What I'm doing these days

posted | about 14 minutes to read

tags: relationships

Almost three years. That’s, hmm….about two years too long, I’d say, by any reasonable metric.

I’m still here. I’m still kicking. If, for some reason, you’re a habitual visitor, you may have noticed the updated social media links in the footer and contact information, but not a single new post to be seen. Which is, honestly, weird, because it’s not like things haven’t been happening - I just haven’t sat down to take stock, really.

So here I am, taking stock.

In 2021, as you may recall, my divorce had just been finalized, and I was going through a bit of personal turbulence related to that. I suspect I was also dealing with a bit of long-term brain fog from when I got Covid (I’ll get to the conclusion of that particular arc later), and those two things put together meant that my emotional resilience and my capacity to do things went way downhill1. Despite that, I managed to help move my new girlfriend Sara and her husband across the country a little bit after this2. This wasn’t entirely driven by long-distance irritation; there were external crisis-related reasons to do the U-Haul thing, too. It’s worked out, though; we’re still together, we’re still happy. I still find myself marveling at how comfortable it is to slide into bed, to wrap my arms around her, to fall asleep holding her. How excited I am to do things together, to spend time with each other, to find another new way to love each other. Even three years on, that still burns just as strongly as it always has.

A small digression here: I did indeed say “girlfriend and her husband”. I had been thinking about polyamory as a concept for a while, and at the time3 I had kind of landed on “well, I don’t think I’m probably gonna have any other partners, but the vibe of “I can fit into someone’s life like this and be what I can be and what they need me to be, rather than being Everything” resonated. We spent the next year and a half building our relationship, discovering what worked for us, and finding a nice sense of comfort there. I’d elaborate, but honestly, this was kind of…a very smooth and uneventful element of my life. On top of that, about eight months or so into living together, Sara’s husband Llian and I had grown close enough that we tried dating for a while; we were already sleeping in the same bed every night, we already did stuff together, it wasn’t a huge transition to being in a romantic relationship, and it felt natural. This was, I think, the initial catalyst for me taking more of a step into polyamory proper - when it felt as right as it did, and realizing that I didn’t love Sara any less for it, it was a little bit revelatory for me. The idea that my heart wasn’t this bucket that only held so much love, but that I could find love - in different ways, with just as much intensity - for more than one person. It also helped that I was taking these steps into an existing, already poly relationship, of course, but it really helped open my eyes into what those feelings actually held for me.

Work was going well, too; I ended up getting promoted into managing a different set of teams, which was an adventure. This took me away from the last pieces of hands-on tech work, which left me with only hobby coding and infrastructure projects as my outlet for that; I’m planning a quick blog post on some of the Discord bot stuff I’ve been doing, but that’s a bit more of a digression than I have the space for in this particular post4. Naturally, this wasn’t the only sideline I found myself digging into - I spent a couple of months playing around with recording bespoke audio files before deciding that the time commitment wasn’t worth the amount of money I was getting out of it. Still, it was a nice experience and I gained a lot of personal confidence from it, from a voice perspective.

Around mid-2022, Sara and I had been playing Final Fantasy XIV together for a while; she had wanted to explore getting back into post-based roleplay for a while, and the venue scene in FFXIV offered opportunity to find that for in-game currency, for those who are skilled enough - which she absolutely was. Unfortunately, the first place she tried had some really questionable management and she ended up quitting (the same night I had started working there as a waitress on my own character). She was pretty discouraged by that, but about a month later I found another place to try on a whim, and the first night I visited I was really impressed with how queer-friendly it was. I joined up pretty quickly after that, and Sara followed me onto staff there - and it was through this venue that I met Liz. Originally we were just roleplaying together, but after a few months we realized that we were actually both kind of into each other - and when we found out that she and I were only a couple hours apart, she, Sara, and I started making plans to visit. The three of us hit it off pretty well, and we spent a few months going up for weekends. We spent a few months in this kind of casual space, but eventually in early 2023 Liz and I decided to formalize our relationship. We’ve been long-distance out of necessity, but as soon as next month we’re hoping she’ll be able to come down for a longer-term visit, and maybe start to see how our lives might fit together in the long term. Liz has also gotten me really into doing gunpla - I still don’t have a display cabinet, which is a problem, but I’m working on it. Space is at a premium in this house right now.

It was also in mid-2022 - sorry, the timeline’s jumping around a little here, three years is a lot of time to cover - that I finally restarted my ADHD medication, which was really a blessing for my ability to be functional. At the same time, I finally wrapped my brain around something else that had been on my mind for a while - I also probably have moderate autism. I had been thinking about it for a while in the context of how I was communicating, recent sensory-overload issues, and problems I was having with plans changing at the last minute, but it was only after a few months of wondering that I finally bit the bullet and took some of the clinical tests - and whew, sure enough, the scores were a little bit unambiguous. If I’m honest I’m still working through exactly how to accommodate that in my life5, but the knowledge that there’s, like, some amount of reason for why my brain does some of the things it does has been really valuable for me.

Early 2023 brought with it a recommitment to fitness for me. Back in 2020 I had tried to get into running - and had genuinely made some good progress on that front as well as on the front of fitness more generally - but I wasn’t able to stick with it through the divorce and the lack of executive function. I had some money that I could spend on fitness equipment through a workplace program, so I bought a stationary bicycle, and started pedaling - and simply stuck with it. More recently, I’ve started running a little bit again on the good days, but largely it’s been biking and weight training. It’s really paid off. I look good6, I feel good7, and I continue to prioritize making time for it, even when time is difficult to come by.

This didn’t just help me physically, I think. In late 2023, I woke up one day, and the emotional/mental bandwidth issues I mentioned before were just…gone. I don’t know why. I don’t know how much of it was physical, or past relationship trauma, or long-term Covid effects, or the ADHD. All I know is that for the last few months, I have had the energy, mentally, to simply do things when I want to do them. I haven’t felt like I’m “out of spoons”. The analogy simply no longer fits. This has been absolutely revolutionary for me - I used to be at this level of functional, and then I lost it8, and I missed it. Desperately. I talked with my therapist a little bit about it after this happened, and I still genuinely just don’t have answers - but, uh, gift horse, mouth, y’know? I’m not going to question it. I’ve just been enjoying things being better.

This was also about the time that I really was able to dive into development again; I built a Discord bot to help my friends out with running their roleplaying games. I based it on the work I had done for one of Sara’s games back in 2022, but was able to modernize it and start tying concepts together really well - and basically started to put together the building blocks for building the equivalent of an MMO in a Discord server. I’m gonna expand that into a blog post later, but it’s maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever done, code-wise. Cool enough that I felt confident enough to submit it to Discord’s app pitches contest last year. Even though I didn’t win, it was great to feel so confident in what I had built that I wanted to enter.

Late 2023 and early 2024 brought with them some proper relationship turbulence - Llian broke up with me, and then I broke up with a partner that I had been with for a few months as well. I learned some valuable lessons about communication in both cases, but I think that, at the end of the day, they needed to end. I was pretty broken up in both cases for a while, but I think I’ve come out of it stronger. I definitely feel like the biggest takeaway from all of this ended up being that I feel much better able to articulate my needs and wants, as well as be better able to say “no” when I don’t want something - and as a consequence, I feel more confident and empowered to say “yes” when I do.

I suppose that’s a good segue into the last big update. I finally got a Bluesky invite code in late November of last year, and with it has come a blossoming of my self-confidence. I’ve felt great about posting pictures of myself9, I’ve made friends10 and met lovers11, and, most notably, I met and fell deeply in love with Bella. We had only been talking for a week before we realized just how hard feelings were hitting, and they just…haven’t quit. At all. We met up for the first time in early January, and sure I was a little nervous about the whole first-time-in-person thing, but all of that melted away the moment she stepped through that door, radiant and beautiful, and just, gods, the way it immediately felt so natural and so comfortable to lose myself in that first embrace, in that first kiss. By the time that first visit was over we were already convinced that we made the right call in falling headfirst into a relationship, and since then we’ve just…accelerated. From realizing we couldn’t actually manage more than a couple weeks away from each other to moving up our plans for each subsequent visit to already having her move in12, it’s all felt perfect. Fast, sure, yeah, absolutely, but right, every moment. The last few months have been incredibly rewarding and incredibly special. We already have so many plans - trips to take together, things to do and build - and even beyond that, just the constant exploration of each other, the understanding of how our lives can grow together. I want so much more time, want so many more moments - and even this early, it’s so easy for me to get lost in dreams of the future.

There’s a throughline, for me, in the relationships that are lasting. A spark of true passion, of intensity, that doesn’t ever go out. That is how I feel about the women in my life today. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity I do, to cultivate and grow those relationships. I never want them to end. I hope they never do.

I think the most important takeaway, reading all of this, is really that this is what I prioritize in my life these days. Connections. Relationships. Making a happy life for the people who I love and care about. Supporting and loving them, being a source of comfort and happiness. There’s a lot of real garbage stuff out in the world these days, but at the very least, I want to be able to carve out this space, find happiness together, now. There’s value in that - not losing myself in the doomscrolling13. Finding ways to acknowledge the bad, doing stuff where I can, but keeping my focus on those I love.

Alli (circa March 2024) is looking up at the camera, smiling. She's wearing a classy maroon dress, and her brown hair is curled and styled. She looks incredibly confident in herself.Since transitioning, I’ve made a point of not defining myself by my job, by my interests, that kind of thing. I used to, don’t get me wrong. There’s a reason almost every post for the first six years of this blog was tech stuff. But since I figured out I was a girl, I’ve needed to define myself as myself. This feels a little circular, but it’s an important thing to kind of pull out and explore a little. It’s not about what I do, it’s about who I am. I’m a woman, I’m trans, I’m poly, I’m hot as hell. I love women a whole lot, and three very special women in particular. I’m, okay, I’m a little bit of a slut. But these are the things that actually define how I want to prioritize my life. Like, sure, I have a job, I have hobbies, I like playing games14, I like coding, I like building models, but these are not things that I want to present as my personality. They’re just things I do. I’d rather define myself, and present myself, by who I am.

So here I am, today. Being me. And honestly? It’s never felt better.

  1. The unmedicated ADHD probably didn’t help either, honestly. ↩︎

  2. If this seems like it’s Moving Fast, just keep reading. You will start noticing a trend. ↩︎

  3. “at the time” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, trust me ↩︎

  4. If you’d like to see more right now, I did write about my autodelete bot↩︎

  5. I’m not getting a formal diagnosis. It’s not worth it. There’s no tangible benefit to me doing so. It’s very much more about just understanding for myself how it impacts the way I think and the way I move through and interact with the world. ↩︎

  6. I’m not going to lie - part of why I got back to this in the first place was because I was looking at myself in the mirror and getting incredibly upset with what I saw. For me, I needed to lose weight to regain my self-confidence. And it worked, for me. I’m not gonna sit here and be prescriptive but when I look at myself, losing that weight was important in being able to look at myself and say “yep, I’m actually an incredibly attractive woman”16↩︎

  7. Even if I desperately need to get my abs in better shape. ↩︎

  8. probably part of the reason I haven’t been blogging, honestly! ↩︎

  9. Maybe don’t look too hard at my profile if you prefer to keep your understanding of me as a pure perfect angel, because uh I can be somewhat not-safe-for-work over there sometimes (often). ↩︎

  10. a surprise, on a social media platform in 2024 ↩︎

  11. another side effect of the last few years: the ability to sort out my feelings in constructive ways. sometimes a friendship can include casual sex, and that’s incredibly okay! it doesn’t always have to be romantic15↩︎

  12. I told you there was a trend. ↩︎

  13. There was a good part of 2021 where I was doing a lot of doomscrolling. My life was materially improved when I deleted my Twitter account. ↩︎

  14. I gotta talk about my arc with getting back into Magic: the Gathering at some point. It’s been a real fun ride. ↩︎

  15. which is honestly for the best because it turns out the number of hours in a day is indeed a limiting factor on my ability to maintain romantic relationships ↩︎

  16. To be clear, I am. Like, it’s out of control. I am absolutely fucking gorgeous and it blows my mind more every day. ↩︎