icon: "bluestocking (photo of a book lying open on a table with a bright window in the background, overlaid with a yellow fractal that looks like the sun shining through dust motes)"

[media imbibed in 2016]

Stars are for re-watches

Switched at Birth (finished season 4)
New Girl season 4
Grey's Anatomy* (season 4, 5)
Lost Girl* (season 1, 2 [with skips])
Last Tango in Halifax (season 1)

Jenny's Wedding
Revenge of the Bridesmaids


Seinabo Sey -- "Pretend"



[icon descriptions]

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request for shares! (friending meme)
Hey y'all, even if you're not looking yourself, if some people on your friends list might be seeking to add some active users, please spread the word!

just copy-paste this business:

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why I call myself an erotic mirror: I do not have intrinsic desire for any role in sex
icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

I don't call myself a switch, because 1) that implies a binary where I choose to either be one or the other but I can't merge them, which is not true of my experience, and 2) other people who identify as switches usually do so because they have active, intrinsic desire to be submissive as well as active, intrinsic desire to be dominant. I don't have either of these things.

I call myself an erotic mirror because my access to the erotic is reflective. I don't have much intrinsic desire for sex in general (I am demisexual) and I have zero intrinsic desire for roles in sex. I don't daydream about particular kinds of sex or power play, for instance. I find the idea of imagining sex or power play to be very boring; when I masturbate, it is usually while paying attention to music or just meditating. I don't masturbate out of desire for sex; I do it as a gift to my body, or because I want menstrual cramps to go away, or to be able to fall asleep quickly, or because I want to meditate and can't focus enough without involving my body.

Rather than from within me, my sexual desire comes from an interaction with a person where they have a particular desire and my desire mirrors that: they want to submit and thus I want to make them submit, or they want to take charge and thus I want to allow them (though that is rare because I dislike how most people try to take charge: a person has to have an innate connection with their primal self for that to be appealing). Or if they want me to give them a particular sensation, or want to give me a sensation, then I want to do that too (unless receiving the sensation is actively unpleasant: if I am neutral on it and they want it, then I want it). If they have no particular shape of desire, then my desire is somewhat random -- whatever memory comes up of an occasion that was particularly emotionally intense is what I will want to do.

The only things I really love for their own sake are biting, kissing, and energy play. Even if the other person doesn't have an active desire for these things but is like "they're okay, I like them a little" I will want to do them. Not as much, but at least a little bit. Whereas with other things like genital touch or bondage, if the person feels only mild desire, I won't want to do them any more. I only want those things if the other person is really into it.

This is also why I think there is very little that someone could want me to do to them that I wouldn't want to do. Unless it violated one of my core values or risked serious bodily harm, I would probably be down.

I think I have had sex with one person who was also an erotic mirror, and our sex was so intensely connected that sometimes I wasn't sure which limbs were mine. It was transcendent: the emotional equivalent of two mirrors facing, endless recursion. I'd love to know more people who are erotic mirrors.

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Friendzy Summer 2016: find active LJers who write the way you wanna read!
icon: "polyamorous relationship anarchist (a rainbow-colored heart with the 'anarchy' capital letter A cutting through it, over a brick texture that suggests the heart is graffiti)"
arms of two people who are back to back - each arm has one half of a heart with the word besties on it

Looking for more active LJ friends?
Post about yourself and find new people!

also please spread the word!

It's been a while! I have some awesome friends now and I want to share the wealth, and meet any of your awesome friends!

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poll: how would you respond to this greeting?
icon: "incitement (painting of a bald purple-skinned naked person standing among thick vines and ferns: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

If you said "hi" and I responded "share the day" how would you react?

I'd say "huh?" and wait for explanation.
I'd think you're weird, smile uncomfortably, and go on with my day.
something else (explain in comment)

explanationCollapse )

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resolving conflict in 5 steps: ask myself what hurt, assume the best, ask them why, accept, resolve
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

prompt from secret_keep: What is the first step for you when resolving a conflict with someone? What is your ideal first step when someone is trying to resolve a conflict with you?

1) Ask myself why I am upset. Something the person has said or done has upset me, and I have to figure out why before I can productively discuss it. So let's say that someone invited all my friends to an event, but not me. My first reaction will be to feel hurt, and when I ask myself why, it's because this seems to me to be deliberately excluding me. But this is not necessarily the case!

2) Assume the best. I consider other possibilities -- maybe they thought I was busy, or uninterested, or they thought they invited me already but didn't, or they accidentally double-clicked and unselected me (in the case of evites). If one of those possibilities is true, then it is not hurtful any more. So, I am prepared to accept alternative reasons. Sometimes I can resolve a conflict all by myself by using these two steps.

3) Ask their motives. I approach the person and tell them what I was feeling and why, mention the other possibilities I thought of so that they know I am not automatically assuming the worst, and ask what their reason was for their behavior. It is very important to explain that I am not assuming some negative motive, because assuming a negative motive sets up something that they have to prove to be false rather simply asking a question they can freely answer. Unfortunately, people will often assume that you are assigning a negative motive anyway, because they are so used to only being confronted if someone has made them into an opponent. Pre-emptively empathizing by explaining how you can see positive motive usually helps but not always. There is also the problem that sometimes what I think is a neutral motive others will see as a negative motive, and so they will feel defensive if I mention this 'neutral' motive as a possibility. I don't see a way around that, but explaining that I see it as neutral sometimes helps.

4) Accept their reason and ask for clarification if necessary rather than assuming a particular meaning for their reason. If their reason was one that didn't hurt me, yay! all is better! If their reason was hurtful, then there may be a discussion or I may have to accept a painful truth. Let's say in this case that the person didn't invite me because they didn't think of me, but I would have expected them to think of me if they desired my company in general. I would tell them that I wanted them to desire my company and why (probably because I desired theirs), leaving it open-ended or directly asking if they desired my company. They can either tell me that they do desire my company but didn't think of me because of some other reason, or they can tell me why they do not desire my company, or they can drop the subject, or they can express empathy and leave it at that.

5) Resolve any remaining issue. If it still hurts after I understand their motives, I will ask them to empathize and/or problem solve with me. Sometimes despite the motive being fine, the action itself is upsetting, and then I discuss that with them and try to find a solution. For instance, if they didn't invite me because they were inviting someone else who wasn't comfortable with me being around, I could accept this as not personal, but if I was close to this person it would hurt each time unless they messaged me to say "it's about so-n-so again, sorry to not invite you, still love you." or perhaps they could alternate inviting me or this other person. Sometimes there is no solution to be had, and then all I can ask is that they consider how I feel and express empathy.

My ideal first step when someone is resolving conflict with me is the same. I want them to 1) figure out why they are upset, 2) give me the benefit of the doubt in assuming that my reasons are not hurtful ones, 3) tell me what they felt about what I did/said, why they felt that way, and ask me about my motives in an accepting and non-blamey way (for instance "what was the reason I wasn't invited?" not "why didn't you care enough about me to include me?"), 4) accept my motives and empathy, and 5) help me figure out a solution for future occurrences if one can be found.

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what I am proud of about me: skills/knowledge about intimacy & consent
icon: "garrulous(a photo of my lips with the skin greyed out and the lips overlaid with a green and blue fractal pattern)"

prompt from antuvschle: Describe the one thing about yourself that makes you most proud.

I am very skilled at creating and nurturing intimacy. I have been practicing one-on-one for 20 years (since my first intentional friendship) and practicing with the public for 13 years (through LJ) and practicing in groups for 4 years (through intimacy practice). I am always eager to learn, and quick to change my behavior when I come across a new concept, but it is rare that I come across someone who has a deeper understanding of intimacy.

I confess that I do feel pride about my level of skill, which can be very annoying because when someone I know re-posts something that is a simplified version of what I have been writing about I get miffed that they don't take me seriously but they'll take some random white dude with a Ph.D. seriously. If we dueled I'd win, and I'm very confident of this because it literally takes up the majority of my waking life. Some people with doctorates might know as much as me on how to create intimacy but I am certain that most of them don't. Frankly the literature available is mostly devoid of intersectional analysis (which means they miss even the basics), so if you're not learning from personal experience and/or justice-focused blogs you'll just not know much.

I also feel offended when people with less understanding of consent, power, and privilege get asked to talk/teach about sex or relationships. I keep this to myself because I don't think I have a legitimate cause for complaint, since I do not seek out platforms like others do, and I know that is a factor. But yeah, I can tell that I have pride there because I expect to be treated with more deference than most on the topics of intimacy, interpersonal power & privilege, and consent.

I don't think I should take pride like this -- it has no value and serves only to get me miffed over imagined slights -- but I do!
connecting: , ,

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Don't put sex jokes in my mouth without my consent. Do not.
icon: "antagonistic (a photo of me in cat-eye makeup with violet hair, snarling with bared teeth and staring intensely into the camera)"

There is this repetitive and predictable act which is passed off as 'humor' where people imply that what someone else said is meant in a sexual manner. Examples: saying 'giggity' or 'that's what she said' after someone says that an experience was really hard.

This always bothered me but I only just figured out why: it's a violation of consent (unless you know for sure that the person doesn't mind). A mild one, comparatively, but a violation nonetheless: you are symbolically forcing someone to talk about sex without checking to see if they would be okay with that. You are assigning meaning to someone else's words that you know they did not intend. You are not engaging in a mutual act of creating a funny moment: you are laughing at someone else's expense.

In fact, most of the people* I have seen do this only enjoy it if it makes the target uncomfortable. More often than not when it is done around me there is an attitude of attempted sexual dominance. If you do not laugh when someone does this to you, they will react as if you have taken something from them. People will react in ways that show this is not consensual and attempt to play it off as okay; they say "I walked right into that." Conversations should not have traps that one has to avoid.

I can't stand it when people do this, to the point that I never use the word hard when I mean difficult unless I trust the people around me not to do this. I will avoid ever talking to people who do this regularly. I will do verbal gymnastics to avoid someone shoving their empty, unfunny, worn-out joke into my mouth for their enjoyment. It's not cute and it's not funny.

From now on if someone steals my words and assigns sexual meaning to them, I will say, "please don't do that" and when they say "what?" I'll say "don't assign a different meaning to what I'm saying." or I may just say, "don't twist my words" depending on how annoyed/bold I am feeling.

*some people just love making people laugh and do this word-twisting in an attempt to be funny without realizing the effect it has. I can understand that. I have made such jokes before, feeling vaguely uncomfortable as I did so but dismissing it because I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Now that I have, I will not be doing it any more.

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why I am practicing polyamory (relationship anarchy) even when I am dating one person or no one
icon: "polyamorous relationship anarchist (a rainbow-colored heart with the 'anarchy' capital letter A cutting through it, over a brick texture that suggests the heart is graffiti)"

I used to wonder if I could still call myself polyamorous if I was dating one or zero people. Answer: yes, because polyamory is about how I do ALL of my relationships, not just about what set of rules I put on my romantic relationships.

For me, polyamory is not about what I DO want so much as it is about what I DON'T want. I don't want to have to put people in roles or privilege my sexual relationship over my friendships in order to make one person feel loved and safe. I don't want to have to limit all my connections so that they don't accidentally develop romantic aspects. I don't want to have to define some cuddles as platonic and others as romantic. I don't want to spend so much time and energy on one person that I cannot imagine my life without them and my identity becomes intermingled with our relationship, thus making it impossible to really know if I even want to be in it, or to know who I am without their influence. I don't want them to get that dependent on me either. I want to feel like my connections to others can be changed at any point by either person without anyone suffering damage (pain maybe, but not damage).

For me, polyamory is not about having multiple partners, it's about refusing artificial limits. My polyamory is practiced just as much when I am single or dating one person. It's easier and more fun when I am dating more than one person! but it isn't any less of a part of who I am.

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I'm going to start trusting my intuition over others' claims for the first time in my life
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant translucent blue hands with pointy nails)"

So today, at age 33, I realized I have never even tried trusting my intuition. After I realize something is a mistake I can easily remember feeling 'off' about someone or something but I never trust that feeling. I always assume that somehow, perceptions external to me are more correct. When my intuition disagrees, I try to get enough data to silence it. My first assumption is that my feeling is wrong. If the thing I am getting a sense about only affects me, I may trust it, but if it affects someone else I always distrust it.

Part of it is because it feels arrogant to me to say, "This person says X about their feelings/behavior/desires but my intuition says Y. I will trust my intuition and act as if they are wrong." Instead, I dismiss my intuition and act as if they are correct, and this almost always turns out to be a mistake. People don't know themselves. I was married to someone who told me over and over how much they liked and admired my ideas, behaviors, and self-understanding until we broke up and then they were like "oh actually I think it's wrong to be queer, pagan, polyamorous, or genderqueer, and I have thought that this whole time." I think the truth was in between, as they didn't have a firm opinion, but my intuition that they weren't fully sincere was correct. It galled me that I sensed that they weren't wholehearted yet dismissed my sense, over and over until I didn't even notice the twinges. There have been other shocking and painful instances of things like this. Sometimes I get completely numb and lost because I am dismissing so many twinges.

Another part is that there is no good way to communicate about this. If I feel like someone doesn't know their own motives and that is what I am basing my decisions on, I can't notsay that if they ask why. But I can't really say it either because there is no way to say it that doesn't sound cruel or dismissive or (at best) super arrogant.

I'm just going to wade into the thorn-bush though because I need to stop ignoring my own feelings and trusting other peoples' interpretations of situations above my own. If it feels wrong to me, I need to honor that. I may be entirely wrong about someone, but I need to be able to make that error instead of constantly erring on the side of self-betrayal. I need to be willing to be disliked, to be considered judgemental or even mean. People thinking ill of me is better than me crushing my own internal barometer. If I get a feeling about someone's motives, I am going to act as if it is correct. If I can, I will check with them first to be sure I have all the information: but if the same feeling comes up over and over, I'm going to trust it.

I'm going to start asking myself questions like "is it the best choice for me to invest in this person?" "do I feel sure this person knows what they want?" "Am I feeling a 'yes' on this or just the absence of no?" and I'm going to trust that even if I am wrong about the actual cause, I am making the right choice about the effect. I will ask myself also (as usual) "do I have a fear or insecurity that might be causing this?" and even if the answer is yes, I will not dismiss my feeling (but I will factor that in).

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poem: inside
icon: "feral (Frazetta's "Cat Girl": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, pale skin and very dark hair, standing among gigantic moss-covered vines/roots in a dark forest, arms reaching out to embrace the vines/roots)"

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love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly
icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess) (a photo of my breasts and belly, covered in colorful marker drawings and glitter)"

Dear my belly,

I know it's been a long time coming, but I want to say I love you. You are soft and sensual like my breasts, but not so sensitive - perfect for casual petting. Having nuzzled other bellies, I know that nuzzling you must be so amazingly soft and sweet. I love your deep belly button and the way you make a fat teardrop shape when I sit. I love how I can squeeze you with my hands or wrap my arms around and hold you; it feels very comforting. Having you on my middle is like having a comfort pillow with me at all times. I love how you balance out my boobs enough that I can lay on my front (sorta) without pain. I love how you trick people into thinking I am not strong. Most of all I love how you feel to touch. If you were on someone else I love, I would want to pet, kiss, and nuzzle you constantly because you're so damn cuddly! I need to remember to treat my own parts with such love and attention.

I'm still learning to love some of your aspects. Like how you can't stand waistbands and are forever shoving them up right under my boobs or shoving them down to poke out above them. Probably if I wasn't concerned that other people would hate you I'd let you do what you want, but I feel I have to protect you with clothes and you make that a constant struggle. I also can't quite love how much you move. I love how it feels to touch you now that you're not dense, but feeling you move around when I run or jump makes me extra fretful that you're going to throw off my clothes. I also get a little worried that you are taking up too much space when I hug someone. I like to flow, to melt together, and sometimes you're not very melty.

I'm working on accepting and loving those things. Ultimately, I wouldn't trade you for a flat belly no matter what. You're my own soft cuddly poky belly and I am glad you exist. I'm going to try to be more expressive of my love for you and get you more rubs and pets. Thanks for being part of me.


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changing my attitude toward 'hi'
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

After posting that I hate it when people use greetings like 'hi' and reading the responses, I realized 1) other people don't hate this, 2) other ADD people in fact feel a particular need for this, and 3) the reason I hate this is because it makes me feel forced to participate in something meaningless on fear of being punished, because I was not allowed to ignore people as a child. I can fix this by assigning meaning to my greetings and practicing ignoring whatever I do not want to respond to.

I honestly thought that most people didn't care one way or the other and people who reject norms would also hate it as meaningless and useless. I thought I was being kind by not making other people do this! So it's a good thing I posted about it because I have been unintentionally making people feel off-kilter or unimportant for decades *concerned frown*

So I'm going to do my best to change my behavior. I thought about how to make the ritual meaningful for me and decided that when I say 'hi' I mean H.I. which stands for hierarchy incinerate, a wish for all hierarchy to be burned into nothingness. And I will picture sending them a gift of flame, which they will hopefully use to destroy oppression but they can also just use for any positive purpose. If they say hi-how-are-you in a situation where it is not appropriate (such as walking by each other in a hall), I will ignore the question and respond with 'hi.' If they ask how I am when I can actually respond, I will offer them a summary phrase and one fact that has affected how I am lately - whether they want to hear it or not. It is disrespectful to ask someone a question and not care about the answer, and I'm going to assume people are not being disrespectful.

When I was forced to participate in this ritual as a cashier, I asked, 'how's your life?' because it was different enough that it shook people out of their rut sometimes and they gave a real answer. Plenty of people just said 'fine' though, so I am going to try 'how's your day been?' For me it is much easier to answer than 'how are you?' which is a damn huge question.

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quote from Lisa
icon: "Ma'at (a photo of one side of a brass balance scale, with a feather inside the bowl. The background is sky blue. On the bottom of the image, below the photo, is the word "Ma'at")"

"I will not disrespect myself by ignoring my feelings." - chillychilly22

This was really powerful for me to read, so I wanted to share it.
connecting: ,

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I hate empty words like "hello" oops I'm super rude
icon: "ewwwww (a photo of me making a disgruntled/disgusted face)"

I hate it when people say 'hi' to me. It does not convey any meaning except 'pay attention to me now' and you're not even explaining WHY you want my attention. I hear 'hello' either as meaningless noise or as an irritating demand. Just go ahead and talk!

Unfortunately, greetings DO convey meaning to other people. What meaning, I cannot fathom. But this gets me into trouble because rather than going through back-and-forth exchanges of meaningless words, I just want to jump right in. I want to walk up to a person and say "I need to drop off some papers for so-n-so" or "do you know where blahblah is?" without irritatingly insincere questions and uselessly vague answers! I do not want to ask how you are when I don't actually have the time or interest to hear a real answer, and I do not want to lie to you with a vague expected response, ughhh. Can't we just be practical and stop this fucking pretense?

Do other people actually enjoy the ritual of "hello" "hi" "how are you" "fine, how are you" "fine." before the actual conversation?? How does that not annoy the shit out of people? I don't want to exchange names unless I plan to talk to you again. Why would I?

It took me this long to realize that this is probably part of the reason that other people think I don't like them - I do not want to make pleasantries, ever. Ugh. I gotta figure out a way to make it interesting for me so that I stop seeming like the rudest person.

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Euphoria 2016 / why I go to burns / new housemate feeds me, helps clean & tidy, & crafts with me!
icon: "burn baby burn (a photo of me silhouetted dancing in front of the effigy fire at my first burn)"

I went to Euphoria and camped with Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Brian, and Hope. It was a mix of pleasant and irritating, leaning a little to the irritating side. The best bits were sitting around the fire talking with people, smoking hookah with Topaz while petting Evelyn's hair, running an 'intimacy roulette' game, having people gift me and Topaz with exactly what we wanted, giving Rocky a meaningful hug when I came across them seeming in need of one, kissing Topaz, and kissing Evelyn.

The worst bits were our hugely inconsiderate dudebro neighbors who made loud noise and pointed floodlights at our tent all night, the unbelievably selfish shitsop who squeezed in front of me at the burn itself and blocked all my vision with their body which was a foot and a half taller than me, witnessing far too much waste and ableism, and getting sunburnt. I really was not expecting to get burnt because 1) I had been taking vitamin D religiously, and 2) I stayed in the shade the entire time. But I think that I didn't absorb what I had been taking, because [supplements blather]I've been taking zinc and apparently it blocks magnesium sometimes, which is necessary for absorption of D (if I understood what I read on it). I started taking magnesium daily since then, and the purple-pink has turned tan far, FAR quicker than usual, so that's good at least. I ordered a calcium-magnesium supplement to balance out the zinc, and copper because the zinc I currently have doesn't contain copper and zinc can deplete copper. I recently started taking iron too, because I found a vegetarian source and I know that it is unlikely I get enough from my diet. Once all this stuff arrives I have to figure out what not to take with what, bleh. Never thought I'd be taking a bunch of supplements every day -- but I only take what I can actually feel an effect from, with the exception of these new minerals and curcumin, which I take because I've read that it helps with dementia, both prevention and cure.

I talked with Topaz after and realized that the reason I go to burns is purely to skill-share and/or for art. If I was not going to do that, I wouldn't be motivated enough to go, because I've never met a person at a burn who became important to me. Even though I have a lot of burner friends, I've met all of them in some other way. (technically I met Seth at a burn I think, but I met Seth through Abby so the burn was just a convenience) Other reasons to go to a burn are not relevant to me because they are already part of my daily life: self-expression, nudity, play, cuddles. For a lot of people burns are where they can really be themselves and feel accepted, but accepting me would require a lot of learning that people do not do, so I never feel accepted (it is nice that people try, but there's not much that can be done in the moment).

I go to burns because I like that people there are often willing to try new things, and so if I bring a skill I think will help make the world better and people are willing to practice, I can make change there in a way that is not possible elsewhere. This time I felt like I did kind of a bad job with planning, and that meant that the intimacy game I made did not reach many people, but it was still worthwhile. I think the few strangers that came and participated appreciated it.

In other news I have a temporary housemate who has been WONDERFUL to have around. They were in need of a place to stay and I had a room which wasn't being used so I offered it to them. I didn't ask for anything, but they have cooked for me four times (delicious healthy vegetarian meals) since they got here 10 days ago, and have done dishes and swept! Also, having them around as a tidy person helps me to be better about tidying also, so the kitchen table is usable again for the first time in ages. And they wanted to craft which got me crafting too -- now I have a new project half-done that I think I will actually complete soon. They have a service dog who is INCREDIBLY sweet and Kanika is slowly adjusting to them. I am really enjoying having them stay with me. We've talked a lot and I feel a lot of resonance with them.

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different all the time in multiple significant ways / categories: identities, experiences, & values
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

It can be fun to be different sometimes, in small ways. It's not fun to be different all the time in multiple significant ways. If everyone self-educated about everyone who is different from them and worked to use inclusive language, being different would just be wonderful. They don't, so it's exhausting to be different. It means that a shitton of your social interaction is fending off bad assumptions and explaining things, all the while hoping that your efforts are making an actual difference and won't have to be repeated constantly. All the while having to remind yourself that kindhearted people don't mean to act like you are inferior or unrelatable, or like you don't belong. And never being quite sure, because not all bigots are honest.

I have compiled a list of how I can be categorized. Other than being white, nondisabled, and assigned female at birth, I usually have very very little in common with people I meet.

Now keep in mind that each of these is as important to who I am as occupation or religion is to your average person. Some of them are plenty common, but not in combination with others (for instance, being white is common but being both white and dedicated to intersectional social justice is not). In almost every case, attending a meeting intended for all people of one of my identities will be alienating, because they will assume that another part of my identity does not exist. For example, being pagan-ish and agender: most people who can relate to me spiritually (by revering nature) love to gender everything, which of course feels like them shouting "get out" in my face. Or being queer and southern because wow do queers run away. Or being a relationship anarchist and NOT being allosexual.

queer / relationship anarchist / agender trans (experience self as intersex) / southern USian not intending to leave / cyber citizen / unaffiliated spirituality (eclectic pagan quaker) / fat & proud / demisexual/asexual spectrum / nudist / literal tree-hugger who believes in plant sentience & ecological justice / energy-worker / data scientist / fractal artist / color/light worshipper / photographer / maker/crafter / psychonaut / writer / erotic mirror / sci-fi/fantasy geek

growing up poor / neglectful physically & emotionally abusive parents / assigned female at birth / ADD/Autism spectrum / devoutly & independently spiritual as a child (read the bible cover-to-cover 3x) / childhood trauma (sexual abuse) / university schooling / white / non-disabled

intersectional social justice / conflict resolution early & often / curiosity & questioning / openness over comfort / vegetarian for ecological reasons / content creator* / learn-sharer** / consent advocate*** / growth-seeker^ / sharer^^ / being thorough

* (one who creates content for others to use/enjoy)
** (one who explains their learning process to others so that they can learn too)
*** (one who actively seeks to never infringe on the will of another, and to prevent such happening anywhere they can: most people would like to think of themselves as this but do not do work to be it)
^ (one who is always focused on improving, never content to be static)
^^ (one who attempts to live up to 'from each according to ability, to each according to need': anti-capitalist)

[percentages of likeness with people I know who are most like me plus examples of the average person]
People I know who are the most like me (this is my best guess):

Vola: 26 (65%)
Hannah: 24 (60%)
Topaz: 23 (58%)
Kylei: 22 (55%)
Sande: 19 (48%)
Adi: 19 (48%)
Sydney: 18 (45%)
Elizabeth: 18 (45%)
Arizona: 18 (45%)
Abby: 17 (43%)
Allison: 17 (43%)
Rachel: 17 (43%)
Firekat: 15 (38%)
Jaime: 13 (33%)
Cass: 13 (33%)
Heather: 12 (30%)

And to compare to more average people:
recent boss: 9 (23%)
coworker 1: 8 (20%)
coworker 2: 6 (15%)
parent P: 8 (20%)
parent M: 7 (18%)
sibling S: 6 (15%)
sibling B: 7 (18%)
partners' siblings:
A1: 7 (18%)
A2: 6 (15%)
B1: 4 (10%)
B2: 4 (10%)
C1: 5 (13%)

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daydreaming about making unilateral changes to the US
icon: "revolutionary (a gif flipping through 4 photos of me nude in various dancy poses)"

prompt from wanderipity: If you become the President of the USA, what will be the first thing you would change?

Well, I don't see the president as having much power other than as a figurehead. So if I managed to get elected, I'd do weekly lectures on stuff like how to empathize, and I'd make 'public recommendations' and generally use my platform for speaking more than anything else. I'd pardon everyone who was jailed for an offense I thought was ridiculous, like having weed or selling it to adults.

On policy stuff, I'd try to get rid of for-profit prisons and raise the minimum wage to a livable wage. I'd close all military bases not in the contiguous US. If I was magically powerful enough, I'd raise taxes on the rich in such a way that they were encouraged not to pay themselves so much -- for instance, the CEO could keep 70% of their wages if they made less than 90K, but if they made more than that they'd only get to keep 30%. I'd sue evil companies on behalf of the people. I'd make police match the demographics of the area in which they worked, raising wages and advertising as needed to attract the right sort of people, and I'd assign mandatory empathy training to be done on AT LEAST a once-weekly basis (because cognitive empathy can be effectively and easily taught). I'd make state representatives ALSO represent the demographics of their area, and I would re-district all of the counties in the US into a grid based on population density, so that all counties had roughly the same number of people. Chaos, at first, but necessary. I'd assign a minimum income to every adult. I would sue for treason everyone involved in selling arms outside the US for military use (except for those who sell TO the US, them I would break contracts with). I'd decriminalize drugs, homelessness, and sex work. I'd set a massive tax on films and shows who had fewer minority characters than the percent in the US (that means at least 1/2 female characters, at least 1/3 people of color, at least 1/10 disabled people, at least 1/10 queer and/or trans, etc), and I'd use the profits from that for creating free art programs located in poor areas (none in wealthy or middling ones). I'd set a massive tax on businesses that are not accessible and use the profits from that to increase accessibility in government-owned buildings and programs, and I'd set up an accessibility assistance fund for small businesses who couldn't afford to fix their place on their own. I'd set maximum wages for government officials based on average wages for elementary school teachers within the state/city/county they govern (whichever is lowest), and permit some bonuses awarded by the constituents based on how well the constituents thought they were represented (let's see how YOU like a tipping system, shitsops). I'd put prohibitively huge taxes on any wasteful luxury item like owning more than 1.5 car per adult in the household or purchasing a new truck/SUV/hummer/etc without having a farm or other practical use for it, and use the profits to create a better public transit infrastructure. I'd provide a public shaming system for hate crime committers -- if you recorded someone saying something hatefully racist or sexist or ableist or assaulting people in any way, you could submit it with their name and it would be checked for tampering and correct sourcing and then filed, and if more than three incidents were filed then all would be played over public broadcast TV and on certain billboards along highways.

I'd do a lot if it were possible but the US president is more of a figurehead than anything else.

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how I'd spend my last day if I knew I only had one left: cuddles, telling everyone goodbye, shrooms
icon: "Renenutet (a relief carving of Renenutet, represented as a winged cobra, overlaid with a fractal coloring)"

prompt from wanderipity: How would you spend your last day if you were to die tomorrow?

I would have Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Allison, Sydney (also Firekat & Arizona if they could get here in time), and maybe one or two others come over to my house and spend time with me, and I would have Hannah, Jacqueline, Abby, Elizabeth, Lisa, Nea, and Adi videochat in if they wanted. I would record videos to everyone I love (all those mentioned here as well as most of the people on my flist), and tell my people how to portion out my things. I would find someone to take care of Kanika. I would spend some individual time telling each person who was with me goodbye, and would cuddle with everyone and kiss everyone who wanted. I would probably try to get Kylei-Hannah-Topaz and Topaz-Kylei-Heather-Sydney-Allison to promise to give their best effort to build together and stay connected to each other. About 2 hours before the end, I would take mushrooms (assuming that I wasn't in pain or feeling physically bad: if so I would not take them). I would want to be holding hands with everyone in a circle (Topaz on my right and Kylei on my left) when I actually died. All this is assuming everyone would be okay participating -- if they weren't, that'd be okay (and I'd still make them a video goodbye).
connecting: ,

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2016 goals: progress so far
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

Goals for 2016!
[long list]ellipsis Do year-overviews for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 check mark.

check mark Redo my "characters in the story of my life" post.
ellipsis More physical exertion & stronger muscles.
ellipsis Keep track of media: books, films, shows, music, articles.
 ◯  More work on my etsys and art fb.
ellipsis 500 photos taken that I liked, sorted and uploaded.
ellipsis 280 instances of unprompted openness (aim for daily).
ellipsis 280 days of keeping up with text responses at least once daily (aim for daily).
ellipsis 280 days of taking one cellphone snapshot daily (aim for daily).
ellipsis 280 days of correct calendar notes (aim for daily).
ellipsis 280 days that include a spiritual practice, aiming for early in the day (aim for daily).
ellipsis 220 LJ entries (aim for daily).
ellipsis 88 love bank entries (check weekly).
 ◯  77 fractals made.
ellipsis 55 dreams recorded.
 ◯  44 artworks created (aim for weekly).
ellipsis 44 days of reading a spiritual book (aim for weekly).
ellipsis 44 30-minute meditations (aim for weekly). [14 so far]
 ◯  33 intuitions recorded.
ellipsis 16 intimacy practices. [only 1 so far, ugh]
ellipsis 13 or more people cuddled. [8 so far: Heather, Kylei, Topaz, Sande, Jessica, Evelyn, Roger, Sydney]
ellipsis 13 new nature site visits. [at least 2: cascade springs, lavender farms]
ellipsis 13 new casual friends made or re-made. [at least 5: Sande, Katie, Serenity, Sy, Rocky]
ellipsis 13 self-portraits that I like. [2 so far]
ellipsis 11 group hangouts (me plus 3 or more of my tribe). [4: my graduation party, my bday, heather's bday, Euphoria]
ellipsis 11 me-initiated text conversations with Sydney, Allison (each). [2 Allison, 3 Sydney]
ellipsis 11 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 hangouts with Kylei, Heather, Sydney, Allison, Sande (each).
[1 Kylei, 3 Heather, 2 Allison, 3 Sande, 1 Sydney]
ellipsis 8 me-initiated text/app conversations with Abby, Anita, Adi (each). [1 Abby, 3 Anita, 1 Adi]
ellipsis 8 me-initiated fb/app messages to Heather, Kylei, Kat, Hannah. [slacking with this]
ellipsis 8 crafty parties (aim for monthly). [2 attempted, 1 happened]
ellipsis 8 book/film/show reviews (aim for monthly). [1 so far]
ellipsis 8 spiritual/cuddle events hosted or attended (aim for monthly). [1 cuddly communion]
ellipsis 5 or more people kissed (at least 1 new person). [2 previous, 1 new]
ellipsis 3 or more people engaged in intense physical intimacy. [1 previous]
 ◯  3 or more energy-exchange experiences with new people.
ellipsis 3 new good friends made. [3 potential, uncertain so far]
 ◯  3 or more pages in my book of magic written.
 ◯  3 new photo posts.
 ◯  3 music-sharing posts.
 ◯  3 art inspiration posts.
 ◯  2 new kinds of sexual/physical intimacy experiences.
 ◯  2 22-day writing streaks.
ellipsis 2 workshops led at a large gather. [1 'intimacy roulette' at Euphoria]
ellipsis 2 sets of talismans made. [1 set completed, 1 set half-finished]
 ◯  2 nude photoshoots! at least.
 ◯  1 set of icons made.
 ◯  1 set of card readings.
check mark 1 burn-centered event attended. [Euphoria]
 ◯  1 new job.
 ◯  1 new dwelling place.

 ◯  1 legalized name.
connecting: ,

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who would play me in a movie? Dakota Blue Richards & Angelina Jolie
icon: "gamine (a photo of me as a child, leaning against a tree with bright sunlight on my face, wearing a calmly feral expression)"

prompt from wanderipity: If your life turned into a movie, who will you choose to play as "you"?

As a child, Dakota Blue Richards (when they were a child). I saw them in Golden Compass and that character was me as a child -- the actor got the job after reading the books and feeling that they were that character, and everyone agreed. They also looked a lot like I did as a child.
As an adult? Angelina Jolie. I say this because they played three characters that feel the most 'me' I have seen on a screen: Joan in Playing By Heart, Legs in Foxfire, and Maleficent in Maleficent.

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relationship anarchy: we each only do what we want / my intentions & desires in all connections
icon: "Renenutet (a relief carving of Renenutet, represented as a winged cobra, overlaid with a fractal coloring)"

I read an article by joreth the other day that got me thinking about how I have never posted about my identity as a relationship anarchist. I tend to refer to myself as polyamorous because I use that as an umbrella term (which is not correct, just habit), but I don't line up with mainstream polyamory. I use the term 'relationship anarchist' because I have the intention of building nothing but continuously voluntary associations where anyone is free to leave at any time for any reason, and only does what they want. This will remain true unless I decide to raise children (I consider it unethical to leave children after you made a decision to parent them).

Mainstream polyamory, as I interpret it, is monogamy* with add-ons. Most polyamorous people I have known structure their relationships in a role-based hierarchy with romantic relationships on top, just like monogamy except with more people. Many of them put those relationships into an additional hierarchy, with 'primary' and 'secondary' etc. In mainstream polyamory as with monogamy, a relationship is created by achieving certain milestones and/or agreeing on certain limitations: you are 'officially' in a relationship when you say I love you, or when you decide to be exclusive or partially exclusive. There is an end goal, and the progression generally looks the same. One rides the relationship escalator: initiating romance, determining roles (boyfriend, girlfriend, etc), changing to fit each other better, committing, becoming comfortable, creating a legacy. OR the relationship is defined by the absence of those things, and understood as lesser for not having them.

I don't want any of that. I don't want to choose a role with all the un-negotiated expectations that usually come along with it. I don't want to change to fit someone else or have them do that for me. I don't want to have external commitments which I count on rather than making the decision anew every day. My legacy is what I learn and what I teach and it happens along the way, not at some end point, and not through 'relationship milestones.' This is certainly not due to being lazy, irresponsible, selfish, or uncaring, though those are often the perceptions people have of those who don't want to tie themselves to others. Rather, it is because I have found that roles are giant bundles of un-negotiated expectations (which are unethical) and that changing for any external reason or doing something because I agreed to do it even though I don't want to is usually both ineffective and damaging. Conversely, I am simply not nourished by changeless connections: I need change and growth in my connections and I need that change to be internally motivated for each person.

I am defining 'want' not as in transitory desire, but as in overall goals. So, while partially I may not 'want' to be open with you because it is uncomfortable, in my larger goals I have a VERY strong desire to maintain openness and this is larger than my transitory desire to be comfortable: it makes it so that I actually desire the momentary discomfort in pursuit of my overall desire. If I did not have that very strong overall desire, then being open just because I had agreed to would be a terrible idea. I would resent the person and the relationship for making me uncomfortable when I didn't want to be. Each time I did it when I didn't want to, that resentment would increase until it became unbearable and I broke up with the person, feeling great animosity towards them for 'stealing' so much of my effort (which they have not actually done! but having given what I didn't want to give, I feel stolen from nonetheless).

I am convinced this process happens with the vast majority of humans, and the only way I know to have a healthy relationship is for each person to do only what they genuinely want to do and would do regardless of the person or the connection. So, the only things I do for my romantic relationships are things I have the goal to do in any connection. For my lifesharers and core tribe, I make these things a higher priority, but they are intentions I have with any person I am connected to. Whether the relationship is romantic or not, sexual or not, makes no difference. (my friendships are just as important as other relationships)

the intentions I have for myself in all connections, and what I desire from othersCollapse )

*It is completely possible to be monogamous and negotiate your expectations of course. Or to have role-based polyamory where expectations are negotiated. It's just easier (though not less painful) to not negotiate them, so most people don't.

The post that introduced me to relationship anarchy: Relationship Anarchy Basics

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break w Topaz is over, back to romantic / getting visuals from kissing / the kinds of kisses I like
icon: "concupiscent (a photo of Angelina Jolie, backlit in sunlight, licking honey off of their wrist while staring intensely into the camera)"

[Topaz and I are back to romantic]So Topaz and I are finished with the break, and back to being romantic. I think I have posted all the things I learned from it; quite a lot really. We have decided to put off sex a while longer. They said their reasons aren't there any more, but over the past week I realized that it might be a good idea for me. I realized that if we start having sex again before I have active practice with asserting my needs, then I may subvert my needs out of fear that being assertive may decrease my chances of having sex. Sex is usually not that big a miss for me but it has been a very long time, relatively speaking, and sex is the easiest way of being fully, passionately present and I really miss that sense of passionate presence. But I would like to practice being fully, passionately present in non-sexual ways, and this will be motivation for that practice.

Seeing Topaz again (on Monday) was a relief, but also didn't feel fully real. That day they got some deeply tragic news, so they were really sad. They were worried that I wouldn't want to see them but of course I did, I would always want to be there for them on such a day. We had really good, connected time despite the sad.

I had forgotten what kissing was like (when I say I have an awful memory I am not kidding). I was swept away, kissing them. I got images in my mind from the sensation and the emotion -- flowing brown watercolored silk with deep red, and brass roses with swirly flame-burnished colors at one point, and at another a sense of a green lush garden in Wonderland, with symbols floating and characters wandering. I don't know why I was getting visuals but I really love it and hope it continues. I was very wrapped up in the moment. I also forgot that I shudder with pleasure from kissing -- I mean, I forgot enough to be surprised, and then was surprised that I was surprised because it is something I would think I would be thoroughly aware of by now. I always feel just a little self-conscious about it, because even though it is involuntary I feel worried after that the person may think I'm 'being dramatic' or something.

I love kissing so much. My favorite kind of kiss is pressing lips softly together, with mouths open just enough for tongues to be able to caress each other -- maybe half an inch. I don't like it when people have their teeth together or when they have their mouth wide open. I like tongues to be relaxed, touching each other and lips and teeth, reaching at least to just inside the other person's mouth. I don't like it when I have to do all the reaching in, and I don't like it when people stick their tongue in my mouth like they're being rude to the back of my throat. And people have to be willing to suck their own tongue and swallow occasionally (which always is an awkward second) so that there isn't too much saliva. I like some closed-mouth kissing -- I like sucking on someone's lower lip and caressing their lips with the tip of my tongue, and I consider it the height of erotic to press the tip of my tongue in between someone's almost-but-not-quite-closed lips. And I like gently sliding my lips along their lips, just a little bit, and vice versa. I like very VERY gentle, broad lip biting (my lips split easily so it must be gentle, and it must be a large section not a tiny piece of my lip). I like to touch peoples' face when I kiss them and vice versa. I like to touch someone's lips with my fingers before kissing them, and sometimes during (just touching the corner of their mouth).

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beginning romance as an erotic mirror/demisexual: after platonically in love I can fall romantically
icon: "osculant (photo of Hannah and I lying on our sides facing each other, our legs and shoulders slanted toward each other and the floor, so that our bodies together make the shape of a heart: our outstretched arms are the point and our bums are the two curves)"

I don't get romantic crushes on people before I know if it is possible for them to feel the same way. queerbychoice mentioned that this must make it practically impossible to connect if they're similar to me, and I just today realized how it still has managed to happen. I fall in love in a platonic way first, and then fall in romantic love because they usually interpret that as romantic love and 'reciprocate,' which to me initiates romantic love.

Falling in love in a platonic way looks like being fascinated with the person, enjoying everything I learn about them, craving to know more and be closer. Feeling adoring of their way of thinking and their idiosyncrasies. When I feel platonically in love, I want to celebrate their uniqueness, to brag about how amazing they are, to share my friends and my life, to give to them with my actions and (if they are someone I can predict) things I make or find that remind me of them.

I was feeling fatalistic about romantic potential before this realization, because of my need for mutuality. But I know of at least four people I could conceivably fall in platonic love with, and maybe they might fall romantically for me. I can't really imagine falling platonically in love with someone and them in romantic love for me and then me NOT falling romantically for them. I think the only thing between platonically in love and romantically in love is me deciding to add romance. Which I would only not do if they weren't into it or if it would hurt too much due to circumstances or if there was non-chosen power dynamic (if I was their boss or something like that).

I didn't realize it, but it has been bugging me for MONTHS that I didn't understand how falling in love worked for me, because this hasn't always been the case but looking back I just couldn't understand how I ended up falling for people.

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relationships: Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Hannah, Allison, Sande, Roger, Cass, Rocky, Arizona, Tinder
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

So I have a goal of examining all of my connections every 2-3 months, to help me stay aware and keep from getting into any ruts. I'm a bit late but I think that's because March was muddy for me with literally everyone, and I couldn't have explained much of anything.

My relationship with Topaz is still quite muddy. Today our break ends and we're going to see each other for the first time in three weeks. I'm quite nervous actually. I feel like I've realized ways I can change to make our connection more healthy for both of us. One of the main things is that I go a bit too far in trying not to pressure them; if I think they may want something and be afraid to ask for it, I offer it as if I have no preference one way or the other. Often this is upsetting for them because it makes them feel like I don't care about something that I do care about, which is confusing and sometimes hurtful. I talked about it vaguely with Heather last week, and then today I did it out of habit and it hurt Topaz' feelings, and we talked about this habit and I told Topaz I would work on being more frank with them and practice trusting them to assert their needs and desires. Last week I also told Topaz, "I want to be able to trust that if I say 'I have a need' you will react by reflecting on what you can possibly do to meet that need, and then telling me what steps you will try and what you think the likely outcome will be." They said they can do that. I think these two things will help me to not get stuck in a pattern of subverting my needs.

I had a clash with Kylei that lasted way longer than usual (more than 2 weeks), because I kept trying to arrange time to talk about it and it kept not happening, which was the very thing I was upset about. We finally did talk about it -- I told them that usually when plans don't work out it is disappointing but not hurtful because it's true for everyone, but lately I have seen them prioritize other things but not me. And that it feels impossible to believe that I am important to them when with other things that are important to them, they find a way and make it happen but with me they don't. They agreed that they hadn't been prioritizing time with me and that they were sorry about it but didn't know why it was happening. We talked about making plans but this month is too full, so we have a maybe plan for the first week of May. I feel better, not angry or frustrated any more, but I still feel in limbo and I feel sad and a bit hopeless about the idea of ever being reliably close again. If there isn't a cause that can be found, there isn't a cure that can be found.

Heather and I have spent time together recently that was very nourishing for me (and hopefully for them). A few months ago at their birthday party I had the urge to kiss them, and asked -- they said yes and we kissed very briefly. Then about a week after that I asked to kiss them again and it was brief again and I felt some hesitation (at least this is how I remember it but my memory is not great) so I asked them if there was hesitation and why, and they said it was emotionally complicated and we should talk about it later. When we did get time to talk about it, they explained that they feel we are not compatible for a romantic relationship, because of what they see me wanting from a romantic connection. I talked with them a bit about it because I felt like they were going on outdated information, but the sum of it was that anything romantic is not desired for now, at least. I feel a little weird that there is this "off limits" bit just because I'm not used to it existing, but it doesn't reduce anything.

The next time we hung out we talked about how we process things, and Heather mentioned that the main thing they give is not a thing I value (validating people's feelings), but I don't consider that the main thing they offer me at all! I think the thing they give to me the most, which I value so intensely, is a new perspective on things. Almost every time (I don't have the memory to be able to say for sure every time) we have a significant conversation they tell me something that makes me go "oh wow I hadn't realized / didn't know that" and that is literally my favorite thing a person can do. Realizing or learning something new, especially about the way people work or the way I work, is the most nourishing thing for me. More than eye contact, more than cuddles, more than people showing curiosity about me. And this in itself is a new realization which I had because of this conversation with Heather. I feel very nourished by our friendship.

more - this is a long oneCollapse )

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I usually prefer to process alone, in writing: Heather explains why this is odd
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a dark purple glitter goatee, looking down pensively with sunny woods in the background)"

When I have an issue and people ask if I want to talk about it, I feel like they're asking if I would like to do the dishes -- they're offering me a chore like it's meant to be a gift. I can feel that it is a gift for them and so I appreciate the intention, but I find it baffling that other people seem to want this. I prefer to process in writing, alone, unless the thing I am processing is a conflict with another person (then I prefer to do it with only them). I will process things with other people sometimes because I recognize it as a way of building intimacy and I value that, but it is always a sacrifice (because then I lose the motivation for a more nuanced exploration of it in writing). The only time I have actively wanted to process something with another person is if I feel like that person will have questions or ideas that open up deeper understanding for me, and that is extremely rare. Usually people only mention things I've already considered. I do find it validating for people to say "yeah that's shitty" but I find it an equal amount of frustrating, because I don't like to focus on things that can't be improved.

I talked about this with Heather and they said that that's not so rare for most people because most people haven't invested hundreds of hours in considering external perspectives. Which was a total perspective shift for me, haha, because I can't imagine that! It would certainly make processing with others a lot more useful! This is one of the things Heather is fantastic at: explaining to me the "normal people" stuff that I don't understand. I think Heather sees my oddities as oddities and therefore can compare me to normal people more easily than Kylei or Topaz can, even. I didn't even realize that I practice perspective-taking so regularly; it's as habitual as making faces (which is something I'm noted for among my in-person friends).

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I need my social and alone time well-mixed / productive, good job me
icon: "hypnotiq (my fractal "Windwheel" -- an abstract swirl of yellow red and orange with a little green)"

So, this break has taught me that 5+ days in a row of intentional social is too much, and 3+ days with no intentional social is too much. At the end of day 2 with only my own company I start feeling lonely. Although, if I had forced unintentional social (like going to work or the store) every day, it would take way longer for me to get to the point of needing people.

I have been so productive yesterday and today. I did 5 loads of laundry, including washing the couch cover and my bedclothes; I consolidated all the recycling and took 4 bags to the drop-off; I tidied the downstairs bathroom and hung a pretty sheet to block off the view of one of the unfinished sides; tidied the living room; hung up and put away all my clothes including making sock pairs; chose my outfits for work next week; tidied the upstairs walkway and the cuddle room; cleaned half of the kitchen and did dishes; cleaned the cat box; changed out half a gallon of the fish's water; and kept my room tidy. My house is so pretty and welcoming now. It's still not done (I neglected it for months) and could do with a mopping, but I'm proud of myself.

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yearning to be craved, desired, immersed, devoured.
icon: "concupiscent (a photo of Angelina Jolie, backlit in sunlight, licking honey off of their wrist while staring intensely into the camera)"

I yearn for someone to crave me. To want to put their hands on me and when they touch my skin, to forget themselves just a little and dig in with their fingertips because it feels so fucking good to have that contact. I want someone to intend just to give me a back pet in passing but then feel such magnetic pull that they stop, slide their hands around my waist, stroke my hips and grip them, kiss my shoulder, nuzzle my neck, wrap their arms around me, and bite me. I want someone to kiss me and get lost in it, forget everything else and revel in the sensation of my lips and tongue. I want someone to want to give me every pleasurable sensation, and to want to receive from me every pleasurable sensation. I want someone to want to be immersed in my energy, to want to feel my presence permeating theirs. I want someone to crave my hands on them and my lips on theirs and my body against theirs. I want them to want me to sink my teeth into them, to dig my claws into them. I want them to want to (for a short time) take over my self completely, and to want the inverse. I want them to want blending of energy within sex to the point that we're not sure which limb belongs to who, and I want them to be able to be present enough for that to be possible. I want them to want all of me, all of me, all of me, and I want them to want to share all of them, all. I want to intertwine with them and feel our breaths and our frequencies sync up.

All of this within the context of a mutually in-love relationship, not with any random person. I don't think I could want this with someone I wasn't in love with. I try imagining this with someone I am not currently in love with and my mind balks and throws darts at me. The feeling, if I am not in love, is that same jolt of badness that happens when I am touched with sexual intentions when I haven't had enough platonic loving touch. It's too shocking and intense to be enjoyable; the difference between sliding into a cool pool on a hot day or getting thrown into a cold pool on a freezing day.

I fall in love really easily, or at least I used to. I feel worried that that part of me is damaged with too many almosts that scalded me. I'm worried I've lost the knack of it. Strange I guess. I'm really afraid to hope.

If I can't fall in love again, if I've gotten too picky or too scared just too fuckin damaged, then I can't imagine wanting sex with other people any more. And I feel like there are so many things I barely got to try. The more I think about the idea of casual sex the more I hate it. I think it would make me feel nothing but a giant sense of loss and lack.

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the fictional characters I feel most affinity with: Chrysoberyl, ?, Maleficent, Joan, Alice, Sylvari
icon: "fish (my fractal "Strange Babies": an abstract glassy sphere missing pieces. At its center are three pink elongated ovals ending in flared yellow)"

prompt from lusimeles: which fictional character do you feel the most affinity with?
Books: Chrysoberyl from Brain Plague and the unnamed protagonist from Biting the Sun.
Movies: Maleficent from Maleficent and Joan from Playing by Heart.
Video Games: Alice from Alice: Madness Returns (also the Lewis Carroll books but less so) & the Sylvari from Guild Wars 2.
If you added these characters together, you would get pretty much exactly me. The only thing missing is a profound love of color.

cover for the book brain plague
[image description]
Image: cover art for "Brain Plague." In the foreground on the right is a person with pale ivory skin and vibrantly, shockingly red hair and blue eyes. Their hair is flying in front of their face and behind them, and as it drifts behind them it turns into streamers or ribbons. Behind them is a honeycomb lattice of red stone, with glass blocks filling up each hexagon. Through the glass blocks there is a volcano that is smoking as if it is soon to erupt, and the sky is red. In the foreground in front of all of this is a trail of butterflies and moths, fluttering toward the face of the person from the bottom left. The predominant color is RED and it gives a sickly, almost menacingly hot feeling that contrasted with the light, fluttery butterflies and streaming hair makes one feel off-balance. Art is by David M Switzer.

Chrysoberyl (Chrys) is an artist, a 'colorist' (because paint is obsolete in a digital world) who chooses to adopt a colony of sentient microbes to live in their brain. Throughout the novel Chrys engages with ideas of ethics that I think most people do not give a crap about, but I relate very intensely. This gets Chrys into a LOT of trouble, and not the cute kind. Also, when given a choice of any type of body imaginable, Chrys chooses to look their own age and be massively strong, not caring at all what that looks like or that most people will see a super-muscular woman as unattractive. Chrys cares more about creating art than anything else, and makes art that either comments on reality in a way that is too truthful to be appealing, or expresses a kind of connection that is unique and profoundly appealing. Chrys also is good at empathy and when they realize they're being judgmental about something (such as the way a particular kind of sentient robot looks) they work on changing their attitude.

cover art for the book biting the sun
[image description]
Image: illustration for "Biting the Sun." In the foreground a slender white person lounges on the ground, propped up on one arm with the other draped over their hip. They're wearing a wide red velvet headdress with a u-shaped hornlike ornament at the forehead, and a filmy yellow dress with a bronze metalic part cupping their breasts, which are mostly bare. Just behind them peering over their hip is a three-eyed duck-billed white-furred creature. Walking towards them are two peacocks, one of them albino. Behind all this is a sweeping darkness with starry spots on it: a wall with a gigantic round window. Outside the window you can see many mushroom-shaped buildings, fading into the distance. At the horizon is a transportation track on extremely high beams, and arching over it all is a dome, only marked by the join lines. Outside the dome are two suns. Art is by Celine Loup.

The unnamed protagonist from Biting the Sun is someone who I strongly identify with because they reject hedonism and seek to be themselves even though this makes them a pariah. They also have a terribly rude pet, and they are deeply moved by the act of caring for plants. They set out merely to change their own life, but others are drawn to them and they share what they know as they can.

this is a bit long and there are more imagesCollapse )

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the feigning ignorance consent violation tactic: if they care, they change their behavior. TW: rape
icon: "snarling (a photo of a snow leopard snarling in profile with teeth bared, whiskers back, and ears flattened)"

TW: discussion of boundary violation, manipulation, and lack of effort to avoid rapeCollapse )

[TW: brief but specific account of rape]Emma Lindsay writes about this tactic (TW: link contains descriptions of rape) -- "...despite whatever lie he told me or told himself, he knew I didn’t want to have sex with him. He knew I didn’t usually lie there like a dead fish. He could tell when I was wincing in pain. When I told him I had been in pain afterwards, he showed no surprise. I had only articulated what he already knew but was pretending he didn’t."

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bioparent M thinks love is a desire for ownership / feeling worthlessness is a sign of bad patterns
icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, standing with arms out and head back, knife in one hand, sabertooth tiger snarling by their side)"

prompt from ragnarok_08: What was the most sobering thing your parents have said to you?

What comes to mind most strongly is my parent M telling me that no one would ever love me as much as M did. This bothered me at the time but it took me a while to fully understand why. For one thing, it felt like a threat; "I am your greatest source of love so you better value me because if you don't, you just won't get love." For another, M has almost never made me feel loved, so it felt like they were simply telling me I was unlovable and I should expect that people who claimed to love me would try to control my every action, disallow me to show negative feelings and demand that I placate their negative feelings, devalue the parts of me that I most loved, seek me out only to get me to do work for them, show no appreciation beyond a temporary cessation of criticism, and give to others what I crave while pretending to treat me the same. I think this is why when these patterns crop up (in far milder ways), they feel so normal that I do not realize them for a while. I simply get more and more convinced of my own worthlessness. I think I need to note feeling worthless as a sign that I'm falling into these expectations again.

Honestly when I look at my childhood I'm amazed that I managed to learn how to love at all. I always thought that I was relatively well-off as far as escaping abuse goes, but I didn't realize 1) that I was physically abused and 2) that I was almost entirely emotionally neglected and was emotionally abused. M would tell me that they loved me at least every other day and would give me a hug before bed. From at least the age of 8, I never wanted this hug and never felt any truth in those words; it was part of a ritual I had to perform to keep my parents from being mean to me in response to perceived rejection. I would feel angry that they were saying "I love you" when they never showed any care for my feelings at all and literally told me on several occasions "I don't care how you feel." For years, I refused to say the words "I love you" unless I was currently overwhelmed by a feeling of love (thus, never saying it in response) in order that I would be sure to never say it meaninglessly like M did.

M mistakes a desire to own as love. M wants to own me, to have me care about their opinion and want to please them, to build up the qualities that M values and erase the ones M does not, to behave in a way that makes M feel good about themselves, to enjoy and desire M's company. M in fact thinks that being my progenitor means that they have the right to these things. M was physically and emotionally abused by their parents, so I understand why they don't know what love is. However, I think they have a responsibility to learn in order to reduce the harm they cause others, and I consider it reprehensible that they choose to protect their pride at the cost of hurting everyone around them.

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A comic that made me realize something profound: say thank you, not sorry
icon: "Ma'at (a photo of one side of a brass balance scale, with a feather inside the bowl. The background is sky blue. On the bottom of the image, below the photo, is the word "Ma'at")"

image and description under cut because the image is VERY LARGECollapse )

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fear of love being taken away if I'm not comforting & helpful / my worth / who I am vs what I do
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant translucent blue hands with pointy nails)"

[realization about self-imposed restrictions now lifted]
The weirdest thing about not dating Topaz right now is how I feel like I have an abundance of time. I take a leisurely route home, stop at the thrift store or grocery store, I make myself tea and read, I craft, I organize and tidy, and none of it in a hurry. These were things I did already but I always did them in a kind of defiant or splurge-y kind of way, and it didn't happen that often.

It's weird to realize how much I put restrictions on myself to be available for Topaz. It's a little scary, because it was an unconscious rule that I couldn't do things that would make me unavailable to Topaz unless I arranged it ahead of time. I know Topaz would never ask something like that of me, nor would I ask it of someone else, yet it was such a rule in my head that I had to work up a feeling of defiance in order to disobey it. And I know this isn't the first time I've had this subconscious rule, though it is the first time I feel sure that my person wouldn't be secretly wanting me to fall into that pattern (which is why I was able to break out of it at all).

I have this fear of love being taken away if I ever am not there for someone when they want comfort or help. I don't fear that the person will really suffer damage from me not giving to them one time -- rationally I think they will be okay (and if maybe not, then that is a completely different situation). I fear, selfishly, that if I don't do it, they will make a tally mark. Each "not there" tally mark crosses out four "good support" tally marks or eight "mediocre support" tally marks. Partly I don't want to have to make up for not being there because that's usually more work than the being there would be. I don't get afraid of this right away. It's only when it becomes a habit for me to be comforting/helpful that I get afraid of not doing it.

I think that I earn people's love and I find it very hard to resist the idea of a few more gold coins, even though I should have far more than I need. I feel a compulsion to hoard in case I make a mistake and that causes inflation that makes my previous earnings worthless. Ugh, I had no idea that my attitude toward love was so capitalist. I don't even know how to restructure it.

I can't really grasp the idea of someone not loving me less when I am not an automatic comfort/help. Of course they would! how could they not? I'm not sure where this fear came from, because I don't remember being a comfort to anyone as a child, and I don't remember having love withdrawn for not being a comfort (at least, not for the first 2 decades of my life). Although, thinking specifically on being helpful, my parents definitely withdrew love if I didn't 'help' by which they meant 'do what I want.' I think my understanding of help is muddied by their emotional abuse around 'gifted' labor.

Ultimately I think 'comforting/helpful' is the new 'smart' - the thing people value about me which is not part of my identity and which becomes a bigger deal than it should be. That feels close to the truth.

It doesn't help that almost always people refer to my various forms of giving when I ask why they love me. And it makes sense that people would love when I am generous, and I do want my giving to be appreciated, and I know that actions are part of the reason I love others. But it feels like the innate things are less important, like maybe they could take or leave those as long as I was giving. But for me, actions are almost never one of the first things I love about a person, except when they are an expression of something innate (like an artist making art).

What am I without giving? am I still worthwhile? I think I would be, to me, if I was someone else. I think if I was someone else I would feel nourished by my mere existence. I am actively nourished by myself, in that when I am being most myself, I enjoy my own company and I enjoy the space I create. Being in my bedroom (when I am in a good place and thus it is tidy) is like a constant cuddle from a rainbow and a forest together. I wish it felt that way to others. I want other people to be able to appreciate me in the way I do, because that is the way that feels like it's really about ME and not just about what I DO. I don't know how to explain this well.

I bounce back and forth between thinking that I give too much and wondering if I give at all. And also always wondering if I could be loved without earning it. If I could be appreciated for just existing, like a tree.

I'm too scared that the answer is "no" to try it out. I don't really know how to do it. I am constantly working to earn love -- it's automatic. I feel like because I can avoid making people do work or feel bad, I should. I should always be careful in my phrasing, gentle with feelings, avoiding misunderstanding, offering solutions, helping. Sometimes I try to be 'natural' but I am almost always drained by such efforts and it seems counterproductive, as it makes me feel worse about myself, and usually it makes me feel disconnected because when a bad feeling happens the other person often simply leaves it there. Sometimes people attack me in response, because my behavior changed and it made them feel bad, and they think of it as me attacking them. Other times they drop out of my life because the thing they came for is not there.

This is part of the reason that when someone doesn't care one way or the other about my journal, I feel very suspicious of the idea that they could love me. How could you possibly love me if the purest expression of who I am is something you could take or leave? My LJ is as much who I am as my face is -- nay, more so. It is more me than my cuddles, more me than the way I move, more me than my sex, more me than my presents or my fractals or my photos. Literally the only thing that is more me than my journal is my consciousness and spirit, maybe my body but that's questionable as I didn't create my body. If people don't enjoy reading in general, I can intellectually understand that but emotionally I do not understand.

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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.