phantom limb syndrome

I lost a friend over the summer. They didn’t like some of my choices, and… okay, fair, one thing in particular was an interesting decision on my part, but at least everyone else who called me out on it saw the disaster for what it was. As opposed to my former bestie, who decided that another person in my life didn’t quite check off enough diversity//oppression boxes to be tolerated.

Ah, yes, because someone who’s knowingly screwed up someone else’s marriage should TOTALLY judge other people’s choices. Good grief, even the BUBBLE would draw the line against that one!!

So, that happened a while back, and it hit me this week how much I MISS said ex-friend. Like, I don’t miss the way they only liked me when our traumas mirrored each other, or the way they expected me to be SUPER SUPPORTIVE of *their* bizarre life choices while simultaneously guilt-tripping me about my own for TOTALLY BULLSHIT REASONS (yes, my wolf friend has both a dick and a personality; no, that does NOT make him pure evil)… but I miss the good parts. I miss having someone who’d experienced the bubble the exact same way I had and who understood that some things are just impossible to explain to outsiders.

A friend of a friend posted on FB this week that she didn’t find her husband attractive until after they were married and only accepted his interest in her ’cause of how spiritual he was. Every alarm bell in my body went off when I read that, and my first thought was that my ex-friend was probably the ONLY person in my circle who’d understand why that anecdote made me want to vomit. Except… ex-friend is ex-friend for REASONS. I don’t want them back in my life. I got a lot out of that friendship, but the lowkey manipulation and guilt were probably not worth the five years I sacrificed.

And yet there’s still that empty place where they used to be. Waiting, I guess, for someone else who managed to get out of the homeschool bubble WITHOUT drifting to an extreme. And hopefully the next person, the bionic arm in my future, will be a little less hypocritical. Fingers crossed.

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slip week

I was doing so good and then I slipped the last couple of days.

It’s not my fault that my fight-or-flight reaction is a little screwy and sometimes my brain genuinely thinks that playing in traffic would solve problems. I’m not even sure if that was suicidal inclination or just wanting to be in a coma for like the next month so I don’t have to deal with the emotionally-manipulative bullshit parade that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Which is… another post I may actually do at some point between now and Christmas, and a pretty important part of my emotional journey, and probably gonna be my next tattoo since it’s the off-season for my preferred expensive hobby.) Yes, Monday was a shitshow and I’m not sure how I’m gonna apologize to my wolf for this one (or if I even need to), but I didn’t DO anything.

I didn’t DO anything yesterday either, when my week got derailed ten minutes before I was supposed to get off work. Yay family emergency. Unfortunately too many of y’all know my fam in real life, and I’m not sure how we’re publicly handling this one, but there’s some chaos going on there. Not my story to tell, but still stressing me out because right now I look like the normal child and that’s a little weird.

And I didn’t DO anything today either, unless you count crying for like half an hour because yet another of my casual acquaintances is pregnant. ANOTHER ONE. That makes… idk, I wanna say right now six or seven people spamming my social media feeds with their baby bumps?? And most of them are younger than me, which is so not helping. I’m 24. I still probably have fifteen years of fertility left. But I wanna USE those years, dammit. I want to BE the one obsessing over every little detail of my imminent tiny human. Not the jealous single girl watching.

So, I guess I’ve been good. Lot of bad brain stuff but all kept safely passive-aggressive. I need to find a way to make things right with one person in particular, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna spend the rest of my life trying to balance out that relationship and I’m not sure it’s doable. Otherwise… yeah. It’s only Wednesday. Anything could happen.

sometimes an asshole is just an asshole

Earlier this week, my baby sister did something super awesome. Apparently her college has a bit of an infestation of “preachers” who like to harass anything that moves, and one of them attempted to have a go at my brother. Welp, little sister is nothing if not protective of her people, and she decided that the correct response to that kind of wildlife was to pick a fight with him. (For reference, my sister is an adorable skinny blonde white girl. NOT the sort of person one generally expects to be the brave one in this sort of situation.) And sure enough, tiny badass ended up having the last word and got a heck of a video of the incident to post on social media.

So what does that situation have to do with the title of this post, you ask?? Simple – various people, some of whom I know and some of whom I never will, responded to that video with “you should’ve been nicer to him, he’s probably mentally ill”.

Newsflash, buddy – mental illness is not an excuse for being that kind of trash in a public place. If you can form coherent enough sentences to harass dozens of innocent passers-by, then you’re mentally present enough to take responsibility for your actions.

Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.

If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you’ve seen my own mental-health issues. I’ve written extensively about some of the stuff that goes on in my head. I am enough of a person to admit that a lot of the stupid shit I do has nothing to do with my depression and everything to do with my poor impulse control and maladaptive self-defense skills. Explanations that are character flaws I can fix (and am actively trying to). Not a screw loose or a hamster missing or one tiny screwed-up strand of DNA that gives me an excuse to do what I want without consequence.

Most of my friends are the same. Most of the people I care about have bad brain of some sort, and all of them take ownership of their actions. I’m constantly amazed by my wolf, who has been through more than I knew a human being could even survive and yet remains the most gentle and kind person I know. And really, everyone I know who fights monsters in their head is focused on being a decent and functional human being.

So no, longtime “family friend”, putting some label on someone you’ve never met doesn’t justify inappropriate public behavior. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.

life goes on

I took a mostly accidental writing hiatus.

It’s been an intense couple weeks. Lots of personal stuff. Very little of which is suitable for public consumption. I learned a few unexpected things about myself and what I’m capable of. And a few completely unsurprising things. I am definitely a better and more self-aware person than I was six months ago.

I’ve been getting much more into cosplay and trying to do that on a semi-professional level. I post about all of that on FB at Blue Butterfly Cosplay, so if y’all are remotely interested in watching me be a human disaster with photographic proof of my misadventures, go over there. At this point that’s gonna be staying off this blog because clearly what I need is two TOTALLY DIFFERENT public personas, but ya never know. (The occasional con story might wander over here, idk. Con people are FUN.)

I’ve taken on a bunch of crafty projects. I’m trying to do some side ventures. I’m working full time. I’m stressed as hell and in a strange way I think I love it because stressed!me gets shit done.

I just need to figure out how to translate the new practical gifts of my stubbornness into everything else in my life.

I need to sew and/or piece together like six costumes I’m lowkey working on, plus a Handmaid dress that I’m gonna wear for something at some point but idk what at this point ’cause I meant to wear it for my sister’s graduation but then life happened and I didn’t get around to making the darn thing in time soooo I’m gonna do that for SOMETHING. Idk. Maybe the next wedding within the former group, assuming there are any left I’m even gonna get invited to. We’ll see.

I kinda need to lose weight but that would require effort and honestly I’m too tired and I can blame my antidepressants for my thighs so whatev.

I need to write so, so much.

I’m not sure if posting all of this here will make me DO IT, but here’s hoping.

listeners

I’ve realized lately that I’ve developed a bit of a magnetism over the last few years. Whenever I need to grow a new leaf, so to speak, someone new comes into my life and offers new perspective on elements of my story that I’d previously overlooked or seen with different eyes. The timing is always perfect, one of those few things that makes me feel divine presence, and I’m so so lucky to get that.

As someone who didn’t really have friends until a couple years ago, it means a lot that I have people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to help me. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it in a big-picture way, but in little moments…

Moments like today, when my wolf friend accidentally got two different incidents confused and made a hilariously wrong assumption about something I’d done and my heart melted a little because if anyone else had said that I would’ve hit them but I’m getting used to my wolf’s strange sense of humor and it was the best thing that’s happened to me in ages.

Moments like yesterday, when I was with a potential new romantic partner and somehow ended up explaining the complexities and curses of growing up female in the Bubble, again heart-melting because it was so clear my partner had no experience with what I was talking about but he wanted to understand because that world created me.

Moments like a couple days ago when my friend Sam and I had an intense text convo about mothers with boundary issues and for once we were talking about how our families interacted with the outside world (and really, there’s a time and place for trying to impress people but wow do they ever tend to miss it) and it hit me that sometimes having matching scars isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Moments like midnight “guess what I did today!!” messages to Dara and/or Miranda, who are always proud of me even if they do think I’ve gone a little too far.

Moments like telling Liv about flashbacks and being reminded that I’m not alone and that breaking free sucks but rising from ashes is so worth it.

Moments like updating Rhonda on how many hexis I’ve made.

Hell, moments like checking my email and seeing that some of you lovely people have liked and/or commented on one of my posts here. A lot of the time I do feel like I’m yelling into a void, but sometimes the void yells back and it means so, so much to me that y’all occasionally give me attention.

I don’t remember the last time I felt lonely. Weird – that used to be my primary emotional state. I still feel sad a lot, and there are still relationship shapes I want but don’t currently have, but the overall feeling of alone-ness is pretty much gone. I have people now. I have an eclectic bunch of misfits who genuinely care about my existence and continued well-being. That’s new and weird and idk how I’m supposed to feel about it, but… okay. New leaves growing. I can do this.

manifested nightmare

I’ve been realizing lately that I used to be a really shitty person.

Not that I’m doing all that much better now or anything, but at least over the last few years I’ve become aware of my flaws and my tendencies and I am slowly but surely putting leashes on them and teaching them how to sit and shut up. I make no claims about being a Good Human Being, but damn, at least I’m willing to admit I’m human.

Baby!me did not have that ability. Much to her peril. And it’s taken me almost a decade to admit it.

Blame an old friend for this, if you will. Beautiful thing about social media is sometimes people reappear out of nowhere after two years of awkward silence and it’s like the distance never existed at all. This one, he’s special. I’ve blogged about him in the past because he’s slightly more notable as the first love whose lack of interest in me led to me leaving the Bubble and ending up on antidepressants for the first time (wow, boy did a lot for me), but before that… before that, he was the only person who knew me in high school who did not want to fix me, let alone try.

I think I scared him. It’s been eight years since it happened, a third of my life, and I still vividly remember the cold November weekend our paths first crossed. Rarely do I have primal reactions to new people, and negative ones even less so, but I took one look at that boy and I wanted to bring him down. Over the two days and several hallway encounters that followed, I almost hit him several times – and not always by accident either. I’m pretty sure everyone has vague sociopathic tendencies at age sixteen or so, but I was something else entirely and I picked a pretty good victim.

Or so I thought. But in my chaotic brilliance, I’d picked the one Bubble boy in our region who could not only keep up with me but actually chose to. Chose to explain to me, a year and a lifetime later, that sometimes content warnings make life easier. (Not that I listened, but seventeen-year-old me was not good at following instructions.) Chose to reach out to me and treat me like a damn person, something I did not know how to respond to at the time (and still don’t, honestly). Chose to, in sweet Bubble-boy fashion, become the first real friend I managed to keep.

But oh, that doesn’t change how much of a bitch I was.

If it moved, I hated it. I was undiagnosed depressive, not to mention aforementioned sociopath-adjacent tendencies, and I’d been left in a perfect playground. A quick glance at the national news will inform any outsider of how succeptible such communities are to semi-outsider predators, but the young who aren’t eaten frequently grow up to be just as monstrous. I was merely more open and aiming in a slightly different direction than my peers. All of us were a bit feral, I think. I stood out as a lone wolf amidst the shifting pack of our homeschool group, but nobody survived unscathed.

Still, someone saw light in me. Someone my age, someone I never would’ve expected kindness from until it was shown. And that, more than anything else, is probably why I’m still alive.

(I’m gonna message this post to the person in question, for the record. I do follow the “if you write about them and you’re still on speaking terms, make sure they see it” rule. So… this could get awkward and lead to a follow-up post about how I’ve set my life on fire THIS month.)

I still have a lot of reflection to do, but at least I’m admitting it. That’s the first step.

love is…

… “she’s FINE, she’s one of the toughest people I know” followed a minute later by “what do you mean she might’ve spontaneously taken a trip to Australia?!?”

… being very, very thrilled when I do not find any arrest records for the above-mentioned person (who is still not accounted for, but probably off on some wild adventure. or somebody’s kid broke her phone. or both).

… friendships that feel like warm blankets and coming home.

… borderline compulsive worrying that usually ends up being TOTALLY NECESSARY because why oh why do I attract so many people with no self-preservation abilities.

… reminding my people that they mean a lot to me and that I am way easier to deal with when they tell me what’s going on instead of making me wonder. (and that in turn minimizes the above compulsive worrying.)

… making squishy knitted things because if I can’t hug you as often as I want to (or like ever because you’re on the other side of the freaking continent), that’s the next best thing.

… knowing that I’m 23 and I’ve got a really solid list of people I am honored to be friends with and be connected to.

… accepting that all forms of human kindness are beautiful, not just the kind that actually means “I want you”.