So, I went to Atlanta Poly Weekend (APW) yesterday and today, and had intended to go to all of it but I've discovered that even though the anxiety meds help enough to keep me from spiraling into negativity from not being able to interact, they don't actually reduce the amount of effort it takes. So I get super worn out from the constant brush of people. I've realized that I actually can't do conferences without staying in the hotel; I can do a one-day visit but that's it. The con takes all my energy and I don't have the extra for driving back and forth, especially when I never get a chance to be alone all day. Hopefully I will be able to afford a room next time.
I also realized two ways that I want to be more involved in local community; through anti-looksist work in general and by being volunteering to help with planning accessibility for APW. I don't think that I'm especially qualified, but I have learned a lot by example from the disability coordinator for TBC (and they're a friend of mine so I could probably ask advice) so I think I could be helpful, and I don't think APW can afford to hire someone. I sent a message offering, and if they don't follow up I'll seek them out more directly. Things I would definitely do include setting aside a quiet non-interaction space for anxious folk to take a break because fuck did I miss that.
I realized I want to be more involved in anti-looksist work because I went to a session about dating while fat and polyamorous and I realized again how radical a force for change it is to be anti-looksist, and how many skills I have in this area. I need to skill-share because it's so vital for all bodies to be treated as acceptable. Fat-hating connects to so many other oppressions, so destroying fat-hating reduces the power of other oppressions. I tend to think of self-work as 'fluffy' or less important but it isn't. People need self-love to survive oppression, and we need oppressed people to survive or we cannot destroy the system.
I also got to have a little date with Arizona yesterday! Their partners let us have the hotel room to ourselves for a few hours and we cuddled and talked and then we played with thumpy toys! I brought the floggers I made recently and hadn't had a chance to use, and Arizona brought toys too. [describing consensual impact play w no power exchange]We started with Arizona thumping my back with what is called a 'billy club' -- a long rubber rod about 1.5 inches in diameter with little rubber spikes on the end (like on a meat tenderizer). Arizona used one at first, then added another and played my back like a drum! I got really into the rhythm, which changed the way it felt because I felt like I was experiencing it in both physical and auditory ways at once. Then Arizona used a steel cane (a thin metal rod about 1 cm in diameter) on my back and bum and legs. Then we took a break and had cuddles, and then Arizona used my mini floggers, my rainbow flogger, and my black suede leather floggers. (I'll try to get some photos to show soon.) The rainbow flogger was actually my favorite -- it's heavy because there are many loops of cord, but it's diffuse at the same time, so it doesn't feel 'too much' in any particular way. Lastly Arizona used my paddle (a thick hairbrush-shaped wooden one) on my bum and legs. It's really interesting how different the sensations are, even after I'm somewhat desensitized due to build-up.
Arizona and I kissed a little bit and they swayed and smiled and said they loved kissing me, which pleased me very much. I wanted to have more time to kiss today but there were a lot of people around the whole time and it was too distracting. But! They're coming back up in two weeks and they said they definitely want one-on-one time with me then. I miss them a lot and it saddens me that I can only see them so rarely.
Tonight when I got home Serenity (my housemate) had been doing a ritual for the new moon and invited me to join. Together we lit candles (including the rainbow drip candles I had been saving for ritual) and incense, smoked hookah, and they danced to music while I drummed along and then after I put the drum aside and seat-danced for a little bit they playfully pulled at me with dance movements and I got up and danced with them. I didn't feel self-conscious while dancing and only felt self-conscious while drumming for a little bit. Drumming along with the music was lovely because I was more patient with myself than usual and didn't get angry when I missed a beat. I shifted this way and that with rhythms and felt in harmony with my drum in a way I haven't since before I moved into this house, three years ago. Kanika (my cat) and Lily (Serenity's service dog) kept us company and enjoyed the energy. I feel like tonight was meant to be -- I had a lot of maybe-plans that fell through for this to happen as it did.