I realized I haven’t been blogging nearly as much lately. I think part of it stems from having a weekly gratitude journal. I used to write about what was going on, but with my weekly “what was awesome in my life” private entry, there’s not as much need for that. I also think time (of course) and hesitancy from worrying who sees what I write have gotten to me.

More than anything, though, the time has been a factor. I have spent several months now always on the go, and it’s a pace I don’t particularly love. I enjoy doing fun and awesome things, but balance is a struggle, as always.  My time always gets even more stretched whenever I date someone. I told someone this weekend that I know when I need to break it off with someone when I would rather be with my existing friends than them. It isn’t necessarily that I dislike someone or don’t like them as a friend, but there has to be more than that to prioritize that date over other activities.

Weirdly, the guy I’ve been seeing most recently is moving at a glacial pace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to rush into things – I don’t commit quickly, and my preference is to date for a while and/or be exclusive before sex is involved – but this was too much for even me. Nothing makes you feel less desirable than a guy not making a move to do more than peck you on the lips after 5 dates. I mean, really? C’mon now.

So, unfortunately, that means that needs to end, because I don’t feel as excited or giddy before or after our dates. I don’t have a bad time with him, I actually enjoy myself a decent amount. The problem is, I can’t relax or let my interest grow if I spend so much time questioning where he’s at or if he even finds me appealing at all.  At the end of the day, it’s time and energy I don’t have, especially if it makes me feel worse about myself afterwards. I hate it because I like him and thought there was real potential there.

More than anything, though, it’s taught me a few things about dating. If I could communicate “rules” to people I may date, they would be this:

  • Never split the bill. On a first date, the man should pay (call me old fashioned, but I’m old fashioned). After that, either he should pay or you can take turns. When one person pays, showing gratitude and offering to pay is also polite. Or,  for example, if one person grabs dinner, the other can grab the movie tickets. Going straight up dutch feels cold and, to me, platonic.
  • Make one another feel special. You’re not just hanging out as friends, so don’t act like that – pay a compliment here or there, tease or flirt, hold hands, open doors, or remember something they mentioned on a prior date.
  • If you had a good time, text after getting home or the day after to reiterate that.
  • If you want to see the person again, make plans at the end of the date to do so. Don’t ask for a specific second date too early, or traps the person into answering yes. You don’t need to hammer out details, just the day. If this fails, ask me 2-3 days in advance.
  • Once in a while, make a phone call instead of texting. It’s so rare that it is immediately woo-ing.

Other than that, life is good. Many positive things have happened, and finally the bride-zilla wedding is over. I’ve been more removed from the kinky world than ever, though. I go to the vanilla board game events with kinky people attending, and I’ll be attending a party this weekend for the first time in months. I feel so jaded about it. I want to play and do kinky things, but I really have no desire to do so with a stranger in a public space. I also am sick of going to happy hours where I don’t know anyone and have to deal with bunches of creepy men, superficial youngsters (and yes I realize they’re my age), and painfully awkward folks. I know there are cool people at those places too, but it’s so much effort to find them. My kinky chosen family has seemingly dissipated, because people have paired off and are all engaged or about to be married, and they don’t all get along anymore, so common hanging-out events don’t really happen much. That, or the other friendly faces are always out of town.

The positive of less kink is that I’ve been reading more and connecting with my grad school friends more frequently. Those friends are fun and smart and awesome, so I can’t complain. It’s just a strange transition.

Small Town Girl

I went to a concert tonight that had Cassadee Pope, The Band Perry, and Rascal Flatts. It was amazing, and I had a great time (even though it was WAY colder than anticipated). Being under the stars, outside, jamming to country music just made me think about home, though. Not home like my apartment near the city, but home like the midwest.

I miss open spaces. I miss seeing the stars every night. I miss making dinner every night, watching TV or reading, seeing friends for low key, fun things. (There were still adventures, just less frequent ones.) I miss driving by cornfields.

I’ve always been a bit overwhelmed by the city, although I’ve definitely gotten more used to it and living across the river helps a lot. Thing is, I never aspired to live here. A lot of political science or policy-minded folks kill themselves to get to the nation’s capitol, but that wasn’t me. I wanted to work in public service, but living here was where my path took me, not where I set the GPS, so to speak.

I don’t think now is the time to leave…I don’t know where I’d go. I don’t know what I’d do for work somewhere else. I can’t help but wonder if I should be considering it more strongly.

At the very least, I need to work on being myself a bit more. I see these girls at the concert with boyfriends who love country, and I want that. I want a man who will two-step with me. I want to grill outside with a good country song on the radio and then cuddle with some wine.

My issue: men who like country music tend to also be very religious, live in rural communities, or work in blue collar jobs. None of those things are bad AT ALL, but the religious ones tend to judge my involvement in kink, I don’t live in a rural community, and my white collar work is apparently “threatening” to some men.

I’m quirky, and I get that. I believe in God. I’m occasionally conservative politically. I love country music and bluegrass, reality TV competitions (think chopped or project runway), and young adult fiction.  I love new technology, science trivia, dan savage, and lists. I’m independent. I love travel, writing, and photography. I’m also kinky, and I occasionally go to parties with public play, including play of a sexual nature. I’m not polyamorous.

Now to find someone who complements me in those things who doesn’t mind moving to the far out suburbs…

Revisiting Rules: The Why

I posted a week or so ago about how I like rules and structure in life, and how that permeates seemingly every aspect of my life. I realized today why that is, and how that impacts how I view myself. It’s amazing how 1) once you notice something about yourself, you see it everywhere and 2) one other person can give you so much insight about yourself.

So, I like rules, structure, and discipline. It’s what I value more than almost anything else. I realized – I had almost no discipline or structure in my family life or growing up. The only discipline I’ve had has been self-installed, provided through school, or from God (or my interpretation of my spirituality).

Creating and following my own standards and rules has given me the order I need to get through life successfully. Lately, I’ve been super stressed out, and I had a hellish week last week. I feel like I completely humiliated myself more than once at work, and then I got super strung out a couple of times this past weekend – high strung to a level I haven’t been in a while. I recognized that this weekend – that my inability to control things lately has made me a bit crazy, and my lack of kink or surrender has just further facilitated that – but tonight, it hit home even more.

After a date’s comment a few weeks ago, I started noticing that I have a tendency to act like a know it all, be stubborn, or speak before thinking in ways that overstep boundaries I feel are in place. Acting like a know it all with friends is something I thought I got past in middle school. Letting my impatience and stubbornness impact my ability to stay humble, respectful, and deliberate at work is something I thought I got through too, but I’ve messed that up. In the scheme of my losing my internal shit the last few weeks, I overstepped my self-imposed discipline, which I haven’t been able to let go. I disrespect myself and am so embarrassed for my lack of discipline in these work situations.

I know that while yes, at the exact moment of these incidents, people may have thought differently of me, but likely forgot it immediately following. I need to let it go. All I can do is know that this is a tendency, work to improve and forgive myself, and try to be as best a person as I can moving forward. I think I may discuss it with my immediate supervisor, just to ask him if he has any feedback on how I can manage those situations and if it’s in my head. I can apologize for being too opinionated or overstepping his management, and ask him to be honest if he feels I’ve done that.

Anyhow, more reason why sometimes, I think I’m too harsh on myself. I set up high standards, then sometimes lack discipline to follow them, and instead of being able to be punished and let it go, I harp on it over and over. Someday, I hope to find someone who can give guidance and instill structure in my life.

Book Review: Adulting – How To Become a Grown-up In 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up In 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown (See her blog here)

I give this book a 3/5 stars. It was a quick, easy read. The author’s tone is entertaining, and there are some nuggets of advice that are worth bookmarking. A lot of the steps are things that are obvious upon reading, but that you may never have listed before. It’s nice to have a reality-check reminder once in a while of how to take care of certain “adult” things.

Some helpful tidbits I earmarked (assume quotations unless there are [xyz]):

Adult isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. It’s the act of making correctly those small decisions that fill our day.

Step 6: Stop enjoying things ironically, just enjoy them.

Step 10: Be okay with being alone. … You, meanwhile, will be with yourself for the rest of your life, so you’d best learn to enjoy your own company.

If it’s making a galloping noise, it’s probably a horse, not a zebra. In other words, the simplest explanation is probably – not always, but probably – the correct one.

Step 17: Get used to giving more than you get. A natural transition, as we go from being kids to adults, is to go from being self-oriented to other-oriented. When we’re little, all this love flows to us, and none is expected back. That ratio has now changed, and if you don’t acknowledge it, you will not be a pleasant person to be around.

Step 27: Create a correspondence drawer.

Step 43: Every so often, bleach your sink, tub, and toilet.

Put smiley faces on your boxes [when moving]. It reminds you that you actually like your possessions, that they are not just hundreds of pounds of dog poop that you have to transport across state lines.

Step 72: Buy ‘The Joy of Cooking.’ 

Step 84: Do not fear the puff pastry. [Summary: put in fridge night before use, use a little flour, cut it up and put things in it, bake according to directions on box.]

Just because there is an idea bouncing around in your head does not mean it needs to be sent out into the universe.

Step 93: Do not RSVP ‘maybe.’ When someone asks you to do something, you have three options: Option A: Say yes. Option B: Say no. Option C: Say “Gosh, that sounds wonderful, but please let me check my schedule,” then get back to them within twenty-four hours with Option A or Option B.

Step 95: Learn how to make an appearance then bounce. [Summary: show up on time, hang out at least 30 minutes, chat with three different people, than say you cannot say – don’t qualify it with why not.]

You shouldn’t discuss something you feel intensely about, because your side of the conversation will probably sound like a lecture…interests are great to share; passions, people need to be careful about.

Step 116: Determine what you care about, then dedicate some of your time to it.

[Sign of a crazy person] Returning to a topic that you are not returning to, more than twice.

Step 130: Deal with line-cutters and their ilk as though they are sweet but dim people who need some gentle correction. … Your voice will express sympathy that they didn’t get this right the first time, but  optimism that with your guidance, they will manage.

Acid hurts the vessel that carries it more than any object it might be poured upon.

Step 169: Don’t verbally undermine yourself. … If you’re going to share your opinion, say it as though it were a declarative statement. Not a question? That you have? Floating around in your head? And you hope others will agree with? But if they don’t, that’s okay, too? Just say it. And if you really feel that unsure about it, then don’t waste that other person’s time with verbal waffling.

Don’t let the great be the enemy of good when it comes to saving. Something is infinitely better than nothing.

Step 218: Get comfortable with the idea of refinancing.

If the mere thought of checking on something (your finances, your health, a friendship) stresses you out, take it as proof positive that you need to check up on it sooner rather than later.

Step 243(a): Get a good steamer.

[Wash stains with cold water – hot water makes the stain set. Also – use hairspray to get it out.]

I navigate life by saying the super-direct, awkward thing we’re all thinking.

Step 296: Do well in your long-distance friendships. … Make sure you don’t go more than three months without talking on the phone.

Disassociating…or re-evaluating.

Lately, I seem to have random bursts of passion about things instead of my usual zest for all things in life. I think I need some mental relaxation. A lot has been going on, basically.

First, I’m back in the States! Yay! Another bomb went off while I was there, and it was a much closer call. I was definitely happy to be going back home. As much as I consider going for a year (financially, it’s the best decision), I can’t make myself face the risks. That, and after two weeks I was twitchy from loud noises; a year would give me actual PTSD.

On the positive side, my bosses at work are recommending me for a promotion, unprompted from me. I really hope it happens. Either way, it’s nice to have my work recommended.

I’ve been oddly uninterested in kink for a while now. I think it started by dating a religious guy and making me re-evaluate casual play – combined with feeling shitty after playing with too many coupled people and casual encounters. I haven’t really done much lately. I went to the rope event in May, and played at Rapture in March…but that’s been it, really. I haven’t been to the Crucible or BR in months either. I’m still very much enjoy bondage and pain, but I only want it with someone who I’m submitting to, which is rare to find. Basically, I’m seeking a Dominant man for a relationship, surprise surprise. The other kink stuff I really only want to do with a regular romantic partner, preferably one with power over me.

It’s a weird mood to be in, really, especially prior to Fusion. I’m not very excited for this year’s Fusion. I’m not prepared – I’m not packed or shaved, I don’t have classes selected, and I don’t have playdates all set up. I’m going without a partner (with friends, yes, but “solo”). There will be 1,000 people there and limited bathrooms. I have to cook my food and I don’t know if we have the right equipment to do so. It stresses me out. I am worried I will just end up retreating somewhere and reading for several hours. I just feel lonely in my kink. I need someone looking out for me that I can play and grow with, and without that, it all feels empty. I’d love to be the type for casual encounters, but I have never mastered that, emotionally or physically.

On the other hand, I’ve had some shitty family stuff get even shittier lately (that gets a post of its own), and combined with the warzone crap, I could use some BDSM. As the title of the post indicates, the more shit that I think about, stress about, etc., the more I just disassociate altogether and start feeling like nothing matters. It makes me question what I’m doing with my life. I’ve intended to find a place to volunteer, start going to services, and work out more – but I seemingly never have time to catch up, let alone get ahead. Ugh. I could use something to make me feel, make me forget and stop thinking, and allow me to let go. I just don’t know who I can trust to take me there anymore.

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.

Tips to Getting Your Shit Together

A friend’s tumblr referred me to a few great articles lately: 50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily and 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People. Below are the things that I need to remind myself of regularly.

Things of note from the first article:

  • One In, One Out: Avoid clutter by adopting a replacement-only standard.  Every time you but something new, you throw out or donate something old.
  • Slow Down: Make time for yourself. Eat slowly. Enjoy a lazy weekend day. Take the time to do things right, and keep a balance between the rush-rush world of work and the rest of your life.
  • Don’t Break the Chain: Use a calendar to track your daily goals.  Every day you do something, like working out or writing 1,000 words, make a big red “X”.  Every day the chain will grow longer.  Don’t break the chain! That is, don’t let any non-X days interrupt your chain of successful days.

Things of note from the second article:

  • The people around me are the people I chose. If the people around you make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault. They’re in your professional or personal life because you drew them to you–and you let them remain.
  • Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.  Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we. Ask them why they failed. They’ll say the economy tanked, the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say it was someone or something else. And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures. Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail. Most of the time, though, it’s you. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That’s why they’re successful now. Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.
  • Volunteers always win. Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do. Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to act. Successful people step forward to create opportunities.
  • People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do. The people who pay you, whether customers or employers, earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail. Instead of complaining, work to align what you like to do with what the people who pay you want you to do.