polls/memes of wonder and fascination:
to default dudes* who write sci-fi/fantasy novels/films: stop with the boring repetitive bullshit ok
To those who have been published: Stop colonizing every single damn world with your boring-ass self. Avatar would have been more beautiful and intriguing without human colonizers (and, Cameron, THREE MORE movies ALL told from the colonizer's perspective? WHAT THE FUCK). Naboo’s history told through the eyes of the Gungans would have been fascinating. The Ents deserve stories of their own instead of glimpses from humans and kinda-humans (seriously, Ents were Tolkien’s only real creative bit). Yvaine’s story would have been way more interesting without whiny white dude Tristan trying to use her for his own gain. Seriously, get the fuck out of the way and make new worlds without soiling them with yourself and/or your race as the ‘hero’ or villain. Your privilege-poisoned idea that nobody will care if there isn’t a white dude at the center of the story is just flat-out wrong. I know you probably don't see it, it's "just the way the world works" -- so self-educate. There is no fucking excuse for ignorance with the resources at your disposal. People like Gaiman, Lucas, Cameron, you are especially responsible for the white supremacist patriarchal sludge that passes for sci-fi, because with your power you could write ANYTHING you want.
To those who haven't been published, who write the same damn shit: No you don't get a pass because you have less power. If you actually believed in equality you'd put it in your fucking books. No, getting published ISN'T more important than being an ethical storyteller. No, it isn't acceptable for you to write books exclusively about the exploits of white straight men just because 'that is what will sell.' If you write what will sell, you're not creating art, you are creating advertizing. MAYBE if you had a plan for a series that began with a default dude and moved on to focus on other people I might believe your excuse that you want to write what will sell, but you never move on, do you; I've seen the endless white-dude series that happens when you do get published. The publishing industry is problematic but if they had no colonialist white supremacist patriarchal bullshit to publish they'd have to accept other options. Stop giving them what they want, or rather, what you say they want because it is what you want. Compromising the story so that the publisher can have a self-insert is blasphemous to art; the world doesn't need artists who reproduce bullshit instead of creating art. If that's what you are actually doing it's horrible, but I bet what you're really doing is not even realizing what you are reproducing, and how very terrestrial and boring and commonplace your "other world" is. I bet what you really are is someone who hasn't yet realized that it is not inevitable, sensible, common (in a universal sense), or positive for the world to revolve around your kind.
NOTE: this is NOT a call for recommendations for books by straight white males. Part of the problem is that the market is deeply skewed toward inclusion of default dudes writing default stories. If you respond to this with a recommendation, the main character better not be a default dude and it better fucking pass the Bechdel test for both race and sex. If the author of said book happens to be a white straight man, I won't hold it against them.
*a default dude is white, male, straight, cisgender, non-disabled, neurotypical, and usually USian.
PSA: I do not endorse everything I say or do.
I'm hypocritical sometimes. More often I'm just plain ignorant. Unless I specifically say that I think action 731 is excellent and should be done by most people, I'm not endorsing it. Some shit I do I wish I didn't do (like eating fast food and thus creating a pile of unnecessary waste in one meal). some shit I do I've never even thought carefully about and so it doesn't match the goals I've set for myself. sometimes I'm just plain wrong. please don't take me as a model for behavior, and please don't think that I will defend any action I take, or that I will maintain any particular belief forever. instead, feel free to discuss with me any of my behavior that bothers you. If it is new information, it will probably alter my thinking at least a little. If not, I'll at least let you know what my thoughts are on my behavior: whether I endorse it or not.
my sexuality is inherently connection-based; masturbation just isn't worth it.
I had the most miserable experience the other night. I'd been talking about masturbation with my lover, and it had been a while since I did it last (the previous time was lackluster), so I got curious and decided to try it a new way. I got a large mirror and sat it in front of me so I could make eye contact with myself, and used one of my vibrators. I was really excited (emotionally and physically) when I was gathering things, and I had an orgasm within about 2 minutes, but then felt let down. I thought maybe it was that I hadn't held off long enough, and so I went for another, but after that I felt even worse. I just felt more tense and more lonely, and very disappointed. Apparently I cannot have decent sex with just myself. The physical sensation is nice for a minute, and then the emotional let down is frustrating as shit.
I've come to the conclusion that my sexuality is inherently about connection with another person. I can physically 'achieve satisfaction' but it is not the slightest bit satisfying. And if I were to start having sex with someone and realize they weren't into it I would not only lose interest but also feel grossed out. I don't really have much that I am inherently into, physically, except biting and kissing. I find that really satisfying. Also, if something is very pleasing to my lover, I am aroused by it too, even if it is something I would never have even thought to try, or something that I am initially repelled by. For instance, blindfolding; eye contact is super important to me and giving it up seems very unappealing in and of itself, but if it is very exciting to my partner I want to do it, at least some of the time.
I feel really frustrated by the fact that I seem to have no independent sexuality. I'd like to be able to have a satisfying sexual experience alone. But the good part is that if I'm not thinking about it, I don't care; left to my own devices I might masturbate 3 times a year, for the sake of making my cramps go away. I don't even feel desire unless I'm in love with the person and feel like they desire me also. Then my desire can get intense and continuous, especially if we both want it but circumstances are keeping it from happening, OR if we are having it every day -- if my memory is fresh it dramatically increases my desire.
I feel like this is pretty different from your average person; the sensation of orgasm doesn't really attract me much, even the really intense ones. I'm wondering if this means I'm demisexual? or if there is even a word for this.
what you need to be good at cuddling / wish-plan: cuddling for a living
I have snuggled and cuddled with many a person and I can say with confidence that cuddling is a skill, and not all the people who like it are good at it. I am very good at it (though saying that gives me anxiety, what if someone I've cuddled disagrees oh god? I don't think they would though, I get lots of compliments). I think the things you need to be good at cuddling are creativity, generosity, dexterity, vulnerability, and a LOT of empathy/focus. (most of those things are built through practice) You need creativity because otherwise you might have only one 'move' and back strokes are great but they get boring after a while. You need generosity because if you only want to get, that will shine through, and your touches will feel like they are taking and not giving. You need dexterity because otherwise you'll probably poke, squish, or otherwise accidentally discomfit the person you are trying to please. You need vulnerability because if you don't relax and melt with the other person, you're going to make them feel stiff and tense too, and you can't give well from a guarded heart. You need empathy/focus because you need to be able to read the other person's face and body to know if what you are doing is good or not (you can learn this by watching while asking questions so that you know what a "yes" looks like and what a "yuck" looks like, but it usually differs from person to person).
I want to cuddle people for a living. Offer my time hugging, holding hands, petting hair, stroking backs, spooning, etc. I feel like I could give love in a way that would be easy for people to take in; like I could do a lot of good and provide myself with necessities at the same time. My only problem is -- how would I find clients? I know mostly poor people.
reading lots / being sick forEVER / ridic huge school/work/research STRESS / missing intimacy
I have been INHALING books lately: one by Joan Slonczewski (a re-read of "A Door Into Ocean"), three by Sheri Tepper ("The Companions," "The Visitor," and "The Margarets"), one by Allie Brosh ("Hyperbole and a Half," obv) and today, one by Torey Hayden (a reread of "Somebody Else's Kids"). It's a little weird because this is happening after a very long time of reading tiny bits of books and being unable to keep going, unable to stay "in" it. It feels sorta good in that I feel like it is building up a part of my brain that was shrinking from disuse, but at the same time it feels like regressing, withdrawing from interaction into other worlds, turning into my teen loner self.
It overlaps with an illness I've had for the past month -- mono (plus some kind of cold on top of it that I got last week). I've been weak and tired and unmotivated. I find it harder than usual to make myself do homework, I haven't been able to write or create. I worry that this sickness might be something that won't heal on its own but I don't want to make an appointment with the doctor because I already went to the fucking doctor and they were no help at all (beyond a note to let me rest, I guess). I think this sick is partly stress-induced. 5 classes (including one with a huge research project) plus work plus sick is too damn much. But I wasn't about to take a course on the sociology of class from the professor who is so racist and sexist and homophobic that I've heard this from AVERAGE students (not just the social justice activists). No way any of my money is going to that shitspewer if I can possibly help it, but the only other person who teaches this class only does so in the fall, as far as I can tell. So I am ridiculously busy while feeling like I am accomplishing nothing because my research is going slow and my personal projects are stalled.
And it's cold and I really hate the cold. Yet I haven't called the heater-fixer-person because it stresses me out so much, I feel so busy I can't bear to add another thing to my schedule. I arranged a meeting with them once and they flaked (making me miss classes and wait five hours for NOTHING) and didn't call and when I called it went straight to voicemail. I decided to go with someone else but I haven't arranged that yet.
I'm procrastinating a major paper right now but this is the first time I've been able to sit down and write about my life in forever. I feel anxious because I haven't had an intimacy practice in two months and I can't seem to plan one, it's too hard to mesh everyone's schedules. I just finally sent out another attempt and I'm hoping but ughhhh I just can't DEAL, if this one doesn't work I probably won't try again until school is out. I miss everybody a lot and I'm frustrated that I don't know what is going on in people's lives but I also feel like unless other people prioritize it, it's just not going to happen, and I'm starting to feel like I am the only one who cares. It's not true I know but it feels true.
Which brings me to something I realized about intimacy practice and crafty parties -- they are super important to me because interacting one-on-one with anyone that I don't have a secure bond with takes a lot of energy for me, especially if I really like the person. I feel worried the whole time that I'm going to bore them or make them feel like I don't care about them and I can get past it but that takes a lot of energy too. But in a group setting, I don't feel responsible for keeping people feeling noticed and entertained, so it's a much lower energy cost while giving me positive energy, either from creating or from sharing intimately. Without these gathers it becomes harder and harder for me to feel like interacting with people at all. Going to group events is low-cost but usually even lower in reward because people don't usually share intimate thoughts/feelings or create together at things other people host.
don't tell suicidal people not to kill themselves, it's selfish/disrespectful. offer comfort instead
It makes me profoundly upset when I see people react to someone expressing suicidal thoughts by telling them not to do it. That is shockingly selfish and disrespectful -- a person's life belongs to them, not to you, no matter how much it might hurt you to lose them. If life is torture for them, how dare you tell them to keep enduring it just to prevent YOU from feeling pain? Ugh! Way to make them (me) feel more depressed about how inescapably selfish people are.
I say this as a person who has been deeply suicidal and has loved people who felt deeply suicidal. One of the people I love most in the world has dealt with a lot of depression and painful suffering due to it. I told zir that if ze had to do it, I would understand and I would forgive zir, but that I wanted the chance to say goodbye so if it ever came down to it, to please contact me first. Had that happened I would have cried, I would have asked if there was anything I could do, and if not, I would have said goodbye, and thanked them for all the good they did me and all the time they shared with me. I would not have told them what to do with their own life or demanded that they consider my feelings above their own. (I would be angry and hurt if they didn't give me a chance to say goodbye, but I would understand that it might have been too much to do that and they get my forgiveness and love no matter what)
Also, it's not fucking helpful to tell someone not to do it! Instead of making orders, ask questions! see if there is anything you can do, try to think up things to offer. Sometimes you can't help, other times little things like bringing someone a coffee or giving someone a long hug would be miraculously helpful, and you won't know if you don't offer, and most of the time I don't think a suicidal person is going to be able to come up with something that would make them feel better so think it up your own damn self.
trustworthiness requires conflict-management skills
Wanna know who you can trust not to hurt you?
Nobody. Absolutely no one, because even with the very most compassionate, dedicated-to-trustworthiness person EVER, you're gonna get hurt. Sometimes people hurt you WHILE they are trying their damnedest to make you feel better. A person who would never hurt you would have to be not only perfectly patient, wholly accepting, eternally available, and effusively loving, but also omniscient. Not even you can predict everything that might cause you pain, and you can't possibly communicate even all that you DO know. But that doesn't mean that the correct answer is to choose to trust no one.
Instead, choose with future pain in mind. Trust people who are going to react to hurting you in a way that will not cause you further pain, and will instead help you heal. When deciding whether or not to trust someone, the most important skills to look for are honesty and conflict-management. If they can't have an argument with someone without calling names, attacking character, turning things into a blame contest of right and wrong, or cutting contact without trying to work it out first, they are not a trustworthy person. You can still love them from a distance, but if you let them close you are going to be in harms way. You can find out how good they are at conflict management by listening to how they talk about their previous relationships or anyone they might currently be in conflict with: a friend, a coworker, a family member. If they paint that person as an enemy with no redeeming qualities, keep in mind that it only takes one mistake on your part for them to treat you the same way.
I trust lots of people to varying extents. I trust the entire internet by sharing publicly, but that is not an area of vulnerability for me. For me to trust someone enough to share significant time with them (which IS vulnerability for me), I have to know that 1) if I hurt them in some way, they will let me know as kindly as they can, and give me a chance to work it out. I also have to know that 2) they will want to do better if they accidentally hurt me, and that 3) they would never deliberately cause another person emotional suffering. I consider these three things to be the basics of decent conflict-management skills. You cannot manage conflict correctly without compassion.
dream (fish out of water)
Dreamed about rescuing fish again last night for the first time in probably years. I found a little puck of mud, saw that there were fish in it, and dumped the puck in water to try and save them, swishing gently to loosen them. I was worried that they were all dead but after a little while I saw them moving their mouths. So I found a container of clear plastic (not sure why it had to be clear), filled it with tap water, and set it outside in the rain to de-chlorinize. That was the end of the dream. Also they were mostly minnows with one catfish that was larger than the rest.
I feel like this is an anxiety dream but it always turns out okay… I think this is my psyche telling me something but I haven’t figured out what.
relearning vulnerability: uncomfortable sharing about internal and external shame
So I've been practicing openness and honesty for about 10 years now and for a while I thought I was done growing in that area. Becoming close with Topaz taught me that no, actually there are plenty of things I don't share. Mostly because I am worried they will upset someone. It's swung like a pendulum -- I pushed very hard toward complete naked truth, then swung back to learn care and kindness, and now I'm stuck in a place I don't really want to be, leaning more toward editing for the sake of protecting people. It is good to be kind but it is wrong (within my own ethic) to put that above being honest.
And there's the things I still feel weird shame about, like the fact that my bioparent M spanked me when I was 'bad' until I was 17 years old. After puberty I didn't have to pull my pants down when I was on my period, which I eventually just said was happening every time (I didn't get punished much because I was very obedient). I knew I was too old after I started feeling shamed and creeped out, but I didn't say anything for at least three years because when M spanked me, he forgave me afterwards, and if he didn't, he radiated the nastiest anger at me all day long. I could easily deal with a little physical pain but the emotional stress was horrible. I felt shame about not speaking up when it got creepy; still feel some shame about it but the more I talk about it the more I realize it was the right choice for me. People radiating anger at me is something I can't deal with, it feels so much worse than anything else (calling names, hitting, breaking my things, taking from me). It feels like I'm being poisoned spiritually.
Then there are the things I feel fine about but am sure that other people will judge me deeply for. Recently I realized one of them -- I not only voted for Bush twice, but I also voted against legalizing gay marriage in Georgia. (not because I thought it was wrong but because I thought all marriage should be a-legal and hadn't thought through the effects my choice would have) People who know me now would doubtless be shocked and appalled by this, but I don't feel ashamed. I would make very different choices now because I have so much more knowledge now. I really didn't understand much before I found livejournal, and through it feminism and social justice and the urge to self-educate.
intimacy: general ways of creating it and a specific outline of my intimacy practices (open source)
Starting on January 30, 2012, I began leading what I call intimacy practice. I've now done it at least 30 times, I'd say, and given talks about building intimacy at Alchemy (the Georgia burn), TBC (a queer conference), and APW (a polyamory conference). I feel like I have a good enough understanding to summarize it so that it can be truly open-source.
First I want to explain the point of an intimacy practice. Most people don't create intimacy deliberately; instead it exists in their lives if they spend lots of time with someone (family, coworkers, high school friends, etc) or go through shared transformative experience like visiting another country together -- because this kind of intimacy is expensive in time or in money (or both), it's considered something you can't create on purpose. But if you want a relationship (friendship or romance or family/tribe) to have lasting intimacy, you have to both/all invest in it. It's not any more natural for intimacy to continue unfadingly on its own than it is for a pendulum to keep swinging just as hard without being pushed again. If it continues, it's because you are creating it.
So if you decide you want to have more intimacy in your life, how do you create it? It's simple, but not easy: find someone who also desires to create intimacy through honesty and openness, and practice together. General ways of practicing this are: ( 10 waysCollapse )
With intimacy practice, we use several of these methods. Occasionally #1 or #6 or #7, always #2, #5, and #10.
We start out with silliness: this is because you don't have to think about it, and it's a very quick way in to feeling close and vulnerable. In person we use a variant of laughter yoga: we make up silly poses and with noise-noise-fake laugh we start ourselves into real laughter. When we meet online we do things like make faces or take turns doing impressions of animals. After we've loosened up enough, we usually move to truth-or-truth (a very simple game I invented).
Truth-or-truth is a question game: the goal is to satisfy curiosity and to encourage people to share important truths about themselves. (You 'win' if your question makes everyone go "ooooh, good question" or if your answer makes everybody sit in reflection for a minute) The rules are simple: Either ask someone a question or pick a questioner and a questionee. Whoever answers then gets to do the same. If a question is ever too invasive (rarely happens) or too simple, the person being questioned can ask for another question. If you get picked as a questioner, you have to ask the question (it can't get passed twice). Bounce-backs are only allowed once (if Roger asks Camellia a question, Camellia can then ask Roger a question but after Roger answers ze has to pick someone else to ask next). I hope I explained that well enough, it's super simple if you watch it being played.
After truth-or-truth, we usually start heart circle. Each person takes a turn setting the guidelines for responses (usually people ask for others to raise their hand if they have a comment, or wait until the end), and then they share whatever is on their mind/heart lately. This is usually pretty intense; knowing that people are really listening helps you to share more than you otherwise would, I think, and knowing that no one is going to interrupt you and go off on their own stuff is also freeing. It's essential that this be a non-judgmental space -- I've been lucky with my people but I imagine that in a more average group, a facilitator would need to be prepared to interrupt if someone began responding judgmentally.
Then if we are in person, we usually have a spiral hug, which is where we hold hands in a line and one end of the line stays still while the others spiral around until they're in a clump of hug. We stay until someone says "break" -- usually the person in the center but sometimes someone else who got uncomfortable. Everyone who wants a turn in the center gets one. If we are not in person, we usually blow kisses and make hearts with our hands and say I love yous (we're an effusive group for the most part).
Please feel free to use anything, share anything from this post, or comment anything that you think would be a good intimacy practice exercise.
expressions of love in friendship: cuddles and questions
Yesterday I was spending time with a friend whom I'd never hung out with one-on-one before, and we were exchanging meaningful questions (for me, meaningful questions are expressions of love even more than kisses or verbal statements of love), and it got me thinking about cuddles in friendship.
I realized that I want more cuddles from my friends. I don't feel touch-deprived at all, because in my relationship with Topaz we do share a lot of touch and I find it really nourishing. But it is important to me to have that dimension in my friendships, to participate in the non-verbal communication that happens only through touch. I want to feel cozy with the people I care about. And pretty much all (all but one maybe?) of my local friends are super cuddly, so where is the disconnect that leads to nothing more than greeting and parting hugs?
The disconnect is two-fold. On the one hand, I am super careful about consent, so I am not going to touch someone unless I am sure that they want it -- but I don't think to ask, so I exist in a state of not-knowing and therefore not-doing. On the other hand, I do not want to have to do all of the initiating or all of the giving, and I have gotten into that pattern so many times that I think I'm gun-shy about starting out with giving. It's not really a rational fear, I don't think, as I am pretty sure that my friends are generous with touch. But thinking about all of this made me realize that I need to verbalize these things now that I have made them consciously realized. As I talked with Cass about this, we cuddled -- walking with arms around each other or holding hands or stroking each others' shoulders. And it made me feel so satisfied and it made me feel more able to understand Cass in a way that I can't explain, and most of all it made me feel unafraid. I think in an ambient environment of no cuddles I feel anxious, I feel afraid of accidentally crossing boundaries that I didn't know existed, because it is unnatural to me to not cuddle and I have to be constantly aware of what NOT to do.
I also started thinking again about questions, about how being asked deep personal questions is such a sign of desire for intimacy and also a sign of respect. I realized that intimacy practice is actually meeting that need for me in a much bigger way than I realized, but that it is also something I want more of. I want to be prompted to share more, share new levels, look at things I haven't considered.
oneness blessing -- getting trained as a giver, realizations and learning through giving
About six weeks ago I went to my first oneness blessing circle
and learned that they were offering a training. I couldn't afford to pay, so I messaged the facilitator and offered to make something, a piece of jewelry or painting, and ze said that the one piece of sacred jewelry that ze wears daily had just broken (literally the day that I messaged asking about this). So I made this necklace
to house zir sacred pendant; I felt really honored to do it and likely would have done it for free just because I feel like making daily jewelry is such an honor. But it was just perfect that the universe had lined it up so that I could give zir what ze needed and ze gave me the oneness blessing giver training in return. It was two days of really intense reflection, meditation, dancing, breathing and chanting, and lots of oneness blessings, culminating in giving the oneness blessing for the first time (I've now given it on three occasions).
The training was really interesting because it made me realize a lot of new things about myself, and I deeply resonated with a lot of it. However it's also very single-divine focused, which makes me feel a little weird because I certainly could not have just one deity. At first I was trying to pick one to do the giving with, and that was just making me feel awkward and stilted. Finally I just decided to ask "who wants to bless this person?" and then let whatever deity pour positive energy through me into that person. It's been really interesting because it's mostly deities I care about, but not the ones I think of as 'mine.' So far it's been Thoth, Set (that was a surprise!), Pan, Athena, Aphrodite, Geb, Nuit, Hapi, Ra, Isis/Mary (sharing), Jesus, Jehovah, Bastet, Sekhmet, and at least one or two that I felt the energy of but have no idea who they are. Only five of those have I worshiped, ever. When I ask this question, I put my hands out as if to catch water, and when I feel that my hands are full, I tip them over onto the person and place them lightly on the top of their head. I then let energy flow through, which feels simultaneously like it's coming in through my head and out through my hands, and also like it's strengthening/widening a beam of light that goes through the person's body from head to feet and straight up from their head, like a searchlight.
I feel like I am getting to know these deities through being a conduit, and the best part of that so far is feeling connected with Jesus again. I hadn't felt close to zir in a long time because I felt like I didn't know zir anymore, like we drifted. When I was giving oneness to someone I suddenly had the realization that Jesus was a submissive masochist and I felt like I realized all of these new layers to zir. I am sure loads of people would be scandalized at the idea, but it made me feel like best friends again.
I've also had a deep realization about the nature of divinity but that is a whole post to itself.
creative flourishing / memory / my creation is in inverse proportion to my depression.
I've been creating a lot more art (making fractals and editing my photos), sharing it on flickr and deviantart and tumblr; it feels AMAZING to be sharing my creations again. I've also been making mix CDs for people which is a big damn deal because instead of starting a creative project, doing a few and then getting burnt out, I actually finished the first set and offered to add people to the list! The second set isn't done yet but I am motivated to do it still. And I've been sending out postcards to scold my homophobic ex-church and to show love to my friends. And I actually reached out to new people on LJ in an effort to build a home here again (hi people!). It's weird to have an active friends list all of a sudden, even weirder that it's all strangers. I think the last time I added new people had to have been at least two years ago. I hope at least some of these new connections turn into friendships because I know that is what will most help me to write. And while I am enjoying making visual art, I need to be writing. I need it because it is my memory, my sense of self.
I wish I had a better memory but if I didn't have livejournal and photos, I would remember so little of my life. It's like my memory is 2D and I have to see something flat for it to be saved in my mind -- I can't even remember people's faces unless I have seen a photo of them and then I only remember the photo. I find that pretty tragic because I love faces so much. And it's worse when someone is not okay with me taking photos -- I'll respect that but it means they don't exist as a visual in my mind. Photos taken by someone else will work, but they feel like borrowed memories, like a memory of seeing someone through a window while I stand outside.
Anyway, this creativity is so wonderful to me, I hold it like a kitten to my chest. It's such a relief because it has been so long since I had the energy to do this. There were five months last year -- including four in a row -- when I took NO PHOTOS AT ALL. More than a month where I take no photos is dangerous, because I have to be intensely depressed for that to happen. I look back and feel sad for myself, lost thing that I was. Also I think that I need to live alone for as long as possible, because it's so freeing to be able to just go spend a day alone if I need to, and no one questions it or gets hurt by it, that's just the default. I have so much more energy when it isn't being spent on daily managing of other people's feelings, and since I am currently not at all good at resisting the pull to do that, I need to avoid situations of temptation.
more mixys -- comment if you want one
I've super enjoyed making the mixys and I only have 1.5 left to go, so I've decided I'm up for doing more! comment with your address (comments are hidden)
unless I regularly see you in person, then just say "me me me me pllllls" or something like that :D I'll do them in order until I get tired of it, so no guarantees but you'll likely get one :D
Happy 10-year LJ anniversary to me! I was going to write something grand but my brain says no, so I'm going to work on my mixy project. Couldn't let this day go by with nothing though!
living monogamously for the first time since 2009
I'm living monogamously right now: I'm not seeking out any new romantic connections and I'm not open to spontaneous romance/sex with people other than my lover. I still consider myself poly because this is only a temporary situation. I feel very little desire to create new romance right now, but when I do, I will transition my relationship with Topaz. Topaz has said that ze is willing to try it but that ze doesn't think ze will be able to handle it, and I feel like that's true, so I feel that it is likely that when I am actively poly again it will be the end of my romantic relationship with Topaz. And I love sex and kisses with Topaz way more than any others I've had so far, so I'm not giving those up lightly (we have both agreed that when we break up we will still be emotionally intimate and cuddly, so the sex and kisses are all that we intend to change).
It's been weird. I'm not used to having any artificial boundaries in my relationships (that is, boundaries set by something other than the ones directly involved). But the extra energy I have that I might have put into developing a new relationship I am instead putting into developing my friendships, and I am glad to have that as a possibility. I'm also glad to have people who can and will make plans with me in my tiny bit of spare time!
want me to make you a mixy?
Want new music? comment (they're screened so only I can see them) with your snailmail address and I'll send you a mix CD compiled of randomly chosen songs from my lesser-known favorites (if I know you I'll probably weight it by what I know of you) . I'll do up to 8 of these (already got one on this list). (decreased the number because it's taking me at least an hour each, heh)
<3 <3 love and hugs <3
ETA: if I know you, I let my music player choose the artist and then I chose a song, skipping artists that didn't have a song that suited you :D
ETA #2: I have now finished 4 and have 4 more claimed but if you want one comment anyway and we'll see if I still have the creative flow to do more :D
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the amount of racist sexist etc shit in the world and how I have no fucking clue how to create any real change and I'll probably die having done nothing to make a more equalist world and how my life has no meaning and then I start crying and then I feel even worse because white woman tears help no one and if I kill myself that's abdicating my responsibility and I have no right to be overwhelmed and it just goes in circles and I don't know what to do with myself and fuck I hate this world and how there is never any rest.
how I value impermanence and infinity to equal degrees
I never thought about impermanence as a value of mine, because I have a strong belief in the cyclical infinity of life, and most of the people I run into who hold impermanence as a value do so in a very "once then gone forever" kind of way (haha, which I just realized is a belief in forever...), so I've had a subconscious knee-jerk rejection of the term itself.
I looked more closely at this last week because my use of terms like "forever" had become worrisome to my lover, who holds impermanence as one of zir core values. Ze was worried that we would hold on to our relationship longer than it was good for us, and let it become damaging because of intention or anticipation of being together forever. I sent zir this in response:
I don't believe in forever any more than I believe in perfect or favorite, I use those words as emotion words and I can just stop using the word forever since it doesn't communicate what I mean. When I have said 'together forever' I mean like when you want to eat endless amounts of ice cream. It's not a logical desire and certainly not a plan, but it's an emotion. I don't mean that I see us being together romantically forever, nothing like that.
What I actually see is us as having lives that meet over and over. I mean the thing you said about wanting to be friends if we're not romantic, etc. I don't -- at ALL -- see us as being together uninterrupted. From the beginning I have known that would not work. I foresee pain over a breakup, and then time, and then closeness. I don't like thinking about breaking up with you but I expect it to happen... I would hope that after we break up, we eventually get together again for another length of time, but I certainly don't count on that. I will literally love you forever, but I have no idea if I will desire you romantically forever, and me loving you forever implies nothing about our relationship or level of contact.
Since then I've been reflecting on my attitude towards impermanence and realized that I very much do value impermanence of the physical. Relationships, lives, intentions, personality aspects, all of these have a finite life span. But I also feel very strongly that the stuff underneath, the stuff that creates it, lasts forever and will often recreate physical manifestations of itself. For instance, in my connection with Hannah, we have had an impermanent series of relationships with gaps in between, that were all created by the infinite connection we share. I don't expect that any relationship will last for the rest of my life, and I don't expect it to necessarily come back in this lifetime or in any particular shape, but I know that the core of me and the core of Hannah will create relationships between us for as long as there is existence of life. Maybe in 100 years we will be trees that grow next to each other or a clownfish and anemone, who knows, but I feel that the connection is infinite. And I can feel a lot of sadness at any relationship ending, but I never feel like something has died, it has just gone away, maybe for the rest of my life but not for the rest of existence.
I came to this belief through my experience and my knowledge. Experientially, my relationships that impacted me deeply all ended and most came back; Aurilion, Hannah, Arizona, Abby, Viv, Allison. The ones that didn't come back I think of as either not intended to return in this lifetime, or not yet returned. Life has to line up the right situation for the connection to create a new manifestation, and a lot of factors are involved with that. I think I have more luck than most with this because I do not devalue the thing after it ends, so when the right situation comes, I am not preventing it from manifesting. As far as knowledge, I feel like the law of conservation of energy applies to everything including connections between life forms
list of my privileges (not exhaustive, just the biggest ones)
memory: the one time my parents encouraged me to be happy with myself as is
I had this intense realization the other day when I was reflecting on one of the rare memories I have from my childhood. I was in fourth grade and had been upset about having to wear glasses because I felt they made me look ugly (partly because my mom made me get the pink ones when I wanted the white ones with rainbow letters, fucking gender bullshit). I would often 'forget' them and then have to sit right up next to the board where, with squinting, I could make out what was written. So a few months in, my mom took me aside (I can even remember the lighting and the time of day, midafternoon in her bedroom with just a little window light) and told me a story. Ze told me that before I was born God made me and was like, "wait a minute, I made this kid too awesome with all this cleverness, it won't be fair and she'll get all proud. How can I help her be humble? I know, I'll give her bad eyesight." It was SO obvious and silly and I remember thinking that at the time, but I didn't say so, and afterward I wore my glasses every day. Looking back on that, I wondered, if I thought the story was bullshit why did it have the intended effect? and realized it was the ONLY time my parents had ever tried to make me feel better about myself as I was. EVER. They only commented on who I was and what I did when they were telling me to improve, except for that one moment. So I wore the glasses because I understood what ze wanted and appreciated the effort.
Kanika is happy and less anxious now
Kanika is definitely the happiest ze has ever been. Ze spends most of zir time alone in a lot of space where there are no other animals, with plenty of windows for entertainment and a load of soft things to lay on. When I'm home we play or cuddle, or ze curls up at my feet while I'm on the computer (to overlap energy with me). Ze has not had a stress-free home since 2009, due to sharing space with cats and/or humans ze disliked. It's amazing how zir anxiety has lessened -- at the last two gathers, ze greeted everybody and attacked no one, and even sat in someone's lap for a minute. Ze actually enjoys company now, I think, and doesn't feel the need to be in the middle of everything making sure nothing bad happens (and then overreacting to swishy pants and bouncy energy). Ze goes outside a few times a week and even though ze has had run-ins with other cats, isn't fearful. Zir coat is as soft as a kitten's, and ze stopped overgrooming (something ze does when stressed) months ago. Ze likes being held (by me) once a day (instead of once every two weeks) and will occasionally come to me, stand on back paws with front paws on me and meow, get a few pets, then go away content.
Also I'm starting to realize that ze is even smarter than I thought, because ze is getting more cooperative. I am used to having to repeat myself and gesture to get zir to do things, and there was no way to tell if it was obstinacy or obtuseness -- til now. I'll ask zir to move over (for instance) without even gesturing and ze will do it immediately (not all the time, of course), so now I know every time ze stared at me and made me repeat myself, ze was just being a shit and knew exactly what I wanted.
I had a dream recently that Kanika was friends with an adult orange female cat, and now I want to adopt one. I'd like to get a kitten but I am not home enough to give the attention it would need. I'm planning to keep my eye out because orange females are rare, and if I find one I will try to adopt it if Kanika allows.
relationship updates: Topaz, Abby, Arizona, Firekat, Aurilion, Kylei, etc, self, Hannah
At intimacy practice one of the things I talked about was about how Topaz and I haven't had much time together since I've been working and ze's been in a constant swamp of stress for at least six weeks, through work and family obligations. A few days after that we had a conflict over some misunderstanding and we didn't have time to heal it right away which felt HORRIBLE. The next day we had long talks over text and agreed to have just quiet healing time and not discuss our relationship, and I think that has sort of kept on going, which makes me a little nervous. I'm not sure that that is accurate because it all feels good between us, I just don't feel resolved on the tangled worries that Topaz was having that might or might not include our relationship changing. I miss time with Topaz so much, real time where we focus on each other and explore life. I have maintained my own internal health though, instead of trying to fix everything and spending all of myself on it. I give what I can and also take time for myself.
Abby and Arizona and Trevor all moved out of state and I was feeling not only sad that they're so far away, but also worried that I wouldn't have enough open/honest people in my life and wouldn't be able to find more. I feel reassured after last week's intimacy practice, because there were three newbies who all participated fully. I felt so honored that they all opened up so much, and also felt encouraged that our friendships would become lasting ones.
I've spent time with friends (Aaron, Laure, Taz, Camellia) who had all been on my 'list of people to invest time in' which is a fantastic development as it means I have actual energy for more than survival! And I've had really positive interactions with Aurilion, including a conversation that made me realize that (as Aurilion put it) ze wasn't ready to claim zir agency when we were together, and is coming into true ownership of zir life now. I don't know what that means for us, but it is really good news for zir. Also I randomly messaged Viv tonight and exchanged updated contact info; hopefully we can reconnect. Also I skyped with Firekat and with Abby, which made them feel much more within reach. I feel like I am much more of a person when I have active connections. I feel a strong need for a local heart connection, and I'm trailing out little energetic tendrils looking for that.
I feel like Kylei and I are finally getting to a good place; I'm beginning to feel affection for zir again. It's pretty bizarre how I get totally numb -- I guess it's my psyche's way of saying "no really, if you give one more speck of energy you're gonna die, so I'm gonna make you stop caring." I remember this happening with Hannah when we broke up after our short romance, and how it was scary as fuck. At least with Kylei I knew it would be temporary, but I also know if I try to rush it it will be completely counterproductive. But hugs feel better, and I am encouraged to know that the stasis has ended and the recovery has begun.
My relationship with myself is blossoming right now, as I'm editing and sharing photos (on dA and tumblr and flickr), writing and crafting, reading and organizing, listening to lots of music at the rate of about 2-3 new albums a month. I'm really happy at my self-kindness and pleased that I haven't sacrificed my relationship with myself for other things that I want.
I miss Hannah so much. I feel hopelessly out of touch; I keep trying but haven't managed at all lately and I feel sad and a little hurt about it. But I'm saving, and hoping that ze can come visit me this December.
exploring energy work: deeksha (oneness blessing) & energy healing circle / rejecting fear / dreams
So the last two weeks or so I've been feeling an increasing urge to learn and practice energy work, starting with a small urge for a week that expanded into a determination at intimacy practice on Monday when I realized that I had been waiting on people from my past to come spark me up and I needed to let that go and move forward. Then Tuesday I looked up nearby energy work resources and planned to go to some, and Wednesday night Aurilion had a dream where ze saw me wanting to do something but not going for it, and ze emailed me (which was a great confirmation). So Thursday night I went to a Oneness Blessing circle, not expecting anything in particular, and felt a great burst of clarity about my selfhood (dunno exactly how to explain that). I'd only been to one Oneness Blessing before and at the previous one, it was much more sensation and interaction, whereas this one was like I was receiving messages from a wiser version of me, just intuitionally. I think that's partly because the concept of deity has become less important to me over the last two years, and partly because I'm on citalopram (which seems to make experiencing the surreal more difficult). Everyone there seemed very genuine. The experience felt like they were energetically holding on to me and then reaching out for universal energy, to help get me started, and then letting me take it and use it. What they physically did was walk around, placing their hands above or on my head for about three minutes, then letting me be for 10-15 minutes. The givers also took turns sitting and receiving. Afterward they said that there is a training happening in about a month, and while it is expensive apparently they offer help to people who are too poor to pay for it (me). I'm definitely looking in to that.
Then today I went to the energy healing circle at Unity and had a profound experience. The first person who gave energy to me first hovered zir hands over me, then placed hands on my joints two at a time, making a kind of circle around my body, then massaged my shoulders (asking at the very beginning if all of that was okay). I was surprised about the idea of including massage, and feeling skeptical that it would be useful energetically, but it was the massage that sort of brought the rest together, and I felt really strong emotion while ze was rubbing my shoulders and neck. After that I felt an awareness of a energetic 'worm' in my left shoulder (which I removed later) and otherwise felt pretty glowy and relaxed. Then the second person cleansed my energy, which felt good, and through these two things I was thinking about what I needed, and how I needed to find people I connected with on a heart level, and remembering the dreams I'd been having about being rejected and disliked by everyone I cared about. When that person finished they asked to find out if I wanted anything else and I said no, because though I felt helped by this person I also felt as though they had a bit of a savior complex and I didn't want any further interaction. The last person came and sat in front of me and asked what I wanted. I mentioned the dreams and how I didn't understand them because I don't feel rejected/disliked by people in my waking life. Ze asked if I had asked myself what they meant, and I said sort of, mentally yes but energetically no, that I wasn't sure how to go about it. So ze sort of led me in a guided meditation where I brought the thought into a safe space and then asked myself what it was. I then remembered the end of the most recent rejection dream, where I was rejected by everyone and shrugged it off, went off by myself to dance naked alone, on wet grass under a night sky with a dark moon. I felt complete and happy. Then I realized sort of all at once that I was dreaming these things because I needed to feel comfortable with the possibility that people might dislike and/or reject me, and that I was realizing this because for the first time in many years that was a possibility with people whom I had to associate with (co-workers). I shared these things with this person, and then ze did energy work on me, mostly on my heart chakra, which was interesting to me because it is where I have been feeling need but I didn't tell zir that. After, I thanked zir, and then sat alone for a little bit.
Then I realized that all of the things that I'd been reflecting on had to do with fear, and that I did not want to let fear be a motivator in my life. Fear has been clouding up my motives and desires and preventing me from being fully myself. I thought of a good way for me to prevent that (at last). When faced with fear, I will ask myself what I would do if I had no fear. Then (as long as it doesn't put me in physical danger) I will do what I would do if I had no fear. I then acted on this immediately by giving my contact info to the third person, because I felt a connection with them and wanted to be friends.
What do you look for in a significant other? (what I want to be given)
most people answer, in one order or another, “intelligence, looks, humor," maybe with a shared hobby thrown in. I think those people are super new to understanding humans because 1) everyone has those things and 2) those things don’t make a relationship good.
If you actually want a positive relationship that nourishes you, I'm convinced you have to figure out what you want another person to GIVE, not what you want another person to BE. Except for sex-related things, this whole list pertains to close friends as well:
I want to be given:
mostly expressed through the rest of this list. I want to feel that the person has a very deep appreciation for my existence. That is especially important at my birthday, as I feel like celebrating that day is a statement that the person feels my existence is a gift.
2) respect (belief in equality and practice of careful consent)
Being respectful of me and of all humankind (a person doesn't have to be perfectly equalist, but has to work on shunning/dismantling ranking systems like sexism, racism, heterosexism, lookism, elitism, etc.). Being respectful of all life and refrain from causing unnecessary destruction. Also being willing to pay close attention to my yes/no, my boundaries about my body, and to avoid pressuring me to anything I did not want to do.
3) expressions of desire to understand me.
Especially asking questions about things they know I care about, and asking follow-up questions to things I share, and giving feedback for the things I share. Particularly while listening to me with their whole body facing me while making eye contact.
4) expressions of valuing our connection and wanting to be close to me.
For instance, pointing out things about our connection that are especially nourishing, or that are unique. And simply stating it, like "I love how we connect." Also, building our connection through pointing out spaces or times when it is weaker and working on it. (and, if we were in a sexual relationship, expressing desire to have sex with me specifically, and appreciation for how we have sex). Another way of expressing that they value our connection would be talking about it to others, or showing public affection, or representing it in art, or appreciatively mentioning to others something I've done (in my presence).
through focused and emotionally present touch, eye contact, and verbal appreciation of my passions and idiosyncrasies. Especially these specific things: cupping my face in their hands and looking in my eyes. initiating kisses. hugging with bodies pressed close and faces nuzzled in for at least 8 seconds. rubbing my feet. kissing me randomly on shoulders or whatever part is in reach. stroking my back or arms lightly and briefly in passing. playing with my hair. holding my hands and looking in my eyes. noticing some small thing I do uniquely and commenting on it with affection, or adopting it as part of their self-expression also.
6) inspiration to grow, learn, and create, through them doing those things and encouraging me in those things.
looking for opportunities to grow and mature, especially with regards to increasing compassion and unlearning prejudice. Actively creating a more positive self and world, and being curious about everything (and people in particular). And being creative in some way or another (including work as an art form). Asking questions about my processes in these areas, pointing out places I have grown or could grow, and making sure to give space for those things.
7) voluntary and enthusiastic communication, through them sharing openly and honestly with me.
share zir thoughts/feelings/motives voluntarily and truthfully, with a goal of becoming ever more authentic and transparent. Desire to be known by me as much as possible.
8) freedom, through them not placing expectations on me without my explicit consent.
this means especially not expecting that kind things I do imply that I will continue to do those things. Every single time needs to be a gift, never an obligation. Also, not expecting a certain amount of my time, or to be prioritized above other things.
rating various food bars on taste & texture, protein-to-sugar ratio, & ingredient purity
Considering that food bars make up probably at least 1/4th of my diet, I have significant experience with them. So here, have a pile of reviews, rated by overall impression, protein-to-sugar ratio, meal or snack, and ingredient purity. They don't even get tried if they have HFCS, so this should be free of that entirely, except under the powerbar non-recommended list. First, the ones I recommend:
Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars (Spirulina Cashew and Chocolate Cashew are my favs)
Overall: heavy brownie texture, great taste, not too dense, all raw, feels good to the system. Only get spirulina if you like 'green' taste, though.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: varies between 47 and 58 (C not F because it's just fruit juices, which your body is much happier with
Meal/snack: meal, but short term -- instead of waiting 5-6 hours for the next meal I'll need to eat again in 3-4
Purity: no soy, gluten, GMO, or added sugar, all organic: A++
Journey Savory bars (I've only had the Pizza Marinara so far)
Overall: delicious! it took me eating 2 to get used to the texture (like a slightly fluffier fig newton without the filling), but it's super tasty. It is also delicate, so if you don't want it to crumble, don't just jam it in your bag like I do. Genuinely tastes like pizza.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 100 (A++!)
Meal/snack: meal -- even though it's only 5 g of protein, it's 12g whole grains, so it's lasting energy
Purity: Soy-free, non-GMO, no added sugar, vegan, but possible gluten [oats]: (A)
Bumblebar (I've tried the lushus lemon and chai almond)
Overall: delicious, easy to eat (not dense/dry), but if you don't like sesame seeds don't try them, as that's the main ingredient. Soft nutty texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 75 to 88 (C to B) and there are several varieties that get 100s
Meal/snack: snack, but short term -- instead of waiting 5-6 hours for the next meal I'll need to eat again in 3-4
Purity: added sugar, soy, but gluten free, non-gmo, and organic: (B)
PowerBar Nut Naturals : Fruit & Nuts (the other two nut naturals flavors are okay too)
Overall: easy to eat (not dense/dry), the best ratio I've found, lots of energy, decent flavor, crunchy nutty texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 111 (A+++)
Purity: contains soy, added sugar, milk, possible gluten [oats]: (C)
Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bar, Dark Mocha Almond (the other chewy flavors are good but don't have as good a ratio)
Overall: yummy, easy to eat (not dense but a little dry), good protein ratio, bad purity, crunchy nutty texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 100 (A+)
Meal/snack: snack (you'll need 2 to make a meal)
Purity: Gluten, Soy, added sugar, milk: (C)
Odwalla Chewy Nut Bars, Sweet & Salty Almond
Overall: easy to eat (not dense but a little dry), good flavor, crunchy nutty texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 88 (B)
Purity: No GMO, but added sugar, a small amount of soy, possible gluten: (B)
Pure Organic Raw Fruit and Nuts: Banana Coconut, Wild Blueberry, Chocolate Brownie, Dark Chocolate Berry
Overall: dense (brownie texture) and sweet, but good, tastes like a treat.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: between 28 and 47, but it's all fruit sugar, so (C)
Meal/snack: snack. (I like eating one of these with one of the Kashi chewy bars to make a meal)
Purity: gluten free, organic, non-gmo, no added sugar, soy-free: (A)
If you want to buy them cheaply, go for bulk on drugstore.com and sign up for the mailing list -- about three times a year they have a 20% off their already-good prices on "green and natural" which includes all of these, and anytime you buy more than $35 worth, you get free shipping. I also get things like toothpaste and vitamins there because the prices are better than walmart or kroger.
and the ones I don't recommend:
Odwalla Original (example is Superfood but I ate every variety)
Overall: Good but dense, some of the flavors were way too sweet, heavy brownie texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 18 for superfood, but it's fruit sugars, so (C) 71 for chocolate peanut butter which includes added sugar and palm oil :-/
Purity: No gmo or added sugar (in the superfood flavor anyway), but includes soy and gluten: C
KIND Plus Nutrition Plus Nutrition Bars, Blueberry Pecan + Fiber (I've tried a few others which were even more sweet)
Overall: very sweet, easy to eat otherwise. very soft nutty texture.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 70 (C)
Purity: added sugar, soy, non-gmo, gluten-free: (B)
Kashi -- GoLean Crisp, Crunchy Granola, Soft and Chewy, Cereal Bars
Overall: delicious but not good for you, eat it like a cookie not like a meal.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 50-75 (F to C)
Purity: Soy, added sugar, palm oil, milk, corn, gluten: (F to C)
Clif (example is Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch, but I ate many varieties):
Overall: VERY dense. I had to drink at least a pint of water to get a whole one eaten. Flavor was good though. texture kinda like a really dense burger.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 52 (F)
Meal/snack: definitely a meal, maybe a meal and a half.
Purity: contains soy, gluten, added sugar: C
Luna (example is lemon zest, but I ate many varieties)
Overall: VERY sweet, enough to hurt my teeth. Good flavor otherwise, good texture, not too dense. rice crispy texture
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 77 (C) (either they've decreased the sugar since I last ate it 3 years ago, or it tastes sweeter than it is)
Purity: contains soy, gluten, palm oil, added sugar: F
PowerBar -- Harvest, Triple Threat, Pure and Simple, Fruit Smoothie, Performance, Protein Plus
Overall: too sweet, too dense, not tasty (except Fruit Smoothie which has way too much sugar)
Protein-to-sugar ratio: varies between 40 and 85, usually closer to 40. (F to B)
Purity: soy, palm oil, corn syrup (some varieties), gluten, added sugars, milk: (F)
Pure Protein High Protein Bar, Chocolate Peanut Butter
Overall: too dense, too full of bad stuff, but the flavor was okay.
Protein-to-sugar ratio: 258 (A)
Meal/snack: meal and a half
Purity: hydrolyzed collagen!! (from animal hides/bones), soy, added sugar, milk (F)
what I need to live, to cope, and to thrive: notes for self-care and usermanual reference
Things I need to be alive:
enough sleep -- about 7 hours a night
at least 64 oz of clean water a day
healthy, live food with enough protein and potassium and little bad stuff
physical activity (doesn't have to be intense, just has to be enough to get my blood all freshened up)
sunlight (Georgia usually gives me enough but I have to seek it out in the winter)
the freedom to be alone as often as I like, for as long as I like
meaningful connection with other humansThings to help me cope when I'm having a hard time:
watching something that makes me laugh without making me hate the world (a hard thing to find!)
distraction by pretty things (movies with beautiful settings, Guild Wars 2)
going out and getting coffee, then enjoying it somewhere other than home
going out in nature, especially if someone else drives to the place, especially around big trees
tidying my space, especially with company
shopping for used books and/or crafting supplies
being petted, especially receiving foot rubs
someone holding space for me to be sad/hurtingThings I need to be completely fulfilled
(I can live without any of these things but if too many are missing, I will slowly be drained of all energy):
people I love (who also make me feel safe) asking me prying questions
active connection with spirit-kin (like Topaz, Hannah, Kylei, Anita, Chip)
active connection with heart-kin (like Aurilion, all the treespirit folk)
active connection with soul-kin (like Kat, Topaz, Adi, Nea)
active connection with mind-kin (like Abby, Hannah, Kate, Aaron)
thoughtful, emotionally-present and mutually-generous cuddles at least every other day
emotionally-present kissing and/or sex with someone I'm (mutually) in love with
regular, emotionally-present eye contact with people I love and trust
a self-date at least once a week for at least five hours
writing in my journal at least twice a week
making art at least monthly
productive crafty parties
consciously opening my spiritual awareness, regularly
being effusively loving and close with multiple people
taking photos (incl. and esp. self-portraits) at least weekly, and sharing them at least monthly
being 'out' in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible (any hiding makes me feel less myself)
going to see live music at least every other month, preferably monthly
listening to my favorite artists at least 10 hours a week (in the car or at home)
raising plant babies
having a tidy home and car(inspired by rextrocular's usermanual post)
Dear white cis dudes: your opinion is NOT inherently valuable. Go educate yourself.
Dear white cis dudes* who think that their opinions are inherently valuable:
Nope. When you blather on about a topic that you have no education on or experience in, your opinion is useless, worthless, and beyond arrogant. You look ridiculous. Opinions cobbled together from hearsay and cultural biases have no use; you need actual facts ("I saw it on TV" doesn't count) and/or personal experience ("I have a friend who..." doesn't count) to be able to add anything of value to a conversation. If you don't have those things, shut the fuck up and listen to learn. Only open your mouth if you are asking for recommended resources to fix your ignorance.
*I'm guessing this to be a privilege issue: I've experienced this attitude from 90% white cis males, with that last 10% being white cis females.
on fat-phobic assumptions and fat-hate: what fat does not mean.
There are all these assumptions people put on you when you have a fat body. Fat is culturally assigned meanings such as lazy, gluttonous, unproductive, unhealthy, unclean, smelly, monomaniacal, obsessed with food, undesired, second-rate, clumsy, ashamed or stupid, unworthy of life. I know well that I am none of those things yet I feel the presence of those assumptions, because I hear people state them flat out. Upon seeing someone running a 10k while fat, someone told me "look at that fat slob!" and said that the person ought to face facts and walk instead (WTF?!???). So many times I hear people criticize fat people for wearing clothes that do not hide their fatness, because while being fat is a social crime, being unashamedly fat is so much worse.
I am not lazy. I don't exercise, but I'm active -- I use the stairs and I park at the far end to get a walk in when I go to school. I like swimming and dancing and carrying my lover around on my back. I'm strong and flexible. If I were on the thin side of average, this would be considered enough. But I am fat, and my socially-required penance for this is to work out every day or at least be ashamed of my lack of workouts. I'm certainly not unproductive. I create continuously, I gift my labor, I work for my employer, I work for school; I produce art and growth and service and thought.
I am not gluttonous. I do not overeat and rarely eat things that are bad for me. I don't eat (or drink) high fructose corn syrup, white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, or meat. I drink at least 64oz of water a day. I usually have three meals a day -- an apple and a food bar in the morning (I choose my food bars based on them having at least 8 grams of protein and an equal or lesser amount of sugar), and a full meal later with fresh vegetables and/or fruits, and near the end of the day I have a small meal that is more of a snack. I almost never eat things like cake or cookies, and if I have candy it is usually one 2oz bar of dark chocolate for the day. I also never refuse myself food that I want, and food does not hold any glamour for me.
I am not unhealthy. I have average blood pressure for my age and quite good cholesterol levels and I can accomplish everything I want to do without getting winded or feeling pain. I am not unclean. I wash myself with gentle eco-friendly soap (Dr. Bronners') and use mineral salts instead of deodorant -- I don't hide my scent in any way and I don't smell bad (people compliment me on how I smell).
I know that I am not undesired. I have lovers who have caressed this body and expressed their desire for me in it. I know that I am not ashamed and that I don't lack shame because I lack the intelligence to realize that I should be ashamed. Yet if I am doing something that society tells me is a "stupid" level of not-hiding (like showing my fat belly), I feel worried half of the time (the other half of the time I feel like a fucking bad-ass). I know that I am not clumsy or oafish, but I feel absolutely full of dread at the idea of ever stumbling around someone who is fatphobic because I know they will attribute it to my fat and not to a single moment of gracelessness. This keeps me from dancing -- or even moving very much -- around many people because dancing increases the likelihood that I will have a moment of gracelessness and become "that poor clumsy fat person." Instead I dance when I get drunk enough to not give a shit about haters, or when I am around only trustworthy people, or when I am alone.
So many people have told me that I am not worthy of life because I am fat. They have plainly and literally told me to get thinner or kill myself. This part is easier for me to reject because I can see outright hate as being all about the hater, but that is an unusual stroke of luck for me. I know that most people told this do not have the shield against it that I do, and I know that people have literally obeyed those orders.
What being fat actually means for me is pretty much exclusively that society will judge me and mistreat me. It means nothing for my life apart from that opprobrium.
Topaz and closeness through touch
I want to explain my relationship with Topaz in concrete, visual terms; I want to make it real outside myself. We have so much closeness in so many ways, especially through touch.
I carry Topaz on my back often, just around the house -- I'll get up to go get water and Topaz will say, "where are you going?" and I will answer and ask if ze wants a ride (ze has never said no that I can remember) and then ze will hold the water bottle as I hold onto zir legs and go downstairs and into the kitchen. Or I'll just be walking along and ze will grab my shoulders and leap onto my hips. Or I'll take zir arms and loop them over my shoulders and lean over and walk around with zir draped over me. And we hold hands while we are in the car or while we're sitting together having coffee or if we're walking together. And if we're watching something together I'll usually have my arms around Topaz or ze will put zir head in my lap. And I brush zir hair and braid it very often, and pet zir head and face and neck. And if we're in the kitchen waiting on coffee to brew, we will be hugging and occasionally kissing. And if we pass each other in the hall, one of us will caress the other on the way. And we sleep cuddled up from feet to forehead, taking turns spooning the other. And we hold the other if the other is sad. And I constantly kiss Topaz on the shoulders and hands and face. And ze nuzzles me so often, and tucks zir face into my neck.
And the most important bit is that I never feel like my touch is falling into a vacuum. Topaz always responds, if not in movement or sound at least in energy. When I hug zir, ze's present and hugs back. When I pet zir, ze leans into it in a nonverbal purr. Often when I wrap my arms around zir and hug and then begin to move away, ze captures my arm and pulls me back. Sometimes when we are holding hands and ze needs that hand for something ze will switch hands or put my hand on another place and press it there to stay until ze picks it up again.
For a while I was worried that Topaz did not enjoy touching me as much as I enjoyed touching zir. When we talked about it Topaz explained that ze has never had this level of touch in zir life and is constantly sated, but that as ze gets used to it ze will initiate more. I've seen that happen lately and it makes me incredibly happy. I can feel that as ze is caressing me, ze is feeling nourished by that alone -- it is not a bore to lead to something more fun, but an end in itself. Because I can feel that, I can accept touch without getting to a point where I begin to feel obligated to return it, and I feel nourished and safe and loved. Recently I had an evening where I felt bare-nerve raw and asked for gentle healing touch and Topaz gave it to me without hesitation or the slightest bit of resentment though it was not what ze had been wanting.
And it's playful. We'll scramblefight like kittens, biting and giggling and shrieking in turn. We wrestle and chase and duck and pounce. Ze's strong and very aware of zir body so I don't have to worry about hurting zir; we're well-matched.
And when we kiss it's like nothing else. When we kiss briefly it's sweet, a little spark of joy, and when we kiss for more than a second it's transcendent. I'd think that I'd get tired of it but it never lessens in beauty. It still makes me sway and close my eyes and grin like the Cheshire cat, still makes shivers skitter down my back.
I've been touched like a security blanket;
clutched, clung to, squished up and dragged,
wrung for drips of comfort.
I've been touched like a pump dispenser;
just enough to produce results, efficiently,
manipulated for easy pleasure.
I've been touched like a pet;
absent-mindedly, mechanically petted,
as though a pelt and not a living being.
I've been touched like a feral creature;
a placating gesture
with no desire.
I want to be touched like the familiar sacred;
a talisman, a touchstone,
a treasured carving
held reverently, closely.
I want hands on my skin,
fingertips like tiny tongues
tasting my candy skin hungrily.
I want examination, exploration
to be cherished in texture and shape,
in my softness and points,
every curve and crease,
no part unnoticed.
relationship updates: Topaz, Hannah, Abby, Aurilion, Adi, Kylei, depression, exes with strong needs
With Topaz, things have been quite different because now we're spending a lot more time apart as we're both working. That plus spending time with Topaz' friends and family and my friends (and recently, family) there's just not a lot of time we get just the two of us, and since Topaz doesn't get much down time, a lot of that time is spent on distraction things like shows/movies, or on maintenance things like cleaning/laundry/gardening. It means I miss zir a lot more, even when we are together, but we still connect deeply and often. One thing I've noticed is that ze is low spoons a lot of the time now, but so far that hasn't gone sour; Topaz is pretty good about not taking zir stress out on me. I miss zir such a lot though.
I've been talking to Hannah more which is infinitely relieving but also full of missing. I haven't seen zir in five fucking years, it hurts, I MISS ZIR SO MUCH. But video chat is more satisfying than text chat and we both have the appropriate tools for it now, so at least I get to see zir expressions and hear zir laugh and see zir cuteness. I need zir to come visit me. I'm gonna start scraping some savings together for it.
I've been spending more time with Abby also, which is bittersweet as ze's leaving at the end of this month and won't move back for years, possibly never. I feel like we were together at a time that didn't work because we both needed to learn things and I'm sad that I don't get the chance to try it now, probably never.
Aurilion has been writing me letters and we've been texting occasionally, which is tenuous as always but feels good because having zir absent from my life always feels like a loss.
Adi I haven't seen for ages and haven't had a real conversation with in months. Ze's dealing with work and chronic pain. I hope the situation gets better for zir and I hope we manage to be close. I don't feel like that will happen anytime soon though, which means that I don't feel motivated to initiate.
Kylei I haven't seen much either. Last time we hung out we had a weird post-breakup conversation where ze assigned me some blame that I felt was completely situational (if I do my best and so do you, it's no one's fault). I feel like that happens whenever we don't talk for a while -- I become this bad person in zir mind. I know Kylei was hurt by the breakup but I am confident that I wasn't cruel or careless at all. I don't feel like I can start a fresh connection with Kylei until ze is no longer upset with me about breaking up with zir. But I want to keep in touch enough to tell when/if that happens.
Overall I feel like I have little ability to increase connection with people I already know due to physical or emotional distance, and finding new people is so hard. But I miss feeling more connected.
My depression is improving -- I'm able to give and be supportive without it instantly draining me every time, though I don't have anywhere near the capacity I do when I'm healthy. I've gotten pretty sensitive to when I need to stop, which I hope is a new skill and not just a function of the depression or meds.
I've been thinking a lot about some previous relationships. There's a certain level of need that I cannot handle (especially when I'm depressed), particularly when the person in question wants to meet most of that need with me. Maybe at some point I'll be able to set boundaries and keep them but until I can say "no, get your need met elsewhere, leave me alone until you're less desperate" I need to just not be entangled with people in that situation. Because I want to be able to do all the things and I will just do them without considering until I'm near death from exhaustion. I need to be able to stop myself from taking responsibility for other people's happiness, even when they are actively wanting me to take it.
my experience with MM last fall / falling fast and crashing / guard-guide-"dominance" realizations
Lately I've been thinking a lot about a person I'll call MM (don't want it to be searchable), who I met at my first TBC in 2011, and followed zir on twitter for the next year, feeling a great deal of admiration for zir thoughts and passion. When I went to TBC in 2012, I ended up staying at a mutual friends house with MM, as my flight was delayed by hurricane Sandy. I'd been incredibly attracted to MM, and we spend most of a day cuddling and talking.
Our cuddling was really intense for me, and for MM too, I felt. I have been developing my consent skills for a few years and I am way better than your average person (though by no means perfect). MM responded to my questions (about what ze wanted and what was comfortable for zir) with what I felt was relief and deep appreciation, and said that ze'd never been asked those sorts of questions before (which made my heart ache). There was a lot of sexual tension and something else that I hadn't experienced before, and it felt exhilarating and a little scary.
Later that evening there was a comment made by someone (not MM, don't remember who) that triggered some really deep pain in me, and I started crying (silently). No one noticed -- and I was in a room with three people who I was close to, who were my lovers. That just hit me pretty hard and I went in another room and texted Topaz (this was like three days after love-confessions) about how I feel like I am sensitive to other people's emotions but people just never notice mine, and that makes me feel deeply unseen and unloved. Topaz was comforting, but I was still hurting a huge amount. MM came in the room to get something from zir bag, noticed me and asked if there was anything ze could do (not exactly, my memory is fuzzy), and I talked about my feelings and we had a REALLY intense conversation for hours, starting about people not noticing, and going into our feelings about each other. I rambled out loud about the way that MM made me feel, like I wanted to guard and guide zir, similar to feeling "dominant" but it feels so responsive that it doesn't make sense to call it dominant. Ze said ze felt submissive to me and that that was rare for zir, and talked about previous relationships. I held zir in my lap and I told zir I loved zir (I feel like ze said the same to me but I can't remember for sure now and feel lots of doubt about it). It was the most fucking intense first-real-interaction I've ever had with someone, and I was full of shock and confusion and curiosity, because it was the first time I've ever felt that feeling about someone (I'd felt flashes of it, but not like that, like the difference between a crush and being in love). I really wanted to talk about it a lot and come to understand it and I wanted to maintain connection with MM. But I had to leave, so we exchanged contact info.
I texted a few times over the next few days and ( I sent a long email:Collapse )
A few days later, maybe a week, MM tweeted that ze had deleted 300 emails. I responded and asked if one of those was mine, and ze said yes, with a smiley face that I didn't know how to interpret (trying to soften the blow? being snarky? I've asked what it means but ze did not answer). I was fucking crushed. I don't think I've ever felt so profoundly rejected. I told zir that I felt hurt and disrespected, and that I would still support zir work, but I didn't want to invest emotionally. Ze stopped following me on twitter, which I took as zir no longer being interested in getting to know me. I was still following for a bit but ze and one of zir lovers were tweeting back and forth and it was hurting me to see because I wanted to have that kind of communication with MM, so I stopped watching them both for months. My heart is hurting a lot as I write this, fuck, I'm crying again, how the hell does this still hurt so much. I got better as time passed and was able to follow them both again without being sad at their affection.
I needed to write this out because I haven't really gotten to process it. It was SO MUCH in so little time. Even though I'm still aching over it, I feel like I learned a lot about myself and I don't regret opening up to it. I still love zir, even though it makes no sense considering how little we've interacted and how much it hurt... I feel like I understand the response ze had, and it may have been the kindest ze could be, I don't know. I don't think it was the right time to start a relationship with MM (even if it was/would ever be right), so it was the right choice on zir part, just a really painful method.