Putting relationships on “hold”

I have such a visceral reaction to the phrase “put my other relationship on hold” in the poly discussion groups. It’s usually a phrase uttered when the following scenario applies:

The hinge in a “vee” has developed a solid and happy relationship with one partner that going swell, but everything in their additional relationship is falling apart. Some versions of that sentence would include “….everything in the additional relationship is falling apart because of the other one’s existence.

I’m trying desperately to stay away from calling either relationship “other” or “first” or “second” because I’m trying like hell not to imbue any of this with implied hierarchy.

My reaction is to the idea that you can put someone you say you love on “hold” because someone else you love is struggling. I don’t care where on your relationship flow chart they live.

The phone company puts me on hold. My partner does not. If you can put your relationship with me ‘on hold’ then we have no relationship. That’s how I roll.

But, I realize that this visceral reaction to this phrase stems from a past experience I had, in one of my early attempts at poly with someone who made a LOT of newbie mistakes that I see playing out again and again in the advice forums.

His relationship with me was solid. The more solid we were, the less stable she was. So when she struggled, he would “dial it back” with me in order for her to get stable again.

Guess what?

She used that. She used it regularly. Every time her jealousy would flare up, she’d have a panic attack or get herself into trouble or blatantly break one of his rules (these were both D/s relationships) and he’d dial it back with me to help her recover.

I’d complain to him and try to reason with him. “It’s like if there’s one kid who always follows the rules and another kid who’s constantly breaking them, so what you do is take away the toy from the good kid and give it to the one throwing the tantrum in order to shut them up.”

“It’s that saying that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but if you don’t pay attention to your other wheel you’re going to end up with a flat tire.”

He’d say he understood and things would change, but then he’d keep doing it. He’d keep rewarding her tantrums by denying me. When she felt like she’d “won” then she was fine again.

Guess what I did?

I started having panic attacks. I mean, it worked for her. Why wouldn’t it work for me? But, it backfired. I hadn’t set a precedent for having panic attacks, so when I had them I was told I was “faking” it, and to pull it together.

I wasn’t faking it. I was trying to control something I couldn’t control that I SHOULD have had some control over. The protocols and boundaries of my relationship should have been something he and I discussed and agreed upon together. Our boundaries and protocols should have been the foundation of stability upon which our unique relationship could be built independently of any other relationships he was building with anybody else.

But he kept allowing someone else to pound cracks into our foundation.

And, here’s the fun part… Usually, it’s the “primary” or the “first, and more established” partner that thinks they have a say in how their partner conducts their other affairs. In my case? I was the first one there. She came in three months after me, and it only took three months for her to completely destroy us by shedding the light how little control and integrity he really had.

So now, when I hear people wanting to put one relationship “on hold” I want to tell their seemingly dispensable partner, “RUN. RUN FAR AWAY.”

As the late Patrick Swayze declared, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

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Phi-ty Shades Darker (SPOILERS)

I decided to smoke some pot and document my live reactions to the film 50 Shades Darker, which is now available on HBO, BTW.

Below is the result.



There WILL be spoilers here



Oh good. She’s still stammering and timid.

I guess asserting herself with her former Dom didn’t give her any confidence after the last movie.

Boss should not be looking at his employee that way. Predatory as fuck.

Her coworker clearly agrees w/ me the way she just shot their boss that look.

Ok. She’s walking into an art show. She seems surprised that she’s the model in all the photos. does she not remember posing?

WOAH. Friend tells her that if he had asked before choosing all the photos of her she would have said no, so he just did it anyway. way to model good consent practices!

someone bought the whole collection of her overpriced images in a gallery. I WONDER WHO

OH MY FUCKING GOD.

“you bought all the very overpriced giant pictures of me? ” His response. “Yeah. I don’t like the idea of anybody gawking at you.” EX GIRLFRIEND WHO LEFT ME.

boom. she ordered her own dinner. that shows him who’s boss! So he grins and says “fine” She didn’t need your permission, asshole.

“I can’t do this if you won’t talk to me” Smartest thing Anastasia has ever said.

She seems to understand the basic tenets of good communication. It looks like after the last movie, she got herself a fetlife account, read a bunch of blogs and educated herself. Learned good practices and terminology. Too bad her Dom didn’t do that.

I don’t understand – she’s not meek or timid at all with him she so skittish with everyone else in her life. Of all people, he SHOULD make her feel jumpy.

Aww shit. That “laters baby” thing is back

That was such a weird exchange between coworkers. I think the sexually harassing boss is gonna be the villain.

You are NOT her boyfriend. You can’t just call yourself her boyfriend.

“he want’s what’s mine” OMG. I hate everything about this guy.

If she had agreed to that dynamic, this would be a very different story. I’d be like, “good for them…that’s so awesome they found each other!” But he’s trying to force/manipulate her into thinking his brand of domination is “the way it is.”

He’s buying her employer.

now i understand why they did the scene at the beginning – the flashback to his abusive childhood. It’s to let audiences feel sorry for him – to be able to forgive him for being an utter douche once he admits he needs therapy and relinquishes the need to be controlling after the revelation. People love salvation stories.

Six and a half minutes in – first sex scene. Let’s see how they do.

I just had a massive epiphany about how i used to view sex and submission.

Oh. Okay, so the sex scene starts with him giving her oral. No lie….that’s pretty titillating. I just lose my groove every time there is dialogue.

yup. sex scene is steamy.

Ok. She just called it his “kinky fuckery.” He did not know what that meant. Supports theory that in between movies, she got a fetlife account and he thinks he invented kink.

“I make that kind of money every 5 minutes. keep it.” Re: $24K. Our heroine rips up the check. SO HE HAS HIS ASSISTANT FORWARD $24k INTO HER BANK ACCOUNT. she is asking him how he has her bank account info.

Next scene – they’re having a nice lunch and she’s dropped the topic of HOW THE FUCK HE KNEW HER BANK ACCOUNT INFO.

I prefer when foreshadowing is more of a nuance. It’s less fun when they’re beating you over the head with a clue.

Yes Anastasia. He’s bad news. Follow your instincts. WALK AWAY.

He’s straight up willing to kidnap her. carry her kicking and screaming if she doesn’t go willingly.

without that scene making you feel sorry for him at the beginning, this same movie would have been listed under “thriller” instead of “romance”

this movie just exploded codependency wide open in my brain. another epiphany.

Why are you trying to understand him, Anastasia? what other than all those traits you just called him out on has he shown you?

OK. don’t know what just happened. have to rewind and start the scene over again.

He’s having her draw a box on his chest in lipstick. and it’s hurting him way more than makes sense. and then he says “those are my boundaries.” I don’t know what the fuck he means. Her response is “i can live with that.” Does she know what he means? WHY ARE THEY FUCKING AGAIN? THEY WERE JUST HAVING A VERY IMPORTANT FIGHT.

Did I miss the scene where she consented to ANY OF THIS? ’cause i thought they were still negotiating.

He’s gonna have her wear ben wa balls to a fancy charity ball.

is he taking her to a real charity ball or is it like one of those Eyes Wide Shut parties?

okay his mother is there. i guess that means it’s not a play party.

His disdain for his sister ….it’s a disdain for all women except the ones he can control.

She bid $24000 at the charity gala on the item he donated (a week say at one of his homes) . His response “I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank you.”

Oh. Next sex scene now. “I want you to spank me” Let’s see how this goes.

ok. i have to pause this. They inserted a line of dialogue for him to remind her she has a safe word. Because his character has come off as non-ethical from the getgo, the only reason I could think that he would do that is to lure her into a false sense of security that she is safe with him. What I really think happened? The writers remembered that were were supposed to think this was a sexy movie, not a scary one – and that was supposed to calm us down. So they throw him a line that is not in line with his character as a form of exposition.

Wish they’d gone the other way around. If she had confirmed she still has a safe word – then she’d be supporting the “anastasia got educated on fetlife” theory AND make her a stronger woman ( who can still totally submit).

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE WARMUP, MISTER?

he took the ben wa balls out of her on camera. i wonder if parents and their offspring watch this movie together in theaters?

there are so many boundary issues in this movie

codependency epiphany, the sequel.

they’re setting it up that there’s this young woman who is the villain, but i think it’s the creepy boss. she’s not been to work since the fourth scene. They developed his character too much in order to drop it.

By my calculations they’ve fucked twice since she painted that red lipstick on them. how is this his first shower? It’s been at least a day!

No, it doesn’t mean he loves you. It means he feels abandoned by his mother and looks to control women in order to make them stay because he equates staying with love.

Mini epiphany on the narrative how a woman “saves” a man by loving him into good mental health is just another part of a larger narrative that leads back up into patriarchy. But I won’t get into that now.

sketchy boss is back, being sketchy.

aah. he’s back to becoming unhinged because someone who never agreed to his terms isn’t following his orders.

that’s what that enabling mentor/mistress of his “helped” him with. He’d have gone full rapist if she hadn’t intervened with a “code” like Dexter’s father did. His emotional imbalance causes him to want to control women, BDSM channels it into something less illegal.

Just tell her, it’s a spreader bar. “walk before we run?” A spreader bar is “advanced?”

every time he fucks her he comes off as so cocky.

Unf. I need a spreader bar.

THIS SCENE IS HOT.

mmmm….having memories of recent evenings. I really need a spreader bar.

Pulse racing. the scene is over. i think i need to pause and get some air before i go back to trying to follow a plot.

Gonna go make some food that’s not sugar for the rest of it.

OK I’ve made a delightful tuna salad. It’s so good. Gonna smoke a little more and take on part 2 of this fascinating feature.

Yes….the difference between fights and conversations to Anastasia is that the questions she asks get resolved in conversations. In fights, questions can be answered by proxy with his penis.

Creepy boss is NEGGING her, professionally.

If this were real life, this boss would be the next one with allegations coming out about his harassing behavior.

yes. trap your female employee in your office and use threatening sexual language around her. good plan. especially since her boyfriend (if we’re calling him that now) employs you

“i can make you come like nobody else has” called creepy boss from scene one.

“he tried to touch me”
“Im gonna kill him”
“No no no please don’t go”
“OK.” [ to bodyguard ] YOU GO KILL HIM.

He changed the subject on her. He’s a master manipulator. She was talking about wanting to keep working and he’s convincing her to move in by being all awkward about asking.

I can’t see any of Christian Gray’s actions as genuine.

She made a valuable contribution at work and then apologizes for it in the next scene.

I want to believe it’s on her merit but i think he’s a manipulative jerk…..yup, she just questioned it too.

how could anybody be in a relationship with someone whose motives they can’t trust and are constantly questioning?

He’s making her take off her panties at the fancy restaurant
bet he starts fingering her in the elevator with four other people in there….

called it.e

takes notes that’s something for my fantasy rolodex

they just stole this straight out of working girl

LIKE STRAIGHT OUT OF WORKING GIRL. THE EXACT DIALOGUE.

“I expect to you to call me anna. I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself, and the rest we’ll figure out as we go.”

ok. chick with a gun. the ex submissive is the villain?

omg this is soooooooooooo fucked up.

omg

omg omg omg omg

i can’t …this scene is too layered and horrible.

he deescalates woman with gun by telling her to kneel.

bet his narcissism has a raging boner right now.

“I would have done anything to dissarm her.” except call the police and let a stalking victim know that your ex is mentally unstable and dangerous.

not disarm. SUBDUE. He used the word subdue.

“yeah, she scared me – but you scared me more.”
.
.
.
She had a gun. She should have scared you more.

“Don’t leave me” most honest thing Christian Gray has said all movie long.

OH THERE’S THE SHOE. I’M NOT A DOMINANT. I’M A SADIST.

Oh honey. There is sadism and there is sadism. What you are is fronting.

It’s Seattle at night by the water. I feel like that shirt she’s wearing is not warm enough to be outside without shivering.

I was wearing a flannel robe this morning in LA and chilled.

she’s turned on by his muscles. I guess they’re so good his character doesn’t matter.

He’s lying to her.

is his plane going down?

helicopter….. oh, now the’ll set him up to be either super heroic and cool under pressure, or faced with a life and death situation that he can’t fully control, he’ll totally have that epiphany he needs.

they had him be not totally controlling in the scene before we see the cliffhanger w/ the helicopter going down so we worry about him. if we’re worried about him then he can’t be a bad guy and this goes back to being a romance and not a thriller.

So, basically, the difference between a romance and a thriller is empathy for the antagonist.

she’s having way more of a reaction to the possibility that he died and finding out he’s alive than she did with having a loaded gun in her face.

ugh. she said yes. should have suspenseful music instead of romantic.

OOH Hot shower scene. the music tells me this will be super steamy.

Yeah. Yeah. It is. …oh wait. idiotic dialog. Never mind. BUT now we’re in his dungeon – i.e.: “the red room”

Blindfold…..check.
Leather cuffs…..check.
Oil? What’s he gonna do, give her a rough massage?

this looks a lot more sensualist than sadist, mister.

but yeah. the actual sex scene is hot. and i’m uhh….gonna need a minute.

So, his mentor/dominatrix was mom’s good friend. mom seems oblivious. Was this known information from the first movie?

He says “please” in front of company, but it’s “Come up here a second, please” Not a question (will you come up here?), but a directive. The please was an afterthought. That’s a character flaw (in my opinion). Some people might dig that.

though i’m unclear if she said yes to a D/s relationship or just yes to marriage. cause if she said yes to his request for a full D/s relationship then the above would have been fine.

showdown between the ex mistress and the fiance….OOH AND MOM COMES IN WITH THE FIRST CORRECT MOVE ANYBODY HAS MADE IN THIS FILM: Kicked the abusive fucker to the curb.

It’s pissing me off that the kinksters are depicted like such unhealthy, unstable, unsavory people. KINKY PEOPLE ARE NORMAL PEOPLE. This is making it seem like the cure to all their emotional trauma is giving up kink.

What they need is therapy and education.

but they would need that whether or not they were kinky

I heard “Be mine. Share my life with me. Bury me.” Turns out he said “marry me” but the first way I heard it would have been interesting for an ending.

creepy ex boss is back and now he’s wearing guyliner and leather and stalking officially

OH. that was it. That’s where it ends. ROFL that’s a HORRIBLE place for an ending.

Definitely feels like one book cut into three movies. These story breaks are chapter breaks. Not book breaks.

Well, that was super fun! Now I’m going to figure out how to copy/paste all of this into a blog post 😀


EDIT::


afterthought: I don’t think his gun-wielding, homicidal former slave is in a mental health facility receiving the best care. If that had been an option, he’d have done that for her in the first place. Controlling personality that he is, he would not allow for the unreliable outlier like an uhinged ex playmate threaten what he was working toward his next conquest. No, he was too worried his big secret would get out. So instead of calling the cops and alerting Ana that she was in danger, he took it upon himself to protect her. He know he could always control the ex, by making her kneel, and feel like a fucking hero.

But now that she’s already played that card, he has to do something to control her. So, during that time he was waiting for her to strike, he bought an institution and filled it with his own doctors. She’s in a prison….probably meant to look like mental health facility, but a place where he owns the doctors and she never sees the light of day again

My Exhibitionism

Every once in a while, the fact that I’m an exhibitionist becomes a bit of a problem for me. See, it used to be easier to scratch that itch.

I wouldn’t say it was any safer, but I guess I just felt safer for a while. Then I had my very unsavory experience with a stalker and now I have to rein it in to protect my life and livelihood.

She’s itchy again. That exhibitionist inside me. She wants to come out and be seen.

I don’t know what I want this post to be, really. Partly it’s a way of venting my frustration at a system that doesn’t allow me to sexually express myself the way I want to without the inherent risks and consequences that I’m no longer willing to accept.

Partly it’s just ’cause I am feeling hidden when I want to be on display and the feeling of being hidden (even when it’s by circumstance and unintentional) doesn’t sit well with me.

Or maybe this is my weekly Sunday drop and what I need is some food and fresh air more than I want the validation of a thousand eyeballs on my flesh.

Probably all I want is attention, but the thing is – the type of attention I want is very specific, and the Fetizenry here doesn’t always interpret my requests for attention appropriately. I don’t want to be harrassed or cat-called or told in all the explicit ways that people fantasize about me. I want to feel safe and welcome in the expression of my sensuality.

I want to be respectfully and pleasantly admired and/or appreciated. Genuinely and honestly, but with enough restraint from those who see me so that I feel confident in allowing myself to continue that type of exposure. That’s what my exhibitionism is really about, when it’s all said and done. I relish the opportunity to be vulnerable because what I really get off on is trust.

I trust my audience to prioritize consent, decorum, and respect over their own personal desires.

After all, my inner exhibitionist…she’s doesn’t put herself on display for her audience’s enjoyment. That’s my intended reaction from a consenting audience, but it’s not really about pleasing them.

It’s about being me.

The Consequences of Consequence Free Devotion

“My partner is extremely jealous. He cheats on me. He locks his phone but insists I keep mine unlocked and that he’s allowed to check it whenever he likes. I can’t be friends on facebook with any men who aren’t related to me, I can never talk to any of my exes, and he is very secretive about wherever he goes all the time with other women.”

Fifty people immediately respond:

“This is abusive.”

“Run.”

“Get out of this.”

“One million red flags here, you should reconsider your relationship with this person.”

And the OP is dumbfounded.

“I came here to get support. I don’t understand why everyone is telling me to leave. I will never leave him no matter what. I love him. So, what can I do?”

That’s when I tap out.

I used to be that person. The “I’ll never leave him no matter what,” person. That wasn’t even in a traditionally abusive situation. That was with a person with severe substance abuse and mental disorders who loved me very much, and trusted me implicitly.

But I was miserable. His illnesses were physically crowding me out of my own space. Our sex life was a distant memory. He became a recluse that would never leave the house, leaving me to fend for myself at holidays and family gatherings, and when he would come out? He was high, incoherent, and an embarrassment I felt I had to make apologies for.

I would complain to my friends and coworkers about the mess in the house, about his uncontrollable shopping habit, about his lack of sexual interest and they would suggest to me that I consider leaving.

I’ll never leave him.

He was terrified that I would. So many times, he’d break down sobbing and inconsolable, convinced that I would wake up one day and realize he was a failure and that I could do better (his words, not mine) and that I would leave him.

Which, of course, solidified my resolve to stay.

He never changed. He was never going to change.

My leaving wouldn’t have caused him to change.

My leaving would only have (potentially) improved my own quality of life, though I would certainly have felt guilty and miserable doing it.

The truth is, as I’m writing this I can remember being her. I can remember being that one who would never leave, and I know at the very depths of my soul that I absolutely never would have. Not that version of me, anyway. He passed away, and that’s the only reason I was able to get out. I was forced out.

I didn’t love myself enough to set boundaries. I loved him so much there were no consequences if he harmed me, even in the non-traditional ways that people tend to imagine harm.

There was no magic advice that could be given that would have changed my mind. There’s nothing I’m going to ever be able to write to anybody that is going to convince them that if they are willing to accept all manner of bad behavior from their partners without any consequences to their partners, their partners are unlikely to have any motivation to change. Ever.

Why should they?

You’ll never leave them no matter what.

So, that’s where I have to tap out. That’s where I have to shut down my empathy matrix, because…believe me. I can empathize. But I can’t help. I can’t be supportive of staying in a fucked up situation, and I can’t offer the “cure” for your partner’s toxic behavior.

You won’t like anything else I have to say, and it will only strengthen your resolve to stay in a bad situation indefinitely.

I wouldn’t wish my way out on anybody.

Thoughts: One Post, Many Topics

Too many different things in my head. Rather than post a bunch of blogs in one night, I’m doing the ol’ One Blog, Multiple Thoughts post.



First up – I received an email from findpoly.com asking if they could sponsor one of my blog posts for the month. So, I’ve upgraded the wordpress plan to remove the ads I couldn’t control and now I’ve got a designated URL that’s a little easier to remember than “ohthatphi.wordpress.com.”

So…introducing: http://polyammering.blog!

The specific post they’re sponsoring is this one, so if you’d like to go ahead and give the ad a click at the bottom of the page, they’ll feel like it was money well spent – and I’ll have earned the two cocktails they’re covering 🙂


I’m catching up with So You Think You Can Dance, and in the last episode, each of the All-Stars had to pick ONE of their final two dancers with whom to go into the live competition. There were a couple of instances where the All-Star was struggling with the choice, because both of their options had something special to offer that was different from each other.

One of the All-Stars had to choose between a guy with whom she had this incredible chemistry that made fireworks on stage when they got it right, and another guy who was a little less accessible emotionally, but whose skills in choreography were a lot more reliable.

There was another all-star who had two partners that not only both connected with him tremendously well, they connected with each other beautifully as well.

I kept thinking, “Why do they have to choose?” I can imagine there’s plenty of drama and good TV in showing the different dynamics that each trio might have. It’d certainly show a more cooperative type of competition; where you’re competing to win, but you can only win when you’re collaborating with one of your fellow contestants.

Basically, I’m saying that some representation of healthy relationship dynamics that involve multiple partners and don’t center on sexuality would be a really cool thing to see on television.


Parents went to see an open house this afternoon, and I tagged along. When we got there, there was this old pick up truck parked across the street. My dad decided that must be the realtor’s car, and my mom said it wasn’t – that a lady realtor in an expensive area wouldn’t drive an old pick up truck. My dad (in his troll voice) started hollering “you’re a misogynist! you’re a misogynist!”

Only he was mispronouncing it, using a hard “g” in the middle of the word.

A few minutes later, the realtor drove up in a brand new BMW.


The house my parents were looking at was really nice; and decorated in a very awesome way. The seller’s art was spectacular, and he had a lot of indications that he’d be the type of person I’d count among my friends. Same chef knife in the kitchen, same bourbon of choice, similar color scheme and a Game of Thrones collectible bobble head. Plus a book called Tequila Mockingbird that made me giggle snort, ’cause I love puns.

Anyway, I mentioned it in passing to the realtor and she gave me that look and said, “Well, he is single..!”

So I responded, “Well, I’m not….but hey…it’s an open relationship.”

She thought I was joking.

Her face when she realized I wasn’t was priceless.

“He works in healthcare,” she responded….


I don’t want to get to into it, but I’ve created a profile on a dating site – not because I’m definitely interested in dating; but because I’ve decided I need to not close myself up to the possibility that I may want to some day. Mostly this is coming from the same place as recent blogs pondering my feelings on engaging with another play partner, ’cause my social life seems to have gone a little quiet since I fell in love two years ago.

Anyway, the profile on the dating site makes it super-duper clear that I’m only “window shopping” and that anybody who sends me a message that just says “Hello.” is going to get blocked.

Similar to how my profile on FetLife declares in big red letters not to send an unsolicited friend request or blocking will happen.

There is this undeniable sense of satisfaction when it happens and I click the little block button. I can’t help it.


Nazis are bad.

That’s it.

How far I’ll go

This week has been extra-specially rough on my emotional state for many reasons, one of which is the expiration date of my time in this house.

I hadn’t cried about it yet until last night.

Last night the tears came.

Last night I said the words out loud, “I hope I made the right decision,” but it’s not just one decision. It’s so many decisions. About this house, about my intermediate plans, about my job, and about what I want from my life.

There’s a lot of turmoil involved in all of this – with the move, and the job, and even some other stuff I don’t care to share at this time.

But there’s a lot of change. A lot of transition. A lot of insecure footing. I’m the author of my story, and I’m closing up a pivotal chapter without any idea how the next chapter begins.

But there is a difference between this time and the last time I was in a similar situation.

It’s me.

Last night I drew a parallel between my transformation and the transformation of this house into my home three and a half years ago. “I feel like I was born here,” I said. In a way, I was. This version of me. Phi-is-me and everything she’s accomplished…

I could die tomorrow knowing that my existence made a difference beyond what I can even imagine.

So, as insecure as my footing may be, and as terrified as I am about moving back in with my parents for an undetermined amount of time, I still know I’ll get through it. I know I’ll survive it. I know I’ll emerge from all of this strain to find myself in a better place than I was in before. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

I struggle with this next part because I know if I lay my problems side by side with other people’s problems…my shit is inconsequential.

But for right now….

For today….

In this very moment….

I need it to be okay to admit that there’s a knot inside my chest and a slight emotional paralysis and I’m very, very scared.

Non Sequitur – A Birthday Request

My birthday is coming this week. I’ll be 39.

Save the date for next year. There will be a celebration.

But for this year, it’s pretty low key. Back in my 20s I set the standard that I only celebrate the Zeros and the Fives with parties, but the rest of the birthdays pass by with small-scale celebrations.

It’s been a really strange week. On Thursday night I got an email from a coworker whose recently former ex boyfriend had been found dead in his apartment. He’d been battling addiction and losing, which had prompted their breakup – but she was torn up about ending their romantic relationship and trying to remain his friend. Over the past year, she’s come to me for counsel more than once because she knows I’ve been in a similar situation.

And now her experience is that much more similar.

Then I found a couple of new podcasts for my commute. One is RISK! – a storytelling podcast. The other is the Savage Lovecast which people have been telling me about for years.

Both of the episodes I listened to this week featured a story about a young widow and the struggle to reconnect with your sexuality – stories that resonated with me deeply. Then I read a post in one of the facebook groups I participate in and another young widow shared her story, which also had similarities to mine.

And then yesterday, I saw the article from a young widow who wrote an open letter to the people criticizing Patton Oswalt for announcing his engagement so “soon” after his beloved wife passed away (like, nearly 2 years ago).

It just seems like that subject keeps trying to pound its way into my head, and all in the course of the six days after I signed escrow papers to begin the process of transferring ownership of my home, where my own widowing took place.

I’m not like, devastated. In fact, I have found all of the stories I’ve heard this week to be uplifting and generally comforting. It does feel nice when we realize we’re not alone, even three and a half years after it happened.

Hearing their stories doesn’t just remind me of what I’ve lost. It shines a great big light on what I have gained, as well as makes apparent what I’d had all along. It reminds me to appreciate everything I have every day that I have it.

Well. That wasn’t the post I was planning to write.

Honestly, I thought this was going to be the post where I asked people to donate $3, $9, or $39 to one or more of a list of charitable organizations I would like to benefit from my 39th birthday.

I guess that post got away from me.

A few weeks ago, I asked my friends to share with me some of the charitable organizations that they feel are doing good work in marginalized communities – specifically for LGBTQ+ and POC. I wanted the recommendations to come from those who have, or continue to benefit from the services these organizations provide. As someone who works in the nonprofit sector, I know better than to trust the website or the PR….

….I trust the people that are being helped.

In addition, yesterday someone had posted a video to an IndieGogo campaign that I thought was worth funding, and doesn’t have much time left.

So below are the links to the organizations that were recommended to me by the very people these groups exist to support. And if you are the type of person that is inclined to give gifts for people’s birthdays, then I would ask that you consider making a contribution to one or more of these organizations for my birthday.

You don’t have to tell me if you did or didn’t – but if you do, I would love to share my appreciation publicly in a future post.

The Relational Center The Relational Center exists to promote the essential importance of relationships. When we value our connections with others and with the environment, we create the necessary conditions for health and sustainability. So our work promotes personal, interpersonal, and social practices that help people build strong, resilient relationships. Our programs provide healing support, a space for community building, and tools for leadership.

Los Angeles LGBT Center Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond.

Lambda Legal Lambda Legal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Trevor Project The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

And the IndieGoGo Campaign that only has a few days left:
Woke Girls Woke Girls is a new line of fashion dolls and chapter books that celebrate the power of today’s American girls. Through empowering representation of girls from marginalized identities and stories which finally portray them as the magical heroes that they are- Woke Girls shows girls that even when the world is unfair, they have the power to love themselves, stand up for what is right, and build a better world.

I will be making a personal contribution to each of these causes myself. I hope you will consider joining me.