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About this blog

This is Bree's journal talking about how life changes, and how you grow with them (probably with the occasional freakout, I'm good at panic mode too!).  Life has been hard since day one, and not doing it alone is the key!

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I keep seeing in group after group a demand to reject labels.  And I can't support it. 

History has made me really wary of this idea.  In Europe, most people couldn't read.  It wasn't just the expense of books, it was a choice by their leaders that they should not.  And the spread of literacy across Europe did indeed change everything, and directly influenced the various revolutions.  In America, very few slaves were allowed to learn to read and write, only those that their masters deemed required to know to do the work that the masters didn't want to.  And were punished if they shared.  Illiteracy is a chain.  They didn't understand why it worked the way it did back then I'm pretty sure.  One doesn't have to know why a thing works to apply the knowledge, the observance of a result to pattern is enough to make it a behavior that is socially taught to our children.

It works because there is a correlation between words and thought.  Literally, the more words you have, the deeper you can form your thoughts around anything.  This in no way implies that those with very limited vocabularies are in any way stupid, there are several factors that determine true intelligence, but if you had two brains with identical iq's (the ability to learn knowledge) and identical abilities to apply that knowledge, but a vast difference in the amount of words each was exposed to and learned, the one with more will be very much further ahead in terms of the complexity of the mental work.  It's how our brains work.  The more words we learn, the more concepts we have.  And because our brains are processors, that means the  more new concepts we can get to because we aren't working out the base concepts to have the thoughts.  It doesn't matter the language, the more words a speaker knows in his or her actual language the more she can do mentally.   This concept that people who don't speak english in our country are too stupid is idiotic.  That is an entirely separate brain issue. 

So labels are concepts.  Where my life experience has led me to conclude we get into trouble with them isn't their existance, but how we use them.  They are a thing.  A label is a word with a specific ascribed complex meaning.  Organic - both a word in scientific terms, and a also a label to the health conscious counter with a related but separate meaning for example. (Which is also how it gets financially abused, when some marketers use one term to mean the other, example no hormones or anything but seed fed to the chicken, and the buyer conflates the meanings to be the ethical organic free range, which the marketer KNOWS and hides that free range is not this chicken's life).  Anything can be abused. 

Labels can be abused on a mass or micro basis.  There are well known ones that send everyone into an instant rage.  I don't need to cite examples.  Their entire intended meaning is to cause harm to a group or individual.  However, that is not the inherent use of labels.  The inherent use is to convey complex meanings quickly, so that you can get on with the deeper concept you are trying to convey. 

I think socially we have gotten away from communication and real literacy(exposure to a great many written words, there are now literally people who have a great deal of trouble communicating in non-'leet' speak for example).  We have started to demonize it, villify it, and abandon it.  I have seen people who can only type in 'leet' openly mocking the literate on an almost daily basis now for not understanding the world and being part of the 'advancement and change'.  And this movement to reject these things is a mistake.  These are the things that help us make the great leaps, help narrow the gap between the upper and lower classes, and help provide the famed American 'social mobility'.  Which is absolutely dying, we are slowly moving back to a 'lord and peasant' reality financially and socially.  And a big part of that is someone introduced this counter culture anti-word movement.  I don't know if it was done in all earnest good motivation at the start.  Look at the harm of the n word for example!  And these other ones!  Labels are bad!    And as I said, some are.  And some that are used every day that aren't culturally horrifying are also, like stupid(look at case studies of the damage it does to children being raised constantly told how stupid they are), ugly(there's a reason plastic surgery is a HUGE moneymaker), fat (think how harmful this is to our young people who are average size and weight and how often this leads to severe eating disorders).  Now, realize that kind, smart, generous, motivated, helpful, etc. are all also labels.  Transman or transwoman is a label, just like the tword. 

Label's aren't bad.  It's what we DO with the labels that matter.  Accepting new labels and meanings is also critical to our knowledge and progress as a society.  Example - I often seen the statement "We need to do away with the gender binary and create a society in which all genders are acknowledged and respected'.  This requires words for all those genders.  People can't acknowledge or respect what they don't understand or conceptualize. 

We need to expand our lingual base.  We need to stop being afraid of words, and start taking responsibility for the use of them.  Does the label political correctness mean anything to anyone reading this post?  Really think about what it means.  It's a way to sneer at having manners.  To sneer at treating people with respect.  Example: requiring people to say learning disabled instead of retarded.  One has a degree of respect and lack of insult the other doesn't.  African American instead of black.  African american has a connotation of a person who is of african ethical/cultural descent.  Black has a very complicated, often dehumanizing history.  I don't need to highlight the Transperson vs. xxx, but same effect.  When did treating people with basic respect and decency get reduced to a sneering 'have to be all politically correct now'?  When the majority solidarity in how to treat others started to disintegrate.  When I as a white, cis citizen tell someone who thinks any of the ethnical or social minorities in my country are not human that they are beneath me knowing and horrible people.  IT's a way out of the responsibility of their behavior to others, by trying to put the blame on me for expecting them to treat other human beings like...human beings.

We need more labels, and we need the understanding of what they are, and that a label does NOT limit our growth ever unless we let them, either personal or social, it's a building block to the next growth.  We need to increase our understanding of how words affect the human brain and psychology.  Language is not just a convenience, it literally effects brain development just as brain development effects language, ti's symbiotic.  Look at the studies done on feral human children found who were raised without contact or language.  Every culture in the world has a language, right down to the most isolated pockets of people in the Amazon who are largely unaware of what the rest of us are doing.  It's an important part in our development.  It terrifies me to realize how common, and how insidious, this call to voluntarily restrict our own thinking and expression is becoming.  If a label makes people uncomfortable, we need to define why.  Some individual labels DO need to be put away.  But a great many more need to lead to a set of new ones to give greater cultural understanding to the complexity of the human condition and increase awareness of those conditions so they can be recognized and normalized into our society.

This is why I will never agree with the people who say we need to do away with labels.  I feel we need to embrace them, understand them, and use them to reach greater heights in science, math, art, social equality, and technological advancements.

Embrace new words.  Embrace new thinking.  Be aware of the effect of your words on others, and their words on you. 

I had a REALLY uncomfortable conversation with a friend of mine today who was worried that a third friend had offended me with a sort of inappropriate outburst of hate against Clinton in the middle of game raid night.  And I admitted it had made me really uncomfortable, but...not on the political front.  And then the conversation got way personal, and I realized that what scares me most isn't Trump himself and his crazy, dangerous things that he spouts. There is always that one person yelling crazy stuff.   Always. 

What really is stirring up the things inside is...the things normal people are saying all over comment sections in places I go and conversations.  There is a video with trump saying how great it is to be a star from 2005, because you can just walk up to women and 'kiss them or grab them by their *vulgar word for crotch here*').  He admitted to sexual assault.  And a large group of predatory type personalities are ranting at ME (abuse survivor, thanks) that I'M not understanding that it's not wrong.  That I'm the stupid one because saying he enjoys just walking up to women he likes and doing those things isn't rape, so it's okay.  WTH???????????  So if this man makes it into the presidency, what does the day to day world look for vulnerable people?  The president says it's okay to kiss and grab the crotch of someone you like, so shut up and take it if I want to target you?  I"m not even pretty or have a nice body and I've still had to deal with unwanted advances and sexual attentions and the rage that I had to nerve to say stop I don't want this and wasn't grateful that they wanted to use me.  What would the world look like for the really pretty woman that lots of men want to just grab and grope?  How much worse is it for them on a daily basis would it be with this sort of condonement in authority? 

I can rationally connect to how immigrants of all minorities have to be feeling, but I can't emotionally say I know because I haven't lived that life. But if they feel as scared as I am, that is a lot of people.  Women are half the population by ourselfs.  Let's say minority men are another 20% to be conservative.  That makes 70% of the population it's suddenly open season on? 
Politics used to be about laws and where the line was between individual freedom and group wants/needs.  But this time it feels more like it's about what is going to happen in the streets.  Or is already out there but was hidden, and now is under a shiny huge spotlight.  It's like everyone is just losing their minds about basic human rights all around me.  People used to laugh at me when I said I try to treat everyone well, because you can't divide people up and say it's okay to be good to one group and bad to the other, eventually like that no one is safe.  They said I didn't understand.  But look what is happening.  None of this is really about Trump or Clinton, the fights between people on the net are about basic decency and horror.  And it's really scary.

Why is my culture so inherently unable to understand that human beings are all human beings?  You can not like whoever you want, but no one has the right to harm others.  And using figureheads to justify committing horrors doesn't really justify anything, we still know a horror was committed.  It's like russian roullette in America of who should feel unsafe today. 

So my back is killing me today, I slept wrong the night before last or something.  You know, when you just wake up and your back says "#$&& no!".  My natural instinct is really to find a comfortable position that doesn't hurt, and stay there.  Until it heals up.  But what the doctor told Nikki last time he did this was that the fastest way to realign the back and heal the problems is walking.  And it's taking all my willpower to ignore my instincts and listen to her.  But every hour I'm getting up and waddling around the house whining about how sucky my life is today.  Nikki said it took a few days before it cleared up fully.  I honestly can't tell you if it's helping or not, I don't know if I just WANT to believe it's a bit better or it is. 

I often face the same dilemna in my head, instinct vs. medical.  I know what my body dysmorphia is and what not to believe that it's telling me, but I still act on it all the same despite rationally knowing better.  Like the other day I only walked half normal at the park because it was homecoming and I was surrounded by gorgeous, symmetrical girls in pretty dresses doing photography, and it stirred up the obsession over every flaw and intimidated the hell out of me so I made Nikki take me home.  You don't win every day over your disorder, ya know?  Some days ya lose.  And that's okay, because I went back and plugged at it again.  I think people here can understand my feelings better than most.  I don't think it's the same, but I think there is a lot of crossover in emotional fallout of dismorphia vs. dysphoria.   And I understand Nikki and my freinds.  I may not understand the details, but I do understand pain.  And details can, and are, being learned.  It's funny how connected unconnected things are sometimes.

And then I realized that I made progress i wasn't aware of again.  Because I did go back, instead of hermitting up for ages.  I didn't used to do that.  I used to lose the entire war, not just a day's battle.  And now I"m not.  I haven't won the war, but I did get a little closer.  And I put another brick in the wall that is my happy.  I"m not generally happy because it comes easy or naturally, I'm generally happy (with the odd rage or sad day, I have a lotta issues and ugly history still playing out in my head, let's be real) because I built the wall of happy.  One brick at a time, one think to elate over and then the next, and the next, til the wall got high.  Sometimes holes get knocked in my wall, and it's a terrifying moment where I think the whole thing is just GONE, but then I realize it's just a hole, and the rest of the wall is fine, and start patching that hole. 

I didn't understand when I was young what people meant by happiness is a choice.  I didn't understand yet about pespective, choice, and deciding what I was going to obsess over.  I wasn't happy when I was younger, I was just kinda lost and no idea where to go to get unlost.  I was REALLY resistant to my doctors and therapists, because I had convinced myself they were wrong.  Like all teens/early adults, "I KNEW BETTER!".  Only I didn't.  They really did know better, and when I started to listen and try to understand what I was being told I got better.  And knew how to recognize the doctors and therapists who didn't understand what I was trying to relay to them from those that did and could help me. 

Today I just need to focus on that wall, walk even though it hurts, and be a good turtle.  Anyone who reads this and it resonates, I'd be happy to help you find that first brick.  That first one, it's small.  It took me years to notice it.  The bricks get bigger, but that first one, it's tiny.  Easy to miss.  Mine was realizing I was good at organizing the group Assateague camp trip.  Everyone had fun at them (Save one guy that no one could save because he wouldn't tell anyone he'd never camped before and went on a fairly challenging environment island).   There were no problems, and I sorted it all out, got everyone their reservations, organized people into carpools so we had less vehicles, sorted people into tent shares so those who didn't own gear could partner up and enjoy the trips, and it all went well.  And things that didn't were minor, like me running naked out of a tent to get away from a snake.  *blushes*  Will NEVER live that moment down.  But they did get the snake out for me and searched every inch to be sure.  LOL   It was an easy brick to miss, overshadowed by the minor things that went wrong like that, and the time I accidentally took a camp shower in sun tea, or burned some food.  But once I found that first brick, I started to see more lying scattered around in my my head, and put them together to make a little wall, that has grown for years.  That first little victory and overcoming my add to get something done well, it was a real, tiny brick.  And it's still in that wall.  :)

I was just watching a video on YouTube posted by Phil DeFranco's wife (he's a funny youtuber with a take on the news I often enjoy and watch sometimes) and she is describing a break in that had happened to them, and talking about it made her cry.  After we had the break in, I couldn't talk about it without falling to pieces either, and I wasn't entirely sure why, as we were not injured and yes we lost a lot of things, but we were okay and it was over.  Watching someone else struggle with the same feelings in a similar situation is really reassuring on so many levels.  That my reaction was normal, I'm not overly weak, not overreacting, not alone in having to get through the experience. 

It's weird to me how wired my brain really is sometimes to find that much comfort in knowing other people react the same way, when usually I think in terms of my emotions are my emotions and they're okay whatever they are.  Apparently I have a subconscious or suppressed desire for external validation I don't really think about or address until it comes to me, usually by blundering into it.  This happened five years ago, and there are lingerings feelings and behavioral changes from it.  Like Nikki has to be home or close by home after dark or I get really freaked out.  If he's going to be upstairs sleeping and I"m still awake down here the lights have to be on so I can see and usually netflix is playing on his computer for me so I don't hear every little creak of the house and obsess over what that sound was.  i get weirded out when the motion sensor light in the backyard is on, although honestly it's sensitivity is crazy high, and we have bats, squirrels and rabbits all over the yard setting it off. 

Everyone told me that Ohio would be so much better than New Jersey, but the bad things happened to me here, and not back home.  Which just tells my brain no where is safe.  Which is true, and it's good to be aware of that, but at the same time, we all want to FEEL safe in our homes.  X_X.  The wind is blowing something outside and there is a thumping and it's creeping me out right now, even though it's broad daylight and there is no one outside.  I know, because I checked.  Four times.

I guess some things you don't get over, not all the way. 

We'd finally gotten settled with a good doctor, who knows about Nikki's issues and has been great with both his and mine, and the main office is closing our town's location.  ARGH!  Finding the right doctor and getting a comfortable relationship going is HARD.  *headdesk* 

Waiting for my hair to dry out, and then I'm putting the one thing about my physical form I feel good about into...Nikki's hands.  He's going to first bleach it, then dye it deep emerald green.  I'm finally going to have my dream hair, my favorite color, green.  I've been trying to do my part to help find the balance between Nikki's two sides, and have invited him as far into the girl world as I go, which isn't far really, when someone online is judging me purely on behaviors and interests they usually assume I'm male until it comes up and I realize it and say um...nope, sorry.  I guess I'm horrible at being girly, so I just go for being me and not giving a crap.  But sometimes I wonder if my lack of girlness is not helping right now.  But anyway, my hair.  So instead of going off on my own or calling one of my girlfriends I put the stuff in Nikki's hands and said let's do this.  I think he's kinda excited about that, and mentioned that he'd like me to do his (he's eyeing this lovely black shade with deep shimmery sapphire highlights we saw when I was picking up a processing cap for the bleaching).  I'm super excited!  I think it'll look great on him.

I"m extremely nervous as despite all the color play I've done with my hair, I have never bleached it before.  I always just went with the subtler shades if I was lightening it (often used a blond dye in the winter to get my dark hair to something close to its summer red) or hennas.  Fairly gentle to the hair itself.  If my hair wasn't so dark I wouldn't do it, but it's really dark and gets darker with age and I'd like more than the really really subtle color it would have if i didn't bleach it. 

So wish me luck!  And, hopefully, Nikki will have a blast.  Or at least not blind me with bleach in my eyes. :)

Since we have decided sharing closets works for us, I have made my self at home in his comfy black knit cargo shorts.  I LOVE these shorts.  Next spring I am planning to buy several more, as these are fantastic shorts that don't ride up indelicately on me like my shorts.  I like the longer length and bigger pockets than on the female version I have.  Nikki complains a lot that I absconded with his shorts.  But they are COMFY.  Oh my god comfy.  And he absconded with my sparkly butterfly shirt, so it's all even.  And when I took them off because I thought he was serious, he got all upset because apparently it's just fun to tease me about absconding and he thinks I"m cute in them and if I'm not actually wearing them, the game is over.  LOL  And I got to wear his Daryl Dixon shirt as penance for him teasing me.  *bliss*

Seriously though I really need to buy more of these, but it seems wasteful to buy a bunch of shorts when it's getting cold outside.   But a nice gray pair would be lovely.  Anything that isn't white, white clothes and clumsy Bree never work out well.  At all. 

The only thing we ever actually fight over is socks, because you know, the dryer somehow eats them and there aren't ever enough around no matter how many we buy.  Speaking of socks, I need to hit up the sports store.  They had these amazing "Cabin socks" that are cushy, warm, and amazing.  Ours are getting old, and I think a few new pairs are just what an Ohio winter is screaming for.  Neither of us are slipper fans. 

So...making Nikki's computer dream a reality, which is the project I've been on since January pretty single-mindedly, has finally come to fruition today.  And those parts got here FAST.  Like laser fast.  So I cleaned out the dining room table so he has a work space (on the weekends that area is set up for gaming as there is a Friday night and a Sunday evening game), and he's like a little kind in a candy store right now.  It was worth every moment of locking myself in the bathroom at work to have a cry in private because it had gotten so crazy there.  I DID IT!  He's currently putting together his new baby, which is just like my baby.  Only because the parts aren't NEW NEW like they were last year he got his baby for about a $100 less.  Good bargain! 

And...my silly little virtual reality dream?  Well, apparently only $600 stands between me and that.  They had a tester program on the website for the top of the line one, the Occulus Rift, and my computer is compatible and meets or exceeds all requirements.  So...yeah.  It's possible, and my virtual world can be expanded.  We each get a small entertainment stipend in the new budget, and I am stuffing mine exclusively into the savings account, because I want to be entertained with sharks in my computer room.  Cuz I'm a raging dork.  But I really LOVED that feeling of being there with the sharks, which I'll never know because my asthma makes scuba outta reach for me, as I"m not really willing to risk dying for it.  Some dreams ARE worth persuing at any cost, but scuba isn't it for me.  But the ability to see what I would see like that...and the Egyptian tombs they are filming now...oh total geek. AND they have a really kinda awesome tabletop style dungeons and dragons app for this thing, so that you can play with people all over.  How cool is that?

On a more personal note, now that he's doing better from the dysthymia, which I am so grateful to his therapist for helping us sort out the complicated tangle of what is the disorder, what is current environmental, and what is childhood issues blocking him from the live he deserves to have, we are sorting out marital issues. 

I"m pretty sure i kicked strait into "OMG must fix Nikki Mode" and while the issues were too overwhelming not to feel, my response was to bottle a lot and focus on what was needed rather than actually sorting through things inside.  But there has been five or six years of gradual disconnects that triggered MY issues, and sometimes I"m just sorta...lost in myself.  There are days I don't even know if I"m really me, because of all the adaptation and throwing out the window parts of me that didn't fit with the life i was trying to build.  There are days when I'm full steam ahead on something and blinded to everything else.  There are days I absolutely panic that the new normal for our marriage is going to fall apart again and I'm going to lose everything.  I'm messy.  I am really really messy. 

BUT...now that he's better, he..I don't know how to phrase this exactly other than this...it's like he's remembered I'm there.  Like he'd forgotten while he was sick, but now he remembered.  And that is the start.  But he's still Nikki, and some of the disconnects and life choices are his personality mixing with mine, not all of it is our disorders.  So we're organizing.  Too many couples I know just let...life happen to them and don't do anything to manage their relationships as they go.  I'm going to learn from that.  We've set up a weekly 'serious' talk time, where we turn everything off, sit on the couch (preferably with a blanket under me, our couch is leather and it adheres to my skin in horrible ways) and we can both talk about anything, and the agreement is active listening, connection, and no one gets mad or defensive.  Or if you do, you squash it and try to think it through.  We set up a weekly game time for just doing something fun together, board games, d&d, card games, whatever.  And we set up a weekly movie night (on Saturday though, this isn't as inviolate as the other two if we are out doing a thing) to just sit on the couch and watch something together.  Reconnecting emotionally and rebuilding a slightly broken marriage. 

And that's the lesson isn't it?  Things break.  Everything.  But you then make a choice after it breaks, you can throw it away and start over.  Or you can repair it.  It's always a choice.  We forget that.  I can't count how many times I've heard "it's broken, time to pitch it" and no question what would be involved in fixing a thing.  Anything that can be made can be repaired.  But the cost isn't always worth it.  Sometimes throwing a thing away is appropriate too, but if you just assume and don't make the choice...it's wasteful. 

I could sit around, say there is nothing I can do, people just change as they go.  Let's be honest, there is even a neat little shield of a 17 year old secret I could hide behind and NO ONE would look at me funny.  I could be all the other relationships in my blood family and scream it's not MY fault til the end of time. 

But I'm not.  Because..inside...I want more.  And these are the days I"m realizing despite all the poison I drank, all the horribleness I absorbed from them, and all the inner damage I'm still struggling to overcome from them...somehow I made it in some small way.  I'm not them, I got out, and I am going to improve things, instead of waving my hand in a 'what can you do' dismissive gesture.  Grandpa gave me wisdom, the knowledge, and the understanding that there IS more out there, that not everyone fails, and that the choices I will make every day, big and small, will matter and resonate the rest of my life.  My friends gave me the grace, understanding, and exposure to worlds and opinions beyond what I grew up with to navigate the hurdles in my marriage and my husbands struggle with depression and to adapt to who he is as a person, not who he told me he was.  I think I managed to be a better mother than my parents were, despite all the screw ups I made, and I let go and realize he's the one who has to live the day to day of his life better. 

As much as I'm often not okay between the self-esteem issues, the dismorphia, and the struggle to interact gracefully with others thanks to the add, I'm also really okay at the same time because I'm doing it.  And when I die, despite the mistakes I made massive and small, I don't think I"ll be able to look back with anything but "I couldn't have done anything else than what I did, because every choice I made at the time I made it was what I thought would make things better!". 

It cost a lot, but it was worth it.  So I don't have parents, okay.  I have Nikki.  I have my son.  I have my friends (including you guys!), and I have my self and my senses of right and wrong.  The bargain was made a long time ago, probably the day my son was born, I just managed to delay paying some of the bills, but now that they are paid, I realize trying to hold onto things that weren't really there wasn't helping anyone, and it was a good bargain.   That was the day I started turning my back on the narcissism of my father, the dead mushroomness of my mother, and started living.  Even though I had no idea where I wanted to go, I started going through any door I saw to get an idea what was out there.  And the mistakes were okay.

Except, of course, that cheese mousse from the Princess cruise.  Trying that was just a horror story.  It looked like poop.  It smelled like poop.  I don't know why I put that in my mouth. 

So printer died a horrible death, moment of silence for my little desk friend.    Moment over.  IT was a fast moment, it wasn't that nice a desk friend.  Nikki and I can't be without a printer, we use it constantly.  So I ordered a new one, and we went to Best Buy to pick it up.  Now, Nikki just got to order the components to put his new computer together, the same one we built for me around Christmas, only he gets it $100 cheaper because prices go down with time.  LOL  So he was browsing around the store instead of heading strait to the customer pick up (I'm lazy, I like ordering online and making them get it together and picking it up at the desk, it also cuts out any attempts to alter my purchase and lets me read and research off the website about the item).  So I'm following him around, and i see a display.

There was a pair of vr goggles.  These are not the expensive Occulus ones (Thought they are powered by the technology)  I'm not sure what brand they are, but they are the ones that work with the Samsun smart phone and you can sorta clip your phone to them.  They're white, and sorta ugly.  But I was curious and I picked them up, and held them against my face to see.  It took a minute to figure out how to get the demo to start.

The demo starts.  It's a car racing through a tunnel.  Okay, whatever.  It's sorta neat, I don't see what the big deal is.  Probably great for people who like car games.  Then it announces something about underwater, and suddenly I'm standing under the ocean, and a NINE FOOT great white shark is gliding across in front of me.  Like maybe two feet away!  And it didn't look REAL exactly, but it did look almost real.  The textures weren't perfect, little details clued you in.  You could tell it was a video game sorta thing, but the feeling that you were standing IN THE GAME was so strong, that as I'm turning my head to follow the shark, and the view did follow my head movements really perfecting the illusion, I damn near jumped a mile because inches from my face was another great white facing me directly looking back at me that I didn't know was there because I actually could not see him until I turned my head like in real life.  I can only imagine what my face looked like to Nikki, I really had to remind myself the shark wasn't real, but I might have jumped. 

It was AMAZING.  I can't even describe how blown my mind was by those sharks. 

Then it switched to a space battle, and it really felt like I was one of those forlorn figures in the window watching an epic space battle in front of me, and I was thinking about the lives of the people in those ships, and wondering if they would come for me for a second. 

Then I was in a bloodstream, as it displayed it's educational opportunities for visual learners.  And I love science, so I was completely engrossed in watching the red and white cells drift by. 

After I put it down, my first thought was to an article I had read where they are three dimensionally filming Egyptian tombs so students, and probably virtual tourists, can be 'in' them and see them 'firsthand', and how very much I would love to do that. 

My mind was completely blown by how amazing this technology I really hadn't thought much about actually is.  So...that is what I'm going to be saving my small entertainment allowance in the new budget for.  Because I really, really want a virtual reality headset.  For gaming.  For exploring.  For feeling like I'm out of the house for a little bit in the winter when I can't leave. 

There was a Japanese animation show about a video game that was played in virtual reality a while back, called .Hack//Sign.  The basic story of the game is something sinister is happening and a player gets fully trapped in the game, and the show revolves around the events of trying to save 'him'.   (Spoilter - it's a female player, but that isn't revealed right away).  But through the show you get glimpses of the players lives, and why they are there, and why they form the friendships they do.  And one of them is a girl bound to a wheelchair.  She doesn't actually play the game, she just walks around in it.  Never levels, just...enjoys the feeling of the freedom she doesn't have in her actual life. It was a really powerful storyline, and I'm reminded of her as I wore those goggles and what this can mean to some people, where it's more than a game or a teaching tool. 

It's been ages since anything reminded me of the sheer potential we have as a species to create and expand our world, both outside and internally.

Autumn Sad

By Briannah,

Sometimes cliches exist for a reason, and as excited as I get when the pool goes up, as happy as I am in it all summer, I never really hit the full depth of how much that pool means to me as when I am facing the oncoming autumn and knowing it's about to go away for a long, cold winter.  So I'm frantically swimming as many days at the sky will let me, and trying to store away every moment of pool joy to mull over in my winter blankets. 

And I'm reminded it's not just a pool.  It was a lifelong dream of mine to have my own, and a project that Nikki and I worked on together (and continuously work on making keeping it easier and better) to happen, but most of the work was from Nikki.  It was a great, big, huge gift to me because he loves me, and that probably makes giving it up each winter harder in my head than it needs to be for something that is just a cycle of the seasons, but I'm like that.  I"m looking at finding a way to haul a stupidly heavy table upstairs to the boy's old bedroom that has sorta been in flux since he moved out while we try to figure out what we want for the house to be the craft table (Nikki does models, we both sew a bit, I do origami, we finally decided we dont' have guests often enough to justify spending the money to create a guest room and we actually do want a craft room) instead of buying a cheap light one because that is the table I ate dinners, played games, made crafts, and just sat at and talked with my grandpa.  That and an old bookshelf he'd made in high school woodshop are what I have and remember him by.  Nikki never even hints at replacing it in the dining room even when he sees something he likes at the furniture store because he knows that table is NEVER LEAVING.  However, I am happy to put it upstairs, and it's even practical, because it's an old table I forget what ti's made of but highly heat resistant, Grandma didn't even have to put down trivets unless there was a table cloth, so it would be good for use with our glue gun and other heat-related projects. 

I just sometimes need a tangible, real, touchable thing to go with my memories.  And sometimes that brain mechanism makes simple things like putting away a pool really, overdramatically sad.  At least I have Nikki and Halloween fun to bounce back with.  As I'm feeling stupidly resistant to my pool going I'm equally stupidly excited about Halloween.

And then there is the practical habit we fell into this year, we talk in the pool.  After the swimming and the playing and the splashing comes the floating and talking about our problems, our worldviews, our thoughts, dreams, whatever.  And I realize consciously it' snot the pool, it's being in a place without distractions, so we've set up two weekly us times, one for fun and games and one for talking about everything, both of which are inviolate.  Because without that communication and connection, this marriage doesn't function well in a vacuum, and we both have a habit of being easily distracted.  Relationships are all about recognizing needs and weaknesses, and addressing them as much as they are about feelings.  I think we're getting massively better at this. 

And I"m a huge fan of the antidepressant pills, probably because they got it right.  They didn't turn him into a zombie.  They didn't change him as a person.  They didn't make him magically happy.  What they did do, which I believe is the actually intended purpose, is fix the chemical balance in his brain so that he feels his actual emotions appropriately to what is going on around him.  He's happy when fun things are going on, he's sad when sad things are happening, he's angry when it's warrented, etc. etc.  Before he just didn't really feel...anything.  THose attitudes all over the internet STILL make me rage, you know the ones, "It's all in your head, pills are junk you just need to walk daily in the forest!".  While exercise is certainly part of it, and nature helps, neither is going to FIX HIS BRAIN.   Both of them have been incorporated into the Healthy Nikki Project, however, they couldn't fix what was wrong until the brains needs were addressed.  And I've got an endlessly simmering anger inside that he does feel ashamed of having dysthymia (a form of long term depression) and taking the pills.  NO ONE EVER should have to feel ashamed of a medical condition or the treatment for it (except maybe the cliche but actually true people who end up in emergency rooms because they lost 'things' in 'private areas', for the sake of all sanity the information how to be safe is all over the net!).  Making people ashamed doesn't help, it doesn't remove the problem from society, and it just makes it harder for people to recover or live happily (not everything can be recovered from).  Gah.

Okay, I'm done free form thinking now, worked myself up into a rage on behalf of defenseless people.  LOL  WEll, at least it's not sad anymore, adn I think I"ll put on something bouncy like Insane Clown Posse (I know, I"m warped, but Halloween is in my brain) and do some housework or something productive. 

Just cut ties with my father.  I've talked about him and the complicated relationship before, and why I didn't really know what I was holding onto.  Well, he finally pushed that last button and I went nuclear.  He called me stupid again, which I'm used to really, over my belief that we have to do better as a nation to care for people.  There aren't enough jobs.  They are getting shipped overseas en masse.  The old get a job rhetoric is a joke, and there is no reason anyone should be homeless and starving in this country.  We have the ability to fix it, we as a society choose not to.  But to go on calling my son a loser over and over when he DOESN"T KNOW HIM pushed me over the edge. He has consistantly refused to talk to the boy on the phone or e-mail his whole life.   How on earth can he accurately state anything other than that boy exists and his name?  He doens't know it. 

So I told him off royally, including the phrase "you need to learn when it's time to shut the eff up" I am so done.  From now on Nikki has stepped up to create the Great Wall of Nikki around me, and that man has lost access.  Because I am done.  Toxicity helps no one.  I know a lot of people here will understand, because it doesn't matter if the core issues is transgender or racism, the emotional fall out is the same.  The same ugly, the same judgement, the same crazy. 

I need a hug.  This summer was going so well too.

Still alive! :)

By Briannah,

Seriously, contrary to facebook rumors, Bree is alive and well.  :)  It's just...summer.  I can go outside.  WOOHOO!  Winter gets very long when you are cooped up and can't go outside without entering the er from the cold-induced asthma attack.  Anyone here have asthma and know what I mean?  Not being able to breath very suddenly sucks.  So I have spent the last couple months outside with Nikki nearly continuously.  (Yes, we should all be worrying about global warming, our local weather has gone very strange the last several years, and continues to do so).  We cooked out, we swam, we chased pokemon all over the town, and we are having a great summer. 

Hope you are all aslo enjoying the great summer! (or winter, if you are in the southern hemisphere).

Had a crossroads moment, and finally ventured on to the harder path.  Helping Nikki deal with his issues and history is making me take hard looks at my own.  Some can't be conquered, but they can be mitigated.  Or at the very least, it can be said 'that was NOT okay'. 

My parents are divorced, they have been since I was very young, around 4.  I don't think either were very happy in the marriage, but it ended because my father cheated on my mother.  And who outed him?  Me.  Yes, he was so interested in getting laid with his mistress (who was formerly a student in his high school history class, I'm told by those old enough to remember they all think the affair started after her graduation, but I can't say that as fact, I really don't remember) that instead of waiting til days when he had free time that didn't include watching me, he took me to her parents house (where she still lived) and left me alone in a strange house while he vanished with her.   It was frightening and confusing for little me, and I have never liked unfamiliar places since.  And of course it came out when my mom asked me what Daddy and I did that day.  I don't remember if I was instructed to lie or not.  The only parts of the story that were strong enough to impact on my young memory were being left alone in the strange place (stupid with a 3/4 year old in a house that isn't childproofed anymore) and nearly drowning in the pool because Dad wanted Leslie to lounge with him, and I do remember she thought she should be in the pool with me and that I was too young and they had a fight about it.  She was also the one that realized there was a problem and pulled me out when I had lost my grip on the floaty device Dad has given me.

So flash forward to my teen years, and Dad and my stepmother both constantly explaining to me that the whole thing was my mothers fault, because she wouldn't go out drinking with him on weekends or the camping trips every weekend in the summer so Dad and his friends could photograph trains.  Um...they were parents.  Who both worked full time, and I already spent 40 hours a week with mom's parents or dad's grandparents (they alternated).  And I was pressured into agreeing with this Mom should have done whatever Dad wanted for the marriage and it was her fault he cheated on her indoctrination.  I never really agreed with it, but it never went well for me pushing back with Dad and stepmom.  And Dad is a big one for expecting people to face the consequences of their actions, until it comes time for him to do it, nothing is ever his fault. 

So today I wrote out on Facebook where he will see it that it's never okay to cheat.  I didn't direct it at just him, I've hard this story multiple times from multiple cheaters, but its' really clear I don't believe any of them, including him.  I thought about protecting it so he couldn't see it, but no.  I'm done, and if my stepmom gets involved again with another e-mail I will enter the fight full on, but I have no real need to attack them, but they do have a clear understanding now that I do not and never did believe and am done with the bullshit.  They can choose to save face, and drop it for good (yes, they still reinforce the partyline 40 years after the fact, it's creepy I know). 

So why did I write it out ant leave it public if I'm not actually looking for a fight?  Because I'm looking to work on me, and stop condoning things that really aren't okay, and to withdraw my previous complicity.   People always implied these moments feel good, and they really don't, they just feel kinda raw and vulnerable and I know unpleasant things are coming as SEVERAL of the people who fed me the spouse blame bullshit can see it, but I'm done.  Man up, woman up, agender up, whatever is appropriate and either fix or end the committed relationships and THEN seek out new ones.  It's not that freaking hard.  I've hard so many excuses, kids, financial, partners are fragile, but none of them is an appropriate reason to harm their families.  And I really don't know anyone who grew up with parents who did that who aren't harmed by it in some way, myself included.  I have yet to meet one who says "it had no impact on my understanding of commitment, honor, responsibility, and personal feelings about and in my family". 

Meh.  Untwisting my past is hard.  So thanks for the trust issues you started there Dad, but I don't really want them and am trying to work them out of myself as much as I can.  Where we started is clearly not where we have to end up, or a board like this wouldn't even exist, let alone welcome me.  But I did open the can of worms, and now all I can do is watch them wriggle out and hope they have the sense to take the oppurtunity to go back to the dirt where they belong instead of trying to live in my head anymore.

So I think summer has finally hit.  Or it's all a cruel, Bree-squashing joke of the weather and global warming.  But the pool is up, there has been swimming, Nikki's mood is lifting steadily as the Zoloft seems to be taking effect, and there is talk about getting the grill cleaned up and prepped for the season. 

We planted one of those gorgeous Japanese Seiryu maples on the side of the house, please live little tree, take the transplant well.  Gave it root encouragement liquid (dunno what else to call it) and fertilizer and keep it watered while it adjusts to it's new surroundings.  If left to my own devices I'll turn that side yard into a little grove of nothing but small trees.  I have some sort of daylily I think growing along side the house, gorgeous purple flowers...that are too heavy for the stems and dragging on the ground, amusing Nikki.  Poor plants.  And the Great Detangling of the Honeysuckle must occur once I get off my lazy rear and go buy some new trellis to train it along.  I think it's time to get some lily of the valley planted.

The overarching scent of my childhood is lily of the valley and honeysuckle.  It was everywhere in my grandparent's yard, and all the memories have that smell attached to them (Unless it was winter).  I love those smells.  It's funny how as children we are racing to get out into the world and away from home, then as adults spend so much time trying to recreate those childhood homes.  At least the plants were easy to care for ones, I'm Death Incarnate to roses and other fussy plants.  Nikki says they literally quail at the site of me at the store, he can see their quaking branches as I pass. 

Things are very mellow here, he's happier than he's been in a long time, so I'm relaxed and able to focus on Bree things a bit, and only three more months of toxic job from hell for me.  Next summer is going to be even better when I don't have to go there.  :) 

SO we're all still alive and well here, just knee deep in getting everything set up for summer fun.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have got to go find something for this bug bite rash, they ate me while I was weeding. LIttle insect jerks who eat people alive. 

Today is 18 years since that first date.  I took the day off, and Nikki took Sunday off, and we're going to have a three day weekend together.  I want it to be awesome.  I want him to actually enjoy himself, and have a good time, and to reconnect about something fun instead of trying to manage all the things going on, just for a few days.  Here's hoping. 

We came away from Nikki's doctors today with the awareness that diabetes might be rearing it's ugly head, that part is pretty unpleasant, but on a brighter note we also came away with a prescription for Zoloft to help with the biological part of the dysthymia.  FINALLY!  I hope this stuff works, I hope none of the potential bad side effects manifests, I just want Nikki to be better.  And, in a weird way, I am happy it took this long.  The doctor was thorough making sure she's giving him the right prescription for the right reasons.  That matters hugely, I just sound ungrateful because I was frustrated and it's hard to be on the outside watching someone else suffer and you can't help.  It really, really sucks. 

So today I"m pinning all my hope on this stuff, and maybe that's foolish, but it will or it won't work, doesn't hurt to be hopeful right now. 

As of August 31st I'll be going back to being a house turtle for Nikki.  Just knowing there is an end has lifted a lot of the stress of it all.  On top of my add issues and everyone thinking I'm stupid, there is a lot of bias because they're all Christians and I'm an atheist (something I did NOT introduce into any conversations, but my supervisor who is also my aunt did), I'm a liberal in a conservative group (same deal, I had no need to discuss things at work, but she apparently felt the need to announce my views for me), and there was an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker when I had finally snapped everyone should be treated equal and he said he bet I was the type to believe you could be born in the wrong gender too.  This was just before I found out about Nikki, and after finding out it's just really uncomfortable for me on every level there is, from actual work only where it's so disorganized and unstructured I never get anything right to the social aspect of it.

And I still feel like everyone judges me for not being better at it, for giving up and taking over the home things and letting Nikki deal with earning a living, for whatever.  It's so socially trained in me that I have some sort of duty to do something 'productive' by everyone else's standards that now there is a sort of internal shame struggle that makes no real sense.  I suppose it comes from being out of step with everyone else my whole life, I just automatically assume everything I do is wrong on some level. Nikki has been great about it, and keeps reinforcing how important it is to him that I"ll be more available to him.  That helps. 

Sometimes I just make myself crazy.   I'm torn between freedom from having to force myself to try to get it right and feeling like I'm letting everyone down.  Gyah. 

Well, crap.

By Briannah,

So.  Since we both have tomorrow off, and I was feeling the joy of having time to get some things done, and its' a gorgeous day outside, we decided to clear off the porch of all the winter and home improvement debris that has collected on it.  It was going well when we were moving the cardboard boxes off the porch to take to the van when we found...kittens.  Yup.  Six tiny little kittens about twice the size of a gerbil.  Have I mentioned my neighborhood has a stray cat problem?  So we called around, and the humane society's foster program is full, and the rescue has a $30 fee per animal, and I frankly can't afford a $180 bill for six cats that are NOT MINE.   Both my cats are male, neither had kittens, and both have been neutered and i have the vet records to prove it.  They are feral strays, but young enough to be domesticated, if someone would take them. 

So now I feel bad because the plan is basically let the mother take them and move them to a new location, and they will grow up and have more, and our neighborhood will continue to be overrun by feral cats living short, hard lives.  The average lifespan of a feral cat is 5 years, compared one in a good home at 15 to 20 years.  And they are young enough that they wnated to interact with us, and could be easily domesticated.  I feel like I failed them, but there really isn't anything I can do.  We literally cannot feed them every two hours like they  need with our job schedules, so taking them in and finding homes for them when they are weaned to normal food isn't possible either. 

Sometimes there is no good answer.  :(  And of course Nikki is sad that I won't let him have the one that looks like Yuriko.  But we have four pets right now, and we need to keep reducing the number, not growing it both for our financial changes and consideration of people who have to care for them when we travel.  I still feel bad saying no though.

Writing that was hard.  I tried to be overly articulate, and it was crap. I tried to write it like a report, and that was crap.  Finally I just freeform wrote it, fixed typos, and e-mailed it without reading it over and over and judging myself.  Writing it reminded me how scary a trip this all was, and also made me see how much progress I'd made.  I"m not angry anymore.  I'm still working on that full trust, but that takes time.  Admitting to my fears and problems with the things people have said to me wasn't scary anymore, it was just, this happened to me.  Do what you want with it. 

I guess I really am doing as well as I thought, and writing a 'here is my story' helps me see it. 

Off to bed now.

Ugh.

By Briannah,

I do not have the time to have some kind of stomach flu on mothers day.  Must get my innards under control and soldier on.  People are expecting calls, and while I've hit the point I don't necessarily care anymore, I do care about not making my life difficult.  *headdesk*  My timing, as ever, is incredible.  Blow out my intestings adn surgery on the third of july, massive actual case of influenza (the real stuff, not the tummy kind) for my birthday and anniversary one year, stomach flus on christmases and thanksgivings, Dengue fever on a cruise...if it's  boring wednesday I have to work I feel great, if it's an awesome time to enjoy, sick as a turtle. 

MEh.  *Slinks off to find some tums or something*

So I'm writing this one slowly, trying to gather the whole thing into a coherent narrative for Erica Ravenwood.  Because when I was first struggling with my new reality, and it was scary and terrifying and I didn't know what was going to happen, I went looking for the stories of other people in my shoes.  But...they were stunningly hard to find.  And when I did find them they were usually stories told  years later after a long period of painful adjustment framed in such a way as to show that marriages can survive gender reassignment and that 'leaving was not an option' for these partners.  Which is good, important, but...where were the other stories?  The ones like me that didn't know what was going to happen, what they wanted to happen, stories talking about the process of finding out and dealing with the secrets, the confusion, balancing our needs vs. theirs...during the time with  all the flying emotions to help us feel normal and okay and have a direction where to go?  I'm really grateful to Erica for inviting me to put my voice there too, it is validating to know that the partners matter also and our feelings and life experiences may help both sides of the relationship coins for others. 

So I tried to leave my voice on this site for others like me, and I will try to leave my voice on her site for people too.  Not because I'm special, I'm really not, I'm just a girl who loves her husband, son, animals, and all turtles of the world.  But because I'm not shy and I have no shame about any of this and think it should be talked about, and want to be there for the future Bree's to help them, and the future Nikki's.  Because calm Bree was way more helpful to him than flipping out falling apart Bree was.  :)   Partner sections on transgender forums are SO quiet.  I guess I dream that partners, both men and women, will realize it's okay to talk to each other and find support and answers and just camaraderie like our transgendered mates do on these sites.  I think it would help partners a lot, but so many of us are almost trained to just suffer in silence when marriage isn't the perfect cultural model of it. 
 

To be honest, throwing out that 'perfect' cultural model and letting our marriage evolve around our two individual personalities, including changing how it functions as we age and our needs changes, is what made it work.   We had a lot of talks before the wedding and after about defining what it would be for us, and dropping the cultural/media information about it, and we made a good go of it.  I met Nikki May 20, 1998.  Which was hilarious, as it was the same day of the year I met my first husband.  Apparently that is my 'marriage day'.  It's now 2016, and we're still going.  Problems come, problems go.  We get frustrated with each other, we support each other.  We drive each other batshit crazy, we make each other supremely happy.  The thing we don't do is be mean to each other, put each other down face to face or to others, or fail to prioritize us as a couple.  We learn what to do and what not to do from the examples of others, and we know when those examples don't apply to us. 

Life is good, even with all it's uncertainties.  Now if only I had some breakfast.

Between sitting on the sidelines while Nikki sorts out himself and our entire future, and watching my friend whose basically been soloing a marriage for years and a complete tantrum and horribly ongoing vilifying is thrown every time she points out her needs haven't been met in years because 'she doesn't understand what he is suffering' (while he continues to smoke, not do his therapy, not do his rehab physical work, and eat in ways that aggravate his illness daily), I've come to realize my earlier blog about being the partner sucks is only the beginning of what I'm starting to work through.  Not only is there an expectation that your needs will go on hold, there is a social vilifying if you don't live up to it.  People can and WILL call you selfish, evil, cruel, oblivious, and a whole host of other adjectives because you can't push the pause button on...being human. 

And even as good as I have it, there are times I want to slap Nikki.  Yesterday was one of them, when again, despite all the bending over backwards I am doing to try to support all the things going on with him, he again went after behaviors I can't control for my add anymore than he can control his with everything from crossdressing to anxiety attacks.  I do everything from involving myself in the dressing and making fun happen to grabbing the meditative binaurial beats to help him relax in an anxiety attack.  And we have this conversation every three to six months that you live with an add person, this particular thing isn't a behavior I can control.  Why can't I get the same care I give?  ARgh.  It's frustrating, because I spend so much time learning where there is compromise with him and what isn't something he can help, and I realize I subconsciously expect he would be doing the same, but he's not.  Sometimes I honestly think that he so made a lifestyle of suppression after his attack that he only half lives his life, including knowing me.  

But I still have it way better than some other partners I know.  And yet I hear mutual friends criticizing their support or perceived lack thereof of their varied physically and mentally ill mates, and I've come to realize there is this almost ridiculous perfection expected socially, at least in my area if not countrywide.  But I heard the same eye-rolling comments about things like this back in Jersey too.  "She shouldn't expect him to care about her day, he's got X issue!"  "How dare he want to go do something fun for a few hours, his wife has X, she needs him at home!"  And those are just the more subtle examples, it gets uglier. 

Not being in a current crisis state or healthy doesn't mean invulnerable.  It doesn't mean all the burden.  These people have needs that should be met also.  I'm just starting to percolate all this.  I have no idea what the human emotional mechanism behind all this is, but I'm tired and frustrated and really really tired of being told that there is something wrong with me or I'm not a good person/partner because I expect support back and to also have my needs met.  Or for having limits how far I can change myself for the sake of a marriage.  Even with my admittedly overly adaptive personality even for me there are just things i can't jettison and alter in myself, or i don't think I'll even be human anymore.

Of course, I'm putting most of it on hold while he's dealing with the depression and ptsd from the assault, but I still can reasonably expect him to not hold my disorder against me and that he will actually work to get better and not make this a lifestyle.  This current place we're in being a part of healing, fine.  Six months, a year, whatever.  It takes time to work through things, I know this.  But if he became like some of the other people I know who just live in this all about me and make a crisis a lifestyle, I couldn't live like this, and I couldn't even imagine expecting anyone else to.   Just yeah. 

Still working through my emotions and my place in this marriage I guess.  Some days really get so subsumed by Nikki that I actually forget i feel anything until it smacks me in the face. 

Thanks for listening, there isn't really much anyone can do about this I guess. It is what it is.  I"m going to work now.

Nikki is going through some serious painful topics in therapy, nothing I can do.  Not a thing.  He has to sort all of it out, and it will be good for him, but I'm not stupid, he's hurting and nothing I can say or do can take that away until he works through it all.  I'm here, ready with the comfort and the hugs and the reinforcement, but that only goes so far.  I suspicion everyone here knows that.  The sheer helplessness sucks.  I WANT to be able to help him, to make it all better, and make all the ugly past go away.  The only thing I can do is step back, and let him guide me in what he wants and needs from me right now. 

Being the partner sucks.  It was easier when I was the one dealing with my disorders/history, I didn't have to stand by helplessly.  I guess he felt like this when I was struggling.  Love isn't always joy.  Sometimes it's just suffering together through life and all it's mess.

Feeling frustrated and helpless is such an unpleasant combination.  ANd he keeps APOLOGIZING to me about it.  He has nothing to apologize, he's doing what he needs to do to heal so that we can have our happily ever after.  He didn't choose any of this, and I'm not a fair weather wife who can't handle feeling frustrated and helpless for a while.  The fact that I feel that way is because I love my Nikki. 
I'm going to go kill things in a video game now. 

Switch flipped.

By Briannah,

Now I'm clam and zen, because NIkki is dealing with some really hard deep inside personal issues iwth his therapist, and he needs me to be okay right now.  So I have since righted myself and gone back to practical one thing at a time mode.  It helps that I see the exit from Hell Job now that they have hired and are training my supervisor's replacement.  So she won't be there to guilt me into staying longer.  Relatives have that power sometimes, especially since you still want someone to come to Christmas dinner.  Summer starting is helping me relax and just do what needs done so that I'm calm and together for Nikki. 

I would take it all away from him and live with it myself if i had to so he didn't have to deal with anything but the fun stuff, but I can't.  :(

I thought I was doing better, then I came home from work today, and there it was, on the table, Nikki had picked it up. 

The box.

My cat is in a box.  And I'm just losing it all over again.  Because the reality that my cat is IN that box.  And that there will be more boxes as time goes by.  I think I tried to bottle it up too hard to be there for Nikki, to be calm and comforting, and the reality of it came crashing down with that box. 

It's a nice box.  With a plaque with her name on it and the day she died.  And a little round plaque with her paw prints on it.  That they made after she was gone, but still.  It was her last little gift to us, that impression of her little paws.  That box is going to bother me for a long time, but time will fix it eventually.  Now if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to go and hug my cat whose still with me and try not to think about future boxes as hard as I can.  And I ate some fudge.  It helped.  Didn't fix all the feels, but it did help a little bit.

Hugs to all of your, hope the world is being kind to you all.

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