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What I Learned About Fat Dating Trauma Through Piggy and Kermit

Piggy and Kermit were a huge part of my childhood. From "Muppet Babies" to the Muppet Show, they were one of televisions big couples that I recall from the 80s alongside Westley and Buttercup, Lloyed Dobler and Diane Court, Jennifer Parker and Marty McFly, Samantha Baker and Jake Ryan. They way they struggled, bantered, and ultimately came back to each other over and over felt reassuring as a child, like I would one day meet a love of my life that nothing could break apart.

As an adult, though, I have a different framing of the examples of romance I was brought up with. It’s hard to think of many 80s power couples that didn’t end up being abusive in some way, now that I think about it, and the Kermit/Piggy dynamic is no exception. While I initially felt surprised by the announcement of their breakup, on a personal level it makes complete sense. I know this sounds like a lot of attention being paid to a fictional couple’s breakup (which is kind of obviously for marketing), but bear with me for a minute.

When I was growing up I saw Piggy dating Kermit as a validation that fat femmes could be loved, were worth being in a relationship with, even. Sure, he was commitmentphobic, but I figured that was true of many men and not particularly notable.

Until I began to really watch their dynamic, and hear how they spoke to each other. And I began to realize how close to the bone it all was. How Piggy was always chasing him, begging him for acknowledgement or stability, how he kept her at arm's length. How we would discover in bits and pieces that they had a relationship, but on camera, Kermit would say things like, "Miss Piggy and I have a professional acting relationship. I act like a professional, and she acts like we're having a relationship." He was constantly joking about how he couldn't trust her, invalidating their relationship in public while being sweet in private, and even when he did say they were dating, he would typically snarkily compare it to abusive behaviour.

We, the audience, are taught to see Piggy as demanding, clingy, and hysterical, but I realized that I have acted just like her when I've been in a relationship with someone who has thin privilege.

Her projected narcissism makes a lot of sense to me, for a start, as it's a defense I put up too. When you're a fat femme with a thin person, society constantly tells you that you don't deserve them. You deal with your lover getting pitying looks in restaurants, people flirting with your partner like you don't exist, advice in grocery stores about losing weight when the two of you are just shopping for dinner. I have literally had people ask me how someone like me ended up with someone like him, or her- a question I have never gotten when I've dated fellow fatties. It got to a point where I lost any attraction to fit people for a while, because however I felt about them, it wasn't worth the constant harassment and judgment. I understood why Piggy would talk herself up so much, because I did it too as a rebellion against the idea that I wasn't sexy and wasn't deserving of adoration.

Or there was the way they would escalate. I was watching this clip where Piggy says that she's feeling uncomfortable going to the swamp with Kermit (I mean to be fair, he's often naked, and she's high femme). He initially says it's ok, they don't have to go to the swamp, where his roots are, and then starts yelling at her about going to her roots... the sty. "Remember that?" he says pointedly, while Piggy looks more and more embarrassed and upset. The skit ends, as many of them do, with Piggy hitting Kermit- also not really a healthy dynamic. It speaks to me as someone who has had partners lambast me for my history as a sex worker or being dirt poor when they want to manipulate me into giving them their way.

The thing that really hit my heart though was how often Kermit would say that he didn't want Piggy at all or make fun of her weight. "Bib and napkin, knife and fork is the only way that I'll touch pork!" he sings in Pig Calypso. Or there's his Bruce Springsteen cover, which plays off of a "oh, Miss Piggy is SO FAT" joke. There's "I Won't Dance", which is a skit about Piggy wanting them to dance together (a show of intimacy and presence in the relationship) and Kermit refuses. But if Piggy dances with someone else, he's jealous (and frankly I think the fact that he's ultimately Piggy's boss creates a super shitty power dynamic). And he's heartbroken, apparently, when Piggy leaves him in The Muppet Movie, singing "I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along". So why can't he be loving to her in public? Why does he joke so much about their relationship, putting her down? It was very familiar, as someone who has been a secret lover for people (mostly men) who wanted to fuck me in private but didn't want to admit to it in public. No one wanted to bring the fat girl to meet their family or their friends, because while being fat gets a lot of bullying, so does desiring or loving someone fat. It took me a long time to realize I deserved a partner who was proud of me, and wanted to be by my side.

Kermit's emotional abuse and Piggy's physical abuse might seem funny if you don't look below the surface, and yes, I know I over analyze everything and I'm no fun and I get it. But media, even (if not especially) comic media teaches us things about dynamics. It teaches us about what sort of humour is ok and what isn't, who can be made fun of without penalty.  Piggy and Kermit's dynamic is one where the fat femme is constantly chasing a man who puts her down, uses his power as her boss to manipulate her, refuses to acknowledge her as a lover, and makes fun of her weight. She shouldn't settle for his asshole behaviour, and neither should I, or anyone.

In the end, Piggy left Kermit. This is important.  I know it seems silly but children do pick up on messages about what sort of treatment is romantic or ok. This didn't end up being a case of "he's not that into you", but of Piggy finally putting her hoof down and saying enough to being yanked around. Even when Kermit talked about the breakup, he couldn't resist jabbing at her one more time- "we can be professionals. Well, one of us can.... me", he says, while proving the exact opposite.

Apparently he's dating another pig, Denise.

Let's hope he actually acknowledges her in public.

"Well Kermit WAS always trying to manipulate Miss Piggy with his meekness and use his thin privilege to stay emotionally distant.. so not surprised," said fat activist and #losehatenotweight goddess Virgie Tovar on a comment on her Facebook, and at the end of the day, I'm not surprised either. If anything I think this is a positive step for fat femmes, to realize we can do better than partners like that, that we have value and deserve to have that value honoured, not torn apart for some cheap laughs.

Categories: #losehatenotweight, abuse, fat is fit, femme, love is a dog from hell, reflection

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Beauty in the Bruising

Content warning: frank discussion of abuse, discussion of kink as a healing response to abuse

There was a time when I would count my bruises to figure out how bad things were going in my relationship. Under 3 meant they were going reasonably well. Over 5 meant that we should try to avoid going to social events together, because I hated to argue in front of people. None meant that I should lay low and be extra careful with my words, just in case I might awaken the beast. He was like Jekyll and Hyde, all sweetness and snuggles one minute and depression and rage the next. The bruising was, I told myself, the price of admission. Bruises would heal. He just needed a place of his own, I would tell myself, he just needed therapy, a job, a job he liked, more lovers, more friends, more more more. If I gave enough, we could get through it.

We didn't.

It took a long time until I could look at a bruise caused by another person and feel anything other than shame. I had to rethink my relationship to them, to realize they did not have to mean violence or ownership, that violence could leave no marks and that marks could come from play. Learning how to be in a healthy relationship feels like when I tried to learn how to ski and ended up on my ass, going downhill fast, one ski having fallen off and announcing my plummet by ricocheting off other people. Picking myself up, shaking myself off, and trying again has been scary when the price of failure has been so great. But growth can be painful, and scary, and it's still worth doing.

Slowly I stopped trying to cover up my various hickies or the black and blue left from fingertips during a particularly rough fuck. I began to not count my bruises, but to lovingly stroke them, smiling to myself as I remembered how each one was made. I have one right now on my neck that was a lover's orgasm, one on my thigh from being pulled down the bed for easier access during a fingerfuck that left me drenched. My breasts are now often covered with purple teeth marks and I couldn't be happier about it.

Of course, now that they come from hot sex, and I'm not ashamed of them, now is when I'm asked if I'm ok, no, really, am I ok at home.  I'm glad that they ask that. I wish they had asked when I was in an abusive relationship, when a stranger expressing concern might've caused me to re-examine the situation I was in. Now I don't wear long sleeves or too much concealer. I ask for these marks, now, because they aren't there to scare people off from asking me out or as indications of fights gone physical. Now they're physical reminders of consent. of asking for what I want and getting it. I can watch them heal and know if I never wanted another bruise, that would be ok, too.

Healing from abuse can be so, so hard. I have to remind myself that my partners are not my exes. I startle easily, still, when someone moves too quickly or touches me without me expecting it. It will likely take years to unlearn that survival strategy- it did serve me well for some time. But as I watch old bruises heal and new ones form, bruises that now symbolize lust and desire and coming into my body instead of disassociating with me, I feel confident that I'll get there. My past with an abuser will not take my kinks or my body from me.

Categories: abuse, anxiety, best of, body stuff, boundaries, boys, communication, compare/contrast, consent, dating, growth, love is a dog from hell, musing, personal, reflection, sex

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Shorn

Every time I've had my head shaved, even a little bit, I can't stop touching it. There's something about the softness, yet the little bit of prickle under the hands that I find incredibly sensual. When someone is buzzing my hair, I get shivers up and down my spine- from the sound, the gentle way the person doing the cut moves my head around, the feeling of the vibration, the tickle of hair as it falls on my shoulders, breasts, and back.

I've eroticized head shaving for a long time. When Deb shaves her head in Empire Records while the Cranberries sing "Free", I felt an excitement I didn't really understand. It's framed, often, as an act of destruction, shaving hair off. It's seen as a reduction of self, as a dehumanizing thing, and for women in particular, it's seen as humiliation or as self harm.

But I saw Deb cutting her hair off and lightening her load with each snip, like she was shedding layers of who she was and becoming someone new. She looked hot as hell with a shaved head, too, something I would feel over and over as I watched head shaving scenes in "V For Vendetta", "Game of Thrones", "GI Jane". And there were (and are!) lots of hot femmes with shaved heads on various red carpets to give me flutterings in my stomach. I mean I'll admit I kinda got into the scene in Fury Road where Max is tied up and having his hair cut short (though the clippers don't come out...)

Even though I get such pleasure from it, I have never completely shaved my head. I'm afraid of how I'd look, I guess- I worry my head might be an odd shape, or that being a fat femme with a completely shaved head would look really strange. I guess there's a part of me that still clings, even a little, to the need to be "pretty" as a fat femme in some way the mainstream can recognize. My undercut was a way of fighting against that, but I mean, even straight guys have undercuts now, so.

I've never been able to shave someone else's whole head, either. Until Tuesday.

Tuesday I got to sit my lover down, outside, and cut off chunks of his hair with abandon before buzzing it short. He needed it cut anyway for a movie he's a part of, and I had asked for the chance to do it when he told me months back. I have never known him to have hair this short- in fact, I don't know that he ever has. I wondered how he would look when it was done, if I would like it, if he would like it.

Seeing the locks I gripped when we made out or ran my fingers through while we watched a movie drift to the concrete as I snipped was a little scary to me in its eroticism. Transforming him under my hands gave me a rush of intimacy and power I didn't fully anticipate. We had originally discussed plans to use footage of the shaving for some eventual porn, perhaps an initiation, perhaps a kidnapping, perhaps a medical experiment. In the end, we just filmed it separately. It wasn't rough, but our faces were stoic as I worked, both of us in silence.

Inside I was giddy. Every stroke with the clippers created tidiness. Feeling the soft-prickliness of his shorn head was hot as hell. I didn't get a lot of time to drool over the experience because we had plans that night, but watching the footage made me bite my finger. And god, with a shaved head he looks so amazing all femmed up- somehow I feel like he's more femme with a shaved head than before? Maybe that's just my projection of what I find sexy.

I don't have a lot of firsts left to do, but this was a special one.  The trust that was exchanged, allowing me to do such a drastic modification
(even if he was going to have it done regardless), was a rush, and I can't wait to rub his fuzzy head!

Categories: body stuff, boys, intimacy, love, personal

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If I Wasn't a Sex Worker (and other Alt Universes)

I was asked by one of my friends, Creatrix Tiara, what I would be doing in an alternative universe. Alternative universes always fascinated me, the idea that one step in a different direction could have changed your life in so many subtle and major ways. I thought I'd write about a few ways in which my life would've been very different if I had just gone in a different direction.

Reflecting on my life, I realize that the famous Anais Nin quote, "and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom," is incredibly true for me. My independent life after 18 has been almost entirely sculpted by moments where I was confronted with a choice- stick with what I knew, or go on a wild adventure. And even though it was scary, and unknown, and I had no reason to believe it would be better or even safe, I would take the plunge, over and over again, because to not dare was more soulsucking than to try and fail.

Content warning: some of these projections involve mental health issues, suicide, violence, and other trauma.

***

If I hadn't been hospitalized
One of the biggest things I think about is what my life would've been like if I hadn't been hospitalized as a teenager. It's hard to say, honestly- I was an impulsive teen and felt a driving desire to self destruct, so I might've ended up doing myself lasting harm had I not ended up in care. Or I might've ended up staying in high school, trying to focus on my studies, doing reasonably well (though I think I would have continued to be told that I would be brilliant if I applied myself), and probably gotten more into art classes. There was a girl I had a huge crush on in my art class. I probably would've pined over her for a while. I don't know if I would've started the school's gay straight alliance, though, I probably would've kept my head down a bit more. Likely I would've gone to college to study something that would excite me but would also never get me a job, I would've gotten into debt, and I'd be working some office gig to make ends meet.

If I stayed in Massachusetts
I honestly think that if I had stayed in MA I would've fallen apart. I had a couple of amazing supportive friends, but I lived far away from them, was barely scraping by financially, and felt incredibly isolated. If I hadn't had someone from the internet send me money for a plane ticket out, I might've bought a gun. It was pretty bad. I mean that's worst case scenario stuff, granted- maybe I'd have done some volunteering, maybe I'd have spent more time in the Pit (hell I might've ended up running into N way back then, which still kinda blows my mind), maybe I'd have become a writer. But I doubt it. I was so closed up and anxious and sad. I feel pretty sure that I would've wrapped up into myself until there was nothing left. I also suspect my relationship with my parents would've been irreparably broken. 

If I hadn't become a sex worker
If I had not decided to answer that ad to become a prodomme, I would've likely continued to work at Hot Topic. Maybe I'd have become management. Maybe I'd have ended up moving through the ranks. I still wouldn't have made enough to afford my own place, or, in all likelihood, even a room in a place, so I would've stayed living with my grandmother, up in the hills, without a car. I suspect I would've continued to feel awkward in my body, allowing myself to be cajoled into sex I didn't want to have with men I didn't like, because I felt at that time like sex was what I had to offer as a person. It was the only intimacy I felt comfortable with. There are a lot of things that sex work impacted in my life that was not great, but when it comes to understanding boundaries and the value of my labour, sex work saved me.

If I didn't move to London
I was asked if I wanted to move to London by a man I had been dating for a month. I had a nice place in Oakland to live with friends I really liked,  a social group I was beginning to really fit into, a car... I was doing ok. But a trip to London, one of my dream places, was something I couldn't pass up- how often does one get the chance to move to another country? If I hadn't taken him up on it, I'm sure I would've settled into a regular job, continued to go to Burning Man campouts, and maybe ended up on the board at Mission Control. I would've likely continued with my livejournal rather than having this blog. Maybe I'd have met more folks in the sex positive community and become a sex educator. I doubt I would've ended up escorting if I had stayed in the States, and perhaps that, alone, would've made it easier for me to find jobs outside of sex work. That said, I also might've gotten into porn faster!

If I hadn't left my abusive relationship
At this time, I would've been married to a man who once tried to throw me down a flight of stairs when I said that I was upset with him fucking a couple at a sex party without checking in. I made a lot of excuses for him back then, and I expect I would've continued to- that he just needed to get into therapy, that he needed a better job, that my boundaries were too strict and I needed to let him do whatever (and whomever) he wanted and then maybe he wouldn't be so mad at me. My libido, which was slowly dying in that relationship, would have probably faltered entirely. I would have continued to do escorting because that would've felt like the one place where I could have sex without him breathing down my neck- but who knows? Maybe he would've limited me from doing that too. I don't know if he would've moved here, or if I would've moved there, but I think our toxic relationship would've poisoned me. As much as it saddened me to say goodbye to my hope to live in London again, I think that relationship would've destroyed me. It's already taken a lot of work to recover, and that was only after a couple years.

God, that all sounds sort of dire, huh? I mean maybe things would've all been for the better, but even now, looking back, I think I made the best decisions for me that I could've. And the life I have now has made all of it worthwhile- all the stress, all the loneliness, all the pain. The person I am now makes me happy to be in this universe. At least most of the time!

 

Categories: ah youth, best of, boundaries, breakups, community, compare/contrast, depression, london, personal, reflection

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Idle Dreams of Cocksucking

I said something in bed to my lover yesterday that kind of took me aback later. I had my fingers in his mouth and was delighting in how soft and gentle he was, fucking my cunt beautifully while I fucked his mouth with my hand, when I blurted out "god, I wish I had a cock so I could know how you give a blow job". It was in the context of having some mid-coitus dirty talk about sex we wanted to have, and I just suddenly really, really wished I could experience this sensation that I just never could.

I'm pretty high femme and have never really questioned my gender. While I have an assortment of cocks, none of them feel on some level like MY cock. I use the right dick for the job, typically, rather than gravitating to one that feels most like mine. I enjoy strap on fucking and watching someone use their mouth on my dildo, but it still feels very much like a dildo to me.  Which is fun, and I enjoy it, but I don't get off on strapping it on- my anatomy isn't really ideal for it.

I enjoy sucking his cock, more than most. I've had some awful experiences with blow jobs, and cis men who grabbed my head and forced me to choke on their dick til I teared up, or who pressured me into giving them head when I just wanted to sleep. But with this lover, it feels like a way to treat him, to let him lie back while I pleasure him. Frankly even when I'm giving him a blow job he's quite active, so I'm getting fingered and squirting and all sorts of deliciousness.

Feeling the velvety wetness of his mouth around my fingers, though, and knowing how much I enjoyed having his tongue on my clit... I just felt this sudden overwhelming desire to know how his penis-owning lovers feel. My clit is pretty small and hard to stimulate with a mouth alone, so sucking on it in a similar fashion is difficult to achieve. I want to be able to rub our dicks together and really FEEL it, not just get a mental rush. All I have is my imagination.

But I feel bad, admitting that it crosses my mind. When I was poking around to see what other women said about this feeling, it was about "having a dick for a day" in a way that feels kind of... dismissive or touristy of trans experiences. It's not about masculinity, either, which a lot of women jumped to- I'm quite happy being femme and I don't think having a penis would change that. It's more this... wistfulness, I guess, to know how it feels to orgasm into someone's mouth, to feel my foreskin (because of course I'd be uncut) played with, to rub my cock over a willing tongue.

I feel shy even writing about this. It feels so frivolous to even think about this when transphobia is so deadly and constant and real. I guess really I'm just curious- do any of my readers have similar experiences? Do you interact with those feelings, and if so, how?

Categories: body stuff, boys, femme, gender, genitalia, queer, sex

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Friendzoning Ordinances

I have some pretty cute and sexy friends with benefits. The benefits are varied- some of them can cook, others really enjoy going to cheesy kids movies, others will record stories for me to listen to when I fall asleep. And yeah, sure, some of them I have sex with, but I've been learning that as benefits go, that is, for me, one of the least important.

See, I am a big fan of the friendzone. I have a large circle of acquaintances- my friendzone is probably the most permissive zone, and the widest net. It's filled with people from "folks I get together with regularly for activities" to "folks with whom I share my most personal self, and who share that with me". Maybe it's a holdover from my Livejournal days, but I like having different friend groups with different levels of disclosure, so I can have different discussions and gain insight from a range of perceptions.

Living in the Bay, I have sometimes felt weird about my choice to have a very solid friendzoning policy. It seems like the cultural norm is to say, "well if I get along somewhat with them and there's any spark at all, why not fuck instead of platonically hanging out?" When I first moved here, I felt much the same. Especially as a fat woman, I was quickly made aware that if I wanted to have any social or sexual capital, the best way to gain it was through sluttery. I hadn't had a lot of experience being desired in any way, so I wholeheartedly threw myself into what I believed to be sex positivity- I went to loads of play parties, experimented with various roles, and slept with anyone who didn't turn me off. I had a lot of dates (I looked back at my LJ and saw some weeks I had a date for every day!), and for a time, that felt like closeness, and friendship, and community.

Eventually, though, I realized I was limiting myself when the only intimacy I trusted these friends with was sexual. And, worse, I felt lonely all the time. I didn't feel like I had anyone I could call when I was having headweasels, because to talk to these casual lovers about unsexy things might ruin the seduction. Unless a party I was going to involved sex, the likelihood that I wouldn't see these new "friends" was pretty high- and because of that I didn't always feel like I was valued outside of being an available potential sexual partner. Or, sometimes, a logistical manager, someone with useful resources who would do it for free because I was naive and thought our friendship went both ways. I began to have a sinking feeling that the people I was calling my friends did not feel the same about me when they never reached out. "They're just busy" started to ring false when years went by without them even initiating a Facebook poke.

It was incredibly rough, for a while. I withdrew from the various communities I was a part of. I lost myself in relationships instead. I went to parties but found myself dissatisfied with the small talk and the lies of "we should hang out sometime". I felt lost.

I moved to London, and felt isolated for about 6 months. I didn't know how to make friends if I wasn't fucking them, but I also knew that I didn't want to keep trying to forge friendships using a method that had left me so disappointed. Trying to figure out what to do, I gravitated, again, to the kink and sex party communities. But this time, the people I bonded with shared other interests- queer studies, feminism, performance, sex work politics, really weird porn, pop culture, the history of medicine. And the people who became my friends, who I still consider some of my deepest friends now, were just that- friends. People I could count on. With a couple of them, we'd try making out, just to see. Often we'd end up laughing and saying "nope, definitely not"  and continuing to be friends. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had a community... and they were all happily in the friendzone.

It was WEIRD. For a while. But when I moved back to California, I knew I wanted my friendships to be different. I had tasted the joy of being around people who really SAW me as a complete and flawed person, not some sort of sexy persona or potential conquest. Strangely, in the stiff upper lip culture of the Brits, I had learned how to embrace my tender, vulnerable self. I knew, then, that I needed to totally change my approach.

"You make time for what you care about", an ex said to me a long while back. I repeat that to myself now, when looking at my schedule, or making plans with lovers.  I now make sure to balance time spent with sexual partners with time spent with friends. I've made quality time with people I'm not fucking more of a priority, having tea or putting together craft days or playing minigolf. If I feel like going to a sex party will be a chore, I no longer feel pushed to go because it's the only time I'll see my "friends". I no longer invest significant energy in the projects of people who never step up for my work. I've learned, as Maya Angelou would say, to "never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option".

I have learned to be grateful for my friendzone. While I enjoy my friends with benefits, too, valuing the friendship over the sex has been incredibly healing for me. Sometimes it still feels like a rarity in the Bay, to have people close to you that you get along with and think are attractive and don't have sex with regardless- but while my bed may be empty most of the week, my heart is fuller than it's ever been.

Categories: best of, boundaries, community, intimacy, parties, personal

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Review: The Uncut #1 Dildo from Tantus

Living in the UK for years, I gained an appreciation for uncircumcised penises, eventually preferring them for multiple reasons over circumcised ones. But almost every dildo that's penis shaped is cut, something that I grew to reluctantly accept even if it wasn't exactly my taste.

As soon as I saw the photos of the Uncut dildos Tantus was making, I was obsessed.

There are two designs currently, the #1, which is almost 7 1/2" of insertable length, but a reasonable thickness at 1 3/4" diameter, and the #2, which is almost an inch shorter at just under 6 1/2" and just a teensy bit more slender at 1.6" around.

Here I review the #1, because as a fat woman the extra inch is particularly useful for strap on play and I had a date with a new sexy friend who wanted to give it a go!

First, mine is named Big Tom. I can't explain the Tom part, but it is definitely big. Not in terms of width (and if anything I hope Tantus makes a wider version of this length!) but it's definitely a dick that will hang out the bottom of your short shorts. I found it to be a little slim for my cunt, but am imagining that in my slow working up to anal play, this may well be my perfect toy for it when the time comes!

The Uncuts are dual density, which means they have a solid core but a slightly softer outside. This was a godsend for me, as I found the head of the cock to actually feel nice against my cervix as opposed to trying to batter a hole into it. It also made it really really fun to have in my mouth! The base felt good and was sturdy enough for some solid fucking without either slipping out or bruising my pelvis.

They're silicone, so sterilizable, which is great of course. And the Uncut plays nicely with water based lubes- if you wash it decently afterwards you could also likely use a water/silicone mix without too much trouble. It's available in 3 colours- cream, cocoa, and mocha.

I really enjoyed my Uncut #1 and can't wait for more in this series! Thank you Tantus for sending me this dream dick in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Categories: dildo, review, sex, strap ons, Tantus, toys

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Anxiety Manifest: My Skin Picking Problem

So anyone who's followed my blog for any length of time knows that I have an anxiety disorder. This has manifested in a few different ways in my life- I've come out about my jealousy issues, my ongoing eating disorder struggles and other difficulties with food, my fight against hoarding. I plan to write more extensively about my experiences with medication, having been medicated for depression most of my life and really only in the last 3 years realizing that my diagnosis was likely off. I like to be open about what I've discovered along the way in the hopes it helps others.

But there's one thing I've felt really uncomfortable sharing about, as a sometime professional pretty person-

I am a really, really chronic skin picker.

I've always been a cuticle biter, to the point where I have had infections and other major problems. In fact even while writing this I've had to stop myself multiple times from worrying at any little bits of dry skin. It's unconscious, but it's constant. It's why I keep my nails painted most of the time, because then at least I don't want to mess up my polish. No amount of gross tasting formulas have been able to stop me.

For most of my life I've been blessed with pretty clear skin, so my enjoyment of popping pimples and squeezing out blackheads happened on other people, usually tolerant partners who would let me groom them. I'm even one of those freaks who would watch those gross skin channels on Youtube for particularly bad blackheads. There was something soothing and satisfying about seeing the blockages cleared.

Now in my 30s I'm getting a lot more whiteheads and pimples, and it SUUUUUCKS. I have such a hard time leaving them alone! And as I don't actually know much about foundation or coverup, I end up slapping on a fair amount of makeup to hide the redness I leave behind with my anxious fussing, which then clogs my skin and makes more blemishes. I got a set of tools supposedly for helping clear up these things, but I don't know how to use them yet. So in the meantime I'm just using my nails and ending up with overly rosy cheeks and irritated skin.

I often feel as a fat woman that there's a lot of pressure to look on point whenever I leave the house. I rarely go out without my makeup done, and almost never in leggings and a shirt- not because I don't want to, but because I am deeply self conscious of looking like a "slob". Having any kind of facial blemish, then, makes me excessively anxious, because I associate acne with grease and grease with fatty foods and even though there's little logic to it, I begin to feel even more ashamed of my body and how other people perceive me. I pick at my skin obsessively, trying to get every little bump to flatten. I powder my skin like a French aristocrat to hide the redness. My quest to be a pretty fat person ends up being a lot of pressure to not let down the side. Which makes me more anxious. Which makes me pick more.

I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to manage my anxiety.  I don't want to peel my own skin off when I'm feeling stressed. A lot of anxiety meds have bad side effects though, things like brain zaps or losing my libido. It took me YEARS to get my libido even halfway recovered from years of SSRIs, and I'll be damned if I give it up now! So for now, I just try to breathe through it, eat decently well, and be mindful of what I'm doing. It's really difficult, though, and frankly I still feel a lot of anxiety being seen in a no-makeup selfie on the Internet. Do be kind, please!

I'm hoping that coming out about this issue I can not only help others feel less alone but be held accountable to being kind to my skin so I can break this harmful habit before I end up scarring myself! Do you have trouble with skin picking or nail biting? How do you manage it?

Categories: anxiety, body stuff, fake it til you make it, fat is fit, femme, makeup, personal

0

Primaries and Priorities

With this post, I am founding a new category- it's the poly PTSD category, yessir! Because I have a lot of trigger points around poly and it seems like when I talk about it on social media, many people I know seem to nod their heads wildly in agreement.

Terminology is important to a good number of people. I've seen all the posts declaring that we should all move beyond labels, but I find that to be bullshit- labels are useful in many ways, labels give us some idea of what's going on,  labels are shorthand communication. I am pro-labels. I don't think they should be used instead of clear negotiation, but they're a decent starting place.

I have found labels to be a sticking point in relationships I'm in, in the past. Labels I've been deemed inappropriate for include  "family friendly", "long term relationship material", "pretty", "girlfriend", and "primary". I've thought for a long time about how I could push past the desire to be labeled these things, because whatever, it's not the labels that matter, it's the behaviour, right? I've made myself pretty sad by trying to force myself into apathy and telling myself that I don't mind that I'm always the girlfriend experience, rarely the girlfriend.

I've been a lot of people's secret.  And I used to pretend I was ok with it, but I'm not. It's some deep seated emotional shit and it's eating away at me.

It hurts to see friends with their lovers, being introduced to new folks as a partner. I'm mostly referred to by name. I see them in photos together while they're out and about and I'm envious. My lovers don't tend to ask for selfies with me. I've had people tell me they didn't know one of my partners was, in fact, my partner, and it's been a full year. I'm usually not introduced to family or friends, or if it does happen it's incidental, not something they're excited to manifest, just something that might happen if it comes up. I try not to mind, I know I'm more demonstrative and public than other people... but it makes me feel invisible.

When people call you a unicorn, it shouldn't mean that you don't exist.

And when your lovers don't refer to you as their girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever, people assume that you don't have "that" kind of relationship. Because yes, yes it's a label, but it's a label that means something to most people. Maybe you've managed your non-hierarchical poly feels but the rest of the world puts "girlfriend" over "casual sex partner" and when you don't differentiate I'm left trying to decide if I'm going to speak up for myself so I get seen, or if I should just spend the night struggling with feeling like a fling.

Usually discussions about non-hierarchical poly are about protecting partners that might otherwise be called "secondaries". For me, non-hierarchical poly has so often been used as a way to shy away from offering me any stability or anything special that is just between me and my partner. And my desire for that feels like a failure, because if I was good at poly, I would feel compersion when I see another lover's panties on the floor, right?

Spoiler alert: most of the time, I don't. I just feel hurt that I didn't even warrant cleaning up between sexcapades.

I remember the boyfriend who never introduced me to his friends or family, because he was ashamed of me. He barely even hid it. I loved him, so I forgave him, and even hated myself for not being the kind of woman he wanted to introduce around. I remember the boyfriend who ran off with one of the friends I had introduced him to, saying that we weren't primaries so I should be happy for him, not upset. When we broke up I discovered he had been having condomeless sex with three of us. I remember the girlfriend who confessed that she had showed her friends a photo of a much younger me, because I had gained weight and she was embarrassed. I have been a secret more than I'd like to admit... and I accepted it, because I didn't think I could get any better.

Frankly, I am terrified to ask for what I want, because I have been taught and had it reinforced so often that my desires are always secondary. I have tried so hard to mold myself into the person my partners have wanted, crushing myself in the process as I try to conform to what makes them the most comfortable. I've questioned whether or not I'm made for this, or if I'm just easily triggered because I've been treated as disposable before. And while yes, I know none of this is a competition, I also know that there are spaces where I am just not as welcome as someone else. If you want to have casual moresomes at a play party, you're not going to score with the fat political chick dragging you down. If you want to be recognized as an expert in a particular area, you don't bring the girlfriend who knows nothing about the topic keeping the conversation at bay.

Now I can safely say, this all drives me crazy. Sure, I'd like to think that I don't need a primary, I just need to feel like a priority, like someone who inspires romance and PDA. I'm questioning if I'm capable of that more and more, though. Asking to feel like a priority isn't really a clear label, while primary has a lot of preconceived notions I could lean on. Instead, I have to be vulnerable, over and over, as I say what made me sad this time, or what I need now. It makes me feel difficult and demanding and needy. And I feel like I hold my partners back, even if they say I don't.

I think what it comes down to is- I want to feel like I'm with people who are proud of me, and are excited to introduce me as a partner, not just a personality. I don't want to be someone's novelty, ever again, as a fat girl, as a porn performer, as an activist. I don't want to be someone's hedonistic quick fix or their good deed. I don't want to be their mythological beast. I want to be a real girl, and a girlfriend, not just playing at the GFE.

I'm tired of feeling like I always have to be the one to set the record straight. But where does one go from here?

Categories: anxiety, best of, boundaries, communication, dating, fake it til you make it, gfe, intimacy, personal, poly ptsd, sexuality, sweeties

0

In Defense of Casual Romance

I'm not exactly new to the world of internet dating or casual sex hookups. I'm on OKCupid. I've been on PlentyofFish, and Match, and Alt, and all the rest of them. Shit, I was kicked off of eHarmony, in part because I had a very different understanding of the watersports question.

Even though I have a lot of experience and typically have had an easy enough time meeting friends through online posts,  I do a terrible job meeting casual sex partners. There's a lot I have to say and have said in the past about desirable bodies, what people want vs what they're willing to be witnessed wanting, how it's acceptable to treat fat people as "desperate", etc. So there's a lot of that at play, of course, in who gets responded to and who gets left out. But really, I suspect this is because what I want often comes off as confusing. I know what I want from a casual experience, but it's not what people normally consider casual.

See, I was told that the reason my queer cruising ad failed was because I was asking for "dating stuff". In it, I said I was hoping for more like a one month stand than a one nighter, that I wanted something semi-romantic and sweet, that I wanted the kind of person who would buy me roses then beat me with them. Frankly, I want a partner who likes to top but also will tell me I'm pretty and will pet my hair, not just use my cunt and then disappear. Apparently that's too much like "relationship" stuff for a casual sex ad?

I have to admit, I just don't understand. Is it impossible to have more of a seduction or even a little romance in a casual fling? If anything I feel like they're ideal for it- you can just enjoy the moment with no expectations! I love the fluttery feeling of having a crush, but the stone cold reality of building that crush into a relationship takes a lot of energy, trust, desire and work on both sides. I just don't have space for more of that in my life right now. But that doesn't mean I can't still want to be romanced, right? 

It's also a little bit hurtful. If you ask me, I think it's kind of more fucked up that it's totally fine to hook up in a dirty bathroom sort of way but not in a "spank me with a bouquet of roses" sort of way. That seems like some femmephobic bullshittery. It goes along with how I resent the way in my local group of friends and acquaintances, we celebrate Steak and Blowjob Day but scorn Valentine's Day, like that isn't, at least in part, gendered.

So fuck it. I think we should make casual romance a Thing if it isn't already. I wanna see more casual makeout sessions, more hand holding dates, more looking into each others eyes and just giggling, more gifting each other things like flowers or doing small acts of service like a snack tray for a hookup. I resent and reject the idea that because I want these things I just want to date more people.

I feel like in our desire to liberate our sexualities, we haven't spent a lot of time focusing on liberating our feelings and making space for that. I've bemoaned how romance often seems to be calculated or dead, though I've learned to see the sweet gesture in things like wrapping my micro usb cord so it won't get ruined in my purse or getting me a candle that looks like a rococo butt plug. I've tried to kill my desire for outward displays of affection and seduction, because I've been afraid I don't deserve it or won't get it. But fuck that. I do deserve it. I am a lovely person who works really hard to be enjoyable to be around and if I want to be showered in flower petals once in a while I don't think that's bad. And I don't think I should only get to ask for that from people I'm dating long term.

Now yes, not everyone wants casual sex to be anything beyond meeting, fucking, parting ways, maybe even with no names exchanged. I've been there, kittens, I get it. I'm just saying that one of the most incredible impulsive once-ever experiences I had involved a lot of kissing and eye contact and giggling and holding hands. We didn't exchange names. He ejaculated on my chest in a glass elevator and it was hot as hell. But what made it transcendent and memorable for me was that in that moment we just really connected, and cared about each other, and that mutual respect and yeah, little touches like passionately making out in doorways while rain sprinkled down, and how he held an umbrella over my head while we did that, made it go from "hot" to "fiery hot passion". I feel it was extremely casual, and also romantic, and I want more of that in my life.

So here's to casual romances, to summer flings and perfect first (and only) dates. The heart wants what it wants, and it is a-ok to want loving and fleeting expressions of affection and being Seen just as it's ok for your junk to want a good hard pounding in the backseat of your car.

Categories: advice, assumptions, best of, boundaries, communication, dating, don't tell me how to live, femme, love, musing, reflection, sex, sexuality