Two bottles of ink, spilling and mixing

Photo by Maria Lupan on Unsplash

Ashtar Deza
by Ashtar Deza
3 min read


  • Blog


  • Mental health
  • Poly

This week has been amazing and awful at the same time. Last weekend, my kitten tested positive for Covid. Since we’d seen each other a lot in the days before, chances were I’d caught it too, so I decided to stay with her for the week. The reasoning was two-fold: I didn’t want her to be home sick by herself, but also I didn’t want to risk making my nesting partner sick as well.

So, I packed a bag, stayed the week, and did the Daddy thing. Despite the crappy reason, it was a good week. We do the whole domestic thing well.

For a while, I stayed negative, but a few days in the inevitable happened, and I started testing positive as well. I didn’t get too sick, mostly a severe case of the sniffles and a dry cough, but yeah… I did catch it.

I’d already cancelled my date this week since I didn’t want to run the risk of making them sick, but I was holding out hope that I’d be OK by the weekend. Why? Well, this weekend was when Neuq was. For those outside the Dutch kink scene: Neuq is essentially a swinger party for the kink scene, with kinkster consent rules. Much awesome.

The last edition, my kitten went by herself and had a great time. This edition, it was going to be my turn. I was both nervous and excited about it. I’d made sure that I could hang out with friends and had made some “cuddles, with option for more” arrangements, but mostly, I’d done a ton of emotional labour.

I’m still not great at doing casual, ad-hoc sexy stuff, and I had challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone this time. I was going to approach people and just risk the “No”. Stare the RSD in the eye and try not to blink.

By Thursday, I had to accept that it wasn’t going to happen, though. Even if I started counting from the earliest tickle in my throat, the party was 8 days after my first symptoms, which meant I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t going to be infectious any more. So, after much debate in which my inner toddler screamed, “But I wanna!” at me, I sold my ticket.

This hit me pretty hard emotionally. I’d been looking forward to that party for months, and the next opportunity would mean another 4 month wait. It sucked. I needed to process anger, disappointment, grief, the whole nine yards. It wasn’t so much about the party itself, but about my plans getting changed by something outside my control, my autonomy being curtailed.

All those feelings totally made sense, but I also started feeling bad in totally unrelated areas. Suddenly, the fact that I have sold a little over 30 books so far felt like a huge failure. A few days before I’d made it a point to celebrate it as a win, and now it felt like living proof that I was a talentless hack. That a few friends had bought a book out of pity, and that that was the best I could ever hope for.

So, the careful reader might have identified this voice by now: it’s my old friend Lucy, my faithful companion. What I was experiencing was something I’ve come to call “emotional bleed”. Basically, when I feel down about one thing, Lucy will wake up and sink her claws into whatever is handy, even if it’s completely unrelated.

A few weeks before it was the anxiety about finding a new client for work. Lucy was also wide awake then, mixing my anxiety about being unable to “sell myself” with the sales of my book. The moment I found a client, the other fears also quieted down, and I was able to actually celebrate those 30 sales as the success they were.

Luckily, the one thing Lucy cannot bare is when you shine a light on her. Being aware that I was experiencing emotional bleed didn’t make the feeling go away, but it did give me enough peace and perspective not to act on it. Instead, I lay on the couch all day re-reading a Discworld book, basking in safety and familiarity.

At the moment, Lucy is quiet again. She went off to sulk in a corner, but I’m sure she’ll be back at some point. That’s OK, I’m keeping my flashlight handy.

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