Protected: Gratitude Journal 1 (1/4 – 1/10)

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I’ve been so stretched for time, I haven’t blogged in a month. I haven’t kept up with my positivity journal, or processed anything, and it stresses me out even further. It’s not a great place to be in, mentally.

Things have been crazy. I was out of town for a week on vacation. I’ve been home for 18 days, and I only spent 3 of those nights at home/by myself. Seriously. Between different groups of friends and a new dating prospect, there has been NO TIME. Two of those nights I was home were spent building furniture. I’ve wracked up about $2500 in debt this month alone from furniture-purchasing.

To add to my general state of stress, I’m going to the frontlines again for work for two weeks, leaving this weekend. Preparing mentally, packing, and getting things prepped at work hasn’t been easy.

If that wasn’t enough, I had to move rooms before leaving, which meant painting one room, repainting another, and a variety of random home improvement things. I’m still bummed because I didn’t have a chance to go through my stuff as I moved it (I wanted to purge unused things), but at least it’s moved and it looks good.

Further, my sister has been hospitalized 4 separate times within the last month (mental hospitalization). She’s been brought by cops each time. Two times, drugs stronger than weed have been involved. She’s officially bipolar manic depressive with psychotic episodes, and she doesn’t take her meds. She was evicted, and her fiance is apparently on the edge of breaking up with her. My mom is about to lose her shit because of all the stress. It sucks. The phone calls bringing up my past and spewing emotions and insanity whilst threatening visits aren’t helping either.

I have so much to process and think about, especially to try to recount positive memories as of late. There have been some. Unfortunately, I think I’ve been a panic-ridden mess lately to most people in my life. I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. My to-do lists seem never-ending, and I just haven’t had the time I need to decompress.

I’ve been sort of seeing someone; it’s casual, but we’ve gone out 7 times. I have fun when we’re together, despite the fact that there are tiny things that don’t appeal to me. I’ve been more attracted to others, and it’d be great if he were a more decisive, gentlemanly type…but he treats me well and is open-minded. He’s much less experienced than anyone I’ve ever been with, and more religious. I do like him. I feel like crap though because the last three times we’ve hung out, we haven’t gone very far sexually. (There have definitely been times when we were there, though, so it seems extra weird to have done things and then not do them.)  Tonight, I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t let go enough to enjoy myself. I’m so stressed, I couldn’t process. He seemed really ok with it, listened, cuddled for a hot minute, and talked as if he’d still be in touch/interested in hanging out/understood…but I feel bad. I feel like a tease. I don’t want him to lose interest because of it, but I don’t want to do things I’m not in the mood for either. Then, of course, as he was leaving I was able to relax a bit more and sort of get into it…but then it’s too late.

In times like this, I need a man who will pin me down, look in my eyes, and command me to focus on the moment and him. Then, he can slowly kiss and caress me and I’ll get into it and relax and we can all be good. He can use pain to draw me to the moment if I start to drift away mentally. This is where kink helps me relax into things. I’m so out of control right now that I’m worrying about everything. We’re making out, and I’m still thinking – about what may happen, how he’s doing, if my roommate will hear, etc. He takes the initiative to get pinchey/bitey, which is awesome, but I need someone to assert and take control of the situation in a way that leaves me no choice, otherwise I still worry and feel like I should be controlling things. Feeling like I should be in control when I’m so incapable of being so at this moment makes me worry and not relax. Ugh. How do I explain that? Do I? I guess I should, should we see each other again, that way he can try to do it…he’s been open to trying things before. But then, part of me just wishes I could find the right Dominant man who would just *be* that way.

Assorted Random Things

I bought an incredibly sexy pair of heels today; they’re this perfect fuschia color, about 3 inches, closed toe suede pumps. They are fabulous. I want to wear them everywhere, with everything.

The weekend was good, busy as usual. I need to slow down. I have been so busy, and the next few weeks look equally busy. It’s   a fine balance…part of me thinks if I had more down time I’d be productive, the other part thinks I’d get really overly emotional. I’d crave even more strongly letting go for a weekend. Sometimes I wish I had much lower standards.

Work has been ridiculously political as of late. I may have gotten a promotion…at least the promise of one. Our head dude said he wants me to run my next project. That responsibility should be with folks 4 grades above me. The deputy may not be on the same page, so it’s uncertain if it’ll happen. Word leaked, and it’s already pissing folks off. There are 3 people in my office younger than me (cue: I’m one of the youngest). There are people with far more experience than myself who haven’t gotten to run their own projects. It’s frustrating to them that I would be given the chance. On the one hand, I understand. If I were in their place, I’d probably feel the same way. They haven’t worked with me, so in their eyes, what makes me different? On the other hand, I know, as do my direct manager, the guy above him, the head dude, and a few tertiary folks, that I’ve been running our job. I have a lot to learn, and I’m far from perfect, but I do my job well. It’s gratifying to be recognized as excelling at what I do – I still maintain this field is perfect for me. The particulars of my office are shaky sometimes, but the field is still well-suited.

Randoms 2/5

Lately, I think I’ve broken my funk of the last several months. There’s still some stress, but I’ve generally been getting things in order and living life, and who could ask for more? Some things that have helped me a lot are trying to stick to my new year’s resolutions/tracking lists, and using an “awesomeness” journal. I read a lot about people writing every day about things they are grateful for, or one sentence about something happy, etc., and so I’ve been utilizing the private features of WordPress and doing something similar. Each week, I’ve written some bullets of the things that happened during the week that I consider awesome. Over 4 entries, I’ve had over 30 awesome things, and it really makes me appreciate the life I’m able to live. I highly recommend this exercise.

Random accomplishment revelry: I FINALLY registered my car!! It only took 7 trips to the DMV…but it’s done! I’m officially a VA resident now in every way.

I’ve been a lot happier at work lately. Where we are in our report means is very tedious – we have to source every single number and statement so that a cold reader could come to the same conclusion (for every bit of our 17pg report. It’s a bit frustrating, because, as per usual, since I did most of the groundwork analysis and writing, my coworker/supervisor can only do so much of this. That said, it’s not hard to do, just time –consuming and tedious, and it leaves me feeling accomplished because I get to walk through what I’ve done. Hopefully my hard work will pay off. In the meantime, we have a lot of new staff and some leadership changes, which keeps it interesting. I also started doing yoga at lunch with two women I work with, and it has done amazing things for my mood. Yoga is surprisingly more challenging than expected. I can do the poses, but holding and connecting them isn’t simple. I love the soreness of using different muscles, I like the break in my day at work, and I like socializing with some of my cooler coworkers (it makes it a much better environment). Only took 8 months to find people I can hang with here…

I really overcommitted with restaurant week this year. February in general, really, is just too busy and expensive. Rather than flake out of things, I’m trying to live in the moment, budget where I can, be healthy how I can, and wait it out. Then, in March and April, I’m going to make a much stronger effort to do a little less.

I was especially thinking about that this past weekend. I drove up to Pittsburgh to visit some old friends, and first off – there’s nothing like listening to music and beautiful countryside to calm me down, seriously. Rural PA is amazingly beautiful. On the drive, I kept thinking how it would be to live in the country. In some ways, I really feel I could be genuinely satisfied and happy raising a family in the middle of nowhere, maybe writing and focusing on community activism or working in a low-powered job somewhere. I could focus on more creative interests and relax. There’d be few worries. A friend on Fetlife posted about being a homebody/nester, and I guess being from the Midwest, that resonates with me. I enjoy small groups, simple activities and get togethers, and time at home. Too much of that makes me antsy, but I like about equal parts into/extroverted activities.  In DC, I feel like being a homebody is seen as a negative thing, something to be ashamed of. This bothers me – why is it wrong to take time to yourself, to focus on those closest to you and not your outer circles, etc?

My friends in Pittsburgh (and Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, etc.) all live quieter lives. During the week, they focus on cooking, working out, reading or other hobbies, and then their weekends are full of social things. DC feels fundamentally different to me. There’s so much more of an emphasis on social connections here, and there’s generally more going on as it’s a much bigger city. I am envious of the routine of my friends’ lives. I want to figure out ways to create that lifestyle for myself here. I think I need to commit to regularly scheduled things somehow. I am my own worst enemy with this – I want to see everyone and do everything, and I’m not great at saying no to things I want to do, even if I sometimes should. Improving on that is pretty much what a majority of my NYE goals focused on.

Interesting life advice from random article online: Live with regrets. If you don’t have regrets, you’re not pushing yourself to try new things or take risks.

Holy Hell Work Week

So, I was at work for 13 hours later, and 11 hours today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m typically an impossibly hard worker…I’m just used to being able to finish everything and leave on time. I work very quickly, and that has spoiled me. When it matters, I put in the time – I once spent 12 hours in a row studying for an exam because that’s how long it took me to prepare notes. I do what I have to do to get my things done, and do so successfully. Again, it’s just rare that it takes me overtime to do so. This is new for me.

I really do love what I do. I love researching, interview, and collecting data. I like analyzing the data, putting together the logic, running numbers, and proving my argument. I love that it has an impact. I surprisingly am coming to enjoy grants quite a bit – out of nowhere, all my projects seem to be budget/grant related. Contracts are a bit of a bitch, but grants are interesting.

I don’t love my boss and his incompetence, the unrealistic deadlines we have because the most senior boss has a threat of firing due to new upper-upper management, the delays in getting information from other agencies, and the overall slowness and decentralization of the rest of government.

Good thing is, my boss gives me credit and acknowledges how hard I’m working. Hopefully, that will pay off in the long run. I also can earn extra hours so I can eventually take a vacation, which is nice.

Anyhow, I’ve been ridiculously busy of late. I got back from the holiday on Saturday, immediately turned around to go set up for, attend, and tear down Rapture. Sunday afternoon/evening I collapsed from exhaustion. Monday was work then an application for a fellowship all night, Tuesday was work then a BR class followed by grocery shopping and making chili (that of course didn’t turn out), Wednesday I worked until 9:30, today I worked until 8:30 then applied to jobs and now have to clean. Tomorrow I have plans for a game night, Saturday day is holiday activities in Old Town with friends, Saturday night may be piano bar, Sunday is ice skating… I anticipate working late every night next week, and next weekend every day has stuff planned. The week after there’s an interesting BR class and a concert… It’s getting ridiculous. WTF? I need to sleep! I need to rest! AHH! I want to see everyone and do everything, but we’ll see how long it is before I hit extroverted critical mass. I like being busy and I really want to see everyone and do all the things, but there’s only so much I can handle.

The more organized, anal, and in control I am at work – basically every hour I’m at work – I get more masochistic and submissive, and also a bit more sadistic. I want to hurt people, I want to be hurt, and I want to submit entirely with every inch of my being. Oh, the joy of it all.

8/26

First, on the buggy note: it wasn’t bedbugs, it was fleas. While better in that they are somewhat easier to eradicate, they also transmit disease, so that’s not great. It took 21 loads of laundry to wash everything fabric I own. After that, vacuuming, and a flea bomb, I’m hoping my room is safe. The rest of our apartment is still unknown. God save me from the fleas. In the meantime, I have new pillows and a new comforter, and everything I own is clean (yay options!). This also was a good push to buy mattress protectors to keep me from getting bedbugs in the future.

For a quick update: Life is good. Work is picking up, but only marginally so. I’m set to go to the war zone the second half of October. I’m a little bummed to miss Halloween, but it should be ok. I’ve realized that my boss isn’t exactly great at his job, so that’s a bit strange. It’s going to get tricky soon enough, trying to do quality work to impress the bigger boss without showing up the immediate one. Ugh. But, I have training soon, and that’s exciting too. Taking training makes me feel like I’m taking concrete steps to better myself and advance my career, so I’m trying to get as much as I can while I’m in this job.

Otherwise, I’ve gotten even closer to some vanilla friends which is great. I met some new people and have been seeing them more, which is also great. The positive energy of these people is awesome. I got to see Cirque de Soleil, which was amazing. I got to catch up with the old roommates, and that was also very refreshing. We did a color personality profile – I’m Blue dominant and Red secondary. This means I’m motivated by intimacy.

These are the do-gooders. Intimacy: connecting, creating quality relationships and having purpose, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of quality and service and are generally loyal, sincere, and thoughtful.

Reds are motivated by power, “Power: the ability to move from point A to point B and get things done, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of vision and leadership and generally are responsible, decisive, proactive and assertive.”  Blue and red are innately in conflict, because one seeks acceptance and the other approval, which are contradictory in nature. One seeks to share intimate details, the other seeks to hide intimate details. It was very interesting and insightful. Try it here: color code personality test.

So, while some things have been pretty good, I’ve had a lot of negative energy in my life the last few weeks as well. Aside from the fleas and relative discontent at work, some of my friends have been dealing with extreme relational complications. I take on the emotions of those around me a lot more than most, and it deeply bothers me for those I care about to be unhappy. I spent a lot of time trying to cheer other people up and listening to their issues, and the negative energy kind of seeped into me.

Thing is, I’m not big on being the center of attention, and while I can enjoy attention paid me, I don’t like all eyes on me especially during moments of vulnerability. I guess more specifically, I don’t like verbal acknowledgment or reminders that eyes are on me. If I’m in the throes of climax, I don’t want to hear spectators commenting on it, or on any part of the interaction. Even more, if there are any notes of negativity in those comments, the moment is entirely ruined for me.

This weekend, the negativity brought me down for a bit. I’m tired of people trying to make me jealous or mess with my head. Really, I need to stop being so willing to listen to other people’s issues. I don’t mind trying to be there for my friends, but sometimes what they are discussing intertwines too closely with things in my life and ends up leading to comparisons. I don’t want to be forced into situations where I’m putting my relationships and encounters side by side with someone else’s – it never ends well.

Basically, I need to learn either learn how to tell people to shut it, how to detach when listening to others, or how to minimize the time spent with people who bring me down.

Times Are A-Changing

It’s odd, really, because it’s now been well over a year since I started blogging. It’s been an exercise in thoughtfulness, really, and has been inordinately helpful as this past year has been ridiculously stressful.

Today has been reflective, which has been great. I have my apartment to myself for several days since I’m not going home for the holiday (and my roommates did), and I took today off work to kind of rejuvenate. I took care of some friends’ animals, got some food for tomorrow – I’m potlucking with two friends who stayed in the city, and went shopping. It was interesting buying clothes; I’m almost unable to shop in the larger women’s store. I bought three things, each in a different size, and two were in the smallest size available in the store. Because I’m bigger on the bottom than the top, I’m not quite out of the store, but it was an interesting experience. I also finally found some rain boots, and given the weather situation lately I’m very thankful for it!

With that, I’m almost to my 5% weight loss goal. I think this week will be it, assuming that I exercise self control tomorrow. I’m also planning to hit the gym in the morning and hopefully this weekend to help out. I might actually break out the Wii alone. I’m weird, I normally only play the Wii with other people.

Work has been great lately. It got very, very hectic for a few weeks, and then the last few days it slowed down a bit more. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility from several different avenues, and I’ve consistently gotten good feedback. It’s gratifying, and I love the work I’m doing which helps. I have my mid-point evaluation next week, I believe, and I’ve already been told it’s going to go well. I only hope the budget situation lends itself to hiring so I can stay on post-graduation!

Because the budget isn’t certain, I’m going to be starting my job search. This is primarily my goal for this holiday – I need to apply to all the jobs I’ve found. It’s sort of like an entirely separate course on top of everything else, because it is time consuming, especially if you want a chance at getting a job. A lot of the people I know in Pittsburgh have found jobs, especially within the healthcare program, which makes me feel behind.

School is going well. We’re entering the final range…I’ve got two papers, a speech, and a final left for the semester. I’m doing well in my courses thus far, so I hope to finish strong. Next semester, we really kick into high gear with our capstone project. I’m a little concerned about the time demands, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m trying to learn to channel my competitive spirit better.

I went to kinky happy hour this week again, for the first time in several weeks. It was nice seeing people, and it’s interesting how my interests have evolved. I took that kinky quiz again, and this time it went Experimental, Bondage, Masochist, Switch, Submissive… Submissive was actually at 59%, compared to the 93% it used to be. I think this reflects my mood lately well. I very much enjoy bottoming to pain, and I adore bondage, especially with rope. I still enjoy pleasing my partner and making people happy. I like direct, blunt, relatively authoritative, strong men. That said, I’m also incredibly stubborn, occasionally outspoken, and very independent. I like to push back, I don’t like it being assumed that I’m going to just sit back and take it. I understand that when I’m submitting, I agree to sit back and take it… but I’m less inclined to do so. Maybe it’s just a matter of not finding the right person, but I’m more on the kinkster/open-minded side than the submissive side recently.

I think part of this is that when I first got involved in kink in my fantasies, I was very young and inexperienced. Submission in part meant that I didn’t have to know what I was doing. As I’ve gained confidence in myself and I’ve gained experience – both sexually and in general as I’ve dated more and gain more comfort with men over the last few years, I have more of a desire to occasionally switch it up. I’m open to tying someone up, having my way with them. I don’t want to be in control all the time, or wear the pants in the relationship, but in the bedroom I want to be free to experiment outside of a particular role. I want to break out of the box! And yes, on some levels, someone expecting me to be submissive is kind of a box right now.

I also attribute part of this mentality to the level of stress in my life. Pain and bondage during sex is still a method of escapism from the stress and control of my life. Submission in a relationship, however, adds to the stress level. I just don’t have the time to put someone else first all the time, to be in service, or to accomodate that. When I’m spending time in a nonsexual way with someone, I want to argue and banter, have fun, and not be constantly focused on doing the right thing or following rules. Sexually, sure, I’m all yours. I might occasionally jump you and have my way too, but more often than not, I’m all yours. Outside the bedroom, nope, not my thing right now.

At the same time, I do realize and acknowledge that confidence, bluntness, and some level of take-charge/competitive/snarky dominance is incredibly attractive and sexy to me. Additionally, open-mindedness and kink-friendly is a must. I like exploring things and trying new things. If my sex life isn’t free to experiment, I’m also going to feel cages. Similarly, I want to be free to talk about my deepest fantasies too. So, vanilla folks are out, at least most of them.

Add in monogamous tendencies and compatibility, and BAM my pool of people just shrunk hardcore. Given the utter lack of time in my life, though, this likely isn’t a bad thing.