My new identity

I realized last night that in the first six months after I lost J, I both discovered that I’m actually a lesbian and I also really enjoy getting high.

This probably sounds bad and I can’t apologize for it. I didn’t think I even liked weed before, probably because all my previous experiences were with the sativa variety. It turns out that I love the indica variety, like a lot.

I don’t experience being high the same way other people seem to. I am intensely creative when I’m stoned. I have tons of new insights, which often helps me solve problems by looking at them differently.

I can almost guarantee that I wouldn’t have ever gotten into it if J were still alive. It just wasn’t a part of our lives but we both supported full legalization and had felt that way since before we met.

Given that I often use it to help me communicate with J, I don’t see a problem. But I know a lot of people would feel otherwise. Possibly one of the best and most positive effects of surviving J’s death is that I just don’t give a fuck about anything anymore. You got a problem with me fucking women and smoking weed? Cool, here’s where you can leave your complaints. You may notice how much it looks like a garbage can. That’s because that’s how little I value the opinions of randos.

All of this does have the effect of making me feel really liberated. Maybe that means that being married was confining but I don’t really think so. I would still like to get married again someday but I will make the decision a lot more carefully. In particular, I’m noticing that Cat has the same sort of emotional unavailability J had. We can still experience emotional closeness but as soon as I point it out, she backs away. (So obviously I’ve stopped doing that.)

I’ve already spent my time in a relationship with someone who wasn’t facing their feelings. I’m not going to do that again.

But I do have to talk with my therapist about why I’m still attracting people who are emotionally unavailable. I am sure it’s something I have to heal in myself and I want to start making some progress on it.

I’m also putting myself out there a lot more in terms of finding a lesbian partner and have a few good leads so far. I wonder if Cat will ever feel like I was the one who got away. I don’t think she will. But I know that I have a lot to offer in a relationship.

Tomorrow (or later today I guess)

Cat went down to see a show in San Antonio tonight with her adult son but she’ll be back tomorrow (assuming all goes well, knock on wood. With Texas highways, you can never be totally sure.)

She’s been really extra sweet to me all week. I actually talked to her on the phone for over 2 hours last night, which used to be extremely unusual for me.

I don’t know the reason for the apparent change in her behavior lately but she has been acting awfully girlfriendy towards me. Stuff like calling me when she’s on her way to class and then calling me again right when it’s over. It may be nothing and that’s what I’m assuming unless or until she tells me otherwise, which I don’t really see happening. We also have plans to see each other on Valentine’s Day but you know we’re only friends. Friends who normally only do things on the weekend but whatever.

I like it, though, quite a bit. I forgot how good it feels to have someone kinda prioritize you.

She’s already told me that she expects to be back early enough that she’ll want me to come over tomorrow (today.) I told her I would be fine with postponing until Sunday or later because I know going to San Antonio is exhausting, but she said she is really looking forward to seeing me.

I had kind of a tough day today otherwise, so that felt good. I got a couple of articles done and ran some errands but it didn’t feel like I did enough.

I had a talk with Dyl that didn’t go well. I’ve tried expressing a lot of appreciation for his cooking, even though it’s often not really my preference. I told him about my eating disorder seemingly getting worse, including the fact that I probably need to go inpatient somewhere but Medicare probably won’t cover it. I just basically pleaded with him to make a couple of meals I would like to eat. He can be as creative as he wants the rest of the time.

I don’t think I really got anywhere with him and I still ended up hurting his feelings. And then I talked with my mom and she was extremely and profoundly UNhelpful.

She basically told me that I can just put my foot down and take the kitchen back, and that’s all there should really be to it. And then she said that Dyl’s entitled behavior is something J and I created, so I shouldn’t be too surprised by it. (Hmm, she has also called him “entitled” once before. Which is her real opinion of him?)

And then she asked about Chloe and I mentioned that Chloe is kinda struggling with her job search and I don’t know much about it. She said I have every right to know. Whereas Chloe’s response to such questions from me is always that as long as she’s able to pay me rent and cover her car insurance, it’s not my business. I can’t see why I would disagree with her but my mom seemed to think it was disrespectful towards me.

And then my mom started in how Chloe not working is also our fault because we didn’t require more of her all along and we didn’t instill a good enough work ethic when she was younger. I was honestly extremely stunned by that. With everything Chloe’s been through since her early teens, I honestly felt like we’re all just lucky she’s even still here. Establishing a work ethic was kinda secondary, you know?

When J was diagnosed with cancer when Chloe graduated from high school (literally, he was taking his first ever chemo treatment that weekend), it seems pretty logical to me that it would make Chloe depressed. And then coming out as transgender after that complicated things as well, of course.

Hell, I think my honest reaction to my mom is just like how dare you?

I really felt like this absolutely came out of nowhere and I’m going to scale back on contact with my mom until she gets over whatever this is. THIS woman is also VERY familiar as my mom and she’s still extremely unsafe for my mental health. My real mom came back. I stupidly thought she was gone.

Right now, she has gone from being one of my biggest cheerleaders to being my most vocal critic. I also know that if I call her out on it, she will deny it and find a way to put it back on me.

I’m already questioning whether or not we handled things right with the way we raised the kids. I’m sure she knows that’s a very sore spot for me. And before today, she was full of praise about our parenting of the kids.

I don’t know which one is her real opinion, to be honest. Has she been lying this whole time about thinking we did a great job with the kids? Is this much more negative view of my parenting how she really feels?

But there’s also a timing issue. I am at about the lowest point I’ve been in. Why the fuck would you decide that this is an appropriate time to tell me what I should have done differently? Like there’s no way possible to fix it now, sorry but you failed. And here my mind goes to has she really been waiting for the opportunity to tell me I was a massive failure as a parent? Is it kind of like the ultimate “I told you so”?

This is the shit I grew up with, the thing that always made me doubt myself. But this time, I think I caught it in time and recognized it for the mindfuck it really was. We’ll see what I think of this after I’ve had some sleep but right now it’s pretty egregious to me. I feel like it was a complete mindfuck on so many levels. Which one is the truth?

The neurologist visit

I finally got in to see my neurologist today and it didn’t give me the answers I hoped for but I suspected were true anyway. And they are.

Yes, my disability is getting worse, just as I feared it was. It’s kinda funny because I live in such extreme denial about my health. Really, about almost everything, but especially my health.

I’ve told myself since I first got disability that I fully believed that I would be able to get off of it someday, despite the fact that I didn’t have any reason to believe that. It turns out that I was actually very wrong.

Yes, my disability is getting worse, not better. I thought it was somehow within my control but it’s obviously not. My legs hurt pretty much all the time and honestly have since I had that mishap (whatever it was?) with my car being unsafe to drive. I’ve never really recovered from that, which sounds so incredibly stupid to say.

My sleep schedule is also really fucked and isn’t getting better either. I have another appointment with the sleep specialist at UTSW. I also have an appointment for an MRI of my brain, my first one in 4 years.

I thought I was fine, mainly in a holding pattern. But it turns out that I’m actually not okay and my disease has been progressing all this time. But there’s not anything they can do to stop it, either, so it’s not like more regular checkups could have prevented anything. I just have to live with the fact that I’m getting worse and try to make the best of it somehow.

Mostly, it just really makes me miss J all the more. He always had my back, even when we didn’t have enough money to do anything that made a difference.

Now I have to hope that someday I will find someone else who loves me like he did but I’m not exactly seeing people lining up.

Weirdness

Yesterday was truly weird in just about every way.

It started with Amy calling me because she was listed as one of my emergency contacts, then Chloe came in to check on me for the same reason.

Apparently, my Apple Watch somehow detected that I was having an emergency and contacted 911 and my emergency contacts. But there was no emergency so I’m not sure how that happened.

The cops called and came to check on me in person. I didn’t answer the door in time and neither did the kids but I had to explain to the cops that it was just an accidental alarm and I wasn’t having an emergency of any kind. And then because being nice is so deeply ingrained in me, I thanked them for checking on me.

But I also realized that I still had J listed as one of my emergency contacts, so I had to change that. I turned off his phone in like February or March last year and I didn’t feel weird about doing so.

But this, on the other hand, hit me so much harder. It’s not like I ever really thought he was coming back or anything but removing him as an emergency contact reminded me of how alone I really am and that felt awful.

I was still crying when Cat called me but I still answered the phone anyway, which I guess is something. I will let her see or hear me cry, which very very rarely happens anyway and it’s even more rare for me to share it with someone else.

I guess more than anything, it makes me feel grateful to have a friend like her. (With the added bonus of lots of good sex and plentiful orgasms.)

I talked to her last night about my decision not to call her my girlfriend because previously I had told her that I would. But I realized that she really isn’t and doesn’t want that label, so I’m not going to try to force the issue.

Yes, it still strikes me as weird to have a true friend with benefits but nothing more. In so many ways she acts like a girlfriend. She’s concerned about my health (especially my eating disorder) and my recovery from the accident, which is still ongoing. I’m not getting as much better as quickly as I expected, though I don’t know why I expected it to be faster.

We also talked at length about why I’m so annoyed when people compare my loss to a divorce. Yes, they both deal with loss and learning how to do things for yourself that your spouse used to do but that’s where the similarities end. When you get divorced, maybe you have to mourn your dreams for the relationship but the person is still alive, they’re just not yours anymore.

But when J died, we were the happiest we had ever been. I didn’t want to lose him, anything but. And now I have to learn how to be alone at midlife, when I absolutely didn’t expect it. I feel robbed of the future dreams we were on track to achieve. I can’t ever get that back, either.

Anyway, back to the other night. We got a total of three desserts when I saw her the other night. She wanted an affogato so I found a place that was still open. But first we went to a different shop (broken espresso machine) and got some truly god-tier tiramisu, though I still don’t know if it was really that good or if it was just because I was stoned when we ate it.

She had also picked up an additional dessert for me, intended to be eaten while stoned because we did that last week and it was 100% recommended. So I took that one home and ate it last night when I was stoned and it was SO good y’all. So good.

So she does these sweet little things for me on a pretty regular basis. And it honestly kinda fucks with my head a lot to know that in her view, she’s just doing nice things that include me. We don’t have more of a relationship guiding what she does; she’s just being a genuinely good friend.

I haven’t had that in quite a while, to be honest. And I honestly like it. I don’t have any illusions about what kind of deeper meaning it has because there isn’t one. But for now, that’s really okay.

I don’t honestly think I’ll be poly forever. I’ve had the committed monogamous marriage and I liked it a lot. But I’m not ready for finding that again quite yet. As I think I wrote the other day, I’m still wearing my rings and I don’t feel ready to take them off yet. Dyl suggested that I just date people in the poly community until I’m ready to take them off and I think that’s really solid advice.

I’m stoned all the time

I mean, basically. I don’t partake if I’m going to drive, so I can only do it at night.

It’s been a very weird couple of weeks. I guess it was Mercury retrograde, which sounds like bullshit but always seems to be pretty accurate. But I’ve also been a little drunk or stoned for the past few weeks, so that could be enough to account for it.

I went over to Cat’s last night, like usual. I think we’ve been doing this for 6? months. I don’t actually remember. But it’s been going on for a while and it’s still good, so I don’t see any reason to change.

She isn’t really my girlfriend but I have sex with her almost every week, always multiple times. I’ve never experienced anything like this anyway. And I text with her every day too. So she’s not really my girlfriend but kinda acts like one.

I could ask her next time I see her what the difference is but I don’t really care. I’m not going to end up with her forever but she’s a good intro to the local dating scene. I’m getting out and doing a whole lot more with more people, too. She has some pretty major commitment issues I think. But because we don’t have any relationship that at all resembles what I had before, I really don’t care. I might want to find that again someday but I know it won’t be with her. That suits me very well actually.

And because we’re not exclusive, I’m free to try to find someone else or in addition. That’s actually pretty nice, because I really do want to start dating more women. I actually feel like a lesbian lately, which probably doesn’t make sense but it does for me. It’s actually a pretty radical shift in how I see myself.

A really unrelated and probably really stupid thing: I always thought this band The Neighbourhood was kinda bland and boring. But now I’m hearing the rest of the album and I swear they made this album specifically with the intention that the listeners would probably be stoned. What I have to say is that none of this sounds radio-friendly LOL.

Thoughts a day later

Dylan told me that if I’m not ready to take my rings off (which I’m not, even though I know they’re only a symbol) I should just keep considering myself open to poly relationships. I think he’s right. Anyone who would want me to take off my rings before I’m ready isn’t worth having at this point in my life. It’s complicated but it is what it is.

I also want to say more about my very disordered eating, though. It’s not getting better and I don’t think I’ve yet lost all the weight that I’m going to. I don’t have any idea of what my new set point is. Who knows? It might actually be bigger than I am now, just because I am not eating anywhere near enough.

I just can’t eat more, though, I really can’t. I know that I should and I actually want to (to the point where I’d like to find edibles that will stimulate my appetite.) Yesterday I ate a PB&J and a microwave veggie lasagna that had 400 calories. Oh, and two Lindt truffles with the dried strawberries in them because those are delicious. But that’s still barely over 1,000 calories and I’m sure it’s contributing to my overall lack of energy.

I admit that I do get excited when I see lower weights on the scale than I’ve seen in 15+ years, though. But I don’t know how much of that is due to my eating disordered thinking, which has been a part of my life for more than 30 years. It just came back with a vengeance after J died and it isn’t letting go, but rather getting worse.

I’m really not sure what to do next. I guess I’ll ask my therapist about it (again.)

I’m just done

I feel like sometimes I over-communicate. (I’m hearing Cat’s sarcastic “ya think?” in my head right now.)

But I am just so tired of the way I’ve been doing things and I am really motivated to change. (Btw yes I’m a little high but the edibles were super weak, so I took more. I still wish I could find this one brand I tried again, because it made me so ravenous. I need to eat a lot more than I do but I’m just extremely not hungry. That’s maybe a topic for another post. But in terms of impairment, this is mostly still my “normal” voice.)

I’ve always been an over-explainer. I’ve heard that’s very common among people who had serious childhood trauma, because we’re used to feeling invalidated before we even begin talking.

I’m just done. I’m going to stop giving people extra explanations that they don’t deserve or appreciate. Some people just don’t have an innate sense of worldview, so trying to describe this foreign concept never gets anywhere productive at all. Some people just don’t deserve a lengthy explanation. Actually, the shorter, the better. This is where I stand. Period. I come off as super wishy-washy and I know that I do.

That shit is officially done now. I can hardly blame a few shitty people for taking advantage of it. (Not really; being shitty is being shitty, regardless of whether or not someone is so earnest. It might actually make it a much more serious sign that you would take advantage of it.) But I feel lucky that it hasn’t happened much more often than it has, which allows me to keep my the-world-is-mostly-good worldview intact. Seeing as how it seems like I’m experiencing a lot more miracles with this worldview, I am definitely not going to try to change it.

I should have trusted my instinct about Nash. I really am only interested in women. Even if I can feel a sense of physical chemistry with a man, that doesn’t mean they should be my partners unless I decide that I want them to be. The presence of that chemistry between us was a surprise to me, so it took me off-guard.

But this also brings up a mostly unrelated question: if I’m going to be seriously dating, should I take off my rings? I’m looking at a possible date with a woman this weekend, so I have really been thinking a lot about this lately.

I don’t even feel ready to take them off yet, even though I do feel ready to date. I just don’t want to let go of that reminder of J yet.

I have the tattoos that honor him, so obviously he will be a part of me forever. But the rings are different. They’re tangible. I’ve worn them for almost 30 years by now. I would miss them if they were gone.

I think there’s some extremely obvious heavy deeper symbolism in that and I need to go think about what that means.

It all changes too fast

So I guess my male lover isn’t going to happen. I’m honestly not too disappointed and I don’t feel any sense of rejection or anything, which I guess is a good thing.

He felt like it was moving too fast and so he pulled wayyyy back. He’s a very serious-minded person and isn’t one for laughing at life, which is pretty necessary for me. I wouldn’t have made it this far if I couldn’t laugh at the absurdities of life, you know? This past year has been absolutely insane, in both good and bad ways.

I can’t help but see it as a redirection, to keep my eyes on the real prize, which will be a relationship with a woman. I’d ideally like to find another woman to marry. I would just insist on keeping my last name because I am Holly Case and have been for 28+ years. For the sake of family continuity if nothing else, it’s important to me to keep my name.

My real dream is to marry a woman who wanted to take my last name, just because I think it would be awesome to honor J that way. But if it doesn’t work out that way, I’m still fine with it.

On a totally unrelated note, I mentioned to my therapist yesterday that I don’t know what I’ll be doing for income but the Trevor Project is still in play. I’m signed up to resume my training in early February.

But they also still have a full-time counselor position available overnight, which would work well with my schedule. They are now only taking volunteers who can work overnight shifts. I’ve been getting daily emails around 11pm almost every day, saying that they have an urgent need for crisis counselors to keep up with demand. I’ve previously expressed my interest in one of those jobs and was told (before I took a break due to my mental health, which they were very supportive of) that they would be happy to have me come back, whether as a volunteer or an employee.

But then my therapist asked about how that would work with my triggers and then the whole bottom fell out.

I guess we’re going to be working on processing my childhood trauma, which is considerable. The only memory I really have at all is of feeling actively suicidal in kindergarten. I remember everything about that day because Reagan had been shot.

Other than that, I have no memories at all of my life until I was 10 years old. My therapist said that is definitely not normal. I asked if a lifetime history of depression could account for the missing memories and she said usually not.

I know that my parents were involved with a church that was more like a cult. (If you want to know more, you can look up Jesus People USA.) They got out of that when I was 10, so it makes sense as far as the timeline of missing memories.

J always swore that he figured something had happened to me in childhood. I remember that last time I went home for a visit, I asked my dad point-blank if anything had ever happened to me and he very quickly answered that he didn’t think so because my mom kept such a good eye on me.

But the Jesus People movement is known for a few things, including that many of them were sexual predators. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that something did really happen to me. My mom wasn’t always around, you know?

Only now I have to go through this without J by my side to help me through it and I can already tell it’s probably going to be massive. My therapist thinks I’m ready and I told her almost exactly a year ago that I wanted to explore my childhood trauma.

I’m not really sure if I am really ready to face it, though. But now that I’ve seen it and have a professional opinion suggesting that it’s real, I can’t just close the box on it, even though I really really want to.

She had me finish my session with some butterfly taps (where you cross your arms and gradually lift up and set down each hand) and that exhausted me so much. I just wanted to go to sleep but I had to go get Dyl.

If yesterday was any indication of what’s to come, I’m really not looking forward to it. But I also know that it needs to be done.

She also said that she wants me to start going to ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meetings again. I went before and they were helpful but I dropped out of my group when we had to do step 7, when we were supposed to take a deeply honest self-inventory. I definitely wasn’t ready for it when I tried it years ago. Maybe I will be now, who knows.

Something interesting

One of the reasons that we still have a family dinner together is to continue having the kind of authentic conversations that have always been the “glue” that keeps our family together.

It also makes me really happy that Amy has established the same sort of routine with her boyfriend because she also feels it’s important (which it is, no matter the living arrangement. This is probably my #1 piece of relationship advice: eat dinner together as close to every day that you can. Having that dedicated space to focus on each other is so key. Obviously, these are no-phone spaces, too.)

Anyway, at dinner last night the kids pretty much described me as having come off a week-long bender. 😂

That really cracked me up. I did a lot of (sober) important parenty stuff too, I’ll have you know! But then I asked how they felt about that.

They both said it was fine and added that it made me a whole lot more relatable. They said they’ll let me know if it crosses a line but they don’t think it will (and I don’t either.)

Who knew, in all honesty, that someday they would see me trying to rebuild my life—after losing their dad, no less—and it would actually make them respect me a lot more. They actually trust me to make good decisions (which I really appreciate) and they also assume that I will. They both have also reached out to me for help when they got high (which we never did while J was alive.) All those things almost make me feel like I am somehow a better role model now? I can’t even wrap my head around that.

I can’t tell you how proud that makes me feel about the parenting J and I did.