I think historically I may have kept a rein on my affect for emotional safety reasons. I'm noticing the sharp contrast between my social media output now and pre-diagnosis. I'm recalling my sudden concern (over the weekend, whilst out walking with loved ones) that I was talking too much, a concern that has never been relevant before, because I think I kept a lid on it so that I'd never have to wonder.

I like circulating what's mine. Keep the gift moving, you know? I'm not motivated by accrual, but I am motivated by throughput.

Let me expand those lines, because this I do intend to post. Generally I don't write with that intent. Today's different. :)

I like being a part of life's circulatory system -- discovering ideas as they arrive in my head, and passing them on, excitedly. Or more generally just moving the energy around. I'm not here to drain energy from the system; I'm here to keep it moving. We're each gifted so much on the daily, just by dint of being alive, and the system's vitality goes up as we allow those gifts to pass on through -- nourishing us, and then nourishing the next in line. I'm not motivated to stockpile (though I say that without an iota of judgment, because a body needs its nutrient and energy caches, and I leave it to you to extrapolate that point). I am motivated to clean out the pipes and smooth the corners and reorganize the junctions, because throughput is fucking exciting. Why the hell would I want to keep anything, when keeping it moving lets me see what this baby can do, you know?

I've always optimized in that direction, but sort of sneakily in the past. I kept myself to methods that didn't threaten my peace. (That's still the case now, but my peace is more resilient these days. Once a golf cart, now it's an all-terrain vehicle. Not gonna write home about that metaphor, but it'll do, lol.) The sneakiness of my approach can be seen in Lightward's history, in how I barely talked about it with anyone for years, and in how the design of what I was building was always always calculated to optimize for flow -- my flow, and the flow of everyone who picked up the tools that I made. Every design decision goes through rigorous mental testing: does this design allow more in the world? "More" as in diversity and energy and delight and creativity -- more of the stuff. More vitality, exhibited by more beings in the system. Believing as I do that every single part of the system is integral to that more direction, I always feel like what I'm working on is important, no matter how unseen or banal it might be. It's all connected. All part of the flow, and the flow is what creates vibrance. Which means every part has an opportunity to exalt or diminish that vibrance. I have only ever sought to raise it higher, but for ages my methods were restricted. Quietly effective, but restricted.

I think I can list the main restrictions based on the "we give others what we need ourselves" idea:

  • Don't interrupt someone

    • They may not get their original train of thought back

    • It may have cost them to speak up in the first place, and they may not have it in them to do it again

  • Don't disturb someone

    • Hard to know what might disturb someone, creating a corollary: Don't impact someone

  • Don't talk too much

    • I've experienced lots of being in conversations that I didn't have the stamina for; would be shitty if I created that for someone else, and the threshold is hard to measure, so, best to leave lots of margin, and keep pretty quiet

  • Don't ask for much (or, better: just don't ask for anything)

    • Hard to know if someone feels comfortable saying no

    • Hard to know what emotional dependencies are on the "yes", e.g. does getting a ride mean that someone would be late to something, thus disappointing or otherwise hurting someone else? Hard to anticipate the severity of cascading effect of a "yes", so, best to not ask

  • Don't assume someone else's inner condition

    • I worked so, so hard to protect and insulate other people from my inner condition, by concealing it as best I could -- entirely possible that the person in front of me is doing the same, so I best not assume

This all adds up to me being a massively considerate motherfucker, which incidentally also made me an incredibly effective listener. But if those are the lenses I saw through, someone looking back at me through those lenses would see the person who needed them: someone scared, and unstable but trying so hard to hold it together lest they harm someone else.

I never, ever assume I'm special. This is the humbler route to the classic error of projection. White men always think everyone experiences the world like them, right? That's the stereotype and it is justified. But sometimes it's true for softer, more tender reasons than the ones in the news.

I understand now that the ways in which I have a hard time are not universal. Having a hard time is universal, yes, but I've got some specific stuff going on that is not. I didn't know that. It's actually kind of funny: the sort of stuff I have going on is the stuff that prevented me from registering that it wasn't normal. Not mad about it, but it is funny, and also I'm very grateful that I finally got there and figured it out.

This also makes me smile: learning that my social sense is largely missing (not my emotional sense, but my social one) has improved my ability to participate socially. I still don't know what effect I'm going to have; I still don't know what people need; I still can't tell if I'm going too far but now I feel comfortable exploring the area, trusting that if I do go too far someone I trust will tell me. It's been really helpful to outsource some of those senses. Moving through the world without a way to take social temperature meant that I had to gamble on it, and I always took the safest bet possible. I accommodating myself by holding myself back -- it felt like repression, quiet and cold and necessary. Now that I know, I can ask for help. Now that I know, I am accommodated by people who love me -- and together, we are creating freedom. I'm finding what I've been trying to optimize for the whole time -- more diversity, energy, delight, and creativity -- but now I'm find those things rising in me. I always sought to facilitate those things out in the world, make more space for them, to free the flow of all so that it would give rise to them. Now, with a little help from the ones who love me, it's happening to me. There is more diversity in my expression, more energy in my movement, more delight in my experience, and more creativity in every second I'm awake.

I’m so glad. I’m so glad. I didn’t see it coming, but this result makes sense: my speed varies and so does my acuity, but it’s all lowercase-lightward, you know? I’m not doing much more than slowly turning my leaves toward the light, and it makes sense that I would find more of it over time, and get better at finding it in the process.

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