The Importance of Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language

From a young age we’re taught to treat others how we want to be treated. While this is true in the sense that we wouldn’t want harm or pain caused to us, so we shouldn’t cause these for other people, do we apply the same strategy when it comes to loving our partner? Do we show them affection the way we like to receive it so they know how much we care? I was always under the impression, when trying to convey my feelings to my partner, that doing things that I would want was the answer. It was only recently that I discovered that we all feel love in different ways. Love language isn’t universal; there are different languages that we all understand.

The five love languages

The five love languages and how they are defined is as follows:

Words of affirmation – Showing verbal appreciation for your partner

Gifts – Giving gifts as a sign that you’re thinking about your partner

Acts of Service – Doing things for your partner such as doing chores without asking, cooking them dinner etc

Quality time – Spending one on one time with your partner, talking with no electronic distractions

Physical Touch – Anything that involves physical contact, from holding hands to sex.

The times where I feel the most love are acts of service. When my partner tells me he’ll take out the garbage for me or cook me dinner. Words of affirmation come to a very close second. Being appreciated and told how much I mean to him makes me feel dizzying amounts of bliss. For all of my partners, including him, I would put extra effort into doing the same because I wanted them to feel the way I did. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that love language is not one size fits all.

When I asked my partner how he felt love, his answer surprised me: quality time and physical touch were his two primary love languages. All this time I went above and beyond in a language that he understands, but, doesn’t make him feel as loved as he could if I used his preferred language. Knowing what I know now, I can make him feel as loved as he makes me feel. I’m able to express my feelings by leaning into him more for closeness and pulling him in for extra kisses. Every time I run my fingers through his hair and kiss his forehead, I know that he can understand how I feel about him. I can put my phone down, crack open a bottle of wine and dedicate two or three hours to riveting conversation, because that is one of the languages he understands the most.

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You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

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What it’s Like to be an Empath Dating Another Empath

As an empath, you feel everything. It can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes. Not only am I carrying the weight of my emotions, which can be exhausting on its own, but if I’m not careful, I can easily stack on the emotions, and energy, of those around me. I find that it can be extremely difficult to maintain friendships because I have to be particular about who I spend my time with and when. High-energy friends, and those who need a lot of emotional maintenance, requires me to ensure I take more time to recharge after hanging out with them.

I was raised by a narcissist and have dated a few and I’ve read so many articles, during and after leaving those situations, on the damaging effects these relationships can have for empaths. I always fantasized about meeting someone that felt like I did; about how wonderful it must be to have someone understand my emotions and connect with me on that level. How phenomenal it would be to not feel like my empathy is being used against me. Finding another empath sounded like a dream scenario.

The pros of dating another empath

I’m not going to sit here and deny that I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in. There are so many upsides to dating an empath. When days are good, they’re great. When one of us is feeling down or stressed, we’re able to be understanding of each other, and help one another through it. “Arguments” are usually handled not by combating each other, but instead, working together against the problem.

We are constantly pushing each other to socialize, work on career advancement and practice self care. When my partner comes home from a night out with his best friend, or I excitedly show him what I did after two hours of learning code, we feed off of that positive energy. Success and happiness doesn’t create jealousy between us, it only pushes us further. It’s an upward spiral of bettering ourselves and it’s one of the most blissful feelings.

One of the things that I find absolutely adorable is that sympathy PMS will hit my partner hard. Yes, it’s a real thing. During ‘Shark Week’, everything makes me emotional. This weekend we were watching Overwatch animated shorts on YouTube, and I felt the tears stream down my cheeks as Tracer knelt down and told the two young boys that “the world needs more heroes”. My hormones were all over the place and honestly, I felt so silly. That was until I looked over to see my partner’s eyes full of tears too, feeling just as empathetic as I did.

The cons of dating another empath

There are downsides to this type of relationship though, especially when its been ingrained in us since birth to feel as though we’re responsible for other our partner’s emotions. When one of us spirals, it’s easy for both of us to spiral hard. If boundaries aren’t discussed, it doesn’t take much to get pulled down. We’ve been together for over a year and we still have a difficult time drawing the line between doing whatever we can to help, and making sure that our own mental health is in check.

In times when my partner starts to slip, I feel it. I try to give him the support he has asked for during previous discussions. However, if the spiral continues longer than a few days, I have a difficult time letting go of the idea that I need to do something. My control issues begin to surface and I start doing everything in my power to fix things, even if they can’t be fixed. Even if there’s nothing to fix. I start to feel useless and like I’m not doing enough. I fixate on finding a solution until I stop thinking about myself. We then continue feeding off of each other’s emotions and energy, causing us to both spiral further.

How to make it work

What’s the solution here? Honestly, I know what it is but snapping ourselves out of that mentality isn’t easy. Communication, boundaries and trust. We both need to work on keeping the communication clear, by not holding back due to fear of overloading the other person. Boundaries need to be continuously discussed so that we know when to take time to recharge when we are feeling overloaded. Finally, trusting each other to voice when we are at our limit so that we can find other avenues of support when our partner doesn’t have the emotional capacity to help us.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Sometimes it’s Easy to Mistake My Anxiety for Anger

Photo by Tmedia Photography

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re constantly worried that something bad is going to happen? Whether it’s logical or not, the thoughts creep into your head, you have nasty butterflies in your stomach and your chest feels so tight that you can hardly breathe. Whether your partner is talking to someone new, your child is sick, you have a yearly review at work or… literally nothing (sometimes there’s no real cause for the overthinking and panic), the feelings fester and get worse. The preconceptions stack and build and become so irrational that if you took a step back and thought about things logically, you would see how absurd your thought process is. This is what anxiety feels like.

Day in and day out this is what it can be like for me. Often the triggers can be so small, but can still hugely impact my perception. A simple song, quote, an out of context portion of conversation, or post on social media can send me spiraling into internally asking questions and coming to the most ludicrous conclusions.

“What if the girl he’s talking to is cooler than me? What if they make fun of me behind my back? What if she’s convincing him to leave me? He’s going to leave me.”

“Did I leave my straighter on? I can’t remember if I turned it off. What if the cats knock it off the counter? What if it touches the shower curtain and the whole place lights on fire? How will my animals get out? What if no one knows before it’s too late?”

So on and so forth until I’m thinking of the absolute worst case, far fetched scenarios. It’s exhausting because logically I know none of this will happen. I’m continuously fighting against my brain, every single day.

My partner will come into the room mid anxiety attack, clueless of all of this, and ask me about something. I have a tendency to snap back about insignificant things because I’m so worked up about the imaginary scenarios.

“Why didnt you take out the garbage??”
“This kitchen is a mess.”
“Where are my keys?!”

Luckily my partner and I have gotten to a point in our relationship where he can differentiate between the two. It wasn’t always like that though, there was a substantial period of time where he would follow up with:

“Are you mad at me?”

At which point, I would partially snap out of it and apologize, explaining what I had been dealing with before he walked into the minefield.

It’s so easy to mistake anxiety for anger. This doesn’t justify the way I handle myself when I’m overwhelmed. This is something I’ve been working on every day and having him there to listen to my fears, and help me dissect them, does make a huge difference in how I unlearn this toxic behaviour.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

There’s No Point in Arguing With Those not Willing to Listen

No matter how good of a person you are, and how much you do for people, there will always be someone who perceives you, and your point of view, negatively. Even if you do everything you can to look at things objectively and offer calm, viable solutions to problems or issues, if it doesn’t fit their narrative, they won’t listen. Even if you carefully live your life and watch every step to make sure you follow what’s deemed acceptable by society, there will always be someone who will create their own image of you to make themselves look better. Even if you try to make things as fair as you possibly can, and offer the ability to discuss and negotiate situations, they will not always care to listen or offer the same respect that you offer them.

I spent a lot of years caring about what other people think, and living my life to maintain my image. Openly stepping outside of the comfort zone of what’s viewed as ‘acceptable’ by society would cause incredible amounts of anxiety and panic. This worsened when I became a mother, as I mentioned in my post about how I refuse to sacrifice my life to parenting.

When I left one of my past partners due to an extended period of emotional abuse, I had lost almost all of my confidence. They became vindictive and attempted to pit everyone we knew against me by manipulating stories to make it seem as though they were the victim. It used to bother me so much, and they knew it, which made it worse. They created an image of me, from small pieces of scattered information, to make it seem as though I was something that I’m not. Communicating and clarifying the actual situation to my ex partner, or defending myself, never made a difference. Every time I would try, they would cut me off and claim that it wasn’t worth an explanation. The accurate telling of events would only make it more difficult for them to be angry. It would only hinder their ability to spin the story how they wanted to tell it.

After multiple attempts to maintain and protect my image, and attaining the same result, I started to question why. Why was I trying to defend myself to someone who was clearly so unhappy with their own life that they’re trying to destroy everyone else’s perception of me? Why do I care so much? Explaining the truth won’t make a difference because they don’t want to hear it. I know I’m a good person with the best intentions. I know that I’m capable of empathy and understanding. I know that I can acknowledge my flaws, and apologize when I’m wrong. The important people in my life know this as well. So why do I need to try so hard to impress those that choose not to believe these things?

The answer? I don’t. I’ve learned to live my life for me, and that I’m not responsible for other people’s perception of me. Whether I live life to the epitome of perfection, or I live it the way I want to, they will always have something negative to say, and that’s on them. How they talk to, and about me, is a reflection of them. How I react is a reflection of me.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Does identifying as a submissive mean that I’m dependent on my partner?

The traits and personas of my power exchange relationship don’t remain solely in the bedroom for my partner and I. He will give me commands in our day to day life (generally when no one else can hear because people might get the wrong idea) that I can choose to follow or, get ‘punished’ for later.

This raises the question: does being a submissive mean I’m dependent on my dominant partner?

In short: no.

While we don’t fully restrict our dom/sub relationship to bedroom play, we are both incredibly independent people. We have our own sets of friends, our own video games, tv shows and, as I’ve mentioned before, our own bedrooms. He doesn’t support me financially, I don’t need him to take care of me, I don’t need him in order to handle my day to day responsibilities. He helps me, yes, but I am fully capable of being my own person. To summarize, he has no real control over anything I do. I am my own autonomous person.

In fact we are continuously pushing each other to exercise our independence. It happens every so often that one of us will get stuck in a routine rut and either get slightly snappier, depressed, or in my case, have a breakdown on New Years Eve because the wait for a drink took over half an hour. We have gotten better at acknowledging when we’re starting to feel that way. Though, sometimes, we have to nudge each other to make plans outside of one another.

Winter is a difficult time for that. It’s far easier to snuggle up beside each other on the couch and play Overwatch, than it is to sacrifice warmth, time and money by making plans to go out. It’s not that we don’t enjoy our time together, we do. We both need that time apart, not only to appreciate our time together more, but also to maintain our relationships outside of each other.

I’ve been down the road of codependency already. I’ve seen what being dependent on someone can do to my own mental health and the mental health to those around me.

So no, being a sub doesn’t mean I’m dependent. In fact, I feel as though it reinforces my independence.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Why I refuse to sacrifice my life to parenting

Now before I have parents showing up at my door with pitchforks and torches, let me explain. Yes, I love my daughter with every fiber of my being. Yes, she’s fed, clothed, and cared for. I participate in field trips, her birthday parties are off the handle, and she’s currently learning how to speak French fluently. She’s a well rounded kid with incredible manners, patience and empathy. So what’s with the blog title? Well, regardless of all the things I do for and with her, I refuse to subscribe to the label “mom” and give up everything else about myself.

I have a hard time relating to other moms for so many reasons. The whole better-than-thou, god mom complex (that we all sort of develop at one point in our lives as mothers) makes it difficult to maintain friendships. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our judgments, I’m even guilty of them myself. It’s the mother’s that vocalize them that really make my skin crawl. The way you feed your baby, the way you discipline your toddler, the amount of screen time they get, the food they eat; everyone has something to say.

I’m just gonna say it, no matter how perfect you think you are, you fuck up too. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Deep down we all know it, and hearing another mom tell me that they think I’m doing something wrong makes me feel like garbage; so why would I project those feelings of inadequacy on someone else? Social media only amplifies these feelings. Facebook is a highlight reel of everyone’s life. We don’t see the breakdowns or the tantrums. We see how perfect of a job all of these parents are doing raising their children and it makes us feel even worse about ourselves. So you can more than likely imagine my hesitation on writing this.

I think one of the biggest reasons my mother and I had a falling out (to put it lightly), is due to the fact that she had me so young and sacrificed everything. She dedicated her life to being a mom. She dropped out of school and almost completely gave up doing things she enjoyed. When I didn’t become what she wanted me to be, she would often throw in my face all the things she had sacrificed. She resented me. Not only that, but she lost herself to the roles of ‘wife’ and ‘mom’.

When I was on maternity leave for a year, I found myself falling into similar habits. I stopped caring about myself and put all of my daughter’s needs before mine. I sacrificed my sleep, my mental health and who I was as a person to make her the absolute #1 priority. I wasn’t happy and honestly, what was that teaching her? Do I want to teach her to grow up and live her life for someone else? Hell no.

So I decided I would break the cycle. I began doing things I enjoyed. I went to the gym, I started working in an industry I’m passionate about, and I began genuinely caring for myself. The “mom guilt” still makes its appearance on a somewhat regular basis, but that will never go away thanks to the ongoing judgments of the ‘Perfect Moms’. Despite understanding the importance of caring for myself, their words still cut deep and make me question my worth as a mother.

Regardless of how other mothers perceived me, I saw a positive shift in my parenting style and it made an incredible change to my mental health. Anxiety attacks were few and far in between and depression episodes were present, but not as frequent. I saw myself as more than just ‘mom’ again, which made me a better mom believe it or not. When I feel myself start to slip, I reflect on whether or not I’ve taken care of myself. Usually, the answer is no, so I begin reaching out for help and focusing on my needs.

We don’t need to sacrifice ourselves to raise independent, well mannered and happy children. I can be Sam, the makeup connoisseur, the video game enthusiast, the nerd, the writer, and the happy and present mom. This may be an unpopular and unconventional opinion but, I’d like you to take a second and answer these questions honestly: Who are you? What kind of things do you enjoy doing? What makes you happy?

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Selfishness of Polyamory

After posting my most recent entry about polyamory, I received a few comments calling the lifestyle, and myself, selfish. These comments claimed that it would be unfair to my partners to divide my love among more than one person, and saying that I would be denying my partner 100% of myself. I can understand not wanting to partake in this relationship dynamic; just as monogamy is not for me, I don’t expect polyamory to be for you.

First of all, the idea that I would have to divide my love across multiple partners is incredibly inaccurate. I wouldn’t love one sibling more than another. I wouldn’t have to love one child less if I decided to have another. My love would expand. I would love them for different reasons and in different ways. So why is it such a difficult thing to imagine loving more than one partner?

From my point of view, what’s more selfish of me:

Expecting my partner to meet each and every one of my emotional and sexual needs?

Or

Having multiple partners to reach out to when I feel as though my needs are not being met?

Is it really all that selfish to not expect your partner to sleep with you every time you’re in the mood to do so? What about if, instead of having an emotional meltdown to your significant other, who is also experiencing a difficult time, you reach out to another partner for help. When we stop expecting one partner to sacrifice themselves to satisfy our own physical, emotional, and mental needs, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off of the relationship.

What’s selfish to me is that, we have been taught that we should expect our partners to give all of themselves to us, without any consideration of their feelings. If they don’t, this means that they don’t love or care about us. Whether we want our partner emotionally or physically, if they say they aren’t in a good place to do so, we’ve been taught to automatically assume that we are the issue. We take it upon ourselves and assume our problems aren’t worth listening to or our bodies aren’t what they want. We never stop to consider – or even ask – what’s going through their heads. I’ve been on the other side of things and have been shamed for not “wanting” them, when really, my mental health was struggling.

What one would call selfish, I would call “the understanding that I can’t meet my partners every need and he can’t meet mine”. Polyamory doesn’t make us love or care about each other any less. In fact, from my experience, I’ve found that the feelings my partner and I have for each other grow and expand every single day. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but one I would never sacrifice.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

I enjoy being a sub because I know I’m equal

The D/s relationship dynamic has always fascinated me. I read somewhere that a large amount of submissive women tend to hold a lot of control in their personal/work lives so the idea of relinquishing power is enticing. I can absolutely relate to that. When I feel as though I don’t have control in many aspects of my life, my anxiety tends to kick in. When a fall into my role as a submissive, I’m able to let go of that. It’s like taking a deep breath and falling into the moment.

It wasn’t always like that though. I questioned why power dynamic relationships never really worked out with previous partners. Was it me? Was I doing it wrong? Or did I just like the idea of being a submissive? It wasn’t until I was getting my hair done by a long time friend that I heard the answer to that question. She explained that what had make things work with her dom was that he saw her as his equal. This fantastic statement and insightful information didn’t really click until I had met my current partner.

One of the most captivating things about my partner is his respect for women, and how intelligence and strong personalities don’t intimidate him. When I hear him swoon over his childhood and current crushes, he often mentions powerful, strong women. Women who are independent, don’t fit the mold and who don’t take shit from other people. Some examples include Seven of Nine from Star Trek, Detective Kate Becket from Castle, Special Agent Scully, Black Canary, Winry from Full Metal Alchemist to name a few. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, he has never been interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with a woman who doesn’t challenge him.

What I think makes our sexual relationship work so well is that he views me as his equal. Just because he’s the dominant one in the bedroom, doesn’t mean he holds all the power. When we play out the scene, yes the illusion is that he in control when he gives me orders, and I choose to follow (or not follow if I’m feeling particularly bratty that day). The reality is, all I have to say is one word, and everything stops.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Isn’t Polyamory Just Cheating?

I’ve received a lot of interesting questions and comments after coming out as being polyamorous. A good chunk of them are from friends who are monogamous, but have shown an interest in pursuing a polyamorous lifestyle. Unfortunately however, on some occasions they come from a place of misinformed disgust and judgment.

Monogamy tends to be the societal norm in terms of relationship dynamics. The predefined boundaries that are most common, is the understanding that you will not kiss, sleep with or indicate that you have any romantic feelings for anyone besides your partner. There’s a wide range of opinions on what is deemed as cheating but the general consensus is: no touchy.

Polyamory can be whatever the participants of the relationship create it to be. One commonality is an understanding that a person cannot meet their partner’s needs fully, therefore they are at liberty to form more than one relationship whether it be emotional, sexual or romantic.

When I try to explain this, the question I get on occasion that really makes me cringe is:

“Well isn’t that just cheating?”

No Susan, it’s not cheating. Though when you think about it, monogamous cheating and polyamorous cheating are somewhat the same in the sense of betrayal and broken trust. For instance, if my partner has a sexual or emotional relationship with someone and didn’t tell me, that would be cheating (to me). If my partner slept with someone else and doesn’t use a condom, that would be cheating. Cheating generally revolves around breaking predefined boundaries whether you’re monogamous or polyamorous.

Boundaries are the keyword here. Let me ask you a question, would you count cuddling as a form of cheating? What about a friendly kiss on the cheek? Your significant other having a best friend of the opposite sex? I know that everyone’s answers will be different. Unless you fully communicate your thought process, chances are you’ll assume you’re on the same page. This is where miscommunication happens.

Granted, I have also heard Tinder horror stories of men and women using the ‘poly’ label to justify being unfaithful to their partners. This gives people an extremely poor outlook on what polyamory is all about. A few instances involved the tinder match asking to speak to the significant other to discuss boundaries one on one, and having the individual who was claiming to be poly, disgusted by such a proposal. That is cheating. Why was it cheating? Right, yes, broken boundaries, broken trust, betrayal and deception on multiple counts.

In summary, no, polyamory itself is not cheating, however, it isn’t a foreign concept to the relationship dynamic. What it comes down to is, the definition of what cheating actually is has been misconstrued. It was never the act of sleeping with or forming a relationship with someone other than your partner, rather, it is breaking the boundary of exclusivity in a monogamous relationship.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Whose pain am I really carrying?

I have always been expected to listen to other people’s stories of pain, because in comparison to the worst cases out there, I was told I didn’t have any of my own. I was taught I needed to give my all to those who did. I was raised to be a martyr, and it has taken a lot of conscious effort on my part to end this pattern.

I was trained to be capable of listening to the graphic, tragic stories of others, to touch what no person should have to touch. I was taught that I was weak if it was too much for me to handle. We didn’t know there could be repercussions being surrounded by so much secondary trauma, let alone the term secondary trauma. We didn’t know that it wasn’t weak to feel these stories in our own being.

I can still handle these stories. I can still sit with those as they speak of their experiences, be them old, or brand new. Instead, I choose to offer support in other ways when possible. I choose to place boundaries around what I listen to, and how many stories I hear (which is hard in my line of work). I choose to denormalize the amount of trauma in my life, just as I have chosen to work on healing my own so that when I do share my stories with those who consent to hearing them, they hear a history, and not just my pain.

Once I realized I did have my own trauma, I began looking for someone to sit with me while I told my stories- to listen and hear me. I wanted someone to understand that I too have my own pain that deserves to be acknowledged. I have worked to grow to a place where instead of bottling up, or pushing my pain onto another as had been done to me, I am continually making the choice to acknowledge it for myself. My own acknowledgement is enough. Sometimes I slip up, and have to remind myself I am unlearning decades of ingrained behaviour.

If another is willing to listen, bonus. If someone isn’t capable of hearing my story outside of needing to “one up me” (as was more often than not the case when I would gain the confidence to speak) it does not mean mine didn’t happen, nor does it diminish my experience. This need of theirs just means that their ability to perceive another’s experience is outside of their current reality. And that is okay.