What a crux the last few days have been!  It was a full moon, the time of culminations and fulminations.  Nick and I have been at odds with each other, deeply, just as do-or-die cooperation deadlines arrived.  My brother and his business partner are locked into an awful game of financial mortal kombat, which I know neither of them really desires.  The long, cold Bitcoin bear market of 2021 chilled us with its $42k lows.  Just kidding, only weak hands got shook by that.  But still, it was bad timing, just when Nick and I needed to shell out the first of our large offerings to the wildland fire gods.  It’s all fun and games til you have to convert to fiat in the middle of a slump.  Uchgh.  At least I only converted Ethereum so far, because no one seems to understand what the fuck Ethereum is even good for, including the people who make Ethereum.  And it was really intense weather here, too, last couple days — high winds and heavy rains.

Anyway, I dropped Nick off at the airport in Kona this morning.  Our goodbye self-portrait:

And this is Milo, just before his little anxious head got stuffed down into the zippered kennel, which initially Buffy had eagerly crawled into, and had to be extricated from with the Jaws of Life because it’s not her turn yet:

Every time we separate for longer than an afternoon, we both become so chagrined to have wasted any time in strife.  I still think there’s a thing that he needs to pull his head out of his ass about — and no, it’s not the thing we’ve been arguing about, but the thing behind that thing — and he probably thinks I went zero to bitch pretty fast, but I’ve already been in a marriage with a guy who used my support as an excuse not to manage his own negative emotions — I’m not doing it again.

I used to characterize a long-distance relationship as the most ideal type, actually, because there’s so much time to practice and perfect your own mental/emotional version of the relationship, rather than having it sort of in your face, all the time, demanding your attention whether it’s a good time or not.  If revenge is a dish best served cold, attention is a dish best served…of one’s own volition.

They say introverts are fantastic performers, ironically (it’s not really ironic, it’s just that people equate introversion with shyness, which it is not) and I do really love the spotlight, and the literal stage.  The thing is, the stage doesn’t just drop by for visits, unannounced.  You have time to mentally prepare for it.

Honestly I’m pretty proud of having functioned in a very up-close, all-day, most-days relationship for as long as I have, with Nick, after about a decade of single-hood, because otherwise I would have only dated men who did not live close to me, specifically so I wouldn’t have had to learn the skill of being on a stage with no exit, with a spotlight that pans around to some extent, but can zero in on me again with little warning.

That’s just what happens when you move to a new state with someone you’ve only known two months.

So, yes, we’re hovering around two years and some change in our relationship experiment, as we close in on the one year anniversary of “fifteen days to flatten the curve”.  Four-ish year anniversary of me and Bitcoin but I wasn’t serious for most of that.  Six years and some change since I found Buffy, who I’ve been very serious about the whole time, and who is currently licking her paws in front of the space heater.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play!  I dragged the space heater into the bedroom when I got home from my airport run because it’s overcast, out, and only sixty some degrees.  Buffy and I adore being uncomfortably warm.

Nick landed!  He just texted and said the flight attendant was hitting on him super hard.  He was already a P-magnet, and acquiring a teacup Pomeranian only made it infinitely worse.

Oh!  This reminds me: I listened to this excellent Teal Swan video as I was driving around Kona today, doing errands (ie putting on my goddamn mask, taking off my goddamn mask, putting on my goddamn mask, taking off my goddamn mask…in the DRIVE THROUGH no less.  I’m like, “Bitch, do you think I’d be here ordering $25 worth of Taco Bell if safety was my top priority?”):

So, the video is essentially urging women to recognize that they have a bigger role in supporting or eroding their male partner’s confidence than they probably realize; that choosing to intentionally and authentically caretake their partner’s confidence boosts his aligned masculinity superpowers so that he and she both can enjoy more of what masculinity has to offer; and then handles some reasons why women might be resistant to the idea of caretaking their man’s confidence.

As a longtime fan of Helena Hart, I’m no stranger to the idea that aligned feminine qualities such as receptivity and appreciation can amplify a man’s confidence, and supercharge his best traits (even more than nagging and criticism; I know! — hard to believe), but as usual, Teal puts her own wonderful spin on things.

So, the list of reasons women might resist caretaking mens’ confidence is long, but one that jumped out to me is the fear that a confident, cocky man might then go looking for another woman.

I’ve been experiencing ALL kinds of synchronicities, lately, words and numbers jumping out at me from clocks, license plates, snatches of overheard conversations — I don’t feel particularly in the vortex (see first paragraph) but I don’t take chronic synchronicities for granted either, so something good must be brewing.  All of reality feels extra frisky to me, right now, ripe with possibility, and absurd as a SNL skit, half the time.

The list of things I take seriously is dwindling on the daily, let’s just say, but becoming more playful is just…a sign of the times, I suppose.  It’s either that, or turn into a Lib.  REEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeee……

Anyway, I’ll get back to Teal’s point in a second, but it reminded me of a thought process I’ve had before, and literally had again last night.  I walked into our office type room, and Nick was finished with packing and doing some last minute biz-prep work on his laptop.  He was sitting at his desk, facing away from me, probably pretty tired from a long day generally, and like I said we’ve been having a somewhat major tiff.  But besides all that — what a magnificent creature he was, in my gaze in that moment.  (In most moments, but I’m limiting myself to that one for discussion’s sake.)  His tee shirts always look like they’re losing a fight with his muscles; his quarter-profile has all the gravity, intelligence, mystery, and timelessness of a Roman bust; one veiny arm was hanging down at his left side, hand relaxed into a curl, the other resting on the keyboard — you know, fuck it, I’ll just add a favorite Nick photo here, worth a thousand words for sure:

It’s a silly driving selfie he sent me a long time ago, somehow one of my favorites because it really captures him. Anyway, I walked in just to ask him some question, or more realistically to bitch at him about something, or who knows, and the guy just actually takes my breath away, regularly, even after 2+ years of intensive together-confinement AND being a pain in the ass lately.  So, instead of whatever I walked in there for, I wrapped my arm around his shoulders, leaned down, kissed his ear, and murmured “How’s it feel to be the world’s sexist, most wonderful boo bear?”

“I don’t know, you tell me,” he said through a smile, still looking at his screen.  It’s this silly call and response we do.

“Nuh-uhhhhh,” I said, closing my eyes and squeezing him.  He’s very squeezable, in the sense that it all feels like it’s flexed all the time even when it’s not.  I often accuse him of flexing just because my hand is touching his leg or something, and then he wakes up and says ‘huh?’ and I realize, he seriously wasn’t flexing.

Anyway, I smilingly went about my business, not that I could remember what that was, and it consciously occurred to me — this fear Teal Swan referenced.  What if I build him up too much, and he goes and finds another woman?

I don’t think this is a fear specific to me or us, it just feels ambient — almost like a feminine trait, on the shadow side, similar to buying smoothies that cost $14.

And then I honestly thought to myself, “I’ll never stop building that guy up.  Because A) he’s truly all that; B) building him up makes me feel good, and any thought to the contrary is a thought in the wrong direction for me personally, and C) good luck finding another chick like me.”

So — you know I like to take the scenic route — this brings us back to the video, and Teal’s really neat, insightful comment here.  She said, and I paraphrase, it’s crucial to understand that men’s confidence and men’s character are two different things.  And in fact, you don’t know a man’s character until you’ve seen him confident.  He might harbor the heart of a womanizer, but just didn’t think he could pull it off.  Then he gains confidence and boom: he becomes the piece of shit he’s always dreamed of being.  (Very few men conduct themselves ethically on the meat market with full disclosure of non-availability — but if they do, props to them.)  OR, conversely, he might harbor the heart of a provider and leader, and again — you won’t know what he’s capable of until you’ve seen him confident.

So don’t be scared to caretake your man’s confidence, Teal advises — it’s actually the fastest way to find out if he’s worth keeping.  Or, to put it in more colloquial parlance: fuck around and find out.

Anyway, I texted Nick that I’d be hitting on him too if I was his fight attendant, and that’s a fact.  You know with fake pandemic stuff there’s no more food served on airplanes, besides pretzels etc., and apparently Nick took Milo to the bathroom to try and make something happen, and when he came back to his seat, she’d left a HOT steaming meal of oven roasted chicken sandwich and an entire bottle (!) of cold water on his tray, and he had to break the bad news that he’s vegan.  No one’s ever surprised that I’m vegan — I just radiate it, I guess — but I love watching Nick tell people he’s vegan (not that he makes a point of it) because you can see them become confused on an existential level.

Actually — and this blog is about whatever I say it’s about, so now it’s about this — I’ve been meaning to comment on something Nick-related for some time.  I go long stretches, blogging about only exterior things, such as the blindingly predictable collapse of our civilization (with maaaaaybe a happy ending…?) based on exactly how you’d think that would play out if you grew up reading sci-fi like I did, not because I’m avoiding anything but because…I almost don’t feel it matters what perspective a person takes to current events, but somehow it feels important to create a record, a time capsule, of what these events have felt like, for *a* perspective, that happens to be my perspective, because that’s the only one I have access to.  And that was a long sentence, but what I’m saying is…agree with me or disagree with me on every core value and interest and opinion I have, and I know you do, but nothing like this has ever happened in our lifetimes or frankly in anyone’s lifetime.

Hopefully savvier people than me are documenting it — not just the facts of it (wtf does that even mean, anymore), or the major gestures of it, but the digested reality of it.  Of, like, being in the world trying to get basic shit done, and having wave after wave after wave of nonsense knock you around — except the undertow isn’t nonsense at all — you get the idea.  Like I said, I don’t think it matters which perspective consistently reports, as long as someperspective consistently reports.  You can get your windage off of that.

Anyway, I go long stretches with that in mind, and people love it or hate it or whatever.

What I did want to mention tonight seems almost silly in contrast, except it’s not, it’s actually part and parcel of all this other stuff.

So, the thought is, I have become almost averse to reporting my thoughts and feelings closer to home because, first, that’s always delicate territory and for good reason.  But more importantly, and second: forming a relationship with a, for lack of a better term, white male bodybuilder type guy who grew up in a bigger house than all of my childhood homes put together is about the least woke thing you can do, these days.  I felt the ambiently disdainful rumblings when we first started dating (and of course I was all about it on social media because when you’re single for like ten years, it’s pretty exciting), and then it’s actually been leveraged against me in stupid arguments as things got even woker: “My babies are BROWN, from their proud [whatever] roots, you wouldn’t understand.”  (This from white girls, making sure I knew they were out-woking me.)  I grew up on the Rez, didn’t even date a guy of my own race until halfway through college, and the last thing I’m going to do is use that to substantiate my position and alleviate my “white guilt” (there ain’t none), because I’m not an actual racist and I don’t have to jump through those hoops for people.

Obviously a big part of the clown world strategy has been to demonize white people, and white people are reacting to that variously — some are pulling hard “white pride”, some are pulling hard “white ally”, and of course none of it really matters.  I mean, the only pulling that matters are the people pulling the strings, who are united by other-than-race, and they’re happy to use race or COVID or trans or whatever, to keep us twisted.  Just whatever fucks us up, that’s the card they’ll play.  It’s so obvious.

The white people who happen to be female are playing that card pretty hard, thanking their wokey stars for the plausible deniability inherent in it.  “We couldn’t be complicit in systematically oppressing anyone — we were too busy being oppressed ourselves!”  In clown world, you’re fucked if you don’t have some alibi.

The white males have almost no resort, except to prostrate themselves to the cause.  What cause?  Just whatever cause.  Show me a cause and I’ll prostrate myself to it, amiright.  So we got lots of them.

It’s essentially a big stupid game of “Not It!,” and the white males who won’t prostrate themselves are “It”.

So, I’m dating a white male who won’t prostrate himself — because I wouldn’t be fucking dating him if he did, whatever color he was — and you know what I’ve noticed?

Here’s what I’ve noticed.  I say one thing about him, about us, about what I consider to be the fascinating interiority of our unique and evolving relationship experiment — because I’m a writer, and writing out my speculations and observations is what I do, and if it makes me uncomfortable, great; if it makes other people uncomfortable, even better — and people, specifically women, come flying out of the woodwork to inform me of my internalized misogyny, the dissolution of my identity into his, the evidence that I’ve surrendered my core person in an attempt to impress him, xyz.  Meanwhile, my identity as someone who writes stuff down is, like, so good it’s transparent, and therefore it doesn’t occur to them that I’m practicing my identity every time I write stuff down…?

And I honestly think, if he could just be either frail, or ugly, or preferably both, this whole thing would play so much better.  The muscles are a real problem for people.  It makes them angry.

I’ve watched people’s faces and seen them make up their minds to dislike him, before a word is spoken, and I’ve seen him win those people over — some of the time.

(Side note: dated a wonderful guy years ago, we’re still great friends.  He’s from Libya and is a devout Muslim.  Everyone held their breath, I guess waiting for me to don the chador or some shit?  Oppresion-ville, amiright.  I watched the same thing happen with him: people literally made up their minds to dislike him.  He won more of them over because he’s such a peaceful person, in his heart, he can’t even figure out how to take offense.  Nick wins fewer people over because he’s effing scrappy.  And I don’t mind allying myself with a scrappy person at all.)

What’s that like, to go through the world being a demographic that people have made up their minds in advance to dislike?  Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean black people or Muslims — I meant my juice head rich white boyfriend.  (He’s not actually rich — he just grew up in a nice ass house and then burned every single bridge with addiction and has been nurturing those relationships back to life, carefully and with a lot of anxiety.)

Does he have flaws, flaws so big that they sometimes threaten to sweep both of us away into a place we’d rather not be?  Oh hell yeah.  Going from ten years single to dating an addict in recovery is like fighting the final boss in a video game you’ve never even played.

But yeah, I tend to steer away from writing more about the interior experience of my relationships, and this relationship specifically, not because I don’t think it’s fascinating and noteworthy, but because it seems predestined to be misunderstood, and along these proscribed lines.

Anyway: having said all that, who really cares.  Nick and I are both the most spiritually seeking people imaginable, the most body-conscious people imaginable, the most ethical vegan people imaginable, and we have massive, major, and fascinatingly irreconcilable differences all along the way.  Every day, at some point, I’m like: that’s weird, that you would be that way.  I didn’t use the words “relationship experiment” lightly.

Sometimes I just look at him and I’m like: Who the fuck do you think you are, right now?  And other times I look at him and I’m like: How’s it feel to be the world’s sexist, most wonderful boo bear?

I’ve definitely been in situations where people took one look at me and decided to dislike me.  It’s generally had something to do with being a woman — that’s so foundational, we can’t escape it.  Sometimes the people choosing to dislike me were also women, of some different strata from me, and sometimes they were men, and I was either too attractive or not attractive enough.  I agree there’s a lot to dislike about me, but you’d have to take the time to discover that, and so if you don’t and dislike me in advance, then fuck you.  Everyone who actually knows me is entitled to dislike me.  I dislike myself, often, so there’s that.

TL; DR: take the time to get to know people so you can dislike them for personal reasons instead of brainwashing reasons.  Also, boost others’ confidence as much as you can, because it’s the fastest way to find out if they’re worth it.