July 28th

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Another lazy sunday look-back. Bacon is sputtering on the stove, the cat has just been fed, I have a quart of fresh picked blueberries here to work on, a fresh pot of French Roast and the Mariners are about to hit the tube. This is a bit of man at his leisure.

This past week my boss has been out of the office, so I've only had to go in a few hours a day to handle calls and catch up on paperwork and such, all on a low stress level. The others in the office and I have all been able to work on catching up on chores and appointments. I've accomplished a couple of things that have been pretty important to me.

One ongoing situation is some chronic pain and weakness I've had. In about 1980 I had a very shrewish wife, who was very verbally abusive to both myself and my son. Where we were living we had a freak blizzard the evening my wife had a root canal, and the leak in the roof was directly over the bed she was suffering in. She suffered = I suffered, so I was up on the roof looking for the leak when I hit a sheet of ice and shot off the roof at top speed. Spinning around to land properly I cracked my neck like a whip. The CT scan showed I'd basically torn everything top to bottom in the neck, but the only treatment I had was a couple of weeks in a soft collar. The neck has never healed properly and I've had a notably limited range of motion with chronic pain ever since. I've done everything from military rappelling to the fire department academy since, and have simply learned to cope and compensate. I've also learned which muscle relaxants are the most benign but helpful. I've also just simply accepted the fact that it always hurts and predicts weather changes, and been stoic.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I finally took action, and got Doc Cody to order some cervical x-rays. I don't have the hard copy of the report yet, but from what I've been told I have some pretty good degenerative changes, with some encroachment on the nerves that spread out to the left and right from the neck at multiple levels. As well, I had a diagnostic session with a fine physical therapist, and she found an answer to another part of the pain picture. Everyone has a radial, medial, and ulnar nerve for each arm, and a real simple basic anatomical characteristic is that the nerves have an elasticity, so when you stretch your arm the nerves stretch with it. On my right arm the ulnar and medial nerves have no elasticity, which explains a lot of the pain and weakness I've been silently dealing with. I started a long series of very specifically calculated and fairly excruciating exercises. Frankly, we're looking at trying to regain some ground, but this isn't the sort of situation where a return to 'normal' is possible.

One thing coming out of the physical therapy appointments actually looks helpful in several ways. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm friggin addicted to the computer. [So are half a dozen of my closest friends, but any time somebody makes an admission simultaneous with saying , "But so are you", or "Everyone does it" or such pretty much cheapens the admission. The word 'but' means 'ignore what I just said'.] So I'm in the chair in front of the keyboard for hours a day. According to the physical therapist [and common sense] how I sit there and for how long affects everything in my spine. I'm both consciously working on sitting erect like I was told to do in the military academy so many years ago, and also - a key thing - using a kitchen timer. I set it for 45 minutes, and then have a list made up now of 10-15 minute long chores to do, out of the chair. As this gimmick does my neck and back some good, it should also help me to gain control this damn net addiction.

The other thing I've done this past week sounds fairly superficial and palliatively indulgent, but for someone with feet like mine, bearing way too much weight and with years of the woes of standing/walking jobs, it was major. I scheduled myself in for a major league pedicure at Gene Juarez. We're talking an hour or so of foot worship by a pro. Foot soaking, scrubbing, sanding, paraffin dip, massage, oils and gunk unknown. This is all with me laying back in a reclining chair, soft cloth over my eyes and headphones playing piano concertos. I am now the proud owner of Happy Feet [including a nice deep red/brown polish thankyouverymuch]. The whole thing cost me about fifty bucks or so, and I will be repeating it whenever I notice my feet start feeling tortured again.

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A look around some of the folks in the Sex Positive Diary Writer's Ghetto shows a lot of self examination, friends in dysfunctional poly situations, or looking for Mr or Ms Right [or Mr or Ms Right Now], relationship disappointments, changes, new starts, and a whole lot of public wallowing in the lint of navel introspection. [My own commentary on this ghetto was here].

Vamp has been great in discussing openly and honestly her relationship changes and how she's working on deciding what to do when she grows up. Vamp also had the great comment of, "I hope I don't get lost in my navel. I have shit to do." Hanne has mentioned licking relationship wounds. Nia talks about battling depression and poly woes. Katt also talks bravely and honestly about her depression. Back in NY, Lisa near daily exposes her hopes and desires in a mate. And each of these people is someone I admire, each is someone I support in their struggles, and in every case these travails that they comment on publicly are such a small part of the overall quality person that they all are.

No better or worse than my friends, I've also been doing a bit of refinement of my own up close and personal view of my navel lint. My thoughts are not complete - hell, I'm not dead yet - but here are a couple of the recent threads for me. One thing apparent to me is that I've sort of painted myself into a corner with this Big Scary Man image. Folks have always surprised me when they call me an edgy or extreme player, especially when there are so many other folks I know personally who I think are much more edgy than myself. Trouble is, years ago I guess I decided I liked that imagery, and have fed it. Unfortunately, that strands me out there. Folks will ask me for this or that, to give them a walk on the wild side and then after they'll go back to their comfort zone. The wild side walks are fun for both of us, but it just isn't all that is me. It can be rough to find yourself only thought of as an E Ride Ticket.

Last year I had my soft chewy interior, my need for emotional sharing and caring, my need for soft touch, all opened up from where it had been hiding for years. After growing accustomed to enjoying that again, I was suddenly left without the person who had exposed those nerves and shared that warmth with me. For about six months I've been admitting I have needs now in those areas, that I'm not going to hide that part of myself anymore, and now recent contemplation has shown me my painted in a corner self. People just aren't going to be interested in a vanilla encounter, in an emotional closeness, when they fear that I'll later push or entice them into an extreme play situation they don't want.

Also cultivated, and also now a self-created barrier, is my long identification as a 'career secondary'. I've prided myself on being a good secondary partner to numerous friends who already have a primary partner. I've dated Omaha, who has her husband Elf, I've dated Panther, who has David and Viktor, Nia who had her Hub, that sort of thing. It has helped me learn a lot of lessons quite well on communication and negotiation and time management and integrity, but it has also really done one covert thing well. It has kept at arm's length the possibility of my having a primary relationship.

Hell, I don't know - a fear of having my open sluthood curtailed, a fear of my hermitage home being upset, I'm sure there are lots of things and none of them flattering, that have helped solidify this. And I have no answers yet, as this is the most recent navel lint I've begun contemplating. One thing I do know is that all this helps me to feel right at home with the rest of my neighbors in the Sex Positive Diary Writer's Ghetto.

It's healthy, in my humble opinionated opinion, for my peers and myself to process our functions and dysfunctions to varying degrees in public. I know very well that in every case I mentioned above and including myself that there is much more being dealt with in private as well, and that private is absolutely proper as well. The only real difference between us and others is that we expose our souls publicly. There is no good or bad in any of this. There is only grow, and heal, and live. Taking big bites out of life can require some significant chewing. And that's good.

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