The Chronicle of Cait is time for me to talk about my lifestyle, my feelings, and what it's like to be me. It's a regular chronicle of the events taking place in my life. While it probably won't be a huge benefit for the anonymous reader, there are those in my life that I have trouble keeping in touch with. I'm hoping to share more information with that audience should they choose to read it.
Hey everyone, it's literally been six whole months since my last chronicle so I feel it'd be in poor taste for me to jest about having only missed a month or two. Let's get started.
I think the more appropriate question is, "Where to even begin?". I'm going to try to prioritize the events of the past few months by importance and work down from there. As I said, it's been about six months now so a lot has happened in that time. This is your warning that this will likely be one of my longer posts! Come back later if you have to. Use this if you'd like to jump around a bit.
Love and Relationships
Ultimately, I had to write about this topic. A lot has changed in my love life recently and while I didn't really want to talk about it, and I still don't, it's too difficult to tell every one person in my life individually about the events that happened and everything that lead up to them. So, I want a written record that my boyfriend and I broke up. Revisiting these feelings over and over again is too painful to keep up, and other things have happened since then so wanted to set my side of the story straight and move on.
Perhaps you've heard some of the statistics for folks in the LGBT community surrounding drug and alcohol use as methods for coping in a society which doesn't tolerate LGBT folks. Maybe you haven't, but I bring it up because we all have ways of handling stress and not all of those methods are healthy. Unfortunately, for the both of us, my boyfriend and I had problems with alcohol.
My situation last year was not healthy for either of us. While I managed to get help to treat my problems, those same problems had consequences. He became depressed too. I don't know if this is directly my fault or not, or just the circumstances regarding his work and being around me that lead to him to becoming depressed. The both of us sought help for our problems, but it wasn't enough to care for ourselves alone. As such, it lead to conflict in our relationship. We fought increasingly more. What I realize now is that we weren't totally capable of caring for each other the way we had before. Simply put, we had changed.
I know I changed a lot. In recognizing some of my problems I went sober for a year, most of you probably know that by now. What you probably don't know is that I'm drinking again. I'm managing it differently and not like before, but drinking (specifically alone) still causes me some anxiety. Additionally, in freeing myself from depression, I took a different approach to my living situation. For example, I found a new job, which I'll forego talking about until later, and I reached a point where I wanted to start doing the things I put off all my life. For instance, I want to move west and free myself some of the ties I have here on the US East Coast. I want to meet new people. I want to love, and never worry about love being scarce. I have new needs to fulfill.
He too changed - from my eyes, he struggled to beat depression and eventually did. He took his college education very seriously, completed his degree, and eventually found a career, even though it was all very challenging for him. He worked hard to learn to drive, and eventually seemed to be comfortable with it. Even as we fought, I watched as he learned to communicate his feelings more and in better ways. He grew as I did.
The regrettable truth about it all is that we grew apart. Maybe there's something to salvage in that yet, I don't know. During all that, we learned to cope with our feelings without each other. It was too much pressure to lean into all of it together, and I wonder sometimes if we (or I) really wanted to. Unfortunately, these feelings lead to us both being untruthful about ourselves. And so, when I found him lying for the last time about his alcohol use, I decided I needed to commit the one last action I could, that is, end our relationship.
It was a wakeup call. I wasn't ready, he wasn't ready. Yet here we are. Alcohol was never the only problem, but it certainly played a big part.
I recognize that I changed too, and I want to record my part in that. One of those changes was a new lifestyle that I adopted. I came out as polyamorous to my boyfriend and expressed a need to meet and date other people romantically. If you're interested about what that means, take a look here.
I didn't just jump headlong into it, I worked with my boyfriend to establish boundaries and rules that worked for us over a period of months. I don't regret this either, but it did take away from the time and space we shared. Even now, as I write about my breakup, I find myself with romantic feelings for others while still grieving my relationship with my boyfriend. It's a weird feeling, and one that I feel guilty about, but I plan to continue exploring this for a while longer.
One of the things he and I talked before he moved out was separating for a while and reconnecting later. It would give us a chance to reboot our relationship. I'm inclined to think it's a pretty good idea, because I know I still care about him, my now former boyfriend, and I definitely don't think the relationship we had is right for either of us anymore. It'd be a nice chance to get to know him again and potentially reestablish our feelings for each other. If all that seems to work within the bounds of my current romantic interests, then maybe.
If not, well, please understand that I still care about you very much and that I need to establish a new way to live for myself. It was never personal.
That said, I am presently (and suddenly) enamored with someone new. Shortly after my boyfriend and I broke up, I reached out to a friend of mine who I confided my feelings in about the break up, and she informed me of her long-standing crush on me. I'd never really explained to her the rules of my polyamorous arrangement with my boyfriend - I had no reason to, and I think she felt as though I could find someone more objective to provide me the support I needed. However, In doing so, this action opened the door to something a lot more than either of us expected.
Before then, I had already been flirting with her (then within the rules of my now-former relationship). I thought she was wickedly sexy, very intelligent, and a pleasure to talk to. As we've become closer, I've found out about a number of shared interests we have. Her crush may as well've been mine, I just didn't know it until she said so.
So, If you happened to catch my posts on Instagram around New Year's Eve, this might start making more sense to you now.
I think most folks are probably wondering how we met, so I'll try to describe that. I've been a member of Autostraddle for a year or two now. I joined there sometime after I started transitioning to be more involved with queer women's culture, or rather queer folk in general. There's another whole article in why I decided to be a member, but I'll save that for another time.
Getting back on topic, some of the other members of the website, including this special someone, decided to form a WhatsApp group for the purpose of watching movies together. I was already on my way to becoming friends with some of those members, and so I asked to join their group.
The movie group evolved from being just about movies to talking to each other everyday. It's been a lifeline for me in my social life as I constantly have folks to talk to about my feelings, daily occurrances, personal interests, and girl stuff. I've connected to a number of those people on a personal level and value the connections we share. I too would provide facts about myself and the occasionally selfie, which my crush took an interest in. We reveled in that for a while. And so, it was really only a matter of time until I got bold enough to start flirting with her inside the group.
I think what stopped me from taking it too seriously was that my boyfriend and I were having problems. I wanted to work to resolve those problems and had made a commitment to him to refrain from any emotional intimacy with those I was flirting with. My crush had no idea about these problems and only knew that I was seeing someone at the time, and while I think she wanted to tell me about this crush, as I said above, it didn't really make sense to.
So when it was that I broke up with my boyfriend, things changed again. Her telling me about her crush, after he and I broke up, meant that I could start to pursue something more. The rules had changed. We begun talking to each other more and more, flirting harder and talking longer to the point that we decided to meet in person.
As it happens, she's Canadian, so when she went to visit her family in Toronto for the Holidays, we had the opportunity to make plans for her to visit me around New Year's Eve. Her visit was probably one of the best experiences of my life - one I will never forget.
That being said, the future is rather unclear for me. The short time we had together was enough for me to know that I am in love with her, which in it's own right ought to be enough, but in reality I have concerns about my own well-being that I must also address.
I'll probably get more into this later, but I'm not really long for staying in the United States anyway. I was already looking to move to a place like Vancouver, British Columbia. It's getting increasingly more complicated and scary to be me in these fractured United States. Coincidentally, my crush happens to live in British Columbia, so maybe I can address two birds with one stone. But also, in those first weeks of getting to know her, I was very worried about this being a rebound relationship. In talking to her, I came to understand that she has had her own share of complicated relationship challenges that has lead her to adopt a less conventional view towards love and romance, one that reminds me both of some of the practices of polyamorous people and also loving yourself for who you are.
I don't rightly know what happens next, but my whole world view has shifted and I have more love in my heart that I could've ever expected a few months ago. I know that I want to do what's right for me. I know that I've made other commitments that I need to work to keep, but I also have a newfound sense of liberty to soar in any direction I want and I plan to take advantage of that.
The first journey on my list is a very long trip to Canada.
Six months ago I was still employed by the company I worked at for five years. I had obviously wrote a great deal about my disinterest in my work and conflicts with management, and unfortunately I couldn't reconcile those differences between my desires and theirs. So, I took a stab at finding a new job. Actually, I started looking for a new job back in March, but it took me awhile until I could find something new.
As for why I found a new job, I watched as the new management of the company I worked tirelessly for slowly destroyed the things that kept me interested. People I'd known for years were let go. I was reassigned to different projects without any care for whether I had any invested interest in those projects. And generally speaking, it became a very difficult place to do work as people weren't happy with their jobs. Given that the company's headquarters had effectively moved to California, I felt like there was very little representation for my interests or those of my coworkers' interests, and those management figures who did reside locally and could represent us were too busy with all the numerous responsibilities assigned to them because the company overloaded them with work.
Instead of taking the advice and wisdom of the folks that worked there, they summarily made way for a new vision which didn't include the product line or people I felt dedicated to. Adding to that, they kinda lied to us about it. In all, it was too much stress for me to manage the constant amount of change. I couldn't drink the Kool-Aid.
In August, I took a job with a company closer to Philadelphia. It's been a great decision. As far as benefits go, I received a decent pay hike and have insurance through a stellar company - I mean as far as private insurers go. The office campus is really nice. There's a full cafeteria, a coffee shop, and a gym. Aside from the commute, everything's great, even the people I work with!
It's a change for sure. I don't appreciate driving more than an hour to work and I hate having to get up real early, but fortunately I don't have to do that every day. In fact, I'm technically a remote employee that comes into the office every few days or so. I've been given some liberty about when I do and don't come into the office. It's been really helpful because I used to feel like driving into my old job was time-consuming and exhausting, and I didn't even live that far away. I'm really pleased with the decision I made to move on.
And frankly, as far as my old company goes, they can go fuck themselves. Next time, treat your employees better. To those of you who still work there, please understand that I'm not specifically referring to you with that statement. I fully understand that you were asked to do things that you didn't agree with or wanted to take part in. I hope going forward you can make a better future for yourselves and your customers, and know that I will strive to do the same for mine. But please, don't forget to take care of yourselves in the process? If there's anything I can personally do, please let me know.
Even with all of these changes, my family has accepted everything with grace. They continue to accept me with love and compassion as I do them. Other than the equivalent of a half a year's worth of holidays, there's not too much to say. I'll try and summarize the major events.
Baby James is now about nine months old. I'll put some pictures below. He's active, and vibrant, and full of vigor. He's crawling, starting to say some words, and is eating textured food. I've been told these things are important for the development of a young child. I can't even imagine what life was like without him anymore. He's not even my child. I guess I'm just dumbstruck by the idea that I'm an aunt. It's such a wonderful feeling.
I forget exactly when but a few months ago, I committed as a gift to James (and my sister and her husband) some money towards an education account, in Pennsylvania it's called a PA529 account. It's essentually an index fund used to invest money for college. I want James to have an education of his choosing. I wager as long as I keep contributing money to the account that he'll be able to attend any college he wants. It took a while to work out the details with my sister, because I know she wants to do these things for herself and her family, but I don't know if I'll ever have children so at some point I personally need to consider my own legacy and what that means. The best future I can see is one where people benefit from my lived experience. Additionally, I've encouraged her to set up her own account and make her own investments. It never hurts to spoil a child right?
The holidays came and went. I find as I get older that I put less and less stock in the traditions surrounding the holidays, and more stock into being close to family and friends. This year I didn't even bother to put out decorations. It felt like too much effort given how few people come to visit me anyway.
I don't have that much to say about Halloween except that my now ex-boyfriend and I went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with a friend of ours. It was good to get away after a few months of working hard at the new job. It was also the first time I had a drink in over a year. It felt right. Our mutual friend and I bought corsets to wear around the faire.
I really enjoy seeing the faire attractions. They always have a joust, and it's my favorite part. At Halloween, they change the joust up a bit. Typically, the joust is about a band of pirates fighting against some knights in service of the King of the Faire. At Halloween, the pirates become demons and the knights joust against the minions of Rumpelstiltskin, the dark knights. Ordinarily, the pirates would use pyrotechnics for their cannons, instead the cannons are replaced by Rumpelstiltskin's "magic". Rumpelstiltskin takes the princess of the faire hostage until the champions of the king defeat the dark knights. It's all very showy and fun.
Thanksgiving was rather challenging though. The problems began when I invited a close friend of mine to my family's usual Thanksgiving dinner. I did it without asking the host because I've never known them to refuse or care in the past, unfortunately I was wrong about that this year. Adding to that, my ex-boyfriend's mom hadn't made plans and wanted to see if we could do something together. So I thought, why not take are of both problems and host Thanksgiving? We could have his mom up and my friend could come too. Everyone would be happy.
Well, it didn't quite work out that. My boyfriend and I planned to do something we were calling Pies-giving where every meal was a pie (this was delicious I'll add), unfortunately we tried to find people to join us at the last minute and most folks were already involved with their own plans. Adding to that his mom decided to cancel on us after we had already bought the food. I was so annoyed. Anyway, for the friends that did show up, we had a really nice evening and had this amazing vegetable samosa pie that one of my friends brought. Everything worked out okay at the end.
I guess Christmas is where it gets weird because the breakup was shortly before Christmas and then after that I became involved with this new crush on a more intimate level thereafter. As a result, Christmas went by so fast that I hardly remember it. Although, I do have fond memories of opening presents with my mom, my sister and her husband. We made Christmas cookies together too, which I didn't get to do last year. I think my favorite gift was the Nintendo Switch my mom gave me.
Finally, for New Year's I was able to spend the entire weekend with my crush, right here in Pennsylvania. It so happened that because she was on the East Coast to see family for the holidays, she could also arrange to visit me. She changed her flight so she could fly back home from Philadelphia a day after the New Year's and bought a ticket for a few days before. She probably wouldn't want me telling everyone that we spent almost the whole weekend kissing, but when I think about spending that time with her it's hard to believe it was all real. We ended up darting around Bethlehem together and had our first date at my favorite Indian restaurant. On New Year's Eve we celebrated at a friend's house and kissed at midnight. What a way to bring in the New Year. I couldn't have asked for more.
I specifically set this section aside to speak about myself, because in light of everything that happened more than a year ago I still need help caring for myself. I need time and space to evaluate exactly what my feelings mean and what is right or wrong for me. Writing has been the only way I know how to do that. It's not enough to say that things are going to be all right after one major breakup and entering into a new something. It's not enough to know that my family is okay and healthy. It's not enough to know that I am alive and well and a functioning member of society. I must respect and acknowledge my feelings before they become me.
So, in that regard, I've decided to reenter therapy. Given everything that's happened in the past few weeks, I feel it might be best to get ahead of it by finding someone to help me professionally manage my stress, anxiety, and feelings. I don't know how long I'll remain in therapy, but I see it as the first step towards making successful change in my life. It certainly helped with that before. As well, I don't want to burden all too many people with how I feel about being alone and going through all these changes by myself.
I think it's also worth saying that given my plans include considering a move to Canada, selling the house, and finding a new job, I need to find a way to make a realistic timetable for all this (if this is what I so choose to do).
Finally, I just want to say that don't want to relapse into depression territory. That is my penultimate goal with therapy. I know I'm capable of many things, but that is one thing I don't want to be capable of. I'd like to avoid that at all costs while still managing my feelings in a healthy, controlled manner.
If I had a New Year's resolution, this is where I would put it. Honestly, I can't really tell you exactly what the future holds for me. The goal I have for this year is to prepare to live or work in Canada and be close to this crush of mine. I really don't think this is as insane as it sounds, because I know how I feel about this and I've really never felt like this before with anyone. Besides that, the events that lead us to meeting are fateful and prophetic.
Anyway, here's a few things I would like to do this year, in no particular order.
- Get back on my exercise plan; I quit shortly after our break up.
- Continue to research options for Canadian immigration and meet the prerequisites for a Canadian work permit.
- Build up my online streaming presence. Oh, by the way, I stream on Twitch now. Please follow me!
- Travel abroad and be a global citizen, maybe go to Iceland.
- Study up on my French and work to become more fluent.
- Make time to read a few good books.
- If I have the money, I'd also like to upgrade my desktop computer.
- Decide what I'm doing with my house, either sell it, rent it out, or keep it.
- Find ways to meet people while being essentially single or solopoly that doesn't include dating.
- Get the tattoo I've been wanting for a while.
I'll have to remember to check back in 2019 and see how many of these things I actually accomplished.
Other Interesting Crap
That wraps up this edition of The Chronicle of Cait. Please come back soon for more details about my on-goings. Until then, please enjoy some other interesting crap about me.
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