So you'll recall that I was pretty terrified of losing some close friends over my recent revelation regarding my sexuality. Needless to say, I was deeply anxious when I received an email from a close friend entitled Re:Blog Post. I almost didn't want to open it! What was it going to say? Was she ditching me? Could she not handle knowing this aspect of me? I know it fundamentally disagrees with some deeply held beliefs of hers... was this going to send us parting ways? I surely hoped not, and I trust in her ability to rationally think through issues and come to solid conclusions. Nonetheless, my hand and heart shook a little as I clicked on the little icon in my inbox.

With her permission, I'm sharing her email and my response, because I feel that not only might it help others who may be reeling to understand my position and how a close (female) friend is coping, (Coping. Sounds like a crisis! lol), but I know that I myself will want to look back and reflect on this exchange from time to time, and I like having it in one place.

Dear C,

Yup, I read your blog.  Yes, I still want to be besties, and I would still be honored to stand up with you at your wedding.  I love you just the same as before knowing that you consider yourself to be bisexual.  As you said about the fibro, you're still the same person as before the 'diagnosis' and that person you are is one of very dearest friends.  

As you have been honest, I will be honest also: I am surprised, naturally, by your news, and not quite sure how to react.  I mean, in one sense, this changes NOTHING.  In another sense, does it?  My stance on homosexuality, which I consider to be biblical (doesn't every Christian consider their personal stance to be biblical? lol) is that yes, it is wrong for a person to have a sexual relationship with someone of their own gender. (It's hard for me to just say 'have sex' because, according to my anatomy knowledge, a homosexual couple can't really "have sex" as I understand it, anyways.. but moving on.)  The Bible also makes it clear that it is wrong for two unmarried heterosexual people to be in a sexual relationship, and wrong for a married person to be in a sexual relationship with someone other than their spouse.  I know that you know that I believe this, so why am I not jumping up and down 'rebuking' you for living with C?  Well frankly, it's your life, and although we're close friends, your decisions are still none of my business.  It might be different if I believed that you were attempting to follow the Bible in every area of your life, but you didn't realize that the Bible speaks against sex outside of marriage.  But no, you went to Souls right along with me, and I don't have any new information for you.  And so I'm happy for the happiness you're experiencing, and I pray for you, because honestly I worry that some of the decisions you're making (not the dairy or the pierced ears, silly) will hurt you in the long run.  I hope I'm wrong in my concerns.  I know that you do want a relationship with God, and you do want to follow Him, and as I've said before (and will try not to say again, because the last thing I want to do is nag) I am afraid that IF you come through your wrestling with the God-questions with the conclusion that you want to be a Christian, you want to follow the Bible, you want a Christian home... I'm afraid for you and your children, because the husband and father has a HUGE impact on the spirituality of the family.  I believe that in many ways, C is a good man.  He takes amazingly good care of you.  He's faithful and responsible.  He LOVES you.  Those are all good things!  So I'm not trying to say he's some horrible evil person, please understand me there.  And I suppose that if you come through this wrestling time with the conclusion that you don't believe in God, and/or you don't believe in the Bible, and you don't have any desire to have any particular religious structure in your life and home, well then, you and C will be 'equally yoked.'  And even if that's what happens, I think you and I would still be friends, because my friendship with you is not dependent upon your spiritual decisions / religious affiliation.  

Wow, I totally sidetracked from where I was going.  Anyways.  So I believe that homosexual 'sex' is wrong, just as I believe that heterosexual sex is wrong outside of marriage.  But I also believe that there are people who are sexually attracted to individuals of their own gender.  Trying to say "you shouldn't be attracted to that" is somewhat ridiculous in my mind, just as trying to tell a young man that he "shouldn't be interested in pretty girls" is ridiculous.  But attraction and sexual purity are two different things - a person may, by God's grace, live a sexually pure life regardless of whether they are attracted to men or women.  Did God 'create' homosexuality?  I don't believe so, but through years of sin messing with genetics, I might even buy into the belief that someone can be "born that way."  Is it fair?  No!  Is it fair that people are born with Downs syndrome or AIDS or anything else? (bad and politically incorrect illustration, I KNOW)  No of course not.  But everyone has unique struggles and challenges, and it may be very hard for a homosexual Christian to come to terms with the fact that they are indeed attracted to their own gender, and not to the opposite, and that if they want to live a sexually pure life in God's eyes, they will be celibate.  That's rough!  I wouldn't wish that on anyone!  But I believe that God offers more than enough to compensate, in this life and in heaven, so that looking back, that person could say that giving up sexual relationships was a very small price to pay.  In your situation, you're acknowledging that you're attracted to men AND women.  Is that "wrong" or "sinful" to acknowledge that?  No, I don't believe so. I think it's unfortunate, because it may cause different struggles for you than someone else would have who's only heterosexual.  But the attraction itself is no more "wrong" than it is for me to acknowledge that I'm attracted to my boyfriend, and yes, I am.  But what we do with that attraction makes the difference.  And it sounds to me like you're making a wise decision to own your attraction to women, but still choose to marry your fiance and remain committed to that relationship.  Does this make sense?  I doubt you're shocked by anything I'm saying.  And like I said before, it's not my job to try to be your conscience.  I'm sharing what I believe, not trying to force or influence you to align your beliefs or behavior with my beliefs.  

Anyways, moving on, the part that gets tricky for me is this: I relate in certain ways to my girl friends, and am far more reserved and careful in how I relate to my guy friends.  I dress more modestly around guys (married, single, or in relationships) and watch what I talk about, because I want to avoid causing them to "stumble" (ha! How we overused that one at SOULS..) and with my girl friends, I'm just not that careful.  I tell you embarrassing stories that I would never tell guys, we talk about whatever, and we're very close emotionally.  Sooooo this might sound weird, but I feel like I don't know how I should relate to you?? It's like, I'm just not sure what appropriate boundaries should be?  So please be patient with me, and offer any feedback you think would be helpful, because I don't want our friendship to change, but this is kinda difficult news for me to handle.  Do you understand?  It's not that I'm judging you or anything like that at all, it's just that I don't quite know what to say.  Which is why this email is so long, because it's hard to be concise when you don't know what you're saying.   

Anyways, I certainly still do love you, and appreciate your friendship so very much.  Talk to you soon.

And then, my response...

Dear J,

As always, I so, so, SO appreciate your honesty!

In honor of absolutely nothing at all, I'd like to address your email backwards, meaning that I will evaluate your last mentioned concerns first, simply because they're the ones that I feel most strongly about at this point. (Okay, really, who am I kidding?! I'm gonna be spiderwebbing like crazy, but I'm sure you're cool with that. Pink it up with me, yeah? ^_^)

I really don't want you to be uncomfortable around/with me in any way. As I said in the blog, nothing has changed. The only thing that's changed, for me, is my ownership of an aspect of myself that I'd been in denial about for a long time. That being said, my behavior and mindset have not changed and, I'm sorry to break your heart, but I'm just not interested in you in a romantic way. (Wow. The things you NEVER thought you'd say to your friends LOL) You know that saying, "like kissing your brother"? Yeah. Ew. Even trying to imagine me entertaining the thought of being interested in any of the girls I know as my close friends gives me the willies. As a favorite book of mine says, "the mere thought had not even begun to speculate about the possibility of crossing my mind". So maybe it will put you at ease to know that those thoughts were never there towards you.

Maybe I can explain this a little further from my perspective, as "bi" is a different experience for every person. It's very fluid, really. I think  for me it's less about gender and more about personhood. It's like, I can have a crush on anyone, and gender just doesn't bother me. I like the person for the person, and whether they happen to have a set of mammary glands is incidental. Don't get me wrong-- I admire the aesthetics of the female body, but that holds just as true for my own body as that of any other woman. I like my curves, and I like the curves on other ladies. They just look nice. But I'm not ogling every girl that gets undressed around me. I never struggled with sexual impulses towards girls during SOULS, and you know that there's pretty much no shame in those girl's rooms! (B. Need I say more? LOL)

So for me when I say, "I like this girl", it falls into the category of "Hey, she's good looking to me and I like her personality and I enjoy being around her and I'd like to do it more", much like you would with a guy. Just as with a guy, it's not like every time you like a guy you're thinking to yourself, "What a nice guy-- take off your shirt!!!" Hehehehe. Just for perspective! (Well, you might think that about Jason... I'm not here to judge ;) But as I recall, your dad took care of the whole "seeing Jason without a shirt on" thing for you a couple of years ago, yeah?)

I guess it turns out for me more like, "I like this person." Whether it's "I like this girl" or "I like this guy", it's just... "I like this person." Does that make sense? I hope that clarifies and de-creepifies the situation. I can totally understand how you might feel uncomfortable after a revelation like this... I really didn't want you mentally rehashing our friendship thinking, "Well, that was a vulnerable and awkward situation now that I know what I know and MAN I sure wish I hadn't put myself in that position because it might have come across as to forward and..." etc. As far as I'm concerned, nothing at all has changed in our friendship except that now you know one of my "deepest darkest secrets" and have chosen to still be my bestie and stand up with me at my wedding, so I feel really relieved, honored, and more confident in the strength of our friendship and your maturity.

That being said... you are absolutely right in your talk about boundaries. Again, for me nothing's changed. At all. But I understand if you feel the need to set up stricter boundaries in regards to emotional sharing, physical touch, etc. I won't be hurt, because my boundaries are just as important as yours, and your comfort level is 50% of what keeps this from turning into the world's best awkward story. (Except then I'd have no one to share it with! The torture! The humanity!! The sheer insanity!!!) *The following is a reference to stricken example from J's letter* I can imagine how that could get a bit... awkward, at least for you. Like, yeah, you don't want to lead anyone on. Poor J! It's bad enough having to fend off the good looking, spiritual young men... now you have to be careful around the ladies, too! See? ...You're just too frickin' gorgeous. ;) (Uh... can I still make that joke? 'Cause I totally don't mean it in a "hitting on you" way. Ew. This could get awkward if we launch into the whole "let's evaluate every sentence" thing... Can we just leave it at: as far as we're concerned, I'm totally hetero?) 

Yes, I went to SOULS with you, and I understand the Biblical position on homosexuality. Yup, nothing new there! :) One thing I have so appreciated about the way you conduct yourself in our friendship is that I know what you believe, and I know you know that my beliefs don't exactly jive with that system anymore, and yet you don't judge me. The fact that I am making choices that you see as unbiblical, yet you still support my happiness and consider C to be a good guy though he's an a-moral soul-sucking atheist (according to some lol) is, well... that's tremendous. I really consider it to be part of what makes you such a good person. That you can stand firm in what you believe and not condone others' choices (because I know that, while you support my happiness, you do not in fact condone my choices, and that's okay) is an unfortunately rare quality that belies maturity, both emotional/mental and spiritual. I'm not saying all this to flatter you-- I genuinely feel this, and this is a perfect opportunity to express it. I think that you will handle the situation with so-and-so well. I mean, you've gotten lots of practice in this stuff with me, yogurt-eating barbarian that I am. ;)

And I'm on the same page with you as far as "what to do with" the attraction that I find myself with. Let's face it-- I've been denying this for, oh, twenty-something years? It's nothing new for me to repress it now. The whole reason behind my "coming out" was to become a more fully integrated person that can honestly and openly acknowledge all parts of herself. That being said... I'm getting married. I'm in a monogamous relationship. Whether I'm attracted to males or females or purple sea urchins really has no bearing on anything at all at this point because I've chosen my mate and I'm not in the market for anything else. (To be clear, when I discuss in my blog that I'm becoming overly sexual as a side effect of one of my drugs, my whole sexual world begins and ends with C. The sun rises and sets on that boy, and I only have eyes for him. I'm not lusting after other women any more than I'm pining after other men.) Cheating is cheating, whether it's with a girl or a guy, and I'm not into that. I've accepted this aspect of myself, and now it must go into remission, in a sense. I liken it to being a heterosexual monk. Sure, they're attracted to women, but they've taken a vow of celibacy that transcends the desires and attractions they may have towards any woman, so they choose to subdue those desires for the sake of what they consider to be the greater cause. I'm in a lovely committed relationship, and while I will always be attracted to other people incidentally (because you can't say that, just because J's a total hottie, you're never gonna be attracted to another guy again, ever.), it's just not an option. So, for me, I may be incidentally attracted to a girl, or incidentally attracted to a guy, but... it doesn't matter. I've chosen my mate, and we're gettin' hitched. (Can you please go back and re-read the last half of that sentence-- from the comma onward-- with a really over-exaggerated southern accent? Thank you ^_^)

I will totally be patient with you, and you don't need to fear making me stumble. (Yes we sure did overuse that one at SOULS!) Unless you're tripping me. In which case... prepare for revenge! Bwahahahahahaha! LOL

But yeah. This is a learning curve for me, too. I've had to do a lot of thinking on it, and I've realized that while it's a reality that I acknowledge and accept, it really doesn't "have a place" in my life at all because of the choices I've made. I can't see myself ever acting on it, simply because I've already committed to one person. I'm off the market to both genders, soooo... yeah.

That's it.

I'm glad you're still my friend :) No, really. Those tears I talked about? They were for you. I was terrified... not that you would judge me, because that's not your style, nor that you would reject me, necessarily, but... you're like, my best friend... and I was afraid that it would be too awkward for you and you would have to step away from our friendship. I would understand, and I would totally respect that, but I would grieve deeply, because our relationship is very dear and meaningful to me. Shoot, you're very dear and meaningful to me. You're family, for crying out loud. You're gonna be my kids' Auntie J, and I would hate for that to be disrupted over something that isn't even going to impact or change my life at all!

So, on a totally unrelated and completely happier note... we went to the realtor's after my colonoscopy today (speaking of which, call me! I've got some funny and awkward stories from that one :D ), and already have a list of listings from the realtor that we can check out... We did a phone application with a lender while C was getting ready for work, and we go to get pre-approved for our loan tomorrow morning. From there, we can actually begin the house-hunting process, which I anticipate to begin sometime... ohhh... next week! :D :D :D :D :D (and so forth.)

I'll forward you the e-mail with the listings so you can see what we're looking at, too. Thought you might find it interesting :)

J, we're getting a HOUUUUUUUUUUUSE! Me and C! Together! The love of my life and I! And we're getting married!

Is it right to be this deliriously happy? Somewhere, someone is starving in China... but I'm getting a HOUUUUUUUUSE! And I feel a little bit of privilege guilt at being so happy when other people are so unhappy, you know? I wish I could be the Happiness Pixie and sprinkle magic happy dust on people so they could be one iota as happy as I am with my life right now. Even with all the God stuff.

Oh! Speaking of which, I forgot to address that little nugget.

Regarding the whole God/family patriarch/but-he's-an-atheist thing... Yes. That's something that I've had to confront intentionally, specifically, and meaningfully several times throughout this relationship. There was the initial "should I even be dating this guy?", which was quickly complicated by pregnancy, which was quickly complicated by love, which was quickly laid bare by pre-marital counseling when I came up against the issue again... and several times since then, frankly. It is something that I think about, especially as I'm looking to our future a whole lot these days. My answer is this: I can't pretend to know where our paths are going to take us in regards to God and religion. For all I know, it could end up where C becomes the Christian and I become a dyed-in-the-wool militant atheist. Really, there's no way to predict these things. When I was at SOULS, I never thought that I'd leave the church. I was going to be a Bible Worker and a leader foreverrrrrrr and get into the medical ministry and marry a wonderful SDA guy and wear long skirts and make granola and sound suspiciously like a hippie lol. Needless to say... I only wear long skirts and make granola anymore, and even the granola is a rarity these days. (Although I am going into the medical ministry, in a way...) Anyway, the basic conclusion I've come to is this: regardless of our beliefs on the origins of the universe and whywe are responsible to live moral, ethical lives, our moral systems match up. The motivations behind them? No, not necessarily. But the way we live our lives is so in sync that it doesn't seem to matter. No matter who ends up where, we still believe in the same basic gears that keep our lives (and society) running smoothly, if you understand what I mean. This actually comforts me more than if we believed the same way, because I can see that even if our reasons for believing what we believe change (i.e. should I decide to become an active Christian again, should C become a Christian, should be we both become Hindu, whatever), the basic foundations of morality that we have will not. You see what I'm saying?

Like, just because I get with a solid SDA man doesn't mean that he won't have a faith crisis and abandon his morality and choose to become a crazy, irresponsible party animal. Now, that's no reason not to, granted, but I'm just saying that you can't bank on people remaining on one path the rest of their lives. C is a moral man, and changes in his belief system will not affect that, because it is who he is in his core. I can bank on that, barring a frontal lobotomy. (And really, who's to say he won't have some horrible accident, and... yeah. I could do this all day. I think I'll just stick to being happy in the present, if that's okay with you! ^_^)

Thanks for your friendship, J. It means a lot to me.
I love you in all the totally platonic, sisterly ways that I know of :)
Today was tough. Felt like I got hit by a train, was practically dragging myself through the day... but I made it! And it was a good day, too. My pain and fatigue do not determine the outcome of my day, thankyouverymuch :)

Went and got ice cream with D and R and C's bro D after school tonight. I was, as D put it, celebrating my clean intestines by polluting them lol. Then D (C's dad's gf) and I settled in on the couch to look at the dress ideas I'd compiled. (She wants to buy me the outfit that I'll wear to the courthouse when C and I get legally married.) Good news-- we picked one out!

This is the dress, and here's the cardigan I'll wear over it. I plan to get a pair of black panty hose, and we'll pick up a pair of shoes (something that are a pop of color) as well. Ensemble complete! As far as the color goes, I say that if marrying in black is good enough for Laura Ingalls, it's good enough for me ^_^ Also, as D pointed out, I can wear this outfit if we go out somewhere nice to eat while we're in SD for our honeymoon.

Aaaaand... that's pretty much it. Glad to be home and resting. Glad to be sitting next to my honey. Glad that C GOT PRE-APPROVED FOR HIS LOAN THIS MORNING AND WE CAN START LOOKING AT HOUSES THIS FRIDAY! Yeah. Lots to be glad for :)

Glad for good friends who stand by you no matter what... and other good friends who laugh (but not at you!) when you share shocking news.

Yep. Today was tough, but I'm still glad.

I realized today that I've been very happy lately... even about the little things. They just swell my heart. I couldn't figure out why in the world this shift, untillll.... I realized that this tramadol is doing more than I thought it was. It makes me feel like I have energy and that I'm closer to normal than I've been in a long time, and apparently it also boosts my mood. Why? Well, because the fatigue and pain (mostly fatigue) had worn me down, crushed me, and just numbed me to the point where I didn't have it in me to be happy anymore. I mean, I was happy, don't get me wrong... but in a watered-down way. Now? Now I'm happy. I feel more like a normal person than I have in a very, very long time, and that in itself is enough to make me delirious with joy. They gave me this stuff as a pain killer, but it's become like a miracle drug for me. I can put up with itchiness if it gives me my feelings back.

Yeah, still have to watch myself and make sure I don't overdo it, but man... I can't even describe what this shift is like. It's like passing from death to life. Like a color-blind person who has the ability to see color restored to them... and they live on a peacock farm.
About 2 1/2 hours ago as C and I snuggled close together in anticipation of drifting off to sleep, he out of the blue announced, "You know, there's people out there that would kill to have you."

I asked why, and he responded, "Because you are a good woman."

That was all.

I responded, "Awwww, thank you!", and then we were quiet as we each began to doze.


(I'm up because a.) I was having bad dreams--as usual--and wanted to give my brain and heart a break before heading back in, and b.) I was hungry. Midnight snack, anyone? Well, okay... 4 a.m. snack, anyone? Pacific Rose apples have been in season for a month or two now, and the WalMart near my house is the only one that carries them. But oh, how I love them...)
Well, yours truly is the possessor of one healthy colon!

Yeah, I'll admit, it was a bit of a shock, considering what troubles I have with my digestive system! (I suppose this means that an upper endoscopy is coming down the line... I wonder what that's like???)

Anyway, the intestinal mucosa was normal, no signs of inflammation, colitis, hemorrhoids, polyps, blockages, or anything.

The last colonoscopy I got was in summer 2008 (July 16th, to be exact, because it was my sister's bday and she spent it with me! What a sweetie ^_^), and it showed mild colitis and internal hemorrhoids.

You know what this means?

This means that all the agony and super big pain in the butt of avoiding my allergic foods actually means something-- my colon has healed itself! By taking out all the damaging elements, my body actually healed itself.

Oh, you have no idea how much hope that gives me... as well as encouragement to stay the course and stick to my strict diet. Now that I know it actually makes a difference, well... I actually kinda want to be strict. I want to cheat less, not that I have been. C is a great accountability partner :)

The process for getting ready for the colonoscopy? Not so encouraging. I already talked about how I spun into a big-time flare thanks to having to deal with a couple of major triggers. Besides just the fibro, my system gets really out of whack if I don't eat when I'm hungry, and that's been the case for about as long as I can remember. Like, I physically get ill and experience intense pain if I allow myself to get too far past "hungry".

Well, I was there last night to be sure, but many, many mugs of warm tea seemed to help... but that, combined with the residual air left in my colon from the examination had me in literally excruciating pain as we left the realtor's office this morning. I was doubled over on the way to the truck, and C was helping me hobble along. Once I got in, all I could do was fold myself in half, clench my fists and grind them into the seat while I sobbed and gasped for air. You know that scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst pain you've ever experienced? It was a 10.5, maybe an 11. It ebbed and flowed, finally subsided about 45 minutes later, though I wasn't crying through the whole thing. It dropped down to like an 8, which is bearable, and I made it home to lay down.

C was so sweet during the whole thing. (What was happening was that my system built up a lot of gas as a response to being forced to be empty, and then eating triggered it to go through my guts. That happens sometimes, and it's agonizing. That, combined with the air that was already in there, was stretching my colon beyond its limits. Do you know how many nerve endings your colon has? Like, a ton! lol) He helped me make my way slowly to the car, he rubbed my back while I was doubled over and crying, asked if I had anything I could take when I got home (I'd already taken a tramadol 1/2 hour previously, so the answer was no) and then he had his hand in front of me as he drove so as to keep me from needlessly jostling forward and backward. (You know, like when you slam on the brakes and you put your arm out in front of the passenger to protect them? Like that.) He was careful to stop slowly, to take dips slowly... just being very considerate. He helped me inside as well, and got me laying down. He did say, "There's nothing I can do for you, lady," to which I replied, "I know, but just knowing that you care makes a big difference. I really appreciate it. You're so sweet." He made sure I was all tucked in and comfy before he left for work, as I hadn't slept the night before and really, really needed to.

I know he feels very helpless when I'm in large amounts of pain, which I totally get. While I was home and Mom and I got so sick, I felt so very helpless as she wept in pain and could barely move to get herself up off the couch and to the hospital... Come to think of it, I looked a lot today like she did then. And, I mean... what can you do, really? Nothing. Nothing but go about your daily life and hope they feel better. So C feels helpless, but I make it a point to assure him that his gestures of caring mean a great deal. While they may not take away the pain, they make it a little more bearable.

So we saw a realtor today! She sent us a list of houses within our price range, though we still have to get pre-approved for a loan. She pointed us to a very reputable lender that may help our chances of getting a good home, even going so far as to call her while we were there and leave a voicemail when we learned that she was with a client. The lender was very prompt in returning our call, as we got the call literally right after we left the realtor's office! lol. Anyway, we gave her basic application info over the phone, and we go in to get pre-approved tomorrow morning. C is determined to really pursue this, which I am ecstatic about. I'd gotten so used to waiting for him to pull together the necessary resources that such a fast pace is a little shocking to me, but... I'm so stoked!
I didn't realize it beforehand, but colonoscopy prep is a surefire recipe for a big-time fibro flare. Especially if you schedule it for the morning.

I've been fasting (clear liquids only) since Monday morning, but frequently drinking juices and tea with honey to keep my blood sugar up. It's been okay-ish, until this evening... and then I really started feeling it. Weak legs, shaky hands, general fatigue... of course, the harsh pain that tears out my insides when I don't eat on time or at all...

Also, due to the timing of the whole thing, there's really no point in sleep at all. Up and down to use the restroom every 10, 15 minutes... Sleep? What's that?!

I couldn't figure out why, despite normal doses of tramadol, I kept getting achier and achier, and just really not feeling well. What's going on? I haven't felt this way since before I started this med?

Then it hit me. Duh. Not eating on time (or skipping meals altogether) and lack of sleep are two major triggers for my fibro. Also, I haven't been getting good sleep lately anyway, and last night's was especially bad. Bad dreams. Woke up a lot.

I took as many painkillers as I dare to (which means normal dosage, but closer together than I normally would), but I still hurt as much as if I hadn't taken one all day. Sadness!

And yet, a blessing in disguise... because I realize that the tramadol has been bringing me so much relief that I was beginning to forget what it was like before I got on it. I had actually been considering lately, Well, maybe I can get off of this stuff... I mean, I'm not really in pain anymore. Maybe I don't need it? Hehe. Now I remember what it's been stopping! 'Cause really? Owwwwwwwwwwwww!

Today's gonna be a b***h. I've got the colonoscopy, then C and I are going out for sushi, and then we're heading out to hunt down a realtor. When we get back, though... I'm going to crash, and crash hard. I had thought that I would be fine and dandy by evening, or the next day, buuuuut... I forgot to factor in my grand piano. (Remembering my last colonoscopy, I was fully recovered by evening.) I've got work and both of my classes the next day, and I'm tempted to skip them, but... I know that going to yoga will help me get back on track faster, and I love my job and need the money, and I really like my Spanish class, soooo... I'll be pushing myself through it. Probably high on pain killers ^_^ And I'm almost positive I'll be using my walker. But I'll be there.
I have something that's heavy on my heart that I want to process through.

Part of me is holding back, since I know that some people actually read this, and, well... maybe it's not something that I'm entirely sure that I want to share with them... just yet. Maybe. It involves a lot of vulnerability and risk on my end, and that's just darn uncomfortable.

But on the other hand... this is my blog, for goodness sake! I can write about whatever I darn well please! This is my space to figure things out, and I don't write for anyone. I write for me. If someone happens to read it, that's incidental.

So I guess I'm just going to hash out what I need to, regardless of the consequences. Come what may. Here goes. *deep breath*

I know it may seem like I'm going crazy these days, going "off the deep end" with my lifestyle in a way. You know, leaving church and questioning God and trying out alcohol and getting my sexy on and all that jazz. Wearing makeup. Eating dairy, and-- Lord forbid-- doing it on a regular basis! (lol) Piercing my ears. Listening to rock and roll. Watching movies. Talking about sex and masturbation openly and freely with friends.

Some who know me may think that I've changed. I disagree. I think that I'm finally allowing myself to be who I've been all along... and I'm not making these decisions on spontaneous whims, either. (Well, most of them. Some are whims, yes, but that's just a part of life.) I pride myself on the fact that I'm making conscious, informed choices based on what I believe to not only be right, but what I believe will enhance my sense of self and be good for me in the long run, as well as those around me (if that applies at all). Remember, my word for this year is "authenticity". I want to be truly who I am, not some faker with a mask on. Too long, too long... I tried being someone else for too long.

And that's part of the problem that I have with "organized religion" or "mainstream Christianity" or whatever you want to call it. I totally believe that the Bible was inspired by God. I do. But after really deeply searching, questioning, and studying the issue, I have come to the conclusion that it is also a very human book influenced by cultural dictates and expectations of the time, and the author's own personal knowledge, understanding, and personality. In short, God may have inspired the original thought, but it had to pass through a lot of filters before it got down on paper... and I'm okay with that. I realized that I used to believe that God just kind of opened his mouth and the King James Bible fell out of it into our laps. Not the case at all!

Anyway, what I encountered in my bouts of intense Christianity is this-- people and churches hold the Bible up as this standard (which is good, don't get me wrong), but it becomes an inviolable pattern for what a person should be. You must be this way to be spiritual. You must do this to be a Christian. If you don't fit the mold, then you must alter yourself to fit it.

It makes me think of the fashion industry. They hold up this standard of beauty that's totally unrealistic, and then the average woman must pinch, poke, tuck, cut, sew, sweat, paint, pluck, and perform all kinds of contortions to fit herself into this preconceived concept of beauty... instead of acknowledging, owning, and celebrating the innate and inherent beauty that she already possesses. People are all beautiful in different ways, and what appeals to one person doesn't necessarily appeal to another. That's just the way it works.

And I feel it's the same with souls, or personalities, or whatever you want to call it. This standard, this mold, is held up as being The Only Way, and it is left up to you to essentially mutilate yourself to fit into that mold. I hate that. My relationship with God is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is my personality. I'm not like other people in many, many ways.

It's taken a long time before I've become okay with that. My mom was instrumental in the dawning of this realization. I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't as good of a person as I wanted to be, etc, and she pointed out to me that God created me with the personality that I have. Who I am is part nurture, of course, but part of it is nature, and that came from God. (God, and my genes... That's a subject for later. I don't think God has a chemistry lab full of personality components up in the sky somewhere, nor do I think he has buttons and levers in our heads to "direct our steps", but I think he works through circumstances and events and makes the best of the choices that we make through our free will.)

So I'm becoming more in tune with who I am, really... trying to be an authentic person, and striving to become a better and better person through that-- a healthy, balanced person who can give back to the world around her in a positive way. Not out of guilt, not because I "have to" in order to be accepted by people or by God, not because people are watching me and I want to impress them with how good I am (I went through that pissing contest with Brother G during our "courtship". Ugh. I was SO depressed!).

And that brings me to the heavy stuff.

C and I have been having some interesting conversations about sex lately... you know, since I'm thinking about it and talking about it all the time. Anyway, it's been challenging for me in some really weird ways, as I've had to confront and think through a lot of the issues with sex I've been carrying around for so long. Firstly, my experience with and understanding of sexuality was warped from the get-go, because my introduction was being molested by a father figure. After that started, I began frequenting AOL chat rooms and experimenting with online sex, although I didn't know about masturbation, so I was kind of out of the loop on that one. It was a thrill, but it was really scary and creepy so I quit that.

I don't know why I didn't become promiscuous. I think there is something innately in me that leans toward modesty, and I'm grateful for that. I'm too... faithful, I guess. I want to attach to one person at a time. I simply can't have sex with someone I am not in a committed, serious relationship with. (Not that I've ever slept with anyone besides C, but that doesn't really matter.) Heck, I never even dated someone that I was not friends with first. That's just me. And I think that kept me from sleeping around, because I totally could have swung that way. I so much crave approval and acceptance, I'm mildly surprised that I didn't go that route. But, despite the warpage I received, I've always been pretty naive about sex. (C is "educating" me about some things, and my mind is continually being blown about all the stuff I never knew about. Wowza. Some of it's good, some of it's weird, and some of it's downright creepy and we laugh at it.)

Our recent conversations have been a catalyst for much thought, it's true... and they've brought up an issue that's also been brought up repeatedly in the past. I have done some deep thinking and soul-searching on it, and I came to a rather startling conclusion the other day that has me reeling.

I kind of feel the same way that I did when I got my fibromyalgia diagnosis. It's like, "Oh, that's the name to describe what I've been going through! Okay! So now I have an identifier. Um... what do I do with this? How do I balance this in my life, and how do I deal with this new word that is a part of my life, and all the attendant emotions/repercussions?"

After doing some deep thinking and soul searching, and finally being in a place where I feel okay to be honest with myself, I realized a hard truth.

I'm bisexual.

I'm marrying a man in 8 weeks, but I'm attracted to women as well. I have been for as long as I can remember.

I've denied it for a super long time, especially after entering the world of conservative Adventism. Homosexuality in any form is wrong, and the people must be changed! (Again, back to the mutilation of personhood for the sake of the standard/mold.) I still haven't figured out why God hates gay people so much... but I'm sure it's an issue that I'll be dealing with if I want to keep any kind of relationship with him, which I totally do.

Funny thing is, I've never been able to bring myself to condemn homosexuality, and I never could figure out why, exactly. You know Christians rant and rave about the homos and how God's going to punish them and it's a crime against nature, yada yada yada... I never could get into that. I always felt sympathetic, like, "Dude, it's their choice, their life, and they're not messing with you, so leave them alone! What's your deal?" Like, really? Who am I to tell someone who they can and cannot love?

And now I realize that it's because I identify with them.

It's really, really weird to be able to say that, to put into words an aspect of my life that's been repressed for the entirety of it... to own something so potentially divisive and, well... explosive, for lack of a better term.

I don't really feel the need to tell anyone about it, really, because I am marrying a man in a few weeks, after all. If I were single and went out and got a girlfriend, then yeah. I'd have to explain something to friends and family. As it is, though, I've never really acted on my inclinations. I know they can be ignored, even if they're forever lurking.

The neat thing is that C is totally supportive of me. I am not going to go cheat on him with a woman, just as I would never cheat on him with a man. We're still in a committed, monogamous relationship and this doesn't change that. Sure, if I had owned this sooner I may have ended up with a woman instead of a man, but I love C with my entire being. This changes nothing, except that being able to be honest with him about this and receiving his unconditional love and support has deepened and strengthened our relationship.

I'm feeling very insecure and vulnerable since I "came out" to C the other day, because I'm still not sure where-- or even if-- this fits into my life at all, except that I now have permission to freely check out chicks much as I would check out guys. "Oooh, he's cute!" "Wow, she's hot!" lol

It's just... weird. Owning this, acknowledging this... I feel free, but at the same time terrified. What if I lose friends over this? I keep having dreams that I end up in these helpless situations and SOULS people are trying to kill me. No joke. It's been a recurring theme these past few days. I guess it's that I still care about all my former classmates and the SOULS people... and I kind of miss being part of such a tight-knit culture. But I really (and I mean really) don't fit into that culture any more... and I'm also scared of being judged, rejected, scathingly rebuked, and all that jazz. The friends I have in real life right now? They would be totally fine with it. As a matter of fact, I told S this morning, and he just looked at me like, "So?" LOL. It's just not a big deal, because we all have that mindset of, "You believe what you believe, you live the way you want to live, and as long as you're not hurting anyone we're cool. If you are doing something stupid, we'll tell you, and don't screw anyone over or you'll get your a** kicked... and then we'll be cool again if you've learned your lesson."

I remember back when a friend of mine came out on her blog, while I was living up north. I showed it to C (my adopted mom, not my future husband) and we talked about it a little bit. She then proceeded to ask me if I was gay, and of course I answered no! The ulterior motive was to make sure that I wasn't going to go around corrupting her daughters, which I totally understand. But, you see, I'm not gay. I like guys very much! I'm marrying one, for crying out loud! But I also like girls.

I've never acted on it much... just a few incidents here and there. That's not to say that I didn't want to, but I'd been conditioned to believe that it was okay for other people, but it was bad for me. Dirty. You don't do that if you're a good person, you know? And SOULS definitely reinforced that. But yeah, I've wanted to date several girls in my life. And I've had crushes on girls right along with guys. I tend to like guys more often and with more intensity than girls, but it's still there.

So... yeah. My big secret, blown.

I really hope no one hates me after this. J, are you reading this? Can we still be besties? Are you still standing up with me at my wedding?

I'm literally in tears over the prospect of losing valuable relationships over this, because so many people I know and love are the conservative Christians who condemn this kind of thing on principle... and I really, really don't want anyone to be uncomfortable around me. I mean, I'm sleeping over at my sis J's house in a week, and I don't want her to think that I'm secretly hitting on her or anything. I mean, it's like any other sexual attraction-- just cause you're heterosexual doesn't mean you want to sleep with every guy you see, or even flirt with them. You're not attracted to every guy, you don't want a relationship with every guy... and it's the same thing. I'm not attracted to every girl, and I really haven't changed at all. The only thing is that I'm recognizing and owning a trait that was already there, that has been there most of my life. I'm still the same person, I'm still faithful to my fiance, and I'm still madly in love with him. My platonic relationships are still platonic, my friendships with girls are still just friendships (just as with my guy friends), and my family is still my family.

Again, it's like my fibro diagnosis. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. The way I see myself has changed, and I'm trying to work through that. It's tough. I'm scared, vulnerable, and very insecure. But having that warm safety net of C's devotion and affection has meant more than I can say. He loves me-- all of me-- including this facet. Oh man, do you know what it is like to experience a love like that? To be totally known and totally accepted? It's... bliss, man. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me.

I don't know how to wrap this up, frankly. I was afraid that I'd get all this out and then delete it, but... I think I need to take that step and post it. For myself. Because if I delete it, then I'm negating the sentences where I say "I'm okay with myself." I'm giving into a shame that has no source, out of fear of rejection that may or may not happen... I'm letting "what ifs" control me, and I don't wanna live that way anymore. This isn't about my sexuality so much as it is taking control of my own life and not letting fear control me anymore.

And with that.... *deep breath* I'm clicking the Publish button.

Note: An interesting link that explains bisexuality in a very rational way, for those so inclined to further understand what it's all about. The "Tips" section I find especially helpful in explaining the thought process surrounding it. Oh, yes, and then there's this one- 8 Tips on How to Accept a Close Friend's Sexual Orientation. Just some fun food for thought, and a different perspective/thought process for some people.
I have kind of an awkward problem...

I'm sure I've mentioned before that the pain killers I'm on do me a world of good. They buoy me back up to near "normal" levels, and make me feel like I actually have energy and can be happy again! I love them. (As B said today, "It's good to have you back.")

However, there is one side effect that I'm having trouble dealing with... It's not the persistent itchiness. It's not the shaky hands. It's not the feeling that I'm manic (because I'm so unused to having normal energy levels anymore). It's... well... it's that I crave sex all. the. time.

Seriously. I'm like a flipping teenage boy. It's constantly on my mind, and I'm talking about sex all the time. It wouldn't be so bad if I were just thinking about it and craving it, it's that my inhibitions are totally lowered, so I have no problems talking about it! Previously, it would have all just stayed in my head. These days? Nope.

I can't decide whether it's good or bad. Maybe it's neither. Because of my past, I've often perceived sex and my sexuality as kinda "dirty", not good or wholesome or worth exploring. Now, however, being able to be really open about it (and having a select group of people to be open about it with), well... it feels very freeing. It's like, yeah, I like it, and I think about it a lot, and it's not a big deal. It's not bad or dirty, it's an okay thing.

I do feel like I'm swinging too far in the other direction, going from taboo to excess, and I'm working on it. It's hard, though... it's like my hormones are raging all over again! But, again, I'm working on it. I've only been going through this for a week and a half, so it's not like a totally persistent habit that I've ignored for years or something.

But in that vein, I went out to dinner with J, her hubby B, and several of her friends to celebrate her birthday today. Some time during the evening's course of events, J and her friend B decided to do a bachelorette party for me... which will involve the three of us spending the weekend in Vegas. Oh my. I have a feeling that this could be... interesting! I told C about it, and he says he's preparing for trouble. He doesn't know what kind of trouble, exactly, but trouble. When I asked if he didn't want me to go, he said that he doesn't mind my going, but he'll be waiting for me at home... preparing for trouble. lol.

We both know it's not like I'm going to go out and get drunk, so I don't know what he's anticipating, but neither does he. Honestly, I don't know what to expect at all. I'm pretty sheltered when it comes to this kind of thing. It will be fun, though, whatever we do. J and B are super fun to hang out with, and we all hit it off really well. J and I are pretty good friends, J and B have been best friends for forever, and B and I have a good connection, despite only meeting for the first time yesterday. I'm actually excited about the prospect, if a little wary. What do they have in mind? And why Vegas? As horny as I may be, I'm not interested in male strippers. They make me uncomfortable.

On that awkward note, I take my leave!
I made a couple of decisions today that I would not have foreseen myself making a year ago... much less a few months ago!

First of all, I pierced my earlobes today! I'd been toying with the idea recently, decided to go through with it... eventually... but when K asked me to take him to Walmart today I stopped by the jewelry counter on a whim. There was an employee there, and Walmart offers free piercing with the purchase of the starter earrings and cleaning solution, which was like, 10 bucks. Easy peasy, and I'll be able to switch out the starter studs with other earrings a few weeks before the wedding, which means I can wear pretty earrings on my wedding day, should I so desire. I had previously taken pride in my "swimming against the stream" by never having pierced my ears, which was my main motivating factor in waiting this long, honestly. It wasn't conviction that it's wrong... I just liked being different from everyone else. But finally I realized that it was stupid pride holding me back from something that I actually wanted, so I threw it to the wayside and went for it while I still had the courage.

Didn't hurt. I mean, it did, but no more than a pinch on the arm would, and for about the same duration. I've endured far worse on a middling to bad day with my achy joints.

The second decision, well... I can't really talk about it. Some things must remain a secret, and this is a private matter between C and I. Let's just say I finally came to some clear conclusions about something I'd been in denial about but has been brought to my attention lately, and I decided to be true to myself and at least try out this decision to see if it's right for me and for C.

My goal for this year is to be a truly authentic person, and these decisions that I'm making, while seemingly small and trivial, all add up to the large decision to not be a faker anymore, and to not make decisions for myself out of a fear of what others will think of me for making that particular decision... or out of a fear that people will try to persuade me around to their viewpoint because they disagree with my decision. I've accepted that it's pretty much going to happen, and I need to maintain healthy boundaries to deal with that issue, rather than going about it the way that I had been, which is to make decisions based on my perceptions of other's demands and desires and expectations.

If my hypothesis is correct, then being a truly authentic person will not result in a selfish "I don't care what you think, I'll do what I want!" attitude, mindset, or way of living. My hypothesis is that when one is truly free to be oneself, then one passes that gift on to others and becomes a liberator, rather than an oppressor. I hope to become a better person who does more good and brings more light into the lives of those around her because she is freed from the shackles of expectations. That's my goal, my wish, and my dream for this year. Authenticity, and freedom.

So I made a couple of decisions that I hadn't previously thought that I would, all in the name of authenticity. (Kinda hard, especially when I know many people that would vehemently disagree with both decisions! And understandably so-- I was there at one point myself.)

So... am I better person yet? lol
C and I went to the bank today to check on his finances, but we didn't have enough time to connect with a realtor's office before they all closed. I was disappointed, thinking I'd have to wait until next Friday, but C said, "No, we don't have to wait that long. I will get up early sometime this week and we can go then." I, the planner, immediately began running through our schedules... and brightly announced, "Hey, you have to get up early on Tuesday anyway, because of my colonoscopy! Let's just go to the realtor's afterward!" (The procedure only takes an hour-ish, and I remember that I was quite lucid pretty quickly after my last colonoscopy.)

So... we're going to the realtor's on Tuesday! :D :D :D

Also, I got the wedding day's schedule mapped out and sent off to our photographer, and I'm working on a list of "must have shots". J and I decided that her little boy X is going to be our flower boy, but instead of throwing flower petals he will probably be tossing a mix of plastic swords, dice, and 8-bit pixellated hearts. He'll also have a larger 8-bit heart pinned to the back of his jacket that will say something like "Here Comes The Bride". We just decided this tonight, so we're still working on it. It'll be fun, though!

The caterer and I have the menu all set, with both vegetarian and meat options, so no one needs starve but me. (Jk. I'll make something ahead of time and bring it with me, I'm sure. Maybe J and K would be willing to whip me up some pine nut lasagna? Eh? Eh? I hope you're reading this, J! lol)

This evening D, C's dad's girlfriend, took me shopping at one of our nicest department stores for shoes. We had been talking about how I have a pair of heels for the ceremony, but I wanted a pair of cute, comfortable shoes to wear during the reception. Once we got there, she told me to pick two pairs of shoes! (I wasn't allowed to look at the prices.) So I got a pair of really cute black sandals with roses down the front (and velcro straps! My favorite!), and I also picked out a pair of gorgeous silver wedges to wear for the reception. They had to be ordered in my size, because they were out of stock there. I'll get them in a few days. Upon further thought, though, I think I'm going to get rid of the heels I had gotten from Goodwill for the ceremony and just wear these the whole time. I mean, the ceremony is like 15 minutes long? Plus they're not really comfortable at all, just pretty. And they were only 7 bucks. So I'll stick with the Cinderella shoes, I think.

Then we headed over to the jewelry counter to see if there was anything I liked that I could wear with the wedding dress. We didn't find any necklaces, but she got me a pair of dainty dangly silver earrings, since I'm getting my ears pierced next week. We'll just go to another store some other time, which is no big deal. We had a fun little "girl date", and it's cool how much she and I jive. I mean, she'll essentially be my mother-in-law when C and I are married. We'll be family. So it's a good thing that we connect easily. She reminds me of Mom in many ways, and I just know that they'll get along famously.

I'm very tired. I think I'm done for the day. Not feeling well, either... I'm not sure if it's because I over-ate (which still wasn't much, really, but I think my stomach has shrunk!), or because I had a few swigs of hard cider earlier in the evening. On the bright side, though, I painted my toenails and they look real pretty :) I like doing alternations of contrasty-matchy colors, so I did a pale metallic green and a dark metallic teal-blue.

Also, I've only had 2 Spanish classes so far, but I'm already finding myself starting to converse in Spanish. Good progress!

Oh, yes, and Mom will be sending off her nifty little surprise to our friend L soon. I'm so excited to see her freak out over it! It's going to be amaaaaaaaazing :D Mom did a great job, and I'm really proud of my part in the project. Ahhh... I love a good gifting.

On Monday I'll be calling the courthouse to reserve a time for C and I to get legally married the Thursday before the wedding. I think his parents (i.e. his dad and his dad's girlfriend) and probably his brother will be our witnesses. Also, J and K might be able to do our music after all! Yay! C thinks that we should still get a cd player and burn a cd of music as a back-up, just in case... and we can always use it as background music during the reception, anyway. He just wants to be prepared, and I don't blame him. So this means that we won't be exiting to The Imperial March, as my plan B was, but I'm so excited at the prospect of the girls playing for the wedding! It would be so meaningful, even if they weren't stellar musicians. Daughters of Summer Hill, reuniting... albeit under different circumstances!

Tomorrow, B is kidnapping C to go get fitted for tuxes. He says that he wants to get C all sexified :) (I don't think he'll have much of a problem with that one. I can barely keep my hands off him as it is!)

As far as C's special wedding night surprise, now that I've got all my supplies it's time to start learning routines. I don't want to have to don all that gear every time I practice, so I figure that if I practice once every other week in garb then I'll have run through it 4 times as a "dress rehearsal". I can practice the other times in just plain old workout clothes.

Also... J is getting engaged soon! I am still flipping out about that, but I'm oh-so-excited for her! I wish that I had been able to get to know her intended better while I was still up there in ID, but due to circumstances I'm lucky I even got to see the guy in person before I moved! Anyway, Lord willing, this means that her dreams of becoming a mommy will be even closer to realization. I love it when dreams come true :)

Off to bed I go. Heigh ho, heigh ho.

(Also, I know I'm not really "supposed to", but I totally dig the high from my new painkillers. It's not a high in the traditional sense, nor does it dope me out to the point where I don't feel pain. It kind of dampers the pain, but they makes me happy and I just feel good to the point where I don't care that it still kinda hurts... I just feel good! And I like that. Especially after so long of not feeling well at all for more than brief intervals. And to know that I have the power to feel good under my control, at my very fingertips? Ooooh, it's kind of intoxicating ^_^ But I'm not abusing them. I just really like them. I didn't think I would, and it alarms me a bit. But I think that once I'm actually feeling well because I've got this fibro thing managed, the pain killers won't be such a seductive siren to me any longer. It's while I feel crappy that they really have appeal.)
I finished writing up the ceremony today. C and I went through and created our own ceremony, agreeing on the major points. It was left up to me, though, to write the filler material.

I'd kind of been putting it off, hoping that inspiration would strike, and sure enough! Today, while doing dishes, the words that I wanted to say came spilling into my brain. I couldn't get them down fast enough. I got the intro down, but I had to think on the rest while I did laundry.

I ran it by C when he got home from work, and he likes it, so I shot off a copy to our officiant. One less thing on the to-do list, and a major one at that. It had been weighing on me heavily, honestly.

I just love it, though. I keep going back and re-reading it.

It's short, simple, to the point... yet still rich and meaningful. Very us.

It's funny, though, because I never envisioned myself having a ten-minute ceremony, yet that's what we came up with. Ah, well. More time for cake :D
Okay, so I got all philosophical and wound up on my other post, without hardly a shred of news. Here's a few snapshots of what's going on in my life right now...

-I finished my wedding favors today! So much wedding stuff is falling into place... and it's coming up so fast! In just eight days, I'll be able to say, "I'm getting married next month!" Wowza! Can't wait to be a blushing bride :)

-My bowels are moving of their own accord! So excited about that! So long as I keep up this regimen, I think that I might regulate, which would be wonderful. It's a bit of a hassle, but way worth it.

-I got all the necessary items for my stripper costumes, and oh my goodness, there is so much less to that dress than I thought! It barely covers anything... which is, I suppose, the point, but geez... Anyway, it all fits well, and I look great, although the shoes hurt like nobody's business because I'm not used to wearing heels at all, much less 6 inch spike heels. Oh well. Can't imagine they'll stay on for very long ;)

-I love school. Finally got all my textbooks, and I'm digging the easy semester I set up for myself. Can I just say again that I LOVE yoga?

-Next week we go to talk to a realtor! We're really getting a house!!

-Grampa is cancer free. Huzzah!

-This new painkiller is kinda dangerous in a way... it gives me a false sense of energy, so I run myself into the ground without realizing it. Coming down off of the Cymbalta is jacking up my sleep, although I finally slept last night (after three nights of either not sleeping or waking up every 40 minutes/hour or two), so I'm already worn down from that. The tramadol, though, makes me feel exhilarated, so I feel like I can just go and go... until I can't go anymore and realize my mistake. I did that a couple of days in a row this week, so today I'm pretty zapped. Still, got a lot accomplished. Sorted out medical bills and got my address changed, cleaned the house, made a good lunch, got the wedding favors done... and now, going to do laundry and possibly shopping with D for a wedding necklace and some shoes!

I'm off, like a herd of turtles!
Life has been peaceful, yet busy...

School is going well. I had been afraid that I would hate my Spanish class, because although it's only once a week we meet for 2 1/2 hours in the evening. I feared that it would draaaaaaag, but my fears were unjustified. The class is fun, the teacher is dynamic, and I learned a lot. I am actually looking forward to the next class session!

I adore my yoga class, of course. I'm usually so relaxed at the end that I can barely function lol. I can tell that my strength is being challenged, but it's not in a way that totally exhausts me (most days). It's challenging, but invigorating. My teacher is really neat, and she shares these little nuggets of wisdom with us. I like the philosophy behind yoga, at least what I've learned so far. It really resonates with me, and I find myself very drawn toward its teachings.

On another note, I'm happy.

No, really.

I've realized lately that I'm very happy.

Sure, my life is, well, challenging at times. I've got a past of abuse and dysfunction to wade through, which I'm doing. On that note, I realized today that I can actually say that I am a relatively healthy individual. I never thought I'd be able to say that! It felt as though my experiences had scarred me so deeply that I would never be able to heal, much less be healthy and functioning, but... here I am. I have good boundaries, I am self-aware, I'm learning to be kind to myself and others, I don't hate myself anymore...

I think the best part is that I am able to be authentically myself these days. I was talking to Gramma about it a little yesterday. I am who I am, I am where I am, and I will not apologize for that. I like myself, and I'm proud of all I've accomplished and continue to accomplish. I am a fighter in so many senses, and I wear that badge with pride. More importantly, I no longer behave in certain ways to try to gain other people's approval. The "Bible worker" mask is gone. I don't play church anymore, desperately trying to be a good person. The funny part is that now that I'm done with trying to be a good person so that I can stop hating myself... I don't hate myself anymore. I know that I am a good person-- I don't have to constantly feel pressured to do this or that so I can be a better person according to the standards set up by someone or something else and hate myself vehemently when I fall short of the standard (or the standard as perceived by myself, which is usually even higher than the actual standard).

I am able to be authentically myself. It is so freeing to be who you really are without fear of repercussions.

The thing is, none of this invalidates what I did or was trying to do. I was honestly trying to do the right thing, and I meant every iota of it. I am not a hypocrite. And now? I am honestly trying to do the right thing, and I mean every iota of it. I used to think so black and white... like, if you're one thing, then  you can never ever change otherwise it cancels out everything. Like, if I make a decision, I can never ever change my mind. Ever. If I do, I have to have some super spiritual reason for it to make it okay.

Now? I have the freedom to change my mind if I so desire. For instance, I used to say that I never wanted to pierce my ears at all. Then, in a rush of freedom and a touch of rebellion, I got my cartilage pierced-- something I've wanted since I was in my early teens. Lately I've been thinking about piercings again, and I've decided that I do, in fact, want to pierce my earlobes. Honestly, I want to wear cool and funky earrings!

This medicine that I'm on, the pain killer, is helping me to see who I really am, as it significantly lowers my inhibitions. I'm much more of a sexual creature than I thought previously, which surprises me... I'd never really learned to associate sex with good things, and sexually free people were bad-- girls with loose morals and no self-respect, you know? But that's not me. I have a ton of self-respect, and my morals are pretty high. I just like sex, and I'm not afraid to own that fact anymore. There's a difference between that and promiscuity.

So, anyway, back to the happiness business.

I've realized of late that I am deeply content with myself, with my life, and even with my current circumstances, challenging as they may be. I'm even okay with my health problems. It's kind of like... I can't snap my fingers and make it go away, so I accept it as my reality and find happiness within it.

I love my fiance. He responsible for a great deal of the happiness and contentment that I am experiencing, I think. He's my steady rock, and our relationship is so wonderful. Being home for Christmas was an eye-opener. Mom and R have a pretty stormy relationship, which is nothing new... but I saw the contrast between their marriage and what our marriage will be like, and it's pretty drastic. I see the contrast between our relationship and our good friends' marriage, and it's pretty drastic. We are happy, we are healthy, and we are solid. How many people can say that? There is a serious lack of healthy relationships in the world today, but we're one of them. (Yeah, never saw that happening, either!) It continually baffles me how well-suited we are for each other. Once I was able to let go of my bigotry and prejudice and see C for who he really is rather than through the lens of assumptions and other's opinions, I seriously fell in love with the dude. All over again. But better this time. I was immature during our first go-round, stuck in survival mode and dealing with severe PTSD without realizing it. He was good for me then, too... but it's so much better now that we've both grown and are healthier and more mature.

I am looking forward to establishing a home and a family with him. Where I used to be terrified of settling down and being stuck with one person in one place forever, I now contemplate the thought with thrilled anticipation. Why the change? It has nothing to do with circumstance, as those haven't changed in any way except for the wedding getting closer (which had me sorta panicking a few months ago). I think the change has come from within me, as I've healed and learned to accept myself. I don't think that I was really afraid of being with one person forever... I think I was afraid of being with myself forever. As long as I was on the go, I didn't have to face myself deeply. Now, I'm ready to do that. Shoot, I have done that! I've faced myself deeply more often these past few years than I ever thought possible... and I'm sure there's more coming.

But I'm in a place now where I am not afraid to face myself, to be myself, and to link myself with another authentic person... forever.

I looked over at C recently as we were driving to pick S up from work. My heart swelled at a joyous realization, and I burst out, "You know what? I just realized that we're getting married, which means... that we get to do this for the rest of our lives! I get to sit in the passenger seat across from you forever I never have to leave. That makes me happy." He smiled and kissed my hand, which means that it meant a lot to him to hear that.

And I am happy. So very happy. Despite my fibro. Despite family drama. Despite the facets of abuse that I still bump up against. I am happy. I am content. For maybe the first time in my life, I am utterly... happy. I love my life. Have I ever been able to say that before? Yes, maybe in spurts. But this life that I'm leading, this life that I'm choosing... it stretches out wide and golden before me, and as I embrace it I can say with utter assurance that I love this life and I am glad to be heading into the brilliant light with such a one as C by my side.
Fair warning-- I am going to talk about sex. Not graphically, but definitely candidly. If this makes you uncomfortable, well... better head somewhere else for a while. Or cover your eyes/ears and go "Lalalalalalalalalalalaaaaaaaaaaa".

I have begun actively preparing for the honeymoon. I've had this idea for some time that I want to master a striptease dance and surprise C on our wedding night, and I know a few moves here and there from previous workshops and stuff that I've done (though I've never actually done a routine for anyone before!), but yesterday I actually started researching routines that I could learn. As I was doing that, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have some super-sexy lingerie that C's never seen before to pull this off...

... and then I realized that I needed to parcel out the funds that D gave us for the wedding. After sitting down and allocating the money to different places, I realized that I have money to put towards the honeymoon! At first I felt guilty for using money for something other than the ceremony and reception, but some encouragement from Mom helped me to see that this is, indeed, part of "the wedding".

So anyway, I did a bunch of research yesterday and settled on some really nice, yet inexpensive stuff (it was on clearance! Yay!), and I ordered it today. I need to get the stuff as soon as possible so I can start practicing with the actual clothing I'll be wearing. I'll have two outfits, of a sort. One is a super daring black dress, under which I'll have a push up bra, some sexy panties, and a garter belt (all in black lace). Of course, I'll have thigh-high stockings and some stripper heels to finish off the look, and I'm thinking that I'll probably make myself up with dramatic smokey eyes and red lipstick.

The plan is that I'll use my routine that I've created to strip out of the dress, then move smoothly into a lap dance once I'm in just the undies. From there, well... I know I'll be tired after the long day of the wedding, but I'm never too tired for a romp in the hay!

The other outfit is a "babydoll" outfit, and I'll save that for when we head over to SD for our actual honeymoon. We'll be spending the night of the wedding in a hotel (which I have also allocated funds to cover), but that's not the official honeymoon.

I had C look at lingerie websites with me a few months back, so I could get an idea of what he likes, and he really likes the feminine look, especially the "babydolls", so I figured I'd treat him :) It's funny-- I figured he'd be more of the leather straps and chains type, but I guess we do that enough normally that it's nothing special.

I'm not going to lie-- we have a great sex life. We both like the same things in the bedroom, and we both like to experiment and try new things, so we're really well matched in that area. Unfortunately, there is a mismatch in sexual appetite.

The stereotype is that guys think of sex all the time and they can't get enough and they wish that their woman would be willing to do it as much as they want to, right? Well, it's kind of the other way around for us. Not that he doesn't have a healthy libido, far from it! It's just that, well.... I want it more than he does. I was getting really frustrated recently by being shot down all the time when I made advances, so we had a good talk, and I'm learning to respect the times when he's tired or not feeling it and to communicate with him more and ask if it's a good time or not, rather than just assuming it's a good time and being hurt when he turns me down.

Interestingly, the new meds that I'm on (especially the pain killers) have affected my libido. It says right in the side effects thing that it may cause sexual dysfunction, so I was expecting to just be not interested. Right? Wrong! It's having the exact opposite effect, increasing my already prodigious sexual appetite. Previously, I would have been more or less sated with once a day, although I settled for 3 or 4 times a week minimum. Now, we could go twice a day every day, and I still would be ready and raring to go at a moment's notice. (Um, we kinda have been, much to the detriment of C's energy levels, and I'm still just waiting to jump his bones the moment he walks in the door from work.)

We had a funny conversation about it last night, agreeing that if life gets crazy and we're just missing each other left and right, we might be able to get by with once a week, although we'll definitely be pouncing on each other if that were the case. (See? Healthy libido. We're fairly evenly matched.)

Anyway, I'm working on just living with it and controlling myself, for C's sake. Poor guy. He has maintained for months that I'm "going to kill him", and now he says that my new meds are going to kill him! Sexed to death? Not a bad way to go, I think... All the more reason why he calls me his insatiable little nymph. Can't help it. I love sex. I've never had sex with anyone but C, but I'm more than happy with that. I know the neuro-psychological consequences of the constant pairing-breaking up cycle that our culture espouses, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a long term, monogamous relationship is the key to a fulfilling sex life and to a strong bond with your mate. The shacking up-breaking up cycle actually damages the brain's ability to bond, which I think is greatly contributing to the divorce rate. People sleep around before they get married, then they are unable to bond with their spouse in the way they're supposed to, making it so much easier to dissolve the marriage and move on to someone else... which, of course, adds more damage to the ability to bond, and it just goes downward from there.

I read an amazing book on this, called Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children. It's really good, and really readable. I think this is the book that really got me interested in neuropsychology. It talks about how sex is addictive, because of the neurochemicals released, and I can definitely vouch for that. It is a drug for sure. It's my anti-depressant, my anti-anxiety, my feel-good... But it's not just the chemicals. It's all that and more for me because I know that I'm in a long term, committed, monogamous relationship with someone who supports me and accepts me wholly just as I am. I think that's even more addicting than the sex itself-- it's what the sex represents and emphasizes. I mean, I can get naked in front of this guy with no fear of being judged or rejected, because he likes my physical appearance. He likes what we do together. He likes me, and I don't have to be afraid. (Even when I was struggling with really bad body acne, he still thought I was sexy!!) Talk about vulnerability and reassurance! And it's interesting to me that, even though I was molested, I still really enjoy sex. I know that it affected me in some ways, and shaped my understanding of sexuality... but C and I are working through those issues together, which just adds another layer of vulnerability, trust, and, well... love. Unconditional love. That's what makes the sex so good, why it's always been so good. We love each other unreservedly.

So I'm totally looking forward to taking a risk of sorts and doing something out of the ordinary for him on our wedding night. It's unnerving in a lot of ways to think of doing something like a strip tease... I mean, what if I look ridiculous? But I know C, and I know that he'll love it, so I'll put aside my insecurities and rock that ridiculously scandalous black dress right off! :)

Actually, when I'm finished here I'm going to hit the shops and see if I can't find a bra, some stockings, and some stripper shoes (like the ones J was gifted a while back ^_^). My stripper clothes will be here soon, and I want to get this down so I don't trip and fall on my face!! Plus, I mean, I have the money. Why wait? I've got an easy semester and a pretty high percentage of down time, so now I have a fun little project to work on while C's at work.

Also, D (C's dad's gf) is gifting me some pretty underthings soon. She told me she had seen something and thought about getting it for me, but wasn't sure... I told her that I would love that! So she got my size and is going to pick it up. That means that I have another little outfit to wear for C... and I'm thinking that I'll break that one out the weekend before the wedding when we go to the Ren Faire. We'll be staying in a hotel by ourselves, so why not? It's kind of like an anniversary of sorts... since we got back together in a hotel room on our way to the Ren Fair, almost a year ago. It'll be a month off, but who's counting? (Besides me.)

Summary: I love sex. I'm going to learn to strip and do a lap dance to blow my man away. I'm excited about this. Also, I love lacy, pretty underthings! I really do. I'm so jazzed that I get to buy pretty things :)

Pain killers

I find myself wanting to take my new painkillers simply because of how they make me feel, the manic, jittery energy that they infuse me with... the leaden, weightless warmth of my limbs... and that worries me.

When I got them, I told myself that my goal right now is not to live pain-free, thus I will not take them every day. (Though my prescription says to.) My goal right now is to live within a manageable amount of pain.

But, having tasted the sweet nectar of energy and temporary release from my shackles... I want to live there.


I will not take a pain killer every day.

I will not take a pain killer every day.

I will not take a pain killer every day.

(But would it really be so bad if I did?)
Some very interesting things happened today...

C's bro D gifted us with a wedding gift of several hundred dollars! I'm no longer stressed about affording anything for the wedding anymore, as it's enough to cover all the rest of the budget. Talk about a blessing!!

When recounting this information to C, I told him, "Don't worry, I will spend it wisely!"
He replied, "I know you will. You haven't let me down yet." Awwww :) He trusts me financially! It might seem silly, but it makes my heart swoon a little to know that he trusts me, especially in an area that has a tendency to become a sticking point between couples.

Also, L, C's former roomie, came back to town for a few days! It is so sweet to see them interact, because they clearly really care about each other. When she walked into the room, C swept her into a big, grunting hug on his lap (he was sitting in his computer chair) that lasted at least 10 seconds. It made me smile :) He "rescued" her from a really bad living situation, so she calls him her knight in shining armor. I totally agree, of course. She brought her girlfriend down with her, and S has tomorrow off of work, so C's bro D is going to join us and we're all going to go out to Olive Garden for lunch tomorrow. L's girlfriend needs to be GF but is having a hard time with it, so I made a batch of teff muffins and if she likes them I'll give her a couple to take with. I'll be bringing the last bit of my posole and some rice with me to the restaurant, plus a muffin with some preserves for dessert. I'm supposed to avoid nightshades from here on out, so this will be the last posole that I have for a long while, sadly, since the base is tomato.

R gave me money to cash in my new prescriptions, and I took my first painkiller today. I haven't started on the new SNRI or the long-term pain killer (designed to help with neuropathy), but those'll start once I'm weaned off the current prescription. This pain killer... I'm not sure if it was just all the excitement of the day or what, but I felt very tired around 9:30, so I rested for about 45 minutes. After that, I kinda swung the other way to feeling very giddy and excited. My inhibitions also dropped, and I found myself in a lengthy conversation about sexuality, sexual norms, fetishes, etc. It was very enlightening and quite interesting, but I revealed more personal details than I would typically. I kept shocking one of my poor friends, he being the one who pointed out my lowered inhibitions. After about three hours, I started feeling pleasantly "buzzy", and after another hour or so I feel buzzy and quite relaxed, almost sleepy.

If that initial sleepiness is all the drowsiness I have to deal with on this pain killer, I can totally do this. And it really, really helped. I'm so happy about that! But it's not a "pop one every day" type of situation. I intend to use them as needed, and if I can get by without them, so much the better. They do have the capacity to become addictive, and I don't want that. (C and I had a funny conversation about withdrawal symptoms the other day. He sees a lot of people going through withdrawals when they come in off the streets and no longer have access to their drugs, so he figures he can handle whatever symptoms I go through. He did tell me, though, that when I'm coming down off of this med of mine that I'll be a bad person for about three days. LOL)

Also, I'm trying to cut items out of my diet that will aggravate pain and include items that help soothe and prevent pain. With that goal in mind, I traded a blender for 2 lbs of blueberries today. I feel like I came out ahead in the bargain, because it wasn't really a bargain. My friend has extra blueberries that he asked if I'd like, and he mentioned something about wishing he had a blender. I have an extra one in the cupboard since Gramma and Grampa got me the Ninja for my birthday, so I gave him that, and we jokingly called it a barter. He was only going to give me the one bag, but since I helped him in his time of need he figured he'd throw the other bag in, since he can get more. Yippee!

Anyway, I'm going to go jump in the shower. I want to be in bed by 3, since we have that lunch date tomorrow. Funny how my schedule has shifted so much from when I lived with the S's, or even when I was living with Gramma and Grampa! But if I want to spend any time with C at all, I have to stay up late. It's worth it :)
Prediction came true. I've got a colonoscopy in about two weeks, which will be oh so fun.

I exaggerate. It's not that bad. I mean, they anesthetize you and everything, but it's the purging the day before that's hard.

God is hooking me up with a dream team of doctors here in this little town, and I'm so grateful. My endocrinologist is great, I feel really confident in my general care physician, my rheumatologist gave me a diagnosis and is helping me find the right ways to treat my fibro, and this gastroenterologist is very diagnostic. He won't just guess and treat-- we're going to find out what's going on, one step at a time. His words.

To help with the chronic constipation, he prescribed me three things-- a probiotic that's effective and inexpensive (he even told me where to go to get it cheapest!), flax seeds and lots of liquids (to make things, uh, slippery), and Miralax to help draw the water into my colon.

So that may be a bit much detail for some folks, but I'm just glad that this is all getting worked out. I'm quite optimistic.


Also, I just HAD to share this. C showed it to me tonight, after telling me about it the other day, and... wow. I'm blown away. And so excited that I'm taking yoga! But really... just because the medical professionals tell you that it must be a certain way due to the limitations you find yourself with, it's not necessarily true!

I believe that I can live a full, happy life free of pain and fatigue. I believe that I can find the balance that my body needs. It may not happen today, tomorrow, or anytime soon, but I believe it will happen. It may involve medicine and it may involve natural remedies. I'm not poo-pooing anything. I will find what is right for me and I will rock that bidness (say it phonetically), and, most importantly... I will never, ever give up! (Okay, sure, I might have an off day here and there. But I still won't give up! ^_^)

I believe in myself!
Doc appointments today, and another veeeeery early in the morning. So, this will be brief.


Love my new endocrinologist. She listens, she cares, she is attentive and thorough and wants to actually fix me. Sweet. Also, previous doc that did the initial diagnosis of hypothyroid, food allergies, and adrenal insufficiency *may* have misdiagnosed the adrenals. He put me on steroids and even if my adrenals were functioning fine, they would now be dependent on the steroids... so I'm probably cortisol-dependent for life. :(

I don't have lupus! My tests came back with one raised antibody, but doc said it wasn't enough to make him worry about anything. So it's just fibro. I'm getting off of the Cymbalta, which has caused me so much misery, and trying a new med that's similar but seems to be specifically for fibro. I asked about painkillers and got tramadol, an SNRI-like drug that is metabolized similar to codeine, from what I understand. (I had just barely begun to research it when I had to run off to group.) I'll use that for when the pain gets to be too much. For long term pain management, I got something that starts with an N (haven't researched it yet), but I can take it every day and it will tamp down the pain.

Every med has the same side effects listed-- nausea, constipation, drowsiness, etc. Looks like I'll be camping out in the land of nausea for a good long while. But, I mean... if it helps... I'm willing to trade off a few things for the greater good. You know, like being able to walk. ;)

I've lost 6 pounds since late November. Not trying... don't really want to lose more weight. One doc's scale said 132, the other said 128. Either way... I'm afraid that I'm going go flat chested! Nooooo! (Yeah, is that shallow or what? lol)

Got the GI doc in the wee hours of the morning, we'll see what goes on there. Prediction: colonoscopy. That's just what they do when you're passing blood in your stool. Oh, and maybe a fecal occult blood test! And, if I'm lucky, maybe even an endoscopy to see why I'm not digesting certain foods? Maybe we'll just make a day of it. Heh.

Off to sleep I am.

I am so blessed to be able to go to doctors and figure this all out. If you're reading this, R... you made all this possible. I can't convey how grateful I am. Even if I were to stay in the state that I am now and make no more forward progress, I am so much better health than I have been in times past, pain or no. I owe it to you. You're a great provider. Thank you.