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It is so strange the way things turn - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
It is so strange the way things turn
This entry is going to be a heap of little bits and pieces, a mixture of good and bad, because that's what the last few days seem to have been.


daneel_olivaw arrived on Friday, and it was only really when he actually turned up on the doorstep that I realised how long it had been since I'd seen him properly. Spent a nice evening just sitting around chatting and eating pizza; I ended up flaking out quite early (just so shattered for some reason) but it was nice to just snuggle up in bed and sleep. And wake up and 'snuggle' some more, ahem. :-)

I think at least one of the reasons why my libido seems to be more likely to show itself with people who I don't see so often is that there seems to be more pressure to Do Stuff Now, because the person won't be there to Do Stuff later (though sometimes this works the other way, and the pressure just makes me go all wibbly and useless). Of course the implication of this is that I'm taking sion_a for granted, if I'm just thinking "well, there'll be other times".

The word "procrasturbation" has just popped into my head. I had to share it with you. Feel free to assign it a meaning. :-)

Anyway... the idea of trying to schedule sex just makes me feel a bit icky, to be honest; it takes all the spontaneity out of it, and I think it'd make me feel far too pressured. (Scheduling "quality time" isn't so bad, somehow, as there's no pressure to do anything specific with that time.) But I'm starting to wonder if it's worth trying it, as I just feel more and more guilty about being such a crap girlfriend.

That's the sex and the pizza... I lied about the lies. (Oh, except in that case I didn't lie. But I did. But I ... "Oh dear," said Janet, "I hadn't thought of that!" and disappeared in a puff of paradox.)



Other stuff did happen beside picking up my lovely lovely lovely [okay, that's enough -- Ed.] car. Went into town to try to get the tax disc for my car, only to find that I didn't have the logbook and they wouldn't give me a tax disc without it -- hrmph. Went to Sainsburys to pick up stuff for dinner, only to find that Sainsburys didn't have half the things we wanted for our stir-fry. Had to pick up water-chestnuts and bamboo shoots from the Nasreen Dar instead. Sainsburys did have nice fruit though. When we got home, sion_a and daneel_olivaw made dinner while I rambled on the phone to my mum about the car. :-) Aren't they lovely boys!

That evening lnr and ewx had a party, which was mostly quite fun -- people spent quite a while rearranging the letters on my velcro t-shirt (a Valentine's Day gift from daneel_olivaw, and we realised in the process that "MINOR CATASTROPHE" is an anagram of "O PROSTHETIC MARNA". ewx should have a photographic record of the latter slogan somewhere.

It was strange being at a party and not drinking -- and the fact that I found it strange suggests that maybe I need to do it more often, or drink more moderately at parties. There were times when I just felt really out of the whole thing -- partly because sion_a was spending time with a rather wibbly simonb, and daneel_olivaw was with ottah, and lnr was spending more time with ewx than she sometimes does at parties (possibly because lark_ascending wasn't there, as she was visiting cryx. (Phew... think that's everybody.) Not that any of that was a bad thing per se, & I'm not getting at anybody about it (already done that in real life, and shouldn't have done), but it did make me feel a bit odd. Did spend some time being snuggly with lnr though, which was nice.

Giving Fi a lift home in my lovely [stop right there -- Ed.] car was entertaining, especially when we started smelling burning... still no idea what was causing that, though she seems to be running fine now. Thanks to simonb for navigating me back afterwards -- I'm sorry I'm so dreadful with directions!



Faffy kind of day, mostly because we were all tired. Had a nice fried brunch eventually and then daneel_olivaw and I spent half the afternoon playing with polishing & fiddling with my car. Well, I was intent on polishing her to a gleaming shininess, while daneel_olivaw looked on in amusement. I was glad of his help to get the headlamp cover off, though, as it was a bit of a faff to remove.

After daneel_olivaw had gone I faffed about uselessly for a while, failing to get job applications written and failing even to update my LiveJournal. Then realised that I should have phoned kaet to sort out meeting up at the weekend, and that I didn't have any of my phone numbers any more since my old SIM got eaten. Fortunately sorted stuff out by email (thank god for near-instantaneous text-based communications!) and we met up later at the Carlton Arms for drinks and a nice chat. I don't see kaet nearly enough -- particularly daft since we live about 10 mins' walk from each other!



I don't know what happened to Monday, everything just seemed to go pearshaped. I felt like everybody was being unbelievably irritating, though in retrospect I think it was me being unbelievably irritable. Over the last few days I've been stopping taking the antidepressants (because I am sick and tired of being on them, sick and tired of not being able to think clearly, sick and tired of having to remember to take bloody pills with me every time I go out for dinner, and sick of the idea that I have to be on drugs to be a normal human being), and I think it's been having more effect than I realised. Perhaps that's why I was feeling more out-of-it than usual on Saturday night, too.

Anyway, I ended up getting into horrible arguments all over irc, and ended up yelling at ewx quite unreasonably and getting cross with lnr as well for trying to make me calm down. And then yelling at sion_a after he basically told me that I was totally in the wrong on irc, which wasn't fair either. Spent half the evening feeling miserable and sulky. Sometimes I wonder why anybody puts up with me at all. :-(

In other news, other stupid arguments are still continuing on news, though I think I'm just going to ignore those from now on -- if <lj user="****"> wants to keep on ticking me off she can do so by email, and if she thinks she's going to guilt-trip me into becoming just like her by telling me that she Doesn't Like Me As Much Any More Now, she has another think coming. And <lj user="******"> can just continue vanishing up his own self-important arse as far as I'm concerned.

(No, I wouldn't normally self-censor like that, but these are people with Top Sekrit Double Lives, so I'm not allowed to admit that I have any idea who they are. It would be terrible if anybody found out that ****** ****** is actually ****** ********, wouldn't it? Dear me, yes. Of course, if he really doesn't want anybody to know, he shouldn't tell anybody; but I guess it's more fun to tell a couple of people and then be really precious about how Important a Secret it is. Hell, I used to do that too when I was a kid. It's not even as if I first heard it from him -- it's practically common knowledge in Cambridge!)

Oh well. Life's too short to get too upset about stupid people; like I said, being disliked by people who barely know me is fairly low down my worry-list at the moment. I'm more worried about the fact that I seem to be getting irritated with people I actually really care about, and I think that's something I need to do something about. I don't want to go back onto the antidepressants, but it looks like I may have to.

There were good things about Monday though. For one thing, I got email saying that somebody had paid for 6 months of LJ account for me! Didn't find out till today who it was though -- huge thanks and *hugs* to lnr for being sweet to me, even if it does also make me feel even guiltier for being so horrid. :-/

Other good things about Monday were all food-related, which sounds awful and piggy, but sometimes comfort food is nice. Leftover stirfry from Saturday made an excellent lunch; and then for dinner sion_a and I had pasta with fried onions, mushrooms and bacon, with a good few pinches of sage thrown in, and a couple of (beaten) eggs chucked in at the end. Mmmmm.



So I finally found out who sent me the anonymous Valentine's Day card. Thank you, /.*/ -- I'm very flattered! :-) (Letting you preserve your anonymity in case you're embarrassed about it...)

Also seem to have made up with people who I was shouting at on irc, though I suspect that's probably more due to their tolerance and general nice-person-ness than anything I've done. :-/ It's good to be talking to people again, because I care a lot about them and I don't want to upset them... but I really just don't feel like I'm much good as a friend or a girlfriend at the moment. <sigh>


What's happening now: Completely failing to get my act together with reference to job applications. Dithering about whether to apply for a job which looks interesting, but a) pays slightly less than this one (but for shorter hours), b) looks like it might involve having to do some accountancy training, and c) is only three days away from the closing date so will be a huge stress to apply for at this late stage.

Feeling very woozy and headachey; keep feeling like I'm about to black out, my eyes kind of roll a bit but then they flick back to their normal position and it makes my headache twinge. Not looking forward to cycling home in the dark in this state at all. Time to go home now, though, if we're going to get dinner before sion_a goes over to see simonb.

Now playing: Vague tingling noises in my head. Urgh.

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Comments
ewx From: ewx Date: February 25th, 2003 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked the card l-)
lnr From: lnr Date: February 25th, 2003 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hang on a minute, I thought she said something about "very neat handwriting"? Can't be right.

How'd you work it out Jan, or did he confess?
j4 From: j4 Date: February 26th, 2003 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
He confessed. :) But it *was* neat handwriting!
From: kaet Date: February 25th, 2003 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
And A PROSTHETIC ROMAN too, and THOR'S ROMANTIC PEA.

It was good to talk to you too. I don't get to have proper conversations very often, :).
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: February 25th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always fill in application forms at the last possible moment to catch the last possible post before the deadline. It puts me in the right mood: mean, sarcastic and desperate.

The hours I could have spent doing something fun if more companies just let you send a fricking CV and covering letter...
j4 From: j4 Date: February 27th, 2003 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I always fill in application forms at the last possible moment to catch the last possible post before the deadline.

Me too; but more by faff than by choice.

It puts me in the right mood: mean, sarcastic and desperate.

Ah. Perhaps I need to cultivate that kind of attitude, rather than being panicked, miserable, and resigned to not getting the bloody job anyway.

The hours I could have spent doing something fun if more companies just let you send a fricking CV and covering letter...

Even that's bad enough. The covering letter (or equivalent "personal statement") is always the worst bit, because it's the bit where EVERY SINGLE TIME I have to say "No, I don't have any of the qualifications you require for this job, and I don't have any obviously relevant previous jobs, because my job title has never accurately reflected the amount of unappreciated and unpaid stuff I end up doing, but I could do this job, I could do it with my fucking eyes shut, so please give me a chance."

Still haven't done the bloody applications. Still half-debating whether it's worth applying for the one that looks a lot more accountant-ish on the full job specs than it did on the advert. :-/
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: February 25th, 2003 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Trying to tie together a few things I've heard you say, I think I respectfully disagree with you about the value of secrets, secrecy and different levels of openness in relationships (not necessarily romantic ones) with different people.

There are things about myself that I've told only a few people but can think that I wouldn't like my entire circle of friends (let alone Friends) to know, sometimes because I perceive that some friends think ill of people with a certain characteristic and I don't want to change the relationship that I have with said friend already, sometimes because I'd like to tell more people something and want to feel that I have got things right in my mind first. (While I'm prepared to admit I've changed, I don't like declaring myself to be characteristic when I am really !characteristic.)

For those of you playing the meta-game at home, interpret that paragraph how you will. ;-)

Oh, I don't know. I can't put my thoughts into words here terribly expressively or eloquently - might try again at some other point. I do definitely respectfully perceive a difference between our opinions on the subject here, though.
j4 From: j4 Date: February 26th, 2003 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Trying to tie together a few things I've heard you say, I think I respectfully disagree with you about the value of secrets, secrecy and different levels of openness in relationships (not necessarily romantic ones) with different people.

There are many different kinds of secrets.

If I hear something about somebody from a third party who isn't particularly close to them, I tend to assume it's not that much of a secret. It's then rather irritating (having mentally filed something as "not really top-secret information") to later be told that it's the kind of secret that I should guard with my life; if it's really that much of a secret then it probably shouldn't be told to anybody except the people who really need to know. If it's already leaked so much that I'm hearing it from such diffuse sources, then IMHO the secret-originator needs to rethink how much that secret matters to them, and whether they should perhaps be protecting whatever it is they're trying to protect some other more effective way.

Basically this is less to do with my attitude to my own secrets and more to do with my (IMHO pragmatic, if slightly cynical) attitude to information transmission. I don't say things that I don't want to be heard, because NOTHING can be 100% guaranteed to be kept "secret" once it's been said to another person. Although I suppose in a way that informs my attitude to my own secrets: the logical extension of this viewpoint is that there can't really be any meaningfully differentiated levels of secrecy, so if I tell something to one person, it might as well be common knowledge.

There are things that I don't bother saying to certain subsets of people, but that's usually because I don't think they'll be interested. There are also things that I don't tell certain people because I worry that telling them will hurt them, upset them, or squick them; I don't want to force information on people when I suspect that they don't want it. On the other hand, if they find it out anyway then it's up to them to deal with it -- I can avoid shoving it down their throat, but I can't stop it being true just to protect them from things that they don't want to deal with.

There are things about myself that I've told only a few people but can think that I wouldn't like my entire circle of friends (let alone Friends) to know

Fair enough. But if I heard something about you from a third party, I'm afraid I'd probably assume that you didn't mind people knowing it. If, on the other hand, the first time I heard it was from you, and you said "Please don't broadcast this information any further", I'd try to respect that, because I like you. IMHO, though, keeping a secret for somebody is a favour -- I'll do favours for friends, but I don't go out of my way to do favours for people who treat me like shit. If somebody has persistently failed to honour any of the favours that they offered me, then I think they're on shaky ground if they expect me to put myself out for them.

I do definitely respectfully perceive a difference between our opinions on the subject here, though.

I'm happy for our opinions to differ; I hope you don't think I'm arguing with you, I'm just trying to clarify my opinions (not least so that I have a better idea of what they are!). And if there is a less theoretical situation where our opinions clash, I hope we can come to a compromise; like I said, I like you, and I'm willing to work at "relationships" (in the broadest sense) with people I like -- provided, of course, they're willing to do the same.

Does that make sense? I don't feel like I'm expressing myself very well, and I feel like I'm putting more effort than I have the energy for into skating around the specific motivations behind what I originally said (I don't want to get into the specifics any more than I have to). And I have a headache, which is stopping me thinking very clearly at the moment.
lnr From: lnr Date: February 26th, 2003 09:50 am (UTC) (Link)
if it's already leaked so much that I'm hearing it from such diffuse sources, then IMHO the secret-originator needs to rethink how much that secret matters to them, and whether they should perhaps be protecting whatever it is they're trying to protect some other more effective way.

I've been bitten by that one, and have been told off for mentioning someone by surname, when I didn't know it was supposed to be secret, because I'd first met them through a different route to the bunch of people it was secret among, IYSWIM. It was particularly frustrating since they had the same first name as another mutual friend so I'd been mentally using their surname to keep the two unique. Still do even, I just have to remember when I'm not supposed to mention it out loud. I think I agree with you that this sort of secret isn't always possible or sensible to try and keep.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: February 26th, 2003 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
As usual, we agree on more than we disagree and it's just the fine points where we differ. It's like the difference between political parties these days, except without all the bitter competition.

Perhaps it might be useful for us all to consider that we are mentally building up a web of reputation and trust and our own impressions of what the relationships are between people. Of course, we can't do this as accurately as would be useful, because these relationships can often be secret themselves. Openness concerning levels of secrecy is pretty much a prerequisite to get these things right, but this probably doesn't help.

But if I heard something about you from a third party, I'm afraid I'd probably assume that you didn't mind people knowing it.

Probably the difference between our positions. I suspect my position - which is not one I'd advocate or claim to be in any sense "right" - would probably be to consider whether I'd appreciate it if that thing were said about me and then assign this reaction to the person about whom it is being said. It's probably a strange sort of badly-applied "do as you would be done by".

What you do say makes clear sense and wasn't in any way negatively expressed. I shall not press you on the specifics, not least because they aren't my business and I don't know the people in the first place.

I like you, too, and am happy when you have happy things to report. As well as that, I care about you and I respect you. You think hard, deeply and effectively, you try hard, you care about doing the right thing and trying to live up to ideals, you're generous with your time and emotion. You write really well, you do lots of proactively interesting things and you have a fantastic sense of humour.

Have a great Thursday!
j4 From: j4 Date: February 27th, 2003 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps it might be useful for us all to consider that we are mentally building up a web of reputation and trust and our own impressions of what the relationships are between people. [...]

I tend to try not to make assumptions about what the relationships are between other people. But I end up doing it anyway sometimes... e.g. assuming that a married couple will probably tell each other enough things that if I tell something to one of them (with no indication that what I'm telling them is a secret) then it's not unlikely that the other one will hear it too.

I also tend to assume that a couple aren't keeping secrets from each other concerning their other relationships; but I don't really want to stop assuming that.

... Of course, if there's something I actively want the other half of the couple to know, I'll just tell them; and if it's something I actively don't want them to know, I'll say so; but generally I tend to assume a high level of diffusion of information between people who spend a lot of their time together.

Openness concerning levels of secrecy is pretty much a prerequisite to get these things right, but this probably doesn't help.

It's getting rather meta...

[hearing things from third parties]
Probably the difference between our positions. [...] It's probably a strange sort of badly-applied "do as you would be done by".

I think I apply a similar kind of logic, and the difference is just that I don't mind people knowing/saying things about me. I don't exactly apply "do as you would be done by" in terms of secrets, because if I did I'd just assume that everything was public-domain knowledge; but I know that a lot of people are a lot more secretive than me, so I try to be more protective of other people's secrets. However, it's not always easy to protect people in a way that I don't really understand the need for, because I don't really want or need to be protected that way myself.

Does that make any sense?

I do mind people spreading malicious rumours -- either false rumours to damage somebody's reputation, or truths that are only being told for malicious reasons -- but that's a slightly different case. If I suspect that the former is happening, I tend to just ask the person under discussion "Is this true?"; if I suspect that the latter is happening, well, it probably tells me more about the person who's passing the fact on than it does about the person under discussion.

If somebody I trust tells me something about another person and I have no reason to believe that it's false and/or that they have malicious reasons for telling me this thing, I tend to assume it's more or less common knowledge. (This doesn't necessarily mean I'd have any reason to pass it on, and I probably wouldn't go out of my way to do so, but I don't file it under "secrets" in my brain.)

In the original case I was talking about, somebody said something along the lines of "Oh, that's not [somebody]'s real name; their real name is [something else]." Now, I'm used to nearly all the people I know having multiple names, nicknames, net-handles, re-enacting names, and so on; so I couldn't see any reason why this would be a huge secret. I got the impression that it was a reasonably well known fact, but that the person chose to use their made-up name (which seemed reasonable, since their real name was eminently boring, and their made-up name was much more "cool"). Fair enough; people have a right to be called whatever they want, no real need to refer to the real name, but it still exists. No big deal. I certainly wouldn't object to other people knowing any of my names/nicknames, so it was a "do as you would be done by", really.

The problem is, once I know something (and haven't tagged it as "top sekrit knowledge") it's pretty hard for me to forget it. It seems rather pointless to try to retrospectively set higher security on a "secret" which people already know -- you can't make people un-know things, and while you can tell the people you know not to pass the information on any further, you can't necessarily tell all the people they know (who might already know the information) the same thing.

[more to follow -- exceeded max chars!]
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: February 27th, 2003 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I tend to try not to make assumptions about what the relationships are between other people. But I end up doing it anyway sometimes... e.g. assuming that a married couple will probably tell each other enough things that if I tell something to one of them (with no indication that what I'm telling them is a secret) then it's not unlikely that the other one will hear it too.

FWIW I don't work that way, although I'm happy for other people to (which is why you might remember me saying "you can tell him this" about a couple of things); I just like to make sure people don't think they need to keep secret things that I'm not so fussed about, or that I'd have no problem telling their partner about in the first place were they to answer the phone first, conversely I reserve the right to say "but don't tell X or Y or the wider world" too. Normal.

But with the "married couple" bit - it does depend on context. Because I deliberately keep LJ (and other online lists/forums/certain newsgroups) a separate place, for MY purposes*, stuff I read online becomes secret almost by default. I mentioned the car in abstract but didn't mention who was getting it, figuring that you'd mention it in a context where he'd hear about it, sooner or later. If you don't, well it makes no great difference to him anyway. He's used to me saying "someone mentioned" without wanting to know who or where or why. Since half the people I talk to online are over 4000 miles away, a lot of it is not *necessary* to keep secret in the normal sense. I don't gossip about friends, though, I've been bitten by gossip too many times myself to want to spread it about people I know.

*Stuff to do with keeping an identity other than "Mrs DH". Also gives me a place to vent should he ever really annoy me. :-) Although that probably won't be on here. I can say things that might upset him (on my behalf) so that I can get rid of the negativity and be happy again, without depressing him in the mean time - he does get terribly upset (think he feels helpless) when I'm really down. I guess the reverse of this is that I implicitly ask those who know me not to ever tell DH what I say on here (unless you ever see me say I'm about to commit infanticide or suicide, then I think it might be advisable, even if I'd disagree with you at the time...)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
But with the "married couple" bit - it does depend on context. Because I deliberately keep LJ (and other online lists/forums/certain newsgroups) a separate place, for MY purposes*, stuff I read online becomes secret almost by default.

Does DH not know that you have a LiveJournal, then?

I'm glad you told me all this -- I'm afraid I had assumed that DH would read your LJ, and therefore that anything you said on here was known to him as well. Fortunately it hasn't affected anything so far (I haven't spoken to or emailed him since I started reading your LJ!) so your're safe, and I'll know from now on.

I think I'd be really quite hurt if I found out that sion_a was keeping a secret livejournal that he hadn't told me about, or if he was making restricted entries just so that he could slag me off without me knowing. I'd hope that if I was pissing him off, the person he'd tell would be the one who could actually do something about it -- that is, me.

I guess this makes me an Evil Possessive Girlfriend. You can all accuse me of stalkerish behaviour now. :-(

*Stuff to do with keeping an identity other than "Mrs DH".

I can understand wanting to keep your own identity, but then I don't see married couples as a unified identity anyway -- that's not why I assume they know what's going on in each other's lives, it's really just that it seems likely that they will spend a reasonable amount of time together, talking to each other, and will be more open with each other than with random people. I'd assume similar about people who I knew to be very close friends, or about sisters who I knew were very close to each other -- "married couples" was just an example really.

On the other hand I can't imagine wanting to keep anything secret from my partners. I want to share my life with them. I certainly don't feel like they're stealing my soul or anything if they know stuff about me! I keep my own unique identity just by being me; in my eyes, you do the same just by being you.

Maybe if you only ever talked about DH, and/or you didn't feel you could do anything without him, then maybe I would start to feel that you were "an item" with one shared identity... but I think that's orthogonal to whether or not you know each other's secrets. There are plenty of joined-at-the-hip couples who still keep secrets from each other, and plenty of independent individuals who don't...

I think a lot of it depends on context, too. You tend to get a feel for who keeps what kind of thing secret, IYSWIM. I know there are things that you're (quite understandably) sensitive about, and I'd definitely ask before mentioning them to DH (if indeed I had any reason whatsoever to want to do so, which I can't envisage really); but if you told me (on LJ or elsewhere), oh, I don't know, something relatively trivial-sounding about what you'd been doing day-to-day -- say you told me that you'd spent the weekend shopping in London or something -- I would probably assume that DH knew about that, if nothing else because you live with him. Is that an unreasonable assumption? If it is, then I'm sorry. (It's mostly theoretical anyway, because I generally don't have any reason to go round telling people things about their partners!)

As for what-people-tell-each-other... Well, it's a personal choice, you define your own "comfort zones". But I do feel a bit hurt by the implication that because I don't want to keep secrets from my partners, I can't have any identity of my own.

And apologies if that implication was never intended -- I guess I just feel a bit twitchy having been shouted at by various anti-marriage folks for sacrificing my identity, etc. (Apparently if I take sion_a's surname it means that I am betraying wombyn in general by voluntarily agreeing to get rid of all my rights as a human being, becoming another addition to my husband's possessions, a status-symbol for his position in the patriarchy as subjugator of wimmin, a mere object for him to abuse as he wishes... moo, moo, moo, quackety-fucking-moo.)
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: March 4th, 2003 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Does DH not know that you have a LiveJournal, then?
It's never come up. He introduced me to the concept, way back, and I got my LJ code from someone that he dislikes so I never really liked to bring it up then. Now, I guess I've just got used to having it as a separate part of life. He has ngs and forums that I don't participate in, although I could probably find them if I wanted to (but I don't).

I don't think he'd be hurt to know about it, but then the things that hurt him are things like my being upset or in pain (depression etc) and I hate moaning to him about things and watching him feel bad for me. It hurts him a lot and doesn't help me. So I view LJ as somewhere I can vent. Also, I think it's like a diary, and I wouldn't dream of looking in his diary (not that he keeps much in it, he shows me it from time to time and it's all appointments and astronomical data...).

You're right, most of the stuff in here he'll already know - shopping, appointments, what I'm reading etc. The stuff that he doesn't know is mainly about my emotions, and I like to work them out here and then if I need to talk to him about them I've got them to a coherent state where I can explain the problem without scaring or puzzling him. He doesn't do the inherent-understanding bit, and if I tried explaining some of my madder hormonal moments he'd just be baffled. Believe me, I've tried. It's easier for both of us if I can put it in writing, think about it for a bit, then discuss it when I'm calmer.

I think my fear about becoming no more than Mrs DH is partly my own paranoia, and partly a fear of becoming stereotypical. The more actively I try to remain separate for intellectual purposes :-) the happier I am with the stuff we do do as one amalgamated unit. I think this will become even more important to me when I become "Mum of SC" too; I want to retain enough "me" to keep sane. We do instinctively do a lot of stuff as a gestalt entity, and that's really nice for our relationship with each other, but I don't want to be "The Smug Marrieds", especially when a lot of our friends are still single (not counting those who live with a partner in that definition of "single"). This may be another facet of my "oh my gawd I'm older than everyone else" fear from university...

I do feel a bit hurt by the implication that because I don't want to keep secrets from my partners, I can't have any identity of my own.
Lordy, no, that was never my intention! I know that the way I do things is a bit screwed, but I'd never assume that was the case for anyone else. I voluntarily took DH's name, I'm happy about a lot of the "couple" things, but because of my own neuroses I am being over-protective of my own separate identity. I admire anyone who is not neurotic in that way, and I wish I wasn't quite so bad! I think part of it is a history of "fear of abandonment" - if something awful happened to DH tomorrow I fear I would crumble completely, if I didn't try to preserve that little bit of independence as a cushion. At some point in the future, ideally, I will feel a lot more relaxed about this new identity as Mrs DH and Mum of SC, and stop worrying about who I am. Then I'll be a lot happier.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 5th, 2003 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)
He has ngs and forums that I don't participate in, although I could probably find them if I wanted to (but I don't).

I think ngs and other such forums are a bit different; my livejournal is so much my life in a way that ngs aren't. The things I say on LJ are much more personal. I don't honestly think sion_a would care about whether or not I was reading comp.sys.apple2, but I think he'd be hurt if it looked like I had great big bits of my hopes and dreams and feelings that I didn't want to share with him.

Maybe he wouldn't care. But I prefer to give him the option.

[...] It hurts him a lot and doesn't help me.

Fair enough, but... I'm not sure how to put this. It's something that I think I need to formalise in my head somehow, and it's something that rysmiel was discussing recently (and put better than I could in his axiomatic noodlings and subsequent expansions thereof). Basically I think that it's okay to hide stuff from somebody to protect them, but only if you're giving them the option of not having stuff hidden. If they've said "Please don't tell me about this, it hurts me", then that's fair enough, but if I'm just assuming "I'd better not tell X, they couldn't cope with it" then it seems to me that I'm failing to trust them, failing to accord them the right as an adult to define their own comfort zone. ... Does that make sense?

And (this is definitely a personal choice so please don't generalise from it) I'd feel like I was seriously failing sion_a if I told him I didn't want to know when he was depressed. Part of the point of relationships as I see them is being able to deal with ppl's unhappy times as well as their happy ones. Maybe I can't help; but I'd feel dreadful knowing that he might be suffering more than I could possibly imagine but not being able to tell anybody about it, just because I'd decided I didn't want to deal with it. I guess this partly depends on whether the person in question has anybody else they can talk to, though...

Also, I think it's like a diary, and I wouldn't dream of looking in his diary

I wouldn't dream of looking without asking first. But if somebody made it clear that I was allowed to look at their diary, I might look at it. (Though of course you don't know that DH hasn't found your LJ...) I'm making this diary publicly available because that's what I want to do with it. I have a paper diary which isn't publicly available (though I don't really keep it any more -- much of it was only not-public because I didn't have an easy way of making it public!) but if sion_a wanted to see it I'd let him.

It's easier for both of us if I can put it in writing, think about it for a bit, then discuss it when I'm calmer.

That definitely makes sense. I dunno, sion_a never comments on my LJ, so I have no idea what he thinks of it... maybe he'd rather I didn't discuss things at all. Hell, maybe he doesn't even read it.

[snip - identity]
I think part of it is a history of "fear of abandonment" - if something awful happened to DH tomorrow I fear I would crumble completely, if I didn't try to preserve that little bit of independence as a cushion.

I know what you mean... But then I don't think I've ever had independence as a cushion. I always do crumble when relationships end, but I rebound far faster than I should into new relationships because I literally have no idea how to live as a single person. I wouldn't know how to get up in the morning. I wouldn't know how to think.

I'm still me, though. Honest. Whatever "me" is. ... God, you're right, I don't have any identity, do I? :-( :-(
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: March 5th, 2003 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
[groups, forums, other online things] I think it depends on what those other ngs etc are. At least one of DH's is one that I actively dislike the concept and tenor of. I wouldn't dream of criticizing his participation therein, but I also don't want to know what he says there. [Gosh, that almost sounds like he has a Dirty Secret but it's not, I promise. No suspecting him of Dark (anti)Satanic Beliefs, please!] There are a couple of mine that I wouldn't mind either way if he read, but I know he doesn't and wouldn't. LJ - well, if he did find it it wouldn't be the end of the world, but if I knew he was reading it it would alter how I felt about writing in it. I can't think that anything I've written to date would be a problem, but I want to reserve the right to have that option, especially if anything horrid happened to or between us.

Basically I think that it's okay to hide stuff from somebody to protect them... Does that make sense?
Perfect sense. The problem is that he will never say "please don't tell me", but I can see from his reaction that it is hurting him, and I don't want to hurt him or make him feel so helpless. Very early on I did tell him some very major scary things, and they did upset him quite severely, and I just felt so horrible for doing that, because I've had umpteen years to deal with them and get used to them, and he hadn't. Nothing in his previous experience of life had prepared him for trying to deal with that kind of thing, and although he tried, it was almost impossible. It would have been worse if I hadn't told him, but that's because I might have done the knife-waving thing without apparent provocation and that would have been awful. [As it is, I honestly haven't felt that bad in the whole time we've been together - he's obviously very very good for my state of calmness. The only times I've shouted at him EVER are when I'm upstairs and he's downstairs so it's a "please bring me" shout rather than a "you bastard" shout. There were a LOT of YB shouts at exBF...] If I felt confident that he would know when to say "please don't tell me" I'd feel happier about giving him that option in this situation.

Part of the point of relationships as I see them is being able to deal with ppl's unhappy times as well as their happy ones.
Agreed. But I think he knows when I'm down anyway, without having to read about it too. I am quite good at telling him, and he's very good at noticing anyway and trying to help, even though he doesn't always know how. I agree with what you've written wrt to how this works for you, I just don't think it would help in our situation. Horses on courses :-) and all that.

I don't think I've ever had independence as a cushion
I didn't, for a large part of my life. Then I made a conscious decision to develop it precisely because I'd had such a HUGE crumbling-into-complete-collapse situation occur. I got used to it, which exBF inadvertently fostered, because he was living 50 miles away and pretending I didn't exist half the time, which didn't help our "togetherness" at all. So DH is really the first time in (gosh, nearly 8 years!) that I hadn't been at least partly independent for most purposes. This is why it's so important to me, and now, with SC and all the hormonal stuff going on, it's even more important. I have "what if he fell under a bus" nightmares (well, you know cycling in Oxford...) and I'm alarmed at how clearly devastating that would be, and then I don't want him to even leave the house, and... become clingy-wife-from-hell (which is another nightmare of mine, along with the Smug Marrieds fear - FFS these are stereotypes I laughed at! Why am I becoming one?). Which isn't helpful to him, our relationship, or my general state of mind. So retaining that tiny buffer of me stops me going insane and chaining him to the bed (hmmmm. Thinks: not a bad idea, for other reasons). (running out of space here...)
j4 From: j4 Date: February 27th, 2003 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
[part II]

You think hard, deeply and effectively, you try hard, you care about doing the right thing and trying to live up to ideals, you're generous with your time and emotion.

*blush* I'm sure none of that's true. ... It's funny, the people who like me say nice things like that about me, and the people who don't like me say that I'm nasty, manipulative, hypocritical, unfair, and so on. I don't know which lot to believe. I know what kind of person I try to be, and I know I fail sometimes. ... but then IME most human beings do fail to live up to their ideals some of the time. Is it just that different people see different sides of me? It's easy to believe that the people who like me are just trying to be nice; but it's equally easy to believe that the people who don't like me are just trying to hurt me. It's just as easy to believe that I'm none of those things as that I'm all of them, if you see what I mean. On the other hand, a lot of the people I don't like just have very different values from me, so maybe the fact that I'm a bad person by their values isn't such a bad thing for me... but it's hard to feel confident of that when they're so vehemently defensive of their own way as the One True Way. I don't believe my way is the One True Way. I don't believe there is One True Way, even for each individual person, let alone for everybody.

I don't know. I'm too headachy and confused to make any sense of this at the moment. :-(

You write really well, you do lots of proactively interesting things and you have a fantastic sense of humour.

*blush* again. It's really strange to hear you say that -- I don't think I do anything proactive or interesting, and that's one of the main things that makes me really unhappy. I see everybody around me doing all kinds of interesting and clever and creative things, and I look at my life and I don't seem to do anything. I don't have all the talents that all my friends have, I have no area of expertise; while I have good ideas from time to time I rarely manage to start anything, let alone finish anything.

*stress* Enough about this for now. It's making me feel really grotty. :-(
angoel From: angoel Date: February 27th, 2003 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
It's funny, the people who like me say nice things like that about me, and the people who don't like me say that I'm nasty, manipulative, hypocritical, unfair, and so on. I don't know which lot to believe.


Believe both. That way lies balance.

I don't think I do anything proactive or interesting, and that's one of the main things that makes me really unhappy. I see everybody around me doing all kinds of interesting and clever and creative things, and I look at my life and I don't seem to do anything.


It merely looks that way because the people around you outnumber you lots to one.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Believe both. That way lies balance.

I'm not very good at believing mutually contradictory things.

I know that the way people see me isn't What I Really Am -- but I tend to assume that it bears some relation to it, unless the person in question is just completely hatstand. So long as you know that you're effectively seeing yourself in a variety of distorted mirrors, it can provide some useful data. But I feel like I'm looking in one mirror and seeing a tree, and in another I'm seeing a cheesegrater, and I can't see how the same thing could produce such incredibly different reflections. Maybe it's more like the blind philosophers describing an elephant -- seeing the same thing from different angles -- but I don't have magic elephant-o-vision and as a result I can't see any way of getting a decent picture of the whole elephant.

I mean, things like being "unfair" or "nice" or whatever are, of course, things you can't really be in a vacuum; they're almost entirely to do with your relationship to other people, so they presumably will vary a bit from person to person -- both because I'll relate differently to different people, and because different people will see things differently. I'm just puzzled by the range of variation, not by the fact that there is variation.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: February 27th, 2003 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It's funny, the people who like me say nice things like that about me, and the people who don't like me say that I'm nasty, manipulative, hypocritical, unfair, and so on. I don't know which lot to believe....Is it just that different people see different sides of me? It's easy to believe that the people who like me are just trying to be nice; but it's equally easy to believe that the people who don't like me are just trying to hurt me.
But it wouldn't be any more helpful if the people you liked told you lies, would it? Sure, everyone has faults, and friends do notice those faults, but on the big cosmic balance of things :-) you're weighed and still found to come up nice. So people will continue to say nice things. Those that don't like you will weight the scales in the opposite direction, with the fact that they don't like you - whether they're trying to hurt you or not, judgment gets clouded - and so it will come up the other way. I know that the more people say nice things the more I disbelieve them and retreat into self-loathing - but knowing that I do that is a huge help when it comes to trying to break that behaviour pattern. It's still hard. Someone who's known me nearly 31 years told me this week that I'll make a "fantastic mother" - and she's one herself - but I still can't believe it, because I'm so convinced I won't cope that I can't accept the idea that actually I've been coping with other people's children for a long time (including hers) and that I probably won't be as scatty as I think I am. But at least I know that I have a hard time accepting that compliment, so I can start to think about whether it might be right after all.

most human beings do fail to live up to their ideals some of the time
Of course we do. But it's rare that that failure should alter your life. Enjoy what does happen, and occasionally wonder if it's your ideals that need checking (not necessarily altering, just revisiting to check that they're still appropriate) rather than your behaviour. In other words, you don't have to be Superwoman, ruthlessly efficient, startlingly beautiful, a saint, 100% ethical, Brain of Britain, whatever. You have to be a lovable human being, and as long as you're achieving that, and you're happy in yourself, that should do. I know, I know. I wish I could take my own advice too. Or stop giving it. I'll stop now.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Someone who's known me nearly 31 years told me this week that I'll make a "fantastic mother" - and she's one herself - but I still can't believe it, because I'm so convinced I won't cope that I can't accept the idea that actually I've been coping with other people's children for a long time (including hers) and that I probably won't be as scatty as I think I am.

I know I'm not a mother, but I still think you'd make a fantastic mother. I don't think scattiness is anything to do with it -- you have lots of love to give, you're kind and understanding and accepting of people for who they are, you're lively and creative, you're confident and intelligent, and if you can pass on even half of that to SC then s/he'll be very lucky indeed.
angoel From: angoel Date: February 27th, 2003 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
There are many different kinds of secrets.


Indeed. For me, there are five types. The easiest are ones that only I know and noone else will discover, and ones that everyone knows about and aren't really secrets.

Types three and four are secrets which groups of people know. In the type three, if someone else indicates that they know the secret, then they get added to the group. In type four, if someone else indicates that they know the secret, then I decide that everyone knows it really.

The fiveth type are secrets that I don't know, but I don't care about those much.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: February 26th, 2003 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Is there some sort of low-level psychosis ray that beams over Cambridge or something?
j4 From: j4 Date: February 26th, 2003 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Gee, thanks. Remind me to kick you when you're down some time, too.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: February 26th, 2003 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't mean you, I mean others. Sorry if that wasn't obvious from context.
j4 From: j4 Date: February 26th, 2003 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry. Wasn't obvious... obviously I'm just neurotic instead. :-/

(The people I was ranting about aren't based in Cambridge. I think that's why I assumed you meant me.)

Y'know, I think I should just hide in a box until I'm all better.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: February 26th, 2003 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Get in your shiny new car and drive and drive and drive ...
j4 From: j4 Date: February 27th, 2003 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
That's so what I want to do right now. ~sigh~ Unfortunately I should be writing job applications. Or going back to bed.
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