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The Healing Nature of Domesticity

cinbread1It had been a long time since I had sat down to bake a loaf of bread. I have a rough time making myself dinner, never mind a multi-stage process that takes multiple hours to complete. Bread requires patience, something I often don't have while juggling several hustles to make ends meet.

I had a recipe for cinnamon swirl bread that is incredibly tasty. I had only made it one other time, with an ex, and it had taken us most of the day to be able to bite into that sweet, spicy deliciousness. There was a craving for cinnamon swirl bread deep in my heart and gut, even while there was a pang in my chest as I got the ingredients together a few days ago. It's strange, the things that spur on the wistfulness for a relationship withered and gone. For me, it was the smell of yeast, the burst of heat from the oven. It was cutting into that loaf and inhaling the warmth of the bread.

It was a sense of home that I couldn't go back to.

One of the things I'm trying to do more of now that my life is starting to settle into more of a routine is cooking more. So far this week I actually made two meals, which is two more than I normally make in multiple weeks. Putting together a sandwich can feel daunting sometimes. I have a lot of food anxiety, what I can eat, what I should eat, what's available, how to prepare it. Sometimes it's easier to make a sandwich than it is to deal.

But this week I made a pork, apple and sweet potato stew, and I made some spicy black beans that became the main ingredient in some pretty delicious soft tacos. Being as this is also the week before launch of Harlot Magazine, the online startup that has taken over my life for the time being, I wonder if maybe the rash decision to cook food was in part informed by a desire to step away from the computer and do something more with my hands other than type.

Regardless of why I settled down to do it, I found myself more comforted than worried about the results. I used a slow cooker for both, and perhaps that's part of it, knowing that you have to leave it to cook for hours after just throwing things into a pot. It's not very time sensitive, you can do some labour and then leave it. And I don't have to worry about getting too creative, just basic recipes and then add whatever spices I want. Easy enough for even me to do it.

After baking that cinnamon bread I reached out to my ex, because I missed him very quickly and suddenly after a couple of months too busy to really reflect on it. He responded with kindness and understanding, and though I don't know if we're ready to be friends, I'm glad we've at least agreed to let go of grudges. I don't want to tear up every time I smell cinnamon bread, even if he never makes it with me again.

I have been afraid of domesticity for so long. I've been afraid of cooking, of owning furniture, of painting walls and nesting. My life has been so nomadic and tumultuous that settling down felt like something that was beyond reach. When I think about living with a partner, I feel a clench in my gut that whispers "that's not for you". I don't know that I know how to not be a feral cat, rarely letting someone pet them, never staying too long in any one place.

My life is hectic. I'm working for a startup. I just signed the contract for my first book. I'm traveling to the NCSF Consent Summit they're doing, which is an idea I threw over to Susan maybe a year or so ago and I'm so overjoyed they're doing it. My porn is taking off- I'm going to BBWCON this summer and will actually have DVDs of my own, self produced, to sell. I'm dating three incredibly lovely and patient people who understand my wariness and sadness. This year has been remarkably good to me so far, and yet I still find it hard to buy a rug for my apartment.

But I'm starting to try to settle. I'm fixing up the sewing room in my place, making it feel like mine with mermaid and manatee pictures, pillows of whales and giant squid. I'm starting to invest in my life here as if it's something I can actually have. I'm buying veg boxes and canned food and not living off spoonrocket as often anymore. I'm trying to learn how to trust, and how to feel safe.

It's a learning process. But with every crockpot meal I make, I feel a little more stable, a little more adult, a little more home.

Categories: anxiety, best of, boundaries, breakups, fake it til you make it, loss, memories, reflection, self care

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Dick's Big PR Problem

tumblr_inline_nnzpizoAKo1rj019z_400

ETA: I just saw the AXE body spray ad that just came out that displays different masculinities, a far cry from their usual abs and babes. Heading in the right direction? Maybe. Let's hope!

One of the most popular posts ever written on this blog was my illustrated guide to dick pics. With the popularity of Critique My Dick Pic and Magic Mike XXL, it seems like culturally we have begun to acknowledge that some women may, in fact, erotically enjoy looking at men. Naked men, even. Though, this goes beyond just men, and to penises, in particular.

I wanted to both cheer those women on. I also wanted to help the average cis dude in particular learn how to take photos of his junk that women would be more likely to appreciate receiving (and only after specifically requesting such).

So I'm not terribly surprised that a lot of people sent me the link to the woman who is taking cis male dick pics professionally and selling them for $10,000. And good for her! I was excited to see what she was doing, because after years of penises (male and otherwise) being mostly photographed for the male gaze, it was refreshing to hear about something different.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed to find out her angle was dressing up penises in comedic outfits.

I mean, quoting Cosmo, "she wondered what a dick pic might look like if a woman — not a thirsty dude — were behind the lens." This is it? This is the kind of genital selfie she thinks women want? I'm... confused. Because I like my dick pics to be well lit, well composed, and, well, showing a beautiful cock that I want inside my hands, mouth and/or cunt.

I don't have that reaction to a dick dressed up like a cop.

It led me to ask... why is it that the only three ways the media shows the erotic male is as threatening, hilarious, or gay? And regardless of gender, why is a penis so often either reduced to being comedic or a weapon? Does this perhaps lead to the toxic masculinity that permeates our culture, where so often men feel this need to come off as threatening to women in how they display sexual interest, because otherwise I guess we would laugh at them? Is this why we're culturally so afraid of trans women that we need to paint them either as villains or comic relief? Why are women not seen as having any sexual agency of their own?

This is how toxic masculinity ends up poisoning the waters of everything else, whether or not you identify as masculine, or as a man.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 6.48.01 PMThis is something I've found frustrating before, for example, with the Hawkeye Initiative. Initially started to show the ridiculousness of the poses comics artists put female characters in, I found the images of Hawkeye and other superheroes displayed in an objectifying way to be... kind of hot, actually. And I kept feeling alienated that so often these images insisted on captions or dialogue meant to make the viewer laugh, because they're not supposed to be sexy, they're supposed to be silly.

But why?

I'm super into seeing fit men having their clothes torn off by snakes. Or, in the case of these pinups featuring cis men doing stereotypically cis men things but in a feminine pinup style, why did they have to ruin it by making little o-faces? Why couldn't they have cute smirks instead? I mean I think this artist has his finger on the issue more than some others, but goddamn it, I just want to see the fact that yeah, some women actually ARE visual and DO like looking at naked men, validated.

Because here's what concerns me. If we don't validate that opinion, and continue to show male sexuality as either dangerous/frightening or ridiculous/not to be taken seriously, while exclaiming that women's bodies are just "inherently" more attractive, I believe we are feeding the issue of predatory masculine behaviour and the feminine being seen as prey. When we argue that objectification is "bad" and we shouldn't do it to men if we don't think it should be done to women, we ignore that men have a lot more power and agency than women do, that male desire is seen as valid/marketable/worthwhile more often than women's is. I do think that for equality to happen, yes, we should cut back on the objectification of women in every fucking aspect of life, totally.

But I also feel there's something important to increasing the objectification of men, validating the buying power of the female gaze. I remember when I was working on the Andro Aperture project a few years back, there weren't many options for erotic magazines/porn sites focused on women who wanted to look at naked cis men. There honestly weren't many options for women into trans men, either, but there were some. Still, on both counts, the type of male bodies that were considered "marketable" or worth photographing/filming were limited. Able-bodied. Slender/fit. Tall. Often white. Often cis. Often masculine in a very specific, all-American jock sort of way. This is still often the case. And it sucks, not just because I like drooling over hot dudes, but because I feel it ends up underlining and making worse the sexist objectifying bullshit I have to deal with all the time. And frankly, because it makes the men that fit that really narrow ideal of acceptable masculine beauty into egotistical asshats.

I have to say that I appreciate the dick pics I've gotten from not-cis-men have been appreciably better composed, and are rarely presented in such a way that I either am expected to laugh at them or alternately be nervous if I reply with anything but enthusiasm. And I don't think that dick pics are the sole way forward in toppling the patriarchy. But damn it, it's not the worst place to start to push forward, either.

PS: I plan on restarting Andro Aperture this year, probably in the summer, at least as a photo project. Wanna support it? Wanna get involved?

Categories: androaperture, best of, boys, female gaze, feminism, male objectification (or lack thereof)

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Sloppy Seconds

71So normally, these stories I write for ShipwreckSF are exclusive to my Patreon readers (and if you're the kind of sicko who likes this there's two more if you give me $$)...

But it's my birthday so fuck it, why not give you a questionable present?

You'll thank me later.

Maybe.

(Probably not)

***

Sloppy Seconds

a Charlotte's Web slashfic for ShipwreckSF

Templeton the rat was a big fan of slop. There was something about the way it slipped and slid over his greasy fur, the way it clung to his whiskers, that just did something to him, deep inside.
He was wallowing in a particularly good batch, eating scraps, rubbing the wet mess all over his fur, not a care in the world. He was a loner, was Templeton. But on this fateful day, when he looked up from the long, thick, juicy carrot covered in coffee grounds he was gnawing on, he found himself instantly, hopelessly in love.

She was pale and expressionless as he stared at her. In a rare moment of embarrassment, Templeton flushed and looked away. “I’m… I’m sorry,” he stammered. “I just haven’t seen anything as beautiful as you in some time.”

She remained where she was, unmoving and unmoved. Templeton ran one paw through his greasy fur. “What’s your name, gorgeous?” he tried, attempting to sound a bit more suave than he felt. He wondered what he’d need to do to crack her shell, get a reaction from her.

“S...s...s...hould we t….t….t...tell him it’s a rotten egg?” the Goose whispered to her partner, Gander.

Gander shook his head.

“What, you think I’m not good enough for her?” he demanded, pulling himself upright. A bit of coffee ground was stuck to a whisker, his fur matted with slop and grease, but, like many male creatures, he still considered himself quite a catch. “I have a hole of my own, a questionable career in marketing a pig, and enough food for a family, thank you VERY much.”

Gander shrugged his feathers. “You’re right, T...T….Templeton,” he said mildly. “Perhaps we’re being too harsh. You have to f...f….forgive a parent being protective.”

Templeton, feeling bold, crept up to his crush and put his arm around it, glaring at Gander. “Sweetheart, you can come with me if you want, I know how to treat a lady.” The egg, knocked off its center of gravity, rolled into his arms. He took it as a sign, gave the geese couple a middle finger, and gently nudged it down into his rat hole, safe with all his other precious possessions.

The thing is, a loved one is a terrible thing to try to possess. A week went by, then two. Templeton, prone to talking endlessly about himself, didn’t notice that his darling was, in fact, a rotten egg, and not just terribly and mysteriously aloof. Love makes it easy to ignore red flags.

But paradise must always come to an end.

The sheep had been stampeding around the barn all morning, and Templeton awoke with a start when his prized love shook a bit in its cradle of string. “What is all the racket,” he mumbled, opening, then closing one eye to settle back to sleep.

With a big BANG! everything in his home rattled, bottlecaps and safety pins tumbling to the floor. Templeton jumped out of bed, grumbling, ready to unleash a stream of profanities on the sheep that would not be appropriate for a children’s book.

And that’s when he saw, as if in slow motion, the strings holding the egg like a little hammock snap.

His precious darling hit the dirt floor, cracking slightly and oozing a bit. The stench that slammed into Templeton was overwhelming, and at first he gagged at the intensity of it. But soon, his pink nose twitched, his whiskers stiffened.

So did his little rat cock.

Templeton reached one paw towards the ooze, gently caressing the cracked shell. “Oh…. oh my dear,” he said huskily. “I had no idea you contained such…. perfume within you.” He let a tentative claw dip into the yolk dripping out of the egg. “Your juices are so… pungent,” he licked his claw clean, “and so…. delicious.” His tongue flicked up and down the cracked shell, lapping at the spillage of white and yolk. The intensity of his administrations led another piece of shell to break off, causing a sudden outpouring of rotten egg into Templeton’s waiting and eager mouth—a gush of putrid pleasure.

He gasped with excitement, and used his tongue to knock another bit of shell loose. The fetid flood overflowed from his mouth, over his furry and matted chest, over his straining cock, pooling between his toes. The cold, stringy slime dripped from the tip of his cock, mingling with his precum.

Templeton had never been so deeply and intensely in love or lust.

With a moan, he pushed his cock into the hole in the egg, not minding how the sharp edges of the shell cut at his shaft. Love was pain, after all, right? And his dick felt so good plunging into that viscous core, waves of stench and splashes of sticky goo washing over him as he thrust back and forth. He wrapped his arms around the smooth white shell, fucking the egg’s hole harder and harder, his breath catching in his throat, his eyes watering in part with pleasure and in part because of the rank smell of the sulphur.

One thrust was too hard, though, and with a snap, the shell shattered, bits cutting into Templeton’s aroused flesh as the egg dissolved into a puddle of rancid mess. With a cry of anguish and delight, Templeton flung himself onto the ground, rolling in what was left, his paws grabbing big mucus-y globs of egg and rubbing it on his chest, his flanks, his cock. He closed his eyes in bliss and could feel the remains of the yolk squishing between his ass cheeks and his tail, lubricating his taint and balls with thick slickness.

As he slithered in the ooze, he suddenly found something firm pressing insistently below his scaly tail. Templeton reached behind him to find what looked suspiciously like a chicken beak floating in the remains of the egg. Thoughtfully, he examined the beak. There was one thing that would make this intimate moment complete…

In an audience pleasing move, Templeton scooped up some yolk, dripped it onto the beak which he gripped in his tail, and slowly inserted it into his slimy butthole. With his tail pushing the makeshift dildo in and out, the rat grabbed his cock with one paw and smeared more eggy mess onto his head and whiskers with the other. Groaning faster, the stimulation of the hard beak with his slippery wanking, the rotten stench, and the egg white drooling its way through his sensitive whiskers pushed him over the edge.

All he could think of as he approached climax were the words he kept being sent to find for that damn spider’s web work. But what word could sum up how he felt? He scrunched his eyes shut, pulled the beak out of his ass, and summoned up the best word he could think of.

“TERRIFIC” he gasped, as spurt after spurt of cum drizzled and dissolved into the mess on the floor.

That floor would stay muddy, a mix of rotten egg and rat ejaculate, for weeks.

Templeton didn’t mind.

He was a dirty rat.

Categories: best of, erotica

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2016: The Year Of The Hustle

1282_10153814105945979_7155798870212801746_nI started 2016 surrounded by friends, loved ones, and friendly faces, smelling faintly of squirt and cum, blissfully post-coital. I had a threeway kiss with new sweeties R & C, and a kiss with my ex P, which feels symbolic of how I want this next year to go- welcoming in new experiences while staying open to the way relationships over time shift and change. 2015 was a hard fucking year for growth, and I'm glad to have learned the things I did, but I'm pretty ready to have it behind me, to slow down on the navel gazing and just be present.

I have decided that for me, 2016 is going to be the year of the hustle. I'm ready to do more, to step out from my self-imposed hermitage and fear of social gatherings to perform more, write more, create more, volunteer more.

The mantra for 2016 will be "we make time for what we care about". I think this year, I want to make more time for fun, creating art/crafts, travel, one on one time with friends and lovers, and nesting. Here's some other goals I plan to keep in mind:

-Publish the Consent Culture Book 

I have a new pitch, a new idea of how to pull it together that will not keep me mired in the world of sex writing. I'm very grateful to my writer friends for encouraging me to branch out, take a risk, try something new and outside of my comfort zone. The new pitch feels right in my gut, and I'm excited to bring it to life.

-Perform

I want to read more of my work in public. I want to create stripteases that are complex and challenging. I want to do more porn that feels interesting and silly and hot. I feel so proud of myself when I perform, and I want to feel that more. I want that feeling of being cared about when lovers and friends come to support my work.

-Be Outside

Last year was spent snuggled inside a lot of the time, which was both cozy and confining. I want to do a weekend in the woods on my own for writing this year, along with buying a bike so I can cycle around my neighborhood, getting back into geocaching, writing outdoors instead of in coffeeshops. I discovered I have a vitamin D deficiency, and more sunlight will help!

-Listen to My Body

I have struggled more with anorexia over the last year than I have for many, many years. There were too many days where I ate one meal, and some where I didn't eat at all. I want to make sure that I eat more often, that I utilize intuitive eating to make my body feel better. I plan to try an elimination diet to finally get to the bottom of my stomach issues, and reach for tea more than coffee.

-Advocate For Myself

In 2015 I lost myself in other people, trying to become the person they wanted or needed me to be. I didn't know how to want things of my own, just how to transform myself into what was desirable to those around me. I let people mistreat me. Not in 2016! I'm going to stand up for myself and what I believe in even more fiercely.

-Forgive, If Not Forget

I've held onto a lot of anger and hurt from my past. In 2016 I want to more actively practice letting go of those feelings. I don't have to let those people back into my life, but I can stop giving them energy, recognize that their lashing out is part of their own pain/issues, and that I don't have to manage them anymore. Granted there's a couple of people who I don't think I can forgive, even with a lot of effort, and that's ok too.

What're your goals for 2016, or your intentions? Do you enjoy these kinds of checkins, or do you find them anxiety-producing/silly?

Categories: notes to self, personal, reflection, resolutions

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New Year's Resolutions: 2015 in Review (tl;dr it can die in a fire)

hedgehogI actually love New Year's resolutions. Taking a moment to sit and check in with myself about my goals and what I've accomplished tends to make me feel pretty good about myself while also giving me gentle space to see what I still need to work on. It also gives me a chance to look back in prior years, to see what I've moved on from, and what I'm still working on.

2014/2014 review
2013/2013 review
2012/2012 review (same post as 2013)
2011/2011 review

Here's 2015's resolutions in review, and how I did on them (you can read the original post here):

Give up FOMO/Accept my introversion

2015 was the year I stopped going to things I felt “maybe” about. If I didn’t feel comfortable, or I was tired, or being in my pajamas sounded nicer, I just stayed home. I did cancel plans a lot more than I used to, but I also made better plans, plans that actually felt good and energizing to me. I expected to feel a lot of FOMO but instead found myself happy about missing out and getting to hear people’s stories, rather than going and feeling drained.

Instead of focusing on parties and events, I worked more on my writing, watched a lot of movies, read a bunch of books, and drank a lot of tea. Most of my hangouts were one on one, which felt really good and I feel like I solidified some friendships by having that focus. I definitely want to do more of that in the upcoming year.

Allow myself to feel safe/Learn it's ok to say "no"

I did not start out the year particularly good at this, but by the end, I think I learned a lot about my boundaries. I learned that it was more important for me to feel seen than for me to be nice. I learned that I deserve a partner who makes me feel good about myself, not someone who made me feel like I was in a competition for his affection. I learned a deserve a workplace where my work is appreciated and recognized, where I have a chance to grow and shine, not just as a mirror and magnifying glass for someone else’s achievements.

For many years, I have compromised a lot of myself. On my last date with my ex, I remember staring into the fire and saying “I don’t even know who I am anymore, I’ve become so many things to please others”. But the thing is, it doesn’t make me feel safe. It makes me feel small. It took most of 2015 to get here, but I feel a lot more confident saying no, saying what I want and what my boundaries are.  After my breakup, which was very toxic and made me feel even less heard/seen, I wrote up a document of my relationship needs and dealbreakers. While I keep it a living document, I’m also finding that my lovers and friends now are already meeting it. And with that, I feel secure, and safe.

Trust myself as an artist

“I’m not an artist,” I said for years. “I’m an enabler of artists, I’m not creative”. 2015 was supposed to be the year I opened up and discovered my artistic self, and in some ways I did. I made my first porn movie, “Here Kitty Kitty”, though honestly that was not the vision I really had. I think that my artistic vision comes out most in my porn music videos, “Someday My Prince Will Cum” and “Take Me To Church”, and they’re actually decently popular, much to my surprise. I would not have guessed that they’d both have a 90% rating on Pornhub, of all places, considering they’re pretty stylized and a bit weird.

So I’m going to continue to make art. Not purely someone else’s vision, but my own, in collaboration with the fabulous performers I know. I have some ideas, and I believe that not only are they good ideas, but they’ll actually sell. I need to stop second guessing myself and some into my own. I think I’m ready, now.

Trust my sexual appeal/Take care of my body

Ever since I was a teen, I have been insecure about my desirability, like most people, especially women. As a survival sex worker, I learned that whether I felt it or not, I had to maintain a facade of confidence, even brashness, about my sexual appeal. It’s always felt a little forced. I tended to date other people in the fat spectrum in order to feel safe, because I felt wary of slender/toned people and their genuineness in wanting me. Unless a thin person had dated fat people before, I tended to turn them down.

Honestly, that’s not a bad metric, I found out. Someone who is pretty but who consciously or unconsciously makes me feel insecure and has no capacity for supporting me through it is not worth it.

I’m still working on this one, at least with the sexual appeal part. I’ve done much better at taking care of my skin, eating better, and taking my medications. I get a massage every couple weeks which is helping me with chronic pain. I still struggle a lot with eating disorder stuff, and in fact one of the reasons I realized I had to dump my ex was because I was becoming anorexic again. But this is probably the biggest work in progress, in part because I was in a relationship where I felt I was always going to be less than, and a workplace where I was never allowed to be the star. 2016, though, I’m going to challenge myself on both fronts- ask for what I want in bed, ask for reassurance when I need it, and make self care a priority.

Whew, I’ll be glad to see the ass end of 2015, how about you?

Categories: anxiety, best of, body stuff, communication, consent, reflection, resolutions

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That Manic Pixie Life: Why I Dye My Hair So Much

ramona

Wallace Wells: You doing okay there?

Scott Pilgrim: Yeah, good, good, good. She changed her hair.

Wallace Wells: So, it looks nice blue!

Scott Pilgrim: Yeah I know, but she did it without making a big deal out of it or anything... She's fickle, impulsive, spontaneous... God what am I going to do?

-Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

I just went through my photos over the last year, and while my haircut has really only shifted gently from a straight up undercut to growing it out into an asymmetrical hairdo, I have dyed my hair a lot. As of today, I have dyed my hair at least 12 times, once per month, as far as I can tell. It's been mostly blues and purples, with a little dip into blonde and green. Right now, even, it's back to blue, a colour called "shark blue".

I dye my hair impulsively. I remember watching Scott Pilgrim and joking about his freakout over Ramona's hair colour changes, because I'm totally like that. When I'm struggling, or bored, and reinvention is on my mind but I can't really get my shit together to completely change my look, I go for dying my hair something new. It makes me feel fresh again, like I can experiment in being someone just slightly different. And it's a form of self care, too, in a way.

2015 is probably the most I've ever reinvented myself in a year. It was a year of intense and hard change. I went from anxious and self blame to strong, unapologetically putting responsibility at the feet of those who deserved it. I went from porn performer to head of production at TROUBLEfilms and then immediately got fired for sticking to my ethical beliefs about consent and accountability, and frankly, I don't regret it at all. I really came into my own as a writer this year, and am ready to strike out on my own in writing my own book if I can't get a publisher to commit. I went from miserable GGG girlfriend to a narcissist who made me feel small and unworthy to feeling solidly that I deserve better, with a list of values and dealbreakers I won't ignore again.

It was a year of learning how to say "this is what *I* want", of dumping friends who insisted I do most of the work, of knowing my value as an employee and as a person. I thought maybe I didn't want to be a manic pixie anymore, but it's not true- I love being a manic pixie, bringing delight and playfulness and deep thoughts to those around me. I just don't want to be bogged down by depressed protagonists, drowning me in their inability to take care of themselves anymore.

I think that dying my hair is kind of a way to indicate to those around me that I change a lot, and that it's something I value about myself. I like that I am constantly learning and picking up new ideas, merging them with how I view the world. It's probably why I crave stability in my partners and friends, because evolution can make one feel like your feet are never firmly on the ground.

2015 was like an emotional growth spurt in a lot of ways. It hurt, a lot, it ripped me open and stitched me back together. But I feel like I learned a lot this year about sticking to my guns, trusting my gut, and that self care is vital. I am so proud of myself that I broke off a relationship where I felt my boundaries were seen as dismissible. I'm proud I ended relationships with friends who were toxic and made me feel badly about myself, and established better boundaries for friends I've been growing apart from without having to let them go. I learned a lot about picking my battles, and I learned a lot about seeing the love around me rather than begging for love from people who were incapable of giving it.

Mainly though, I learned that I deserve to be loved in all my manic pixie, tenderhearted, ethical splendor. Yes, I may enjoy sticker charts and colouring books and dressing up and being silly, but that doesn't mean I can be dismissed or treated like an unruly child. I deserve to be cherished for who I am, multicoloured hair, strong feels, and all.

2016? Your move.

Keep me in hair dye by subscribing to my Patreon!

banner patreon

Categories: breakups, communication, dating, don't tell me how to live, manic pixie dream domme, personal

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Start Your 2016 Off Right By Patronizing These Rad People

2015 has been one of the most bullshit years of my life in a lot of ways, but I suppose I'm grateful for the lessons it taught me about asking for help, trusting my gut, and walking away from people who don't give as much as they take.

It also taught me a lot about the importance of community support- I wouldn't be able to pay my rent if it wasn't for Patreon, and I'm grateful to my patrons for supporting me through a bad breakup, being fired, and a lot of emotional distress. Money may not buy happiness, but it can help buy security, and that's just as important.

I wanted to give my readers a roundup of people on Patreon who are doing amazing work and who could use a couple of dollars kicked their way - all of them, as far as I know, use Patreon  to raise funds for their day to day expenses, as the work they put in the world, though awesome, is undervalued by society.

Check them out, see if you like them, link to their work on your own social media, share the wealth. All of these people offer value to my life, and I'm sure they'll offer value to yours as well!

Learn about them out below: 

Myles Jackman - Supporting Myles and his work offering pro bono legal support to queer folks, kinky folks, and sex workers feels to me kind of like paying into insurance. Myles is known as the Obscenity Lawyer, and he does incredible work, often for free, defending us pervs from sex moralism. He's awesome and you should give him money. 

Unwoman
 - An accomplished musician with multiple amazing albums, Unwoman releases cover songs via her Patreon that range from the currently popular "Bad Blood" to the very old "Come Take a Trip On My Airship". Each song features her beautiful cello playing. I've made a porn music video to her cover of "Take Me To Church" because I loved it that much.

Doublecakes - Full disclosure, this is my girlfriend. She's a great writer, the editor for Harlot Magazine, and a killer pinball player. In 2016 I *believe* she's going to be doing ukulele and/or banjo covers of various songs, one a day, and using Patreon to distribute them. Having seen the song list she has planned (including "Giant Woman" from Steven Universe and "Still Alive" from Portal) it's going to be epic.

Cameryn Moore - Cameryn writes some of the best erotica I've ever read. She does custom pieces through her project "Sidewalk Smut" (I'm lucky enough to have one on my wall) but she also writes about her experiences as a phone sex operator, her opinions on some of the worst sex tips, and some beautiful stuff about relationships. I haven't been able to see her perform yet but I look forward to our paths crossing!

Mattie Brice - Mattie is also a writer, critiquing games, play, kink, gentrification, and just so, so much more, as well as being a unique game designer. Everything she's written has led me to think long and hard about how and why I do things, and I am a better person for engaging with her work. You should fund her writing because it's some of the best I've ever read.

Roaring Engines - This is brand new! Thorough and honest reviews of motorcycle equipment that doesn't assume you have lots of money, Roaring Engines is written by a motorcycle enthusiast, Connor, who rides every day. I am not a motorcyclist myself but I know a lot of folks who are, and I know that trying to work out what's worth plopping down serious cash on can be difficult.

Amy Dentata - With her newest game discussing abuse and PTSD, "Trigger", just coming out, Amy is showing her incredible eye for storytelling through the interactive medium of games. She also writes about GLBT issues, mental health, and futurism.

Postmodern Woman - Postmodern Woman is new to me, but I appreciate the ways they discuss various alternative relationship models, as well as their own personal experiences. With subjects like relationship anarchy and non-anarchists, how to manage metamour relationships with they don't get along, and nonmonogamous aromantics, there's a lot of info/insight here that is sorely missing.

Elle Armageddon - I've enjoyed Elle's snarky and right on writing about surveillance, engaging with social media, privacy and more... but I'm particularly in it for her flow charts. Addressing issues like "Should I explain the thing to the lady" and "Is it a compliment or street harassment", Elle has the answers in a way that's fun and honest. Oh yeah, she also provides medical and legal support for protesters!

Toni Rocca - Toni runs GaymerX, one of my all time fave conventions for gaming of all kinds. She's got a patreon to help her fund making her own games and zines in her free time. Toni is brilliant and wants to be able to make it feasible to offer the games she makes/collaborates on with others available for free- you can bet they're going to be awesome, if Read Only Memories is any indication.

Categories: activism, capitalism, causes, community, fake it til you make it, help, holidays, support

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Childishness vs Childlike Playfulness

lastyearOn our last date, we were camping. I watched a father and his little girl cycling on the path around the campground. There was a slight hill, so as they came by our camp, the dad would encourage her, saying "pedal, pedal, pedal! There you go! You've got it!" It made me smile.

I turned to N and said jokingly "you know, if we ever go cycling together, I might need that level of encouragement as I get back into it..."

He looked at me with such disgust in his eyes.

"I'm not into that daddy stuff."

It was like I had asked him to shit in my mouth.

I was taken aback, because we had talked a lot about how I wasn't into ageplay, after a particularly traumatic couple of experiences with AB/DL exes. Sure, I happen to enjoy a lot of things that are dismissed as childish, like Saturday morning cartoons, cute flannel sheets, sticker charts, dressing up, Christmas, and colouring books. But I've come to a place where play is a part of my life and my self care. Personally, I don't have a little side, I'm not looking for a daddy to keep me in line, I just want to have simple, carefree fun sometimes. Life is fucking hard.

Ultimately though I realized this wasn't even about that stuff. His reaction wasn't ultimately about ageplay, or me being too childish. It's the fact that as a society we tend to emphasize total emotional independence. We're not supposed to ask for help, or reassurance, or acknowledgement. We live in fear of being too needy, afraid of being the person of more interest, worried about any vulnerability. Femmes, especially, are encouraged to be "chill" and "one of the guys", rather than asking for our needs to be acknowledged, never mind actually met. This often feels times a thousandfold when you're nonmonogamous, hence my near constant ranting about the bullshit that is poly libertarianism.

Here's the thing I've been noticing though. While yes, I did often ask for small levels of reassurance on a semi-regular basis, I also did it the adult way- clearly asking for what I needed, acknowledging when I wasn't entirely sure, and doing the emotional labour of figuring out how best my needs could be met, in bullet points we called "action items". I am not a chill person, so I figured that self-management and clarity were important life skills.

It wasn't that N didn't have any need for reassurance, though, on reflection. He just never directly asked for it. Instead, he would construct predicaments where I would have to navigate his spoken feelings, his unspoken feelings, and my feelings, like a really fucked up psychological Crystal Maze. He'd say little wistful asides about other partners, other sexual escapades, keeping me striving to be appealing and desirable and worth his time (which, of course, was often treated as far more precious than my own). In less charitable moments, I wondered bitterly if N just enjoyed having a bunch of women subtly fighting for his attention, while he stood passively in the center of it looking bewildered for plausible deniability.

And that's part of why I was so hurt when he recoiled at my request for his cheerleading during some future bicycling session.  Because in my mind, emotionally freaking out while being unable to communicate why or what would help is far more childish, and yet I was the one being shamed for my immaturity.

Months before, he had asked me what would be "fun" for us to do for a date. I laughed a bit bitterly, because I didn't really know what fun was anymore. I had learned that taking N to events would often end with him not engaging with anyone and me having to apologize for it, so that felt like work. I had learned going on trips together was fun while we weren't sober, but that after 24 hours he would range from being dismissive and cranky to just straight up mean. I learned that I would often be left on my own if we hung out with his friends, and that unless hanging out with my friends involved him being free to fuck other people, that felt like a chore too. So we'd stay in, because anything else felt like even more emotional labour. And work was fun, right? Financial security was fun.

Now I'm beginning to actually have fun again. I'm finding myself excited to dress up, to play games, to go out. I'm seeing friends more often. My libido is slowly coming back, along with my confidence. I'm surrounded by people who don't make me feel bad for enjoying the things I enjoy, no matter how silly. And being able to embrace that childlike sense of wonder and play close is making the adulting easier.

I didn't need a daddy. But goddamn it, I wanted a fucking sticker chart to acknowledge my effort.

Categories: ageplay, anxiety, communication, dating, definitions, love is a dog from hell, male privilege, nonmonogamy, oh ffs, personal

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Love Doesn't Have to be Chill

frozen_heart_by_ghonerI was reading an article called "I’m Madly in Love with You, But Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Big Deal", and it made me feel some Feels.

"We’re told “love” is a very important, very valuable word that should be used with extreme caution and frugality. If we felt this feeling for just anybody it wouldn’t be so special, right?" says the author Sara. And I get where she's going with this- that love isn't something restricted to just a soulmate, or even a romantic partner. I'm with her there, love is a multitude of things and comes in lots of different guises and that doesn't mean one is better or more important than another.

"So, the idea of love scarcity prevails. We are tricked into thinking the word “love” will lose it’s value and meaning if it’s shared too many times with too many people," the article continues. And I just had to stop.

In my experience, belief in love scarcity is not the reason I'm skittish about saying "I love you" to people. It's because love tends to suggest an intensity of feeling that can make the other person feel awkward if it's not reciprocated. It scares people off, because they may have had bad experiences with the term being used not in good faith. Also, it can create tension if feelings of love makes one person feel they may want to renegotiate relationship needs/expectations, not because those things are automatic, but because loving someone is tender and a tender heart often needs a little more care.

I feel like there was a lot of pressure in my last relationship to say my love for my then-lover came without any expectations or needs or desires. It was "just a feeling" and I was perfectly happy feeling it on my own. The problem was that even when we talked about relationship needs/desires, my ex seemingly expected me not to have ANY, ever. Because I fell in love without any needs, why would I have any now? He often implied that expressing that a deepening of intimacy made me feel there was different accountability we should discuss could put our relationship in jeopardy. I felt that the only way it was acceptable to love him was if it "wasn't a big deal".

But it was. My heart is vulnerable and to insist that I should fall in love and it shouldn't be a big deal is setting people, including myself, up for failure. It's ok for love, or other forms of intimacy/vulnerability, to be a big deal. Love may be infinite but energy is not, especially if you're dealing with being differently abled in some capacity. And time is definitely finite. You don't have to be chill about it, folks, ok?

I have a serious issue with the various pieces I've seen that seem to suggest the best way to be nonmonogamous is to be some sort of poly libertarian, taking care of yourself and not worrying about the people around you. Sure, idealistically, everyone would have the same resources and not have any trauma and that would totally work. But we live in the real world, and these sorts of expectations are so often not only unreasonable, but can be used to justify emotional abuse, abandonment, and downright cruelty. My ex definitely enacted some of these traits and it was a sign of his narcissism, not of healthy nonmonogamy. Articles like "It's Not A Big Deal" added to why I thought I was doing poly wrong, or badly, because I wanted my partner to reassure me and give me some form of stability.

Fuck that. It is not a weakness to care about other people. It is not a bad thing to need others. We are social creatures, and the more we try to push that away, the more toxic I see these environments become.

So please, good god, can we just stop with the cynical "I'm too cool for love or feelings or empathy" bullshit? It's really fucking things up.

Categories: abuse, advice, anxiety, assumptions, best of, communication, community, dating, love, nonmonogamy, poly ptsd

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Christmas Music for People Who Hate Christmas

Full disclosure- I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love all the sparkly ornaments and the fun of shopping for the perfect present for the people I care about. I love the saccharine songs and drinking hot toddies while walking around looking at holiday light displays. The whole thing. I'm not religious, but there's something magical for me about the holidays, even with all the stress. I want to cultivate that sense of magic and generosity year round.

BUT.

A lot of my friends HATE Christmas.  Many of them in particular hate Christmas music, often because they've worked retail and heard the same 10 songs over and over so it's like a reverse Pavlov thing, they start to hyperventilate when they hear Nat King Cole. I totally understand.

These songs are for you, friends.

Some of them hate Christmas itself, others hate the romantic hogwash that seems to be linked all too often with the holidays. Enjoy!

1. Fuck Christmas - FEAR
"Don't despair/Just because it's Christmas"

2. Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern) - Miles Davis
"Merry Christmas/I hope yours is a bright one, but for me, it bleeds"

3. This Christmas, I'll burn it to the ground - Set It Off
"Oh my God, it's here, this awful time of year"

4. Hating you For Christmas - Everclear
"I just want to sit in our apartment and hate you/Yes, I will be hating you for Christmas"

5. I Hate You This Christmas - Kate Nash
"All the Christmas lights and the mistletoe/Are only making me feel more alone"

6. Zombie Christmas - Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler
"They don't feel the cold when it's 50 below/You see them sucking brains out in the snow"

7. A Christmas Duel - The Hives vs Cyndi Lauper
"I set your record collection on fire/And said I never knew"

8. Christmas Tree's on Fire - Holly Golightly
"The thing it ain't been watered since I put it in the stand/and I used the fire alarm battery for the flashlight in my van"

9. Xmas Has Been X'ed - NOFX
"St. Nick is dead but we don't grieve/We celebrate the last Christmas Eve"

10. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy
"All I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me/before you bury yourself alive"

11. Ex-Miss - New Found Glory
"Another year, this time I'll regret/That I spent too much time and money on you"

12. Christmas Night of Zombies - MxPx
"Christmas night of the living dead/My face is green and the snow is red"

13. Christmas With the Devil - Spinal Tap
"The sugar plums are rancid/And the stockings are in flames"

Categories: holidays, mixtape, music