Queen No Fun

I have a very particular insecurity that being chronically ill has helped me become much more consciously aware of recently. Years of turning down invitations to get togethers, going out but leaving early, or asking for the tv to be less loud, less bright, in fact just turn everything off! … it has all convinced me that I am the Queen of No Fun. Zero fun, in fact. When everything I do is forged through the added barrier of pain and discomfort, it often feels as if I have no energy left to spare for much needed levity. Because of this frequent depletion of energy, my insecurity has told me I am boring and not fun to be around, whatsoever.

To be honest, I don’t know if I was ever that much fun to begin with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to a place, where friends or family have already gathered, with a scowl on my face, even though I was excited to be there and to see everyone. Let me take a few minutes to be a fly on the wall, get the lay of the land, and get settled in and then Happy Me will maybe appear. If I don’t get that time it’s a lot harder to relax, enjoy myself, and not make everyone else around me cranky too. It’s only now that I’m actually putting words to this annoying no-fun emotion that’s been getting in my way for years! Hopefully I can work around it now that I’ve really identified it because it’s a negative experience that’s caused me to really be no fun.

Also, being in a larger body for years meant that I often subconsciously avoided being more boisterous in public so that no one would notice me. I was “fun” as a younger drunken slut, sure, but that was always tied up in how much I sought male attention during the first few years of non-monogamy (haha, ok now too, fine). I’ve convinced others, but worse myself, that I’ve not been interested in all sorts of probably fun activities over the years, simply because I didn’t want to be noticed doing them. If you said that society brought me up to think of my always fat body as a thing ne’er to be seen, I’d definitely agree. Never to be noticed. Not to demand attention of others. So I leaned heavily into being more invisible in certain situations. This insecurity – and admittedly Steph rarely wanting to try new things – has caused me to not participate in lots of stuff over the years. It’s why I completely failed at getting any when we hosted a sexy party for my birthday a few years ok. In some circumstances, I am absolutely terrible at being the center of attention and, well, ruin the fun.

Most of my time on the planet can be divided into my two main modes of existence. The first is where I want all of the attention at any given time; I love this mode! It’s not that I want all of the attention in that mode always, but instead that I am ready for all of it should the mood strike the person or people I’m with. It’s usually a one-person at a time thing though, which might be why I don’t seek it out with groups of people I know.

The second, and much more frequent mode is when I don’t even want to be perceived. This is actually crucial to my “no fun” persona and I wish I didn’t feel it. I can be doing something so completely innocuous; maybe I’m writing a post like this one, grabbing a snack, or searching for a book to read. Someone, usually Steph or Jory as they’re the people I see the most, will simply notice me. Maybe they’ll start talking or casually asking me what I’m up to. In those moments, I feel myself recoiling and I really don’t know why. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to them or that I’m embarrassed to be doing whatever I’m doing; I simply want to be in that moment without being noticed. I want to be invisible and just float around, doing my thing. That’s where I’ve trained myself to find the most comfort and safety.

So, instead of answering the questions or being a kind and responsive human being when noticed, I get snarky and unkind in my responses, almost angry, as if it’s so unbelievably offensive that a loved one would want to engage with me while I’m obviously not even there. I rarely catch myself before it happens and the end result is always the same. I’ve been an asshole and feel confusingly resentful that my invisibility cloak somehow stopped working while the other person is reminded that I am a no fun snake, poised to bite at any opportunity. In reality it has little to do with them. It’s all about me wishing to hide. Yes, this is something I definitely need to work on! Perhaps too I also need to explain it to my people, to help them understand what is happening in my weirdo brain in those moments. That I’m not actually a no-fun little weasel, who hisses at anyone who dares interact with her as she just wants to sneak past and not bother anyone. You see, she’s just so used to bothering people thanks to pain and all of the requirements she needs to exist comfortably and feels bad about it. “Can you turn the volume down? Can the lights be off? Can you get me a pill?”

Chronic pain has for sure made moments of fun harder for me to find or recognize. Additionally, and as you’re well aware of, the pandemic has done all it can to suck joy out of everything, though I’m still working at seeing the joy in as many places as possible to counter this. It’s unbelievably hard though, for all of us. My body’s stress response to the pandemic has been raising my starting pain point to a much higher level. It’s meant I’ve often had a headache and/ or body flare-up for weeks or months on end while having to deal with all of the expectations of the world on top of that. Capitalism demands productivity. Relationships demand nurturing and care. Pain demands the most of me, and the first thing to fall victim to it is often my happiness. Fun. Laughter. Joy.

This all sounds disastrous, I know, but there is a new light shining on me lately (not a blue light, thankfully; that would give me a headache). The past few months that I’ve spent working on disconnecting my identify from my illnesses has been a great help for me in terms of recognizing how little fun I was allowing myself. I use that word “allowing” on purpose. It might feel like it’s been out of my control and, to some degree, it has, but I’ve been really working hard to intentionally seek out fun on all levels big and small, since my revelation back in September that I am not my illness. Realizing that my illnesses are “a thing I suffer from” vs. “who I am” has reminded me that I am just as entitled to having and being fun as the next person. When you hurt all the time, it’s easy for your reality to become distorted. It’s easy to take it personally, like it must be my fault that I deal with this all the time. It used to be really easy to convince me that I don’t deserve fun. That I’m broken. Weighing everyone down. I should be suffering to make up for how annoying I am to take care of.

A few things have been helping me shed that very heavy cloak of self-loathing and insecurity and I’ll share them with you now. The first thing is the revelation I just mentioned. Since disconnecting my illness from my identity, I’ve felt an awareness of the vastness of … possibility! While the pandemic has kept many things on hold and especially uncertain in the recent weeks of Omicron, I am still feeling excited about all the good times that are to come in 2022 and beyond. I truly believe now, even when things are so dark, that there are years more of those good times to have with my husbands, my friends, and my lovers, old and new.

I suffer from a bunch of annoying illnesses, but they are not my entire being. They take a lot of my energy, yes, but they don’t have as much of a stronghold on my joy as I’ve let myself believe. I can both have and be fun. I am allowed. I am worthy.

The second thing that’s been helping, and feel free to laugh at me for this, is weed. Wait, sorry, my bad, I hear we’re calling it cannabis now.? I’ve hated weed forever and still do in most forms, and it’s not made any better by the millions of people who say to me, immediately upon hearing I get migraines, “Have you tried weed?” Yes, Brenda, I have. I wish I liked it; would’ve made me a lot cooler in school, according to Matthew McConaughey. To my chagrin, the smell of it makes me feel sick and nauseated. I absolutely hate smoke, and any of the edibles I’ve consumed in the past have given me such bad auditory hallucinations that I’ve ended up extremely uncomfortable, convinced it would always be a bad experience that wasn’t for me.

Plus, the taste of edibles is gross to me and I can always taste it, I promise. (Super senses and all that). Any time I’d try one of Jory’s weed gummies, I would never actually chew them. Instead I’d cut off the amount that I wanted to have and would swallow it whole. Since then, thanks to the Ontario Cannabis Store (which is honestly a sentence that I’m certain NO one has ever written), I’ve been experimenting with weed “capsules”. And, well, I’ve been high almost every single night since September. Should I be worried or concerned about that? Ehh, no? It’s a pandemic?

Besides, I have years to make up for, right?

The little indulgence of these wonderful pills has brought me so much laughter over the past few very hard months. They’ve helped me be sillier and also appreciate silliness in others, where in the past I’d have been so focused on being invisible that I couldn’t enjoy people being fun/ny. That guard that often goes up when I don’t wish to be perceived; it takes a break when I’m high. I enjoy entertainment more. I have great conversations with some wonderful friends. I laugh until I cry and have on multiple occasions since starting these pills in the fall. I couldn’t tell you the last time that happened before them. These moments of stoned fun also bleed over and help me when I’m sober too. I’m reminded that I can laugh and be goofy and find joy all the time, not only in those evening moments of relaxation. I finally get it, y’all. I just had to find “my thing”.

The third, and final, contributor helping me return to fun, well this one’s easy: sex! I’m having so more sex in the last few months than I had in all of 2021. I find myself initiating it so much more with both Steph and Jory, despite the times when I might feel physically miserable. Before I was always convinced of the fact that I had to say no to their advances because there was no way I could actually a) be a good lover anymore and b) enjoy myself, thanks to whatever head or body pain I was afflicted with. It would be too disappointing for them as they would sense how hard it was for me. For too long, sex at home felt like an obligation. There hasn’t been any pressure from the husbands, no this has been a self-induced pressure. It had nothing to do with how I felt romantically or sexually about them – which has always been great; it was all me. The longer my pain went on, the worse it got over the years, the more hopeless I felt, and the more it became my identity. I was far too often convinced before – and also very ashamed – that having sex with the pain I was suffering from would be too disappointing for them as my days of being a fun lover were obviously in my past. Oh how wrong I was!

The idea of having to be sexy when I constantly felt like a broken “annoying potato of burden” was almost impossible for me to wrap my brain around. It’s easy to blame a drop in sex drive on the pandemic, but that’s only been 2 out of many more potato years.

Thankfully, with a return to outside dating my submissive side is being reborn causing me to remember all of the different ways that sex, and more importantly Me having sex, is great. (Look, I didn’t write my Yelp reviews but I trust them). I didn’t think I would ever reconnect with that side of me; it felt lost forever. Now that I’ve discovered it’s still there, I get to finally enjoy my sexuality at home with my two wonderful anchors a lot more than I let myself before. I am a very sexual being and also very in love with and attracted to them both and am reminded of the individual sexy bonds I have with each of them. It’s so wonderful to not feel this overwhelming sense of dread about an activity I once loved because I felt like I would ruin it. We can choose fun together and experiencing that again is glorious!

Partially responsible for the reconnection with my sexuality and kink is the new (younger) men in my life. Whether in person or by text, they seem to be convinced that I’m awesome, telling me as we collapse in a heap, or when I give them a very suggestive smile, or as I slip slide into their DMs. According to them, I am not a boring baked potato. I am a vivacious, attractive, powerful woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. According to them, and I trust them as I have excellent taste in humans, I am, for lack of a less obvious word, fun! I know Steph and Jory think this too, but there really is something unique about hearing it from someone who doesn’t know you that well. To think that “fun” could be the version of myself that I’m finally putting out there, it’s remarkable.

I’ve had a lot of great sex in my life but I’m really feeling so much more confident in the bedroom now. It’s more than simply a return to self; it feels like a journey to finally meet my true self. I’m having great sex everywhere now and, I have to believe, that at least 50% of the reasoning behind that is because of me! I remember now how amazing sex and kink can be; how fun it is to get absolutely railed and to flirt. I remember how much I like shaking my butt, saying “Let’s do it!” in the absolute cutest voice I can do and how good it feels to reconnect with my husband loves or to discover new lovers.

I’m remembering how to be the fun person I thought was lost forever, a little older and a lot wiser.
I’m learning how to go after joyful experiences that I want for myself and others.
I’m finally seeing the fun offered to me by everything and everyone without layers of pain distorting the view.

It’s pretty great, y’all.
Thanks, as always, for reading. <3

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Who I Was Is Not Who I Am

This week has been tough. Physically, I’m still going through an awful migraine flare that’s almost reached two full weeks as I type this. Mentally, well, I’m sure my last couple of posts reveal my secrets, but in case they don’t, melancholy would certainly be the right word to describe where my head is. A lot of tears have been shed this week as I’ve revisited my old self and how she moved through the world.

At first I was convinced this feeling was related solely to Tuesday’s reunion and, while there’s definitely feels to work through there, I’m realizing this goes much deeper. This isn’t about another person, whether a friend or lover or both. This is about me; the woman I was before and the woman who I’ve become.

When I started dating Jory in January 2015, most of my other flirtationships slowed down, ending soon after. He and I casually dated a wonderful woman together for a while, but eventually it became just the three of us. It was never really intended to be that way, but it seemed to work out so we stuck with it. When dating we sort of developed a ddlg style relationship. Kink with a side of care – made more important as I started to get ill.

We didn’t realize that only 2 years into the relationship that we’d all end up moving in together; like everything else, it just sort of … happened. Unfortunately, no one really tells you that, when you move in with your husband and your boyfriend into a three person domestic situation, it’s hard to continue any sexual power based relationship dynamics. There’s dinner to cook, to-do lists to write, sleeping arrangements to sort out. It became a lot less of a priority to be those people as we had a new and exciting family life to foster and grow (and also much less privacy, something both relationships need to give the other now and always).

Truth be told the last 6 years have been very hard personally and the past few days is really the first time I’m actually admitting it to myself. The intense sadness has nothing to do with my living situation; they’re both wonderful partners and any hiccups the three of us have usually get worked through pretty quickly. It does, however, has everything to do with my illnesses. Horrible medical moments that have given me a broken nervous system that’s afraid of anything that in the past would have delighted my senses. 

Looking back, 2015 was sort of the last year I had … fun. It wasn’t just my extra-curricular dating and sex life, it was everything. I could go out for drinks and dinner with friends and not get a migraine. I could attend events in support of people I cared about. I could live my life without having to consider how upset my body would get for staying out late. I was, for lack of a better word, free.

Seeing M the other night, someone I met in 2014 when I still felt both fun and free, made me realize how long these past 6 years have really been. Catching up, talking about sexy memories, harmlessly flirting, and just having a fun time with each another; I was reminded of who I was when we met. Pain was just around the corner back then but I still had some life in me to be more mischievous. 

Then symptoms started in 2015 and the next 3 or so years were filled with lots of diagnostic style appointments, an MRI that gave me intense panic and claustrophobia for 4 years, and days of trying to keep it together at my 9-5 WFH gig. In 2017 I started developing heart block. 2018 was a nightmare trying to get it diagnosed and then get the pacemaker. 2019 was spent feeling worst than I did before the pacemaker because they had my settings wrong. I had weight loss surgery that November because I could barely move on my own thanks to the pacemaker settings, which were thankfully finally adjusted. 2020, well, we know what that was. The pandemic was the start of the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life as stress causes my body to flare up so much and no yoga or deep breathing can compete with the stress of a global health crisis. 

I’ve been so focused over these years on simply getting through each day that I’ve rarely given myself to grieve for my past freedoms from disability. I barely remember feeling less pain and it sounds impossible that I ever experienced none at all! I do sometimes have flare-ups where I reflect on how much it’s bringing me down that week, but the grief I’m presently feeling is so much larger than any random flare could bring on its own.

The grief this week is me realizing how much I am missing the woman I was. The woman who was known as flirty, as fun, perhaps even an “expert” on non-monogamy, according to local news media. The woman who had the energy to build community and host events. To push her own boundaries. The woman who was stepping more into her pansexuality, felt confident in her skin, her kinks, her gender, and her size. 

I’d almost forgotten about her, not by choice, but by circumstance. My world is so much smaller now, though I wish it wasn’t. The other night at the Skydome reminded me that I used to be more than this shell and it’s hit me emotionally like a ton of bricks.

I used to float on air when new romance came my way. Dating sucks, but it was still a fun challenge of sorts. (That is before all the apps turned dating into a swipe fest based first on looks, something that is very hard for this demisexual to compute!) I sought out people to boost me up in different ways than I got at home, while I boosted them up in exchange. I found myself seduced by new kind words, knowledge, experiences, and confident vulnerabilities. I would feel heartaches so strong that I thought I would never recover but the highs always made the lows worth it, eventually. 

My sentimentality and emotions haven’t been fed in the same way since because survival has become the driving factor, keeping everything else buried and out of reach. I used to drift off into daydreams of new people, new places, new ideas, whereas now I just drift off because the pain has a grasp on all of my focus. The range of emotions I would feel was so much larger than what I usually feel now; Tuesday reminded me of this. Don’t get me wrong; I am very in love with both Steph and Jory and am not reminiscing on past lives because of a failing in them, or our bonds. 

In fact, there are needs I used to have outside of my marriage that are met more consistently at home now, by both of my partners! The urge to meet new people is lessened, but I still miss the … variety, the opportunity. The excitement of new relationship energy. Revealing the road map to a new and unfamiliar body. Seeing myself through the eyes of someone new and learning things about worlds I hadn’t traveled to yet.  

Getting back into dating is not at all the point of this post, though I’m always open to new flirtationships because I love that. The real point of this reflection is admitting to myself that the choice was taken away from me. Living with two partners vs. one does make it harder date other people – and Jory and I have never experienced me dating someone else besides Steph since we’ve been together – but we never really even talked about it because illness took all of my energy before we had the chance. 

I went from being polyamorous by nature to being monogamous by force and now I don’t know where I actually fall on the scale.

Who knows. Maybe I would’ve stopped dating naturally if I hadn’t gotten sick. Maybe if I still had energy, having two wonderful partners at home might have meant I’d have gotten a lot more social satisfaction from friends and loved ones and all of my needs would have been met. Now those needs are ignored because the pain takes over everything. It’s like glitter that gets into everything but in a much less sparkly and much more depressing way.

The only thing I can say for certain is that I am finally, maybe really for the first time ever, openly grieving what disability has stolen. There is an anger in me now that I haven’t really felt before and I need to work through it before I figure out next steps and truly start to learn what it is I need now. People often tell me I’m strong and brave and maybe that’s true; but it feels more like I had blinders on that helped me stay alive. Had I ever stopped and truly realized the gravity of what I’ve actually lost, it might have been impossible to come back from. 

So while it hurts a lot now, the other night at the game was also a great reminder and gave me a softer place to land this week while the tears fell. A reminder that who I was can still be who I am. We are a sum of our parts, our past, our memories. I just need to accept that I can both make space for who I was to co-exist with my current self while knowing that won’t always be in my control. 

But I am more than my illness and, as much as I can, I refuse to let it continue to completely define me anymore.

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