Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door
Leigh: with your hosts Leigh and Megan.
M: We take the topics you care about:
L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment,
M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens.
L: Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Queers Next Door
M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com.
L: Cheers, queers!
M: Happy birthday!
L: Thank you!
M: It’s a big birthday.
L: It is. It is, can I say, the big 4-0? (laughs)
M: The big-
M: Isn’t that over the hill?
L: It is over the hill.
M: Or is that 50?
L: No. It’s funny ’cause I think that’s sort of shifted. But like I remember when my parents turned 40 and it was all the like Over the Hill stuff.
L: Yeah. So I’m over the hill.
M: Over the hill. How does it feel on the other side?
L: It feels, it feels better. I felt really good about turning 30 and so I think, like, similarly I feel good about turning 40. Like my 30s were both an adventure and a serious shitshow
L: so I’m kind of glad to be done with ’em. I’m feeling pretty good.
L: Thank you.
M: I only said that because I said it the first time and I’m trying to say the same things. So we recorded like 25 minutes
M: and the whole thing shut down and I lost it all.
M: So this is round two.
L: This is round two. Say what you will about all that queer astrology shit but Mercury is retrograde right now.
M: And that, this has never happened before.
L: It has never happened before.
M: And I hope it doesn’t…(knocking sound) that’s me knocking on wood.
L: Thank you. That is real wood. So we took a little Starbucks break.
M: Starbs as I like to call it (laughs)
L: Starbs. (laughs) For some dumb bitch juice, which I was just saying that – it’s so funny – there’s a group called Girl Cult and they make, they’re making mugs that say Dumb Bitch Juice and that, for whatever reason, makes me laugh, so
L: I’m drinkin’ my… I was either gonna say that or go go juice.
M: Uh huh.
L: Did you ever watch Honey Boo Boo?
L: I’m sorry that this is where we’re going. But they would give… You know, it’s the girls that do the beauty pageant bullshit
M: Uh huh.
L: and I think they would give her something like Mountain Dew and something else and they called it her go go juice
M: Oh my god.
L: which is just a fucking nightmare, but okay.
M: And now we can say the thing we were just laughing at. There was a meme – we’ll have to post it – that says “I’m a sad bitch…” What was it?
L: It’s like
M: “Sad bitch moon.” “Or sad bitch sun, dumb bitch moon, and bad bitch rising.”
L: Yes, and then it had a little, they make little Pusheen, like, horoscope ones it was, it ways, that, it, yeah, that I found too, so, it’s very cute.
M: So what are you doing to take care of yourself?
L: What am I doing to take of myself? So I tend to get…like I was just saying I feel good about my birthday but I tend to get kinda sad and like melancholy, existential dread around my birthday. And I’m feeling better this year than I do most years but I’m also, like, I feel like in a lot of therapy work I’m doing over like the last few years, I’m not a big, like, plan ahead person, so my like date in the not-too-distant future was always 40, you know, kind of like this, I really hope that, like, not career wise but just like I really hope that by 40, like, you know, my living situation and my relationship and relationships and all of that, just like feel really, like secure and everything calms down. And that’s not happening. (laughs)
L: But that’s okay.
L: And so I did a little, I did a question on just my personal Instagram that was like, “What do you do if your birthdays have you feeling melancholy?” One person suggested that I do a gratitude journal, or journaling, and I think that’s an amazing idea. That’s something I used to that more regularly and I want to bring back the gratitude practice. I think that’ll come up a little in what we talk about later, so, the other is, my good friend… You know what? I will make sure that they’re okay with their name and stuff being on here, but if they are, then I will link to them through our – what’s it called – social media. But either way. My friend did an Akashic Records reading for me in January, which is kind of, like, they’re also like a reiki energy healer. And so Akashic Records are sort of like what the universe is trying to tell you about what’s already been decided, like, there’s no time, or whatever. It was really neat and they suggested for my birthday that maybe I go back and listen to and it and like maybe pull some nuggets out. So when I was taking a bath this morning I listened to it. And it was really, it was nice to hear some just like encouraging things I want to remember and also helpful to hear that there are some things I feel like are still stressing me out and that like maybe it’s a good sign like that it’s really time to let some of those go.
L: So yeah.
M: I wanna do that. That sounds really awesome.
L: Yeah. So yeah, if they’re down for it I will link so anyone can do it. But I will definitely get you in touch with them too because it’s really rad. Megan, what have you been doing to take care of yourself this week or two?
M: I went to my psychiatrist.
M: I always get mixed up with that one.
L: I know.
M: Psychiatrist that I’ve been supposed to see for about three months now.
M: And I got a new diagnosis, which was surprising to me.
M: It is Bipolar II.
M: And so now I’m taking medication for the first time in about ten years and tomorrow will be three weeks.
M: So I’m not…sure.
L: You’re still in that, like, figuring out the dosage, figuring out how it affects your body kind of window, right?
M: And I’m not. I haven’t taken it all the way that I should.
M: I’ve only taken the Prozac every day
M: and the other, there’s like a mood stabilizer and a sleep thing that I’ve been really shitty at taking.
M: So I’m gonna talk to her tomorrow when I see her about that. But it just kind of threw me for a loop because my dad is bipolar
M: and that’s like the one thing everyone has always said about him is like, everything is because of him being bipolar.
M: So I kind of had like this weird shame feeling
M: for having that.
M: And I almost felt like embarrassed to say it. ‘Cause afterwards, you know, I think I texted you pretty soon
L: Yeah, yeah.
M: and then there were a few other people who knew that that was gonna, that knew I was going to my appointment.
M: And what I always expect is what always happens.
L: I was gonna say, what did you expect to hear from the psychiatrist?
M: I expected them to say you have depression, anxiety, PTSD,
M: insomnia, agoraphobia, which she did say all of those things, just plus bipolar. (laughs)
M: But it was also comforting in a weird way because some of the things that I had been really struggling with, like everything feels like it’s shifted. I almost said shitted. (laughs) Everything feels like it started shitting this year. (laughs)
L: I mean, that’s fair. Accurate.
M: And it’s just different. Like I knew maybe the PTSD was starting to wear off
L: Uh huh.
M: or affect me differently because that’s mostly happened from my mom’s murder
M: and now time is passing so maybe my depression has taken over more of that. But she said that a lot of times women my age experience like a lot of symptoms for bipolar
M: at this age, so…
L: I’ve heard that too. It’s a fairly, like, normal or typical age to be diagnosed is a little bit later.
L: Right? I know two other women like who’ve recently talked about recent diagnoses of bipolar II.
L: So, yeah.
M: And it was, it made me feel shame. It made me comforted to know that that’s what’s happening and just, like, lots of feelings.
L: Yeah, sure.
M: And I’m excited about the medication, although I think…people who have listened from episode one, I talked a lot about also not wanting medication
M: for shame reasons and other things and it’s never been about others. I think it’s wonderful when people take medication. But for some reason for myself, it was like, “No, don’t do it.”
M: So I’m excited to see in like three more weeks when they say that it really should either be helping me or maybe time to try something else.
M: I’m excited about that. And other updates, my partner, K, that I’ve talked a lot about as either my primary or nesting partner, we’re like transitioning into a different phase of our relationship.
M: So it feels weird to feel like single again.
L: Yeah. Of course.
M: But I’m such a teenager in my brain that I’m also like, “Wooooo!”
M: but also really sad
M: because transitions are hard.
L: They are.
M: And I’m gonna be moving.
L: Because, have you been living together for most of your relationship?
L: Yeah. That’s a big change.
M: Literally from day one of her asking me to be her girlfriend, we moved in together.
M: But (laughs) yeah.
L: That’s real gay.
M: Real gay. We did the whole Uhaul thing, but also
M: because I was living in Long Beach and working in Orange County.
M: And she lived in Orange County so it was like, let’s do it, makes sense.
L: Of course.
M: I can be close to work.
M: There were lots of reasons. And it’s gonna be a big change. And I hope that we can stay in each other’s life.
M: And I love her very much and it’s sad. But I’m also excited to be on my own again.
M: And hopefully I’ll move closer to you
M: because then we can do more because we only record every like month (laughs) it seems like.
L: We like…(laughs) In our defense again, we both have mental health challenges and we live very far away from each other.
L: And Megan always has to drive to me because she has 45 pets.
M: Well, this is true.
L: So the bonus piece of information is my allergies are calming way down and I’m addressing like the root and the psychosomatic part of it but I don’t know that any of that can fight through
L: the number of pets you have unfortunately.
L: They seem real cute though.
M: They are. And I won’t be living with them,
M: definitely not with all of them anymore, but for now, none of them.
M: So we’ll see. That’s gonna be another hard thing.
L: Yeah, sure.
M: I’m dating someone new, which feels (sighs) weird to feel like super excited and NRE or NDE, New Dating Energy.
L: I was like, “Wait, what? New Dick Energy?”
M: New Dom Energy. (laughs)
L: See, I did it again.
M: No, but she’s not Domming me…yet.
M: It feels weird to have like that high
L: Of course.
M: of fun, great feelings and then the low of like, ugh, breakup and transition and
L: I totally get it.
M: But yeah, that’s life, right? Like
M: we’re always on a roller coaster it seems like, so,
M: which is kind of what we’re gonna talk about.
L: Yeah. So, first we had asked if any of our listeners had any questions and we got a really great one, kind of on the same track, like we’ve been talking about our own relationships a little bit, but we haven’t talked as much about like polyamory in general, especially like queer polyamory, although there’s not that much of a difference. And we, did you want to read it? We got a message from, yeah, on Instagram, from one of our listeners. We thought we’d talk about it.
M: It says,
“Hi. Love your podcast and Insta. I’m a 27 year old cis female lesbian. I have been recently dating poly women whose primary partners are men. I really enjoy maintaining my independence while sharing my life with another female. Nonmonog has been new for me but feels so natural. What protective factors can you suggest for a person who finds themself more often than not being a secondary partner wanting more from someone who has a primary? I would love to hear more about secondary partners in poly relationships as there isn’t much dialogue or talk about us. You’re welcome to use my name, which is Sabrina.”
M: Hi Sabrina.
L: Hi Sabrina. Thank you. This is a really good question. The first thing I want to say, because I don’t think there is a ton written about this, is I do want to reference the book and website I’ve referenced before, which is called More Than Two. There is a like bill of rights for secondary partners or Secondary Partners’ Bill of Rights. Sorry, my phone is buzzing at me. Stooop. Okay. And I think it’s good. So we’ll link to it in the show notes. But caveat I give before, which I will give again, is that one of the authors, Franklin Veaux, has been accused of some, I think, like emotional abuse in past relationships and we think that sucks and we’re super understanding if you don’t want to support him. I think using the website reference might feel better because then you’re not giving money and also he worked for a long time with a female partner and she wrote the book with him. So I feel like let’s not punish her too. Her name was Eve, is Eve, so, yeah. So we’ll link to that. So that’s one place that it’s been kind of written about. But then also…Do you want to say anything or do you want me to just keep going (laughs)
M: Well, even though we’re like, we’re kind of repeating ourselves, the thing that this brought up for me last time was that I was wondering if she knows the term solo polyamory
M: or if she is solo polyamorus. And the way that it’s been described to me that has helped me, because I love labels, and that helps me to like get things, is I’ve dated people who are solo poly and they consider themselves to be their own primary partner.
L: I love that.
M: And it makes sense. They want to live by themselves. They don’t want to move in or to like be joined financially
M: with a partner. So that’s just helped me make sense of it. And there’s also a really great group on Facebook about solo polyamory, and a book, called Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator, by Amy Gahran,
M: which I’ll link to. Because my thought, when reading that e-mail was, even if she’s not sure if she’s solo poly, that there’s a ton of threads that people ask questions and you can like read other people’s perspectives or how they think about it. And that book is a really good book for anyone who is nonmonogamous.
L: Awesome. Yeah, I haven’t read that yet but I’ve definitely heard of it. The other thing I was thinking is like maybe do like a quick definition of terms because
L: there are so many different ways to do polyamory. So it looks like Sabrina’s talking about mostly meeting people who are in like, hierarchical relationships, which can look a lot of different ways. Sometimes relationships just are kind of descriptively hierarchical or just look that way because, you know, you live together, you’re raising a kid together, you’re married, you’ve been together for 20 years, but there may not be that built-in hierarchy. Like that’s kind of what my partner and I do. We practice like a nonhierarchical kind of polyamory, which is that we can have relationships with others that can be as serious as the relationship we have with each other and as entwined. But we also acknowledge that there is a lot of, like, she’s not just my partner. She’s my family. She co-parents with me, etc. Sounds like what’s…Sabrina, the people that you’re meeting are more in maybe the kind of hierarchical relationships where one person does come first, you know, so, that looks different for everybody. Some people have a lot of rules, especially if they’re recently, or have recently, opened up a relationship from a prior monogamous relationship. That’s when people feel the most scared. And when people feel the most scared, they have the most rules. So I think I would ask myself two questions. The first being, like, “Do you want to be a secondary partner?” and defining secondary partner by your in a relationship with somebody in a hierarchical and you are not the primary. So you’re a satellite, tertiary, secondary partner. For some people, that’s great. So like but making sure that, like, if you’re always wanting more, is what you want a primary partner or a more serious partner? ‘Cause that’s okay. And then the other question I would ask…I just blanked. My brain just did that thing where it like was on track…
L: and then it fell off the track. Let’s see if we can come back around to…
M: Well, we had said about, you know, you mentioned asking for what you want
M: and if you don’t get it that you can say, “No thank you.”
L: Yeah, so I think that, yeah, so I guess the other question is also, maybe it’s not exactly a question, but knowing upfront what the rules or agreements or expectations are, because there is nothing wrong with wanting more. And you have every right to ask for what you want in a relationship. In the same way that the person you ask might have to tell you, like, “No. I can’t do that.”
L: And that’s okay too. And it’s hard to ask for something and it’s hard to hear no.
M: And it’s hard to say no for people like me
L: And it’s hard to say no. Absolutely.
M: and I’m sure you too because I think we’re similar in that.
L: Yep. But if you’ve noticed some patterns that don’t feel okay, that what you’re secondary kind of relationships look like are not just the positive sides of it, which is like freedom and independence, but more like not getting needs met, then maybe there’s people, whether they’re hierarchical or not, that would be a better fit for you. Or maybe you’re looking for something different. Or maybe it’s just as simple as asking the people you’re with what they do have to offer and don’t.
L: And I think, you know, going forward, maybe, it’s sort of hard early in a relationship to like ask a whole bunch of questions, but I think especially in nonmonogamy, I think it’s okay like really early on to be like, “Hey. I see you have a primary partner. What exactly, like, what does polyamory look like for you guys?”
L: You know? Rather than like, “What am I allowed to do?” or “What am I…” Like, “What does it look like?” Or, “What kind of time or emotional energy do you have available?” And that can sometimes save some heartbreak.
M: Yeah. Yeah and don’t do what I do and just put up with it even when you don’t want to
M: because you will just hurt yourself more, which I did with two really big intense breakups last year at this time, (laughs) which I thought I would never recover from.
M: And the whole time I knew that it was not gonna work. But I just, I’ve worked on that in therapy, why I feel like I need to take whatever I can get from people
M: and why maybe deep down that feels a little safer than the unknown,
M: Which is a whole big mindfuck in itself.
L: No. It totally is.
M: But yes. Don’t do that.
L: Don’t do that. Don’t fuck yourself. (laughs)
M: Don’t be like me.
M: I love fucking myself. (laughs)
L: Do fuck yourself. But only in a nice way or, you know, whatever.
M: Well I always say I’m an emotional masochist so
M: it kind of makes sense that I’m like, “Ooooh. This could hurt. Let’s try it.”
M: It’s not good. I’m not doing it anymore. No more of that.
L: No more.
M: “It’s six months ’til 2020. Don’t let anyone waste your time.” That’s the meme I keep seeing.
L: Yeah. What’s the other one that I’ve seen, was the, “We’re not accepting apologies anymore, only changed behavior.”
L: That one I’ve just like…that’s been the thing that I’ve held to, like, a whole lot, as a person who over apologizes,
L: like both taking it from other people and also being like, “I have to stop apologizing and start, you know, acting better.” (laughs)
L: Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you Sabrina. That was a great question.
L: If any of our followers or listeners have been in that kind of polyamorous relationship and have any advice, let us know. We’ll share it.
M: And don’t forget you can ask us things.
M: We might not be able to answer all of them but we will definitely try.
L: We will. So…
L: Want me to introduce? Oh, are we back?
M: Yeah. We’re back. Hi.
Both: We’re back.
M: (laughs) We’re back.
L: Where are we back from? (laughs)
M: We’re back from a break you didn’t know we took.
L: Time is a construct.
L: Were we gone forever? Were we gone for four seconds? You’ll never know. So I found this thing on Instagram that I really liked and I thought maybe we would talk about it. It was a midyear reflection questions and this is via @lisaoliveratherapy. And that’s also their Instagram handle if you wanted to check that out. So it is midyear,
M: It is.
L: which, you know, I’ve never really like thought about that my birthday is almost directly midyear, like, it just, I don’t know. So there’s kind of…for me, there are two ways to look at the year. There’s like the calendar year and then there’s the birthday year. And it’s been a, I don’t know, it’s been kind of a shitshow, so I want to look at like my year starting right now and I’m gonna do that. But let’s look at the first half of 2019. So, the first question on here is, “How has 2019 been for you so far?”
M: So many things have changed and I just thought this year was gonna be so much different
M: than it is. It’s not been bad. It’s not been good. Some of it’s been bad, but
M: there’s just been good and bad.
L: Yeah, yeah.
M: It’s just been equally, just wild.
M: How ’bout for you?
L: Hmm, I think there’s been, like, a lot of transitions in the last six months because it’s been a really rough twelve months. But the last six months especially, I think with my living situation and my core relationship and my health, all of those things are moving into a better like more steady or solid kind of space. It’s always good not to have expectations, but I think I thought they would be there before, so, or we would already be there, whatever “there” is. So there’s been just a lot of transitions. It’s felt really transitional, more than other parts of my life.
L: What’s the next question. I lost it. Oh, “What are you learning and unlearning?”
M: (sighs) I am learning that the only constant is change,
M: which we talked more about the first time we recorded this, but it’s fine, ’cause I think everyone understands
M: that, very well,
M: and unlearning, I’m unlearning to put so much weight on what others think of me.
M: That has been…like, I feel like that last three or so years, like, since getting into sex work and like totally changing my life.
M: It’s been four years now actually.
L: Oh wow. Mmhm.
M: Since, like, getting a divorce, sex work, just everything changing. Of course I had to start to let go of people’s opinions on me, but it’s really, like, cementing right now, getting to the place where it’s just like, hey, everyone in my life knows a lot about me now and so I’m the place where I’m pretty much only surrounded by people who are supportive or I’m not close with people anymore and I’m just, like, used to it now,
M: the family that I don’t talk to anymore, the people that are not in my life that I used to be really sad about. I’m just getting to that place of acceptance.
M: So, I guess that’s a good thing.
L: No. It’s a great thing.
M: What about for you?
L: Well, you know you said acceptance, and I think that’s something that I’m learning and still trying to learn, is acceptance and not being attached to the outcome
L: of things, like, that things don’t have to look exactly how I think they’re going to look, or should look, but like letting go of the “shoulds.” And what I’m unlearning is, I would say I’m unlearning codependency and, like
L: and shitty coping strategies.
M: That’s good.
L: And that’s a hard one. But as…I didn’t want to talk about this too much because I’m still in a bit of a holding pattern, but it seems that my chemical menopause is successful and I’m not experiencing PMDD symptoms. We’ll see. We’ll check in next time. But what that means is my brain’s not in constant trauma. So I am, I’ve been reacting, just reactive in general, and reacting out of kind of this fight or flight place and this like intense, like physical, anxiety place. And so I’m really trying to, like, I think for a while like all I could do was try to survive. So I’m trying to move from surviving to thriving. It’s a process.
M: Yeah. And it’s a hard one.
L: It is. It really, really is. It feels achie- not achievable, like, I don’t think I’ll ever get there a hundred percent. But it feels like a possibility in a way that maybe it didn’t before.
L: So that feels really good. “What have you let go of that has lightened the load?”
M: Ooo. Gosh. That was a weird sound ’cause I don’t know.
L: Yeah. It’s okay if you don’t know for all of ’em.
M: I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know what I’ve…I guess, one of the things that comes up is fear. And I haven’t totally go of that, and I mean, how could we ever truly? But there’s been a lot of fear about new things that this year I’ve really let go of and it’s led me here, which is scary, because like now my relationship…
M: Oh, you hit your head again!
L: I did it. Let me interrupt your serious moment
L: to hit my head.
M: No. One of us always has to do it.
M: It’s just led me here to this place where I was afraid of being, like, you know, being single again,
M: taking medication,
M: moving to a new area, like things that I think maybe I would’ve wanted but I’m afraid of. And now I’m just at this place where I’m like, “Just go into it.” You know? “Go into the fear and see what happens.”
L: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Person 1: On a night like another other night, we were on vacation from Christmas, so the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Person 2: My parents were followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is was then known as the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, currently known as Osho even though he’s been dead since the `80s.
Megan: And then I heard the noises again and I looked again but this time I could hear footsteps, like someone was definitely coming in.
Person 1: And when I walked into the bedroom I noticed that Andre’s side of the bedsheets were pulled down, but he wasn’t in the bed.
Person 2: I wouldn’t say we were a doomsday cult per se.
Megan: But when the door opened, it opened like, like from a horror movie. It was like slooow and creaky and then she held the knife over her head.
Person 2: I think when you get to a certain point where you’re either putting a tinfoil hat on
Person 1 (overlapping): Each time it got a little bit worse because I stayed and he made me feel like
Dick: Welcome to Being There, the podcast devoted to exploring the extraordinary aspects of everyday people’s lives. I’m Dick.
Kelly: And I’m Kelly, and you can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcast apps. You can also follow us on our social media; Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at BeingTherePod
(various overlapping voices telling stories)
M: This feels like New Years of something.
L: I know. I like it.
L: I like having, like, a new, like a, it’s a reset.
L: I guess, let me answer that too. What have I let go of that has lightened the load? This is sort of like, ’cause like, so as not to be repetitive… This is sort of like a different way of looking, like a different thing that came to mind. It’s like, I feel like I’ve let go of some family bullshit.
L: I am in a place where I have a perfectly okay relationship with the members of my immediate family but I don’t feel like super stressed, like I’m, like, I don’t know. I have a lot less contact with them, and that just feels really healthy. And when I do see them, it’s in small doses, and it doesn’t give me that, like, pit in my stomach that I think was always there. You know, some shit’s happened over the last few years, but that’s been there kind of my whole life.
L: So, yeah, I’m kind of letting go of like my family’s expectations and also just like, their fuckin’ drama. Like
L: I’m like, what’s that, “Not everything you carry is yours to hold.” And I think I’m kind of tired of holding a lot of their stuff.
M: Well that’s good. That’s another big one to unpack, family shit.
L: Right? That could be a whole episode except I don’t want it to be.
L: How have you cared for and nourished yourself?
M: One of the things I’ve done this year is move more in ways that feel good for me, like I’m not forcing myself to do things anymore, like yoga,
M: even though I still like it every once in a while. But just walking, like getting outside and walking
M: to places that I need to go, that feels really good. And it’s nice to like be out in the sunshine ’cause one of the things I think I struggled with most last year was like working from home and constantly feeling like I’m just like cooped up in the room
M: and not being outside in the world. And walking around like Long Beach has been really fun for me.
M: Just trying to, like, instead of just getting in my car, looking at the Map Quest, or… Is that even a thing anymore.
L: Did you say Map Quest? Are you turning 40? (laughs)
M: Someone made fun of my yesterday for having an AOL e-mail.
L: That’s hilarious.
M: The person I’m dating was like, “Are you talking about Americal Online?” (laughs)
L: Do you have the little disc? Awww. Bless your heart.
M: She was like, “Do you have 20 hours free on that disc?”
M: And when I log on, it says, “You’ve got mail.”
L: Does it?
M: I love it. It makes me happy.
L: Okay, that’s charming.
M: You know you can change that? You can change it to other people’s voices too.
L: I don’t do sounds. I don’t like anything to have sounds. (laughs)
M: Oh. Okay. (laughs)
L: I turn the sound off of everything.
M: How did we get here? What was I talking about? (laughs)
L: You were Map Questing.
M: Oh! Oh!
L: You were printing out directions on Map Quest.
M: I was Map Questing. Instead of just looking at driving, I look at the walking part
M: and think like, “Can I walk this 30 minute walk to get here instead of just driving for five minutes and most of the time I can, depending on…and I feel better.
L: That’s great.
M: I feel like it clears my mind so I want to do more of that. I wanna like keep walking more and just not only walk to get places but to enjoy outside.
L: That’s awesome.
M: Is that a good one?
L: You know, I think I’ve been trying to, and this has been pretty recent, maybe just even in the last month, but, similarly, trying to figure out like what are the ways to be in my body and move my body without giving myself a lot of pressure to like have an exercise routine ’cause like it’s just not happening right now. (laughs) So I’ve been walking some more and I’d like to continue to do that. Like that’s what I told my little family I wanna do tonight for my birthday is take a walk
L: and play some board games.
M: That’s good.
L: And the other thing I’ve been doing is, and this is very recent but is trying to go out dancing. I don’t stay out super late (laughs) and I don’t drink. But I am having, I’m finding with this menopause PMDD thing that I’m having a little more energy. So I’ve gone out a few times. I also notice that moving really helps my social anxiety. So I’ve gone out like to karaoke. I don’t sing but I dance along. I’ve gone to…I went to a queer dance party on Friday. My partner and I went to a concert in San Francisco and danced. And I’m just realizing like how good that is for my entire body. And so I think that that’s a good way to nourish myself and I wanna keep that up
L: going into…
M: Dancing sounds fun. I wanna go one time.
L: Let’s go. We should do it.
M: I’m not a good dancer.
L: It doesn’t matter. I’m not either. I still dance like a person who drinks so I have to have a drink in my hand when I dance.
L: So it’s like nonalcoholic now but I like only know how to dance with one hand. Yeah.
L: Yeah. It’s awkward.
M: Alright. Do you want me to read the next one?
L: Oh. I can read it. We can go back and forth. So this is a two-parter. What has brought you the most joy and the most challenge?
M: (sighs) The most joy? The first thing that comes to mind, it’s really interesting, is I’ve reconnected with my grandparents,
L: That’s nice.
M: who, we have some political differences.
M: But a lot of stuff has been going on that has made me do different things, like stay with different people this year.
M: And so it’s been nice and I’ve had to see my dad and I’ve seen my little brother and family that I’m just, that I sometimes won’t see unless it’s like a holiday and that I wouldn’t talk to a lot, not because I’m trying not to but just because life is like that. And it’s been nice to be there. And a lot of people would say, like just, give up on your family if they have these views, like
M: maybe supporting Trump, which I’m not even sure how much they still do. We don’t talk about it.
L: Yeah, I feel like that’s best (laughs)
M: It’s just like off-limits.
L: in some situations. Yep.
M: But then I think about, you know, like my mom died and I’m not close with my dad and it’s nice to have some family
M: and so just being in the moment with them.
M: And I’ll be there drinking wine with my nana and laughing or talking. She’ll…something will happen with…I realized that she still has the couches that she’s had since my mom was alive
M: so I had this weird moment where I was sleeping on the couch and I was like, “My mom has like sat on these couches.”
M: And it’s so weird because I don’t have anything that really ties me to that anymore.
M: So just being there, like if I didn’t spend so much time this year at her place I probably wouldn’t have even thought of it.
M: And there’s the thing that my nana, I mean my mom bought for my nana for Mother’s Day the year she died
M: and she still has it out on her, above her sink.
M: And it just made me realize that like everyone has grieved for my mom,
M: not just me and maybe me getting older is helping me to be aware of that too, but just the little things like that. It’s brought me a lot of joy. It’s sad but it also makes me happy.
L: Totally. I think that’s lovely.
M: How ’bout you?
L: And the challenge?
M: Challenge, definitely poly stuff with me and K was super challenging this year
M: and now we are like in this place where we’re not together, whatever that means, right now. And that has, is something that I’ll have to keep reflecting on, which I talked to you privately about, and it’s a lot of feelings, like I don’t know. It was really challenging and I’m not sure if, like I’m not sure why I have not been able to be successful in us having multiple partners.
M: It’s never worked. It’s just, as soon as it happens, shit goes bad, and everything goes downhill.
M: So I’m not sure what that means. But that has been challenging and it’s something that I’ve totally been like I’m, I believe in this, I see the benefits of it, and then as soon as it happens, I’m just like, “Nope. I can’t.”
M: So I don’t know what that means yet.
L: That’s okay.
M: What about for you?
L: You know, the thing that has brought me the most just kind of like pure joy has been my kiddo.
L: We’ve had, (laughs) I think I said this in the first version of this and not the second one, but we’ve had some challenges, you know, parenting’s hard occasionally, predominantly, I don’t know how to explain, single parenting. (laughs) I’m sometimes not sure what level of a single parent I am ’cause I have a lot of other co-parents but I also do a lot of the parenting by myself. (sighs) Has been challenging, but she’s just, she’s become really cool. (laughs) She’s like a really great reader. She has really interesting like ways of looking at things. I’m finding out that she’s maybe gonna be a Murderino.
L: She’s way too young for me to talk to about any of that stuff but she did ask me if we could play like mystery games where we do like a, we kind of tell a story like in a D and D kind of way, except that my brain can’t do D and D stuff
L: Because I’m just like, I have no like, I have like no fantasy imagination. I’m just like, “I don’t know. I’m invisible” or something.
L: My partner is much better with that kind of like creative imagination play, which is great. But then I noticed that my kiddo like really like the idea of a mystery and that is where I have all my information. So she was like in the car one time, was like, “Can we play murder mystery?” And I was like, “What does that mean?” (laughs)
L: I don’t think I want to have somebody die. And she was like…I was like, “I don’t even know where you’ve heard that.” But she just wants, she just likes the clues.
L: So we had like, so we talked through a whole scenario were like someone kidnapped. And we were doing things like, “What was the last thing they said?” And she’d be like, “Prepare the interrogation room!” And like
M: Oh my goodness! (laughs)
L: I have no idea what she’s been watching, which is another thing, but like it doesn’t scare her because we don’t talk about like upsetting parts of it.
L: It’s just like really exciting for her to like solve problems and I don’t know, it’s really fun.
M: There’s that board game Clue. Have you played that?
L: Yes. So we haven’t-
M: I used to love that game.
L: I haven’t played Clue with her yet. I was thinking about having her watch Clue.
L: She watched the trailer and wasn’t that into it, because, I mean, it’s really old for her.
M: It is.
L: But we have a game called Cat Crimes (laughs) where you like solve a mystery of like what the cat like, it’s like, “The goldfish has been eaten. This cat was sitting here and this cat was two across from this.” And you have to like solve the problem,
M: That’s cool.
L: and she’s way better at it than me, so, that was a long way of saying my kiddo brings me a lot of joy. She’s super smart and funny and really growing up to be like pretty rad and I enjoy getting to witness that.
M: She really is ’cause over the last year I’ve spent a lot more time with you and her
M: and it’s been fun.
M: She’s very sweet and lively.
L: Yeah. She’s a good one.
M: And what about challenges?
L: I’d have to, I mean, similar to you, I’d have to say my relationship, not my partner, but my relationship.
M: This has been a year, huh?
L: It has! And it’s funny because my partner really is in that joy
L: category too. Like she’s brought me a lot of joy but our relationship, the structure and the change and the work that we’ve had to put in, both together and apart, has all, is all leading to a good place. But it’s been really, really fucking challenging.
L: We may have been on a break the last time we talked and so we are no longer on a break. But, it’s, I don’t know, I’ve never had anybody willing to do this much work and I love her for that and I feel really good about that, but it’s been really challenging.
L: Yeah. But, you know, the other thing that’s interesting is this is my second longest relationship ever, you know. My first longest was my marriage and that was really bad.
L: And that was a lot of like emotional trauma and so I don’t know what it looks like to be in a long term relationship and so…
L: So we’re growing though that and figuring that out, having a relationship that…We’ve both been in long term relationships but we’ve been in long term marriages. So like what does a long term polyamorous but committed but freedom relationship look like and I, yeah, I’m not sure we totally know yet, but
M: I just had that same realization that my marriage was my longest and then me and K were my second longest.
M: So now it’s changing again and I’m just like, “Oh, god.” But yeah.
L: It’s, yeah. It’s been…I’ve seen a lot of like…I feel like I’ve seen a lot of long term couples break up recently and maybe that’s
L: like, maybe that’s confirmation bias. But it does seem like there’s been like a lot of transitions in relationships
L: lately. Okay, what do you want to cultivate in the second half of 2019?
M: Well, it’s the same word as, from the other questions, but joy. I love that word. I just love joy.
M: I don’t want to be so stuck all the time.
L: Can we just both say joy and
L: move on, ’cause like I totally agree.
L: It’s been a lot of struggle.
M: Short and sweet. Joy.
L: I, yeah, I want less struggle, more joy. I saw a quote the other day, that, look at me. I’m like, “Can we make it short?” Now I’m gonna quote something.
L: It’s not the same ’cause kindness is the other word that’s always really big for me
L: about like cultivating.
L: And I read a thing that I just keep thinking of. It’s from the writer Anne Lamott, and it’s, “You can either practice being right or you practice being kind.” And like, that’s a, I don’t know. That’s a good one.
M: It is.
L: How can you tend to yourself with more compassion?
M: One of the feelings that I’ve had a lot from dating someone new recently is, it’s really hard for me to accept it, if she likes me or if she likes the way I look,
M: I have like this doubt that’s like, “Oh, no. That can’t be true.”
M: And I think it’s just wasting the good feelings, right? Like I
M: could just be like, “Hey. That’s how I feel too.” And I can look at someone and be like, “Wow. They’re so attractive and I’m so happy. You know?” So why can’t I accept that from someone else? And certain things trigger it more than others and one being people who are way thinner than me.
M: And most of the time I’m pretty body-positive, whatever, I’m confident. I don’t really have too many hang-ups about that, but there is something. I think from my past that really triggers that and so I’m trying to work through that because I just hate wasting my time that way. Like it’s the summertime, it’s hot outside, I want to wear cute things and not be like, “Oh. Why am I wearing this? What’s everyone gonna think about it?” And I don’t do it all the time. So I just think that’s something I don’t want to do anymore or like it shouldn’t be an issue.
L: It’s important to point out that you’re wearing a romper right now and it’s the cutest thing ever.
L: Like I love it so much.
M: I’ve been wearing this like
L: I mean, I like rompers
M: more than once a week.
L: like kind of in general on everyone but like is an extra cute like extra like looks great on you romper.
M: It’s from H & M!
L: I love it.
M: (laughs) Thank you.
L: You’re welcome. Okay, what am I, what was I, how was the question? How was this one worded?
M: It says, “How can you tend to yourself with more compassion?”
L: The first thing that comes up is a like a thing I wanna try not to do and I know that that’s not, maybe I should think of what I should try TO do.
L: But, or not say, “should.” (laughs) I need to stop seeking validation or needing validation from other people. I think I can tend to myself with more compassion by liking myself more rather than worrying that other people don’t like me.
M: Mmhm. That’s a really good way of putting it.
L: Like I think it’s okay to need to be liked. But I want, that’s where I need to be my primary partner.
L: I need to like me the most and then understand that like other people will like me for that too and that people who don’t like me, like, that it’s not a reflection on me.
L: And that’s, that’s a thing that been like longstanding and I’m not there yet but, yeah.
M: That reminds me of this thing that I saw that was my favorite, I posted on my Instagram
L: I just hit my fucking head again. I’m just…I need more coffee.
M: It says
L: Dumb bitch juice, yes.
M: What did it? How did it go? It goes, “I’m tired of cutting myself up into little pieces for others.”
M: “Stay whole and let them choke.”
L: Oh. I love it.
M: I love that.
M: That’s something that I think stays in my brain that I’m like, you know, not everyone is gonna like me, but I can’t change myself for that reason, which I’m always tempted to do. It’s so much easier for me to be what other people want me to be versus myself.
L: There’s something really great about like meme culture.
L: Because it does give us like sort of shortcuts for ways to think about things like because the other one I thought of was that, that idea of, wait, let me see if I can think of it. My brain keeps shutting down today. It’s Mercury retrograde.
M: And it’s your birthday!
L: It’s my birthday and it’s Mercury retrograde. “Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from”
M: Mmhm. That’s a good one.
L: was like sort of mind-blowing because I was like because I feel like the people who are critical of me are definitely people I wouldn’t take advice from
L: and so (making various unconcerned noises) uh eh mm mm meh.
M: That’s another good one.
L: Yep. What might support you in connecting with yourself and others?
M: Hmmm. I don’t know. I don’t know if I have an answer for that.
L: That’s kind of a weird question. I mean I don’t dislike it but nothing came up right away so what could
M: (repeating the question to herself) What would support me in connecting with yourself? I’m like if my anxiety brain would shut off more that would support me in that.
L: Sure. Like letting go of like anxiety
L: or not letting anxiety like rule
L: so much.
M: Which maybe my medicine will still help me once I get more adjusted.
L: That’s true, you know. It doesn’t always have to be like emotional work, like maybe
L: is…I mean, if we think of medicine, medicine is support, and like
L: maybe that is…You know what? That’s interesting because I actually, that’s probably the same for me.
L: Like I’m, I do a lot of work. I do a lot of emotional work but like the thing that maybe is supporting me the most right now is this medication I’m taking and the upcoming surgery.
M: Yay for medicine.
L: Yeah. It’s a combo, right? You need all different things, and that’s one of them. Uhhh….what do you…I need to stop going uhhhh…because, at the beginning of each of these ’cause you’re just gonna have to edit that out. What do you want to add and what do you want to release?
M: Can I just add more joy again?
M: And release (sighs) fear.
M: Release still more of thinking about how others see me, how they’re gonna receive me (laughs). Add more of myself to myself (laughs) if that makes sense.
M: Oh my goodness. So me doing this like whole relationship transition thing…it’s so not bad. It’s good. Like we’re good. I really love her and we’re…we know we’re gonna be in each other’s lives, I think as friends, and that’s the most important thing to me. But I really love Billie…how do you say her last name? Ellish? Eilish?
L: Eilish I think.
M: Billie Eilish.
L: I do too.
M: And I like the songs that were like popular on the radio
M: because I babysat for a week and then the kids introduced me to all of them.
M: So like Halsey was one of them
M: and the Billie and then the Lil Nas song, whatever.
M: Is that who it is? I don’t even know.
L: Yes. Lil Nas X.
M: Yeah, who is queer and I love him.
L: I love him too.
M: But anyways, I was like, oh, I wanna try some of her other music. And there’s a song called, “Come Out and Play.”
M: And I listened to it and I just started crying. I literally danced, slow danced by myself,
M: in my kitchen,
M: the day of the earthquake,
L: Ugh. The earth-. Let’s not talk about…
M: I know. (laughs) And I was like crying. It’s such a good like, at first I thought it was like a love song and then I realized like maybe it was about herself.
M: And I just thought, like I’ve been kind of writing in my journal again and I just thought like those lyrics really spoke to me and I want to write it to myself.
M: And it’s just really sweet. And it says like, “Come out and play.” And, “It’s hard.” She knows it’s hard but like, “I promise it’s worth it. Don’t be quiet and don’t hide yourself.” It’s very sweet.
L: I like that.
M: So, yeah, everyone, listen to that and cry and dance with yourself. (laughs)
L: I’ll do it. No, I mean, as someone who’s like really trying to get out of like an isolation period,
L: that’s, I like that.
M: Yeah. You have to. I’ll send it to you later when I remember.
L: Yes. So what…did you…you answered both parts?
L: Didn’t you? Okay.
M: Okay. Your turn. What do you want to add? What do you want to release?
L: Hmmm…I mean, obviously the first things that come to mind are the same, right? Add joy, release fear.
L: I think I’d also want to add, like, playfulness
L: and release, there’s not a word to…release the need for things to be complicated
L: or like add simplicity, maybe, is the way to do that.
L: And like, and release like trauma, honestly.
M: Yeah. This feels very serious. Doesn’t it?
L: It does but it feels really nice, like
M: I know.
L: I feel like this is…hopefully, you all are enjoying this
L: and maybe you’ll want to do some of these questions, like,
L: in your journal or with your partner, with your best friend or whatever. But I know, for me, I think sometimes I feel like I should reflect on my birthday and like, but for whatever reason, writing has seemed really lonely lately.
L: So I’m so glad that we have the space where we can like say it out loud instead, and so, I don’t know, thank you all for listening and I’m really happy that I have the space to do this and reflect on my birthday in a really positive way, so, yeah. The last, we have one last question, which is, “What word or intention do you want to carry into the second half of the year?”
M: Well I’m just gonna do joy again
L: Do it.
M: because why not.
L: Do it.
M: I’ll just do a hundred joys. I also thought of play because that song I just mentioned was “Come Out and Play”
L: Oh yeah! I like that!
M: and then you said playfulness
L: I don’t even know if I was like connecting the two or not. That’s great.
M: And it’s such a sweet song that I think joy and play, both of them remind me of like childlike spirit and connecting to the inner child. I feel like we’re like doing a Brenè Brown podcast right now, which is great. (laughs)
L: We totally are. We’re doing a self-help podcast. That’s okay.
M: Yeah. I love that. Like I loved dancing by myself and slow dancing by…I love slow dancing (laughs) and
L: That’s great.
M: it just made me feel like connecting with myself and that’s what I want more of.
M: And it’s weird but like anytime I have a breakup or transition in that way and I realize that I need to rely on myself over everything else, it makes me want to reconnect with myself again.
M: So it’s always exciting. It’s hard but exciting.
M: And it’s almost like building that relationship with myself again because I always put, I just someone do a little bit of a reading on me, like, my birth chart.
M: Natal chart?
L: Sure sure sure.
M: And she said, like so many others before have said, that you really have a hard time being alone,
M: that you put a lot of weight in your relationships with others and so when you don’t have a partner, it’s a struggle.
M: And I was like that’s very true and it’s very sad because I want to put the same weight with myself that I do with other people.
L: I totally get that. I feel like there’s a weird, like, contradiction, in that, like, sometimes I feel, “Oh. I gotta do so much self-work” to the point that it feels like narcissistic
L: or something. But then, on the other hand, I’m like such a people pleaser. I hope you will find this as amusing as my best friend Masha did. Yesterday I went to Trader Joe’s because I was…’cause I needed groceries. And I love, even though I like to write and I like to draw, I still love greeting cards
L: that like someone else has done. And so I was looking at the greeting cards. So I was walking by and I saw the stand for the greeting cards and I was like, “Somebody’s birthdays coming up.” And then I was like, “Oh wait. It’s mine.” (laughs)
M: Oh my gosh! How cute! Did you buy yourself one?
L: No! I didn’t! But I was totally like, I was like, “Oh. I’ll get myself something.” And then last night I had been out at like an independent bookstore and I like to support independent bookstores this weekend and I had got my partner a book and I gave it to her yesterday and she’s like, “Did you get me a present for your birthday?”
L: And I was like, “Maybe. Maybe I did.” So I get that idea of like giving yourself the same care that you would give to somebody else.
L: Okay, so two things came up for me for intention. The first one is like the opposite of all of these like movement-based things. The first thing I thought of was pause. Like, and I think that’s about checking in with myself and about not being so reactive, is just like having that like moment of pause
L: before whatever comes next. Part of working through triggers, I think, for me, when I’m not in total trauma brain, is to pause
L: before I react. But then the other thing is, ’cause you said this word and then I was like, “That’s it,” is connection. I do care a lot about my relationships with other people but I’m not sure that I’ve been cultivating those so much
L: because I think I’ve been in like a survival bubble for awhile. So yeah. I’d like to, that’s my intention, is to both pause and cultivate connection.
M: That’s good.
L: It is.
M: We did it!
L: We did. We have, this is your Brené Brown TED Talk.
M: (laughs) Your Queers Next Door Brené Bown…Brown.
L: Bown. Bleh. Brené Brown, would you like to be a sponsor? Did you see Wine Country?
M: Yes I did.
L: The Brené Brown part was so good. It is a very ridiculous white feminist movie but you should still see it ’cause it’s funny. Okay.
M: Well, we have one more episode this season! Wooo!
L: We have one more episode this season!
M: And then we will be back for season two.
M: We’re gonna take more pictures
L: We are.
M: and do more fun shit.
L: We are gonna take more pictures. I wanna talk about…look at me, I’m like, “I have a new topic!” But I’m not gonna say it now.
M: Well, let’s do a Queer Cuts.
L: Oooh let’s do a Queer Cuts.
M: and then yeah, ’cause we-
L: Yeah, we’re gonna do that.
M: And that will be on our Patreon so everyone, if you love us, which I know you do (laughs), join Patreon for as little as one dollar, or more, if you can afford more, whatever you want
M: at supportqnd.com or patreon.com/queersnextdoor.
L: That would be lovely and just a reminder, even if you join as low as a dollar level, I will make you a cute little card and I have some fun goodies to put in there. So I enjoy doing those and we’ve had a little pause, speaking of pauses
L: in new Patrons, so, we’d love to have some more and
L: we’re creating more content for you as well besides your little initial gift.
M: Yes. So we put the things that get edited out, even though sometimes I don’t edit anything out, then we also do Queer Cuts and pretty much anything else we do, I just throw it over there if it’s like extra photos, a video, audio clips, so, yeah.
L: Join. Awesome.
M: Okay. We’ll see you next time.
L: Alright, bye.
L: Thanks for listening to Queers Next Door. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to follow, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
M: If you like what we’re doing, join the Queers Next Door fanclub at patreon.com/queersnextdoor to receive all of our exclusive content, and we’ll mail you a fun little surprise. You can find the link of our blog queersnextdoor.com. Cheers, queers!