then, you go to various social events because the event is interesting, and also because you enjoy seeing specific people.
Then, you go to the events as an excuse to see the specific people, and it's still an interesting event but the event is the secondary rather than primary reason you go.
After a while, you stop needing to have events as an excuse to see the specific people, and you arrange to see them directly (sometimes this includes going to an event).

We seem to be stuck with only seeing each other when a third party arranges an event. I'm still not convinced that it's safe to start asking you to do stuff with just me again. You have a long track record of saying no to everything. It would help if you invited me to do stuff with you more often. Whenever you see an interesting event, consider asking me to come with you to it. Or, don't wait for events. Just invite me to do stuff with you.
05 December 2016 @ 12:21 am
I guess there's two things I need to write about.

First, about cons. I'm not planning to leave you by going to one, and I wish you would come with me. If you did, I would treat it like the laser tag trip where we basically hung close to each other the whole time, which I liked a lot, and I wish we could do that sort of thing more often. Yes there was a time a couple years ago when I pondered finding more potential lifelong mates at one, and if you left me I might still do that, but while you're here, I've already found what I'm looking for and would rather just keep you instead of having to find someone else.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I need to say, so I guess I'll hug you extra right before and right after.

Second, about burrito runs...

Before I start: I'm not mad at you about any of it because I already know that you're completely clueless about how relationships of any kind work, and that you're willing to learn and do better, and I think you did clue in on some of it while we were walking to the door... but I'm going to explain a few things anyway. The short version: you eventually did the right thing. Next time just do it the first time I ask, and without harrumphing about how horribly inconvenienced you were.

So, when you agree to let me carpool in your car, you're not just agreeing to provide me transport to and from the event. You're also agreeing to be responsible for any other transportation needs I might have during the event, because I've placed myself into a position of being completely dependent on you, with the unspoken understanding that you are in fact going to take care of me if I need you to. Most of the time nothing is going to come up where I actually need anything extra, but if you aren't willing/able to take that level of responsibility, then I should be the one that drives.

There were a couple main ways it could have played out if you'd stuck with saying no. I would've basically had two options: schmooze up to someone else with a car to get them to take me to the burritoes, or walk. If whoever I found to schmooze up to additionally offered to drive me home afterward, there was a non-zero probability that I would've taken them up on it (depending on how well I knew them). In no case would I have spent much more time talking to you that evening.

But you did get up and take me to the burritoes, eventually. And I think you're slowly figuring out that relationships are about thinking beyond your own wellbeing and caring about someone else's. You may not have been hungry but I was, therefore, burrito. There are moments like that all the time. Sometimes you may not need a hug but I do, therefore, there should be hugs. In the past there have been times I've reached for you because I needed you, not because you needed me. It's important that you're actually there for me to reach when I need you to be. Otherwise I have to go find someone else. And I'd rather not, any more than you'd want me to.

Hmm. I guess there's a common theme to both of these things I just wrote about.
25 November 2016 @ 05:44 pm
I either have lots of things to say, or I don't have anything to say.

It depends on whether you're going to leave me. If you're still planning to get a job in another state, and then I'll never see you again ... there doesn't seem much point for me to say anything. We're where we'll ever be now, where I can hug you whenever I see you, and not ask for anything else, and there doesn't have to be anything more to it than that.

There's been a lot going on in the last month where I've wanted to say something, and then didn't, because why say things that might make you not let me hug you anymore, again? Why try to push for us to move forward when you're not going to be here for much longer anyway? But... I can't leave you hanging either when you're waiting for me to say something, and there comes a time where I'm not going to be able to get anything else done until I do.

I guess maybe I'll start with where we are now and go from there.

I like how things are going on the physical affection front. I like that you've figured out that hugs are awesome and you should let me hug you whenever I want. One good hug or cuddle seems to last about two days before there needs to be another one. It might be good for you to figure out how to hug me, too, because sometimes you want one and I'm not paying enough attention to notice, and then there isn't one, and then things are sad... other than that though, I'm happy to do all of the hugging for both of us. I've also noticed that sometimes you most need a hug when you least think you want one. I like that you've started standing still for them anyway. They really do make everything better.

Sometimes I want to go off and do something that sounds fun to me, even if you don't want to come with me. Sometimes when I do, it's not actually okay with you, but there's no rational reason why it shouldn't be, so you pretend that it is okay and that you don't care that I'm going, and then you withdraw from me like I've wronged you in some way that you can't explain and may not even understand.

I think that some of those times, it's not that you don't want to come, it's more that you can't. And so when I go by myself to do something that I can do and you can't, it's like I'm leaving you behind.

I'm not sure what the right way to handle that is. I can't not go to everything all the time, and I don't think you'd want me to do that either. For the present, probably I'll try to hug you extra right before and right after, so you know that I'm coming back to you.

For the longterm, if there's going to be one... if you can admit when things aren't okay with you instead of trying to pretend like they are, we could try to figure out how to get you to a point where you can come with me. I'm kind of assuming some form of social anxiety, if it's not something mundane and logistical like lack of funds. We've come a ways forward about that on a number of fronts, even if it's by going around in big circles a lot. We'd be able to figure something out.

And then for the things that just aren't going to be workable, there's always the veto plan. Where you can just come right out and tell me that you don't want me to go do something specific, and not have to give a reason right then and there (but hopefully would later, once you've figured it out). I would have no problem going along with that, as long as I could say the same to you about specific things that you want to do. There are times when I'd rather you not go do things too, and I can even explain to you why not, and it will be completely irrational yet still make me cranky and therefore not okay.

I suspect we're both already doing some of that anyway. You can tell when things aren't okay with me, and sometimes it influences whether you do or don't do something. I do the same. Moreso before August than now, but moreso now than in the gap when there were no cuddles, I take into account how you'd feel about me doing something before I decide whether to do it. Overall it's a tradeoff that makes both of us happier.

And that's what relationships are all about. They're basically a collection of agreements, they're highly specific to the people involved, and they can be whatever we want them to be regardless of what anyone else is doing.
10 November 2016 @ 07:12 pm
So when I say "are you going to the play?"
And your response is "no, I'm going to [something else that happens at the same time]."

Let me count the ways that this was wrong.

1. You knew about the play weeks in advance. You were in the conversation and actively watching it as the plans were being discussed. If you already knew that you were going to have other plans at that time, you should have said something then and we could've planned the trip to the play at a time when you could go.

2. If the alternate plans showed up after we'd already decided when we would all go to the play, including that everyone had already bought tickets, then the thing to do would have been to say to the other plans "sorry I'm already committed elsewhere."

3. By not doing either of those, what you said to me was that other people and other plans are more important to you than spending time with me.

And that's pretty much the root problem and always has been. Everything you say and do says to me that everyone else and everything else is more important to you than me. It's why I don't try to talk to you anymore about anything. Nothing else can be discussed if your ending response will always be to tell me how much you don't love me and that you don't want me in your life.

4. In future, I will probably just ask Steve to go with me to any more plays I want to see, since you've indicated that you aren't interested.

I like being able to hug you freely. I'm just going to enjoy that part for as long as you're still around for me to hug.
21 October 2016 @ 01:37 pm
In yoga, they tell you over and over to never go past your edge.

Yoga (at least the way I do it) is more or less a series of stretching exercises for every muscle in your body. If you have a muscle, there's a pose that will stretch it. When you first get into a pose and stretch as far as you can, there's a point where your body naturally comes to a stop. If you go past it, there's another point where pain starts. This second point is your edge, beyond which you start doing damage. In between, there's a narrow margin where you're stretching farther than you thought you could go, and it's uncomfortable (sometimes very strongly uncomfortable), but you aren't actually in pain. If you keep putting yourself into that narrow margin, your ability to stretch farther gradually goes up.

There's also something called Thai Massage. It's where, more or less, someone else does yoga to you.

I like that we're back to regular cuddles. When I look at you right after I've done something, a sudden hug for example, it's mostly because I'm checking that I haven't gone past your edge and into pain. (On reflection I don't know why I do that because it's not like I know how to read facial expressions anyway, yours or anyone else's, to me they're secondary to the emotional emanations, and I already get that without looking...)

I like that your capacity for physical affection is stretching. A year and a half ago whenever I did something new, you'd go into total shutdown mode; now you only look stunned. And I know that it can't be comfortable to not have any idea how to respond, but I figure if I keep doing the same things enough times, while being careful about not going too far, eventually you'll work something out.

Way back in the beginning, I decided that what I most missed about being in a relationship was the cuddles, and if cuddling was as far as we ever got, I could be happy with that. And I am.