When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In order to combat depression and take some of the energy out of my mania, over the years I learned the coping strategy of working and playing hard. Being busy was my main way to keep myself from sinking into despair and enforced focus helped my mind stabilize... or so I thought. But I was ultimately kind of miserable, exhausted much of the time, feeling overworked and way underappreciated. I spent a lot of time wanting off this planet, because I couldn't think of any other way to chill the fuck out.
Then I had a mental breakdown, spurred on by an abusive partner and a feeling of isolation in the Bay. I felt completely alienated, my closest friend at the time wanted to call the cops on me which was terrifying, and I felt like my body was this horrible fat skin suit I couldn't escape, that was smothering me. I felt weighed down in every way.
And then I was diagnosed with severe anxiety instead of bipolar, instead of borderline, instead of all the other misdiagnoses I had been medicated for. I read about how it manifested, how it felt in the body, and immediately recognized myself. I began to realize why I felt so trapped- I wasn't suicidal because I was depressed, but because I was just so tired. So slowly, I began to reel back on social commitments, on presentations, on traveling. And I began to actually feel... *happy*.
It's still an ongoing process. I'm still a workaholic who struggles with patterns of procrastination and panic. But it's been over a year since I've been depressed or suicidal, and I think that focusing my energy on self care over "productivity" has both increased that productivity and made me a more stable person.
So my goals for 2015 continue those better habits, allowing me to be gentle with myself.
Fear Of Missing Out is a severe Bay Area twinge, and it's one that can be contagious. I used to try to make it to several events a week because I didn't want to be disappointed by the stories and photos from various events. Everything required a different costume, and it just all took so much effort. I got to a point where I dreaded going out, and costuming was a chore. "Parties are supposed to be FUN" I'd grumble as I pulled on stockings and put my face on. But they weren't fun anymore.
This is more of an ongoing goal rather than a new one, but I want to continue to make decisions that leave me feeling happy, rested, and comfortable, rather than pushing myself to be at this big event or that performance because I just can't miss it. I can miss it. I've missed a lot of things, and that is a-ok. I'd rather be mentally stable than at All The Things. I missed Dickens Faire, and several Kinky Salons, gaming conferences, karaoke outings, craft days, all sorts of things. But when I did go, it was to things I wanted to be at. And that was worth it.
Accept my introversion
It's a big misconception a lot of people have that because I am relatively skilled at overcoming my increasing introversion, I'm actually an extrovert. Nope. Actually big groups of people are increasingly draining for me, and increase my social anxiety (and, more often than not, my drinking). I have to admit to myself that I am not typically invigorated by large group things, but by small, quiet things where I can get to know people.
If you're reading this, know that I am almost always completely having a mild panic attack at large parties, ESPECIALLY sex parties. If I'm not talking to you, it's because I'm trying not to hyperventilate. If you like seeing me at these things, make it easier for me by coming up to me and talking to me? I am genuinely more intimidated by any and all of you than you are of me. Promise.
Sort of to go with the above, I have a tendency to want to "challenge myself" and make myself grow. In theory that's an awesome thing! Sometimes, though, that just means that I put myself in situations that actually feel emotionally unsafe. Instead of growing from these experiences, I just tend to feel sad afterwards.
I did some things this year that were scary- admitting I was in love when the other person was not in a space to meet me there, having some intense discussions with my parents, writing pieces that were potentially going to get me streams of harassment. While they were scary, though, they were also things I felt needed to happen.
On the other hand, I don't need to keep charging into situations where I feel disgusting, invisible, or like a lover's baggage- it doesn't help me evolve, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm going to do a lot better about checking in with myself around these situations, and asking myself- is this scary-exciting? Or scary-traumatizing?
Learn it's ok to say "no"
And, to go along with that- if it feels like it's going to be more hurtful than helpful, or if it involves being around people who haven't reached out to me in the past... it's ok for me to say "no". It's ok to say "no" when something is important to me and I'm being asked to rearrange it. I feel like I'm pretty generous with my "yes", but on reflection I think I've also not said "no" when I maybe should have.
It hasn't done any severe damage this year, the stakes weren't high or anything... but I think I say yes as a knee-jerk thing, because I want to please people, because I don't want to be rejected or left for saying no too often. I want to reflect thoroughly on consent, and personal pressure, and social pressure, and how these all intersect this year, as I learn to say "no". Yes, that has consequences, and it may not always mean I get what I'm hoping for- but "yes" also has consequences when my gut or heart isn't in it. People will still like me!
Trust my sexual appeal
I've decided 2015 is the year I step up my porn performances a notch. I've always been relatively flexible, but while that's translated to the sex I have offscreen, I've tended to be a pillow princess in the stuff I shoot. No longer! Rather than always highlighting my costar by being a rag doll, I'm going to shine my own light. I've tended to feel people aren't that interested in my body, or how I fuck, and that's just not true. So I'm going to start wearing more femme heels, trying some new positions, and... well, opening myself up to being desirable. No more hiding.
Additionally, 2014 was the year my libido raged back into action. I want to try new things, explore new places, and do those new things in the new places. I want to maybe do anal play with a lover again. I want to shoot a creampie porn. I want to be fucked by two men who are also making out and maybe fucking each other. I want to have my face pushed down into the dirt while I'm fucked from behind, overwhelmed with feral screaming because no one can hear us. I want to fuck in a damn train already. I feel like I'm finally starting to accept that my partners really do desire my body, and while I still definitely sometimes feel ignored as a sexual being when at sexually charged spaces, I'm going to practice letting that go.
Those people don't know what I can do with my cunt muscles.
Trust myself as an artist
I've always said I'm not an artist. I mean, some consider writing an art, and I suppose it is, though I'm not terribly good at it and almost everything I write is nonfiction. I'm terrible at creative endeavors- I'm not able to craft a pattern from my mind's eye, or play with a recipe to make something better, or turn a piece of paper into art. I can do some simple crafts, but the more I can follow someone else's pattern, the better for me.
But this year, I rediscovered my love of photography, and I've found that I might have a talent for directing. Working at TROUBLEfilms has got my creative juices flowing (gushing, so to speak) and I'm starting to feel... inspired. Excited to create. It's a situation where what I have in my head can be enacted in front of me in a way I find deeply satisfying. I'm starting to realize I might actually have a good eye for this, and it's kind of awesome!
So this year, I'm going to let myself pursue art a little more. Learn more about light, and relearn all my old camera skills. I'm going to shoot many many nudes- maybe I'll even restart my Andro Aperture Project! And maybe I'll get lucky and someone will gift me a light kit for my birthday...
I've been so overwhelmed with paying bills and repaying credit cards that I haven't been to the dentist in 2 years, and I rarely go to the doctor unless I'm worried about something and can't ignore it anymore. It's going to be a rough few months ahead, as P just lost his job again, and I'm back to being the primary breadwinner... but I need to make sure that I have enough money to take care of myself. I've started getting massages every other week, which is finally starting to work out the pain in my lower back that's also been affecting my left knee (I have a suspected ACL tear that's made some activities really difficult).
Will I be able to quit smoking, or quit drinking soda? I don't know, tbh. Maybe. But rather than push that on myself, I'm going to try to be mindful of not smoking when my throat hurts, and switching out soda for sparkling water or homemade iced tea. I'm going to stretch more, walk around more during long days of writing, and keep adding veggies and water into my diet. If I get back into Wii Fit? Cool! If I find a good fat friendly yoga studio near me? Awesome! But if not, I'm going to just keep up the better trends I have, and trust that my body will tell me what it needs.
How about you? What're your goals? What goals did you accomplish last year?