Alone Time

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 10:45 pm
miss_s_b: DreamSheep/Matrix icon (DreamSheep: Matrix)
One of the peculiarities of being me is that I need alone time. I need to know that I can have some time where nobody is going to make demands of me, and I can just read, or play on the Internet, or whatever, & it'll be fine and nobody is going to judge me. I need to know that I can just lie on the sofa and nobody is going to say "shouldn't you be doing the washing up" or "there's a bunch of laundry needs putting away" or whatever. I need to know that at some point it's going to be possible for me to relax.

When I first got together with [personal profile] matgb we were both very insistent that we would need our own space and that there would be times when we would need to be alone and... Yeah. Mat and I discovered that it's quite easy to have Alone Time with another person in the room, so long as that person respects your need for Alone Time. It's quite possible - easy even - for me to have Alone Time with Mat in the room. We just have to not be bothering each other. We can even be CUDDLING and having Alone Time.

I have spent this evening with three of the four people in the entire world who I can have Alone Time with while they are inthe same room. Of all the people in the world, possibly even the universe, there are four people I would trust to understand my need to not interact at any given moment, and it has made everything SO much better to be able to spend the evening with three of them.

I am a very lucky Jennie.

Reasons to be Cheerful

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 10:23 pm
miss_s_b: (Love: Addams)
So I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself this week. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed that I have been afflicted with a mystery spotty disease, which it's looking increasingly likely is shingles*. And there have been a couple of other health-related things which... yeah, I'm not going to go into those. But some of you know why they are upsetting. I never realised how much my self-esteem was wrapped up in my appearance, despite being the kind of feminist who doesn't wear make-up etc., until I suddenly have a face like a half-chewed pizza... Anyway, rather than wallow, I thought I would count my blessings:

  • I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and all that jazz. More than many people have.

  • I have an amazing daughter, and doggie-nurses who snuggle me when I'm feeling bad.

  • My boys. Some of you live with me, some of you don't**. You're all amazing. You're all utterly different to each other, but you're all such good people. I am incredibly grateful and privileged to know each one of you.

  • I have the best friends in the world***. By tweet, by text message, by phone call... You have all been there for me this week. Thank you. I wish I could repay you all for the worth you are to me, but there's not enough gold in the world.

  • Gin.

I'm sure I have more blessings to count, but right now? Right now that last one is looking like the best one I've got. Hopefully my next blog post will be less maudlin.



* the doctor said he didn't think it to be shingles because it was too widespread, and he'd lean towards an allergic reaction, but for various reasons (including my dad the human biology teacher turning up at my house, taking one look at me, and saying "well that's CLEARLY shingles!", and the fact that I have had further outbreaks when I have been nowhere but home...) I think it probably is.

** One of you is kind of half and half right now...*cough* Anyway...

*** if you're thinking "oh she probably doesn't mean ME..." I probably do. Y'all have probably heard of micro-aggressions. There should be a similar term for micro-acts-of-kindness. There are some of you who have said something that you probably think of as a throwaway comment, but which has literally shown me that life is worth living this week. That's very valuable indeed.

On Not-Smoking

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 07:03 pm
miss_s_b: (Mood: Miserable Brian :()
So I'm still at the point where I'm counting hours, rather than days*. I don't want to jinx it, but so far it has been easier than I expected. It turns out that all I needed was someone to offer me a bet that I really didn't want to lose**. But there are a few weak points. I have a list of things I am currently finding it difficult to deal with:
  1. Work. Once an hour, at work, I used to get to walk away from my desk and let all the stress melt away. I haven't been able to do that today. I need some substitute, or I will go postal.

  2. On trains/buses. On every journey I take regularly, I know exactly when the optimum moment is to get out my fag tin and start rolling so I have a cigarette ready for disembarking. This is a very ingrained habit.

  3. While Cooking. Nipping over to the back door for a fag while something warms through is also an ingrained habit.

  4. To get away from an argument. If I get into a row with someone there will come a point when I want to walk away, and I would normally do this by announcing I was going for a fag. This is no longer an option.
I suppose I am lucky in that the After Sex Fag is not that heavily ingrained in me***. If I want to have a fag after sex I have to put my clothes back on and leave the room - or sometimes the building - and mostly I'd rather just cuddle. But the situations on the list above are not really situations I can avoid. So suggestions for coping mechanisms will be gratefully received.

For various reasons****, taking up biting my nails again as a substitute is not an option.



* 67.5
** You're not getting ALL the details, but suffice it to say there's a bottle of gin and Yorkshire Pride riding on this.
*** because of having non-smoker partners.
**** not least of which is that Pauline would kill me -_-"
miss_s_b: DCI Gill Murray looking disapprovingly at her phone (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
So today is Beltane, and this means contemplation of summer and less-covering clothes, and lots of us are going to be feeling a bit insecure about what we look like. I've seen a lot of posts about making your body "acceptable" for beachwear, and I've seen a lot of other posts decrying those posts and condemning the way they concentrate on percieved flaws and make people feel insecure.

I have a LOT of insecurities about my body. I'm going to list some of them: NOT because I am after sympathy or argument, but purely for illustrative purposes. cut for length and ickiness )The thing is, despite all these percieved flaws, I still have several people who are willing, nay enthusiastic, to fuck me. I have people who, with heartrending sincerity, will lovingly stroke my skin and tell me that I'm beautiful**. Now, I'm fully aware that the plural of anecdote is not data, but the number of people who have fucked me and/or are enthusiastic to fuck me is approaching statistical significance, and they all seem to be in agreement.

If that applies to me, with all my physical flaws, then surely dear reader, it applies to you too. Yes, you may have imperfections. Yes, they might really bother you. But so does everybody else, and none of us judges anyone else as harshly as we judge ourselves.

As it comes to summer and more revealing clothing, be gentle with yourself, don't worry about your flaws, and remember that we all have imperfections but are none the less deserving of love and acceptance.



*your definition of "too much detail" may vary from mine.
**and yes, I'm aware of the old theory that to get anywhere with girls you tell a smart girl she's pretty and a pretty girl she's smart, but I'm as certain as I can be that these people genuinely believe what they are saying.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... has been mostly spent knocking on people's doors and talking to them, or shoving leaflets through people's doors, all in the name of Lib Demmery. I shall be singing Letterboxes with more than the usual amount of fervour at the next Glee Club, especially given my injuries*.

Today I alone I have knocked on doors in five different wards, and travelled through a further three on my way between the various canvass sessions. This chairing lark is not all just signing stuff and telling people to shut up in meetings, you know. And the thing I love most about it? Apart from the stunning landscape I get to look at pretty much everywhere in this borough, the people are so lovely. Even those against us (and such strange people do apparently exist) are uniformly lovely about it. One of the antis called me "flower" and wished me luck today; you don't GET that in many places.

Props to all those from m'team who have been out doorknocking with me, especially Mick who has been doing it every day like a one-man canvassing machine, and our MEP Rebecca Taylor who has been in the area too. Also Abid and Chris, and Ruth and Margareta, and Janet and Mike, and Mat; and last but by no means least, my lovely Calder Valley PPC Alisdair who has been to NEARLY as many sessions as me.

So yeah, I'm knackered, but happy, having basically spent my entire "holiday" working. If you'd have told me ten years ago that this is what I'd be doing now? I'd have laughed in your face.



*I actually found myself mumbling lines from it, especially from the "should be subject to regu-la-a-ations" verse - e.g. as I knelt down to push something through a low one muttering "all at waist height" etc.

I had a nightmare....

Saturday, April 12th, 2014 03:22 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
... and it's one of those nightmares that's quite funny when you're not in it, so I'm going to blog about it because that will help me calm down from the panic/frustration I felt on waking.

So I was having an argument with someone I know well in the nightmare. I'm not going to name names because that would be unfair. And after some time of argument I could tell we weren't going to get anywhere, so I asked the person to leave...

Me: ok, I need you to go now
Them: *nod, smile, stay exactly where they are*
Me: no seriously, I need you to GO AWAY.
Them: Understood. Will do. *Still not moving*
After several more attempts of increasing lack of politeness, including begging and attempts at bribery
Me:PLEASE JUST FUCK OFF
Them: I am doing! Honestly, I don't understand why you're getting so angry *still not moved at all*

This went on for quite some time with my getting more and more scared and frustrated by my lack of control over the situation and utter inability to get this person to leave... OfC now I'm awake I can appreciate the absurdity of it, but....
miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
Current hair colour is the remains of what I did for conference, and needs sorting. I have no outside-the-house engagements this evening, and I'm bored of washed-outness. I'm not going to bleach the roots this time, so this will be a tide-over till the next dye-job, and as such I am just going to use what I have in the cupboard. And I won't have the time or energy for separating out for several colours.

So what colour should I dye my hair tonight? If you haven't a DW login, feel free to tweet your answer at me (people usually do anyway :))

Poll #15213 Hairdye
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18


What colour should I dye my hair tonight?

View Answers

Fuschia pink
2 (11.1%)

Violet
4 (22.2%)

Royal Blue
7 (38.9%)

Turquoise
3 (16.7%)

I am a Liberal and I am Against This Sort of Thing
2 (11.1%)



ETA: twitter/email votes so far:
Fuschia Pink 4
Violet 3
Royal Blue 4
Turquoise 0
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
So this lunchtime I had an interesting conversation with a Green on Twitter. I have a lot of time for Greens; I agree with a lot (if not all) of their aims and I think there are many areas in which Greens and LDs could work together. But I'm not, and never will be a Green.

If you're a Green your main aim is saving the planet. This is a laudable aim, and not in my view one that any sensible person could oppose. But it's not the be-all and end-all of my politics. The Green I was talking to told me that a good third of his personal politics were staunch Liberalism, and expressed surprise when I said 100% of mine were. Where Greens want to save the planet full stop, I want to save the planet because that will enhance and increase personal freedom.

All the policy aims I support, I support because they will enhance and increase personal freedom.
  • I support the educational policies I support because they will enable people to make informed decisions and thus increase personal freedom.

  • I support the reduction of poverty and wealth inequality because you can't be free if you can't afford to eat.

  • I support a lot of green aims because you can't be free if you don't have a safe planet to be free ON.

  • I support freedom of movement within the EU because you can't be free if you're restricted as to where you can travel.
I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now I may disagree with other Liberals on the best way to achieve any or all of these aims, or even whether these aims would increase personal freedom. But that's OK. I'm a Liberal, and am happy to have discussions, or even stand-up rows, in the cause of freedom. I'm also willing to look at evidence and change my mind if necessary, that one or other of my aims might not increase personal freedom. But at the end of the day, it all goes back to that.

What matters is that we should all be as free as humanly possible*. That's why I'm a Liberal. If you're one too, do join up. You'd be welcome.



* within the strictures of The Harm Principle, obvs. You can't be free if someone else is restricting you by harming you physically or mentally, after all ;)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Drama queen)
So I am physically ill, again. I don't think it's anything serious but it is leaving me exhausted and yet insomniac, which is always a great combination.

I've also been under a bit of stress the last few days - entirely of my own making - which has pushed my never-particularly-stable mental state into full blown beat-myself-up mode. This means that the tiniest thing I get wrong feels like a disaster, and the smallest of my flaws feels like a reason I should be put to death to save the rest of the universe the embarrassment of having to put up with me.

I'm not able to do anything that involves leaving the house because of the physical illness (which makes me feel incredibly guilty and makes the mental problems worse), and because ofthe mental stuff I'm incapable of concentrating enough for books or games or even telly. I'm just about coping with Twitter (while starting the odd pointless argument).

I am posting this so that if I am unexpectedly grumpy or short with you, you know the reason. And I am turning comments off because, frankly, if I get the sort of comments I usually get on an entry like this they will only make me cry at the moment; I know I have people who love me, but right now I can't understand why they do when I'm such a useless piece of crap. This will probably pass. But until it does: apologies in advance if I say something bitchy or cruel or below the belt to you. It's not your fault.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Dear Everyone,

If someone tells you I have barred them from a place, or banned them from doing something, or that they aren't allowed to say something in front of me, that person is almost certainly lying. In fact, that is a big flashing red neon sign that a person is SUCH a liar that you ought to take everything else they say with a pinch of salt too.

love,
Jennie

Dear Liar,

if you're going to lie, a few protips:
  1. Don't lie about me to my friends. I WILL hear about it
  2. If you're going to make stuff up, at least make it plausible. For example, if you didn't join the liberal democrats until after the area party AGM, it's unlikely that you would be area party secretary (and I suspect my area party secretary would be surprised to learn she's been replaced without warning or consultation).
  3. I am a pretty forgiving person. However, if I have already forgiven you a vast number of things, do not assume that I will forgive this as well. I do not appreciate being lied about. I really don't.
You are no longer in my good books. You may never be able to get into them again.

no love,
Jennie.

PSA: Bad Brain Day

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 10:45 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
I am having one. Work was horrific yesterday, and there were various dramas outside of work as well, and work today looks as though it's not going to be any better. So I'm not tweeting, I'm not reading blogs, I'm only checking emails from people on my important list, and my phone is on block mode*. Cut down and shut down.

It's Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Nina Simone and various other bluesy jazzy type people on the playlist today.

Still, I did manage to nip into Waterstones and pick up a payday book** on my way into work today, so it's not all bad. I got this. Because how could I resist that when it was displayed so prominently?



*this means that if you try to phone or text me you will only get through if you are one of nine people. Four of whom are work-related, and one of whom doesn't have a working phone at the moment.
**yes, THANK YOU McGREGOR for that idea. Bloody candidates, costing me money.
miss_s_b: (Who: Dalek porn)
There are people in this world who like to be nannied. To turn their brains off and let other people do the thinking. To let someone else make all the decisions and have everything handed to them on the plate. These people are traditional statist Labourites.

There are people in this world who like taking orders. Who like the smack of firm Tory Government.

Good luck to both those sets of people. I'm a Liberal, I don't understand them, but I can dig that that's what they like. It's not what I want, though.

I want hot sexy liberalism, pure and unsullied by authoritarian bullshit. And by Cthulhu I'm lucky enough to know lots of people who want to give it to me. I'm a lucky, LUCKY girl.

*grin*
miss_s_b: (Mood: Philosophy du Molesworth)
It's trying to snow outside the office right now, so I figure it's time for this public warning:

Many years ago, I was in an abusive relationship. Since that time I have had some measure of martial arts training because I don't EVER want to be in the position again where someone can hurt me physically without coming a LOT worse off than I do. If you surprise me with a physical attack, like, for example, throwing a snowball at me, I will break your face before my conscious brain even realises what I am doing.

For your own safety, do not throw snowballs at me. Or drop them down the back of my neck.

Thank you.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
I'm still not used to the idea of not-working New Year's Eve. It's just WEIRD. But last night was lots of fun. It involved good company, industrial quantities of gin, silly card games, and snuggling on the sofa in front of Jools Holland. I woke up this morning in a happy (if somewhat bleary) tangle of limbs and got brought tea in bed and there was moar snuggling and much relaxed conversation. I cooked breakfast for the boys, and then went back to bed. So yeah, 2014 has been quite enjoyable so far. As for 2013... Well, it had it's ups and downs, but...

Things I learned in 2013
  1. Never underestimate the value of a good support network. This is a lesson I have learned before, but it bears repeating I think. So, in no particular order (and probably missing out a hell of a lot of people) thanks to:
    • my amazing daughter - I really am the luckiest mum in the world.
    • Mat (as always)
    • James (for putting up with my crazy)
    • Helen
    • Caron
    • Alisdair
    • Andy
    • Andrew and Holly
    • Richard and Alex
    • Ozzy
    • Daddy Dave
    • Sarah Brown
    • Other Sarah Brown
    • Zoe
    • Douglas
    • Other James
    • Mick
    • Jezz and Stace and Abjtal and the rest of the Lib Dem twitter massive
    • Everyone else who has been there for me at various points when I needed you.
    You made my life that bit more survivable this year. You all rock, and I am immensely grateful.

  2. If I break my own moral code I will get hurt. Also other people will get hurt too. And the way to sort things out is NOT to compound the breaking of my own moral code with more breakage. I should say, it's not that I haven't learnt this lesson before, it's just that if I ever forget it life will leap up and smack me in the face with it again...

  3. Cuddles are ace. People always assume that being poly is all about shagging (and being bi, for that matter); but sometimes a person just needs hugs. I am lucky enough to know some very huggy people. This is also something I am immensely grateful for.

  4. I'm still not good at the Not-Over-Committing-Myself thing. I too readily agree to do things for people and help people out and then run out of time to do it in. And then I end up letting people down. I always have. I am getting better at not doing this (with the aid of Google Calendar) - and yet also getting worse (seriously, I thought being chair of the local party was going to NOT involve overcommitment? D'Oh!)

  5. Doing Stuff is useful. Not just lying on the sofa with laptop all the non-work time might have led to less blogging, but it's also led to me having a usable bedroom now, getting more campaigning done, and spending more quality time with the people I love. These are all good things.

  6. I need to look after my health better. I've been doing reasonably well at the physical side of this, although I need to go to the gym more, but the last couple of months have involved a couple of worrying mental health slipups. Part of this will involve working harder on 2 & 4 above, I reckon. Almost certainly with the help of 1 and 3 ;)

  7. I'm a pretty lucky person, really. I've got a roof over my head, enough to eat, clothes to wear, lots of people to love who love me back, and lots of Doctor Who toys. I should remember that more.
What of the Year to Come?

Well, it's going to be interesting. I have more responsibilities than ever before, and I'm almost certain to cock up horrifically on occasion, but I'm actually pretty hopeful. I'm not going to make a New Year's resolution because I'm rubbish at those, but I am going to work harder on some of the stuff above. I'm feeling reasonably positive, which is something I hope to hold onto.

And, you know. Chairing. I'm sure I'll get used to the idea at some point...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Bugger)
I am now 36. For various reasons a number of things that have been percolating for a long time all decided to come to fruition at once yesterday, PLUS lots of new and exciting problems all decided to crop up at once too. In terms of personal, political, and mental health issues it was Not A Good Day to put things very mildly indeed. Most of the things that went wrong were at least partly my fault* and as is usual when I'm having a bad brain day this all got magnified in my head till I was fully convinced that I was the worst piece of human scum to have ever walked the earth.

And then I snapped, and went to the pub.

I sat there in the pub feeling like the worst lump of morally bankrupt detritus on the planet, and consumed with self-loathing. I felt like all I had in the world was the glass of beer in front of me and huge amounts of chest pain**. And then I finished the beer. And it was oddly liberating. All the various things that I fret about all the time had either blown up spectacularly in my face or gone away; but whichever category they were in I suddenly realised that meant I didn't have to worry about them any more.

What does one do when one is suddenly freed from all one's worries? Well, I'll tell you what I did. I ordered a large brandy and tried to recruit the barmaid and her friend to the Lib Dems. And I think that tells you more about what is essential to my being than pretty much anything else I have posted on this blog ever.



*with the honourable exception of First Busses stranding [personal profile] magister in Leeds, which meant he had to get a train to Huddersfield and then a taxi from Huddersfield home...
**which is OBVIOUSLY not true, I am in fact incredibly lucky, but when I get into a boo, I don't go halves.
miss_s_b: (Self: boobies)
So I got a parcel today:
New shirts in box on bed

James took pictures of me trying the shirts on. SOME of the pictures were not me pulling ridiculous faces, or blurry from James laughing, so here they are. All pictures can be clicked to be embiggened.

It all started reasonably sensibly...
Me in stripy shirt and suit jacket, posing

more under the cut )
miss_s_b: (Mood: Drama queen)
So last night I got sent home from work after fainting at my desk whilst complaining of chest pain. My dad came to pick me up, and took my pulse and did various other first aidy things and decided that I probably wasn't having a heart attack (yay) so took me home. I spent a fitful night of yet more nightmares and the chest pain was still there this morning, so I went to the doctor.

There now follows a link to storify, as I have already told this tale on twitter. And can't be arsed typing it all out again. And I'm not embedding storify on here because it looks AWFUL and takes ages to scroll past for those who have already watched it unfold on twitter.

Basically what it boils down to is this: if I get mega-stressed and I can't utilise either of my usual coping mechanisms* my intercostal muscles will pull so tight that they will tear my ribcage away from my sternum. I do not see the evolutionary advantage in this capability of the human body, but apparently it's pretty common.

So I have to take a couple of days off work (which work have been very gracious about) and avoid stress. Trying to avoid stress is going to be very stressful, I think... -_-" For one thing, how do I stop the nightmares? Any tips gratefully recieved.

In slightly cheerier news, I got the results back from being a responsible poly person and going to get tested today, cos I know you're all waiting with bated breath for this. As expected, I am all clear on all tests.



*one of which is admittedly healthier than the other. Neither of which are available to me at work.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Mad as a flibble)
So channel 4 did Psychopath Night, and put up a test on their website so you can see how many psychopathic traits you have. You can take the test here. The only reason I know about this is because I was chatting to someone last night who expressed surprise at getting 63% on it, and was mildly offended when I said I wasn't at all surprised.

I then had to elucidate further: I lived with a psychologist for ten years. I got tested a LOT. I know the signs and symptoms of a LOT of psychological problems. I know I have some interesting quirks. I also know I'm not a psychopath, although I bet I would score higher on an online test than the person I was talking to.

I took the test today. I got 85% on it. I was unsurprised, and not a little amused.

The problems with web-based agree/disagree tests are manifold and well known, but with this particular one, I think that my aspie traits combined with non-tradtional attitudes to a number of things, addiction to thrill-seeking, and my tendency to tick agree/disagree strongly rather than moderately would ring the alarm bells. But of course the defining trait of a psychopath is their inability to feel/express emotion. Anyone who has ever met me for more than ten seconds, or indeed read a few posts on this blog, knows that is NOT a trait of mine.

Psychopaths don't have panic attacks, don't self harm, don't wake up screaming in the night from post traumatic nightmares. I do. Plus, pychopaths are not necessarily bad people anyway. So I guess this blog post is meant as reassurance: if you take that test and score highly, don't fret.



ETA: Also:

miss_s_b: (Mood: pervy)
So we're just getting to the end of National HIV testing week, and as I said in my post the other day part of being responsibly poly is not just to play safe, but to get yourself regularly tested. I last got tested for everything as part of the huge numbers of tests they did for my mystery abdominal pain* in May, so it's been about 6 months. So today I went to get tested. I suspect that this is another one of those posts people will accuse me of being "brave" for writing. As usual, I'm not being brave, I'm doing something necessary.

I can't talk about what it's like for boys, because my equipment is different, but I can go into gory detail about what it's like for girls under the cut )

Some of the swabs might get parcelled up to be sent away; some of them might be tested right there and then. I suspect this depends entirely on the facility you get tested at. In terms of my tests today three were done while-u-wait and the rest I have to phone up for in a couple of weeks.

And that's it. I'm not going to try and claim that it's fun, but it's not that bad, and it's necessary.


*Still mysterious, but the surgical adhesion theory seems to hold water because the pain is mostly gone since I lost over a quarter of my body mass...
**Other high risk groups include men who have had sex with other men and anyone who has had sex with filthy foriegners, as well as the ones everybody thinks of like sex workers.
***YAY for knowing everybody who has drunk in a pub in the lower valley the last 15 years
****seriously, one of my funding priorities for the NHS would be astroglide. Even if most people don't bother going for sexual health screening, half the population has to have smear tests on a regular basis...
*****thrush is not actually an STI per se; although it can be sexually transmitted, most of the time it just develops all by its own sweet self. But when you go for sexual health screening makes sense for them to check for that while they're down there.
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (ot3))
I regularly get asked variations on a theme of So, this poly thing, how does it work, then...? by people with prurient-yet-hopeful expressions on their faces. I suppose that because it's not (yet) a mainstream way of arranging things people are naturally curious. People are always curious about unusual things, as most minority groups find out to their frustration. I suspect it's also because most people can see the positives* but haven't really considered the negatives. The assumption from many people appears to be that because I'm both bi and poly, that means I will do anything to anyone with not a thought for the consequences. I'm kind of hoping to put that myth to rest with this post.

The problem with giving people a primer is that I can only do it for my relationships; everyone who does poly does it slightly differently. Poly is, at the end of the day, all about maximising freedom while minimising pain for all concerned, so every poly relationship starts with a negotiation of what each person involved is happy to do and not do.

Actually, my personal rules for poly relationships are remarkably similar to the ones I had for monogamous relationships in the dim and distant, and they are all there for a reason. So I am writing this post because I am procrastinating several more important things I find myself in my brother's house in Solihull with the afternoon free and no real capability to do anything else. It might get long...

Why Do I need rules anyway?

I'm a Liberal, right? Rules are things for authoritatarians, right? Well, no. I have rules because, especially with my mental health issues, reduction of the potential for drama is an inherently good thing. I have broken most of these rules at one time or another** and a break in the rules always leads to emotional ructions sooner or later. Sometimes - rarely - it's worth it. Most times it isn't. Going all starry-eyed over a new squeeze is a wonderful and heady experience. But letting that make me relax the rules always leads to consequences for me, usually for other people, and generally it would all have been avoidable if I'd been sensible.

Sensible is not something I am good at, but that's another reason for having hard and fast rules. And of course, if I DO break a rule normally the consequences of that will remind me of why the rule was there in the first place...

The Rules
  1. Proactive Honesty. Honesty is rule number one as far as I am concerned, and not just in the narrow sense of if you get caught doing something bad, fess up. I call it proactive honesty because you need to tell people things as soon as they come up. This is because in poly it's not just two people's feelings you need to consider, it's however many people are in the relationship, plus however many people are in relationships with them, etc. If you upset partner A, and A has another partner B who has to pick up the pieces, and then B goes moaning to their other partner C about what a shit you are for upsetting A... One little white lie or failure to pass on information in a timely fashion can have knock on effects for a lot of people.

    My belief about proactive honesty is that it applies to any relationship with anyone, but it's utterly vital in poly: if you can't be honest with someone about how you feel about them (whether that's good or bad) or if they have hurt you or if you have news they need to know but you don't want to tell them it's impossible to have an effective relationship. Multiply that by however many relationships are involved in a poly set-up and you have the potential for enormous amounts of drama, pain, and heartache for lots and lots of people.

    Personally, I apply this rule to things like letting people down gently as well. If you tell someone you're not looking for a relationship with anyone else right now when what you mean is you're not interested in a relationship with them, for an example I witnessed recently, you're only going to end up causing more hurt than if you'd just been honest.

  2. Informed enthusiastic consent. I toyed with the idea of not putting this one in because it should be bloody obvious, but to some people it apparently isn't. Everybody involved has to be giving informed enthusiatic consent, not just to sexual stuff, but to every part of the relationship. It's one of the reasons why honesty is so important. You can't give informed enthusiastic consent to X if you haven't been told about Y.

  3. Safety First. Safe sex is important. We all know this. But again, it's multiplied in it's importance in poly. If you have a drunken hookup and pick up the clap, you're not just hurting yourself, you're potentially infecting your other partners, and their other partners, and THEIR other partners... etc. One needs to bear in mind also that condoms are not a failsafe, too. Get tested regularly, just to be sure. I have one former partner who is only a former partner precisely because of his inability to stick to this rule***

  4. Consider the consequences. Another one that applies to any relationship IMHO: don't agree to anything with anyone without stopping first for at least a nanosecond to consider if it might cause a problem further down the line. Once you have considered the consequences, I'm not saying don't do it, but you need to be aware that your actions affect more than just you. Again, in poly, this is multiplied by however many people you are connected to in the web of relationships. This can be the simplest thing, such as checking your diary before agreeing to a date with partner X to see you haven't already booked in with partner Y that day****; or it can be more complex (for example: "if I start seeing this person will they cause problems with my existing relationships?"). Wherever a decision lies on the scale of seriousness, whereas in a monogamous relationship you only need to consider the feelings of yourself and your partner, in poly you need to bear in mind the feelings of a lot more people.

  5. Not without permission 1. I don't start seeing anyone new without consulting my existing partners first. I loathe the primary/secondary/etc terminology for reasons too complex to go into here, but for logistical reasons in this rule I do only mean "primary" partners rather than on/off long distance people like the Duracell Bunny. If anyone else ever approaches the level of seriousness of relationship I have with Mat and James, I'll consult them first too.

  6. Not without permission 2. If a potential partner is already in a relationship I won't do anything, not even holding hands, without permission from their existing partner IN PERSON. Oh yeah, I spoke to my boyfriend and he's fine with it is not good enough for obvious reasons, but I prefer to do it face to face rather than over the phone/email as well. It's easier to be sure they mean it that way.

  7. Don't screw the Crew. Never, ever, ever have a sexual relationship with anyone you have to work with - and I apply this is the broadest sense of work too. This is the rule I have most trouble sticking to*****, but that's also why I know it's important. NRE is a wonderful thing, but once it wears off and you decide that actually you're not madly in love with your colleague, all the little rankles that come with a relationship dying have the potential to fuck up an entire office/business/political party. It's really not worth it. Usually.

    Also, as well as not starting relationships with people you work with, don't get someone you're in a relationship with a job at your workplace. The mechanics might be different, but the potential for drama is exactly the same.

Isn't this all a bit complicated?

Well yes. Yes it is. But human relationships are complicated, and poly ones exponentially more so. If you have rules to make negiotiating the trials of relationships easier it means that everyone involved can spend more time doing the fun stuff than worrying about problems. And the fun stuff in poly is absolutely worth it.

Poly is not for everyone, I freely accept that, but where the potential for hurt and drama is obviously multiplied by involving more people, so is the potential for good stuff too. There are more people to have fun with in good times and more people to help out in bad times. For me, it's absolutely worth it. YMM, as they say, V.



*yes, yes, lots of shagging. But also lots of people to snuggle and have mutual support systems with

**some of them very recently -_-"

***I also have people primed to keep an eye on me if I have beer when he's around because despite his irresponsibility and stunted emotional growth I am still incredibly attracted to him -_-"

****and, you know, USING your diary/google calendar/outlook/whatever is a GOOD PLAN (totally not aiming this at anyone in particular at all) (although, you know, I'm bad for this too)

*****quit it with the hollow laughter at the back there. QUIT IT.
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
The last few days I have been having conversations via various media with sseveral different people about our, um, eccentricities. It turns out that, like with lots of other taboo subjects, once a topic comes up and you "admit" that you have experienced it, suddenly lots of other people can talk to you about how they have too.

Those of you who don't and haven't self harmed possibly don't realise quite how prevalent it is. So this is my public coming out, if you like. When the intersection of my anxiety, depression and paranoia become too much, I self-harm.

And the rest of this is going under a cut, because there are some things people don't necessarily want to know )

Anyway, the music part. Two songs about self harm:

One for when I'm in the depths of it is Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt. I love the NiN original, but Cash just somehow encapsulates the pain so much better.



And one for when I'm bringing myself out of it is Papa Roach's Last Resort. I really love how the video shows the sad lonely faces of the people alone in their rooms transformed when they go into the crowd and rock out. Healing power of music etc.

Papa Roach - Last Resort from Nuxo on Vimeo.



This post was VERY difficult to write. I hope it's not as difficult to read. I don't want to prompt anyone's concern, or for anyone to do anything, I'm actually not too bad today. But if this post increases understanding a bit it will have done its job...
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: Liz 10)
That would be... me. Those of you who were active on twitter last night will already know this, but I thought I'd beter mention it here, too.

Suspect this is going to prove very interesting indeed :)

Was great to catch up with a bunch of people at the AGM too, especially Hilary, who I haven't seen for FAR TOO LONG. Only real fly in the ointment was that Northern Rail made us have to get a taxi to get there, so that's twenty quid down the drain. But you know. £20 taxi fare vs being made chair? I think that's just about a win.

Of course now the accusations from a couple of people I am close to (you know who you are and where your games workshop crap is, the pair of you :P) that I am part of the establishment are coming in thick and fast. Now I am chair I am going to have behave myself, right? Be on message, in volume, over time? Outgoing chair Mick Taylor actually outright said the best way to tame a rebel is to give them some responsibility when we were initially discussing the idea of me standing... This is a man who had his lengthy hair in a french plait at the candidate selection last week LOL. So yes, the idea of me becoming Establishment is very amusing... Perhaps I am Establishment within the tiny world of the Lib Dems, but then perhaps in that world I already was. I suspect it will be a very long time indeed where an openly bi/poly metalhead who refuses to conform to Westminster standards of dress and flagrantly abuses ellipsis will be seen as Establishment by the wider world. And TBH? That's perfectly fine by me. ...no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity etc.

As for my plans for chairing... Watch this space. Mick's term doesn't actually run out till 31st December, so the local party has a little while to get used to the idea. But I have various ideas... >:)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
[personal profile] andrewducker has tasked me with listing eight little-known facts about myself. This is proving difficult: I'm a reasonably open person, so there isn't really that much about me that isn't common knowledge. However...
  1. I get very emotionally involved with fiction. I will regularly be found in floods of tears over a book/film/TV show. The best example of how bad this gets for me: when I watched the Simpsons movie I cried like a baby over Marge taping over the wedding video. Like, I'm filling up now just thinking about it.

  2. When I was tiny my mum used to put the dog in the playpen so she could get a break from me. I have always loved dogs. The dog we had when I was small, Shadow, was a very independent-spirited creature, and didn't always appreciate my attentions. She used to go in "my" playpen and hide under a blanket to get away from me.

  3. I associate songs with people. You guys all have theme songs in my head. If you know me well enough you might be able to work out which song applies to which person, although I doubt anybody knows me THAT well. But if you DID know that, then you could watch my spotify habits to find out who I am thinking about.

  4. I had a very expensive education. Private, fee-paying school. Post graduate legal qualifications. Dinners at the Inns of Court... This is apparent to anyone who has examined my various online profiles, but I am aware that not everyone looks at those, and apparently it's a surprising fact to some people.

  5. The only political party aside from the Liberal Democrats I have ever been involved with is the Monster Raving Loonies. This was because we had a mock election at school. I didn't think it was right that there were candidates for all the other parties and not the loonies, so I wrote to Dave Sutch, and got a lovely reply, loads of election materials, and ended up with 8% of the vote, beating Labour into fourth. Obviously the tories had a landslide victory (see fact 4 above)

  6. I'm afraid of crossing bridges. I get really freaked out that they are going to collaspe with me on them. Like not just a vague worry, a real visceral intense fear. I can keep a lid on it most of the time, especially if I'm in good company or otherwise comfortable, but if I'm already having a bad brain day the thought of crossing a bridge can bring on a full-blown panic attack. Theories that this is caused by something vampiric in me not wanting to cross running water have been raised, but I would counter that I'm quite happy to swim...

  7. I nearly died of pneumonia when I was seven. Obviously I didn't because I'm still here, but it was touch and go for a while, and I spent a couple of weeks in the (sadly no longer there) Bradford Children's Hospital.

  8. Don't say the number between seven and nine or you'll be ate alive. This was my response to Andrew when he assigned me the number eight, and he replied that he'd like me to put something about my Pratchett geekery, so... I don't like Rincewind. I love some of the stories he's in, but I detest him as a character. I just want to smack him. Luckily, as someone pointed out to me the other day, in the last 15 years or so, Rincewind has only ever appeared fleetingly in the books in order to have something horrible happen to him, and then he's gone away again. I approve of this.
Now aren't you guys impressed that I managed to get through that without mentioning my sexual proclivities even ONCE? I think I should get a special prize for that ;)

According to The Rules, ask in the comments if you'd like me to assign you a number!
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
So the problem with coming off the happy pills and managing my various eccentricities with diet and exercise is that if I have a week of megabusy like I had last week, the care regime tends to go out of the window. Don't get me wrong, I'd do everything I did last week again in a heartbeat, but possibly I need to remind myself that self care reaps it's own rewards. As it is, this morning I woke up 2 kilos lighter from not eating properly, with achy muscles from not eating properly OR exercising properly, and with clanging depression and anxiety symptoms.

Experience has taught me that when the day starts like that I can go one of two ways. I will notice and dwell on lots of horrible things that I have no control over and spiral into panic, despair and worse; OR I will notice and dwell on things that piss me off that I CAN do something about... The latter situation is rarer but more productive. At that point the Angry playlist goes on and whoever has annoyed me had better watch out.

Which brings me to the music part of this. I have 29 playlists that I maintain carefully on Spotify to cover various situations. For instance, the Gym one is full of pumping stuff at a decent BPM for exercise; the Miserable one speaks for itself. The Angry one, though, is full of tracks to shout along to and motivate. Such as this:



In This Moment are a band I have only discovered reasonably recently, but have fallen really in love with them. And this particular song has been resonating today.
We wanted peace but you brought this war
We took enough and we won’t take any more
With our fists in the air, we’ll burn it all to the ground
We will tear your fucking empire down...
If you liked that you might want to check out You're Gonna Listen (also on the angry playlist ;)) and Adrenalize (which is on a totally different playlist which we won't go into here)
miss_s_b: (Innuendo: Ogg)
Here's the proof of me inna dress:

Me in a dress (and some politician)

I hope you all think that was money well spent. I've got makeup on and everything! Who would have thought that people would pay £75 to see that? But they did (£65 in paypal donations and a tenner down my cleavage LOL).

There was much gin. And cheese and posh bread. And port. And more gin. And a bottle of Jura...

Things which will stick in my memory:
  • Alisdair's face when he saw me in the dress for the first time.
  • John BM brought Stella Artois. LAGER. Bad bad John.
  • Joe and James discussing Marxism and existentialism
  • a kitchen which can normally only fit one person can fit three in a talking-in-the-kitchen-at-a-party situation
  • Beauty face
  • James being dragged away by Hywel when it was time for them to leave protesting that he NEEDED more Jura and ending up taking a glass of it home with him
  • Sarah N and Joe being the only ones left standing at stupid o'clock this morning when I finally gave in to slumber - our lovely host having collapsed into bed some time before
  • the devastation in the kitchen this morning (and the amazingly crunchy prawn cracker carpet)
  • deflating the airbed this morning while Joe was still on it (mostly because he was incapable of standing up)
  • Pig Sandwiches for breakfast from the hog roast lady at Hebden Bridge market
  • Dave being Dave on the sofa this lunchtime and giving me and Sarah B the giggles
  • Tea and cuddles
It was a pretty good 24 hours all told. I'll be having a good night's sleep tonight though, I think.

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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