April 16th, 2013
Fear – Knowledge – Understanding – Acceptance – Normativity
New ideas are met with fear. People fear what they don’t understand. So, those with the new ideas keep talking, bringing knowledge about the idea to others. They educate people so that there can be understanding. Once there is understanding, people can begin to accept these new ideas. Once enough people accept an idea, it becomes the norm.
The trouble comes when fear closes eyes and ears. When it stills tongues. When fear kills a new idea before it can even be explored. Fear can be strong, so strong, that new ideas are met with violence. Over and again in human history, ideas beget fear, and fear begets violence. When there is fear and violence, there is no learning, there is no science, and there is no progress.
And sometimes we move backwards, and we have to start the cycle all over again. Homosexuality is nothing new, it has been part of human culture since the ancients. But somewhere along the line we moved backwards, and acceptance of homosexuality became a new idea again. And it is met with fear, and sometimes violence. Today, the knowledge is overwhelming the fear more often, and understanding is growing again. But we are still too far from acceptance, and much too far from normativity.
I mentioned to gay marriage to my mother, a retired pastor, this week. Her response to me was to mention that a different denomination approved of it. Her answer to my disappointment in the Church I grew up in, was to change denominations.
The idea of multiple loves, and marriages, is nothing new. Around the world today, various cultures approve or disapprove of it for various, mostly religious-based reasons. People interpret their holy texts in the way they see fit, and base their values around it. And that’s fine, the trouble comes when they try to make others live by their chosen values. This is a nation based on freedom. Freedom of religion. Freedom of expression. But we make laws about who can love who, who can marry who and how many. Why is that even part of the legal system?
Health benefits, death benefits, power of attorney. You can have a wife and three kids on your family insurance, why not two wives, if you pay for it the same? Child custody is just as complicated with marriage, divorce and remarriage and divorce as it would be in multiple parent households. We were founded by people fleeing religious persecution, only, centuries later, to be basing our laws on Judeo-Christian religious values.
I went to church this past weekend and the lesson was the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lesson was to love, not just those that believed as you did, but to love everyone. The world gets more crowded every year, we have got to stop pretending that we are right and everyone else is wrong. There will never be peace while there is fear, hatred, and intolerance. Fear breeds violence, and violence brings change to a screaming halt.
April 11th, 2013
Once more, with feeling. Two humiliation play classes, one emotional masochism class, several blog posts, several more emails, and various verbal discussions. And it is still on my mind. Well, let’s get it out here and see if I can reach any conclusions today.
Objectification – “the treatment of a human being as a thing, disregarding his/her personality or sentience. Sexual objectification – the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one’s sexual pleasure.” (Wikipedia)
Objectification in play, can have two different formats. You can be used as an object – a lamp, furniture, a sex toy. Or you can be treated as a thing with no regard, or even disdain, for your personality, sentience or worth. These are two very different things. The first, being used, for me, is not at all humiliating, or degrading, though it could be for others. Being used is something I rather enjoy. The latter is specifically about humiliation and degradation, something I am struggling to define my interest in. First, we get into the semantics of those words.
“Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status has just decreased.” (Wikipedia) “Erotic Humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another.” (Wikipedia) “To reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes.” (Merriam Webster)
Degradation – “decline to a low, destitute, or demoralized state” (Merriam Webster), or “the process of deterioration of characteristics of an object with time” (Wikipedia), or “treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect.” (Google)
Basically, as a form of play, these are about bringing someone low, treating them and making them feel like something less than they are. (Yes, yes, you can’t ‘make’ anyone feel anything, how about, creating an environment that encourages them to feel that way?) I looked these up and provided the definitions I found, because I was having trouble in my own head, with my own understanding of the terms. Humiliation is feeling bad about yourself, your actions, your thoughts, your desires. Degradation is being torn down. Degradation is generally humiliating, but humiliation doesn’t have to be caused by degradation. The two do go fairly well hand in hand.
So, why are these things stuck on my brain? We tried it, it went horribly wrong. And we eventually figured out the problem: I was not fully separating self from scene. I am a writer and my own worst critic. I am a perfectionist and cannot stand failures in myself. It seems like playing with humiliation and degradation would be a bad idea. But I am a(n emotional) masochist and I’m stubborn. I don’t even like failing at failing. (No, that isn’t called succeeding.) I enjoy being beaten to a pulp, physically and mentally. I find it cathartic and stress-relieving.
So, I keep coming back to – okay, so you want to play rough? How can you do it safely? Which seems counter-intuitive right off the bat. ‘Can’t do that.’ ‘Too dangerous to self and relationship.’ ‘Why would you want to feel like that?’ And on and on. Is it just a case of wanting is not so pleasing a thing as having? Is it like the interrogation scene? What I really want is the challenge and this is the easiest way to label it? Probably. I love being challenged, mentally and physically. (Hmmm, what kinds of other mentally challenging play could I do?)
I’ve also gotten a recent inkling of kink as ritual ordeal, to come out the other side stronger. And this definitely seems like something that would be good for me – to face all the negative feelings about myself and come out the other side knowing that those feelings are false and wrong. (Not to mention that I should really get better at dealing with and accepting failure.) I am working to become stronger and more independent than ever before, and so this idea appeals to me on a personal growth level.
There we have it. A much better exploration of where my head is at with all this than I’ve managed in quite a while. Hurray for having my head back on straight again.
April 4th, 2013
I am low on spoons today: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/. So, instead of writing a blog post, I’m going to link a few interesting articles for people to read.
About Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Roles: http://nursingclio.org/2013/04/02/same-sex-marriage-does-threaten-traditional-marriage/
About Silence and Consent: http://queerguesscode.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/un-memorizing-the-silence-is-sexy-date-script/
Feel free to discuss in the comments, here or there.
March 28th, 2013
Thoughts swirling around in my head. Humiliation play class this week. Still a lot of things I want to think about along those lines. The class did a good job of highlighting some of the directions I need to go. Figure out more specifics about my brain, my wants and needs. Not even necessarily to Do anything with it, maybe just so that I know myself better. Because that is never a bad thing. And finally, I’m doing it with eyes forward. Not, what happened then, but where am I now? What do I feel right now? Is there anything I still want to try? And why am I still curious? And what about that aftercare? Have I figured out what I really need there?
Aftercare’s an odd one for me. Growing up on crew, aftercare wasn’t a thing we worried about, just hand them off to the waiting partner. With ex-lover, there was certainly aftercare, but it was never discussed as ‘what I needed,’ it was just whatever was the natural progression. Sex, cuddles, sleep, more bondage, wherever we landed at the end of the scene. With him, often it ends with curling up with the girls, or kneeling with myself. More private scenes tend to end with cuddles. Aftercare, also became about reflection in writing most often, and then verbally. But aside from creating the ritual that didn’t end up working, I’ve not really sat down and thought it out, just gone with whatever happens in the moment.
This becomes rather pointedly obvious to me when I see other bottoms with their blankets and teddies, or their chocolate and water stashes. I’m cold, almost all the time, so it doesn’t really occur to me that after a scene, I should have a blanket to wrap up in. That’s not to say he’s never wrapped me up in one, it just doesn’t enter my mind that I should make an effort to have one. Chocolate or water? One or both of those things tends to be nearby when we’re scening, but it rarely occurs to me to have it ready before we start. I tend to go with an attitude of – I’ll find what I need afterward. I’m not sure this is the best plan to keep going forward with. ‘Be prepared,’ is all well and good to say, but part of taking care of myself is feeling that I am worth the time and effort to actually do it.
It is only March, but COPE is on my mind. Chance and the finiteness of time has him heading east that weekend, and so far as I know, my going with isn’t going to be an option. COPE, however, is still within my financial means. But it would mean going alone, without a partner, and that stirs up all kinds of debris in my head. Why bother? Being the topmost thought. To which smart-ass answers that going would be better than sitting home alone. The classes are usually fun, so part of me wants to go, if only for those. But that’s an awful lot of money to only go to the classes. And what about playing with friends? I dunno, I don’t do much of that. But surely, I could line up a scene or two, just to make it worth it. Or, gasp, actually be social, and chat and hang out with people, and not worry so much about the playing. Stepping out in the line of being independent, going to an event alone would not be the end of the world, especially an event with so many friends present. Time yet to decide.
March 21st, 2013
Times, they are a’ changing.
I am living on my own these days. The details and such are not for public forums, but I’m writing this post, because I want to say that everything will be alright.
As I often say, I have an amazing life. I have been given the opportunity to do so much. To see so much and to experience so much. I have lived in different states and different countries. I have loved a lot of people and met so many more. I have had stable employment (if not always stable hours) for the last decade, while pursuing my many and varied dreams. And the end of a single, though very important, relationship, is not going to put an end to the greatness of my life.
I do not regret the relationship. I do not regret the time we spent together, and all that we shared. I only regret the pain we caused one another these last few years, but even that has made us both stronger. Has forced us to grow and to learn.
I am not alone. I still have a loving boyfriend, and his poly-cule. I still have all my chosen family, my friends and my blood family. I have love and support all around me, including that which hubby is still providing. But, I am also ready to be on my own, independent and strong.
I’ve always been afraid to live alone. Afraid I could not make it on my own. I told my parents once, when I was young, that I needed a husband to start fires and open jars. Well, I’ve long since discovered fireplace lighters, and I’m working on a solution to that jar problem(suggestions, please leave a comment). But other than stubborn Prego jars, I finally feel confident in myself.
That, my friends, is the best feeling in the world. To know, in your heart, that you can stand on your own two feet, and stride forward, chin up and eyes on your dreams. I am eager to see where life takes me next, and to steer my course where I want it to go.
March 14th, 2013
What to write tonight? It’s after 11 and I really have to go to bed, the next 36.5 hours are going to be rough. Work early in the morning, then rush around to get ready, pick up gear, set up for class and party, run electric scenes, clean up, go to work just a few hours after I get home, and then hopefully still be awake enough to drive home at 11am. The writing group is really not helpful for actual writing. Every week I’ve gone, I’ve taken something with me to write on, but nothing useful ever gets written. I wrote a few notes last week, an author’s name this week. One week, I wrote a tiny flash of a stun gun scene description, but it wasn’t much of anything. Damnable stun gun makes my brain go all wibbly. Did I mention he got one at WW? And there was much rejoi… whimpering. And cursing. And shaking and crying. Mmmm tasty.
Bootblack class last night. I really need to get some leather dust and acetone for my kit. I also really need to kidnap his boots so I can fix them up properly. I should probably work on my own boots soon, too. They’re all scuffed up and stuff. Oh, yeah, need the sole stuff, too. Make all the boots pretty again.
New projects in my head. Making the anthology into a real ebook, with proper editing, formatting and all that. I don’t do a whole lot of editing of my posts, especially scene descriptions, but I think I can really make some decent improvements if I just put my mind to it, with a little (lot, probably) help from my editorial friends. And format it a lot better instead of squishing it all together to make it fit in the least amount of pages, let alone taking them out of the chronological order of how they was posted. I only grouped them by topic, but I really think I could do it more cleanly with a little time and effort. Make it into an ebook people would actually want to share with friends.
Also thinking about putting together some of my more useful posts into an advice/poly/bdsm beginner ebook. Again, with the editing and adding to, and maybe even just taking the ideas, and fleshing them out into good chapters. That one is going to take a lot more work, and effort, but I think it could still be fun. Not a “here’s how you should do things” book, but more of a “what did I learn from the mistakes I’ve made” book. I sometimes feel like my blog posts aren’t… serious enough.. journalistic enough…? I’m not sure the right word. I just go off and ramble, and rarely stay strictly on topic enough that I would consider any of the quality that could be submitted to one of the many community-focused informational sites. So, I’d like to do a bit more focused writing for this project.
Third project in my head is a creating a fantasy novel with bsdm elements. But I feel like I need to read more of what is already out there, or at least become more aware of what is already out there, so I’m not just rewriting what everyone else has already written. I’ve only ever created one novel-length manuscript, and when I think of “romance” it always feels fake and false in my head. Not to mention, I have no idea what kind of plot I want to build it around. So that project is the furthest off in my head, but hanging around with the writing group has a least put it more solidly in my head as an idea.
Not to mention trying to get a real(full time) job, so I can finally achieve financial independence. And taking the time and space to be on my own and take care of me. It’s going to be an interesting year. I intend to make it an upward swing.
March 7th, 2013
Personal identity. Gender identity. Sexual identity. Secret identity.
I think of identity as internal, as opposed to the exterior-ness of labels. Identity is who I am. It is how I feel. It is my proclivities, my interests, my views and my way of being. It is the unique combination that makes up me.
But then, someone asks me, who are you?
And I try to put it into words. These shapeless, unspoken thoughts of me. I use labels that other people have created, that other people have defined. And they are the closest I can come to create communication, but they are not the truth. Because I am so much more than words. I am so much more than someone else’s definitions. So, new words are created, but they, inevitably fall short, too. I try whole lists of words, sometimes seemingly contradictory, just to get the point across that I am more than.
More than a single concept. More than a strict definition. More than a simple category.
I am so much more than my job, my hobbies, my submission, my service, my masochism, my body, my sarcasm.
Who am I? You’ll never know. Because you are not inside me, and no matter how much time you spend with me, you will always filter me through who you are.
But sometimes I want so badly to be understood, to be accepted, to be loved. That I try to fit in. Fit into the molds society has created. Fit into the roles that someone else has defined. Fit into boxes that people understand.
And when someone does not understand, I try to explain. But sometimes words just aren’t enough. Because they do not feel as I feel, they do not experience what I experience. Their frame of reference does not allow for understanding. And I can let myself feel alienated and ashamed, or I can remember that they don’t have to understand me. My identity is not based on anyone else’s understanding.
February 28th, 2013
Because you were frustrated with your diet
and I was 15 pounds heavier than you wanted to be
while you were another 50 beyond that
And it was a bad day
You told me I was fat
and I believed you.
Because no one had ever told me anything different
I believed you so hard
that years later
I would scoff at men who called me beautiful
I would roll my eyes and stick out my tongue
because I thought they were mocking me
I was not beautiful.
How could I be
You told me I was fat.
I cried the day I remembered this
Asked by one of those wonderful men
Who had told me I was ugly?
It was you, Mom
How could you
I am thirty-two years old
and you’ve still never told me
I am beautiful.
Because we don’t do that
in our family
it is vain to talk of beauty
I’m smart, isn’t that enough?
But I AM beautiful
And not just because those men have told me so
And shown me so
I am Beautiful
because I don’t believe you anymore
I know I am beautiful
Inside and out
because beauty isn’t about what other people think
It’s about how I feel about myself
I Am Beautiful
and I hope you know that
You are, Too.
(Reposted from FetLife)
February 21st, 2013
Boundary responsibility has been on my mind a lot lately. Who’s responsibility are your boundaries and agreements? On the surface, this answer is simple – you are responsible for your own boundaries. You are responsible for knowing your boundaries, for communicating your boundaries and for enforcing your boundaries. So, where does My responsibility begin?
If you hug me, is it my responsibility to ask if hugging is within your boundaries? If you kiss me, is it my responsibility to make sure your primary partner is okay with that? If we curl up to cuddle, is it my responsibility to ask you if your partner would be okay seeing us like this? If you ask me to play, is it my responsibility to check with your partners?
For me, all these answers are No. I am responsible for interacting within my own boundaries and agreements, and I expect everyone else to be as responsible for their own boundaries and agreements. But there’s trouble in those expectations and assumptions.
I’ve been blamed in the past, and seen others blamed, for ‘stealing’ a partner from a ‘friend’ because I didn’t ask said ‘friend’ if it was okay to play with their partner. I use quotes here because said partner ended up dating us both for quite some time and had another partner before either of us, so I’m not sure what was stolen, and the person was never someone I considered a friend in the first place. I’ve also seen the case where an outside partner came back and said ‘well, you should have known I wouldn’t be okay with that.’ No, I’m sorry, I don’t know you as well as your partner does, so I don’t assume I know better than your partner about your agreements and boundaries.
But this has bitten me in the ass, too. When agreements and boundaries have been shared with all involved, and then broken anyway. If I know a boundary of another relationship, if I’m told an agreement, then yes, I think it does become partially my responsibility to respect and uphold it. By this I mean, not pushing to break an agreement or bypass a boundary that I know to be set. The trouble comes when it turns into enforcing someone else’s boundaries and agreements for them. I’m not okay with being put in the position of having to remind someone of their own boundaries.
The bigger trouble comes when these discussions do not occur at all, and everyone starts acting off assumptions. ‘Well, I know this isn’t what she said the boundary was, but if she’s doing it, the boundary must have changed.’ ‘He never told me what the boundaries are, so there must not be any.’ ‘Everyone else is doing it, so it must be alright.’ ‘He never said I couldn’t do this.’ ‘Well, if she wants to, it must be okay for me to do it.’
And as much as I don’t want to have to enforce someone else’e boundaries, starting the discussion about boundaries is far safer than making assumptions. And it leads to healthier relationships, and stronger friendships. Communication and honesty are essential for all my relationships.
So, here’s the question: At what point do you start this discussion?
February 14th, 2013
I want to write something intelligent today, but my body wants to sleep. I want to write something deep and meaningful, but I should really be packing. I want to write something that fully expresses the emotions of these last few weeks, but I’m not sure I’m ready. I want to put it all out there, but I don’t want anyone to read it. That’s the trouble with a blog – people read and react to it, whether you want them to or not. Best to keep the private things on paper, or at least locked away in your personal files.
I do too much of that, though. Locking away how I feel. I resist reacting because it feels pointless, useless and occasionally stupid. I hate it when people call themselves stupid, but lately, I’ve found myself calling my reactions that. I’ve gotta stop. They aren’t stupid, they’re my reactions. And they aren’t always logical, because reactions are emotional. I’m allowed to be upset about things, allowed to react to things. As long as I recognize that’s what’s happening, as long as I keep working through the reaction, keep listening and talking. As long as I don’t sit and dwell and wallow in the reaction. And that’s the problem. Because if I feel like the reaction won’t accomplish anything, I try to resist it. Trouble is, that only puts a stopper in the bomb, and the pressure builds and then explodes even stronger.
Last night we were talking about things, and he gave me a heads up, and I shut down. I was reacting, but I didn’t want to react. I didn’t want to be upset because he was just trying to warn me that something might happen. He noticed and poked, and I eventually mumbled that I was reacting and it was stupid. And he looked me in the eyes and told me I was allowed to react. It was still an internal battle and the conversation that resulted wasn’t much fun either, but it kept me from stewing and wallowing. It gave me more information, and a better ability to deal with the information, process it appropriately. Otherwise, my mind would have stuck in the pothole and spun for the last 24 hours instead of being able to accept the warning and figure out how to deal with it. It didn’t make for an entirely pleasant evening, but bottling would have made for a much worse one.
I did the same at the con. Stamped down on feelings and reactions because I didn’t think they would be useful. In a couple classes, I refused to let myself cry, refused to let the emotions out because I didn’t want to call attention or make a scene. Neither of these things would have happened. The presenters had everyone’s attention, I was free to react however I wanted. But I resisted, screwed that lid down tightly. It led to an explosion later, when he said something that I reacted to. In this case, he walked away because he wanted me to feel free to react and get it out. Which I did, in spades. But again, I felt reacting at him would not accomplish anything, so I tried to keep it inside. Fortunately, even when ill, he notices these things. When he came back we were able to talk it through, and then the next day, because often I take a day to process, we finished talking it out.
It is all about these stories we write in our brains. They are written in an instant of reaction. And often, they are wrong. And I usually know they are wrong, so I scold myself and try to stifle them, but I cannot erase them unless I get them out of my head. Unless I ask. Unless I get clarification when I’m confused or unclear. Writing stories without all the facts is fine for novels, but it doesn’t work in relationships. Yes, sometimes asking is really hard, sometimes it escalates the upset, which is a hard thing for a peace-maker like myself. But not asking just strengthens the false thought. Leave a thought long enough, and it becomes your truth. And truths are even harder to erase or rewrite.
I am taking better care of myself this year. I am standing up for myself. Next step is to stand up To myself. Allow myself the freedom to react, to question, and to find the truth.