Honour is what you know to be true about yourself

It’s one in the morning, and I can’t sleep.

I’m regretting the bar of chocolate I ate at the movie, whose caffeine might be what is keeping me awake. Mydog is ecstatic to be on my lap rather than in her bed beside our bed, but is interfering with my typing, as seems to be the Goddess given role of all small furry pets.

She occasionally gives me a little body language “what, are you still typing rather than petting me?” What can I be thinking?

What I’m obsessing about tonight is my hurt feelings about some volunteer work I’ve been doing. The women-run organization I’ve been donating some computer work to has rather high-handedly decided to hire a man (one of the women’s sons) to do the job I’ve been doing for free. I’m sure it’s personal, as the work itself I’ve done has been high calibre, prompt and efficient. I’ve ruffled some feminine oligarch’s feathers and have been replaced. The funny thing is that this organization prides itself on making decisions by consensus, and I know the woman I report to was not in favour of replacing me, which means she was outvoted by someone, a thing that is against the orthodoxy of consensus.

It is my unfortunate habit of pointing out just this type of thing that has made me unpopular. One of my favourite authors, Lois McMaster-Bujold, has a character who says something to the effect that the difference between honour and reputation is that your honour is what you know to be true about yourself, and your reputation is what others think, and to guard your honour and let your reputation take care  of itself, honour is far more important. You need to be able to live with yourself, above all.

Unless I have one or more alter personalities I don’t know about (which I suppose is scarily possible, given how little I know about my childhood), I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of. I am a bit too willing to point out elephants in the middle of respectable living rooms, and a bit too inclined to be blunt. Having been raised with only brothers, and a survivor of extreme abuse to boot, I’m not particularly polished in my women among women communication skills, to say the least. I tend to say what I mean, and expect others to do the same.

Anyhow, my feelings are hurt. Very hurt. I want to prove to them that they are wrong and I am right, and yet I understand that that is impossible.

My dog has once again gotten up, looked over at my overly bright screen and given me a look. Would I puh-leeze stop making typing noises and turn that light out?

My wife went to see the doctor today, who kept her waiting for an hour and then was dismissive to her. She did, however, write her a prescription for the two hormones that my research said would help her sleep, stop having hot flashes and make her peach more resilient. My brave wife talked about her lesbian sexual issues affecting her relationship with her straight, impatient, rushed doctor, and despite being brushed off, managed to get some of her needs met. She is in fact sleeping in the other room, which means that the progesterone is working as advertised.

In Canada, doctors don’t really have to care whether you are happy with how they treat you. Somebody really really needs to do a patient satisfaction survey. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be sick in Canada than say the US, unless I was independently wealthy, but the bean counters that tell doctors how much time they can bill for a doctors’ visit are woefully misguided about how long it takes to do a competent job. Lesbians, in particular, don’t go to doctors often, and so when we do go, it’s because we have something chronic that we can’t fix on our own, or serious and acute. Iether way, fifteen rushed, impatient minutes aren’t going to do it, particularly when it’s something sensitive and hard to talk about. I told my wife how proud I am of her bravery and gave her lots of love.

I really hope this helps. Our marriage needs her to be able to be physically affectionate with me again, to be able to cuddle without a sweaty hot flash, and to sleep well enough that she’s not achey and constantly cranky.  I’m too young to stop having sex, and I’d rather break up that consign myself to a lifetime of celibacy.

I have to remember that I have people who love me, and that my honour is more important than my reputation.

I am proud of managing to eat and drink healthier. I’m drinking  a lot more water than before, and eating smaller portions, slower, for the most part. I haven’t lost any weight, but I’m pleased at the better habits. I’ve also been doing more chores, something that is only fair. I’ve been listening to a hypnosis recording about the positive diet and exercise habits,and am pleased at how it is sinking in. I listened to it tonight, hoping the voice would lull me, but no dice.

Honour before reputation! I trust and believe in myself and that’s what’s important, I tell myself. However, it is frustrating to have such terrible skills or something with women’s groups. Seeing how I’m a lesbian, it’s a bit inconvenient. It seems to also be mostly cliquey older women I run afoul of. I can think of three times this has happened in my life particularly. I’ve developed a real distrust of baby boomer women in groups – they seem to often circle the wagons and cut me from the herd, instinctively.

There was something on the Blooming Lotus blog about how Faith (the author of the blog) noted that it is a survivor thing to not get complicated social clues. She gave the example of not bringing a gift to a birthday party where the hostess had asked please no gifts, and then discovering that not only had everyone else brought a gift,but the hostess made a big production of opening them. What the F? This is the sort of thing I run afoul of I’m guessing. I think I read up on what egalitarian consensus decision making is supposed to be and then assume it is like that in real life, when in reality one is supposed to respect the established pecking order, and not act on the assumption that one is equal.

I didn’t get the memo, and I spent most of the time I would have learned all this doubtlessly useful social strategy keeping myself from getting raped or starved too often. I am smart and successful, and I hate being pitied or condescended to, so I don’t show my vulnerabilities often. This means that people probably think I’m thicker skinned, a lot thicker skinned, than I in fact am.

My wife had a good insight about the endless meetings this group has. I can hold it together for an hour or two of meetings, without saying something overly blunt or trying to hurry things along and get stuff done, but after that all bets are off. This group had collective meetings of 10 hours long, with meal breaks, but still. I’m too sensitive, emotionally and psychically, to hold it together and not say something blunt, when awash in all kinds of social ambiguity and murkiness for so long. I don’t really even understand what I’m doing, only that alpha women in groups really don’t like me. I was going to say women over about 60 years of age, but that’s not always so, it’s more like women who feel entitled to dominate by virtue of some status deriving from something other than role, competence or service, like age, or length of time with the organization or position in some invisible (to me) ruling oligarchy. I just don’t recognize those types of statuses, and don’t really want to. People often tell me, after we’ve become friends, that at first they found me intimidating. These women are usually women I have come to respect, or who seem older or more knowledgeable, so I’m usually surprised to hear it, although I’ve gotten used to it. I think my persona is a lot more amazonian than how I feel inside.

Blah blah blah. I’m sorry to be navel gazing to this degree at almost two in the morning, but I really am sore and stiff from being distrusted and shunned by yet another group of women. It’s not like I don’t have lots of friends, I do, it’s just this group of women in power thing that seems to trip me up. I have come to think of it as them being threatened, and trying to exclude me or put me ‘in my place’ but honestly I’m at a loss here.  I’m sure there are some sort of mommy issues attached, I certainly don’t respect or defer to my mother, and for good reason.

Baxter and the Birds by Vurnman
I chose this picture, called Baxter and the Birds, because that’s how I feel sometime, like I’m a pretty straightforward dog, unable to speak the language of birds. Or perhaps I’m a cat in a pack of dogs, or a dog in a pride of cats. Baxter is having fun, which I sometimes do hanging out with groups of women, but it does capture the different species thing. If I didn’t know I was a woman, I’d swear I was a man. My wife says I’m like a man sometimes. I don’t really get the trans thing, not that I don’t think people don’t have a right to self-identify, but because, honestly if someone plunked me down in a man’s body, I’d get on with being a man. I’d probably feel no more out of place than I do now, and except for the systemic sexism and the fact that I was raped by a man for the first time at the age of five, I’m quite happy being a woman.

Wedding Canopy

This picture is of someone’s real wedding canopy, it’s called Magical White Wedding by Ronsho, from Flickr.

Our wedding was magical. It was a blessing of us and of our families. It would be so hard to separate out again, to lose touch with her family, who have become my family in a way mine haven’t been. I can’t help but feel that the Goddess wanted us to be together for a reason. It might be that it was a time limited thing and we’ll be separate now.

I”ve been thinking about how it would work to stay in our house in separate suites, to kind of stay roommates and life-allies if we break up. It’s probably naive, although I have lived with exes after breakups before and it didn’t turn out so bad, actually. One ex girlfriend got together with another woman and we all lived together for years. It didn’t bother me a bit (well, I spent more time than usual out of the house for the first couple of weeks but not too bad) and I was glad to see her happy. The other woman was my friend too, so that helped. I don’t know if my wife could pull that off.  It’s probably just the ‘bargaining’ stage of grief – we can hold on to the things that are still good in our relationship, and be free too.

I love her. She’s my family. She’s my grounding, the source of a lot of my feeling of safety in the world. I would survive if we split up and perhaps grow in ways that I need to, but it would be sad. Perhaps I need to learn to feel safe on my own now, perhaps I am ready. Perhaps I need to do things I can’t do in this partnership. I don’t know. I don’t want to lose my home, iether by needing to sell it or by buying her out and having to have roommates to pay the mortgage. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to lose what intimacy I have with her.

May the Goddess guide me. May everything work out in the best possible way.

Blessed be.

Blog Art Therapy

I’m feeling a bit stuck for what to write. It’s like I’ve got no-one to talk to. All my friends are also at least partly friends with my wife, and the stuff I have brewing inside me is about the details, the nitty gritty of our relationship – our sex life, monogamy, and desperate hopes we can find a way to work it out.

Contrasting this is the sense that I’m gradually making my life better, that there is no part of this that the Goddess doesn’t embrace. I’m writing more on my book, reading more, singing more.

So I’m trying something new, I’m going to pick the photo that goes with this ‘story’ before I write it and see what my subconscious wanted to say when it was drawn to this picture.

The picture is of a yellow flower, in the foreground with a beautiful background, standing alone, above the others, with a bee on it. It’s like I’m out in the air, not surrounded by support and community, but all alone in a quest for my true life, my right life, that seems like a walk all alone. It feels intense, colourful, and lonely. I feel beautiful and soulful and lonely.

My wife and I have been sleeping apart, but have a more emotionally intimate connection when we are together, which is I think in part because of something I’m doing. I was reading this relationship book (I’ve been reading a lot of those lately) and it suggested ‘getting into the puddle’ of experience with your partner. Making a conscious attempt to attune with how she is doing without trying to change it. So if she’s wrapped up in something and I feel ignored, I can sit next to her and have empathy for what she’s getting out of it. Or if she’s tired or upset , I can synch up with her and connect. I don’t feel as alone, and she connects with me without feeling like I’m demanding she does so. It’s kind of hard to describe. When I do it, I feel more connected to her, and she seems to connect with me more. So I feel less alone. She’s not a big talker, so trying to initiate a conversation didn’t do much to make us feel intimate, but this kind of energetic intimacy seems to open a door.

I’m feeling kind of okay with us splitting up, provided we stay connected in some way. I know of couples who stay partners and family in some senses, even after they are no longer a couple.  I know she’s thinking about our relationship, and is finally motivated to get her hormones sorted out, I’m just not sure if we can turn things around. We have a deal and the first step is her trying to get her hormones sorted.   I’ve gotten used to the idea of creating my life from scratch again, and I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’m not sure if I want to be stuck in another, slightly better version of the stagnation we’ve had, but at the same time I don’t want to give up the moments.

Checking in

Seen Scene - Photocredit: Via Moi (flickr)

I haven’t been writing because I’ve got a lot going on but most of it is not particularly survivory, and is private in that it involves more than just me.

I’m still doing the music, still struggling with continuing to rehearse, but I’m taking weekly voice lessons. I got the number of a piano teacher who I’ll follow up with when I can handle the extra.

I’m starting a pagan choir in my town, and have 5 people signed up, which is good to start with. It’s going to be more of a chorus than a choir.

My current drama is mostly about my relationship which will either end in the next few months or it won’t. We’ve been together for a decade, are legally married and have things like joint property and such that would get complicated if we split, but we’ve both accepted that the way it is can’t continue. Right now it’s in the air whether we’ll sort it out and come out better than before, or we’ll end it, or we’ll have an open relationship. Whichever way it works out the plan is to keep living together, which sounds crazy I know, but if you know the specifics of us and our living situation, could actually work. My wife is my family, my home, my security, my ally and I’m not keen to lose that, even if we’re not working in other ways.

Wish me luck!