Marriage, Gender, Equality, Labor

Hitched at the Gates of HellSo, we got married, y’all.

I considered writing a wedding redux post for a few weeks; but I’ve decided to wait.  Our kid is coming out this summer, and we’re getting married AGAIN with her present and I think it makes sense to talk more about how getting married felt then.

Meanwhile, that was like, a month and a half ago (weird).

Part of being a stable fusion (go watch Steven Universe, right now) means that equality and distribution of labor is really important to approach mindfully.  My pal Audra recently published a piece on She Does The City that dropped this little bomb:

A 2008 study from the University of Michigan showed that even for women who didn’t have children, getting married resulted in seven more hours a week in housework for them. It’s like, get a husband, lose an hour a day of your life to laundry and cleaning.

Combine that with the fact that I have… ahem… a tendency to take on, absorb, or otherwise swallow large tasks whole while breezily claiming that “I’ve got this,” or “No No, It’s Fine,” when in fact I’m straight up fixing to lose my tiny mind, and like.  We needed to talk about this; probably, regularly.

Since we’ve been married, Thomthulhu has enthusiastically taken on roles as our household project manager, grocery shopper, and meal planner.  I now cook, on average, three meals a week; sometimes four.  I volunteer for all of them.  I am forbidden to cook on nights I have therapy.  Donna, our beloved housemate and family member (see below), is learning to cook and despite a huge amount of personal tragedy in the last six months, makes me tea on hard work days, runs errands, and cleans like a woman possessed.  Thomthulhu also now makes the bed every morning, as a gift to me.  He maintains our Chore Wars account, adds new adventures and quests, and reminds people to claim XP.  Dirae‘s partner, a dear friend on her own account, has stepped forward to help me with our household budget (and act as a primary support in an area of life that, I admit, makes me feel far from my ideal self).  After three weeks of working with her, we had a $2500 surplus in the bank, when normally, we would have been eating rice and juggling overdraft fees.  Temple University is paid in full in the second month of the semester.  She assures me that saving up for Darla (Thom’s daughter and my star-child) to visit for a month this summer (barring Himself getting a scholarship to go to Rome) will not be a problem.

Overall, the amount of labor I do has gone down since our wedding, and I’m happy we’re bucking the trend.

I think some of that has to do with the fact that Thomthulhu and I have had a solid, honest, loving friendship for a decade as of next month (!!!).  Another big part of it is that Sarnath is a non-traditional household with non-traditional humans. Tom and I live with a human we love, but with whom neither of us shares a romantic or sexual connection.  (I suppose there is a case to be made that Donna and I share a Romantic Friendship, but that is not a term most people throw around a lot these days).  Having Donna with us has turned out to be one of the best choices the three of us could have ever made.  Look at this glorious creature, her infectious mischief, and how much I flipping love her.DSC07937  Another big piece of it is that we all three of us have the wisdom to see that Everything Is Labor.  Donna’s self care and healing is labor just as much as Thomthulhu’s school work, my commute, Donna’s job training and project management gigs, cleaning litterboxes, doing dishes, or chatting at dining room table when someone needs to talk.

Chore Wars helps a lot, because unpaid labor is a thing — and sometimes the only payment we can give each other is “I SAW YOU EMPTIED THE DISHWASHER TODAY YOU MUTHAFUCKIN’ BOSS GET DOWN WITH YOUR BAD BAD SELF also thank you I hate emptying the dishwasher.”
It also gives us a chance to check in with each other, express gratitude, or say things like, “hey you did a lot yesterday, why don’t you trade dinner nights with me.  I’ll cook tonight, you can do tomorrow.”

I’ve seen a lot of households that claim that community, equality, and feminism are core values — but I don’t know that many households that actually uhold those values in practice, day to day.  I especially know a LOT of men who talk a lot about partnership but fully expect the women in their lives to be their maids, mothers, counselors, comforters, secretaries, and project managers.  I am deeply grateful and proud that I am surrounded by human beings with lasting, meaningful commitments to equality, gratitude, and the spirit of giving.

So yeah, marriage!  10/10, five stars, pretty big fan.

Marriage, Gender, Equality, Labor

The Countdown Begins

We get married in ten days.

Our rings, designed by our teenager, have arrived and are perfect.  The hotel rooms for Thomthulhu and I and our five guests are booked and waiting for us, thanks to some help from a wonderful friend.  My dress hangs quietly in our coat closet, and Thomthulhu’s vest and kilt jacket have arrived at my parents’ house.  We’re spending New Years Eve at home, in the company of some wonderful friends.  I’m making a goose, latkes, and sauerkraut.  I think Dirae and Alex are painting my hair and nails.  We’ll probably play some board games, and hang out in fleece kigurimis.

In a few hours, we leave Philadelphia to go spend Christmas with Tom’s best man, Sam and his wonderful girlfriend, Becky.

This is the quietest, sanest, most enthusiastic holiday season of my life.

I’ll be carrying a scrapbook containing letters and pictures from friends all over the world instead of flowers, the day we get married.

I feel exactly the way I hoped to feel in the weeks leading up to marriage.  I have not once second guessed our guest-list.  I have not thought about seating arrangements.  I adore my dress, and plan to wear it every New Year’s Eve from now until I am an old lady.  I am proud of our choices, and of my partner.

It’s funny, the questions people ask.

“Are you nervous?” (No.)
“Pretty stressful, right?” (No.)
“How are you feeling about the Big Day?” (Wonderful.)
“In-laws driving you batty yet?” (Of course not.)
“Any big bachelorette plans?” (We’re going to Franklin Fountain in our kigurumis then going back to the hotel to watch movies and eat candy.)

I haven’t worried about a florist, a caterer, a baker, a DJ, a technical difficulty.  I am not constructing a single centerpiece.  I will not have to clean one blessed thing up, or delegate any tasks besides, “Sean please hold my ring; Donna, please hold our marriage license. Someone take some pictures, I guess.” There isn’t a checklist.  I am completely undistracted from joy, peace, and wonder.

I never had a vision in my head of what being a bride would look like.  There was no magazine spread in my imagination.  But I did always know, for as long as I knew I wanted to marry Tom, exactly how I hoped to feel, what I wanted to be on my mind, the things I wanted to remember.   In a tearful moment last week, frustrated over a financial hiccup, He stopped me and said, “You’ll be there, and I’ll be there, and we’ll be married at the end of the day — that’s all I want. ”  I feel chosen, equal, seen.  I feel accepted, celebrated.  These things aren’t captured in photographs, and they don’t appear on tables or place settings.  They aren’t ever on magazine pages. There is no theme.  There are no colors.  The theme is us.  The colors are yes.

I am filled with a quiet excitement and happiness that January 2, 2016 will be perfect, full of surprises, wonderful, and both exactly and nothing like we planned — kind of the way I hope our marriage turns out! (It’s almost like we did that on purpose!)

Alex is helping me embellish my stockings with a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, in place of wearing a garter, because garters are awful and pinch.

Into the golden vessel of great song
Let us pour all our passion; breast to breast
Let other lovers lie, in love and rest;
Not we,—articulate, so, but with the tongue
Of all the world: the churning blood, the long
Shuddering quiet, the desperate hot palms pressed
Sharply together upon the escaping guest,
The common soul, unguarded, and grown strong.
Longing alone is singer to the lute;
Let still on nettles in the open sigh
The minstrel, that in slumber is as mute
As any man, and love be far and high,
That else forsakes the topmost branch, a fruit
Found on the ground by every passer-by.

These are details almost no one will see.  Small secrets and hidden treasures that fill my heart with gladness and gratitude.

Things are looking pretty great at Day 10.

The Countdown Begins

Sky Real Estate

Our two-stage wedding begins in 3 weeks, and I’m pretty excited.

We’re picking up our marriage license at City Hall on 1 December.  I have to remember to switch my usual therapy appointment, note to self.

On 5 December, Tom’s daughter, his immediate family, my immediate family, and our family of choice will all have a lovely dinner complete with toasts at my mom’s house.  From there, we’re likely to take our friends and the kiddo to either the Firebird Festival, or down to Linvilla for a caroling hayride and marshmallow roast.  The peeps are staying through the weekend.  I’ve never met my sDaughter in person, but we’ve grown close online.  Tom hasn’t seen her in person in over a decade, as she lives out in the Midwest.  I’m beside myself with how excited I am.

Then, four short weeks later, on the second day of 2016, we’ll be trekking from Hotel Sofitel with our five guests down to the Rodin Museum to say our vows at the Gates of Hell exhibit.  There are subversive plans to head to Shane’s Confectionery the night before for treats, then coming back to the hotel to don ridiculous kigurumis and watch movies, but I can neither confirm nor deny these plans.  (Yes I can!)  Friends from all over the world are mailing me pages to place in a scrap book I’ll carry — my book-quet, if you will (h/t to Nyree), so that the people I love most in this whole wide world can come with me, regardless of the tyranny of geography.

After we’re hitched, we’ll be taking pictures around Logan Square and then heading down to Penn’s Landing to go to Franklin Fountain for milkshakes, maybe go ice skating, and then go to Twisted Tail for dinner.  From there, we’ll probably hit L’etage for mocktails for me, cocktails for everyone else, a visit from Dirae and her partner, and maybe Carl (!) and some dancing, if we’re into dancing.

Our wedding bands were designed by our kid, and involve Steven Universe, naturally.  She holds that Tom and I are a stable fusion (Aquamarine) of Emerald (Tom) and Morganite (me).  So, we elected for tungsten rings, each with an aquamarine on the knuckle-side, and the gems she selected for us on our own rings on the palm side.  They’re due to arrive from Tel Aviv the week of Yule, which is perfect.

Surprisingly, gifts have rolled in for us, despite the fact that we’re faux-loping.  Both our families have been super supportive of us having exactly the shin-dig we wanted, even though it isn’t what they envisioned.  Our friends are all over the moon for us in both enthusiasm and support.

As of that week, Thomthulhu will have finished 2 of his remaining 5 semesters of school.  He’s switched his major to Classics with minors in History and probably Latin.

Work is going well for me, both as a systems analyst and as a freelance writer.  I have a piece running in The Establishment soon, and pitched a very significant project to a major publication that has the potential to turn into a long-term staff position creating content.  Working up that proposal was for sure a concentrated effort in properly valuing my research and writing skills, and I’ll be thrilled if the publication is happy with my number.  I’ve been honing my research skills with Ask Wonder when I have free time, and that’s been super for keeping me sharp.  It also puts about $50 in the bank every few weeks and that never hurts.

I’m taking up sewing gradually, and that’s pretty cool.

In other news, word has reached me that a former member of my Galactic Collision of 2014 is potentially moving to a spot four blocks from my residence.  That fact has me feeling some rather large feelings.  A significant part of me simply doesn’t care — that group of people is no longer a threat to my emotional well-being.  My neighborhood is full of people who love and support me.  I don’t have anything to say to the people from whom I have taken leave, and I am confident that whatever they might have to say to me will come from the places it always has, and is unlikely to change.  I don’t relish the idea of running into any of them or their associated people, but it no longer fills me with betrayal or anger (much).  There does remain a piece of me that wants my weird little poly-queer-promised land this side of the river to stay unmolested.  I like my life far better in their absence than I ever did in their presence.  I’m more myself, less apologetic, calmer, higher energy.  Without the pressure to assimilate and sublimate who I am, I’m more thoroughly and thoughtfully myself.  I enjoy that.  I’m sure her choice is not purposeful or malicious for a variety of reasons. I’m also sure that I can handle any run-ins with elegance and aplomb (and probably a stony gaze envied by any basilisk).  It’s just an annoyance, more than anything.  Like discovering half way through the day that your tights have shifted just left of comfortable in the middle of a speaking engagement.  You can’t fix it elegantly, and simply have to endure until such time as you’re in my dining room with Dirae yelling about how people are shitty over pomegranate americanos.

Which reminds me!   I’ve also tentatively joined the ranks of elective sobriety for the time being.  No, I am not pregnant, thanks for not asking.  I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that most of what I enjoy about having a drink is that it provides a pleasing aesthetic experience; most of what I don’t like about having a drink is literally everything else about alcohol.  I’ve talked with Hanif about taking on infusions as a shared hobby.  I’m actually going to be making a batch of lavender simple syrup this evening for kicks, and will gladly add it to just about everything.  Tart, rich juices have taken the place of wine and whiskey in my life, and after just a few weeks I’m really happy with the wisdom and care of this choice.  I reserve the right to perhaps have a glass of champagne with friends if I so choose, but overall I think I’d rather have an Alyssa Milano, a rhubarb shrub, or a festive wassail instead. I love the preparation and care that goes into creating mocktails.  I’ve thought about picking up a wine fridge to put near our dry sink in the dining room to act as a storage spot for cordials, syrups, shrubs, and infusions. The decision hasn’t been hard for me thus far, even at a wedding I coordinated where booze was flowing profusely.  Dirae and her partner were the bartenders and happily handed me juice with tonic as often as I liked.  BUBBLES MAKE EVERYTHING SPECIAL.  So do friends.  ❤

So that’s the haps, friends.  I hope everyone’s doing great as Thanksgiving approaches.  It is my favorite holiday, and I’m eagerly anticipating it and a secular Advent!

Sky Real Estate

ICYMI I proposed, we’re eloping, also life is great.

So Thomthulhu and I have been discussing marrying this coming winter for the better part of the last five or six months.  Shortly after moving to Philadelphia, we planned our elopement in seven minutes in the freezing cold, waiting for the 42 bus.

A proposal was something of an afterthought, especially given how T and I feel about betrothal in general.  Once you decide you’d both like to get married, that’s it.  You’re affianced.  I did want to do something to give us a reason to celebrate our choice, so I bought myself a ring I like, and asked him to be the extraordinary human who would replace the Self-Marriage (a story for another day, perhaps?) bands I’ve worn consistently on my right hand for the better part of three or four years.  He was pleasantly surprised, and this happened: Engaged!

We called a few friends and family members first, then announced it on social media, to the resounding support, pleasure, and happiness of the folks who love us.  My ring was hand made in Scotland by Sarah Brown and is significant to Thomthulhu and I for a wide variety of reasons.  So.  He is my extraordinary human.  There are also other relationships in my life that are central, important, and irreplaceable that are likely to continue to grow, but Thomthulhu brings out my best self, and I cannot help but to orbit him.  Nor do I want anything different.  He also encourages me to seek out the human contact I desire with whomever I choose, and values my ability to establish deep and lasting relationships with people, without reservation.  I have learned more recently to listen more closely and more heavily weight his instincts about people in my life.  He is rarely incorrect, I’ve found.

As friends of ours slog through the difficult initial stages of a likely closed triad, he and I have had occasion to revisit aspects and events in our own relationship as we try to generate helpful insight for our loved ones.  It’s been daunting, but ultimately good for everyone involved.  One of those friends will be joining our household a week from now, and we are thrilled to make our home her home as well.  Good thing she likes cats and doesn’t object to nudity.  Though Thom did say, “I love her so much I’d wear pants in the house.”  A glowing bit of praise, that.  Those three beautiful friends plus Our Dearest Sam will be the entirety of the guest list for our impending Philadelphian faux-lopement this Winter.  Our photographs will be taken with Instagram and Instax Minis by ourselves and our four guests. The rest of those plans are a complete secret, and won’t be public knowledge until after the thing is done and I do a re-cap.

New Job is completely excellent.  One-tenth the stress for a third more take-home pay is… that’s some good math. I’m also using my brain on hard problems every day.  I make my own schedule, and I’m preparing to negotiate down to three days in the office during the Autumn, and down to two days on site starting this Winter.  The commute is honestly the worst part of the job, and that’s saying a lot considering how some folks feel about what they do five days a week for money and to whom they report for the same.  I keep screwing up our finances, because I need a digital babysitter, so I’m taking a page from Ginny’s book and signing up for Mvelopes.

I’m due to watch their budgeting boot camp videos this week to feel more adulty, and to feel better about my upcoming tattoo as a responsible but fun choice.  It’s a full sleeve and then some (likely extending from my left breast  or shoulder blade to eventually the back of my left hand probably omitting my underarm because no part of me is into that), so it’s going to be at least 4 or 5 sessions with Jasmine at Spirited Tattooing Coalition.  I also have like, a wee wedding to take care of by mid-December?  What.

ICYMI I proposed, we’re eloping, also life is great.

Reflections, Instincts, and Milestones

I’m not going to comment on the events in Charleston, because my voice is not the voice that needs to be heard.  I would encourage anyone reading this to instead, read and listen to black voices, absorb their words, and consider, if you are able, making a donation to the church targeted by an act of domestic terrorism.

This weekend is the Nunes-Wilson Anniversary, and that makes me feel peaceful and happy. I think I might take him to the Zoo this weekend, and we’ll play some FFXIV together while I relax and prepare for my new position to begin on Monday.

Things were a straight up mess this time last year, as I was performing in my last show with my former troupe while they tried to wring the blood from the stone of my heart.  A week prior, G had broken up with me badly, attacking my primary relationship, my capacity for polyamory, my value as a partner, my integrity, and my worthiness of family.  Via e-mail.  From a conference on polyamory in Atlanta, while I was at a concert with my boyfriend in Philadelphia.

I often wonder how things would have gone for me had I attended that conference with her as she had asked.  Deep parts of me said “No” to that and I’ve always been thankful to whatever pre-verbal instinct in me always seems to know when things are in jeopardy even if my conscious mind is off in fantasy La La Land where Everything Will Be Fine Probably.

It was strange.  She texted me with the typical, “I have some thoughts I want to share with you” text message.  I turned to Tom and said, “So she’s probably breaking up with me, today.”  He, sagely, asked, “Is this because you’re fed up with being her additional free therapist about a breakup in which you played an already supportive role?”  And I nodded.  “Probably.  I can tell that’s the thing she wants most from me, and I don’t want to give her that anymore.”

I parked the car.  We had stopped to get gas when the text had arrived.
Tom helped me put on sunscreen, and asked, “So it’s shitty, what she just did, huh?”  And I said simply, “Yup.  Now I have to wait for the stupid email.”

We talked briefly on how we were glad that we had established an agreement early in our relationship that we don’t do “We Have to Talk” texts or emails.  There’s no reason to inject dread or apprehension into someone’s day.  Just be a person.  Wait, or ask if they’re free. This wasn’t relevant at the moment, because she knew I wasn’t free.  But it would have been nice to have been asked.  He hugged me in the parking lot, while the attendants stared, guarding me from the hot sun and sheltering me from the gravity of my own feelings.

“Do you think you’ll stay friends?”
“I don’t know.  I guess it depends on what she says.  I’ll probably need some time.”
“That makes sense.”

…. ding.

The email came in, and I sat down to read it on hot asphalt.  It stained my dress.   I noticed melted chewing gum had clung to my sneaker. It was strange that it was exactly what I expected from her at this point, but also still managed to flood me with disappointment.  I had hoped for better.

I finished reading it and wrote a brief response. “I have read your email, and understand its contents.  I will talk to you on Monday when you get back from the conference.”  I asked T if he wanted to read it.  He didn’t.  I gave him the broad strokes, and he said plain as day, “It sounds like she had some pretty unreasonable expectations of you, and of us.  I’m sorry, Love.  Do you want to go home?”

I told him no, that I wanted to see the show and spend time with him.
My phone blew up for a significant portion of the afternoon, and at one point I considered throwing it in the river.  Did Monday mean not before Monday (yes, that’s why I f*cking said Monday would be when I would talk to her FTLOG).  Well what about now, though.  Then from others, G is upset (neat story, so am I) et cetera.  How about now.  Maybe now though.  Okay I understand, but one more thing.

I gave Tom my phone.  We enjoyed the show.  We danced.  We spent $15 on a 9 oz cup of beer, and split it.  As the sun dipped and the show ended, we walked to the car, his arm around me.

“How are you feeling?”
“… relieved it’s over.  I don’t want to give them what they want from me.”
“Proud of you for knowing.  You gonna stick to it?” (He knows me, this man.)
“Yeah.  I want to get through this show.  We’re supposed to rehearse Monday.”
“Eugh.”
“… yeah.”
“Is this gonna get bad?”
“Oh, almost certainly.”

I had no idea how bad it would get, but my instincts were at least in the right ballpark.

It’s funny how much can change in a year.  In a day.  There’s more news, and our household is growing a wee bit, but I will wait to share that until next week when everything is different!

Reflections, Instincts, and Milestones

“After what we’ve been through, it would be very easy to give up, to lose hope. But not here. Not today.” – President Laura Roslin, Battlestar Galactica.

Have we discussed how Laura Roslin is my Science Fiction Patron Saint?

She isn’t flawless.  It’s one of the reasons she resonates with me as a person so much.  She, like the best of us, gets swept up in the force of circumstances and must atone and make do as best she can.  exCUse you. She’s sentimental and ruthless in turns — I can relate.  She’s resilient and forceful.  She’s unimpressed with your bullsh*t, and her instincts are well-developed.  She is also someone worth having around in an actual crisis.  I can relate.  She takes the starkness of her mortality in stride, managing to love ferociously anyway.  She knows what it means to have to make irrevocable decisions on short notice and simply live with the consequences, imperfect as they are.  And she’s usually right about who to throw out the airlock.  You know.  Usually.

I’m a bit squishier than she is at this stage in my life, but hey.  I’m young.  Cut me some slack.  There’s time.  It actually turns out that Ros is a fairly decent screening process for most people daring entry to my life and heart.   Chances are (and the data shows this to be the case!) that if you are not down with L-Ros, we’re not going to get along for long.  You’ll admire the wrong things about me (my compassion!  my good looks!  The things you need, rather than the things I enjoy!), you’ll want needs met I’m uninterested in meeting (basically anything having to do with free therapy, a fight you think you can win, sex that doesn’t serve me, endless endless support without reciprocity, narcissistic supply, validation of your ego, or someone who pulls punches to hand-hold you through life with perpetual patience and nary a word about her own desires, needs, or limits), and I’m gonna end up making this face, when we’re done:

So all of that said, I’ve been channeling President Roslin a lot these days.  Life has required a lot of me, lately.  Don’t get me wrong — Veni, vidi, vici, bros.  But I could use a lie-down once the dust settles.  Maybe a trip planet-side.  Stretch my legs and feel the sun on my face.  I’ve still got a Cylon or two showing up on my sensors, and I’m throwing some serious shade in the direction of one Gaius Baltar (eugh, what a ceaseless chode), and any collection of Sixes and disciples he might have at his disposal; but it’s mostly bright stars and blue planets these days.

I’ve had to make some pretty fast choices with incomplete information, state uncomfortable truths with as much grace as circumstances will allow, and maintain some semblance of diplomacy in the face of intractable assclowns in order to extract myself from situations that no longer serve me or my goals.  It’s been an adventure.  I’ve also needed to look my partner in the face and apologize for how hard things have been.  How I haven’t been my true self.  How sometimes my decisions might have been the right ones and gone poorly anyway.  How some of my choices were the wrong ones and went about as poorly as, perhaps, a less thinly spread person could have anticipated.  There have been some crying jags.  There were days when hope felt far away — days where change felt completely out of reach.  But here we are.

  Throughout, I think it has been helpful to have models available in fiction to shape our responses.  Adama-Roslin is a relationship we both hold in exceptionally high regard, and desire for ourselves and each other — maybe minus the cancer diagnosis, but hey.  We don’t call all the shots, do we?  One of the things that helps is that they’re both rather obstinately principled people whose principles are not always in accord with their partner’s.  And yet, decisions get made.

Orders are issued and executed in the spheres proper to the influence, authority, and expertise of each individual.  Autonomy is flexible, but preserved, respected, and intact at all times.  Our conflict is healthy.  He does not balk at the vastness of my emotional landscape, nor do I expect him to disclose his without being asked.  There is also a medium-sized human who looks to both of us, now, to augment her sense of family, support, and acceptance.  She has some Starbuck moments (sometimes heartbreaking to watch, but also inspiring), these days, and we expect and look forward to her impetuous and opinionated nature to continue to assert and reveal itself as she grows.  She’s bound for greatness, and bearing witness to that is a singular honor and joy.  It helps that she’s irreverent, hilarious, and insightful in turns.

So.  Saint Laura Roslin, guide my thoughts, words, actions, and occasionally, sartorial choices on this day and the days to come.  Continue to grant me shares of your courage, decisiveness, determination, curiosity, and razor sharp wit.  May I always reflect the pride I have in my partner out into the world, and feel with depth and intensity for the people worthy of my care.  This, in the names of the Lords of Kobol.  So Say We All.

“After what we’ve been through, it would be very easy to give up, to lose hope. But not here. Not today.” – President Laura Roslin, Battlestar Galactica.

The Wheel Turns, The Times Change

It is difficult for me to fully grasp that, this time last year, I was in the throes of one of the most heart-wrenching break-ups of my life, a catastrophic shift in what I considered my family unit — referred to here as Gallactic Collision 2014.  There are a lot of moving parts in that equation to this day, a full year later.  A lot has changed for me, entirely and wholly for the better. Freed from toxic, oppressive, and limiting influences, sexual manipulation and emotional exploitation, I never dreamed I could be this new creature.  It’s amazing what a person can accomplish when they are not spending ten hours a day up to their elbows in psycho-emotional vampires.

My chosen family has changed a lot.  I’ve gained Caitlin, Dirae and her partner, So Many Shouty Women, an entire enclave of wonderful people in Toronto I adore, Hanif and Alex are back in my life.  Ginny, Shaun, and I are all neighbors.  I’ve gained three adorable cats I love dearly.  My family from Alliance LARP is stronger than ever (Congratulations, Sean and Samara on your engagement! I love you!).  And Thomthulhu and I …  are wonderful.  I am gifted with an amazing partner who, despite how challenging the last twelve to eighteen months have been, looks me in the face every day and says: We Have Got This.  I know we’ve got this, because we run sh*t.

And today is proof.  With the help and support of more people than I can even dare to try thanking (though Hanif, you’re at the top of the list), I’ve resigned from my position at the law firm.  

My last day as a paralegal is Friday, June 19th.  That Sunday is my second anniversary with Thomthulhu, as well as the Summer Solstice.  The next day, I begin my new role as a Systems Analyst at a small, but well established niche software company.  My salary will almost double.  Innovators at my new place of employment basically write their own tickets and design their own positions.  I will be working with an intimate team of weirdos and nerds who recognize my skills and talents, and want to see me rise like a sun on the horizon of an uncharted planet.  I will be on-site quite a bit while I get up to speed, but the goal is eventually, for me to work two days on site most weeks, and the other three from wherever I choose.  I will be selecting my own core hours, and my work day will be over in the early afternoon most days.  I will have a lot more responsibility, and will be required to learn unceasingly for the remainder of my career.

So basically, it’s the total best and I cannot wait and I’m excited, terrified, and starry-eyed all at once.

The paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered.  In half an hour, I will be heading out to see BoringBot’s art show down on Penn’s Landing and plot what will happen to him and his pals in tomorrow’s session of Jade Regent.  Then I see Nyree in person for the first time at a Picnic in my neighborhood, which will be a delightful preview of my impending takeover of Toronto later this summer.  Sunday, I meet baby Ada for the first time.  Amanda is in town with her new daughter, and I will also meet her wee Lily next week, and will see much more of the Birdwell family this coming year!

So many strong arms have held me through this year of transitions and uncertainty and hope.

Arms I never could have dreamt to even hope to find.  And yet, and still.  Here we are friends.

I could never have made it without you.

Love, Love, Love, Love, Love.
RD

The Wheel Turns, The Times Change