Touching (Part 2)

On his last weekend visit in Austria, D also once initiated body contact I felt extremely uncomfortable with. Just like this time, I never spoke up about it while we were together. I felt as if it had been partly my mistake –  I had not said no immediately, even though I had known that he hadn’t wanted to do anything against my will and would have stopped right away. And I thought that hearing about it would make him feel horrible, which of course I didn’t want, especially since it was too late to change anything about it anyway.

Months later, an unexpected opportunity to bring it up arose in chat, and – quickly, before I could change my mind, my heart beating hard and fast – I did so in the most tentative, careful way I could, typing (in shy parentheses) that the lack of communication about it beforehand had been suboptimal.

Continue reading “Touching (Part 2)”

Touching (Part 1)

(I am almost done writing about the Sweden holiday. Only one more section is left, the one about touching. I wrote about some of it in the section on sleeping arrangements as well, which left me with nervous energy buzzing through my body, so I took a break and a few deep breaths afterwards. Now I click back to the open document. For a moment, my mind is blank. Where do I start? Eventually, I just start typing. I’m going to edit it later anyway.)

Touching. Oh man. Where do I even start.

Touching, like sleeping, was Hell.

In the last section, I wrote that I don’t like being petted when I’m trying to sleep. That was an understatement. In truth, I don’t like being petted when I’m trying to do almost anything else at the time.
When I’m just reading or watching a movie, it’s bearable but distracting – I’m always a little anxious about the touch getting too close for comfort to places I don’t want touched or staying in one place for so long it feels like it’s slowly grinding away my skin or turning bad in some other way. But when I’m trying to focus on something (writing, or reading something challenging), it’s extremely unwelcome.

Worse than petting, however, is hugging me when I’m busy with something else. That is a pretty failsafe way to get me ready to explode.

(I take another short break, searching for words. Then I hit the keys again in a burst of impatience and irritation.)

And I don’t even know how to explain this, because I fail to understand how anyone can believe differently. How do you not think it horribly rude to just grab someone who is peacefully minding their own business, to physically confine them, to force them to stop doing whatever it is they are doing? How do you consider yourself and your own desire to hug them right now so much more important than anything they might have going on – getting food or going to the bathroom or going back to their book excited to find out what’s happening next or whatever – that you don’t even have to ask, verbally or in body language, before you physically interrupt them and prevent them from completing it?

(Memories of countless times D hugged me against my will and/or held on to me for too long flood my mind, memories of times I hunched my shoulders and kept my gaze averted when walking past him and thought “please don’t please don’t please don’t”, all of them running together into a seething slurry of anger and frustration.)

And then they have to appease you with attention and kisses to your satisfaction before you let them go, like you’re some fucking deity demanding a sacrifice??? How does it not occur to you that they might not want any of that? How does it not occur to you that, when you’ve grabbed someone in this unbelievably rude way and they freeze or go limp and turn their head away and avoid eye contact or literally try to move away, you should FUCKING LET GO OF THEM???

(My hands are too busy typing to shake, but it feels as if they should. My breath comes in short, shallow bursts. My mind is racing and frozen at the same time, a disoriented and disjointed feeling. I tell myself to calm down, slow down, gentling my thoughts and turning them towards better memories.)

C is good about these things. When he wants attention, a kiss, a hug, or a cuddle, he tentatively draws closer, waits for me to acknowledge him, and often verbally asks for it. C has never reached out to me when I was just walking past and not looking at him. When he is hugging or kissing me and I move backwards, away from him, he lets go.
(He did use to pet a single spot for ages until it hurt, and just follow whenever I moved the body part in question away, but after I told him so once he noticeably tried to do better.)

D is not.
I was getting food once, shaker bottle in my hand and moving towards the counter, when D caught me from behind. I went still for a moment or two, and then, hoping that had been enough, made a move towards the counter again. He just tightened his grip and only let go when I was frustrated enough to loudly tell him to.
Another time, I was walking past him (my shoulders drawn forward and my gaze locked straight ahead), and he looked up and reached out for me. I had kept carefully out of his range anyway, but took another small step sideways just to make absolutely clear that I didn’t want to be reached. He produced a sound of mock outrage and got up. I had passed him by then, and – almost involuntarily – sped up, literally running away, until I had reached the couch at the end of the room and had nowhere left to go, and then dropped down, ducking my head, and he caught me anyway and drew me towards him and didn’t let go until I had given up and gone slack and let him kiss me.

(I form the next sentence I want to write, but before I can type it, my fingers freeze, stilled by another memory, and then I can’t because it is a lie.)

And this is where I’d assure you that he’d let go if I asked him to, except one morning I tried to get up while he was holding me, and he didn’t let go, and then I asked him to, and he just replied: “And what if I don’t?”

(I blink. This can’t be right. He didn’t meant it. There’s something I’m forgetting, or remembering wrong.)

Shit.

(More memories come, unbidden, and when I type again, I only type my own disorganized thoughts, debating myself, my mind splintering into conflicting parties and each one throwing a sentence or two onto the screen before another one hijacks my fingers.)

Working Out

I worked out for the first time in two weeks and five days yesterday!
I had planned to start again right away when I got back from Sweden, but, as various philosophers and psychologists have theorized and probably everybody knows from personal experience, it takes a certain amount of willpower to work on self-improvement when one could also continue doing easier things instead.

I managed to get my brain to cooperate by firmly telling myself that I would feel happier after and even during the workout, and supporting this assertion with past memories of this happening. (It might be anecdotal evidence only, but for better or worse, that is the kind of evidence that works best on certain parts of the mind.) I am happy to report that I turned out to be correct, giving me another memory to use in future persuasion attempts.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after the break, and initially, my fears seemed justified: the bodyline work (a lot of different static holds, to be held for up to 60s each) felt harder than usual. However, the actual strength exercises went just as well as beforehand, possibly even slightly better (I managed to touch the bar at every horizontal row!).
I don’t know if the initial difficulties were due to imagination or a lack of motivation (static holds are the worst) or something else – the only other possible cause I can think of is that usually I work out halfway between two meals, neither full nor hungry, and this time I was hungry. Does low blood sugar interfere more with static holds than exercises? Did my body just need a little more time than the warmup to adjust to exercise? Who knows! I’m looking forward to finding out how the next workout will go.

Until then, I might finally make myself a workout playlist; it would probably help to have one.

A Sweden holiday with my brain

This summer, I spent two weeks in Sweden with two of my boyfriends, whom I’ll call C and D.
The holiday was largely D’s doing – he has a small cottage there and absolutely adores being there, talking off the ears of everybody willing to listen about the lakes and the forests and how beautifully cool it is there while Germany (where D lives) and Austria are collectively drenched in sweat due to the murderous heat in summer.

I can confirm that Sweden indeed has a lot of forests, and beautiful ones at that: mostly coniferous with a few birches sprinkled in between, their floors covered with fallen needles, thick, mesmerizingly green blankets of moss, occasional ferns, and innumerable blueberries. Whether we walked through the forests right around the cottage or any others we visited, I could bend down and snack on blueberries almost any time I felt like it. And when I got tired of blueberries, there were often raspberries around as well, just as ripe and even sweeter.

Lakes exist as well, their water sparkling in the sun and rippling in the wind. The one closest to us was invitingly warm, hemmed by reeds, carrying a few water lilies and a multitude of skimmers zipping across the surface and covering a few of the lilies’ leaves so thoroughly they were barely visible anymore.

On average, the weather was as cool as promised – the first two days were so hot that I started to doubt D’s tales (sweating even just lounging around on the couch inside), and then the weather changed – the temperatures dropped, and it was usually cloudy, with frequent, brief, and heavy showers. By the end, I sometimes lounged around on the aforementioned couch and considered digging my sweater vest out of my backpack, with my freezing cold feet tucked beneath C’s butt for warmth.

So much for the good parts. Now buckle up, kids, there’s whining ahead. A lot of whining.

Continue reading “A Sweden holiday with my brain”

Hello!

I have a new blog! (This one.)

Its name, “omphaloskeptomai”, is intended to be a description as well: navel-gazing. Well, the correct Greek term for navel-gazing would be “omphaloskepsis”, but that domain was rudely snatched away in 2006 – rudely because to this day, to this day, it contains nothing but the generic “Hello, world” post. Its owner apparently abandoned it right at the beginning, but never bothered to formally close their account, which is simply horribly inconsiderate. Did they think nobody else could possibly want that name?

Anyway, due to their bad manners, I had to call my blog here”omphaloskeptomai” instead, which should loosely translate to “I navel-gaze”. It should work just as well. (Which, considering it’s quite a mouthful, is probably “not at all”, but so be it.)

I had no idea what category to put it under – for some reason, WordPress lacks a “self-centered millennials mouthing off” category – so I put it under “Mental Health”.  I don’t know how fitting this categorization will turn out to be, but I do hope that venting about stupid stuff my brain inflicts upon me will make me feel better, and I expect to do a bunch of that here, so it fits somewhat. (Do these categories even make any kind of difference? They didn’t have them last time I made a WordPress blog, if I recall correctly.)

I originally started a tumblr to navel-gaze a few years ago, but that got overrun by reblogs pretty quickly (tumblr doesn’t have a commenting system, so you have to reblog anything you want to weigh in on. Plus, other people kept making really insightful and/or funny posts. Or posting cute animal videos). Also, half of my followers over there are porn bots, which are a hassle to block, and some people I know in real life know it, which is absolutely my fault, but makes venting quite awkward. (Have you ever wanted to write a post complaining about your roommates knowing that there’s a chance they might read it? Not the most pleasant feeling in the world.)
Plus, tumblr got taken over by Yahoo a while ago and is apparently losing Yahoo money, so they might shut it down – they’ve done it to other platforms before. So lots of people are fleeing anyway, or at least getting alternatives to fall back on if the unthinkable happens.

Whether this blog will actually contain anything but three meager posts (all promises to post more, naturally) six months from now is questionable – I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t, and you shouldn’t be, either. But if that happens, I will simply close down my account (do you hear that, omphaloskepsis thief? That’s what you do to not be a butt if it turns out you don’t need your domain anymore!) and probably try again in a few years or so.

While an introductory post seems to be in order, I am not going to write one – any time I try to figure out what to write about myself in how much detail in such a post, the task just seems to grow and grow and grow until it becomes too big and scary for me to ever actually do it. You’ll get to know me as we go along, I suppose. (I might write a small “about” section, although I have similar trouble with those.) If there’s anything you want to know about me, feel free to ask.

That’s it for now. See you later, hopefully!

(Fun fact: wordpress automatically capitalizes the “P” if you only capitalize the “W”, but not if you don’t capitalize anything. And the original capitalization will still show up in the editor, but not in the finished post. How very fascinating and slightly unsettling!)