My Feelings Don’t Define Me

The thing about my relationship with Mr. Trouble is that I’ve always mentally railed against how I feel about him. Back when I finally allowed myself to give in and sleep with him for the first time I honestly believed I wasn’t capable of trusting him enough to develop real feelings for him. Then as I spent last summer really getting to know him and falling in love with him I was already bouncing back and forth between basking in the glow and fighting myself internally, seeing him deal with the guilt early on and going back and forth with each of us calling it off but always coming back together.

I didn’t fully realize that I was truly, deeply in love with him until around November and, at that time, didn’t have any idea that he returned my feelings. So, I started trying to let go and spent months feeling heartbroken, desperate to see him and unable to let go emotionally *at all*. It got so bad I was having anxiety and panic attacks just from thinking about him which, thankfully, lead me to seeking a new therapist. Game changer!

After learning about codependency I finally had the tools I needed to be able to choose to stop sleeping with Mr. Trouble. Before this, even when I wanted to end it in my head, I wasn’t able to deny what my emotions were demanding and kept circling back. Finally learning about the alcohol abuse Mr. Trouble had been hiding was painful beyond description and left me terrified for his safety as his primary mode of transportation is a motorcycle. Even though my heart was screaming in pain for us both, I was able to tell him we I couldn’t sleep with him when he was dependent on downing bottles of whiskey to get through the day. Confronting him about his drinking was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done, but he needed to hear it and I love him, so I couldn’t ignore it even if it wasn’t my place. I genuinely wanted to be his friend from the very beginning and hope our friendship can last.

Anyway, thanks to meditation I’ve realized that although I’ve come a long way, when it comes to my feelings for Mr. Trouble I have still been feeling that they in part define who I am as a person. I hate knowing that he’s cheating on his wife to be with me. I hate being so in love with him when he doesn’t have time for me. I hate how my inner hopeless romantic constantly tries to imagine happily ever after with him when I know real life would never look like that. Even so, I let him back into my bed a couple months ago. Once I saw that he was making a real effort to do better throughout his life (including drinking less), it kind of felt as if it didn’t matter whether I was sleeping with him or not. Either way I was in love with him, and he with me. Either way we were confiding in one another in what feels like an emotional affair at the very least. Either way I was judging myself and my worth as a person harshly due to our relationship. So if I’m the worst person on Earth either way, why shouldn’t I at least allow us the comfort of one another?

Thinking about Mr. Trouble makes me feel so incredibly lonely, I assume because he can’t offer the things I need. But a big part of me is desperately trying to survive on the occasional bread crumb dropped by him because of how he really *sees* parts of who I am that no one else in my life does. I suppose the only realistic way to address this, rather than continuing on hang on his every glance and occasional text, is to find new people who DO see me the way I need…tough to do when one is disabled, immunocompromised and terrified of long haul COVID.

Mr. Trouble was the ONLY person that I wasn’t nervous to tell about changing to using my last name and preferring they/them pronouns…in fact I was really excited to tell him. After our drunken discussion in the beginning of the year in which I did my damndest to explain to him what it means to be nonbinary and a follow up text convo in which I admitted I would have redacted all of the personal information about ME had I been sober and Mr. Trouble reassured me, I completely trusted him to accept my decision about these changes. I was really excited that the timing worked out that we had plans to see one another the day before I told my parents, as I don’t see Mr. Trouble in person very often and we don’t text hardly at all compared to say a year ago. So, the FIRST person I was going to tell in person was going to be the one person I was excited to tell rather than nervous. Well, life of course had other plans and he had to cancel last minute. I was super disappointed and almost didn’t bother telling him, thinking I’d just let him hear it through the grape vine at work. But that felt like punishing him when he’d done nothing wrong and I AM sleeping with him, so not doing him the courtesy of telling him felt wrong. I ended up telling him via text, which was fine.

So, I’m hanging on to Mr. Trouble so tightly, in spite of the intense negative effects on my self esteem, for perhaps understandable reasons. I am really working hard on being as kind to myself as possible, but when it comes to this relationship it’s really tough. How do I stop mentally fighting so hard against these powerful feelings he engenders in me? I’m hoping the title of this post is the key…it seems in every other part of my life I’ve gotten used to the idea that my feelings don’t define me, they come, need to be felt, and I can then let them pass/let them go/accept them and choose my decisions using wise mind. But when it comes to my feelings about Mr. Trouble I’ve never truly accepted them, never been able to externalize them or let them go at ALL. And I’ve judged myself as a person so harshly because of these feelings and this relationship…I still am. Now I have to try and forgive myself; hopefully all of the insight I’ve worked so hard to gain will be enough to finally make this possible.

This relationship does not define me or my worth.

These feelings do NOT make me a bad person.

As I try to believe about everyone else in the world, I’m doing the best I can with the tools I have and the circumstances in which I find myself. I’d expect nothing more from *anyone* else than trying their best, and I’ve sure as shit been doing that! I hope this can finally be a turning point for me as I work on accepting and believing these things on an emotional level, not just in my head. Wish me luck!

I Deserve…?

I’m just gonna say it…

THERAPY SUCKS!!!

Lol. It’s totally worth it when I’m lucky enough to have found the right person to work with and I’ve made huge amounts of progress this year and am unquestionably seeing benefits, but it’s so fucking hard! And for the most part incredibly painful, demoralizing and just generally crushing to actually face and *deal with* all the shit locked up inside myself.

I find meditation to be a more and more useful tool the longer and more consistently I use it – I get help managing my pain level, dealing with strong emotions, working through trauma and even just quieting my mind and body so I can rest. I’m discovering this indescribable freedom in my own mind, where there don’t have to be limits. I’ve loved space my whole life and became a Star Trek fan at a young age. I was fascinated around 3-4 years old when I learned of a theory that space is folded over on itself because I immediately wondered, if space is folded, then what’s around it!? And whatever that is…what’s beyond that!? This is my earliest memory regarding the idea of infinity. Around the same age LFD asked me what I though would happen if something changed from three dimensional to two dimensional right in front of me…would there be sparks!? Fireworks!? A loud crack noise perhaps? Would flames erupt? Among all of the magical effects he suggested, I was unconvinced and hesitantly responded, “No…I don’t think anything like that would happen…” and that’s when he took a strip of paper and introduced me to the Mobius Strip.

So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that my mental landscape is space; where I can use the impossibility of truly comprehending its vastness, diversity and beauty to release all of the limits I face in reality, both internal and external. In my mind at least, space IS infinite. No matter how overwhelming my feelings get, when I go there in my meditation, there is ALWAYS enough room. There is always enough space to hold whatever it is I need to release, and letting go of it in this way doesn’t mean it’s truly GONE nor lost in any way, but rather just that there is space for it without my having to hold it in…I can still come back to it, I don’t even have to leave it in the first place, only externalize it and in this way am able to release the burden of being overwhelmed and crushed by the forces with which I am struggling to manage. From the day S1E1 aired, I have always found the opening for Star Trek Enterprise to be extremely inspirational and a source of strength when I am struggling.

For most of my life I have struggled with feeling trapped in my body to varying degrees. It has been particularly brutal since my spinal injury, but I have made a lot of progress. Most of the time lately I feel grateful that I am still seeing signs of improvement even more than 18 months after my spinal surgery. I prioritize my physical, mental and emotional health to the best of my ability and have felt that this focus is essentially my full time job for some time – it’s extremely rewarding to find myself able to do more and suffer through less pain with less rest and recovery time needed as well. That said, it is still extremely frustrating to be 32 and disabled, spending the majority of my time in bed resting my neck. It’s incredibly isolating and emotionally exhausting for one naturally so extremely extroverted as myself.

It was during meditation a few weeks ago that I realized I felt closeted, hiding my gender identity out of fear. I’d made so much progress this year in therapy and was feeling so positive on a surface level, but my soul was not at peace. So I went searching internally, purposefully looking for what was hurting inside me. It’s continuously mind blowing to me to realize just how much I reflexively suppress in a misguided attempt to protect myself from having to deal with things should they rise to a conscious level. I honestly thought having figured out years ago that I am nonbinary that all which mattered to me was ME knowing who I am, that I didn’t care how the rest of the world sees me. There are advantages to being seen as an attractive young woman in our culture, and I have most certainly benefited from being perceived as such most of my life. I am also a survivor of horrific abuse, which I have suffered in one form or another nearly my entire life. Some of this likely would’ve been different had I been born male. Some of it wouldn’t have. But the point is I wasn’t even consciously AWARE of these feelings, the overpowering FEAR of being open about my gender identity, the fact that I felt like I was hiding this huge part of who I am in a closet…the people closest to me knew and I’d thought that was enough. Now as I’m facing showing this side of myself, there is fear, but there is also a sense of relief, some excitement and joy, some frustration and so many other things. However I am now actively CHOOSING to be authentic and express that in new ways, something which wouldn’t have been possible without the infinite space which was necessary for me to be able to consciously acknowledge the absolutely consuming fear I was feeling in relation to my gender identity. I couldn’t help but wonder, considering the extreme violence and abuse I’ve had to endure from a relative position of privilege being perceived as a straight cis woman, what was going to happen to me if I shed this skin and let the world know that NONE of those things are who I am?

Luckily I’ve never been one to let fear determine my choices! I learned something I suspect may be equally as profound in my meditation today. I began with exploring the idea that my body does not define me. This is a belief with which my feelings still often conflict, so I’ve been trying to find my way through the Gordian Knot of feelings which tell me my body is who I am. While meditating on this, a new thought came to me: how others perceive me ALSO does *not* define me! I was thinking about reflections and shadows I’ve seen at times when I felt the most like me, typically on my motorcycle although today I also thought about being on a horse, having spent my entire youth as an extremely active equestrian. Then this new notion arrived, I guess I must have finally been ready for it. Is this more or less powerful than the idea that my body does not define me? Because nearly all of the issues I have with my body are based in culture, perception and how others interact with me. Don’t get me wrong, there is still some gender dysphoria in there because all else aside I would still be deeply horrified, in a way for which there are no adequate words aside from ‘gender dysphoria,’ by the fact that I have the necessary plumbing to bear a child. However, without all of the cultural elements this would be a vanishingly small difficulty compared to my gender issues now.

I saw the movie ‘Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song’ recently and was deeply moved by how much I related to everything! I feel I understand Cohen’s search for meaning in life, relate to how he feels about sex, know what it’s like to feel so deeply and be driven by spiritual *need* one does not yet understand. I can only hope my story end half as well as his; he finally found that inner peace in the end for which I am still striving. Perhaps this new concept of not allowing how others perceive me to define me will be my next step on a similar journey!

I still seek to get to a place where I FEEL that I deserve better than I’ve ever been able to allow myself to have, but at least I’ve made progress on the thinking side of that and in my head do believe I deserve better.

Better than being afraid to say ‘no’ when I don’t want to have sex (which I DO now!)

Better than using sex in the hopes of stopping someone from abandoning me (recent realization so this may take some time yet)

Better than being abandoned

Better than someone who truly doesn’t have time for me

Better than an affair with someone who’s married

Better than being abused, in ANY form

Better than being excluded or ignored

Better than being taken for granted

Better than being judged just because I’m different

Better than being resented for limitations due to my health

Better than living with fear

So ya know, I don’t ask for MUCH! Lol. Lofty goals no doubt, but worthy ones! And before this year I’d never even considered what I deserve, so this is already a lot of progress! I also freely admit the thinking part is the easier one to convince, but even realizing I wanted to believe and feel these things was an enormous hurdle so as far as I’m concerned I’m on the downhill slope with only my feelings left!!!

…even so, wish me luck!

Perspective

I just had a shattering realization – I am absolutely *desperate* for Mr. Trouble to know how I feel – that I’m completely, hopelessly, utterly in love with him, with ALL of him. The good, the bad, everything. I love him for who he is, his strengths and his weaknesses, not for who I want him to be.

And I am not AT ALL SURE I’m okay with him knowing how consuming my love for him is…

He came to my new place for the first time Monday afternoon. It was last minute but the timing just lined up!

So many times over the last nearly three months since I moved I’ve found myself laying in bed and absolutely HATING the fact that Mr. Trouble had never been here. I wanted him here, in my space, finally seeing the side of myself I feel safe enough to express in my own home. It surprised me, the pain that sliced through me when Mr. Trouble said something indicating he thought I’d decorated the guest room at my folks’ place where I was living before…he had no way of knowing. But as is so often the case, I want him to know SO MUCH! I want to give him all of me and that’s not an option. I want too much, I know…

Apparently that includes wanting him to know for certain just how deeply in love with him I am. I hadn’t realized I was focusing on sex, reflexively thinking that was the best option open to me to communicate my feelings for Mr. Trouble. Now I’m not so sure…

I am fully aware I had Mr. Trouble up on a pedestal for an alarming length of time, but his alcohol abuse shattered that for good. Even so, I struggle with what I feel I want, what I feel I deserve and what is. The last thing I’ve ever wanted is to make Mr. Trouble feel in any way pressured, yet I can’t deny having knowingly altered my responses at times in order to essentially reward good behavior from him and put boundaries in place when I needed to protect myself from his destructive tendencies.

I’ve been telling him for a while now that I want to show him new heights and drive him insane with pleasure until he can’t even remember his own name. However, I recognize how much trust it takes to let go that much with someone and that it requires a certain kind of tolerance to be able to handle overwhelming levels of pleasure – plus the last thing I want to risk is scaring him off! He is clearly used to being the more experienced partner in bed and while he’s enjoyed everything we’ve done together so far and tells me he likes trying new things with me, he still gets a bit intimidated by my ideas so I’m trying to be patient and take things slowly showing him new things in bed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the guardian bell I gave him last year, trying to better understand my motivations…..I now realize I was symbolically giving him a piece of myself as proof of my love. I gave different bells (which represented the recipients as is traditional rather than one that represents me) to two other people…one of whom is Mr. Trustworthy…and never felt the need to mention the fact that this only came about due to my extensive search for the perfect gift for Mr. Trouble. I was actually trying to let go at the time, having finally realized how deep my feelings were. Things with Mr. Trouble were always intended to be about sex and fun, not anything real. So, knowing he’s married and has his own life, I began trying to end things because real feelings isn’t what we’d signed up for…

Anyway, when he was here Monday I was really not feeling too hot and yet I was still insatiable for him…even when the things I wanted were actively causing me significant amounts of pain I kept going for as long as possible before finally giving in and settling for a different option.

After we were done, he was laying in my bed looking relaxed but tired. Recently I’ve discovered that Mr. Trouble likes it when I massage his temples, eyes, etc. It’s so damn hard to ever keep my hands off of him, but last year I rubbed his neck when he complained it was sore and he then reported having neck pain for MONTHS! So I’ve always been super hesitant to use any of my massage skills on him, ironically fearing he’s too delicate lol.

So there we are, naked in my bed, him on his back and me pressed up against the length of his side as I gently massage his face. After a bit I move behind his ears, down his neck, to his shoulders and pecs. It’s something I know but am rarely consciously aware of; Mr. Trouble is left handed. As I moved over from his left to right side, everything felt far less tense. I did a pretty thorough investigation as this surprised me until finally, external processor that I am! I said out loud, ‘Oh right, you’re left handed. That’s why your left side is so much tighter.’ Because clearly simply following the signs from his body and moving back to working on relaxing his left side would’ve just been TOO easy!

He relaxed significantly as I spent more than half an hour cuddled up against him, gently massaging and relaxing him. As I watched his face and soaked in the freedom to touch him, the words I’ve never spoken to him were on the tip of my tongue. Had he actually fallen asleep I’m certain they would’ve slipped out…

Now I’m realizing that I’ve been using physical touch, including but not limited to sex, in an effort to *show* Mr. Trouble just how much I love him. I don’t know what his love language is so my success in using physical touch to express what I haven’t been willing to say out loud may be mixed at best, but it’s what comes naturally to me so I can’t really help the desperate desire to touch him as much as possible.

Maybe it’s time to say the words? Does he want to hear them? What if saying the words makes him feel pressured? I hate that I can’t help imagining a life with him, especially knowing the reality would NOT amount to happily ever after.

Does my hypersexuality stem from my fear of expressing how I feel in other ways combined with my intrinsic need for physical touch?

I’m also feeling conflicted about sleeping with both Mr. Trouble and Mr. Trustworthy. They both know I’ve got someone else, but am I supposed to tell Mr. Trustworthy every time I see Mr. Trouble? I hate telling Mr. Trustworthy about plans with or having seen Mr. Trouble as it feels like I’m essentially saying hey, you’re my best friend and I love our sex life but you just aren’t enough to meet all my needs so I’m also fucking our boss. As long as they both know things are ongoing between me and both of them why would I need to say more? Ugh…I don’t know. I’m not actively trying to hide anything, it’s just that I’m ashamed.

I’m deeply ashamed that with everything he gives me, Mr. Trustworthy isn’t enough for me. I’m ashamed that I’m so in love with my married boss, carrying on an on-again-off-again affair for over a year and knowing that our relationship contributed to Mr. Trouble’s drinking getting so out of control earlier this year. I was living in terror 24/7 that he was going to crash on his bike due to being intoxicated and die – even had a nightmare in which exactly that happened and I watched helplessly as he lay dying on the side of some deserted back road. Thankfully that didn’t happen and he seems to be doing better overall, including drinking less. He hasn’t been downing a bottle of whiskey any of the times we’ve been together since I let him in again. He’s treating me like a real person, who matters to him, now (unlike before). I feel like our relationship is stable and he hasn’t made me cry a single time this round. His communication has improved markedly which helps a ton. I just can’t help being insecure.

When sex is what I’m offering I feel confident and don’t fear rejection. When it’s my feelings and my heart I’m offering, my trust and abandonment issues rise up with alacrity and ferociousness. I guess I convinced myself sex was a solution…I’ve definitely used sexual behavior as a coping mechanism/way to escape the pain of life.

I guess I feel like sex is an opportunity for me to prove to others that I’m good enough, that I’m worthy and don’t deserve to be discarded and abandoned. It’s something I can offer that others want even if they don’t want me for me.

Wow – that hurts to admit. I deserve better than that…or at least I’m trying to believe I do…

My Yin & Yang

I really just want to die right now, or at least hide FOREVER curled up in my bed, under the covers, never to be seen again.

I saw Mr. Trustworthy this morning and, as always, it was great. Yes the sex, but also the company. Never before in my life have I felt the pervasive sense of safety I feel with Mr. Trustworthy. I couldn’t love him more if I tried!

Still, it’s complicated. No secrets, that’s the deal with us. Friends forever. No matter what. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Perhaps, if quite a few important details were altered, indeed it could be…but he’s my best friend, so he has to hear pretty much everything. Especially the never ending story between Mr. Trouble and myself.

I’m in a lot of pain today. I thought about taking ibuprofen or something like that but I hate taking pills and don’t want to build up tolerance either. I thought about getting drunk but that really hasn’t appealed to me at all lately. So, resting in bed for most of the day, bored and hurting, resisting other measures, I pivoted to sex. Thanks to my masochism, if I get horny enough I can turn whatever pain isn’t blocked out in to pleasure…plus the endorphins from orgasms also help manage the pain as a bonus. After not talking all afternoon, Mr. Trustworthy text me just as my masturbation sesh was heating up…

How you feeling

Horny!

😝

It’s not raining

I’m not kidding lol…I’m putting that same vibe to further use at the moment!

I’m not only horny when it’s raining lol

Only when your awake?

Naw…dirty dreams are common lol

Did I not satisfy you?

You did for the moment but I’m not sure it’s possible to satisfy me permanently!

I’m too greedy

There’s a couple things I don’t think we’ve specifically talked about that maybe now’s a good time for me to mention…I’ve suffered from hypersexuality nearly my whole life. People always think a girl that’s a nympho would be awesome but the reality just isn’t. It’s rather miserable a lot of the time but I just live with it. I also use it as a coping mechanism cuz I’ve been in a lot of pain all day and rather than take pills or get drunk, both of which I seriously considered, if I get horny instead I can use my masochism to turn the pain in to pleasure plus the endorphins from orgasms help manage the pain for a bit. My stupid sex drive isn’t at all normal, same goes for my masochism. I use both as tools to help me cope with life cuz both also make me miserable so I take what up side I can find.

TL;DR none of it is any reflection on us, you or our sex life

I’ve already figured out your sex drive is not exactly normal.

Well ya, I didn’t expect to shock you just actually addressed it directly for once

And as hesitant as I am to say this, Mr. Trouble’s not in my life because of sex. Just for the record. If you could do anything that would get him out of my life believe me I’d be the first to ask you

As ridiculous as my sex drive is it doesn’t control me or my decision making like it did when I was younger

…aaaaaaand I haven’t heard a word back. I feel ridiculously vulnerable and stupid for admitting I was horny and masturbating when Mr. Trustworthy happened to text to check on me earlier 😦 Plus part of me has always felt like part of Mr. Trustworthy thinks Mr. Trouble is in my life because I want something more or different in bed than what I get from Mr. Trustworthy, which simply isn’t at all why I can’t let go of Mr. Trouble. I’ve felt for a long time I needed to say that but I’ve never had the guts to before. Maybe I’m just stupid through and through tonight, what do I know? Not that that would exactly be a NEW development…

Last week Mr. Trustworthy planned a motorcycle ride for instructors which Mr. Trouble and I both attended. There were six of us total and after the ride, we stopped and had dinner. Mr. Trouble ended up sitting next to me and across from Mr. Trustworthy. Texting with Mr. Trustworthy the next day, the group ride came up…

So if we took a poll of the other four people last night, how many do you think realized we were flirting? Lol

Everyone knows me, I flirt with everyone

I know you do 🙂 that’s part of why I don’t worry about diving in lol

Oh and I totally gave you a hug at ******** but I didn’t feel the need to correct you at the view point cuz I wanted another hug lol

I know, just wanted another hug and it’s a good cover up

That’s what I was wondering 😉😘

I noticed Mr. Trouble didn’t give you a hug or even acknowledge you much

None of my business, sorry

He and I don’t hug in public…he is my boss

You don’t need to be sorry

And you’re right and wrong…we were talking on intercom

I know you were

But we do play it pretty close to the vest. That’s part of why I let him closer again, cuz he stopped trying to burn his whole world to the ground

What gave it away that we were talking?

I could hear Mr. Trouble when we were stopped

Damn…will have to watch out for that in group rides. Thanks

You were the only person I hugged, I don’t hug other instructors unless they initiate it, don’t wanna risk making anyone uncomfortable

…aaaaand he dropped off again. I should’ve asked him if he actually heard whatever Mr. Trouble was saying or just could hear his voice and because he knows about our affair assumed Mr. Trouble was talking to me or if he actually heard something that might’ve tipped off any other person to the fact that I was talking with Mr. Trouble on intercom during the group ride…?

I feel like such a fucking heel. Sure Mr. Trustworthy got all of my visible attention but it had to hurt knowing I was talking with Mr. Trouble while the group of us were out riding together. I really thought it would stay between the two of us, I couldn’t think of any way in which Mr. Trustworthy would know or I would’ve at least reconsidered the decision before hitting my intercom and bugging Mr. Trouble. Also forces me to wonder about the motivation behind that extra hug Mr. Trustworthy lied to get from me when we took a break at the view point, cleverly asking where his hug was since I hadn’t given him one yet!? Which of course I had, as soon as he showed up for the ride. But I can’t ever get enough hugs so I wasn’t going to call him out!

Don’t get me wrong, if somehow my talking with Mr. Trouble via intercom had come up I never would’ve lied to Mr. Trustworthy, it would’ve just remained among the many details there’s no reason to share had he not brought up Mr. Trouble’s behavior toward me. Similarly, the Friday before our group ride I had plans with Mr. Trouble, he’d asked me to lunch and though I was loathe to admit it, I was extremely apprehensive! I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable enough to admit that or ask Mr. Trouble if lunch was strictly personal or at all work related, just accepted and then told Mr. Trustworthy how nervous I was considering all of the serious and often not at all fun conversations Mr. Trouble and I have had over COFFEE I was scared of the reasons I was imagining for what would warrant a request for LUNCH!?

Well, *lunch* turned in to me meeting Mr. Trouble at his house rather than at a restaurant as had been the initial plan. Even with the location change I was still a bit nervous Mr. Trouble might have something serious we needed to talk about. However, he greeted me relaxed and happy and several minutes later, once I had my mouth free long enough, I jokingly said, ‘Well, it doesn’t appear that you’re going to fire me!?’ which made him chuckle along with me. He assured me that no, he wasn’t going to fire me. I explained my logic of being afraid to wonder what might warrant us meeting for LUNCH considering the conversations we’ve had over COFFEE and he laughed and said, ‘Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking!’

Mr. Trustworthy asked me to let him know how things went with Mr. Trouble, so I text him after I left Mr. Trouble’s house, saying ‘Everything’s okay with Mr. Trouble, he just wanted to see me.’ I did not volunteer the detail about the location change and we didn’t discuss my seeing Mr. Trouble any more, even though Mr. Trustworthy and I had plans for that afternoon and spent a couple hours together. I felt super awkward because I wasn’t 100% sure if Mr. Trustworthy realized I’d had sex with Mr. Trouble basically right before spending time with him but whether he realized it or not, I really didn’t want to have sex with him too. My freaking clothes still smelled like Mr. Trouble, no doubt I did as well. If Mr. Trustworthy wasn’t certain I’d already had sex before seeing him that day, I sure as hell didn’t want him figuring it out while we were naked!

So yeah. Does that make me a hypocrite that I didn’t want to have sex with both of them in the same day when I’ve done exactly that twice in the past? The thing is, both times it happened before it was not planned whereas this time I did have plans to see them both the same day. Also, I’m honestly not even sure if this mattered or not, but the other times, I’d been with Mr. Trustworthy first and it was Mr. Trouble who was round #2. I just couldn’t do it and I was too much of a coward to outright tell Mr. Trustworthy that I didn’t want to have sex that day, let alone tell him why. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lie to him, and whatever I told him about not feeling into it was true, it was just a very shallow truth if that makes sense.

Wow did I have a lot to get off my chest. Mr. Trustworthy is my emotional rock and before today I’d been planning to tell him as soon as I saw him in person again about changing my name and pronouns, but I came up thoroughly yellow bellied today and just didn’t because I’m so damn afraid. If I say it out loud it will be real and I know I can’t unring that bell. Am I just not ready? Maybe I will put this off until after my next therapy appointment on Friday and see how I’m feeling then…

I’m always afraid when talking with Mr. Trustworthy and the subject turns to Mr. Trouble that some day Mr. Trustworthy will just outright ask me what it is Mr. Trouble gives me that Mr. Trustworthy doesn’t? I’ve certainly told Mr. Trustworthy more times than I can remember that there is no comparing my relationship with him to my relationship with Mr. Trouble, but given the sheer number of times I’ve insisted that alone lends credence to the fact that Mr. Trustworthy doesn’t totally believe me. It’s true, but it’s only part of the truth and I’m sure that’s what Mr. Trustworthy senses…that and that fact Mr. Trouble is still in my life after all this time also unfortunately underlines how important Mr. Trouble is to me.

Maybe it’s time I just give the run down and get this off my chest, as I seem to be doing with so much else already tonight…

Mr. Trustworthy is my best friend. He knows me so deeply and I have let down more walls to let him in to my heart than I thought I was even capable of letting down at this point in my life. I trust him without reservation and there is absolutely nothing that would ever convince me to view him in any way other than loving me and having my best interests at heart, my default setting when it comes to him is definitely to give him the benefit of the doubt no matter what. I rely so heavily on him for my emotional stability, to help me when I get overwhelmed, when I’m stuck in my own head overthinking things, or even just when I’m lonely or hurting. Plus the sex is awesome! He goes out of his way to please me and boy does he know what I like by now! He’s always up for trying new things, why even today we finally tried figging together! But the sex is only so great because I have been so incredibly vulnerable with him, which is only possible due to the depth of trust and love we’ve built over the past couple of years. I admit I’m still afraid of what he will think presuming I do go ahead with changing my name and pronouns, because I know he just doesn’t understand and I doubt he ever can. But in my head I know I can trust him and I certainly won’t let my own feelings of fear come between us.

That said, Mr. Trouble is in my life for a reason. I feel like we are wired the same; we not only think in similar ways but he understands parts of me that Mr. Trustworthy can’t. Mr. Trouble sees me differently, he really SEES parts of who I am that are illusive to Mr. Trustworthy. That’s why Mr. Trouble’s the *only* person who makes me feel seen when he says my current name. Aside from the fear which I know from experience I can just chose to ignore, that’s the only other thing that makes me hesitate to change my name…I know Mr. Trouble will respect the request which means I might never get to hear him say my current name again and I don’t want to lose that feeling. I’m not even sure how to describe it beyond just feeling like all of me is being seen.

Even so, I can’t imagine I’d ever trust Mr. Trouble in an even vaguely similar way to how I trust Mr. Trustworthy. I don’t trust Mr. Trouble to not hurt me, although lately he’s actually treating me like a real human being whom he at least slightly cares about rather than treating me like trash as he did for so long. Even as awful as he was to me, to be fair I actively encouraged much of that behavior and hid it from him when he did hurt me for a very long time because I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable enough to let him know how deeply it cut. Plus there was the alcohol abuse going on for a while which I didn’t know about that also played a factor in how frequently Mr. Trouble hurt me previously. Things have been good and very stable since I let him back in my bed so to speak, which makes me feel like I was correct that Mr. Trouble’s been making an effort to do better throughout his life and is no longer in that ugly downward spiral from the beginning of the year.

So, while I am way too deeply in love with Mr. Trouble, I can’t imagine ever trusting him with all of me, all of my vulnerabilities and fears. And although it might be hard for some to believe, loving Mr. Trouble does not at all take anything away from how completely in love with Mr. Trustworthy I am. Lately I feel like they are my yin & yang, one giving me the total safety and security as well as unconditional love I’ve always craved and the other understanding all of the complicated sides of me, offering none of the security but relating to the parts of me which elude Mr. Trustworthy. Sometimes I think if a single person were able to give me the combination of everything the two of them currently give me I’d have found the happily ever after I know Mr. Trustworthy wants for me. Too bad I don’t believe it would end in ‘happily ever after’ even if such a person did exist and find their way in to my life.

So here I am, confiding in my blog because I’m holding so much in, even from my best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been talking to Mr. Trustworthy and he knows I’m struggling with big things emotionally at the moment, trying to work on things, trying to work THROUGH things, he just isn’t clued in on all the details at the moment as I already know from previous conversations that while he is always willing to listen, he can’t understand and just doesn’t have any way to truly relate to where I’m at. Part of me thinks I should be grateful I have both these men in my life, and part of me IS grateful. But I also feel so guilty that Mr. Trustworthy gives me so much and no matter how many times I turn to Mr. Trouble, no matter how many times I run to Mr. Trustworthy heartbroken over Mr. Trouble, Mr. Trustworthy is still there for me, still loves and supports me, still listens to me and asks for nothing at all in return. He texts me every single day just to say good morning and I’m lost without him. It kills me knowing that even with all he gives me it isn’t enough. I’d give anything for what we have to be enough, but it can’t be, not in this lifetime. So Mr. Trouble remains…filling in the gaps.

That’s the best I can do for now…

A Rose By Any Other Name

I like my name. I’m named after my maternal grandmother, with whom I have always been close. My mom’s middle name is also the same, and my sister used a shortened version of my name for her oldest. I legally changed my name after H passed, removing my middle name entirely and picking a new last name as I was not going back to LFD’s surname. As much as ‘Mustang’ feels like home, I don’t feel ready to take on the world’s reaction were I to legally change my name to that…nor do I want to lose my first name which is currently reflected in four generations of my family. What I DO think might work, however, is going by my current last name; its typical usage in the U.S. is as a first name for boys. There’s only one person who makes me feel seen and whole when I hear them use my first name and, for better or worse, that person is Mr. Trouble. When anyone else says my name, it’s just an identifier, not a meaningful reflection of *me*, just of family history that was in effect before anyone even knew who I am. I hope such a change wouldn’t hurt my grandmother, but she has always been extremely progressive and I think she’d just want me to be happy.

Thinking about changing my pronouns and the name I go by is exciting, terrifying and extremely daunting. But until yesterday I’d never been willing to even seriously consider doing either, so…is that progress? Part of me thinks changes like this are actually reactive and reflect one trying to run away from who they are and escape a traumatic past. Would I be non-binary if I hadn’t suffered the abuse I endured growing up? Does the answer to that question ultimately matter? Now I’m thinking myself in circles – I think I need to take a break from all the overthinking I’ve been engaged in recently. Perhaps I will just sit with this idea for a bit and see how I’m feeling…wish me luck!

The Only Way Out Is Through

The more I read online the more afraid I am. I have an extensive history of trauma even without coming out and I feel like there’s so little support for non-binary people, nearly everything is for trans people. I hate saying that because truly I don’t begrudge trans people any assistance, I realize being trans is unimaginably difficult. It’s just that if I feel unsafe living passing as a straight woman how can I live more authentically given what the LGBTQ+ community faces? I just feel so profoundly unsafe already but seeing my reflection hurts because I can’t help but see a woman looking back at me and that’s just not who I am.

I feel like myself when I’m ‘Mustang’ – a name I picked because it reflects my desperate need to be able to live my life wild and free, not constrained by others or my past. Part of me thinks I’d love to change my pronouns but I’m not sure anyone would support me, including my best friend. I guess I think he’d TRY because he loves me, but would he still see me for me? Would he judge me, withdraw emotionally? I feel like that’s possible and that would brake my heart. I guess fear of losing him isn’t a good enough reason to not live my life authentically…and I believed my therapist when (referring to my feelings of isolation) she said it’s probably a combination of having people in my life who are just not strong enough to handle all the weight I carry and just having the wrong people in my life, but knowing that doesn’t at all ease how painful it would be to lose everyone, the support system I’ve worked so hard trying to build for myself. I know it’s not perfect but it’s what I have.

Picasso

I feel like a coward. I’ve always run toward the things that scare me, always been enraptured by challenges. Is my own gender identity and gender expression what’s going to finally break me? I don’t want it to hurt so much to look at my own reflection. Would changing my pronouns have any effect on that? I used to believe I didn’t want to change my pronouns but now I think the deeper truth is that I’m afraid to, which doesn’t feel good. I’ve already done a lot to change my appearance, but without taking extreme measures I think people will always see me as female at first glance. I’ve used passing as an attractive straight girl to my advantage and am hesitant to trade that privilege away; the alternative is just so fucking scary.

I know my state is one that allows people to change their gender marker on their driver’s license and mine expires in a few months. Would changing mine help?

Crap…a coworker I don’t know well but do know to be non-binary just responded to my text asking if we could talk some time with ‘…. Mustang?’ and it brought tears to my eyes that they remembered the name I actually prefer; I don’t even remember sharing that! I know I’d never lose my godparents. I feel sick to my stomach having just reached out to another coworker; I’ve been really upset with him because of something that happened with work a couple months ago and hiding that I’m upset with him from everyone but my best friend. And the only reason I know his daughter is trans is because Mr. Trouble told me – not a relationship I want to advertise if I did try to ask that coworker about what he learned as his daughter transitioned and managing the fear and fatigue of having to come out over and over again in different settings etc.

I’ve become so open about my physical and mental illnesses and realizing my belief that the only way to destigmatize such things is to talk about them openly, educate others and answer questions is equally applicable to issues surrounding identity and gender makes me feel like a hypocrite, hiding away out of fear and convenience. Which I totally admit to, just between us lol. If I feel like my dykish appearance might be putting others off I just casually mention my late husband and tensions immediately ease.

I know I am a people pleaser and am personally extremely conflict averse. I’ve worked hard to be willing to speak up and, when necessary, stand my ground. However, most of this progress has been in my professional life. Standing up for myself in my personal life continues to be extremely challenging and I think all of this ties back in to the same source, not feeling safe.

I don’t feel safe as a woman in this world. I don’t feel safe as a non-binary person; I don’t feel safe being attracted to women. I don’t feel safe riding my motorcycle alone if I’m not armed. I just don’t feel safe, a feeling which has been reinforced over and over again through trauma and abandonment. I also happen to be an empath with the unfortunate tendency of absorbing the emotions people around me are feeling. I’ve been working on learning to keep the feelings I can sense in others external which helps avoid becoming overwhelmed myself, but this ability is still very much a work in progress.

So, I already want to please others and actively want to avoid conflict and on top of that, I actually experience others’ distress involuntarily. Talk about a recipe for hiding anything about myself which might make others uncomfortable! Which is almost laughable for me to say because in so many ways I have always eschewed conventional wisdom and hell even common sense! Insisting on blazing my own trail, even when that self prescribed path went straight off a cliff more often than not 😛 But what people don’t realize is, even standing out as much as I always have, I still hold SO. MUCH. BACK!

Maybe I’m still holding too much back and that’s why life hurts so much and I still feel so deeply isolated. I have to admit I’ve never truly felt like I found my tribe…every place I’ve looked I’ve still always been so different from everyone else. But looking for resources online for non-binary people was crushing to the point of pushing me to call a crisis line last week. Everything I could find online over the course of a few hours of searching was actually for and about trans people, not non-binary people. If I can’t even find support online how can I hope to find it in RL? Not that this is a yard stick worth using for comparison, but even the DSM V definition of gender dysphoria in large part only applies to trans people. I was stunned by how discouraging searching the internet for support as a non-binary person felt…I truly felt hopeless. I’ve learned to make huge concessions in my search for quality of life, but living without hope isn’t something I can do. Thankfully I ran across a local organization that serves sexual assault survivors and between their crisis line and support group for LGBTQ+ individuals, then an appointment with my therapist, I was able to once again believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

That said, I’m still really only one half height ladder rung above hopeless. I feel so lost and uncertain. I really don’t seem to be able to stand too much serenity in my life, always thinking my way into a new existential crisis. And I have to admit, this one scares me to death…