In a world where the Pawdcast was my job, I’d find some way to hate it too.

Wow. Today’s been up and down and up and down and up and down like an elevator riding a rollercoaster on a moonhopper. First up, Pawdcast emergency! Our prepared guest was sick in bed with food poisoning. She’s a great comic and it’s more than a little gutting to have lost her appearance on the Pawd. Things have been going great since adding guests (even with the absence of my fake trailers). While my co-host and I have built up fantastic chemistry, having someone else in there too add unpredictable angles and elements really lifts each episode. If they’ve never before seen an Air Bud Entertainment film they really have no idea what they’re in for. Good or abysmal, or anywhere thereabouts in-between, there’s no way the film doesn’t leave a significant impression.

The last few have been beyond ghastly. I’ve had more than enough Christmas for one year and it’s still two months away. This one though, was Halloween themed. Halloween is my favourite holiday and this film was the perfect experience to put me in good (you know it) spirits. I’m seriously considering the possibility of low level Stockholm syndrome at play. Having been so repeatedly conditioned into mind numbing celluloid trash by this franchise that we’ve fallen for our captors. That the past few films were so terrible, we’ve lost all critical objectivity and anything beyond a streaming pile of shit seems like gold.

Things came back on the upswing when my friend offered to step in at the last minute to record with us tonight. He could spare the time today to watch the film and chat with us and it’s gonna be an outstanding episode. He’s a renown Toronto playwright, clever, quick witted dude. I’d intended to try get him for a later episode, but he’s gonna knock this one out of the park. I’m back up, right?

But work. Work happened, as it does five days a week. Work today was a shitshow with a morning that got blown out, leaving me playing catch-up all afternoon. I’m trying to get way ahead of schedule so as not to leave my co-workers with a massive clean up job after me. A holiday that can’t come fast enough. I’m burned up, I’m significantly past sick of my job and it’s making each day a struggle. Back when we were up on Bloor it was easy enough to ignore. Transit was half the time. There was cheap, healthy food easily accessible. I could use my lunch breaks to go to the gym, leaving my evenings free. I can’t do these things any more and it’s taking an extra two hours every day. It’s draining, enough that I find I actually need to leave the building a few times per day to cool down. If I was doing a job I enjoyed, that challenged or interested me, that wouldn’t be so bad. But being in a mind-numbing entry level position almost two years later makes me feel like I somehow failed. I’ve applied to other jobs, but no dice. I’m at that limbo point with no idea of direction. I’ve been bouncing about doing job shadowing within the company, but that’s not a new job. It’s no indication of anything at all. Where previously things were fine, now I can feel how much they’re taking from me. No bueno. Very no bueno.

But on the other hand, I’m seeing someone again. Like, seeing a person I was seeing before. Again. Time constants had me worried I couldn’t give enough for a proper relationship, but we agreed to give it another shot without being worried about quantity of time spent. She has a partner, she’s not looking to be completed, only complemented. We got a lot from each other’s company and I’m sure that’s not gonna change. Plus, we’re gonna work together on completing one of my childhood dreams: Clocking Gunstar Heroes. She’s an excellent person. I’m happy. For today, that’s enough.

Oh, plus the MOTHERFUCKING EXCELLENT PAWDCAST WE’RE RECORDING TONIGHT. RAWK OUT!

Ahem. It’s nice to have things to be excited about, I guess.

I hear you, if I love Magic so much why don’t I marry it?

I had a date planned for tonight, but said date cancelled. It was basically the best news I had all day. It meant I was free to go and play Magic with friends.

It’s not like this person was in any way someone I didn’t want to see. She seems perfectly agreeable from our online exchanges. I’ve never met her, so there’s no judgement. For all I know she’s an amazing person who has some kind of place in my greater social strata. She felt ill so we called it off. We’ll meet up eventually. As you can tell from the above words, neither of us is really tumbling over ourselves to make it happen. In fact, I set the date, then found out that Magic was happening. Once I knew people were playing, the FOMO ate away at me and I secretly hoped she’d reschedule. This should be taken less as a slight on her and more as an indication of how much I enjoy playing magic.

I thought about this and realised something wasn’t right. Intentionality is big with me. Time’s a finite resource and I try to stack mine with things that hold the max appeal. I’m going along to play tonight because it’s something I’m excited about doing. Spending time with friends, messing around with card interactions, making strategic decisions, that sounds like a blast. Sitting across the table from a new person and developing a greater appreciation for the things that make them who they are sounded neat too, but in this case it felt… less neat. If that’s how I felt about the interaction, then why was I prioritising it above what I knew I’d enjoy?

Since dipping into poly I’ve been doing very little dating. I had a nice thing going with a great gal for a while, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Since then I’ve felt like I’ve had to push myself to get out there. Hence this date. I hope this isn’t making it sound like she’s a drag. I’m sure she’s not and as I mentioned, I could walk in lukewarm and leave smitten. The big problem could be that we haven’t met face to face yet. It’s a chasm of difference. If someone is a photo and some words, they’re still not really a person to you. Feeling the warmth of their energy, seeing how they take the world in, that’s when someone becomes real. The process of getting to making a date involved posting on a group, chatting to a few women and feeling like I might as well see what kind of people they were.

Might as well. Is this where I’m existing right now? How much intentionality is there to might as wellMight as well is how you feel about putting on a load of washing when you’re home all day. Might as well is upgrading your soda size because it costs 20c more. Might as well is letting circumstance lead you instead of taking the reins. If my intention is to put myself out there and form connections that enrich my life, then might as well is ceding to mediocrity.

What happened to Fuck Yes or No? Did it take a back seat to my insecurities? Am I pushing myself into dating people not because I’m excited about them, but because I’m afraid of feeling alone while my girlfriend falls in love with others? She tends to crush on new people easily, I don’t. None of that is judgement on her. I’m absurdly picky, but when I fall for someone I fall hard. Why am I setting myself up to fail rather than fall? What’s the point of following after things if I’m not prepared to rush head first? Why bother if it doesn’t mean anything to me? I’m living in a beautiful city filled with amazing, interesting people. Why aren’t I talking to them?

I might as well 🙂

More than tutelage.

It’s late. I’m at work. The cleaners are doing their rounds, which offers me an amount of snooping I’m not used to. Why is it that my bin is sometimes cleared, sometimes not? How much cleaning do they really do? Are they gonna do more because I’m sitting right here? Is it kind of awkward being here, typing away when she’s just doing her job? Like, I don’t really want her to have to work around me, but I’m also happy to let her just not clean my desk area tonight. I can go a day without a clean desk. Hell, if you’d seen the dust and pubes on the floor where I live…

Oh, I guess it’s worth saying that I’m not drowning in work or anything. I had a little Pawdcast prep to do (the results of which you can hear right here) and figured it’d be easier staying downtown than schlepping all about the city. It may not sound like it, but there is some manner of note taking and planning that goes into the rambling mess of two grown men debating about a kids’ movie. After this I might head down to the waterfront and see how things are in the wake of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal’s Pokémon purification.

Things in todayness: Therapy is finished for the year.

It sucks, but my therapy has wrapped up for 2016. Since we’ve moved onwards to a new benefits provider, my funds for therapy have dried up. We’re going down from $1500 per year to $500 which, presently, is enough for around three sessions. Hardly enough to sort anything. It sucks, because we’ve got a great dynamic and had actually been making quite a bit of headway recently. Today’s session was excellent and really hit on a few sticking points. Thing was, since we were in a rush we couldn’t dig as deeply as we wanted. I know I keep using the collective pronoun, but it truly has felt like a collaborative effort. One of us will throw an idea out and we’ll each poke at it. I might mention an insecurity I have or tension I’ve been feeling and we’ll try to analyse where that’s come from. Today for instance, since we were finishing up, I had to return a book (More Than Two) of hers I’d borrowed months ago (and hadn’t even read at all until this morning). Starting at breakfast I’d read ravenously and devoured as much as I could. It was overflowing with outstanding points and I felt dumb for having wasted the opportunity. It raised a bunch of concerns I’d had about myself in relationships, my responses to jealousy and insecurity, all in a relatable and concise manner. Using this and a few pull quotes I brandished, we were able to pick apart my emotional responses and come up with strategies for managing these responses. All great stuff.

My therapist said to keep in contact, that she’d been enjoying our rare style and that she’d try and push stuff around to see if she could find a workable rate. Who knows? She could say that to ‘all the boys’. Still, I know it’d be immensely helpful to be able to continue therapy with regularity. For now though, I’ll have to do that work myself. Expect the return of Deep Digging Soul Searching Leon. Christ. Maybe I even start dating again.

The cleaners have left. I’ve been here long enough. Bonne nuit tout le monde!

If they start bleeding, will I become a jazz prodigy?

My gums hurt and I don’t know why. I’ve been flossing, brushing and using that tongue scraper tool on a daily basis (or twice daily when it comes to the brushing). I’ve been following my dentist’s recommended flossing technique. I’m using one of those nifty oscillating toothbrushes. All things considered, I should be fine. Somehow though, I’m not. My gums aren’t really bleeding when I floss, but there’s this mild hurt when I chew. If I firmly press my teeth together, it comes back. I know what you’re all saying, learn to photosynthesise, right? Only eat things that travel up a straw? Make best friends with your mouli? Those things all make varying amounts of sense. Why then, do I keep chomping down? Because of that weird pain/pleasure threshold. You know how licking a battery is kind of intriguing? It hurts, but walking the razor’s edge is sort of intriguing. As a kid I’d do it again and again.

In Pokémon Go related news, I’ve been having bad luck with catches lately. It’s tough, because I would very much like to be the very best, but luck is doing its best to shit on that. I hatched a jynx the other day from a 10km egg. It was a bummer. They’re super common. The rewards for 10km eggs are so rich, but I guess this is why I don’t gamble. I was lucky enough to get a lapras today, but its cp ended up at 150. A guy who caught one a minute later found his at 1500. My game crashed while trying to catch a pidgeot and by the time I reloaded it had gone. I was super stoked to find a victreebell, but it doesn’t have a basic grass type move and checking out its stats, they’re rather shit. A game crash lost me a dragonair, which would’ve been a great addition to the pokédex. Lastly, when searching for a gengar in the area, I overshot the mark while running and found it literally two seconds before it disappeared. My game didn’t catch up. Poops all around. I think it’s time to level up. I think tonight I’ll need to pull some lucky egg shenanigans and get myself to that magical lvl 20 mark. Surely that’s the sweet spot for finding decent cp pokémon?

Last night I caught up with a girl I’d been seeing a few months back. I broke things off not because I didn’t like her company, but because I was getting way too busy for another relationship. With the Pawdcast taking a few nights each week, wanting to spend a few nights with my girlfriend and also see friends, I found myself with zero nights to chill out on my own. I was getting so stressed and anxious about being able to accommodate everyone that I wasn’t taking enough time for myself. Even having broken that off, I’m still not doing so well on the solo time front. We’d been meaning to meet back up after having taken time apart and honestly, it was really nice. No awkward pauses, we launched straight back in to where we’d left off, how the last few months has treated our lives. It’s not like any reasonable person can just drop a person they care about without wanting to know how they’re going. I’m occasionally reasonable (when I’m not licking batteries, chomping aggravated gums or blaming luck for my poor Pokémon playing), and as such it was fantastic to reconnect with her. She’s still super sweet, clever and has excellent music recommendations. Plus we had sushi, so what could’ve really gone wrong? After the meal we walked home and discussed potential party plans for her birthday. I think she’s opting for my miracle fruit party idea, so fingers crossed it’s a blast for her.

I don’t even have that many errands tonight and tomorrow I’m off to the cottage. Could it finally happen? Am I about to relax here? Or will I discover an amazing cache of pokémon in Georgian Bay?

Why is seeing someone else making me take a harder look at myself?

Dang, this polyamory thing is a complicated morass. Or at least it’s challenging enough to make me feel like a bumbling moron. The disparate natures of logic and emotion have never felt so distinct and it’s weird to know how to gauge progress verses inertia. I take two steps forward and three steps back, like a realistic analogue of how I’d massacre a foxtrot on the dance floor.

I’ve been seeing someone lately and it’s been going really well. I’m enjoying the time we’re spending together. It’s exciting to be seeing a new person, feeling those electric moments of first touch and connection. Things are developing nicely and for the first time I’m gaining insight into how polyamory could fit into my relationship style heading forward. Everything’s out in the open with our partners. They know that we exist and how our intimacy is developing. We schedule dates together around their needs and make a point of regular check ins. We talk about them with each other and so far it’s been unabashed gushing. As I’ve said before, there’s a rush that comes with being able to share all the things I love about my girlfriend with someone else I’m interested in.

I got to meet this gal’s boyfriend last night and it was nothing I expected. I’d assumed there’d be an edge of tension to the encounter, but there was zero to be found. I’d heard so much about him and instantly took a huge liking to the guy. As soon as we started talking, lightly prodding conversation gave way to excited chatter. I could’ve stayed for hours just hanging out, if not for the fact that it was a) already late and b) a school night. He’s so fucking cool and I just want to be friends now. I left with a grin spanning my face and looked forward to more chances to spend time with this dude.

My girlfriend has been a champ through this whole thing. It goes without saying that she has years more experience than I do, but anything I feel tentative about raising hasn’t been an issue for her. Her boundaries with what she’s happy to hear and know stagger me. Her access to compersion is so far ahead of anything I can conceive of at this point. Every time we talk about how things are going, it makes me love her that little bit more.

It’s important to say here that not everything is 100% rosy. Here she is eagerly hearing about my intimacy with another woman and conversely things so far lower on the scale are enough to leave me emotionally distraught. Even hearing about her kissing another guy or having sexual feelings about him just wrecks me. She shared this the other night and it was enough to push me into a dissociative episode. All emotion drained out of my mind and I found myself incapable of feeling anything. It was like colour disappeared and all I could see were the black lines. It’s not like I was blinded, but any nuance faded from my mind. My brain became a house of circuitous negative self-talk and my fears were all I could hear echoing around in there.

I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t desirable. I was a placeholder for someone else. She wanted him, not me. I’d given myself someone who didn’t feel the same way about me. I was unnecessary and replaceable. I was going be left alone, broken and empty. I’d placed myself on a path of hurt after hurt and it wasn’t worth it. Our future together would only serve to make me feel worse until I failed to find anything left to love about myself.

In moments of calm I know that all of this is flagrantly wrong, but at the time I felt hollow and didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t connect with her and it took hours to bring me back to earth. We talked it out and made up. Consequently we didn’t sleep much and I still haven’t caught up.

For clarification, I’m sleeping with someone else and she’s happy for me.
She tells me she kissed someone and is interested in them and it’s enough to send me into a dissociative episode.

It’s no wonder that I feel like a piece of shit, right? I don’t feel bad about seeing this new person at all and everyone involved has made it evident that they’re okay with it. I want to be able to frame my girlfriend’s interest in the same way that I see mine, but the two aren’t overlaying amicably. If I’m okay about what I’m doing with this girl, why can’t I handle her doing the same? Hearing and thinking about her with someone else still makes me feel physical pain. The guilt that I feel over not coping well adds to this and I start along a path of self-loathing.

I know the answer is to keep working on it, to keep breaking it down. I know the answer is to keep communicating, sharing and analysing why it hurts so much. I know the answer is that she’s had many more years to acclimatise to this, that it feels more natural to her than to me. I know that the only solution is time, experience and processing, that things will get easier. I know that stumbling is part of the process and I can’t expect to be further just because I want to be.

As always though, there’s a difference between knowing and understanding. God dammit there is.

Do people store their compersion in a polyarmoury?

As far as I can tell it’s been a little over a year since I decided to give polyamory a try. In this time I briefly dated one gal, but that’s as far as I’ve progressed. I’ve been on a date here and there, but haven’t felt that kind of tingling pull towards another. Ironically while I’ve been working towards the poly lifestyle, my girlfriend and I have been exhibiting habits far closer to a monogamous one. It hasn’t been intentional, but it’s been noticeable. She ended up having a few break ups in a row and didn’t make a huge effort to try and meet other people. Like myself, she’s maybe had a few dates here or there, but nothing that’s pulled her in. We’ve grown closer together, enough so that we’re now cohabitaing. Things feel comfortable, settled and secure.

As avid readers will remember however, I had a date the other night.

It went well, thank you for asking. I don’t know why I was so rattled with pre-date jitters. The awkwardness lasted all of half a second. There was a quick, easy rapport. We grabbed a couple of cocktails at Wolf Like Me, then walked down to Disgraceland for some grub, stopping briefly to peek in on drum circle practice at Super Wonder Gallery. I’m sure if we weren’t getting on well we wouldn’t have talked for over five hours straight. We walked in the direction of home and kissed goodbye when we parted. Basically the poster child for a pleasant date.

Here’s the thing that stuck out to me. We both had live in partners. She and her boyfriend had recently opened up the relationship and were both feeling polyamory out. We were both happily in love with someone we adored, yet there we were in a bar seeing if one another felt like someone fit to share saliva with. It created a dynamic that I’ve never experienced, in that at some point we just started gushing about our partners. It was amazing. I loved hearing about her boyfriend, who seemed like a top notch dude. I beamed while being regaled with stories of their adventures, relationship highlights and cute couple quirks. There was something to knowing that I was out with someone who already felt fulfilled in a relationship and was there because she wanted my company, not because I was an attempt to fill some void. For the same token, I appreciated being able to relate just how amazing my girlfriend is, how she’s fostered in me an openness and emotional communication I never thought possible.

Being totally open and honest broke down a bunch of barriers quickly. I’ve had fears throughout my experiences with poly that I’d feel conflicted or terrible for seeking intimacy with someone outside of my partner. Strangely though, the opposite was true. Nothing was being hidden, our partners knew where we were, what we were up to. There was enthusiastic consent all around, knowing that implicit trust meant we were going back to receptive significant others. Sure enough, my girlfriend was happy to debrief and discuss how I felt, if I had any issues or qualms about the date. Being able to honestly tell her that I felt great about the experience, that the support I knew she’d offer buoyed my spirits, made my heart grow three sizes. Knowing that she has my back translates this from an experience that could make me feel dirty or deceitful into one that warms my heart.

Who even knows if this is leading anywhere? My date and I hung out today to play video games and we’re gonna brunch on Monday. It’s not because there’s an urgency to anything, it’s just really nice spending time together. There’s a certain amount of NRE, but this time it feels different. Being able to spend time with someone new makes me appreciate my partner all the more. Now that we’re living together, when I leave my date to return to my girlfriend, there’s an extra swell of affection in the time we do spend together. It makes me feel loved, trusted and respected. It’s causing me to double down on all those things sent back to her. Maybe it’s the countless hours of processing we’ve done. Maybe it’s the conversations that’ve unfolded. Maybe it’s the positive stories I’ve seen reflected in my increasingly polyamorous friend circles. Whatever this is, it’s something I want to pursue further.

Comically generic? I’m not kidding. I’ve legitimately mistaken someone else for myself before.

I have a date tonight. I have a date tonight and it has me feeling sorta nervous. I have a date tonight and it has me feeling sorta nervous and I don’t know why. I have a date tonight and it has me feeling sorta nervous and I don’t know why I keep repeating the same sentence structure as if it holds some deeper significance or impact.

If my date isn’t a beatnik I’m clearly in trouble.

The nerves are weird because even though I feel mildly tentative, I’m not dealing with high stakes here. If I have a shitty date I go home to my girlfriend and unpack why things didn’t work out. I’ve got love and support backing me up, annulling the consequences. I have no reason to think it’ll be a shitty date. I mean, she listed Turtles in Time on her OkCupid profile. I know that she has a sense of humour, because obviously we’ve chatted. I don’t just appear at a time and place and tell random women “we’re on a date now. Act accordingly” because I’m not a sociopath. I also know that I have the capacity to be charming from time to time. Failing anything accent privilege steps in and makes people think I know how to flirt when I’m often just being oblivious. The few things I could see happening that’d steer the date towards disaster include:

  • She thinks the Air Bud Pawdcast is a terrible idea.
  • I accidentally monologue for three hours about Smash Mouth.
  • I drink too much and she discovers how bad my Christopher Walken impression is.
  • She repeatedly calls me Leron by accident.
  • I foolishly let slip that I once ate four steaks between two slices of white bread and was paralysed by meat sweats for the rest of the evening.
  • It turns out she hates puns and we’re unable to communicate beyond eyebrow movement.
  • She’s actually massively racist.
  • She mistakes me for another generic looking bearded brunette white dude and I sit alone while she chats to him for several hours.
  • I exclusively talk about my love for the George Foreman Grill.

Provided none of this stuff happens, it could be fine. Given past outcomes, it’s more likely we’ll have a nice conversation. Only one (or neither) of us will feel a spark and we’ll end up being friends (or texting once or twice more before scheduling conflicts cause us to gradually fade away without animosity). No hard feelings will be felt, but things won’t work out.

Perhaps this is the underlying issue. I feel secure in my relationship, so there’s very little to worry about with pending additional connections. I’ve been delving into polyamory for maybe a year now, but had very little progress. It’s not something that I’ve pushed towards naturally, so it’s not like there’s an aching need to be filled. A big part of me feels like I’m trying it out in order to stave off future feelings of loneliness when my girlfriend is dating others. The other part is firmly rooted in the don’t know until you try camp. This could be that puzzle piece that previous relationships were missing. I admire the poly ideology so much and I want it to be something that gels with my own. Because of this, a promising date makes me feel like there is something deeper riding on it. If I keep trying and it doesn’t work, does that mean my relationship has a doomed inevitability? Or could this be the spark that ignites a whole new outlook?

In the words of the famous scribe Smash Mouth: “You’ll never know if you don’t go.”