Monday, December 31, 2012

Songs of the Year! I Fought it But There Was Nothing I Could Do!

My id: where Die Antwoord meets Carly Rae Jepsen. Heck of a year!

Thanks, Nice Readers! and a One-Word Resolution

A year ago today, I was broken, hollow eyed, feeling nearly soul-dead. I’d spent a while trying to figure out what magic words to say to win a quasi-Dom’s affection and failing every time. My arm was covered in semi-consensual bruises (still not sure, sorry) and so was my heart. If you’d asked me last New Years where I’d be tonight, I never would’ve guessed “Clothing Optional New Years Party”—I could never have predicted the magic that was this year.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve changed me. You’ve helped me to root around inside myself and start finding the confidence I need to find. My goal was to learn to love myself and though I am not quite there, I am certainly much closer. Looking back at that last Bill day, I feel like I’ve risen above it. I feel nothing but affection, hope, and gratitude to that fuckwad for helping to send me down this path.

But you, the reader, deserve much more gratitude. By giving me a safe place to be my slutty self, you’ve made that self more authentic and beautiful. By making room for heartbreak and mess and fun, you’ve helped me to make more room in myself. This year has been like one of those dreams where you keep discovering new rooms in familiar houses. I know this is just the beginning; there are many more doors to open.

If you’d told me a year ago that Sweetie would be ready to ATTEND a clothing optional party (albeit planning to keep her soft pants on!) and would, if fact, be studying her Two Knotty Boys (talk about people who contributed a lot!!) to find suitably festive knots, I wouldn’t have even known how to picture it. She has been such an adventurer this year—I cannot believe the deep courage of her love, her willingness to push and work and grow for me. I only hope I can learn to offer her the same.

This was the year of the body, and it gave me so, so much, but I see where I want the next part of the story to go. I have a one-word New Year’s Resolution: Connect. This year was about experiences, and I love them all (even the upsetting ones) so much, but I want 2013 to be about relationships—to Sweetie, to dates, to friends and dungeon mates, to fellow writers and kinksters and sex geeks. I look forward to following the opportunities to connect where they take me. Happy New Year, loves. Thank you for your strength and heart.

As I finished typing, this is the song that came on. Fitting.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Confronting Family Shame

 It was a really wonderful Christmas this year, so much nicer than last year’s trapped and desperate feelings that I questioned the worth of my entire dating life. (As I write this, it’s exactly one year after that terrible-hot last day with Bill.)  This Christmas was made extra-festive by the addition of two brand-new family members—Sweetie and I spent most of the trip hugging our brand new baby nephew and bonding with my brother’s new girlfriend, who seems like she was never not in the family. All that plus bonus-visits with old friends made it such a joyous trip.

The worry came when I got home—I was checking the Kitten Calendar Twitter and reposting all the nice holiday shoutouts (superthanks, pals!) and discovered that my brother’s new girlfriend had followed me. My initial reaction was to feel flattered and relieved—there is a little strain to having a secret identity, and the idea of being outed was a little liberating—until I realized the full scope of what she’d be able to read. Then I felt my safe little bubble of a blog close around me and felt trapped and creepy. I became fully conscious of how this might all look to an outsider—just the fact that I was age-play adjacent seemed like enough to get me kicked out of the family. I felt so exposed that I was forced to sympathize with Fireguy’s reaction all those months ago. (Says Sweetie: “Hope you didn’t sympathize for too long…”)

(Really, the reason the Fireguy situation, especially the jealous-partner aspect, freaked me out so much was that it seemed to confirm a fear that I had about myself—that I was inherently harmful and could not get what I wanted without destroying things.)

Anyway, after I found the follow, I called Sweetie at work and just broke down at the idea of my family being able to read this. “I’m so dirty!” I kept saying. I imagined having my nieces and nephews taken away, never being able to hug the baby again. Because I’m an excellent catastrophizer, I extrapolated out to losing potential students as well. If a new family member could find me, then teacher friends could too, and everyone would know. (I found out you can search using a phone number and some phones even autosearch, but that’s an easy box to uncheck.)

Besides wife, family member, teacher, there’s another role I’ve always worried about having: Ruiner. I grew up in an unhappy family that somehow morphed into a happy one the year my niece was born and I met Sweetie. (They both came into my life in 2001, not long after 9/11.) I’ve always suspected that if I messed things up with Sweetie, then the whole happy-family thing would come crumbling down. Though I’m theoretically out to the family (via facebook and many non-Sweetie themed poems) about being bi and poly, I’ve only talked directly to my parents about it, and only when I was sad. (“Aren’t you just setting yourself up for heartbreak after heartbreak?” said mom, not unkindly.)

For some reason, my brother is the one I’ve always worried about telling, even though he’s an up-to-date reader of my poetry. I’ve always been sure that if I mentioned it directly, he'd tell me what a terrible, selfish jerk I am being to Sweetie and it would ruin whatever occasion it happened to be. I’ve always known that if I didn’t work out between me and Sweetie, I’d be the bad guy, and I’d have absolutely no one to turn to.

For all of the work I’ve done here, for all of the rooms and waves I’ve walked into naked, all it took was an accidental misfollow to bring me face to face with deep-seated shame, not just the suspicion but the knowledge that deep down, I’m dirty and bad and have nothing but destruction to offer.

These idyllic Christmases are wonderful and I wouldn’t want to trade them, but I know that to keep them the same, I’ve suppressed an important part of myself—the Christmas that I want someday, with a guy partner and his family and Sweetie would effectively end Christmas as we know it. When we got in the car to come home Tuesday night, I was so desperate to talk to her, to be our true selves, that we didn’t even put on the radio or podcast for two hours, just talked and talked.

My brother’s girlfriend has been blocked, and it’s likely that she didn’t see a thing. I’m glad that the whole thing opened my eyes to the shame that I still have to work against. I’m 38, for crying out loud, and I can’t keep worrying what my family will think, and I certainly can’t keep half-hoping that I’ll be suddenly be not-bi and able to keep things the way they are. As far as I’ve come, I still have to work hard to get myself to a place of authenticity, of naked safety. Other writers have found ways to write through (real or imagined) family suppression, so hopefully I can too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dungeon Love and a Happy Anniversary

This place where you are right now, God circled
on a map for you.

Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
against the earth and sky, the Beloved has bowed

the Beloved has bowed there knowing you were


This week was the 11-year anniversary of Sweetie and me getting together, of the night she told me, okay, she’d give it a try, and that I would be her first partner of any kind—it’s a lot of responsibility, and I took it, and I am so glad. She and I have had rocky times this past year, and in some ways our relationship is still in limbo, but we have a lot to celebrate, too.

Last Saturday was the holiday party at our regular dungeon—just the phrase “our regular dungeon” just fills me with pride. We missed the dinner part of the festivities because some dear friends were having a going-away potluck, but we got there early enough that the crew was still setting up the furniture.

Everyone looked so pretty and festive—lots of fancy red dresses, formal kilts, shiny studded gauntlets. There were cute little glowy candle lamps everywhere, and a Christmas tree. When we arrived, Old-Timey Guy was shrink wrapping a girl in a red and white plastic corset.

HempRopes was there with his beautiful wife, and meeting her made me wish that I hadn’t sworn off him—she’s strong, vivacious, and smiley, just the kind of lady I wouldn’t mind being tied to—oh well, maybe someday.

I think my decision to swear off casual play was a good one, though. Instead of resenting HempRopes for having a long line of ladies, I felt happy love for the good time that they were all about to have.

Old-Timey guy asked if I would like another star mark from him and looked taken aback when I said “I’ll think about it.” He’s still calling me his “little girl” but I felt distinctly like a woman, and I’m excited that I’m reserving my right to play as one.

Sweetie and I set up our scene in a triangle with the people we love to play next to: Old-Timey Guy and Punk Rock Girl were on the St. Andrew’s cross to our right, and Hot Switch Couple were getting their bag of tricks ready the next kneeling bench over. We all hugged and smiled about the prospect of being near each other.

It was one of the happiest nights of my life. Sweetie made me feel like a rope-covered princess. She ties me to a kneeling bench and figured out how to spank nice and firmly without hurting. I don’t always go all the way to a subby place with her, but this time I did—I felt like I was getting spanked inside a glowy pink cloud of well-being. As I was spacing out to the comfy rhythms, I noticed that Punk Rock Girl was getting flogged to the exact same beat—it was such a lovely feeling of oneness.

I knelt there giggling with joy, mostly naked in from of my friends, just like I love to be. I am so proud of the life that Sweetie and I have created in the last year, the way we have made a space for ourselves in the world where we can be in love and hot and safe and in front of everybody. Even though I’m often distracted by what’s missing from my life, I have to admit that this new life is like a miracle.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Season's Greetings from My Underpants!

Sweetie and I had a wonderful time at our regular dungeon's holiday party last night. I'll write about it soon, but really, this is the most important thing to say:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This Week in Fairly Basic Life Lessons

Well, the Man About Town was downgraded this week from hapless to creepy—in his last (or what I hope was his last) correspondence to me he insinuated that I was somehow being dishonest because I needed some space to process things without his input. He said he just didn’t take my boundary seriously—what girl doesn’t loooove hearing that her “no” meant nothing, huh? He’s all blocked/unfriended/marked as spam now, but I’m still kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

(Note to self—I believe in magic just enough that I should never mess around with someone who is in a coven—I keep imagining him sending me gross condescending healing vibes or something.)

What I realized was, I acted in bad faith. I didn’t like him. I was ambivalent after our first date, but I thought that might’ve been because I was all swirly about Mister Hazel eyes. On the second date, I was sure that I wasn’t attracted to him—his kisses just tasted wrong, the chemistry was off.

Yet I thought I should go forward with him because he looked good on paper—he had these nice, sensible girlfriends, he seemed stable and smart, he treated me very well. I thought that I should like him. So I asked to go forward as nonromantic play partners, just to see how that went.

In retrospect, it was a cynical move trying to make myself like someone just because he was appropriate. I had this idea in my head that I had to move on from the single boys, the bad boys, the inexperienced, unavailable boys to someone who was more suitable. I was trying to grow up, yes, but going about it in such a coldhearted way.

Being experienced at poly doesn’t make someone a mensch, and I should have followed my instincts—they obviously picked up something that I didn’t. So the fairly obvious lesson is: don’t play with people I am not attracted to. My body knows what it is doing and I need to listen to it. Otherwise, naked pictures of me will keep ending up in the hands of people I actively dislike—that is just not good.

There have been a few times that I’ve wondered if I have to make a choice between the adventures and the blog, but the main characters, the people in the story who mean the most to me, have never given me even a little bit of shit about it. The two guys who have caused me trouble about my writing were people I had reservations about anyway, and next time, I will listen to those reservations.

The holidays are a great time to put my quest for another partner on the back burner and turn my focus wholeheartedly to Sweetie and the rest of my family, to appreciating all of my friends, and to celebrating the fact that I am about to complete my student teaching. There is so much richness that I already have, and it needs my attention. When I return to dating, I will do my best to believe in attraction, in my body, maybe even in love. Just like I did a year ago!