Vacation with David

Since arriving in October, David and I have become basically inseparable. When he arrived, I had a week off from work, and spent most of that time just orienting him to life out here in Oregon. Since then, it’s been week after week of routine and work and stress over money. The usual grind, really.

Last week, though, we caught a break, and together, we spent some real quality Boyfriend time together. It was a much needed re-bonding situation.

Our first adventure was to the eastern slope of the Cascades, to a region of Oregon that I most adore. While it’s dry and warm over there for most of the year, winter in the eastern foothills of the Cascades is quite magical. Windswept rolling hills, sagebrush and juniper and pine, the air filled with a chill and crispness that is dry and light, rather than the damp and smother that you find in Portland, and west of the mountains. It’s here that I usually run to when I need to clear my head, take a break from reality, and realign myself and my life. Showing this to David meant letting him into another part of my world. He got to see me outside of my usual, out of my ruts, and being more authentically me again, which, for him, was exactly what he needed.

He had found a beautiful cabin in Terrebonne, Oregon, near Smith Rock State Park, that had a deck that overlooked at least seven of the peaks along the mountain range. Our night there included seeing the million-billion stars that are obscured by urban light where we call home. It also involved a delightful meal at a cute restaurant in town, and an evening spent being creative – me with my writing and him with his drawing – while listening to the crackle of a fire.

Blissful is a good descriptor.

The following day saw me up early, out of our lofted bed, and making us breakfast in the frosty morning. We saw a flock of birds waking up with the sun, as well as a coyote out making an early patrol of the grounds around the cabin. Once fed and awake, we took off to Smith Rock, a spot that I’ve only ever seen literally crawling with people.

A rather long stroll around the park gave us a lovely opportunity to talk more, to squeeze each other’s hands, and to be “that couple” out in nature. It’s a behavior that we have bonded over before, and simply being out in the open air with David reminds me of how simple and pure our connection really is. It lifted my spirits quite a bit, and made the remainder of the day a constant stream of feel-good-vibes.

I showed him a little of Bend, Oregon, and on to Sisters, Oregon as well, and we returned home tired and refreshed at the same time.

The remainder of the week was spent being lazy and without schedule. Morning hugs, coffee, a few trips to the gym, and making sure each other was comfy and fed were all on the would-be lists of things to do, but nothing was scheduled or scripted. It all just flowed as it wanted, and it was rather amazing.

I want more time with him. I want to get to know him even more. My husband has seen and noted the amount of joy that David has brought into my life, and the love that I share with David spills over into every other connection I have. This is a net positive for myself, and my family of lovers. It is how my life was meant to be, and honestly, I’m left so humbled and grateful for all of it.

Dad’s State of Mind

Things started getting really tricky for me back towards the end of the first year of the Pandemic We All Hate (COVID-19). I’d managed to open up my heart, and love in a way that’s true to who I am, but because of lockdowns and such, forming a stronger bond with those who were far away became next to impossible. I found myself constrained and contained, much like the rest of the world, and stuck in an inside-space, with all of the inside-thoughts that come with that.

Things at work had also taken a turn. No longer were my transit vehicles full of commuters and people just getting around the metro area for one reason or another. Suddenly, it was empty vehicles, or vehicles that became rolling shelters for those without homes, and just as suddenly, I was in a place of damage mitigation and social support for those in need. None of which, I might add, I was trained to handle. I was raw-dogging my way through things, just like everyone else was.

Two COVID infections myself, one short-term relationship with a fellow who decided he preferred a monogamous match rather than being part of a polyamorous situation, and myself left with a broken heart in a broken world, 2021 was shaping up to be one of the most challenging years of my life to date.

Amazingly, though, in that year, I met David the DJ, and Dylan, both of whom quickly became solid supporters of me and my mental health. Both of them had begun the journey of getting a handle on their own mind matters, and it was while learning from them that I began to take steps for myself. Panic attacks at work, along with a severe lack of sleep, and running into anxiety walls while working out all had me back on my heels, worried about what was going on in my head. It was, in fact, a lack of boners, that sent me to the doctors. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’d been missing sex a LOT and suddenly, the machinery that I’ve been depending on for all of my post-pubescent years just wasn’t operational. It was a real problem, for sure.

Since starting therapy, and going down my own mental health wellness path, I’ve been making some pretty decent progress. I’ve recognized where loads of my old trauma responses come from. I’ve begun the process of sifting and sorting and healing from old wounds I wasn’t even aware I was carrying. I’ve started to really make new mental connections to the concepts of love and desire and want and validity. Truly, over the last eight months, I’ve made some real growth.

But, as was the case today, there are still moments of opportunity for me. Today was a challenge of a day.

I’ve fallen in with two beautiful men as of late. One, Cody, lives in Tucson and I met him over my trip to see Above & Beyond at the Gorge Amphitheater a little over a month ago. He and I formed a strange and beautiful bond that’s persisting and thriving, in ways I was not expecting. Then, there’s another David, a young man I met online who was living in Philadelphia, who has recently moved to Salt Lake City, and who, for some reason I have as of yet to fully ascertain, has opened up his heart and world to me. Both of these wonderful connections have so much potential for Joy and Goodness and all the things that relationships can include. It’s a damn Good Thing, and I’m super-duper lucky.

Except that I don’t feel worthy of it. Not fully. Like, I don’t know if I deserve their affections and attentions. Today, as I asked myself “are you worthy” while at the gym, my mind went into chaos-mode, and a panic attack unlike I’d ever felt before, really reared up. I called out of work, knowing full well I’d be unsafe to operate a vehicle in this state of mind, and then made a bee-line, with the dog, to the forest for a respite.

I quieted myself next to the Clackamas River, while Steinbeck kept watch. I let him swim and take a deep drink of the cold mountain water, and as we drove, he leaned in on me more than once, as though to check on me, and tell me I’m worthy of his love. We passed a lone cyclist, who was riding towards the forest, who just reached high and gave us an excited wave, which I returned in kind. He also saw me as worthy, it would seem. I got home, turned back on my connectivity to the world by taking my phone out of Do Not Disturb mode, and caught a message from young David, and DJ David, and Cody, all of whom were checking in on me. All of whom, it would appear, see me as worthy.

I had a vulnerable moment in a video chat with young David, and told him of my struggles. His response has been one of love and gratitude for my allowing him to see this side of me. A text message chain with Cody brought similar results.

Today, I learned that I am worthy of the love I’ve been shown. It was coming at me from all directions, though not from my own inside-self.

I need to continue the work on building up my own sense of self-worth, and not need to rely on external topping off of such things as much. That, for me, is the state of play in my mind these days. I know there’s much more work to do.

On the Mountain

I cleared my own calendar on Wednesday.

Things at home, and at work, had been demanding so much space, so much energy, that I could feel myself spinning out of control. I needed grounding and stability, and a break from it all. I needed to get out of signal, out of touch, and find myself a good pace among trees and rocks and flowers.

I needed the mountain. She was calling to me.

Mount Hood stands prominent in my life as a person who lives in Portland, Oregon. The distant stratovolcano is a sense of place and vulnerability to me, where at any moment, she could blow her top, but at the same time, beckons me with every glance I take towards her, to come and be among her crags and rocks and trails and paths. I love it up there, on her various outcroppings and vista points. I love the smell, the sound, the feel of the ground beneath my feet on her slopes.

The hike was exactly what I needed to find my footing. Decisions about my current situation, my future steps, and how I feel about the direction of my life, were made. The shape of my heart, who occupies it, the level of energy I devote to them, and to myself, were all brought into balance for a while. I shed some tears as my mind relaxed and my body was in motion, and it felt like a much-needed release.

I have some major changes to make in my life, especially with regards to how I earn my living, and how I interact with those around me, and I need to be brave enough to believe in myself. It’s the same bravery I engage every time I tackle a trail up there, with loose stone and steep cliffs, and opportunities to become injured or killed at every juncture. If I can tackle these trails with confidence and agility, surely I can face down the challenges in my life ahead of me that require the same skills.

This Damned Fight

I don’t want to get political, but the events of yesterday, a culmination of seething hatred that’s been the background noise to my entire life came to an inevitable head. Like a puss-filled cyst, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court of the United States overturned nearly 50 years of precedent by tearing up Rowe v. Wade, pushing abortion access and laws back upon the states.

In doing so, they’ve set the stage to do the same for any and all laws relating to love, sex, marriage, race, disability, and other would-be “inalienable” rights.

We got married after RBG passed away.

That’s all well and good in a state like Oregon, where I live, and where, much to the chagrin of my central/eastern fellow Oregonians, we are a mostly-progressive state that has enshrined protections for a wide variety of human rights and ways of existing.

That’s utterly terrible for anyone living where the power to make laws rests in the hands of these feeble-minded men who cannot STAND to lose power or relevancy.

It’s been this struggle, buzzing around me like a tenacious horsefly, ever since I took my first breath. As soon as I had even a whiff of self-determination, I have questioned the motives of the conservatives, who wrap themselves up in Jesus, guns, and the flag at every fucking moment. Why do they hate me? Why do they hate anyone unlike them, for any reason? Why have they lost their sense of wonder and curiosity about the various forms of human existence, and have devolved into fearful, spitting rats? How did the public education I received as a young person produce me, a curious and constant knowledge-seeker, and yet leave them so fucking ignorant?

I don’t know.

But I do know I’m exhausted. They exhaust me. Idiocy *exhausts* me.

And? Their idiocy will kill people. Willful ignorance like what has been demonstrated time and time again, whether it’s fighting over integration, disability rights, reproductive rights, marriage rights, and on and on ALWAYS LEAVES SOMEONE DEAD.

So much for the Value of Life.

For now, I’m here, in my safe (for now) Liberal Bastion. And from here, I am a force of support, compassion, care, and love to any and all who are now under threat in my own country.

I don’t have the mental capacity to do more or be more. That’s frustrating. It’s always been frustrating.

Dad’s Right Here

If you need or want me, just reach out.

Mountain Time

Sterling is a lovely young man. At twenty-four, he has more peace and calm about his character and demeanor than I’ve ever met. Tall, self-assured, confident, insightful, he and I spent the day together today, traveling a little out into the wilderness to the east of town, attempting to find splashes of sunshine on what was just becoming another very rainy day.

Once we got to Hood River, Oregon, and east of the Cascades, the rain abated, for a while, and gave us a taste of some summer sun that we’d both been seeking.

”Have you been to Timberline?” I asked him.

”I have not,” he replied, much to my surprise.

We headed south, along Highway 35, up and out of the Columbia River Gorge, and made our way along the eastern side of Mount Hood. The rain remained at bay.

I watched him as he took in the wilderness around us. He was taking in all of the trees, the variety of vegetation that grows on the eastern side of the mountains, the way the mist was forming on the tops of the trees, sending plumes of moisture up into already-saturated clouds. He was quietly noting the majesty of the forests, and realizing that he needed to come out here more often, to be among the giant firs and moss-laden pines. His eyes grew bigger with every swoop and turn of the winding road.

The rain returned as we spun around the south side of the mountain, and turned back west. Just after entering Government Camp, Oregon, I took a right, and up to Timberline Lodge, an iconic mountain ski resort and hotel that he simply needed to see. As we climbed up in elevation, the driving rain gave way to driving snow. The Jeep performed beautifully.

Once in the lodge, we wandered around, and I watched as he took in the structure, the history, of the building and the place. He truly seemed fascinated by it all.

Being a tour-guide of a sort for him today was really a sweet change from my usual grind. Normally, I’d be on my third day of the workweek. This week, though, I’ve taken some much-needed time off. I don’t return until next Saturday, giving me another shortened workweek next week, as well.

Today needed Mountain Time. I am so thankful this all started with the gentle nature and calm disposition of Sterling. I cannot wait for more time with him, to calm and focus, to breathe and smile.