L: That’s great.
M: Yeah. I’m not a good sleeper but I have been. So last, at the end of last season we talked about me being diagnosed with Bipolar II.
M: And I didn’t really understand it. My psychiatrist told me not to google it.
M: And so I wasn’t. I just barely started reading about it.
M: And so I think we had a few people who wrote in about it and I was saying like mania and then I think someone said it’s hypomania
M: for Bipolar II. And all those things I’m learning about now. But I started the meds and then I stopped them. It will be five weeks off of the medication this weekend. So my body has been going through a lot of different things and my mind also (laughs).
L: Yeah, of course.
M: But one of the things that I’ve been able to do is sleep a lot, which I guess is good overall, but it’s not usual for me.
L: Yeah. You’ve always had like, insomnia
L: as part of PTSD, right?
M: Yes. And then so now, learning about Bipolar – ’cause I actually started to read about it and watch YouTube videos and stuff – and how it all, like part of that was, I’m sure, the hypomania,
M: when I would actually not sleep but then I would feel energized by not sleeping.
L: Uh huh. Sure.
M: So people would think, you know, if you just stay up for a few days, then you must crash. And it’s true, I would eventually, but it would be like, “No. You don’t understand. I feel like all this energy.” So now that’s all starting to make sense. But it’s still confusing and still learning about it and deciding if I’m gonna get back on medication or not and what’s gonna happen with all that. But it’s been like a really wild ride since finding that out and everything, so it’s just been a mess of a summer.
L: Okay, yeah.
M: And, yeah. It feels good to be back to doing something that we used to do. ‘Cause I used to be here pretty regularly.
L: Yeah, I’m glad that we’re back. It feels like a nice way to start to like a new season,
L: both of the podcast and like, a new weather season.
L: I mean, granted, we’re in California, so it’s fire season, but
L: I wish it was fall and it’s sort of fall so…
M: So what have you been- (sighs) I can’t talk
M: What have you been doing to take of yourself?
L: So a few things. I, maybe I’ll, I think we probably both want to spend some time doing like some life updates. So I’ll stick to, like a smaller thing, which is two, well one is I’ve, not only have I been having like a friend do reiki for me a little more often, my kiddo… My friend did reiki for my kiddo also and she’s really like interested in it. And so even though I’m not trained, although I would liked to be and I think that’s something I’m gonna plan for next year to do a little like reiki teacher training. I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called. I’ve been doing it for my kiddo (laughs) before she goes to bed. And I, you know, we had tried to do mediation before bed for awhile to get her brain to calm down. She most likely had ADHD. So it’s extra hard to kind of silence that right before bed. And the meditation was working for awhile for both of us and then kind of got out of the habit. So I’m doing reiki for her before bed, which really is just, you know, it’s energy work so essentially I’m closing my eyes and trying to tap into something and, you know, putting my hands over her. And I think it’s, you know… And for folks who do this for real, I’m not trying to like co-opt a practice I don’t know how to do. It’s more about like a form of mediation that feels like it has a layer of magic to it and therefore is appealing to my kid, where it’s as simple as just me sitting quietly with her and like sending out positive thoughts.
M: Yeah. That’s so nice!
L: But it’s nice. And you know what? It’s been nice for me too ’cause it’s helped kind of ground me before bedtime with her, which can be a really stressful time. So that’s one thing. And the other is just, I mean I, your phone’s making sounds.
M: It’s my MacBook. I don’t know how to make it stop.
M: But the text I just got says, “Is Jenny back?!?” And they send me a picture with, what’s her real name, Jenny?
M: Yeah, Mia, with the people from The L Word.
M: Oh my god.
L: Is she back?
M: I don’t know. But it looks like it from this picture.
L: Are we excited about the new L Word?
M: I am excited.
M: There’s gonna be a showing of it in WeHo.
M: I want to go to that.
L: I think there’s tickets. It might be sold out.
M: Oh my god.
L: We should look into it.
M: Of course it is.
L: But you know what? If it’s not, we should do something with the podcast with that, so
M: Yeah. I am so excited.
L: Okay. We’ll be in touch with all of you about that.
M: (laughs) Okay.
L: Because I’d like to do something too. Even if we just do like a review of the first episode
L: as an episode. So yeah. I guess right now I’ll just say the reiki and then the main big thing is that I had surgery,
L: which we talked last… I might have talked about it a little bit in Queer Cuts but we can talk about that a little more once we get going.
M: Okay. Figured out how to turn the notifications off.
M: But how funny. It’s Sam texting me, “Is Jenny back?!? I told you Jenny would totally fake her own death.”
L: That does seem like
M: That does seem
L: That does seem like, that is very on brand for Jenny.
M: It is. Everyone hates Jenny. Remember when I posted that I loved Jenny and people were outraged.
L: Are you listening to To L and Back?
L: ‘Cause they’re Jenny apologists.
M: No. I’m not. I stopped after the first season, when everything…shit hit the fan for me.
L: That makes sense.
M: And I’m not able, like I can’t listen to podcasts anymore. I don’t read books. It’s just been…
L: I get it. I’ve been in that mental health place where like that attention span is just like, not available
L: to me. So I get it.
M: And the voices like of people stress me out.
M: Even myself. I don’t want to even hear myself talk.
L: I get that.
L: I think that’s a really good reason to podcast.
M: Mmhm. So here I am.
L: Amazing! So there’s a few like housekeeping type things we wanted to do and shout outs. Wanna start by, we always like to read reviews when we get them. This is also a reminder, if you are using the iTunes – I guess it’s not even called iTunes anymore – Apple Podcast or any other thing, if you can rate and review and subscribe rather than just listen, that super helps us out. We got two reviews on Apple Podcast that I will read to you now. The first one is from a user named profoundlylow. It says,
“Waiting for season 2:
Megan and Leigh have a knack for discussing trauma, sexuality, and mental health. Their openness held with humor is addictive. They are true warriors.”
L: Boy, I can’t say that word.
M: Talking is hard.
L: “They are true warriors.” Thank you.
M: Pronunciation is hard.
L: (sighs) I got a C in that in high school, in speech.
M: You did?
L: In a like a speech class because I did not enunciate enough. I was like, “Bitch, I have a speech impediment. Doing my best.”
L: And then, do you want to read the second one?
L: It’s the one on the top.
M: This is from hdolvt.
L: Yeah. Sure.
M: I was gonna say volt, but that’s not the thing that it says. Okay.
“I love this podcast:”
M: And they gave five stars. Thank you.
L: Oh yeah. The other one gave five stars as well.
M: (continues reading)
“They are so open and honest. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I find myself reflecting and thinking about my self-care and relationships. They are also so lovely to listen to. I can’t wait for season 2.”
M: Aw, that’s so sweet. Thank you profoundlylow and hd.
L: Thank you, thank you. We also wanted to give a little bit of a shout out to some of our recent sponsors who have been super amazing. Thank you to Überlube, to Sportsheets. If you were following us this summer, we did a giveaway when we hit 10,000 followers and they both provided gifts as part of that and sponsored that giveaway. So thank you so much. Also thank you to all of the listeners and the followers who got us to 10,000 followers on Instagram. And a reminder that if you join our Patreon, you get a little gift and the does include a sample of Überlube, which is our favorite lube.
M: And I really need it right now for my hair.
L: I will give you some. I’ve got some here.
M: Yes! My hair’s so dry.
L: So yeah. So it’s good for your hair. It’s good for your sex. It’s good for chafing. It’s good for all the things.
M: And, oh you said, for your face.
L: Uh huh. Oh, for your face! I didn’t even say your face.
M: For, what is it called when you, before you…your primer.
L: We always forget that it’s good for primer too. Awesome. And Sportsheets gave us like really cool enamel pins to give out this time that were really adorable along with a sex toy. So yeah. Support them. They support us. That’s awesome.
M: And I wanted to thank our Patrons. We do this every once in awhile.
M: There are 23
L: Thank you all.
M: active patrons. So thank you Amber, Bettie, Brandon, Charity, Christina, Dani, Ed, Ellie, Eric, Fiona, I don’t think her name is Josie.
M: Sorry Joži. Kayla, Keely, notmycupoftea, Krystal, Leigh, Marina, Marissa, Matt, mindyourqs, Rebecca, redelle, Sam, sharpsweetbella, and wiseeyes.
L: Awesome! Yay!
M: I love you all!
L: Thank you so much! And if you’re not one of our Patrons yet. Check it out. For as low as a dollar you get a ton of content. So we would love for you to join. There’s also some new things coming there besides just the extra content and like kind of outtakes and Queer Cuts and yeah.
M: I definitely want to make that more of a focus this season ’cause I used to have my own Patreon as well so I was kind of bouncing between the two. But now I’ve deleted that and I do want to blog and write again.
M: I don’t know where it’s gonna happen but I know Patreon is a good place to do that because it’s kind of behind a paywall while I work out some of the mental health stuff. I sometimes don’t like to put it on like a public blog. So I was thinking that might be a good place
L: Yeah. Let us know if there’s anything you want to see
M: to write about about…
L: on the Patreon. We’re open. We both like writing. So I think that would be a space for that as well.
M: Yeah! Oh! And another exciting thing we have for this season is Dick, which by the way, we were on FaceTime with Dick before today because even though this is season 2, it’s like the first time every time.
L: We still don’t- We still don’t know how to actually do a podcast.
M: I did not know how to set it up. I was telling him, “I’m sorry but I hate everything,” (laughs) about setting up Garageband. So, thank you Dick. He was on FaceTime with us. He has a like hotline kind of a number.
L: Well, just so everyone knows, in case you’re not sure, Dick is the host of Off the Cuffs, the BDSM podcast that I’m sure a lot of you listen to. And if you don’t, check it out. And he also manages the podcast network that we are part of called Podcast Jukebox. And Megan was gonna tell us something about that.
M: Yes. So there’s a phone number you can call and it will, and you leave a voicemail. If you leave us a voicemail, just say it’s for Queers Next Door. You could…he will send it to me and I can either play it on the air and we can respond or you can say you just want us to respond to your question without playing it on the air. But it’s really exciting. You can basically call us now. The number we will write in the show notes and put it all over Instagram. It’s 1-631-977-9183. So that’s the Podcast Jukebox call line.
: Yeah, and just let us know. Make sure you say it’s for Queers Next Door and just let us know if you would like it played on the show of you’d prefer just to be read. So, just another way to contact us. You can always also our Instagram is a great way to contact us @queersnextdoor or firstname.lastname@example.org
if you want to talk collaborations or anything like that.
M: And we love to hear what you want us to talk about because we thought that during this three month break we would get so much done and we would have a schedule and an outline
L: Shhh. Don’t tell them.
M: (laughs) but we didn’t.
L: We didn’t.
M: And so now we are open to, we love answering questions. I mean,
M: most of the time and discussing topics that we might not find ’cause, I don’t know, I don’t really do much of anything anymore. I don’t read the news. I don’t listen to podcasts. So I don’t know what’s going. So if there’s anything you want us to talk about (laughs) send it our way.
L: Awesome. And one last sponsor I want to give a little shout out to. There’s a company that makes something called a bedside hanger. They started out making blackout kits, which were a little hanger that goes on the side of your bed to put a flashlight on so if, so if it’s a blackout, in the middle of the night, or an earthquake or whatever, you can just reach right over and have your flashlight. And so the smart folks over there realized that could also be a really good place to put your sex toy; your vibrator or dildo or something that is flashlight size. And so that’s called a bedside hanger. They sent us a sample to try out and they’re super cool and so keep an eye out on our Instagram and we will have a promotion for our followers that will give you a discount if you would like to try one as well. But it’s a really cute idea and super convenient. And if you don’t want, you know, your vibrator or dildo getting all like dirty and fuzzy under your bed, but it’s something you use too often to have put away, this is a great little trick for that.
M: Yeah, it’s really cute. ‘Cause I had it under my bed. Well, not mine, but someone’s bed. And it’s super cute and those little, what is it, the sheets underneath
M: covers it so you can’t tell it’s there.
M: What is that sheet called?
L: Oh, like the bed, like the skirt?
M: Yes. The bedskirt.
L: Yeah, so it works best for like a bed with a kind of traditional metal frame. That’s what it hooks onto best. And so if you have one of those, then that’s your best setup. Then also the sheet could cover it.
Lark: Hey. I’m Lark.
Jessie: And I’m Jessie.
Lark: And we’re the hosts of Gayly Prophet, an intersectional, queer, Harry Potter podcast. One reviewer described our show this way: “If you want to queer the way you engage with the witchy world of HP, challenge the systemic problems in that world as well as our own, have your heart in two by seeing the beauty in the what ifs, and laugh so hard it hurts, I urge you give this podcast a listen.”
Jessie: If you love Harry Potter, critical analysis, gay stuff, and laughing really hard (laughs), subscribe to The Gayly Prophet wherever you listen to podcasts.
L: I feel like I’m doing all the talking. There’s one more thing I wanted to- We’re catching up on all the stuff we want to talk about. But there’s one more thing I wanted to mention, which is a book that I read that was sent to us as something to check out. It’s called Getting Off by Erica Garza. And I should see what the tagline is, but I think it’s like, “One woman’s journey through sex and porn addiction.” So I was really interested to read this because as a sex coach and kind of from my sex coach training but also my own personal thoughts I have sort of a problem with the idea of sex and porn addiction. And I did not have a problem with it in the book. And I think a lot of what I mean when I say I have a problem with it is I absolutely think you can have compulsive behaviors around sex and porn use. But I think putting it under this sort of 12 Step model of addiction as if it’s like something that needs to be fixed, in a way seems a little sex negative to me. And I’ve especially had like male clients come to me and say like, “I think I’m addicted to porn,” when they didn’t even have like, when it usually stemmed from more shame around the kind of porn they were watching or like discomfort in not being in the kind of relationships they wanted to be in. So I don’t love the 12 Step model for porn use or for sex and love quote “addicton,” but that’s really not that the book’s about. You know, she uses many things to kind of find her way out of this, but it’s super sex positive. It’s a memoir about, you know, her own life experiences. I thought it was really lovely and well written and it just felt like chatting kind of with a friend. And I don’t think we look a lot at how compulsive behaviors around sex affect women, especially people like coming of age in a place where there’s still a lot of sex negativity but there’s a ton of access to sexual material and to porn. So, yeah, for a surprisingly sex positive look at yeah, sex and porn addiction, I would say check it out. So again, it’s called Getting Off by Erica Garza.
M: I really wanted to read it but I knew I would definitely not finish it in time to talk about it. So I’ll have to check it out.
L: Well now you can read it.
M: Sometime soon.
L: Awesome. Awesome.
L: Since I just blabbed a lot, do you want to let us know kind of some things that have been going on with you lately?
M: Sure. I don’t even remember what we talked about last time we recorded, but…
L: Well I know that you might want to talk about your new pet.
M: I thought you were gonna say new boo. (laughs)
L: I was, well also and also there were some dating things you wanted to talk about as well. You did, we did talk, we did do a Queer Cuts on monogamy and menopause.
M: Oh yes. That’s right.
L: So check it out on Patreon. So there is a little about some of the stuff I’m gonna talk about and also some of Megan’s stuff but
L: it’s, it was a pretty short convo on that.
M: So my life changed so much. I’m monogamous now. I have a dog. I vape.
L: You’re such, you’re such a lesbian stereotype
M: Yes, I am. So my dog, her name is Honey. I cried this morning when I was leaving the house because I didn’t want to leave her alone. (laughs)
L: I can confirm.
M: So that’s where I’m at. (laughs)
L: I can confirm that was the text that I got.
M: Oh, so that’s funny. That kind of leads into something that I had written down. I haven’t been like at full brain functioning for a really long time it feels like. But when I do get an idea, I try to jot it down somewhere and one of the things I wanted to say was, queer culture is like matching with people on Tinder and OKC, wherever the fuck, and them giving you pets but you never meeting
M: .This is something that has happened twice in the last year to me.
L: Oh yeah? Yeah!
M: So it’s not like it happens that often, but that’s how I got the dog.
L: That’s so funny.
M: And Sam who does a lot for us, our transcriptions and stuff, they got a cat from someone I met on OKC.
L: Oh my god.
M: So I moved to LA and then I wanted a dog and I was literally googling chihuahuas but like, no one hate me for this, but sometimes I think chihuahuas are really ugly.
M: So I was like I want a chihuahua but like mixed with something else. So one that I found.
L: Which LA is full of.
L: We’re teeming with chihuahua mixes.
M: Yeah. (laughs) And I wanted like a gold or a tan color and I found one. It was chihuahua terrier. And I screenshotted it from google images. And I was like, “Oh. This is such a cute dog. This is the one I want.” And like the next day, I don’t know how it happened, but someone I met from OKCupid text or Instrgrammed me and said, “Is that your dog in the picture?” And I was like, “No, it’s not. But I really want a dog.” And she was like, “Oh my gosh. We have a dog at our office.” Blah blah blah. And I was like, “What kind of a dog?” And she said chihuahua something. And in my head, I’m like, but I bet it’s gonna be like not the color I want.
M: So I’m like, “Send me a picture.” It was the color wanted. The face is exactly like the google image. And I was like, “This is meant to be. I need to have this dog.” So the dog had been hit by a car somewhere in LA and someone paid a bunch of money to have like surgery on her and all this stuff. And then so now I have her. And so everything’s fine with her except that she still like yelps sometimes when you pick her up
M: because I think her legs hurt still a little bit. The surgery was in July.
M: And she has to pee a lot ’cause they did like a uterine repair.
L: Got it.
M: So it’s been hard to leave her because I have to take her out pretty often. And then when my mental health started to get so fucked up, I got like super bonded with this dog.
M: And what they said at the- She was living in an office so people were like taking her home every night and they really wanted her to have an owner, like one person she could bond with. And so it took me a few weeks, but now we’re like super bonded. I love her. She’s actually a emotional support dog.
M: Like she was a little certificate. I don’t know they, how that happens, but it happened for her. She’s an emotional support dog. And she, I sleep with her. I’m like super comforted by her. And I’ve had cats forever my whole life and I love cats so much. And I’ve always been the cat lesbian but now I’m the dog lesbian.
L: I love that.
L: And did you say her name already?
L: Yeah, which is
M: Yeah, she’s so cute. I’ll have to post a picture of her somewhere. But my ex has my cats.
M: And I feel fine about that. I know that they’re well taken care of and everything. And it was weird to have no pet.
M: And I didn’t expect to find a dog so fast ’cause I thought, “I’m not gonna be able to a shelter or anything ’cause I can’t handle that energy.” Like I will want every animal I see. I’m gonna cry. It’s gonna be a mess. So unless a dog comes to me, I’m not gonna go out and search for one. And like the next day that happened.
M: So thank you OkCupid and all the dating site where I’ve met queers who’ve passed on pets to me that I never ended up dating.
L: I mean,
M: It happens.
L: dating is such a small part of dating apps.
M: That’s true.
L: Speaking of dating apps. There is a new dating app for folks who were following Personals on Instagram, which was like a old school queer like text-based dating account. They now have an app called Lex, L. E. X., that is just text based and then you can click on the person’s profile, but there’s no pictures. It’s just name and pronouns and age and location and then you can link to your Instagram. It’s very charming. And so highly recommend. But so now because there’s so many of these things, I now feel like there are a number of people in LA where I’ve matched with them on OKCupid and Tinder and they’ve liked my ad on Lex and we follow each other on Instagram and we’ve never spoken.
L: So that’s a real thing.
L: But I also have a date with someone from Lex tonight and another date coming up soon. So
M: That’s so exciting.
L: Yeah! So still trying out the whole dating thing. It’s been fine. (laughs)
L: It’s been fine! Yeah.
M: Now that I’m in a monogamous relationship, I don’t have any of the dating apps on my phone.
M: And one of our episodes is called, I was gonna say is called Fuck You Tinder but it’s not. It’s called Banned From Tinder. (laughs)
L: It was. Same thing. Yeah.
M: So being polyamorous was, I was always on the dating apps. It was fun. It was like a constant source of entertainment to be on them. So when I did delete them because of my new relationship and just not needing them on my phone anymore, I remember going to my phone and like, “Oh, what do I do now?” Even though I rarely talk to people and I rarely met people from dating apps, it was like such a thing that I just did.
M: And you’d go, and it would be like what you said, people would follow me or say, “Oh, I really like your podcast” and stuff. And it’d be like, “Cool. Thanks.” And then it’s like, never hear from them again. So yeah. Dating is, I don’t know, yeah. I’m glad to not have to do it anymore right now.
L: I get that. I’ve been, yeah so, I’ve been single for three and a half months now, which is the longest I’ve been single in like twenty years (laughs) so that’s wild.
L: And you know, single and dating, but you know, definitely single. So that’s been an adjustment. But I think the other, I mean the other huge thing again that I mentioned a little bit on Queer Cuts is that I had surgery in September to have my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed and so I am, it was… It’s not a very major, it’s like an outpatient surgery, but it did take a little time to get back to normal and like physically heal. But I am all healed. I am back on a small dose of estrogen and progesterone just to keep me kind of steady. But y’all PMDD is gone. I do not have a menstrual cycle anymore and therefore I no longer have the chronic illness I’ve been dealing with for like twenty plus years. It’s fuckin’ wild.
M: That’s amazing!
L: Thank you. So what the means is that I feel like my brain works for the first time. I was talking…
M: Share some of that with me ’cause I feel like mine’s broken.
L: I hear you. And Megan and I were talking about it a little before we recorded, that like I’m, now I’m kind of unpacking like, what, ’cause I do still have like some mental illness. Like I have some form of a generalize anxiety disorder. I also have OCD. But what I don’t have is my brain in like constant trauma mode. And so I feel like it’s just completely changed the way in which I communicate with people. And the way I can pause before acting and reacting. I feel like a lot of kind of, I’m been working with couples a lot lately and folks who are polyamorous in my coaching. And I think that that and this breakup and like rebuilding my relationship, whatever that’s gonna look like, with my ex, has been really really fascinating.
L: Like I’m preparing myself for future relationships, whatever they look like, because I have space to do that that I never had before. So that’s cool.
M: That is. Isn’t odd that we had such similar timelines of things happening.
L: It is. It totally is.
M: And now we get to talk about it
L: I mean I think it
M: with you all.
L: makes sense. It seems like it makes sense. There’s been something going on
L: in the world.
M: I guess it’s not just us.
M: Literally everyone I know is going through similar things.
L: A lot of people I know have gone through some pretty like intense breakups. There’s been some like intense kind of drama, for lack of a better word, in the queer poly community
L: lately in LA. So there’s, yeah. We’re in another retrograde, another Mercury retrograde, and last time it started right before my birthday when Megan and I were recording. We lost like half of our recording and then both of our lives fell apart.
M: (laughs) That’s true.
L: So that’s not a thing. This time around I feel like it hasn’t been affecting me emotionally, but I am like harming myself by accident. Like I am dropping things and throwing things and breaking things, and my kiddo dropped my computer the other day. Thank god it didn’t break. But I explained Mercury retrograde to her,
L: so she called it Mercury mayhem. (laughs) Which
M: That’s so cute.
L: I’m in love with and now I’m going to call it that. And the other huge thing that happened is I had my ten years of sobriety on Halloween, on October 31. So I threw myself a party, which is a thing I haven’t done in years and definitely a thing I have never done for my sobriety. So that was fun. I did an 80s themed party since the first time I turned ten was in the 80s. And then I had a bunch of my jackass baby friends be like, “What did people wear in the 80s?”
M: That’s cute. I saw all the pictures on Instagram. I didn’t because I haven’t been going anywhere and I feel like the worst ever
L: Oh my god, no.
M: to everyone.
L: No! We missed you but it was not a bad thing
L: that you couldn’t go.
M: But I love that. I love seeing, to all my friends who are listening that I haven’t talked to recently
M: I love keeping up with everyone’s posts via social media and seeing everyone’s lives but I have been completely checked out from everyone. But congrats on ten years.
L: Thank you!
M: I don’t know how, I was gonna say, that’s so, but like that, I don’t know. Good job. (laughs)
L: Yeah, it’s weird. It, like that’s the appropriate thing to say unless people say congratulations or like I’m proud of you. Nobody, very few people in my life now knew me when I drank so they don’t have really a sense of that.
L: But yeah, I don’t know, I’m proud of myself. It’s been a fucking journey.
M: We’re all proud of you too. I’m speaking for everyone listening.
L: Thank you.
M: (laughs) You’re welcome. I, over the summer, we, well I don’t even know, what are we in right now? Fall?
L: (laughs) Yeah.
M: Okay, so this happened what, in the middle of the summer when I met my current partner. She is in recovery.
M: I know different, like NA calls it something different. AA calls it something different. So I’m just gonna do my best and say the things that pop into my head ’cause my brain hasn’t been working very well, but is in recovery and I’ve been to like AA and NA meeting with her.
M: And that’s the first time I’ve ever been to anything like that. And I think I, the first time I realized how hard it might be to be in recovery from drugs or alcohol.
M: Because, and I also realized that I’m not an addict.
M: Like I was pretty sure I wasn’t. But, like we’ve talked about before recording, with dating, especially constantly dating, for me with being polyamorous, it was always drinking, so…
M: And then with a lot of my life with the weekends was going to family parties and drinking. And it’s not just drinking a few drinks. It’s like, no, people were all getting drunk.
M: And that’s just like a thing. And I think that’s for a lot of families who have big families. It’s like you get together and you have fun and like party. So that’s where sometimes I would be like, wait, “Do I have an issue because I do drink a lot during the week?” But then I’m like, “No, I don’t think I do.” So anyways, being at those meetings and hearing what it’s like, I’m like, “Oh okay. I’m not.”
M: But then it really alerted me to like what my girlfriend must be dealing with. Because there are times…I haven’t been drinking or doing much of anything since this whole medication thing.
M: Because I’ve not been feeling like myself and then when you add alcohol into that it would just be a disaster for me. And not only that but it started to give me headaches much quicker than it used to.
M: But there are times when I’d be like, “Oh, I want to drink.” Or with dinner, you know, I want wine or something. And to just think about how like, that’s easy for me. I can have it or not have it. But when someone is working through addiction or recovery, I don’t know, I guess I just never really had that in my life much. I never had to stop and think about how hard that must be.
M: So congratulations. And I was telling her about you because I was like, “She just had ten years.” And yeah, just dating someone in recovery, I’m learning a lot.
L: Yeah, and early recovery is so different than like being years in.
L: And I’ve said this on the podcast before but I don’t do a 12 Step program but I did for the first like year and a half. And so I don’t think about alcohol that often.
L: But I also even, still, ten years later, like miss it, in the sense that it does make dating easier. It does that little bit of like nervous edge off and give you that little bit of like making it easier to flirt
L: that I know that that’s not where it stops for me so it wouldn’t be a positive thing
L: but it is hard not have something like that.
L: And I’ve also talked about, like, you know, fucking wine mom culture.
L: It’s very hard to be a parent around other parents because all, it seems like all other parents want to do is drink together. And I’m already like the queerdo of my kid’s
L: friend’s parents. So it’s another… It’s like an extra form of othering,
L: where I don’t totally feel like I fit in with other parents. I don’t know a ton of queer parents. I recently made a queer mom friend who has a kid my daughter’s age and two other younger ones and lives close by so that’s been super nice. We’ve been doing stuff with the kids together.
M: That is nice.
L: And I think that that’s, that’s just, that feel good and I have a really good community. But that’s the thing I’m probably missing the most from my community, is like queer family, queer parents.
L: So, yeah.
M: I just had a thought and then it went away of course because that’s what’s been happening. Oh, we’ve, I know it’s been brought up, someone wrote in about, what was it, sober dating or
L: Yeah, we talked about.
M: being sober?
L: a little bit, I think the last episode or the one before.
M: And I think it’s been nice and so different to date someone like, I’ve never drank with my girlfriend
M: and I never will.
M: You know, so it’s so different. It’s, like before
L: Is this the first sober person you’ve ever… I know it’s the first person you’ve like, actively in recovery
L: but is this the first person you’ve dated that just doesn’t drink?
M: So it’s, it’s a big change and it’s very nice because, and I think we’ve talked a little, what did we talk about, sober sex? Like, I don’t know if we did or
L: Maybe we did a little bit.
M: if we are, or I had planned on it at some point. But to think about how much I dated and alcohol was such a big part of it,
M: like the gay bars and just waking up the next day with a little bit of a fuzzy feeling
M: of like, “Oookay, you know, well this is weird” versus being completely sober and doing things, it’s so different.
L: It is.
M: And you really are so much more present and I don’t know. It’s just, I wanted to talk about it and now I can’t even put it to words, but it is. It’s a lot different.
L: Well, at least for me, the being more present is in some ways so much better
L: and so much more, like, you’re just really like in the experience a lot more. It’s also way scarier and way more vulnerable to be in a sexual like setting when you’re like totally sober.
L: And that’s still someth- like I, I’ll be honest, I think if I were still drinking, that I would be having sex during this period of being single because it would be easier. And I’m not, not on purpose, but I don’t think I have casual sex really in me (laughs)
L: these days. But if I drank, maybe it would be a little bit easier. Or it would be something that wouldn’t feel like quite as vulnerable. And I don’t know, that’s probably something to unpack. But I get that feeliing
L: of it being both like better and in some way scarier.
L: I don’t know if that’s been your experience.
M: Yeah, definitely at first.
M: It was like, if you’re so used to going out and dating at bars and that whole culture of the gay bars and it’s so much fun but it really does. It’s like, kind of like a buffer between, I don’t know, getting to know someone and like, the awkward stages, and like, maybe blowing through conversations you probably would have, but you’re kind of like, well now we already did these things
M: And it’s not necessarily bad.
M: But it’s just different now. And so to think like, “Well, we’re not gonna go drink first, so we’re just gonna have to have these conversations now about like, ‘Hey do you want to do this?’ ‘Okay.’ ” And I don’t know. It’s, I’m really thankful we have, like obviously now we’re together, but we have really good chemistry.
M: And it never was as awkward as I would have thought like to be so used to dating around drinking, like happy hours and brunches and stuff. And to now be like, “Oh. Well we can go anywhere.” Like we get coffee all the time. That’s like.. (laughs)
M: But I like it. It’s fun. And I like myself better not drinking.
M: to drink during those times. And also like self-medicate. Like how much did I self-medicate through a lot of different periods through my life?
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M: Yeah. And now to like change the subject a little bit but I’ve heard people say this and it’s very true, that once you are like diagnosed and then you start to like realize the patterns of what you go through with hypomania and then depressive episodes, it makes you think like, “How much of it is me?” versus what- And then now on top of that, like, you know, I’m, not that I think an addiction to alcohol, but like that was a big part of my life. So on top of that, how much of that was like, what’s that word? exacerbated?
L: Yeah, exacerbated.
M: By alcohol.
L: Of course.
M: So right now I’m like, “I don’t even know. Like, who am I under all these things?” Because to be sober, I think, during all of this…
M: And I, sometimes I used to like smoke weed
M: or do anything. I think that that a part of, I was trying to escape by doing different things,
M: as many people do. But now to be like, “Wow. I can’t handle any escape at all right now.” So I’m just like stuck with these thoughts about it all. So, I don’t know. It’s a lot.
L: I one hundred percent get that. I feel like a lot of the extra shit in my brain has come from either my alcoholism or the PMDD.
L: So when you said fighting in relationships, you know, that, for the first half of my marriage, a lot of the fighting came out of my drinking. I got sober when I was married. And so my last relationship, alcohol was not an issue, so, at all, so, yes, early in dating, like first dates, it’s sometimes hard to not have that crutch,
L: but once I’m in a relationship with someone, it’s not a problem, whether it’s someone who doesn’t drink or someone who does, it’s, I, you know, I don’t date alcoholics. So I’ve dated people who either don’t drink or who, you know, drink in a normal way.
L: But there was still fighting. And a lot of that came out of the PMDD. And so untangling… And I think I started drinking probably as a coping mechanism for like, for my anxiety, but like, how much of that was already signs of PMDD before I ever knew what that was? So I have never been like in this place where my brain is not in fight or flight or intoxicated
L: since I was a child.
L: Like I started drinking at 15. Like your brain is not, your pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed – Is that the right part? I’m pretty sure – until you’re 25. So I was already altering my brain chemistry before it had a chance to totally be itself.
L: So I don’t really, like I’m 40 and now I’m like, “So who am I without all of this stuff?” Which could be a really scary feeling but because I’m not sick (laughs) and I’m not like medicating or –
L: and when I say not medicating, I mean, like, I take like antidepressants, I mean, but I mean not like self-medicating – I’m actually, because I don’t have those things in the way, I feel like I have space.
L: Like that’s the main thing, like, rather than getting caught up on like, “Who would I have been if these things hadn’t been there?” Like I don’t think I have any idea, have any clue of the answer to that but I do know that like where I am now just feels like more spacious.
M: That’s so good!
M: I feel so similarly but I don’t know why ’cause I wasn’t even on the medication that I took that long.
M: But it just totally changed me I think. But also I think I used to use dating as an escape.
M: And now being in a monogamous relationship, that’s gone too. So I mean I have, I feel very thankful and lucky that my girlfriend is so good with like mental health stuff
M: and understands it and like I don’t think I’ve ever had as supportive a partner who seems to like understand it and doesn’t make me feel guilty or bad or pressured one way or the other about medication, just kind of like, you know, “You’ll figure it out,” and being there for me.
L: Yeah, that’s awesome.
M: But it’s like, okay, I’m in this monogamous relationship, I have this new disorder, or apparently that I’ve had, but now I’m trying to learn about it so I can figure out how to cope with it, not going on ’cause I’ve been like so stuck at being home
M: by choice.
M: But just, I feel like I have a lot of space too.
L: That’s great. Like you’re clearing some things,
M: Yeah. But
L: maybe, out of the way.
M: I still feel like I’m not like tending to my friendships the way that I used to. We live, like, I think, we’re so used to like people saying that that’s wrong, but I don’t think it is. Like I’m not being mean, I’ve just of like had to take a leave of like, I can’t do the things I used to do right now.
M: But I have to remind myself that like these people… I’m in healthy friendships. I’m in a healthy relationship for like, I don’t want to say the first time in a long time ’cause who knows but I have very like, they say on My Favorite Murder your clutch five friends.
M: Like I feel like I have that for the first time in my life.
M: I have a really good support system. I’m not like out there doing the things that I used to do, which weren’t necessarily bad but just forms of escape, like
M: dating and drinking and whatever new thing I could get obsessed with, which is probably part of the bipolar.
M: And now I’m just like sitting down with it and being like, “Okay, how can I live like without…?” (laughs) Who knows? Maybe I’ll get back on meds and maybe I won’t. But, what a time.
L: Well and I think that even as I’ve been having like healthier relationships, I have noticed that for a long time instead of the clutch five, I’ve had like one or two,
L: usually like a partner and a best friend. But that’s shifted a little. But that’s always kind of been the thing,
L: where I have like two people who are super entwined in my life and then a whole lot of people who are like a few levels away.
L: Like I’m a person who I think a lot of times in my life didn’t feel like I would have a lot of people I could reach out to or close friends,
L: but I could throw a party and have 50 people come. Because people like me and I know people. But I didn’t have a lot of people close. And really part of the spaciousness is, and especially while I’m single, is building that like clutch five or ten. Like now I feel like I have like a handful of people that are like my extra close or that I would reach out to.
L: And I think one of the things about throwing this party that was such a big deal for me is that, you know, the two people that used to be closest to me were not at the party,
L: for reasons. And then someone of the new people who’ve been some of my close people, like three or four of them, you included, didn’t come to the party,
L: which was totally okay. And I caught myself beforehand being like, “Wait, who’s my…?” I didn’t have a go-to,
L: like a person I was talking to all day before the party, but that was okay,
L: because I had to stop and be like, “Just because you don’t have one person, who you’re like, checking in or who’s getting there early to help out, like, stop and like think about who all’s coming.”
L: Like, “There’s a whole bunch of people that you feel really comfortable with or you wouldn’t have invited them.”
L: And that feel better. And that feels like a real good step away from a kind of either codependence
L: or like anxious attachment that just feels like a relief.
M: Yeah. Did you know there’s a Codependency Anonymous?
L: There is.
L: Coda, yeah.
M: I just found that out.
L: If I were ever to go back to a 12 Step, I would probably either go check an Al Anon because I have, you know, alcoholics in my family as well
M: Uh huh.
L: or Coda. But I’ve been, I think I’m just too like burnt
L: from the 12 Step program.
L: But I have been doing a lot more like reading and work around attachment.
M: Yeah. I wanted to go to Coda but I don’t think that I’m codependent. I just want to ’cause I stopped going to my therapist and my psychiatrist and I started to have these like full blown meltdowns without the medications so I’m just-
L: Are you not going to therapy now?
M: No. I’m going to.
L: I want you to.
M: You’re like what?
M: So I was like I’ll just go to Coda.
L: I want you to be going to therapy, but I’m not gonna tell you what to do, of course.
M: So because I moved counties,
L: Oh, sure.
M: they’re gonna send me the new packet on the first of December
M: and then I can choose one.
M: So that’s, when people talk about- I’m very lucky with my bipolar. I found the perfect combination of meds on the second try
M: and everything was fine. So like what I’m dealing with is that people keep saying that, “You just have to keep trying.” And I’m like, “No. I found the”
M: I found the right mix for me, I think. Everything was fine. I felt good. And then I stopped because I kept having an issue with getting the medication.
M: So it just kind of made me not want to see my therapist or my psychiatrist.
M: Everything was just so- My head’s so mixed up. But I’m excited to find a new one,
M: and I hope that this time, I’m pretty sure I can, find a more gay affirming therapist.
M: Because for a long time trauma was like the number one thing that I wanted to focus on so I went with someone who did EMDR.
M: But now I do think I want to be able have more understanding around other things besides just the trauma,
M: Good old trauma. And I think figuring more about bipolar was good for me.
L: Yeah, of course.
M: I don’t know why she told me not to google it. But now I have better questions to ask and like to figure out… I don’t think I went into that like ready at all. I was so shocked by the diagnosis.
M: I was terrified of the meds. And so she said, “Don’t look into them.” I was like, “Okay,” and just took ’em.
L: I don’t love that. That’s like, that just doesn’t seem like informed consent.
M: Yeah, and so then now of course I felt good and I’m like, “I don’t really need these. This is fine. Plus I have a hard time getting them ’cause of MediCal.”
M: “So I’ll just get off them now and stop seeing everyone at the same time.” So I stopped seeing my psychiatrist and therapist and got off the meds all in that one weekend.
L: I just want- And when I made that face, like, it’s not judgement at all. I just want you to be getting support
L: and like I will never, ever tell someone they should or shouldn’t be taking medication,
L: but I feel like having some type of practitioner, like therapist is good.
L: Get that support.
M: And well I had, I was on Prozac for five weeks without the mood stabilizer and that was like my first big meltdown.
M: So I feel like my psychiatrist and I were not communicating very well.
L: Sure. Seems like it.
M: And how was I supposed to know and I wasn’t googling anything so (laughs) so yeah, I know a lot more now.
M: But I have appreciated everyone who’s reached out about that, like the bipolar stuff, since I talked about it, people have like messaged me and DM’d me and stuff and
L: That’s awesome.
M: So yeah. I’m learning about that. Another fun thing. (laughs)
L: Cool. Where are we on time?
L: Okay. Do we have anything else we want to talk about?
M: I don’t think so.
L: I found another podcast that I really like that I want to recommend. Unlike Megan, I’m only listening to podcasts.
L: One of my jobs is cleaning houses so podcasts are really good for that. You know, I listen to a bazillion true crime podcasts but I found one called Attack of the Queerwolf. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that. It is a group of queer folks talking about horror movies and I like it a lot and they’re based in LA too so.
M: That’s so cool!
L: Yeah, so I don’t know. Highly recommend. Also recommend American Hysteria if I haven’t before. We chatted a little bit with the host on Instagram. That’s Chelsey Weber-Smith.
L: Maybe we’ll get some kind of collab or conversation going.
L: And then
M: Maybe we’ll finally have guests. (laughs)
L: Yeah. So they would be a good choice for that. And then we have a long Queer Cuts with my friend Rachel who also has a podcast
L: called Psychic Rehab. So yeah. Check some of those out
L: and maybe we’ll continue to do some collaborations.
M: Hopefully. That will be fun. We made it through like a whole season without doing that.
L: We did. I did reach out to The L and Back peeps but they did not get back to us
L: which is fiine.
M: They don’t love us.
L: They don’t love us but that’s doesn’t mean we can’t talk about maybe getting on some other things ’cause that’s another thing. I like to be on other people’s podcasts too.
L: Do you like to do that?
M: No. (laughs)
L: Okay, so if anyone wants me on their podcast, let me know, ’cause I’d love to.
M: I think if you want me to be on your podcast, wait like three months and then ask me.
M: Because by three months I might feel better.
L: No. It’s totally fine. I just didn’t want to say I want to do it if you did want to, but
M: Yeah. I just generally don’t want to do things right now.
L: I just like to hear myself talk.
M: Okay, so we finished episode one!
M: Right. This is exciting. So we’re back.
L: We’d love to hear from you. Tell us what you want to hear about this season. We love you
M: Leave us reviews so we can read them to you.
L: Also subscribe, follow, review, share, like, post.
M: Join Patreon.
L: Join the Patreon. Do all the things.
M: All the things.
L: Or you know what? Do nothing and that’s totally okay too.
L: All right. We love you. Bye.
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