- Co-facilitated an introductory workshop about ableism and audism at the D Center
- Published “Blush, Blossom, Bloom: A Zine about BPD, Imprinting, and Mad Queer Love,” my longest zine so far and a personal favorite: https://www.etsy.com/…/506450403/blush-blossom-bloom-a-zine…
- Competed in my first poetry slam at the Queer Resurgence festival
- Had my article “Bi+ Community Supported Me When No One Else Did” published by the Bisexual Resource Center: https://biresource.org/bi-community-supported-me-when-no-o…/
- Had “Borderline Survival Beyond Recovery and Cure Narratives” published in the “Cure” issue of “All in Your Head: Queerness, Neurodivergence, and Disability”
- Had a poem and some zines shown in Lion’s Main Art Collective’s “From the Foundation” installation
- Adopted a delightful cat who’s equally delighted with me
- Tabled at Portland Zine Symposium, Olympia Zine Fest, and Short Run
- Traveled internationally by myself for the first time, to Vancouver, BC, for CanZine Vancouver (the day after Short Run!!)
- Directed and hosted (and performed in) my first show, a four-night production at Gay City Arts called Get Mad!, celebrating Mad/crazy/psychiatrically disabled LGBTQIA+ survival and resistance
- Performed in A Certain Type of Brilliance, a femme showcase, directed by Liz Cruz
- Performed in Denounce Domination, an anti-oppression show at UW, planned by student organizers
- Spoke on several panels with queer youth and sometimes folks from other organizations (Outspoken Speakers Bureau is holding a training for new panelists this month if you want in! https://www.facebook.com/events/130381051013690/)
- Finished my first year of therapy and did a lot of personal work on being assertive, especially asking for what I want
- Apparently developed the ability to self-validate in a way that I actually feel??
The following is a selection from my most recent zine, Blush, Blossom, Bloom: BPD, Imprinting, and Mad Queer Love — a duo of essays on the same topic, written before and after I learned a word that truly encompasses what I feel.
Idealization (July 2015)
Lots of people would say my love for people I idealize is unhealthy, but that’s not true. However strong my feelings, they’re not excessive. This love is healthy; this love is healing. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. It’s love, but more intense. The new-love thrill never fades a bit, even as the relationship gets more established and starts feeling more secure. As long as things are going well between us, I feel a surge of joy that such a wonderful person could exist and be in my life. I think of them often, and it always feels like this.
I don’t choose who I idealize, but it’s not arbitrary either. I seem to find people who are right for me, even on very little information. It took 17 days this time. It was fast, but now 10 months resoundingly prove I was right to love her.
My idealization isn’t like what the psychiatric materials about bpd describe. “Idealize” doesn’t even feel like quite the right word. It suggests foolishness, wrongness, or at least being underinformed. But I’m not oblivious to a person’s faults or ways they disappoint me, and I can adjust to new and unpleasant knowledge about them. (Swift reactions being another skill we borderlines are known/demonized for, actually.)
I’m sure some people would question whether what I experience is idealization at all. Sometimes I question myself too. But it’s such a powerful feeling, outside neurotypical experience, and I want a name to put to it. I relate to other borderline folx about the feeling, so “idealization” will do until something better comes along.
I don’t think idealization is “supposed” to be stable. If there’s one thing that characterizes bpd, it’s instability. Reading what psych people write, it sounds like I’m supposed to idealize and “devalue” everyone in my life, cycling at the drop of a hat. Mostly I don’t. Mostly I get this overwhelming love for a particular person and it lasts indefinitely until they stop being in my life. If they did or said something really terrible or were chronically kind of shitty, that’d end it too, but I haven’t had that experience so far.
I’m afraid that describing my idealization, or even just naming it, will scare people off. I’m afraid the word, more than my personalized descriptions, will stick with people and convince them my idealization is incompatible with relationships as equals. I’m afraid of being rejected as obsessive, too intense, irrational, and all-around too much.
I’ll own being obsessive, intense, and often irrational. I hope you’ll decide I’m not too much.
The word “imprint,” in the borderline sense, is the granting of a wish I had thought was hopeless: to have a name for a kind of relationship that is profound to me, but which is totally beyond the neurotypical experience and lexicon. It has the soul and elegance that was missing from “person I stably ‘idealize.’”
It was amazing just to learn that other borderline people have this as a concept. I’d spent almost a year rationalizing to myself that I could have really strong, consistently positive feelings about someone and it could still be a borderline thing — not realizing other borderline people were talking about it and naming it.
I learned “imprint” from tumblr, but “favorite person” seems to be in broader use for the concept there, and it’s what I heard first. “Favorite person” is conceptually close enough that I could understand what people were talking about and know I wasn’t alone, but I’m not wild about it for myself.
It sounds hierarchical, and that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to rank the people who are important to me. I don’t like the thought of implying to everyone else in my life that they’re not my favorite, and I wouldn’t like to be positioned as someone’s not-favorite myself.
I like “imprint” over “favorite person” because it’s succinct. It’s unmediated. Imprinting is a relationship of its own, not something that can be expressed through any recombination or qualification of other relationship elements. I like having a word for it that’s so self-contained.
I like “imprint” because it’s familial. Familial in a way that’s beyond the narratives of family that have always been forced on me, that have betrayed me. Familial in a way that can still be pure, that’s intimate and undemanding.
I like “imprint” because it makes me feel like a duckling, not a burden or a monster.
I like “imprint” because it’s gentle, soft, inexorable, natural, like imprinting.
If you enjoyed this post and you want to read more about imprinting, check out Blush, Blossom, Bloom: A Zine About BPD, Imprinting, and Mad Queer Love. It’s got resources for Borderline and non-Borderline folx, the super-sweet story of telling my imprint she’s my imprint, and a love poem bursting with anti-ableist rage, along with quotes from my journal-blog to more vividly demonstrate the feelings I’ve written about.