People Pleaser: Asking Myself Tough Questions

March 16th, 2014

I heard this term “People Pleaser” recently, and I came to the realization that it really represents my personality well. I rarely say no to things. If I’m asked to help with something, to work on a particular task, or even to go out with someone, I’m likely going to say yes. Why? Because it’s the easy path and it makes people happy. I don’t like being the person that makes things difficult. I also don’t want to disappoint people. So I go along with things. I’m realizing this is something about me that may need to change somewhat. Not completely, though, because I don’t think this is a bad thing entirely. I think in general I also want to be a nice person, and by saying yes, I am being kind. Being kind is a very important thing to me. However, when it comes to things like dating, I need to stop.

Settling

I’ve come to the realization that I’ve settled a lot. My therapist and I were chatting, and I realized that there has really been only a couple of times in my life that I was genuinely attracted to whom I was with. All of these were back when I was in or just out of high school. That’s a long time ago. That’s not to say I haven’t genuinely been in love or that attractions weren’t there to some extent. I’ve realized that my ex was right in that I wasn’t “looking at her with lustful eyes”. I think I did in the beginning of the relationship, but I think perhaps it was because it was new and exciting. I think perhaps I wasn’t as attracted to her as I’d have liked to be. I think I settled with her, despite the fact that i was deeply in love with her.

Attractions

I’ve spent a lot of time in my head thinking about my attractions, my desires, and what I want out of a relationship. I just want to be sure I know what I like and that I’m not trying to convince myself otherwise. I’ve also been trying to determine if I’m a sexual person or an asexual person. If I’m a sexual person, perhaps I just haven’t had the right person in my life. I’ve come to a few conclusions, and some things are yet unanswered.

The first big thing is that I am, indeed, definitely attracted to women. I knew this before, but it’s nice to confirm it. I can definitely tell when a guy is handsome, but men just don’t draw me. Women captivate me and hold my attention. Certain women I can’t take my eyes off of. They make my cheeks flush and my stomach all fluttery. If they get close to me, I feel like there’s an inability for me to form words or coherent sentences. That’s just the way it’s always been for me. So there’s that. Pretty clear as day. I also know that I am drawn to stereotypical females: essentially women that are probably even more feminine than I. I’ve noticed I tend to like thinner women and longer hair. Blonde hair tends to draw my subconscious attention more, but is by no means the only thing that draws me. I’m not very into the tomboyish ladies, the dykey ladies, the masculine / butch ladies. I really like girly girls.

Asexual vs sexual…that’s a tough one that I still just don’t know. I know my drive is lower from conversations with many people. However, I do know that I do HAVE a sex drive, even if it is just a lower libido than others. So the question I find myself asking is whether I don’t care about sex or if I just haven’t had the right partner because I’ve always settled. If it’s the latter, then who knows. Maybe my world will change in a year or two when I try to find someone new. If the answer is the former, then I worry that I just won’t find anyone that I’ll ever be able to keep satisfied or happy. I don’t want to see all of my future relationships start out awesome and quickly devolve into sisterly bonds and friendship because I’m not a sexy times person.

So I have more self discovery to do in that regard. I also find myself asking the question…did my last relationship continue for so long because I just wanted to be in love? Even though I was settling, I felt happy. I felt in love. I was totally committed and willing to spend my life with her. Is that a bad thing? I’d like to say no. Of course, in the end, it did hurt me more. So there’s that.

Emotional State

As to where I am now in my healing process, I can say that the depression is not as bad as it was. There are some days I still feel down though. Friday nights are particularly bad. One thing I’ve definitely learned is that exciting things are less exciting, successes are less thrilling, and accomplishments feel less fulfilling without someone you love to share them with.  Otherwise, I feel like I’ve come out of my shell quite a bit in the past couple months. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a depression mask anymore. I feel a bit more confident in who I am and feel like my personality is bubbling up to the surface again.

That being said, I’m still angry. When I have time to myself, my thoughts still return to how much I was wronged and how hurt I still am. I continually tell her off in my thoughts over and over. I still scream in my head at how she treated me. I know there is jealous rage going on in regards to the new girl she’s with. I think about how the new girl spoke to me over Facebook on Thanksgiving, and it just makes me furious. I imagine folks telling both of them off for their behavior. I just want them to feel the pain I’ve felt.

And I know these thoughts are not getting me anywhere positive.

I just want them to fade away. I’ve put so much energy into this anger, and I’d rather put that energy elsewhere. I want to move forward and live my life to the fullest. I want to just be happy again. I’m not quite there yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for once. I’m almost through it. Just a little more time, and I think everything will be fine. I just wish that time was now.

Five Minutes of Fame

March 16th, 2014

It’s been an interesting several weeks. I haven’t written for several reasons. The first is that I caught a sickness / plague that was going around at my place of work, and it lingered for about 3 weeks. I lacked energy to do much of anything for that time. Oh the joys of a cold that turns into a sinus infection. Anyway, aside from that, my birthday rolled around, my family visited, and then I suddenly got extremely busy. I’ll start with the extremely busy part that involved some professional writing.

Video Game Op Ed

This was a random happenstance. So, back before the move to Iowa, I remember seeing something about one of the Penny Arcade guys saying some transphobic thing, and a trans woman named Sophie Prell engaging him in a discussion about the issue. I was reading her stuff thinking “She’s awesome and has my full support.” Turns out she lives in Iowa right near where I was going to be moving. When I got the Steam Machine, I thought maybe she’d like to see it / review it. I discovered she no longer goes by Sophie, and now goes by Sam instead. So, I contacted him and offered, and it was accepted. I ended up befriending him, and we talked a bit via email.

Randomly a little while later, I got a message from him regarding an article being written by Ben Kuchera at Polygon.com surrounding the project being done by BeAnotherLab involving gender swap and the Oculus Rift.  Ben was hoping to talk to someone in the trans* community about the research, and my friend thought of me. I gladly accepted the offer. After chatting with Ben for the article, I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a companion piece to his article, and I was very excited about that opportunity.

So through that, I wrote an op ed that showed up on Polygon on Wednesday, March 5th, and as soon as it did, my Twitter exploded with tweets, retweets, and all sorts of comments. I went in to the article fully expecting that the comment section was going to be riddled with negativity and horribleness. I couldn’t have been more wrong (insert Thorin Oakenshield meme here). Everything people were saying was exceptionally positive. I can easily say that this was the greatest emotional high I’ve had in a very long time.

Since that article came out, I have been asked to do a few podcasts. One is already out, and another will be out sometime in the next week or so. I really don’t know if I’ll be doing any more writing for Polygon or any other video game journalism site, but I’ll welcome the opportunity to do so. I’m more than happy to be “that girl” in the game journalism community. If you’d like to see more of my work on Polygon, feel free to let them know.

Here are links to all the articles mentioned:

Being someone else: How virtual reality is allowing men and women to swap bodies

Gaming is my Safe Space: Gender Options are Important for the Transgender Community

Super Gamer Podcast: Episode 27 – Steam Machines, Gender Swap, and a new friend!

Vlog and 4chan

On a slightly related note, some of you may be familiar with the online community 4chan, which is known for being some of the best and often worst parts of the internet. Most internet memes are spawned there. It’s a place for anonymity and can often be a place for ridiculousness and hate. I ended up on the target of some folks on 4chan, particularly those that participate in an overlap of the gaming board and the extreme right wing board. I will link to the thread, but I would encourage care, because some of the things said there are so horrible, that it’s not the best place in the world to be for emotional sanity and health.

So anyway, they decided to target my Steam Machine video that I posted a month ago. Apparently they didn’t like the fact that a trans woman, or even any kind of woman, would want to talk about video games or review technology. So, they started spamming the dislike button and filling the comments with anti-trans hate comments. Some of them were sexual in nature. This all happened when I was home sick from work with the plague. My email and phone started getting notifications, and I was very confused with why. I then got a note from someone telling me what was happening.

I think the goal was to make me feel bad or bad about myself. They failed pretty miserably at that. I don’t need everyone’s validation, especially people I don’t know, to know who I am, and a stream of negative comments from children with no faces is really just an inconvenience. I was more annoyed that I had to waste my time deleting and banning people than anything else. My feelings were not hurt. My ego was not hurt. All in all, it told me that there are people in the world that spend a lot of time and energy deliberately trying to hurt other people. That’s a very sad thing. If you’re interested in seeing what these sad folks said, you can find the thread here.

New Friends

I have been going to a meetup on Thursday nights for a few months now, and I’ve mentioned before that they really feel like “my people”. I’ve grown a bit closer to all of them now, which is awesome. I chat with a number of the folks regularly through the Facebooks, and I feel like I’m starting to fit in a bit more. Making new friends as an adult is hard, and it’s definitely a bit strange coming into a group as a single person when every one of them is paired up. In the past, I think this would have bothered me a lot more, but it really doesn’t phase me at all where I am in life right now. I’m really enjoying getting to know new people and learning about their walks of life. I’m so grateful to them for allowing me to get to know them and for their open ears to my life experiences. I’m sure it’s strange and uncomfortable to have this weird, depressed girl come in and start chatting them up. So, if any of you are reading, thank you for your kindness and patience.

I had some of them over a week ago for a Cards Against Humanity night. Side note, if you haven’t heard of this game, you should look into it. It’s essentially Apples to Apples for horrible people. It’s one of those games that’s just really hard to get tired of. Anyway, it was my first night having people over by myself, and I think it went well despite there being a little bit of awkwardness in the air. I’ve only known these people since January, and I guess that’s to be expected. I am sure that will change over time.

Sisters

I just wanted to take a moment and say I have awesome sisters. In the past month or two, I’ve had several moments that just have made me stop and go…damn, why are my sisters so great. My older sister called me up randomly one night and asked me how she could make the world a better place for the LGBT community. She had heard the Macklemore song “Same Love” and thought I should listen to it (I tend not to listen to stuff that’s on the radio). It was really awesome to hear her say that. And then there’s my younger sister who routinely tells me how annoyed she gets when people post religious anti-gay stuff on Facebook. When my sisters stand up for me, I’m shocked because I feel like I made their lives more difficult. I feel like I should be thanking them for tolerating their weird sister. So thank you, Becky and Melissa, for being the best ever.

VD / New Car

Yup, everyone’s favorite yearly venerial disease known as Valentine’s Day happened, or as I used to call it / call it now “Single’s Awareness Day”. I was expecting this day to be rough, and thankfully it wasn’t. I decided to spend that weekend doing awesome things. I went car shopping. My old Focus was starting to feel like it was on its last legs. Yeah, the very same focus from back when I started this blog in 2002. I got the car in February of 2002. It had 14000 miles on it when I got it. When I traded it in, it had 175000 miles on it. The car saw me through quite a bit over the years. It’s been in the ditch a few times. It’s cost me a bundle of money to get things like the fuel pump or the rear wiring harness repaired. It was just not feeling safe anymore. Time to trade up.

I went looking around last December. At the time, I was pretty interested in the Ford Escape due to its cool body styling and technology. I test drove one, and I really liked it. Just for funzies, I decided to drive the step up from that, the Edge, and I pretty much fell in love with the car. It was exactly what I wanted: more room, comfort, bells and whistles, and pretty. I wasn’t ready to buy though. It wasn’t until the weekend of VD that I had the money set aside to put down on the car. I ended up with a fancy pants platinum white 2013 Edge. I’m loving it so far. It drinks gas a lot faster, which isn’t as fun, but so far, that’s the only downside. I feel safer on the road, and I just love having a car that’s new. Here are some sexy photos for you to enjoy.

Jess' new carJess' new car

 

Birthday

I ended up not being able to pick up the car that weekend. I had to wait until the following Tuesday to actually take delivery. As it happened, that fell on my birthday. I essentially got to say that I got a new car for my birthday. It wasn’t intended to be that way, but hey, I’m not complaining. It ends up being the most expensive birthday present I’ve ever bought myself. I’ll be paying for it for a long time, I’m sure. So yeah, my birthday happened.

My parents and younger sister came to visit me the following weekend. It was nice to be able to take them around town in the new car. I took them up to Snus Hill Winery in Madrid, Iowa (pronounced MAD-drid, not Ma-DRID…weird, right? I think so too.) I’d never driven on unpaved roads during February before. My brand new car was covered in mud. Turns out I’ve been to that winery enough that they now recognize me. That’s pretty crazy. We all enjoyed some of the wine and bought some to take home. Later that evening, we went out for dinner. They didn’t stay long into the next day, but it was cool to have them here.

Dungeons and Dragons

I have watched many friends play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) over the years, but I’ve never participated in it myself. When I recently discovered that a good high school friend of mine lives in this area not a mile from home, we started chatting, and I got invited to play D&D with his friends. It’s something the ex and I had discussed doing at some point, but never had a group to play with. I figured, hey…get me out of my comfort zone and try something new. So I went.

I created a female half elf archer / fletcher named Liara (after Liara T’Soni in Mass Effect). I’ve played a few times since in the campaign. It definitely takes some getting used to. I’m not used to having to speak for the character and know all the traits and what not. It’s fun though. The last time I played, I shot a lot of evil creatures in the face with arrows. I can’t say that I’ll go every Sunday because it’s a huge time commitment, but I’m enjoying it so far. Yes…yes…I’m a nerd.

Kitty Love

I’ve gotta say, my two kitties have been really affectionate since my ex left. It’s very noticeably different. They crowd around me on the couch and huddle up to me at night. They’re very social kitties, and it just surprises me. Scarlet has taken to snuggling up to me every night, and now she’s even started to clean my face. My entire face. It seemed adorable the first time, but kitty tongues are like sandpaper. Eventually it’s not so pleasant anymore. I’ve started to shoo her away a little just because it hurts, but it is very cute.

Vlog Ideas

Lastly, I’ve been working on my vlog. This weekend I shot the footage for episode 3. I’ve been trying to compile a list of things I’d like to do episodes on and what kinds of videos I’d like to do in the future. So if you have thoughts on topics that fall in to the nerdy category, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

For good and for awesome: the Tale of the Disappearance of Jessica

March 15th, 2014

Lately I’ve had a few minutes of fame in the video game journalism community. It’s been pretty cool and I’ll talk about that in a later post. With all the attention my writing has gotten recently, it got me to thinking about some things. In the past several months, I’ve spent more time on social media than I have in a long time, and some folks have asked me what happened to me in the past few years. I had been very active as a trans educator, activist, and public speaker. Then I vanished. I thought I’d take a moment to address that.

For those that haven’t known me through that period of my life, there was a time I built and ran www.translife.net. It was intended to be a resource for anyone going through transition and needing role models and good information. I was really bad about keeping it up to date and giving it the energy it needed. I eventually decided that there were better sites out there for the information I had on the site. tsroadmap.com is one of them, if not the best one. I also realized that though the goal was to have many people blogging on the site, it was really just me. So, I decided to just move my blog itself to its own site, which is where this site came from.

I still do the occasional speaking engagement, but it’s not nearly as frequent as it once was. I have spoken at almost every university in the state of Wisconsin. I still enjoy it when I do get to speak, but the events are few and far between. I’ve thankfully found my energy for it returning. So perhaps I’ll do more if I can get off my butt and make some promotional materials.

There are several reasons my presence diminished. One is that I just got tired. Activism takes a lot of energy, and for a time, I was bursting with it. I was out there a lot writing, speaking, and all sorts of stuff. After all of that energy, eventually I slowed down and just didn’t have it in me anymore.

I think the other major reason I disappeared is because I was living the life I always wanted. I had a good job, owned a house, and was engaged to be married to the woman I loved. It was contentment to me at its purest. I was happy to just live life and take things as they came. I wanted to let others with more energy and vigor to be the new role models of the community. And there are some great ones out there now. The internet has really helped the trans* community grow. I’m so glad to see that those out there now have many people to look up to as good examples. I’m proud to say I was that example for some.

Once that nirvana I was experiencing vanished in a puff of smoke, I realized how much the community had moved forward without me as a part of it. I am very happy to see my community moving in a positive direction. However, I honestly feel terrible that I’ve not been a part of that. I feel like I’ve let my community down in my lack of presence. Now that my energy has returned, I aim to change that going forward.

The way I aim to change that is not necessarily by talking directly about trans issues. I want to return to my roots. The goal of translife.net back in the day was to show people that trans people are just like everyone else. That remains my goal. I want to bring positive attention to the trans community by simply being awesome. Through that awesomeness, I hope to help people learn about the trans* community.

So here is my pledge to you all: I will endeavor to be more active out there in the trans* community and the world at large. I will strive to open more eyes to the trans*gender community and show people how awesome we all are. And I will strive to never let anything let me be lazy in that goal again.

There will likely be times I need to step away for some recuperation time. If this happens and I’m gone for too long, or if I’m being lazy, I encourage all of you to throw things at me…preferably not sharp or rocky things….because ouch.

So that’s where I am. I encourage you to chastise me below in the comments for my past laziness. This will be viewed as encouragement and in no way will I feel judged (yes I will) by your statements. No really…I won’t (will). ;) And hey, thanks to everyone that has stuck with me along the way. You’re more awesome than I could ever be.

10 Things

February 2nd, 2014

This past week and a half has been interesting. I’ve had some really exciting emotional highs and some really deep emotional lows. The highs were for good reasons. The lows just sort of happened. Depression just rears its ugly head whenever it feels like and saps what joy was there. I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the past, which I’m not thrilled about. I’ve had a number of dreams that haven’t been pleasant. They weren’t nightmares, per se, but they involved a decepticon showing up. I have her on my mind even though I’m trying to focus on other things.

Let’s start out with something random and fun.

A List of 10 Things I Enjoy

The pure sound of silence

I don’t know what it is about this, but it brings a sense of peace to me. The world is filled with noise. It’s a cacophony that affects me in ways I may not notice most of the time. However, there are times when all the sounds are gone. Sometimes it’s late in the evening. Sometimes it’s sitting in the car. Sometimes it happens when it’s unexpected. Pure silence. When it happens, I will close my eyes and take it in. All that I can hear is the ringing sound of nothing…the background static of the world. It’s something I deeply appreciate.

Waking up Naturally

I’d bet this is something a lot of people love. Waking up when you have nowhere to be and no alarm. Just that relaxing waking up because your body is rested. I cherish every morning this happens.

Music that moves me to Tears

I have a music background, and I love all different types of music. I don’t actually hear the words in music unless I concentrate and focus on them. I listen more for the melodies and harmonies. I love classical music, movie scores, and video game scores because of their focus on emotional moments. It moves me in so many ways. I also love popular music that can do the same thing to me. Lately it’s been a lot of Mumford and Sons, Great Big World, Daft Punk, Chopin, Beethoven, the Mass Effect 3 score, and some of Hans Zimmer’s work.

The Smell of a Campfire

My family went camping a lot when I was little. We traveled all over the state of Wisconsin and across the United States. I saw so many beautiful things, like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, and Mesa Verde National Park. Of all those memories, I think my fondest is of my family sitting around the fire in the evening looking at the stars, roasting marshmallows, and taking in the sounds of nature. It’s a smell and an experience I will always love.

Wildlife

Going along with the nature theme, I grew up next to a lake and a state forest. Deer and wild Turkeys would meander through my parents’ back yard on almost a daily basis. We’d see birds of all sizes, like blue jays, doves, woodpeckers, orioles, and even larger ones. When I lived in Eau Claire, I watched a bear cross the highway. I’ve watched bald eagles catching fish in the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. On a field trip in high school, I canoed past a trumpeter swan and her cygnets. I had to duck under a bat when I lived in Eau Claire. It swooped in over my head when I went on the balcony to see what the strange motion was that I had seen earlier. I don’t know why, but I love experiences like these. Nature is beautiful, and I love seeing all the other life on this planet.

Pulling the Plastic off of New Electronics

On a contrary note to the prior point, there are fewer greater joys in life than pulling the sheets of thin plastic off of a new electronic device. I’m talking the stuff they stick to every surface to protect it from scratches during transport. For some reason, this brings me great joy.

Opening up Packages

In a similar vein, I love it when a new item arrives via mail or a shipping company. I really enjoy opening the box up and seeing the contents inside. It’s like Christmas, but in a much smaller sense. So fun.

The Smell of Coffee

Even before I drank coffee, I loved the smell of it. It took me a long time to enjoy the taste of coffee, but I could stand outside a Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, Caribou, or any other coffee shop and just smell the smells for hours. Unfortunately they are not like Jimmy Johns in offering free smells.

Cinnamon

I’m pretty sure cinnamon is my favorite flavor. It beats out chocolate and almond in my book. I can eat cinnamon anything all day every day and be totally content in my food choices. Cinnamon Rolls, bread, toast, cookies…pretty much any baked good with cinnamon will make me happy. That said, I do not like cinnamon candy or liqueur. Once cinnamon gets to the hot cinnamon point, then I’m not interested. Warm cinnamon is great though.

Looking up at the Stars

This is particularly special in areas where there is very little light pollution. I love being able to look up and see the vast sky above me and the hundreds of billions of stars above. Something about it gives me hope while also making me feel infinitesimally small. I feel this strong pull to want to see what’s out there and travel among the heavens. If only it were possible.

Vlog

I released a new vlog, though it’s more of a video review than a vlog. I had been thinking about posting my thoughts on the steam machine for a while now, and I finally took the time to shoot, edit and post them. If you’re interested in such things, here’s the video. I plan to return to silliness in my next video.

Emotional Highs

A week ago Thursday, I headed to a meet up that I had never attended before. A coworker of mine suggested it and said he met some really great people there. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was at a bar in an area that I was not familiar with. For the first time, Google Maps took me to the wrong place. I ended up finding it eventually. When I got there, I saw a group of 20 people sitting at a bunch of tables together. I sat down and joined the conversation, and for the first time since arriving in Iowa, I felt like I finally met MY people.

We chatted about Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, science, technology…it was fantastic. People all seemed to really be friendly and cool. I left that night feeling like a million bucks. After that, I went into the weekend with high spirits, and I used that energy to put out my vlog video that weekend. I’ve since gone back this past Thursday and will likely continue to go every week. It was a great time.

To add to that, I was invited by the very same coworkers friends to head up to Ames to play board games. It’s always a little uncomfortable heading somewhere to meet a bunch of people you’ve never met before. It’s certainly outside of my comfort zone. I don’t regret it at all though. I had a great time, met some cool folks, and played several new games. I’d never touched Seven Wonders before or Power Grid. Both were a blast. I look forward to the next event.

Creative Collaboration

Doing projects like my vlog have been really fulfilling lately. I think I’ve had a creative hole in my chest for a long time now. It’s been nice to be able to stretch my legs and let that part out of me again. Today I chatted with a long time friend from the Milwaukee area about it, and she and I randomly discussed collaborating on a project together. Hearing her enthusiasm really lifted my spirits and gave me something to look forward to. It’s been ages since I collaborated on any creative project with anyone. I think it will be incredibly fun to work on something together.

Being Introverted

I think my mood lately has caused me to be more introverted than I normally am. I’ve found lately that unless I get myself outside of the house by sheer force of will, I will sit at home and huddle under a blanket on my couch. I spend a lot of time staring at my laptop screen. I have a habit of turning on my TV like I’m going to watch something, but the Chromecast just cycles through images while I sit and think. I feel like I’ve alienated one of my local friends because I’m not chatting or hanging out as much as I used to.

I’ve also noticed, now that my introverted nature has been pointed out, how much time I need to recover from social interaction. If I go somewhere on Saturday, I need Sunday to recover. If I have a very active weekend where I’m out and about a lot, the following weekend needs to be totally quiet and me time. I have to stagger my social days, or my recovery time is longer. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy being social, or that I feel in any way put out when asked to do something. I enjoy it greatly, and the closer I am with someone or a group of friends, the less energy it takes.

I just bought a book called Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It was recommended to me, and I’m eager to read it. I’m hoping to learn more about myself as I go.

Emotional Lows

The last week and a half was matched in its highs and lows. Wednesdays seem to be bad days for me of late. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but my mood started sinking Wednesday evening and continued into the weekend. After the weekend prior, I had hoped I had beaten back the fantasies, the tears, and the focus on the past. Seems that’s not the case. It comes in waves, I guess. By Friday night, I was crying on the floor of my living room. In fact, I cried a number of times this weekend.

I found myself focusing a lot of energy on the past. My mind wouldn’t let go of reliving old memories and emotions. I wasn’t intentionally doing so, and honestly I was a bit annoyed that I couldn’t move away from those thoughts. I made mention earlier about my dreams. I ended up having several dreams this weekend featuring the decepticon that involved me asking a number of questions and generally feeling abandoned. I woke up already in this somber, self-defeating mood that stuck with me. On top of that, as much as I was looking forward to game night, I was also terrified. Ames is where she lives, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I could run into her there. The fear was foolish, and I didn’t encounter her at all. Still, it’s like playing the lottery. Buying a ticket immediately increases your chances of winning. Just going to Ames increases the chance of me encountering her.

Looking Forward

As I heal, I think I’m going to try to focus my energies into things that both distract and fulfill me in some way, like creative endeavors. I’m also going to try to keep myself looking forward. Looking to the past does me no good at all. All that said, I think it’ll be much easier to do all of this in six to eight months when the house is sold, and I’m no longer living in a place that holds painful memories. I look forward to then.

Let me know some of the things you enjoy in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you all have in your lists. As usual, thanks for reading.

Anger

January 23rd, 2014

I apologize. There’s a lot of post-relationship angst in this blog post. Some of it spans multiple sections. I put a lot of that stuff on top because it’s the most prevalent thing to happen in the last week. There’s some other topics towards the bottom if you want to jump passed the angst. Be forewarned.

Relationship Crap

The news from last Wednesday hit me harder than I thought it would. It’s been a rough week. I find myself set back in my healing at least a month, maybe more. I lost my appetite again and started losing more weight. I’ve found myself a bit further down in depression land too. It was so hard on me that any plans I had for anything this past weekend failed to happen. I got no video work done nor any personal project work. And I cried again. It had been a number of weeks since I shed tears relating to my past relationship, and suddenly I cried multiple times for several days.

I had serious trouble sleeping until Monday night too. I couldn’t shut off the thoughts and memories streaming through my mind. I’ve been so angry. Any time I think about it, I get angry. Yet, no one would know because I hide it so well on the outside. The depression mask I wear is hard for most to see through, I think. I hate having to put that on, but it’s really the only way to get through the days. I look calm and neutral on the outside, but inside I’m a sea of sadness and anger.

After all of these recent revelations, I realized I’ve been dreading the fact that I still have a connection to her via the house in El Paso. The fact that I still have to potentially talk to her because of issues with the house, or to put it on the market, and to negotiate it in the fall is not a good thought for me. And the thought of what if we can’t sell it then? What then? I’d have to be stuck on a mortgage for the foreseeable future with the woman that completely broke my heart. So I made a choice. On Sunday, I emailed her and asked her to buy me out of the house. I really just want all ties cut at this point and to move on cleanly.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. She responded very briefly that she would talk to the bank about it. After a few days, I heard back from her that the bank didn’t give her news I wanted to hear. She can’t afford to refinance. She suggested that if I wanted ties cut, I could refinance in my name.  That’s just not going to happen. I told her that we moved there for her job, and she decided to end the relationship. Because of that, it should not be my responsibility to bear the burden of the house. It was very depressing to hear that news. I honestly don’t want to have to communicate with her again, but it doesn’t look like that’s an option for me.

Funny though, how acting on my anxiety surrounding not wanting to talk to her ended up making things worse.

Anger

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve just been so angry. I’m definitely in the anger stage of loss. She said in her email that things have been hard for her too, and I get so mad when I read that because it’s so insensitive that it’s actually downright offensive. While I recognize that there no doubt has been pain involved for her, there just is no comparison to being the person in my shoes in the breakup. I want to tell her that she has no right to say that to me. I want to tell her that I’m actually seeing a therapist now because of what she did. I want to tell her how frequently I have fantasies about suicide pass through my mind because of her. I want to tell her that if she is emotionally healthy enough to already be in a relationship again, the pain is in now way comparable. Yet I do none of these things because I’m too damn nice.

I shout at her in my mind. I scream my feelings out over an over wishing I could say them out loud to her face. These thoughts wake me up at night and keep me awake for hours. At the same time, I know if I said them to her, I’d likely regret it later. On top of that, what good would it really do? She’d probably not attend to what I said anyway. I’ve given thought to writing a letter, not to send to her, but just to get these feelings out. I wouldn’t post them here because I don’t feel it’s appropriate or professional to write these kinds of negative thoughts out on a public blog. But I do feel it would be good to write out my anger. It certainly would be better than keeping it pent up inside.

Depression

I watched a TED talk this week by Andrew Solomon about depression. He does such a good job of describing depression and how different people cope with it in such different ways. He talks about how some people have what would be considered mild depression and act miserable while others have what is considered very severe depression and look just fine on the outside. It really is amazing how the ability to cope with the pain is so different in people. He also said something that I thought was quite profound. He said that the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. Life seems more difficult when you’re depressed. That’s probably because it actually is more difficult.

I thought of a metaphor that I think describes depression well. A healthy person vs a depressed person is like an insulated house vs an uninsulated house. When you’re healthy and you experience an emotion, that emotion sticks with you for a long time and takes very little energy to maintain that experience. It’s like running the heat in a well insulated house. When you’re depressed, you still feel positive emotions, but they don’t linger very long. It takes a lot more energy to experience that emotion as well. I can physically feel the difference. Recently, I’ve smiled at something and I could feel the emotion leave me and my smile dissipate so quickly. In the past, that emotion would have lingered much longer.

I guess it’s easy to read into this that I’ve been reading about depression because I have hit a full blown clinically depressive state. Last week’s news really made me aware at how bad things were for me. As I mentioned in the anger section, I’ve been experiencing suicidal fantasies for a while now. Last week made it worse. I want everyone to know that I have started getting help with a therapist and that I’m going to be fine. Fantasizing and planning are two very different things. I’m not going to act on these thoughts. In a way they are a coping mechanism. They are just thoughts. I very much appreciate all of your concern though. If ever I have need, I know who to call if I need support.

Video Game Idea

I have an idea for a video game that I’ve been toying with based on this whole experience. The concept is a story based game where you play as a genderless stick figure person in a very vibrant and colorful world. The stick figure is happy and in a relationship, and at the very beginning of the game, that relationship ends. At that moment, the color in the world fades away, and even the outlines of the items in the world fade almost completely. It becomes hard to see much of anything except your character and one framed photograph of your character and the now ex parter. That photograph is the only thing that is colored in the room. The vibrance of the game represents your character’s emotional health, and your goal is to return that color and vibrance to the world.

The first level of the game, your character moves very sluggishly. It takes a lot of button presses to do much of anything. Adding color will either be an action from a button press, or the result of interacting with things. As time passes and levels pass, the color becomes easier to restore and your character moves a lot quicker. However, there will be a point in the game in which your character encounters the ex-partner and loses a bunch of progress. In the end, the world will be restored, and it will be even more vibrant than before. The only item left that is colorless is the original photo that was in the first level. The game ends when your character meets a new person.

I think this is a cool concept for a game that I’d like to maybe pursue on my own. I’d like to capture moments of my healing process too, like the fleeting moments in which I forget that anything happened and then suddenly remember reality. Also, the difficulty of waking up in the morning, the constant stream of memories, the physical reminders, and the loneliness. I think it’d be a great creative outlet for me and definitely possible with the art style I’m thinking of. What do you think of this idea?

Friends

I’ve made progress on the friends front. One of my coworkers has been a really awesome person. We have a standing daily game of shuffleboard at work, which is fun. I lose a lot though. That’s ok. I’m not playing because I want to win. He and I talk a lot and have a lot in common. It’s been really nice to have someone around the workplace that’s an open ear about most everything. We both have had personal struggles to deal with, and I think it’s been helpful for both of us to have someone that understands.

I also have a good friend from a long time ago that I have been chatting with more lately. Her and my story parallel in so many ways, it’s not even funny. (Also, not sure what about that would ever be funny…such a strange phrase). We skyped on Monday for a few hours, and it was really nice to chat. She’s been going through her own emotional struggles lately. So we’ve been each other’s thunder buddies through all of it. The conversation really lifted my spirits this week. She’s such a great friend, and to think we’ve never met in person. Some people on the internet are awesome people. Sometimes I wish I had a transporter (OK, fine…I wish I had a transporter all the time), so that some of my bestest friends and I could hang out regularly. She’s one of those friends I’d visit all the time. She’s probably up there with best friends ever…a bff, if you will.

Introvert, Extrovert, or Ambivert?

So at my first counseling session I was asked if I’d describe myself as an introvert. I had to think about it, because I’m not really sure. Introverts are very comfortable alone and with their own thoughts. That’s been me most of my life. Social situations are fun, but they are more draining on me than it seems to affect other people. I am not afraid of social situations or anything, and when I’m around people I know, I really have a ton of fun being social. In some ways I feel like I can be extroverted. Maybe I’m ambiverted…not sure. I’m curious from those that know me, how would you describe me? Introverted? Extroverted? Shy? Annoying? Weird? What do you think?

Vlog Stuff

Yes, I know I haven’t posted a second vlog yet. I’m working on it. This past weekend had the sails knocked out of me. I have a few scripts to write that I think will work really well. I’m hoping to shoot those this weekend and get them posted. Don’t worry. You’ll get more silliness from me in video form soon.

New Girlfriend

January 15th, 2014

That’s right! I have a new girlfriend. Her name is Portable Weighted Companion Cube. I call her Portia for short. Portia will never leave me. Here’s her latest selfie and a nice picture of us cuddling together:
Portable Weighted Companion CubeMe and the new lady

And the reason Portia won’t leave me:
Portable Weighted Companion Cube - It will never leave me. It has no legs.

Best Girlfriend Ever. I’m sorry to all who don’t play video games, don’t know about the game Portal, and have no idea of what a Portable Weighted Companion Cube is. This joke is completely wasted on you, and I’m sorry. That said, Portal’s a fun game and you should totally play it.

Plans for the Future

I’ve been starting to think clearly about my future plans. I don’t plan on staying in the residence I’m in right now. My lease is up in another six months. Once that’s done, I’m going to move closer to West Des Moines, where my work is located. It’ll mean less commute time, less money on gas, and hopefully a lower rent cost. I like the place I’m in, but with the cost as it is, the memories, and the location, it’s just not the right fit. I’m going to try to find a duplex like the one I lived in with the ex back in Eau Claire. It was a 1200 square foot place with an unfinished basement, and that’s more than enough to suit my needs. Here’s hoping I can find something like that. I have the time. So it shouldn’t be impossible.

Vlog

I’ve started a vlog! Those that have known me a long time or that read my blog in the past know that I have a history with video production. I haven’t used those skills in a long while. In fact, it’s probably been 4 years since I last was able to do any video work. I have plenty of time now, and I thought why the heck not. So I bought a tripod, some cheap work lights, and started shooting. It was a lot of fun. It’s a little awkward, but hey, I’m a little awkward. So it’s perfect. I’ve been getting suggestions from friends on what I should do for topics on future vlogs. I don’t intend to do the same type of content on there as I would here on my blog. It should be a lot of fun. If you have ideas on what you’d like to hear about in my vlog, please add them in the comments. If you’re interested, here it is:

 

Hobbies

Speaking of hobbies, a few have come to mind that I’d like to pursue. First, I picked up a refurbished Kitchenaid mixer, and I started baking. This is a hobby I’ve had since I was a kid, and I love it. Baking is great because it involves making tasty treats. I finally was able to successfully bake snickerdoodle cookies. I found a good recipe, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. They are my favorite.

A friend of mine suggested sewing. When I was younger, I enjoyed sewing. I used to throw together costumes and what not using my mom’s sewing machine. I actually don’t own one right now. The sewing machine that was here was not mine. So I’ll have to get one before I can start up, but I’m very interested. I have a bunch of patterns that I’d love to play with. I think I could have a lot of fun with it. Plus, I have a screen accurate Jedi robe that needs to be finished as well as the rest of the Jedi costume.

Website plans

I mention in the vlog about my website url, and I’ve mentioned in recent blog posts that I want to do something with this site. I have been brainstorming, and I know what I intend to do. My plan for the next several weeks is to find some time to throw together a prototype user interface. I have some fun ideas I want to try out. Once I have it together, I’m going to post a link to it here, and everyone can check it out. That’ll allow me to get some feedback before I move forward with it. So watch for that.

Health and Stuff

I’m happy to report that my appetite has fully returned. I’m eating normally again, and that includes my taste for sweets. This is a good sign. My weight has been holding steady too. I’ve made myself several real home-cooked meals now, and it’s so much better than eating freezer meals. I’ll be endeavoring to cook as much for myself as I can going forward. Now that I’ve re-learned how to cook for one person, it’s not so bad.

I’ve also noticed that my interests that I used to share with my ex I’m now starting to feel ok enjoying again. I’ve started watching SourceFed again as well as several other YouTube channels. It still feels a little weird, but I’ve decided to just deal with that. It doesn’t make me focus on memories so much anymore, and that’s great. It’s nice to get back to a semblance of normalcy.

Bad Habits and Phobias

I don’t know why, but for some reason, maybe personal growth reasons, I feel like talking about some weirdness about me as well as some bad habits of mine that I’d really like to purge if I can. Let’s start with bad habits. I chew my cuticles. That’s a mild understatement. I have a compulsion to do so. Apparently I have subconsciously attached myself to this idea that I don’t like the feeling of rough cuticles, hang nails, and damaged skin. What’s my response? Chew on them. That’s so smart because it makes things worse. Chewing cuticles = more hang nails = more rough skin = bleeding = pain. I loathe this habit, but I can’t seem to kick it. It seems to happen more when I’m anxious about something or deep in thought. It’s also something that happens when I’m driving and not wearing gloves. I wish I could somehow get rid of this habit. It would make me and my fingers very happy.

Everyone has things they are afraid of, but not everyone has a legitimate phobia. A phobia is irrational fear of something. I have one, and it’s weird. It’s been with me ever since my childhood, and I have no idea why. I have a phobia of buttons. Not buttons, the kind you press, but buttons the kind on clothing. You’ll never see me wear anything with buttons on it. Some are ok and tolerable. Like, the button on jeans are ok. Larger buttons, like on a coat, are ok. Buttons on a button down shirt…no. Anything around that size, nope nope nope. I have no clue where or why. I know it’s completely irrational. I also know I can’t control the reaction my body has to it.

Anyway, I don’t know why I felt like sharing that, but there it is. Feel free to share your thoughts on it in the comments if you like.

Social Calendar

My social calendar has been keeping me busy. I’ve been heading to more and more meetups. In fact, this week, I’ve had too many on my calendar. I’ve had to back out of one in order to give myself time to relax. That’s a good problem to have. I think the kitties are annoyed though. I’ve been missing their 5:00 food time a lot, and they are quite vocal about it when I get home. (Side note: I’ve noticed that since the ex left with her cat, there has been a significant reduction in cat vomit around the house. Interesting…) All this aside, despite all the meetups, I haven’t met anyone I really click with. I seriously miss having a best friend. Of all the holes left behind, this is the one that’s been the hardest for me recently. I’m going to continue with the meetups though. It really helps me feel like I’m a part of something again.

Relationship Crap

After all of her stuff was moved out, I’ve had no reason to have contact with her. Cutting any ties to her and going no contact at all has been really good for me. There are no things around that really remind me of her too much anymore. I’ve been able to think of her as a piece of my past. It’s made thinking of myself as single a lot easier. I have completely separated myself now. I still get a little lonely here and there, but it’s regular loneliness. I’m not pining for her.

To add to that, it’s been two months now, and I’m starting to feel like maybe it was for the best that she left me. I’ve grown very tired of having to move around to follow someone’s career in order to make a relationship work. I’ve really wondered when we were going to be able to really settle down and put roots down. Now, that’s totally an option. I’m happy about that. Once I start dating again, I’ll find some nice Des Moines based lady that will make me happy.

I had a chat a week or so ago with an El Paso friend about a lot of things, but some of it involved the relationship ending. There was something about having that conversation that really helped me feel better. I think it was the fact that the friend really sympathized with me and wasn’t happy with how Jess treated me in the end. It felt very justifying somehow. Family and friends that don’t know my ex will always support me, but will always be biased (not that I’m complaining. Thanks for being so supportive!) Having someone that knew both of us pretty well support me, I think it just validated my feelings. It made me feel like it was ok to feel like I had just been shat upon (Side note: I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to use the word shat in my blog before, and I’m rather proud of it.) Anyway, that conversation really helped me.

Otherwise, I’m doing ok. I’m not ready to date yet and probably won’t be for a while, but that’s ok. I really wish I was ready though. I’m happy to not be an emotional wreck anymore. I’d say I’m operating at a good 80%. That last 20 will just take time to slowly trickle back in. The biggest struggle for me right now is the lack of a best friend. I’ve had a good friend throughout most of my life. This is the first time I’ve been without someone to hang out with regularly. It’s lonely, and I miss it.

Confidence and Breaking News

She is dating the person I thought she was. It’s been confirmed by several folks now. Having someone toss you aside and immediately jump in to a relationship with someone that looks similar to you is pretty tough on the confidence. This week in particular has been difficult. I’ve been thinking about my challenges with dating throughout my life and how difficult it’s been for me especially since transition 10 years ago. As a trans woman, I struggle with feeling like I’m just completely undesirable. Both hetero and homosexual people don’t have to come out to their potential mates. I do, and I have to worry about whether this person that was attracted to me just a minute earlier will freak out that I’m trans and reject me. To top it off, I’m most attracted to the stereotypical straight girl, which are 99 times out of 100…straight. That last 1 is typically into masculine women. So, my pool that was already limited is even more limited. I really do feel like unwanted, tossed out trash. It’s really hard to feel any sort of confidence with that running through my head.

After finding out about that relationship, I find myself wondering how long it was going on before the breakup. She obviously wasn’t honest with me about her feelings. So I don’t believe for a second that there wasn’t stuff going on in the months leading up to the move and thereafter. It really tells a lot about what she felt about me.  I feel like a fool. I can’t believe how she pulled the wool over my eyes. I honestly feel like the person I knew never existed. I thought she was done taking things from me, and now I feel like she just took my self worth away. All that said, she doesn’t deserve me and never did.

New Year, New Life

January 1st, 2014

It’s New Years Day. I spent New Years Eve, and today home alone. I figure this is the best time to talk about change. If my new years resolution was to avoid major cliches, I’d have already broken a resolution. I certainly hope that 2014 will be better than 2013 ended up.

New Years / New Life Resolutions

I have a long history of talking about resolutions on this blog. In this case, it’s not just for the new year, but it’s really for the restart of my life. So, let’s begin there.

1. Be feeling more emotionally healthy in six months

I didn’t expect to be in this emotional state when this year ended. In fact, I thought it unlikely I would ever feel this kind of pain, depression, and turmoil again in my life.  Right now, almost every morning I wake up wishing I hadn’t. I go through my days feeling like I’m just existing and really don’t have anything to live for. I know that with time, things will get better. I’ll be happy again at some point. I’ll be calling a counselor before week’s end. I have a nice list of people that will help me continue down the right path.

2. Replace my car

My car is a 2000 Ford Focus putting it now at 14 years old. It’s gotten me through a lot, but it’s time for a change. This year I will replace it. No excuses.

3. Take a trip or three

Since I got out of college, I’ve never been able to take a real vacation. Any time off has been a staycation. I want to go somewhere that I’ve never been and do something exciting. I’ve already made a pact with a long time friend that we’ll meet up this year. I think it’s long overdue that I go somewhere just for the fun of it.

4. Get out of my comfort zone

For the past few years, it’s been pretty routine. I come home from work. Have dinner, and sit on the couch. Weekends consist of shopping, playing video games, and watching TV. It’s time to mix it up. I’m going to try to find new groups, do new things, and find stuff that I wouldn’t normally do. I think it’ll be really good for me.

5. Be more physically active

Another cliche. As mentioned in resolution #4, I’m a lazy ass. I need to be more active. I’m not going to get a gym membership unless I know I’ll use it. Instead I’m going to figure out what works for me. I’ve wanted to replace my bike for a while. Maybe that’s the route I’ll go. Maybe I’ll find a friend to go biking with and ride the trails.

6. Save, Save Save

For the first time in my life, I’m out of the majority of my debt and don’t have that many expenses. It’s time to save what I can so I’m not as concerned about my financial future. Time to be an adult.

7. Take on new challenges and hobbies

Again…as mentioned in resolution #4, my list of hobbies has grown thin over the years. I would like to learn some new things and do something other than be a potato at home. Maybe it’ll be becoming a maker. Maybe it’ll be learning to weld. Maybe it’ll be hang gliding. I don’t know, but I want to do some new things.

8. Continue to write regularly

I would never have called myself a writer before, but I’m finding that it’s probably the most fulfilling hobby I have. It helps me grow as a person, and I really enjoy it. I want to make it a habit to write daily in some way. Maybe I’ll branch out and try writing styles other than expository, which is my strong suit.

9. Do something creative

I used to be a very creative person back in college. I’ve been rather boring lately, and I think as one of the challenges I take up as part of resolution #7, I should do something creative. Maybe it’ll be a video project or a gaming project. Maybe it’ll be photographic. I don’t know. I just want to stretch that part of me and have fun.

10. Change my routine wardrobe

My wardrobe is boring and unchanging. I need to spice it up and try some new styles. I think it’d be good for my self confidence and self image. Now I just need someone to shop with. Any volunteers?

More Furniture Shopping

I needed to pass some time on Saturday because of the ex coming over to get some of her stuff (more on that later). So I headed to the furniture store again and spent a bunch of time walking around. I decided to add to my furniture collection by getting the chair and ottoman that match my couch. I have the room for it, and why not? I’m thinking about getting a matching wooden tray to use on the ottoman as a coffee table-like thing. Right now I’m using a cedar chest that’s really a bit too high to be a coffee table. The ottoman would be much better. Plus, it has storage for blankets and stuff. The unfortunate thing is that they won’t have all the pieces in until February. So I’ll have to wait a few weeks for delivery. Oh well.

Movies Alone

After the furniture store, I didn’t really know what else to do. I needed to pass a bit more time. So, I headed in the direction of the mall. On my way, I decided that seeing a movie would pass the time quickly. Unfortunately Thor 2 is out of the theaters now. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was the only movie starting exactly at the time that I got there. Normally I’m not much of a Ben Stiller fan. I don’t really enjoy embarrassment humor, which is his typical fare. I feel the embarrassment of the character instead of laughing at their misfortune. It’s just uncomfortable. Thankfully this movie was not at all his typical fare.

The story was a personal growth tale about a guy with a rather uninteresting life. He daydreams a lot, and that’s something I can relate to. My life is very uninteresting, and I find myself lost in elaborate daydreams many times throughout the day. The film made me think about that a lot and question what I do with my free time. I really enjoyed the film, and I was very surprised by that. In some ways, I’d even say it was inspiring. Hopefully I’ll take that to heart and use that inspiration with my resolution goals.

Cars

After the movie, I wasn’t ready to go home yet. I had a lot of feels I was experiencing, and I decided to continue doing stuff. While I had been home visiting my folks, I was checking out cars online, and I got contacted by a guy from the Ford dealership in town. We talked on the phone about how I wanted an Escape, and they invited me to come test drive vehicles. I decided to go do that. It was 2:00 on a Saturday. Why not, right? I’ve been looking into the Escape for a while. So the first thing we did was drive one.

I wasn’t surprised that I liked it. It drives really nice, has a lot more room than my two door Focus, and has way more features than my car ever did. My only criticism is that it’s not quite as roomy as I was hoping. The Escape is built on the Focus platform, which gives it a slightly smaller frame than, say, the Edge, which is what I drove next. I was sold on the Escape until I drove the Edge. It has everything the Escape had, except it’s just a bit bigger. I had expected it to drive like a boat, but it really doesn’t. I found myself loving every minute of driving it. I think I know what I’m going to get. The only thing I don’t like about it is the price. Either way, it’s still a few months off.

It was a lot of fun though. I really liked the salesman. This dealership wasn’t pushy at all. They were all very personable and fun to chat with. I stayed and had conversation with the guy for a bit longer than I needed to. I’m actually looking forward to when I get to go back and drive them again right before I buy. It was definitely not the experience I was expecting.

Video Games

The Steam Machine has been fun. I recently started playing a game called Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians. It was a game given to me by Valve as part of the beta test. I can see why. It’s a great game for home theaters. It’s a bit like a platformer, but not quite, and it’s rhythm based. There’s a lot of really cool music playing that you contribute too as you play the game. I found that the music alone had me wanting to continue playing. It’s fun to jam out to as you play.

Otherwise, I’ve been on my windows machine playing Saints Row IV. It’s not the most intelligent game, but it’s what I need right now: Wanton Destruction. I definitely haven’t been in a mood to want to play something really emotionally involved. I’ve been just wanting to play something that involves mass destruction and open world. Saints Row is over the top and ridiculous. It’s fitting the bill quite nicely.

Education

I’m seriously considering taking a course as DMACC just down the road. Specifically, I’m thinking about taking a brush up math course. It’s been 12 years or so since my last time in a Math class…maybe longer. I never made it through college calculus, and I feel like I should really go back and get through it. Web development doesn’t require that much math, but the way user interface work is going, we’re going to be into 3D land very soon. That requires stronger math skills, and I’d like to be on top of my game there.

I’m not sure which class is appropriate. I may have to go in and talk to someone about where I was and how I’m feeling right now about my skills. I used to be very good at math back in the day, but like any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. I feel like if I brush up, I could tackle Calculus head on and make it through with no problems. I think it’d be good for me, my work, and help provide me with a good, positive focus. On top of that, it’ll get me out of the house and meeting new folks.

Relationship crap

I’m thinking this is likely the last time I’ll write this much about my feelings about my former relationship. I’ve reached a point where I think there will be less on my mind going forward. First and foremost, she misspoke when she told me that she was moving in to her new place January 27th. She meant December 27th. So, last week Friday, she came and took the majority of her stuff out. She had to come back twice on Saturday to get the last three items, which is why I was out and about trying to pass time. I have to say, it’s what I wanted, but it’s really bittersweet. It means she’s really gone, and the nail is in the coffin. While I know I had accepted that a few weeks ago, it’s a weird feeling once that reminder is gone. My garage is now empty.

I really worked hard to pack up her stuff. She’ll never find someone as nice and accommodating as I was. Here’s a look at how much I did for her:

Packed up the ex's stuffPacked up the ex's stuffPacked up the ex's stuff

 

You can click on any one of these images to see the full size images in the Google+ gallery.

I’m now to the point that I’m cutting contact completely. The only reason I now have to contact her involves taxes and anything involving the house. Otherwise, she’s out of my life. Once the house is gone, I’m done with her completely. October can’t come fast enough. All that said, it’s still very hard for me. I fluctuate throughout the day on how emotionally ok I am. Some mornings, I’m feeling great, but the evening is a little rough. Other times it’s the other way around. More of the normal me is coming out, but slowly. I also find myself trying not to talk about it, even though I know I feel myself wanting to. I think that’s a good sign. I don’t want to annoy those around me with constant whininess about my breakup. Instead, I write about it so friends can come and read my whininess here. :)

I decided to officially go through and unfriend her and those that were really her friends and family. Despite the fact that I care about a lot of them, I think it’s for the best to unfriend and move on. So, I went through Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, and did the unfriending deed. Strangely, I got to her, and she had already unfriended me. I found that to be very interesting considering she said she thought of me as her best friend / sister. She said she still wanted me in her life. If that’s truly the case, why would she unfriend me? Whatever. What’s done is done.

One thing that may be surprising, when I saw her for the dinner that didn’t happen, she actually requested that her name be removed from any of my blog posts. I had to redact her name from a post years ago because of that. She said she didn’t want it on there for job application purposes. I was actually dumbfounded when she asked me to do that. It felt a bit like a final slap in the face. To me, it was like “Yeah, I want no record that I was ever with you.” Every time I think through this whole thing, I really just shocks me at how cold and brutal she was with this. I feel this way even stronger especially after speaking with some mutual friends. They informed me that they would be uncomfortable in her future encounters with my ex because “what she did to me was really a dick move”. It really was. It just goes to show, never trust someone who identifies more strongly with the Sith than the Jedi. All of her lightsabers were red…no joke.

Side note: “I still want you in my life”, “It’s not you, it’s me”, and “Let’s just be friends” are the biggest bunch of bullshit lies ever conceived by humans.  She didn’t use this exact language, but said similar things. The biggest problem with these phrases is that they’re either not genuine, or they don’t take into account the reality of the situation. By that I mean the fact that one person just ripped the heart out of the other person. In my case, I’m not sure I would even want to consider friendship in the future. Do I want to remain friends with someone that has the capacity to be so cold, cowardly, and heartless? At this point, I think the answer may be no. I can admit that right now my perceptions are very colored. We’ll see how that feeling changes in six months

Before I unfriended her sister and her mother, I sent them both a final farewell email and thank you. Her sister was always wonderful to me. I really loved hanging out with her and her family when I got to visit. I didn’t get to see them enough. She sent me a very nice message back, as did Jess’ mom. They were very sweet people, and it sounds like both of them really cared about me. Thanks guys, if you’re reading this. I’ll miss you.

Jessica’s Dating Rules as of 2014

The last thing I’ll talk about is something that’s been creeping into my mind as I heal, and that’s my approach to dating going forward. There are things I want and things I don’t want. I also want to think about setting guidelines for myself to prevent myself from falling into foolish behaviors of the past. Here goes:

1. No more long distance relationships. Period.

I have a lengthy history of long distance relationships. Jess started as a long distance relationship. My relationship prior was semi-long distance as she had moved to Chicago while I lived in Milwaukee. I’ve done the internet relationship many times in my early 20s, and that never worked. So, this is me shutting the book on that. If I date someone, they have to live within a 30 mile-ish radius of where I live.

2. No more relocating to be with someone unless I’m married.

I followed the advice of a friend that suggested not to live apart from the one you love. I think this is great advice if you’re already married and have been committed to each other for a long time. However, if you’re not in that situation, just don’t do it. If it doesn’t work out, you end up in a place that’s not your home and without a support group. The only way I’m going to relocate now is if it’s for me.

3. No more dating academics.

No offense intended to academics here. I know a lot of them, and they’re all very nice people. However, right now, I want someone who lives the same schedule I do, and has the same professional world as I do. I don’t want to deal with time being measured in semesters and academic years. I also don’t want someone who takes their work home with them like academics tend to do. Plus, I think it’s the memory of Jess that hurts too much. I want something different now.

4. Improve listening skills

This is perhaps me being harsh on myself, but I’ve had issues in my last two relationships with being unaware that there were any issues with the relationship. Perhaps I was complacent, and yes, if my girlfriends don’t communicate anything to me about their issues, I won’t know. Still, if I pay better attention and listen better, perhaps I can be aware of any issues that come up before they are a bigger problem.

5. Don’t get complacent

I think I took my ex for granted. I don’t know that I showed her how much I loved her as often as I should have. This is something I don’t want to happen again. I want my partner in the future to know that I truly care for them all the time. I don’t want to get caught in the idea that they will always just be there. Being loved is a wonderful thing and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

6. Must be able to communicate well

Gee, I wonder why I’d put this here? I don’t want to be caught up in another situation where there are problems that go unspoken about for periods like a year or more. Communication is key in relationships, and without it, there’s pain. So, I want my next partner to be good at it.

7. Person must love who they are and have great self confidence

My ex frequently seemed to have self image issues, body image issues, and confidence issues. We all go through these things, but it seemed a constant thing for her. I’m not sure why, but I can’t help but wonder if this played into her breaking up with me. Either way, I want someone who is happy with who they are and what they look like.

8. Must not identify with the Sith / villains

Yeah, that’s right. I don’t want a Sith. In every video game, film, and story, I identify with the heroes. I always have. My ex didn’t. Like I said earlier, every lightsaber she owned was red. I want someone who is like me in their compassion and desire to help others. Yes, I understand how ridiculous this is.

9. No slobs

I’m not a clean freak. I’m not OCD about things being picked up and put away either. However, if I’m tripping over seven pairs of shoes that were left out in the living room, that’s too much. I want someone that appreciates counter space being visible, and isn’t going to let things just pile up like crazy.

10. Must be a nerd

This goes without saying, but I said it anyway. Nerds are awesome, and I don’t think I could be with someone that didn’t like the nerdy things I like. I want to share those things with my partner.

So that’s it. Let me know your thoughts and feels in the comments below or on the various social media platforms. Happy New Year to all of you, and thanks for reading.

Holidays and Memories

December 25th, 2013

I’m going to try something new with this post. I’m going to put any non-relationship stuff at the top and all the relationship recovery stuff at the bottom. Everything will be clearly labeled with headings. So if you want to skip a section, feel free. This is likely going to be fairly long with sections some may be interested in, and others not. As a TL;DR warning, this is probably the longest post I’ve ever written at just shy of 4000 words.

Holidays

It’s the holidays. I’m off and at home with my family. It’s been good so far, but I’ve had a lot of time to think. That’s both good and bad. I’ll get to that later. We’ve been making cookies again. It’s been fun and a good distraction. My sister, mother, and I have made spritz again, more cutouts, and gingerbread. We didn’t make a 700 to 800 piece gingerbread Optimus Prime, but we still had fun. I brought down all my nice baking sugars for decorating, and we made some great looking stuff. I posted the photos here if you want to see them. On top of cookies, we went to see two movies: the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and 47 Ronin. Both were great. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of family time and a lot of snow.

Travel Adventure

I headed out on Friday evening on the long, 5.5 hour drive to visit my family. It had been freezing rain the night before. So I had hoped that by the evening it would be fine. For the most part, it was. The drive, itself, is quite dull. From the Des Moines area all the way to Dubuque, it’s very flat farmland with nothing of interest. Dubuque is where things change. That’s about where the driftless area (the only place where no glaciation occurred during the ice age) starts. At that point, there’s some really beautiful bluffs and hills.

About 13 miles in to Wisconsin, things changed. I hit black ice. My car decided that it wanted to go sight seeing. It started fishtailing around, and I ended up butt first in a ditch. When I came to a stop, I noticed the engine had stopped. So I tried to start the engine again, and it thankfully started right up. My tires were spinning though. I got a little traction here and there, but nothing solid. I ended up calling 911 to let them know I was stuck, but that I was fine. They were going to send someone out to find me if I needed it. So I spent some time trying to get out of the ditch. I didn’t expect anything, but surprisingly, after some rocking back and forth, I ended up getting enough momentum to get out. It was exciting and scary all at once. I called 911 again to let them know I was fine and that they didn’t need to send anyone. The roads had refrozen, and were not very safe. I was watching other vehicles spin out. I decided to slowly make my way to the next exit and spent the night in Platteville, WI. I think it was a smart move.

My car is 14 years old and has almost 170,000 miles on it. It’s been very good to me over the years, but it’s small and is starting to cost me more money than it’s worth to keep up with the repairs. I’ve wanted to replace it for a long time, but I just haven’t been in a financial situation that’s made that possible. I want something a little bigger, like a crossover size. Unfortunately, those are some of the most expensive vehicles out there right now. I think I’ll be stuck with high car payments no matter what. Still, I think it’s probably time. Sometime in the next year I’ll be replacing it. I know what car I’ll end up with: the Ford Escape. I really like the car and the technology that comes with it. Once all my current debts are paid off, I’ll make the leap. One of these days, my current vehicle is going to die, and I want to make sure I have the replacement before then. Here’s hoping that little Focus makes it.

Anxiety and Weight Loss

I was surprised at how well I responded to the spin out. I wasn’t cursing or angry. It was really just “Well….that happened.” I wonder if it’s because of the medication I’m on. About two months ago, before the breakup, I spoke with my doc about anxiety. Anxiety is an issue in my family. My mom has high levels of it, as do my siblings. It’s affected me too, and as I get older, it seems like it gets worse. I’ve been kept awake at night by my own worries. I worry about things that are outside of my control. I have had minor panic attacks with things here and there. I felt like it was starting to negatively impact my life. So I chose to go on an anxiety medication to help me control it. It’s not a very heavy drug. I don’t feel like I’m not myself. I feel like I don’t worry about things as much anymore, which is exactly what I wanted. I think my stress level isn’t as high because of it, and that’s good. The drug is also an anti-depressant, and I’d say it’s a very good thing that I chose to be on this drug before any changes occurred in my life. I’m thankful for it.

My weight holding steady at 158.5 lbs, though had one day at 157. I think being at home is helping because I’m eating more. Bigger breakfast and bigger dinner. My appetite for sweets is returning. That’s good. I think another thing that’s contributing to my weight loss is the huge decrease in intake in soda. I used to drink Cherry Pepsi all the time. Back in El Paso, I was a little shocked by how much I actually drank. I cut back, but was still drinking a little bit here and there. A month or two before the breakup, I got hit with some serious acid reflux. It was so bad that I woke up with a nasty taste in my mouth that lingered all day. I was dealing with weeks of pretty severe reflux. I’d never experienced this before, and it had me very concerned. I went to the doctor for it, and got treated, but ultimately I ended up cold turkey cutting soda from my diet for a good month and a half. All I drank was water. As much as the heartburn experience sucked, I came out of it finally kicking my soda addiction. I no longer crave it, which is fantastic. I drink water more than anything else now, and I’m really happy about that. I can’t help but wonder if that’s contributing to this weight loss.

Steam

The Steam Machine is fun so far. The actual machine itself is nothing more than a custom gaming pc running a variant of linux. To me, there’s nothing special about it other than it’s a very dense, unique case that’s fun to have. The controller is what everyone is interested in, and it’s different than I expected. It takes some adjusting to. I’m surprised by the fact that video games don’t consider it a controller. They actually map it to keyboard and mouse. The left touch pad is mapped to the WSAD keys for movement, and the right pad is the mouse pointer. It changes things because you can use it like a controller or like a touch screen. It has acceleration like a touchpad if you swipe it. There’s force feedback that feels a bit like a mouse wheel. It clicks as you move around to give you a sense of movement. It also has two buttons on the palm that add to the controller experience. It’s very intuitive, and the more I use it, the more I like it. For anyone that’s interested, I shot an unboxing video with my phone. You can see that here. There are also a few photos I took of the devices here.

It so happens that right now the Winter Steam Sale is going on, and for any gamer out there, that means a drain on the wallet. Thankfully there aren’t that many games I really want. So I don’t think I’ll spend as much this time. Still, it’s always fun to check on the sales as they change throughout the day. I know some people aren’t that interested in the trading cards. I didn’t think I would be, but I have gotten into them a little. Maybe it’s the collector in me. If you’re interested in friending me on Steam, my steam id is janiukjf.

One thing that I find interesting, ever since the breakup, video games have been totally uninteresting to me. I’ll play a little bit here and there to test out the machine and report any bugs I encounter, but nothing seems to interest me. I’ll look through the games and end up with a “meh” feeling, and I’ll turn it off. It’s kind of surprising to me because I’d figure I’d want to escape into something, but I guess that’s not the case. I’m sure my desire to play will come back at some point, but for now, it’s not there.

Website and Internets

One thing that has been on my mind lately is this very website. I haven’t touched the code or the layout for years. It’s starting to show. There are some issues with the style sheets on some of the pages. I’ve just been neglecting it. I’ve thought many times through the years that I want to build something from scratch, and I think now is the time. Why not, right?

Warning! Coding nerd talk ahead! I’ve been uncertain about what language I want to use to build it. I’ve wanted to spend some time with Ruby over the years, and I’ve never actually done it. I might do that. I could also use Golang, which I spent a lot of time with in the recent past. It’s a functional language, which is different than what I work with every day, and also seems like a direction the field is headed due to the multithreading capabilities. Still, it’d be fun to do something new. Maybe I’ll try Scala. I do know for sure that I’m going to TDD the crap out of it, that it’s going to be responsive design, that I’m going to build it around something like Angular.js, and that it’s going to be open source. If you’re a web dev reading this, I’d love your input on languages and why.

Another thing that I’ve grown tired of is the focus of my site. For a long time I thought maybe one day I could make a career out of professional speaking on gender issues, but I’ve really started to grow tired of it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it when I do get to speak, but that part of my life is in the past now. Unless some things change, and I get reinvigorated, I’m starting to feel like it’s time to pass the torch to the younger, more interested folks. I definitely still care about my community and want to see people get more educated on gender and the transgender community. However, I think there are others out there that do this better than I ever could. I’m still going to mentor those that come to me with questions and what not, but that’s gotten less and less over the years due to my lack of visibility for a while. I’d like to turn this site into a more personal site about the rest of my life and my interests: Gaming, Coding, Photography, etc. I’ll still leave everything that’s currently present on the site there for the most part, but it might be refactored somehow. I’m curious on people’s thoughts on this. What do you think?

I’ve also been giving thought to either podcasting or vlogging. Vlogging would get me back into video work, which is something I used to do for fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Podcasting would be fun, but podcasts are way more interesting with more than one person and a topic to focus on. In fact, the topic would be something I’d have to consider. I write about everything I’m feeling or thinking. I don’t think that’d work so much for either a podcast or a vlog. What do you think? Would either of these be interesting? What should I talk about?

Living Situation

Living alone is starting to feel a little more ok. I’m remembering a bit more of what I used to do before my relationship. It was a lot of Netflix and a lot of internet time. I don’t know that I want to fall into that trap again. I’m really enjoying going out to these meetups. It’s really helped me feel social and gets me out of my comfort zone. I’m thinking of adding to that. Maybe I’ll get back in to fencing again. I haven’t fenced in a good 3 years, and I’m sure there’s an SCA group in Des Moines that would take me. I’ve also been thinking a lot about heading to Area 515, which is a makerspace group. They have a biweekly arduino group, which is something I’ve wanted to learn more about for a long time. Arduinos are small, inexpensive, open source, programmable logic boards that can be used to make all sorts of things. I have one, and I’ve played with it a little, but nothing major. So it would be fun. I have yet to meet up with a photography group, which would be fun too. Hopefully I can find one before it gets warm out.

I haven’t decided on a roommate yet. I’m torn between having someone in the house that provides company and helps me save a bit of money on rent, and giving up a little bit of my privacy, peace and quiet, and personal space. I have time to decide as the ex won’t even pick up her stuff until the end of January. So, until then, I’ve got some things to think about.

Breakup Stuff

OK, here’s the part where I talk about my former relationship. Let’s start by saying I’d really like to scale back how much I talk about this. It’s been over 5 and a half weeks now, and I really want to be moving on. I can’t guarantee anything, because I guess I write about what I need to write about. But I can try, I guess.

I can tell I’m depressed. Sleep comes later than it used to, and I’m very tired in the morning when I get up. I would rather be asleep than awake. My dreams tend to be better than dealing with being alone, though less so recently. I’ve had several dreams with her in them this week. One involved me begging her not to leave me, and the other I’m having trouble remembering me. In both cases, I couldn’t see her face, which is weird. My appetite is getting better, but it’s still low. I’m kind of ho hum all the time. I rarely get high moments. I feel like I am wearing a mask now. It sucks.

The holidays don’t help. During the regular work week, I can focus on my job. That gets me through the week just fine. I enjoy it, and I feel like it’s fun. When I’m at home, I have a little time to myself, but not so much that I feel terrible. The holidays have had me around family, which has helped. This time, though, I’m feeling more of the loneliness than last time. I’ve had a lot more time to myself than when I was here a month ago. I’m thankful I’m surrounded by family though. I’ve just had a lot of time to think. I’ve been thinking in particular about the past three Christmases in which I spent it with her. I’ve also found myself thinking of her family. During the Steelers vs Packers football game, I couldn’t help but remember that her dad roots for the Steelers and the Saints. Her sister’s family roots for the Packers. Almost every time I visited, there was football on. I miss them. Her family is really nice. I hope they’re having a good holiday.

So yeah, the holidays are sad without someone close to celebrate them with. A friend of mine is going through a divorce, and we’ve been chatting a bit about how crappy we feel. Both of us shared the same sentiment about just wanting the holidays to be over. They are wonderful if you have people you love to spend them with. I have my family, but it’s not the same as having someone. I miss the joy of years past. Now I just get the constant stream of memories of the last several years and of how happy I was. It’s such a stark contract to how I feel now that it takes a bit of the fun out of it. Of course…there’s a February holiday coming up that I’m really not looking forward to either, but we’ll take things as they come, I guess.

One of the things that kind of regressed my progress this weekend was Facebook. Yeah…did that stupid thing again and checked out her Facebook profile. She looks good. I really wish that temptation wasn’t there. The problem is that I have mutual friends with her, and her family had friended me too. So, even when I don’t see a post by her, I may see posts by others that include interactions with her. So I took steps to protect myself. I didn’t unfriend them (despite seriously considering it), but I did unfollow them. That means I won’t see any of their posts in my feed. I also created a no-chat list so that they wouldn’t show up in my chat. Jess has two twitter accounts, and I went so far as to completely unfollow her there. No more reminders. Fewer temptations. I think it’s a smart move and will help me a lot.

I’ve dealt with some extreme jealousy lately. Jess and I had a mutual friend. She recently came out to Jess, and it’s drawn them closer. I feel like this young lady has essentially supplanted me as Jess’ best friend. I sometimes wonder if there’s something else going on there too. When Jess broke up with me, she said she never even looked at anyone else, and that it was only recently that she felt herself attracted to others. One can’t help but wonder, but it’s really none of my business. Either way, I find myself very jealous of her. I want Jess to be happy, but it stings to know you’ve been mostly replaced. This has been the focus of my negative feelings lately. Needless to say, this person is also on the unfollowed and no-chat list.

Another one of my friends posted on my Facebook wall a picture that states “Subconsciously it takes at least 6 – 8 months for the brain to process complete forgiveness for someone who hurt you emotionally.” I’d like to know the source and the facts behind this quotation, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is true. All this anger and sadness inside will go away eventually. How long will it take me? That says at least 6 – 8 months. So it could be longer. At that point, will she even be around Iowa anymore? Will there even be potential for friendship? I don’t know, but I do know that right now, I don’t think of her as a friend. I think of her as a pleasantly painful memory. I think of her as a bit of a betrayer as well. She is like the searing pain right after a burn. I just hope I can heal and move on sooner rather than later.

I’m a cat person, and my sister has a dog. I spent some time over at her house, and her dog was always happy. I found myself thinking “I could get a dog…” a few times. My dad was quick to point out that I just want to fill the void that’s left behind, and he’s absolutely right. I probably won’t get a dog, but if I did, I’d probably go with a Welch Corgi. They’re small, which is good for me, and they’re very smart. I’m definitely not making that decision quickly though. I’m hoping that with time, I’ll find something better to fill that void than a dog. If I did follow through on the corgi, though, I’d have to name it Ein. After Cowboy Bebop, I’m sure there are so many corgis out there with that name.

Dating has never been easy for me. I’ve always been incredibly shy. Rarely have I been able to say anything to those that I’m really attracted to. Exceptions seem to be online, which is probably why I met my last two girlfriends via dating sites. I’m really not looking forward to having to re-enter the dating world. I really suck at it. I have very little confidence, and essentially feel like I have nothing to offer. I blame my lack of confidence on grade school. I was bullied a lot, called names, beat up here and there, and told I was a loser. After years of that, I eventually believed it, myself. In fact, during my freshman year of college, my friend, Seth, sat me down and told me that women looked at me because I was attractive, not because I was a freak. It opened my eyes at the time, but I can’t say that it really changed that feeling. I have continued to harbor that feeling my whole life both consciously and subconsciously. It saps my confidence, self image, and self worth. Any time I’ve ever made a mistake in my life, I’ve attributed it to my being less than. I think it holds me back from true success. I don’t believe in myself like I probably should. I don’t believe I will ever be as good as my peers at what I do for a career. Unfortunately no amount of people telling me otherwise will ever make me believe any differently either. It is ingrained in me at this point. I fail at a lot of things in life, but this is my single greatest failing.

I know there is something I truly desire, and that is what I thought I had. I thought I had a close, deep, lasting bond of love. I thought I had started my own family. I was, and still am, ready to start a family. I thought I had someone in my life that loved me as much as I loved her. We used to play the “I love you more” game, and let me tell you, it truly sucks knowing you won that game. What I find myself wondering, though, is was I more interested in having love than who I loved? Is it possible that I was less attracted to her physically too and it was only a matter of time until it was over? Was she right? These are questions I probably won’t ever have answers to. Although, it’s quite possible I may be asking myself these questions to reduce my own cognitive dissonance about everything in the first place.

All I know is that I don’t feel emotionally well. I’m depressed, sad, hurt, lonely, and I’m sick of it. I just don’t want to feel this way anymore.

Steamy Update

December 15th, 2013

For once I have stuff to talk about that’s not my former relationship. I also have pictures!! Oooooo! Pictures!!! Yeah…so if you can’t tell already, I’m in a better mood that’s a bit more me. No, I’m not drunk. I’ve just had some things happen this week that really helped me move forward.

I’ll start with the exciting news. For those that aren’t gamers, there’s a company called Valve that makes video games. They’re responsible for games like Portal, Half Life, and Left 4 Dead. They’re also behind the biggest gaming platform for PCs. It’s called Steam. Through Steam, there’s a store to buy games, a community, and a social network of sorts. It’s a very successful platform and is very well known in the video game world. Valve has built a new operating system for gaming called SteamOS as well has hardware that’s in the beta stage called Steam Machines. A few months ago they opened up applications to be a part of the hardware beta program. Only 300 people would get to participate. 400,000 people applied. I’m lucky enough to be one of the 300 people to get to participate.

When I got the email, I was ecstatic. I never get things like this happening to me. In a couple of days, my Steam Machine arrives, and I’ll be playing with it quite a bit. I plan to do unboxing videos and review videos. I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be a welcome distraction. I said to some people that getting to be a part of this is my consolation prize for my fiancee leaving me. Hey, it’s something, right? I really got my spirits lifted when I received notice, and it was a much needed lift.

Other fun news is that my new furniture was delivered on Saturday morning. I now have my own couch and kitchen table. I’m really happy with them so far, and I got a great deal on both of them. The couch is a bonded leather couch. So it’s durable enough to hold up to the kitties, but it’s easier to clean than microfiber. My table is counter height and is a butterfly style. So, I’ll have more room for things if I need it. The shelving under the table will likely come in handy. Here’s what they look like:

New Couch

New Kitchen Table

Table Shelving

So that’s exciting. Aside from that, I did some stupid things this week too. Namely, my ex contacted me saying she was going to come and pick up her two gaming consoles later in the week. I suggested that we get dinner together if she’s coming out. That was a dumb idea. I knew it when I asked. I felt this pull in which I was simultaneously aware how bad this idea was while also really just needing to see her. We decided on Friday, and I was getting nervous as the day approached.

When Friday came, and she came by, the moment I saw her, I felt myself get very emotional. I had all her stuff prepared and ready to go. So she was able to just grab it and put it in her car. I told her I also needed her to help me move her couch, as my couch was getting delivered the next morning. She agreed, and we took care of it. All during this, I was having trouble even looking at her. It was very difficult for me. We decided on a place to go, and we took separate cars. While we were driving there, I was fighting to hold my composure.

We got to the restaurant, parked, and started heading to the door. As we got half way there, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make it through dinner. I said it was a bad idea, and she said that it ok. She said we could do this when I’m ready. We headed back to our vehicles, and I started talking. I told her that while I’d really like to be friends with her, it may never happen. I also asked her for more answers because while I sort of get why she broke up with me, I really didn’t understand it. I got that answer, and it really disappointed me.

It’s mostly revolving around sex. She said there were other factors too, but sex was the big one. She thinks we never really clicked in bed, and that she feels like she was forcing her enjoyment of it for a long time. She doesn’t feel like she has enjoyed it as much as she really feels she should have.

Before I continue, I was to say that this disappoints me so much because I thought what we had was a lot deeper than sex. It seems very superficial to me. While sex is certainly an important part of a romantic relationship, it’s certainly not the defining thing that makes a relationship go. I’m not suggesting her feelings and her decision were wrong or right. I’m just saying it disappoints me. I thought we had a strong foundation and a lot more in our relationship.

Anyway…to continue, I asked her how long she had these feelings. She answered that they started before we moved to El Paso. That puts things back about a year and a half. I said to her that she should have brought it up to me then. She said it was a difficult thing to talk about. I responded with the question that blindsiding your partner 3 and a half years in that you want to breakup is a better option? I was upset.

A YEAR AND A HALF!! I’m sorry, but this makes me very angry. I’m not mad because she felt this way. She feels how she feels. I’m mad because she never once discussed this issue with me. It makes me feel like for the last year and a half, I’ve been living a lie. She wasn’t completely honest with me, and for some reason, she felt that she couldn’t be. She was afraid to discuss it. She kept these feelings inside for so long that they became a festering wound that rotted away the rest of her feelings for me. Being in a healthy relationship requires communication, and difficult topics absolutely need to be discussed. Yes, it’s not easy, but this is something we could have fixed a year and a half ago. And if we weren’t able to fix it, at least we would have tried…together. I thought she was mature enough to be able to handle the difficult stuff, but I guess not. I’m left feeling like maybe she wasn’t the person I thought she was.

I got a few things of my chest. I told her that I felt cheated out of being able to fight for the relationship. I told her I just wanted my life back. Lastly though, I told her I wanted her to get her shit out of my house. She seemed slightly hurt and offended by my request. She informed me that she doesn’t get to move in to her new place until January 27th. I offered to pay for a storage unit if need be, but she was more concerned about how she’s having a friend visit from El Paso this week, and what not. Plus, she’s heading to visit her family for the holidays on Wednesday. I insisted, and she said she’d come over and pack it. I told her even if she just gets it out of the place and into the garage, that’s fine.

To be honest, I’m a little dumbfounded at her response. It’s been a month, and her stuff is still in my place. Everyone I’ve talked to about this has been shocked it’s not out of the house yet. People have told me that I should just throw her stuff out into the front yard. I’m not interested in being a storage facility for her things for two months. And yet…I backed down. That’s right, I decided to be too nice, as usual. I realized that I could probably get it all packed up and in the garage this weekend. I even spent money on materials…something like 50 bucks for bubble wrap, boxes, dividers, and paper. I’m way too accommodating.

So I spent my weekend doing that…packing up my ex girlfriend’s things, of which she has a lot. As of right now, 95% of her stuff is out of the house. The only things that remain are a few small kitchen items, her dresser, her TV, her computer case, and a few Nerf guns. I also have to go through the Christmas storage tubs because our stuff is co-mingled there. I need to sort through it. Oh, and I have to sort through the tools to figure out which stuff is mine and which is hers. Either way, it’s mostly done and out of my hair. No longer am I looking at her stuff all the time.

After all of this, maybe the idea of dinner wasn’t such a bad one. It ended up being exactly what I needed. I have a bit of closure now. I also have been able to move past the constant state of sadness and on to legitimate anger. That’s progress. Anger is good. Anger is what I need right now. All that said, I still cried Friday night. This time though, it was sadness mixed with relief. I finally had the truth, and while disappointing, at least I can look forward now. I’m not constantly wondering why.

Two more things, and then I’ll move on. After what happened, I don’t blame myself so much anymore. I do believe it takes two to tango, and that I will always share some responsibility for this happening. However, now I accept that this was mostly her. There was very little I could do without her opening up to me about her feelings. And secondly, I no longer am thinking of Jess as part of my self concept. She is separate from me now, and that’s good for my healing process. I’m still not thrilled to be single, but I know it won’t be forever. I will find someone new that will be better for me than Jess. I’ll find that happiness again. I’m obviously not ready yet to start looking, but I will be, in time.

I went to the meetup again today, and the friends I made last week were there again. We chatted some more and exchanged phone numbers. It sounds like it’s the start of a great friendship. I’m really looking forward to getting to know them better. So thats fun and exciting! I probably won’t see them for a few weeks because of the holidays, but that’s cool. I’ll be busy with family and my steam machine.

I also may have a roommate. I haven’t decided if I want a roommate or not, but the friend I hung out with last Thursday might be a really great fit. We discussed it tonight, and she’s amenable to it. It would benefit both of us, and it sounds promising. Nothing’s decided yet, but it could be really great. So I’m thinking about it.

The only other thing going on is something that has me a little concerned. I do mean little…not a lot concerned. I’m losing weight. While normally that would be a good thing, I’m pretty thin to begin with. I’m 5’11″ and right before the breakup and before my bout with heartburn, I weighed in at 170 lbs. In a little over a month, I’ve lost over 10 pounds. It seems like it’s not stopping. I weighed in this morning at 158.5. I’ve not been that light since high school. My appetite since the breakup has been significantly reduced. I used to be a junk food junkie and a cookie monster. I haven’t been interested in either for a long time now. That’s good, but I’m also not eating as much as I used to. So, I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

So, what do you think? Am I making progress? Am I too accommodating? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Weekend Alone

December 8th, 2013

Three weeks have passed. It feels like an eternity. This weekend was the first full weekend I spent by myself in the house. It was hard, but I made it through without crying. Though I guess I can’t say that yet being that there’s still a few hours left. Still, I guess that’s progress. I can’t help but sigh a lot lately though. I sigh long, deep sighs, and sometimes afterwards I drop a quiet f-bomb. It’s just how I feel. I can’t help it.

I spent much of the time this weekend moving boxes, packing stuff, and rearranging. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes you stumble across something that brings back a vivid memory. So it’s easy to say there’s been a lot of thinking going on. I wouldn’t say I’ve enjoyed packing things up, but in some ways I guess it’s been therapeutic. The house does feel more like mine now. Not quite completely, but it’ll get there. There’s still more to do.

One thing that I have noticed that has surprised me: wow, she has a lot of stuff! I didn’t realize how much of what was here was hers. It’s a good 2/3rds of what’s here, at least. Once all of this stuff is out of my place, I’ll have more room than I’ll know what to do with. The closets are quickly emptying, as is the storage area in my garage. With all the moving, I guess I’ve kept my stuff fairly pared down. Whenever I leave this place, I’ll have a much easier time of relocating.

The hardest part is when our stuff is intermixed. It means I have to open and go through all the stuff in a given box. That’s probably the most emotional for me. I can easily grab a box of her stuff and move it, but when I have to go through all of it, it’s like acknowledging reality. I’ve been avoiding it, honestly. I tend to set those boxes aside to be addressed at a later time. I figure I may be a bit stronger and able to handle it in a week. Right now, not as much.

On Friday, I decided to head to the furniture store. I found a couple of really good deals and will have a new couch and table delivered in a week. At that point, the downstairs should be almost all my things. There’s only one item of furniture remaining after that: her dresser. All of her clothes are still in it. For some reason, I feel like packing up her clothing is a strange invasion of her privacy despite having put her clothing away after laundry countless times. I guess it’s different now. I may just leave it all there and have her take care of it when she actually moves it all out. Her dresser is way too heavy for me to move by myself anyway. Plus, I know it’s important to her. I’ll let her take care of it.

I rent a two bedroom, two and a half bath condo. When we moved here, the plan was to have the extra bedroom be a video game room. I had built a gaming pc earlier in the year, and she was in the process of doing the same. The plan was to eventually have both of our gaming setups in the room so we could game together. She hadn’t finished her machine by the time of the breakup. So, my computer was the only one in there. Now that everything has gone to crap, I’ve decided to move things around. The loft area that is in between the bedrooms is the perfect size for my desk. So I spent a bunch of time moving the desk between Saturday and Sunday. It’s too big to fit through the door. So, I had to disassemble parts of it and reassemble it again in the loft. It was a big mess, but it’s done now and looks really nice. Plus, it’s warmer in the loft and has more light. I think it’s a better fit.

It’s occurred to me that now that the extra room will be empty, I could possibly take on a roommate. Each bedroom has a full bath attached. So that makes things easy. No worries about how to deal with shower times and privacy. I’d just have to find a new place to put the cat boxes, which isn’t a big deal. Having a roommate might be a good thing. I’d feel less alone. It’d be nice to have someone to chat with…though that’s in a good roommate situation. There’s also the downsides. I don’t want to have to deal with dirty dishes, messy people, and annoyances. It would help me save a bit of money though. Otherwise, I can find a bed and make it a real guest room. It would be nice to be able to offer hospitality to those that come to visit. Something to think about.

I’m happy to report that I’m getting out of the house here and there. Today I went to a meetup in West Des Moines. I met a bunch of new people, and will very likely go back. It was a bit scary getting there due to the weather. We had a bunch of snow come through, and the roads were icy. There were some nasty accidents that had happened, and there was one point that I had trouble stopping due to the ice. I probably shouldn’t have gone out, but I made it to and from in one piece. It was fun. I enjoyed being around people instead of being holed up at home. I also have three things this week on my social calendar. I’ll be heading out to have drinks with a few new friends on several nights as well as a party next weekend. That means fewer days alone, which is good.

It’s still a struggle for me though, the day to day. I think about her almost all the time. I still get very sad throughout the day. The extremes aren’t as bad as they were, but it’s still hard. I still have moments when I realize that I won’t experience x or y again. I think back on how we met, and how well we fit together. We really were two peas in a pod. It’ll be very hard to find someone as amazing as she was.

One of my old friends was chatting with me this weekend, and I mentioned how I’ve never felt so alone. She asked me “Why do you feel you need someone?” and I realized her perspective was of someone that hasn’t ever been in a long term relationship. Prior to my relationship with Jess, being alone was different. I felt alone, but not like I do now. Having someone in my life that I had such a close bond with; a person that I didn’t think of as a separate person from me… It’s a feeling like none other. I never used to understand why some of my friends would leave a long relationship and immediately jump into another. Now I get it. It’s that feeling of emptiness that follows. I never would have understood anyone if they tried to describe this to me before Jess. Now I long for that void to be filled again. I know it’ll happen, eventually…when I’m ready.

I truly look forward to the day that she isn’t the only thing I write about and think about. Until then, I miss her. I miss her so much.