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New Year, New Journal

I'm going to start a new journal. Not because I want to leave this behind me. I don't believe that's a good way to live - we are all our past more than we are our present. No matter how much we try to live in the now, if we do, we are always everything that we've ever done, and everything that has ever happened to us. Even if you're not a fascinated believer in Chaos Theory like I am, it's hard to deny.

It's not exactly because I want to start anew; it's that I want to start something anew.

You'll find me at Whimsy.

Catch you next year.
Reasons I Have Been Especially Grateful for Sam (in no particular order):

1) You tell me "it's okay" when I feel myself starting to ping-pong around in my own head
2) The way you smell like home
3) The way your chest hairs tickle my face when I lie in the crook of your arm
4) The feeling of pure joy that takes over my entire body when I make you laugh so you show your teeth and your eyes light up and crinkle in the corners
5) Having someone with whom I can share all my crazy at any given time, and knowing without words that you understand what I'm saying as only a part of me; it isn't my sole identity, and I am more than crazy (though plenty of it)
a) Having someone who gets upset when I don't share it.
6) You appreciate adorable, beautiful, cute, sweet, elegant, awe-some but quotidien, nuanced things. You allow yourself to become invested in things that are "girly," and in things that are all at once unmemorable tiny and unfathomably huge, and often match my excitement and wonder at them. I don't know if you understand how it feels to have someone who doesn't share in your excitement about the world, so that you can understand why it means so much to me or why it's even something that I mention, but I know that I won't take it for granted in you

Ways I've Changed so that I Feel Like Myself Again:
1) More able to not get automatically upset/defensive/take things personally or too deeply, more quickly able to see things from another perspective and prioritize that instead of my own aforementioned reactions
2) Feeling better and more in control of my eating habits, against all odds. Letting myself be really proud of that even when I start feeling old habits creep, and hardly getting flustered at all when I don't have an exact idea of what/when I eat.
3) Getting better about not dwelling on things I can't control, as well as not exacerbating tenuous situations where I feel like there's nothing I can to do make things better
4) My days are largely more structured and I feel more productive
5) Beginning to feel like a more competent conversationalist instead of getting everything too tangled in my head to translate to words and then getting flustered over never having anything interesting to say
6) Genuinely being okay with a lot of things that at other times I would have gotten distracted by, preventing progress for the sake of propriety
a) Not becoming offended by the lack of said propriety so that it still continues to distract me
7) After a year of being less and less good at letting things go - getting good at letting things go again.

Things I want to Improve On Not Just In 2012 But Now and Forever:
1) My automatic but overly-constricting pattern of thinking about eating
2) How do I stop crying at what seems to me to be the smallest provocation? I have no idea why this started and no idea how to control it
3) Stop being so goddamned hard on myself. Not only because I should stop being so goddamned hard on myself, but also because it makes me self-centered and excessively moody at times when I would have normally been able to bounce right back, at the expense sometimes of prioritizing other people's feelings. Lately I can't control a lot of things I feel. That's how it is; remaining mad at myself won't change it.
4) Try to be able to remember things better. I hate having to ask what was just said, or losing my words right in the middle of a sentence. It's my ADD, I know, but there has to be something I can do about it
5) Make more time to actively make myself happy. I miss the gym, and I miss driving places just to walk around, and I miss my family and my dogs. I've been noticing recently how I don't do much for me, which is remarkable considering how stuck in my own head I've been. I've been thinking about myself and thinking about thinking &c., but not actually doing anything, which is frustrating on many levels
6(separate, but related) Find a psychiatrist. I should be back on medication, no question. I don't know where to start and the thought is overwhelming and tiring, but I just need to do it.

Non-Sam Things I Was Grateful for This Year:

1) Sunrises, sunsets, moon views, sky spectacles - we had the most gorgeous skies this year.
2) Deal sites - my god they were helpful in gift-giving and brainstorming sessions thereof. Also I saved a lot of money buying clothes and body care for myself, and dinners out. The potential is amazing. I hope someday I can use them specifically for my dream cross-country trip.
3) Tea
4) Getting a job, not paying rent. Makes buying food a whole lot easier, now that my student loans have come out of forbearance. Now I can actually have a savings account again, and start to build up credit.
5) My mom, always someone I can go to when I have an adult problem, or when I feel like I'll have a panic attack if I don't calm myself down. This year has been hell for her, but she is still incredibly strong.
6) Great music. This was a good year for it. Okay, so this one is pretty closely related to Sam.
a) ACL and Solid Sound.

Stuff I Discovered:
1) Makeup - it doesn't have to feel like gobs of evil on my face! Thanks, Sephora!
2) My waist. Hooray, curves =D
3) A way to make my feet not smell
4) When picking films to watch, I almost never automatically go for drama/action/horror/suspense flicks, no matter how great they look. Romance/comedy are my default choices; I have to force myself to choose otherwise.
5) Great TV: Community, Dexter, The Wire, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, Shameless.... I'm probably missing some.
6) I am very attuned to my body and mind, for better or worse
7) God I love sex. Because of Sam, if that wasn't clear.
8) Despite the fact that this year was very rough for me, emotionally, I look back and see a happier, freer me than before two years ago. I've had to be okay with feeling batshit insane, which has been and is the most difficult of all. It comes down to how hard it is to accept that someone (including myself) can love the me that includes all of this. But it's also unfair not to. I still don't - not completely - but I've been better.
9) This year was sad and difficult for myriad reasons. I'm optimistic to a fault, but/and I'm happier by the day.


1) I am ridiculous. I will always be too much of everything. Bipolar II Disorder is a big part of my identity. I have someone a family - bloodline and chosen - full of people who love me for it. This year was certainly not lost.
2) Sam. Always, you.
I can't handle anything. Every little thing is too much. I am disgusted at myself for this.
Today I laughed and it sounded like another language, from another time, in another person's mouth and lungs.

Nov. 3rd, 2011

I haven't been feeling like myself. It's hard to pinpoint when it started, except when I look back on my relationship with Sam. Because I guess by myself there's no reference point, but it's easier to trace that kind of thing when you're really affecting another person.

Here is how I see myself:
Emotionally intelligent
Very understanding
Not unusually irritable
Smiling by default

Here is how I'm acting:
Constantly irritable
Emotionally volatile/unpredictable
Mean/condescending when upset
Quick to spiral

I hate this person. Up until now, my way of trying to deal with all of this was to separate it from myself, because it was so loathsome to think that this could just be who I am, and all that amazing happiness that I had in the beginning of my relationship with Sam was just this honeymooning naiive girl with nary a care in the world because everything in my life was easy.
Who knows why I changed into this monster of a person. I wish I knew. In my darkest moments I wish I could just blame it on what happened to my family this year, or learning about any number of dark family murmurs and troubles, or mental damage due to the lack of sleep I got for basically the entirety of my college career.
I thought I was just a happy person, and a generally pretty good one. But maybe I was just wrong. At any rate, it finally clicked to me that I can't solve this by trying to beat it up. By calling it shit and saying that it's this other evil person taking me over. No matter how much it feels like exactly that. I can't emphasize enough how I just feel not like myself at all. I have to say this or else I feel too ashamed to write about it, or even think it. But no, it's not someone else. I have to own this monster, because I have always believed that a person is hir actions, and in trying to separate my"self" from mine, I have been a hypocrite, and have probably made it harder for myself. I know I've made it harder for Sam.

So, believing myself to be, still, an emotionally intelligent person, I am seeking outside help. I should be back on Lithium and Adderall, to start, I think. Maybe a psychiatrist would have another opinion though, and I'm open to whatever ze has to offer.

I had a related realization yesterday. Something that I do all the time, which probably sounds strange, is that I often think in conversations. I have conversations in my head with people that I know, and it's how I sort out my thoughts, especially when I'm upset and need a moment by myself to work out what I want. Despite this, I have never really enjoyed the thought of one-on-one psychological therapy. I've been to a psychiatrist many times, and I toward the end I had some really bad moments with him (there were several times when he lost his cool and yelled at me, and being the 16-year-old shit that I was, I probably provoked it, but nonetheless it wasn't cool and my Mom never took me back). Anyway, when we were in the car yesterday, and I was quiet, Sam asked me what I was thinking. When I replied that I was having a conversation with a hypothetical psychiatrist in my head, I realized that, theoretically anyway, therapy seems kind-of perfect for me. And it's not that I haven't been open to the idea before now (except when I was a 16-year-old shit, of course), but it's always made me uncomfortable to think of, and I guess what I'm trying to say is just that I see that it shouldn't.

Anyway. I'm trying daily...more often than that, not to despair and hate myself, because that won't do anything. Part of me feels like I don't deserve to be happy in this moment, because of some twisted half-formed idea of penitence that I know I shouldn't hold on to. Or that if I let it go, I will forget everything and laze into monstrosity forever. And the white-knuckled fear that I can't fix it and I will fuck up this relationship, or already have.

Julia & Rob Wedding!

Bleehhh. Last week I pulled both my calf muscles at the gym (still not sure how; never felt overstrained [I was only on the elliptical for 40 minutes and didn't even work my lower body on weights], ate enough and drank enough...) and couldn't walk for two days.

Thank goodness I felt better by Saturday, because that was Julia and Rob's wedding!
It was at Gallery 5, a really cool art place in Richmond. The ceremony itself was short and sweet; they both wrote vows, and both cried. I had some good prosecco. Dinner was full of veggies, and the cake was so good (I need that icing recipe - it was like a cross between buttercream and whipped cream. Maybe it was that simple? Anyway.). It was a cool space - first a fire house, then a jail I think, so there was a pole and a bunch of barred doors just randomly around.
Then the music started, and Sam and I danced our dorky butts off. I was surprised! I mean, I'd planned on dancing no matter what, thinking Sam wouldn't be much for that, but he offered first =D. For at least half an hour, we just danced! I thought I'd explode with happiness. All over again, the feeling, like in the beginning - a person who wants to spend time with me, what novelty! Someone who wants to be goofy with me, simply because it's fun, and because they love me, how wonderful! That moment lasted for about an hour, during which I don't think I stopped smiling once (I know because it hurt and I still couldn't stop). I'm getting warm fuzzies just thinking about my adorable, affectionate, unabashedly loving partner. I feel so lucky to have found someone so perfect for me, so perfect.
We took the party to a bar across the street where I had some of Sam's gin & tonic, and my first cosmo (I love cranberry juice).
I feel very comfortable around that group of people, which is something I never really felt before. It was almost serendipitous - there were like 5 separate conversations that were disclaimed by how awkward we/they are, and I guess that's the kind of people I get along best with because it felt very natural (awkwardly so, of course). I've always just felt too weird, or I guess too awkward, to be part of any significant group of people, but I felt very welcomed, and genuinely liked. Again, warm fuzzies.
Then we spent the entire long ride home talking about getting married. What we'd have to do to get there, the what and the where of the ceremony, our involvement, the look. I've finally found my motivation to actually get a full-time job (so we can move out and I can be his sugar-mama while he makes beautiful music [as he is doing right now, behind me]). More fuzzies.

Now, to get over this damned cold. We've been holed up in the family room, lying on the couch all day watching TV and surfing the web and being very cozy. I actually love it and in a perverse way I hope we get sick together more often.


I had the worst dream I'd had in a long time. I'd awakened earlier, having gotten far too little sleep (especially after a grueling-awesome workout yesterday and work all day all weekend). I was annoyed and almost resigned to waking up and yet again being listless for another day until bedtime, but Sam tickled my back. Immediately I was calm again, as usual, but I didn't think I was going to fall back asleep. Especially when, after about an hour, I was still awake.

Then all of a sudden I was dream-waking. I thought it was real. I was waking up to Sam's mom opening our door. We were doing exactly what we were really doing - him tickling my back, me naked and trying to sleep - and she was just poking her head in quite rudely to "make sure [we] were awake." I got pissed off in the dream but then fell back asleep.
I woke up, or regained consciousness without opening my eyes. Something was strange though. The fan sounded very loud, very close, and it felt like I was lying on something plastic. In my sleep, I had gotten up and lay down on the ground right in front of the fan in our room. I stood up, startled, and Sam was awake, doing what he was actually doing, and when I asked what was going on, he said, "oh you do that all the time." I hadn't known about this, and was disturbed, but I got back on the bed and fell asleep.
The scenarios got more unrealistic from there.
The next time I woke up, I was in the middle of a scenario. I was in the kitchen of my old house, standing in front of the sink, with Sam standing behind me. I was talking to him, but then when I turned around, it was Daniel. Suddenly I realized I was in the past, and Daniel was my boyfriend, and I got scared and wanted to get back to Sam but didn't know how. Then I thought, oh god, what if this was reality and Sam was my dream. I tried not to think that way but I thought, this is all so real, I just don't know. I started crying hysterically and thought, there must be something I can do about this, it can't have been a dream, I was so happy. That was my greatest happiness and it can't just be gone. I went upstairs to say something to my mom, and she was up there, but so were a ton of other people I didn't recognize, and they were all in my old room watching a movie. I didn't want to interrupt so I left the room and fell asleep again.
The next time I woke up, I was awake also and with Evan. And I got even more scared because I thought, oh god, no that was all a dream but this isn't; I'm still with Evan and Sam was still a dream and what if that's true, now I've realized that I don't want to be with Evan and I have to get away from him now. So I tried to run away, but we were in a street. I saw a bike that was his bike and I got on it and tried to ride away. But the brakes were manual and they were on one of the pedals that was too low for my short arms to reach. So eventually I crash-landed behind a bus. My first thought was to get on, so I did. Evan got on too though. I don't remember what happened now, except that I resigned myself to being near him even though he'd chased me angrily and freaked me out, and then I think I fell asleep, because it was a long ride.
I woke up again, this time on campus. It was the future, and I had no idea how I'd gotten there. But I had friends or something, whom I didn't recognize, but followed them anyway. I looked up to see an aurora, and a grid in the night sky, and stars, and also the internet - it was projected onto the sky and was an interface, like a touch screen without the screen. I didn't try to work it. I followed the people and cried, terrified of what was to come, what the next dream would be.

Then I woke up, and have been degrees of freaked-out ever since.

ACL 2011

Sam's list of all artists seen (and his entire entry on the trip)

This ACL experience, over all, was - I think - even better than last year's. And last year, if I remember correctly, I proclaimed it the best time of my entire life. So you get the idea.

Took an early flight in, dropped off our crap and changed, and went straight to South Congress. Lunch/early dinner at The Snack Bar - avocado quinoa salad, bulgogi seitan, Mexican cola, baba ghanoush and hummus w/ housemade flatbread. Explored, bought amber sun earrings (love them). Walked downtown for sunset bat cruise! Spectacular view of 1.5 million bats and the downtown skyline. Walked back up to Guero's for dinner - they have a vegan menu section now, and fantastic vegan chorizo/pastor. My first flan for dessert.

Day 2. Back to South Congress. Tesoros, Uncommon OBJECTS. Big Top Candy Shop for a white Russian truffle and a chocolate/Reese's Pieces-covered pretzel. It rained while we were in there! Poured for about 5 minutes, then it was over. Food truck veggie burger slider for lunch, mmm.
ACL Day 1! Bands bands bands (see Sam's post). Bright Eyes was my favorite for the day. Food! - Kombucha, spinach pakoras (so good), some of Sam's Maine Root ginger brew, pretty sure there was something else in there but I don't remember. Stepped on a vibrating patch of ground that turned out to be an upside-down ringing iPhone. We became heroes and turned it in to lost & found, because they didn't want to leave Kanye (lol).
Shady Grove for outdoor dinner and humongous ice cream pie. Already sore, but my boots were surprisingly comfy!

ACL Day 2! Woke up and thought we had to switch rooms so we packed up (crazy reservation stuff). Happy news though - turns out we were able to stay in the same room the entire time! Got out a little late, so we missed most of The Antlers, but they still made both our top-fives, so yeah. More kombucha, really good tamales, other stuff I can't remember. And it rained! A good bit of steady rain for a while, then it tapered. But yay for Texas! Highlight: TV on the Radio. Downside: Some of the sound was down (could hardly hear Stevie Wonder). Cooled down a lot that night.
Took a pedi-cab! Went to South Congress for a late-night Big Top fix (so we'd have leftovers for the whole trip). Dinner at Guero's again, with a margarita (a really good one!).

ACL Day 3! Slept in (missed Yellow Ostrich on purpose. Sad but necessary)! Rained just a bit more. A pleasant steady drizzle. Highlight: Elbow. More kombucha, veggie-avocado wrap, bites and sips of Sam's yummy food (wanted more pakoras but they were out, boo). Really cool to be in the audience when Arcade Fire did "Wake Up," and "The Suburbs." Love hearing Sam's singing voice somewhere above and behind my shoulder.
Dinner at Shady Grove again, plus margaritas (watered down with lime juice, but still good) and icebox mousse pie.

Austin, Day Final! Up-and-at-'em for, you guessed it, South Congress. Called our new favorite cabbie who took us everywhere and knew all the best places and people and stories. Lunch at Guero's (oh, their mole is so good). Gift-shopping, overwhelming record-store experience where we didn't know where to start and couldn't actually travel with anything so we left, more truffles and sips of Sam's egg-cream (my first taste of a real one).

Flight. Home. Leftover candy and relaxation.

Sam said it first, and best, but it bears agreeing:
The entire trip, I was filled with contentment, gently simmering just below the surface. Adding depth and permanence to my excitement about everything we were doing. From waking up together in a bright empty room, to exploring, to walking around all day, to sweating through my clothes, to eating and drinking really great food, to dancing like a crazy person and also like mellow people, to dancing and singing in the rain, to complaining about aching feet and backs, to soft-water showers, to chilling out in the room and staying awake for probably too long. It was all informed by this. The feeling: I am content with whatever this is, right now, in my weird, wonderful life. I am doing exactly what I've always wanted to do; living the life I never thought I would. There were aches and complaints and sub-par food items and weird transient moods and bodily weakness - it was all there too. It's not a matter of the good vastly outweighing the bad - because it did. It was that the negative was okay, too, and it passed, and we both let it all pass, because on some deeper level we were both just content. And I realized that that's how I've been feeling for a long time.

Rehoboth/OC Vaycay

Vacation, Day 1 - Touring half of Rehoboth Ave: Beautiful Indian clothes, red velvet Smith Island cake, a seafoam dress from a hippie store (Sam and two women gasped when I walked out with it on; how could I resist that kind of ego-stroking?), rainbow LGBT stuff from Out Gear, fancy candies and liquorice, sunset beach stroll, fantastic dinner at Planet X Cafe (tandoori seitan, yum.) walk on the boardwalk, photo booth adorableness, skee-ball and Cruisin' USA and totally winning hundreds of tickets on a reflex game, Kohr Bros custard, chilling out in the nice hotel room.

Day 2 - "Breakfast" at Fractured Prune, sex shop exploration (Rehoboth is so queer friendly!), grilled avocado salad (must try that on my own), froyo and Thrasher's, kite-flying (first time since I can remember, and I'm good at it!), drive to Ocean City, Lost Galaxy mini-golf, OC boardwalk stroll, lots of skee-ball again, more photo booth, more racing games, watching the crazy gulls on the ocean drift downstream then fly back upstream and do it over and over again, driving half an hour toward Rehoboth and realizing we left our photos, then driving all the way back and finding them (my hero).

Day 3 - Brunch at Bayside Skillet (CREPES), Temple of the Dragons mini-golf, another sex shop (all Sam's idea, with my enthusiasm in tow), Rehoboth again, more photos, more skee-ball, replacing our Be-Fri/St-End necklaces, more beach, more liquorice, Grotto/crepe/Kohr Bros. Home.
Lately: Calmer, less quick to anger/annoyance, less anxious, more patient.

We went to Ren cleanup together last week, which felt invigorating and brought me right back. It was the bagpipes, and the homey smell of old wood.
Then spent the day exploring Annapolis. Went to the Harbor and ate at the Market House where we scored a free blueberry crumb bar just for being nice. We walked around a lot and bought silly souvenirs, indulged our senses at a spice shop where we got teas and vanilla powder (they had other powders, too - coconut, spinach, pumpkin, etc. I guess they're like extracts but they smell so good). As our parking meter expired, we left for downtown and drove around a little bit seeing what there was to see (searched for sea-salted caramels to no avail). Had some indecent fun searching for a park (also to no avail, but emphasis on the fun anyway. Semi out-of-doors. Also emphasis on indecent.). Ate dinner at Whole Foods, as usual, because we'd worked up an appetite being so kickassedly indecent (did I mention how that was incredibly fun?). Before we went home, we tried to go to Sandy Point, but it was pay-to-enter. When we got there, though, there were a dozen or so deer just out grazing and playing around, and we were content just to sit quietly and watch them, so close to our car.
Would love to go again.

Today was Lyle Lovett at Wolf Trap! My first time seeing both. Great show. He's such a weirdo, and it's awesome. My favorites were "North Dakota" and "She's Already Made Up Her Mind" - both made me tear up, the latter especially. The fun songs were silly. And Francine was so fun. His entire band is so incredibly talented, individually, in their own rights. It was weird to be seated during a big concert, but the structure and surroundings were stunning, and it was a memorable experience.

On a more somber and personal note, last night was an exception to my generally-calmer mood lately. For both of us. But when it was all over, we both remarked how we are actually thankful that we care enough to get really pissed off at each other, for so many reasons. For the basic reason that we care enough to show our ugliest sides, without hiding or censoring what we think and feel. And for the more complex reason that it makes me see, every time, how goddamn passionate we are for each other. We love awe-fully and we fight awe-fully. However angry and ugly we get, there is the flip side, all the rest of the time, of how incomprehensibly huge is the scope of our love. Even when I am broken, I know this and am so thankful.