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


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


Learning How To Fight Fair

"She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough
I'm a little bit rusty
And I think my head is caving in
And I don't know if I've ever been really loved
By a hand that's touched me, well I feel like something's
Gonna give
And I'm a little bit angry"
-Matchbox 20, Push

I always thought I was an argumentative, fiery tempered person. I thought it was just in my nature, something I couldn't really help but could only manage. A lot of my time was spent trying to avoid saying something really mean, because I was very good at finding someone's buttons and pressing them in just the right way when I wanted a reaction.  I did a lot of anger management work, and quickly found myself redirecting much of it away from individuals and more at systems, which was slightly more futile but also less volatile in the day to day.

Now I'm in relationships where we don't really yell at each other at all and it's kind of weird, if I'm honest. I haven't slammed a door in a long, long time. I think today was the first time I had ever sworn vaguely at one particular partner during an intense discussion. Most of the time, our conversations that might lead to argument happen via text, email and chat. I think this helps me somewhat, because writing is a communication skillset I get on well with, and the distance of not being right in front of each other is also safer feeling. It's a lot easier for me to take some time to find compassion when I can be away from the keyboard for a few minutes before I respond!

I've realized that I'm sad and hurt more than I'm angry, and that I am at a stage in my life where I'm more of a flight person than a fight person.  It takes a lot of my energy to not say something passive aggressive and just flounce away. It is really, really hard to delve into those areas of hurt while they're hurting and say "here's what I need or want from you". I'm so scared my needs are too overwhelming, that stating them is to draw lines in sand that no one will ever want to cross. I worry that by stating my boundaries I'm trampling other people's, because I've been told that in the past (particularly by my ex.) And more than anything else, I'm scared of being too intense, too much, that I am not meant to be a girlfriend or a friend but free therapy and life coaching.

I can't count the number of lovers who have gone on to meet their perfect soulmate after me. And it's hard when I see so many people around me getting fan art, notes of encouragement, writing offers, indicators of worthiness. It's disheartening to always be the girl who gets called to do the pragmatic stuff.

But I'm trying to practice being radically vulnerable in spite of all that, letting those walls come down. By saying where I'm actually at, even when it's illogical or feels embarrassing to admit, and offering what action points I want to see that might relieve some of the pain, I've actually been able to silence some of my anxiety. I've gotten what I've advocated to get, which has led me to move away from passive aggressive statements as I'll likely get what I ask for. I've learned to accept there will be a period of defensiveness as our fur raises, but after some time, if we haven't stormed away from each other and practice patience, more often than not a resolution happens that makes us feel better.

I still feel hypervigilant. I worry that if I don't maintain near constant control over my emotions and communication, I will end up sabotaging my relationships in times of duress. It may surprise you all (not really) to know that I am a control freak about things like schedules and plans and things fitting neatly as much as possible. And I work hard at compartmentalizing my feelings into easily digestible chunks. As I grow to trust people, I'm sure I'll not feel this weight in my gut like I'm about to be stabbed constantly while I'm awake... maybe I'll learn how to relax a little. I think trying to remind myself that people are typically not trying to hurt me, and those who are generally make it really obvious, has been useful in this process. It reminds me to keep my defenses lowered, because I want diplomacy, not war.

As each argument comes and goes, and as I abandon feeling angry all the time to accepting my wounded self and communicate that tenderness rather than protective rage, I feel a little more honest and a little more relieved. I still have a long way to go but for now, just practicing compassion even when I'm upset is a huge step.

Some things I've read about arguing compassionately/dealing with feelings that have been helpful:

Captain Awkward- How do I fight with my partner without ruining everything?

Captain Awkward- How to train your rageasaurus

Ask Polly: How do I make my boyfriend listen?

Ask Polly: My anxiety is ruining my life

Medium: Against Chill

Categories: advice, angry, anxiety, assumptions, best of, communication, dating, love, love is a dog from hell


Help Courtney Trouble Go To Art School!

I remember when I lost my contract writing marketing posts for Canadian cop show Rookie Blue, a job that was a large part of my survival. I was freaking out about how hard it was for me to find another gig outside of my writing, which wasn't sustainable yet. Then Courtney Trouble offered I start working for them doing social media, marketing newsletters, and mailouts.

Soon they began training me on how to set up lights on set, how to work a camera, how to edit photos and upload to the FTP and make animated gifs. I began to come in twice a week and take more hours working from home. I bought my own camera so I could start filming my own porn, and Courtney patiently began to teach me how to edit my shoots. I began to shoot my own ideas, had a gallery show at Sidequest Gallery, conceptualized Ban This Sick Filth, and am now wrapping up my first DVD, "Here Kitty Kitty".

I never identified as an artist. I don't know if I do even now, honestly, but Courtney taught me to trust in my vision as well as how to manage the pragmatic side of the company. Now, I'm the programming and production manager for TROUBLEfilms while Courtney is in grad school, learning tons of new skills that will be useful for me for the rest of my life. I am so lucky to call Courtney not just my coworker but my friend. If you like the work I do, give Courtney a thank you, because they've helped build me up into the person I am today. They have given me the stability I desperately needed, and a career I can feel truly proud of.

I owe a lot to Courtney. If you can donate a little something to their fundraiser, you're not only helping them move away from porn production, and me move into porn production, but also TROUBLEfilms as we continue to move forward on making the company a place that funds budding directors realizing their visions.

Courtney has 5 days left to make $8000- totally doable, but only with your help!

Categories: activism, community, personal, support


The Ideal Lover List


I'm listening to 90s music (currently "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star) and going through my livejournal while piecing together a confessional entry on threesomes. Having had an amazing one this last weekend (which you'll hear more about later) I wanted to reflect on the experiences from my past, and what hurt me, and why. Revisiting my blog is usually an intense experience, so I expected to be taken aback by some of what I found, but this was particularly interesting: a list of what I wanted in a partner, circa 2008.

-accepts polyamory in my relationships
-accepts kinkiness (either is kinky or accepts me playing with others)
-queer friendly
-cat friendly
-intelligent (book smart or street smart, preferably a bit of both)
-enjoys sexuality in an open minded way
-not dependent on drugs to cope
-playful (likes to wear costumes, roleplay, be silly)
-utilizes safer sex practices/pro abortion
-emotionally self aware/deals with baggage/introspective
-financially stable
-accepting of paganism
-politically aware
-takes care of self and environment
-somewhat patient

-always curious/critical thinker/asks "why?"
-enjoys travel
-reading > TV
-queer (or queer curious)
-enjoys various sexual expressions (3somes, gender play, exhibitionism, etc)
-not in a monotheistic religion
-good taste in music/movies"

This was written while I was in London, after years of men and women who had broken my heart into a million pieces and stomped them into dust. Thumbing through my Livejournal, I see the time I was dragged to a stranger's house for a threesome because my date wanted to fuck him and dealing with a spanking I didn't want because I wanted to be "cool". I see myself reassuring myself that this boy, who wandered all over California and couldn't commit to a phone call, much less me, really did like me, because he said so once. I see myself feeling uncomfortable with how delighted I was to have a lover who bought me dinner and surprised me with presents, because I didn't want my affection to be bought, but I did want to be recognized.

I can see that I had multiple relationships because none of them were present for me, not really, and so with 5 of them maybe I would have a full relationship. I've realized that the concept of dating multiple people because one person can't meet all your needs doesn't mean you should compartmentalize all those needs or that it's not ok to have higher standards for who you spend time with.

I think what I find most startling is that my tastes haven't changed that dramatically. In fact, strangely, I think the only thing I don't care for anymore is being a Burner, as I find other types of art/creation generally more satisfactory. And I think being queer is pretty important. But I'm really amazed that my current lovers fulfill most if not all of these things on my list. I guess I did end up deciding I'd rather be alone than with multiple people who made me feel lonely and didn't make me a priority.

I have uneasy feelings about the trend I see, my fear of being clingy but my lovers not being willing/able to commit to me, where I need reassurance constantly because I am afraid constantly. I see in my past partners vanishing for months at a time, and then reappearing to be offended that I was dating someone else while expecting me to embrace their new lovers. They often ran away with those new lovers, proving what I thought was poly for a long time was really serial monogamy. And god, no wonder group sex freaks me out, the number of times I woke up next to my boyfriend fucking someone else or was kicked out of bed so they could cuddle...! I think I need to try to heal that scarred history, but I'm not sure entirely how.

I've also noticed that I used to fall in love quickly, but fell out of love about as quickly. Does that say something for the stability of my relationships now, where the feelings were slow but have been pretty steady? I'm not sure, but it's interesting to look back and see how highly I valued feeling safe and secure within a relationship, and I've instead given up on the idea of a relationship providing security. (Ironically the song that started here was "Push" by Matchbox 20). I suspect not really letting myself lose control over my heart prevented me from falling too deeply in love. And here I am, falling ever deeper in love with every day, losing that white knuckle grip and letting myself be naked and raw and vulnerable and unstable. God, I worry about it being a terrible mistake, but I keep falling, because what else could I do?

I feel like it'll all be ok. The lovers I have now satisfy so many of my needs, just just as a compilation, but individually. I feel respected as well as loved, and heard, and that's all so important.

Haven't I felt like that before, though?

Categories: ah youth, anxiety, best of, boys, breakups, communication, compare/contrast, dating, fake it til you make it, love, love is a dog from hell, memories, mistakes were made


Review: Cordless Magic Wand Courtesy of Maxiwand

"It's just like the original Hitachi Magic Wand, but more powerful and also cordless!" the glowing reviews exclaimed. "You can have all of the power and none of the need to be by a socket!"

I'll admit, I was suspicious. Many wand style vibrators have made such a claim and failed me in my moment of need. I've tried the LELO Smart Wand, the rechargeable Bodywand, the Wand Essentials version... I've given them all a shot, often more than one, but at the end of the day I come back to my corded, old standard Hitachi. I've felt them overheat against my clit, the motor rumbling in protest. I've had them spark, almost set my flat on fire, and die mid-wank. With the original design becoming harder and harder to find, it was time to find a substitute, the next generation if you will.

Luckily for me, Maxiwand sent me an email as if reading my mind. "Want to review a Magic Wand? We've run out of the originals, but could send you a cordless one", they said, and I jumped at the chance. I don't go to a lot of sex parties anymore, but I do travel, and being able to jerk off without worrying about which side of the bed has the closest outlet would be a luxury.

Not only does this beauty have 4 speeds instead of the 2 we had to work with before (high, and holy fuck my clit is numb), they go a bit lower and a little bit higher. Redhead Bedhead broke it down on her review:

Original Magic Wand: 1- 5000rpms ; 2- 6000rpms – Remember it had two speeds.
Rechargeable Magic Wand: 1- 2,700rpms; 2- 3,800rpms; 3- 5,400rpms; 4- 6,300rpms 

That's a nice change of pace, especially if you're like me and were worried that you were going to have to make do with a jackhammer soon enough. There's a little more flexibility, which is what I was hoping for when I originally hooked my original Hitachi into one of those dial doodads. Having this all in one, and without a cord to boot, is a serious plus. There's also the option of having pulsing patterns, but I don't really care for those. I was glad those choices were controlled by a different button and therefore could be entirely ignored.

There's a silicone head, which, thank FUCK! This means you can actually sterilize the head, which you couldn't before. Obviously, don't dunk the whole thing underwater or boil it, but you can bleach the silicone bit and then wipe that off to make it safe to use between partners or use toy cleaner. Simple.

That said, my one complaint about this vibrator is the buttons. I liked the simplicity of the switch on the old model- the press buttons on this one are easy to confuse when you're holding it to your junk. There were a couple of times I pressed the wrong button and found myself having to start over thanks to the pulsations.  I'm not super keen on the fact it shuts itself off after 20 minutes, either, but considering the issues I've had with overheating, and the fact this gets me off faster than the original, I can work with its shorter "staying power". You can also totally turn it back on and not let it rest, but I can imagine that being frustrating for some folks.

All in all, I found this to be completely comparable to the original Magic Wand for power, with additional perks like cordlessness and two more speeds. Do I recommend it? Absolutely! To be completely confident in my recommendation, I'd probably want to try it out on a couple more sets of junk, so, in the name of science, I'll get back to you on that front. ;) But at least on my genitals, the cordless Magic Wand is well worth the money and stands up to its reputation.

US and Canada readers, you can pick up the original Magic Wand if you want to stick to the classics, or try out the rechargeable cordless one over at Maxiwand!

OR if you're in the UK, check out UK Wand for an high-powered alternative that works in your high powered outlets (wish I had one of these when I lived out there, I blew out way too many outlets!) And if you're in Europe, the Euro Wand Massager is an alternative to the Hitachi magic wand and has 4 sites in various European languages:

http://eurowand.de    (German)
http://eurowand.fr     (French)

Thank you Maxiwand for offering me this product in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Categories: #wankwednesday, genitalia, review, silicone, toys, toys for boys, vibrator


Perchance to Dream

"I can almost touch the soil beneath your whisper
I can almost feel the hopes you left behind
I can almost touch the soil beneath your whisper
I can almost feel the hopes you left behind
Words that fall like distant rain
Words that echo with your eyes"
-Nostalgia, Nitin Sawhney

I am haunted by some terrible dreams. I wake up from them like falling, my pillow sometimes wet with tears, sometimes with sweat. Sometimes I have been locked onto a hospital gurney and am waiting for the medics to come and drug me while I scream that I'm not crazy. Sometimes all my teeth have fallen out, and I am worried about how I'm going to afford the care. My dreams are filled with navigating bureaucracy, having emotional crises, and trying to balance my finances. I'm not always sure if it was, in fact, just a dream.

I wish I had dreams of flying like normal people do, but when I fly in dreams it is always an escape. I am frantically trying to learn how to control my flight so I don't crash and burn, or get captured, or something unspoken but dreaded in my gut. Even in my dreams I can't give up control, I still have the sinking feeling that there's things I need to do, that people are depending on me to behave correctly.

My family, I think, has the impression that I'm a wild child, partying it up a lot and generally reckless. Little do they know, really KNOW, how much of my time is spent carefully calculating next steps for myself, balancing my checkbook, or frozen in place on my bed because a wrong move could mean a total lack of stability. For all that I give the impression of being devil may care, I spend a lot of my time trying to overcome emotionally exhausting amounts of severe anxiety. I am so accustomed to sitting, feeling bile rise into my throat and my gut clenching tight, without any particular reason, that it's just part of daily life and not a medical concern anymore.

I am reasonably good at juggling responsibilities, and capable of survival under some pretty rough circumstances, but god, how I wish I could just let go sometimes. I wish I could give up all these feelings, all this compassion, all this heart pain I carry around. I long to have control taken from me, but am too wounded to give it up. I don't really know how to relax, even when asleep. I'm always doing something, always frantically trying to hold my shit together.

Last night I dreamed that my lover dumped me and got back together with an ex. I tried my damnedest to smile and be gracious, happy for them, even though I felt like I was being ripped apart by wolves on the inside. In the dream we lived in the same apartment complex, and seeing them together was unavoidable… so I spent much of my dream in my tiny studio, fixing the plumbing which kept bursting over and over again, a lump in my throat.

I didn’t cry in the dream but I woke up teary and sad. It was just a dream, I knew it was just a dream, and yet I still felt shaken and lost and abandoned. And it was hard to let it go. I FELT it, so strongly, the loss, the strain to feel compersion that someone I loved was happy, my own disappointment in myself for just not having the strength.

I feel so flooded with feelings. I want sleep to be restful but I don't know how to turn my brain off even then. Why does my subconscious feel the need to force me to confront such dark yet mundane fears every night, leaving me tossing and turning? It's frustrating, especially after a particularly heartwrenching night when I can't find myself capable of leaving my room because cobwebs of the night before are holding me back. I worry it impacts my relationships, that these horrible processing sessions lead me to miss ex lovers who were toxic, or to suspect current lovers who have done nothing wrong.

I don't have any stability in my life, not really. I suspect that's part of why I'm so haunted by the past and the possible futures... if I drop one plate, the impact on the rest of my life could be devastating. I am afraid, always, that sometime I'll misstep and everything will come crashing down. I want to cling to something, like a barnacle, while the floods of emotions crash around me- I could weather them then- but to cling to a person is codependent, and to cling to a job is absurd in this climate. I feel like I live my life as honestly and as vulnerably as I can, but sometimes I feel laid bare, still alive as ravens peck at my entrails. But I don't know how else to be.

So instead, I drift, both awake and asleep, unsettled, unprepared, ungrounded. I hope that one day I will find some safe space to curl up in, even just for a night, where my mind and heart can be at rest. Sometimes I just want to be loved, and love, and for it to be easy for a minute, for me not to feel like I have to fight or run. I wonder if I will feel lonely until I die, but then isn't that human existence?

I just want to trust and I worry that I may never really again.

It has been a day, and a lifetime, of too many feelings, and I am tired. I am afraid of being tired, of admitting my weariness, because being present is what I'm good at, being a place of stability for so many others is what I do, and to admit I feel lost is perhaps the dropping of that first plate.

But I want to lay this burden down. And I am falling asleep alone tonight, and wish I wasn't.

Categories: anxiety, dreams, fake it til you make it, not feeling well, personal, psychology, self care


Misandry 4Eva: Kitty's Guide To A Man-Repelling Summer Wardrobe

With summer on the way, shorts come out of hiding, skirts get a bit shorter, and men seem a thousand times more entitled to catcall you for daring to be comfortable in the heat. So many magazines feel the need to weigh in on how to make yourself MORE attractive to men, but why would you want to, when they can't seem to STFU whenever you leave the house?

Well, don't worry, dear reader. Here's how can you tell them to fuck right off without ever saying a word:


In the wild, bright colours mean a lot of things, often like "warning", "toxic", and "touch me and die". The human world is no different- men apparently find themselves repelled by those fantastic 80s neons, so whether a more subtle look like neon makeup or accent pieces, or something blatant like a full on florescent romper, this palette is the one to choose for that initial "get the fuck away from me" statement.

Smokey Eye Makeup

I won't lie- Imperator Furiosa has made this look a must for an on-trend misandrist summer style. That full-on grease look not your cuppa? You can also get your Fury Road on with a smokey eye that incorporates some fetching chrome highlights which also stops bros in their dusty tracks. Witness this, assholes everywhere!

Oversized Sunglasses

Less of a makeup person? This eye-shielding look is for you. Without the possibility of eye contact, many dudes don't get even the entry point they desperately seek to have an excuse to bother you when you just want to listen to your music. Added bonus- oversized sunglasses allow you to roll your eyes as much as you'd like when you hear that guy on the train negging you and every other femme he sees.

Bold Florals

Flowers are some femme shit, at least according to mens magazines. And why do flowers come in a rainbow? To attract bees, the symbol of cooperative matriarchies everywhere. Let the fellas around you know that you're not here for them by sporting some bright blossoms.

Chunky Heels

Men hate chunky heels, probably because they hate the idea we can get away from them more easily when we wear them. So fuck that. Also, the chunkier the heels, the more spikes you can add to them so you can use your shoes as a bludgeoning weapon. Cute!

Bright and/or Dark Lipstick

Tell the men around you that you don't give a fuck if you leave a mark with a lipstick that refuses to sit down and play nice. Go for something sci fi with a metallic sheen, or go witchy with a dark matte. Bonus points if you add glitter, or the blood of your enemies.

Statement Necklaces

Actions speak louder than words, sure, but there is a step between telling a pushy manplainer off and macing him. A statement necklace, especially one with an actual statement on it, can speak volumes for you so you can go back to Neko Atsume or reading Janet Mock's bestseller or literally anything else other than listening to him.

Not Shaving

Nothing sends menfolk running to the hills like unrepentant body hair on women. Good! They should go live in the hills, by themselves, eating grubs. Get creative by bedazzling your softly fuzzy self, dye your pubes or underarms hairs, or, if you are bereft in the body hair department, consider DIY pit and pube merkins.

Extreme Hairstyles

Finally, how could we forget the terror that's inspired by any hair style other than soft, long, and down? Men have been afraid of hairspray as soon as they discovered that a lighter was all that was required to make the styling product into a flamethrower. Never mind that big hair can hide all sorts of things, like a switchblade or  a spare lippy, so take up space with hair that says "my milkshake is none of your damned business".

all of these styles have been labeled as things women should avoid because men dislike them, because of course when you wake up every morning all you think about is how to catch the attention of mediocre white men. I am not making this up.

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Categories: best of, body stuff, boys, feminism, femme, hair, inspiration, makeup, parody, psa


Femme Solidarity is Subversive Shit

When I was a teenager, into my early twenties, most of my friends were boys. I dismissed or stifled socially coded feminine interests like fashion, makeup, cooking, dancing, processing emotions, practicing self care. I was more interested in sex, and metalwork, and urban exploration, and fighting. Girls were too soft, and bitchy, and I felt alienated among them. I wanted to DO things, not talk about them.

Now, when I look back, I think about how much I missed out on because of my internalized misogyny. Most of the people I spend time with now are women- in fact, now I can count my masculine-of-center friends on one hand, while my femme friends are numerous. If anything, it's a complete 180- most of the people I have close to me are femmes. I talk to my mother more often than my dad. I work with mostly femmes, I live with another woman, most of the groups on FB I interact with are femme-centric. Even my interest in metalwork is turning towards working with other women.

Sometimes I wonder what shifted. How did I go from being "one of the boys" to unapologetically femme focused?

I think it started when I started doing sex work activism. Being around a group of women doing activism to help marginalized women together was incredibly healing for me for a while. And then, I think it was underlined when I started doing consent activism, as I began to shy away from sex positivity into a more critical stance and began to unpack the various ways in which patriarchy affects consent, communication, and what we consider valuable. I began to realize all the unpaid emotional labour that I was expected to do, in order to cushion the lives of "well meaning", "feminist" men, who felt so BAD about their privilege and wanted to be reassured that they were "nice guys". I bristled every time a man spoke over me, or assumed I wanted to flirt with them, or that I was available to them.

And I started to notice just how often it happened.

Not just to me, though that was plenty overwhelming. It also happened to all the women I knew, whether it was a partner, a family member, a coworker, a friend. And I noticed how often any attempt to discuss how frustrating it was outside of a women-only space would be derailed into men protesting they weren't like that, and anyway what could they possibly be expected to do about it, masculinity was a rough gig too after all, didn't we feel for them?

This was particularly telling on Facebook. I can't even explain how often I say something out of frustration to my friends/acquaintances (mostly women, anymore) about banning men, and suddenly a man, sometimes not even a friend but a friend of a friend, will pop by to pipe up with "not all men!", like my declaring a ban on men on my Facebook wall will mean that all men will be summarily destroyed. Sadly, I don't have that kind of goddesslike power. Sorry to disappoint, y'all.

When this happened, I'd glance at the guy's timeline. So often, that man wasn't using his own space to talk to other men about toxic masculinity. He wasn't taking time out of his day to critique other men. Sometimes, even, he would defend his right to say "bitches are crazy" because he was a Good Feminist Guy and obviously it was a JOKE and geez why did everyone jump on him for expressing himself?

They never seemed to see the irony, that they were coming to MY playground, expecting me to engage in unpaid emotional labour on my own time for their Fee-Fees about masculinity, time they couldn't be bothered to make on their own.

I'm just fed up with that, to be honest. Being on guard 24/7 is a tiring way to exist. Being on call to play therapist, mother, lover and teacher is exhausting and draining and thankless. I witness so many amazing women, and femmes in particular, being expected to take on that emotional toil on such a regular basis, expected to caretake and educate and be compassionate and kind and always available. I have found when it's a community of femmes, it's great (mostly, though there's been issues about racism/classism/ableism/other isms in some groups). Ideally, we can all do that for each other, and have it done for us in turn. Talking to other femmes has been healing, validating, safe, comforting. I don't feel like I have to be constantly wary for That Guy the way I feel I have to be on guard in the general population. It's safer space.

The sad truth is, I cannot trust even the men I care about the most to necessarily be present for me emotionally the way I can trust the femmes in my life to be. It's not entirely their fault, sure- they're trained into having emotional voids and lack of self awareness. But this is a cold, cruel world, and we all need a lot of reassurance in it. I have found it's my femme pack who is there for me in times of sobbing hysterics or heartbroken uncertainty- there is almost always someone who is able to hold my hand and talk me through this panic attack or that nightmare or this other relationship trauma. Men, even the best men, try, but it doesn't occur to them to reach out or to comfort to the extent femmes can and will. As someone who gives a lot of that kind of love out, having people around me who return that love so readily is a precious resource.

The most difficult obstacle I've found myself coming against in the process of centering other femmes is the cultural training to see them as competition. I have been scared of other women, scared of feminine judgment of my body or my choices. But as I've been practicing reaching out, particularly to women I feel intimidated by, and expressing both ownership of what issues I bring to the table and my discomfort/impression, alongside a desire to get to know these women better rather than indulge these anxious feelings. And you know what? It's been amazing. Rather than being caught up in my fantasies of how these women think of me and being avoidant, we both create space to be vulnerable and to hear each other out, and in doing so, dismantle that notion of competitiveness between us. Becoming friends with my boyfriend's girlfriends/exes has been so incredibly healthy for me, as I unlearn some of my fear and jealousy to replace it with femme solidarity and support.

I'm finding more and more that my femme friends are my greatest allies. And that if eventually we do form a bunker banning all men... I think I could be pretty happy in there. Femme solidarity gives me life.

(Note- when I talk about femmes, I'm not just meaning cis women- some of the closest femmes to me are genderqueer. I differentiate sometimes between women and femmes, because they are not one and the same.And when I talk about men, or masculinity, I don't just mean cis men, though often, yes.)

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Categories: activism, anxiety, best of, boundaries, boys, community, feminism, femme, male privilege, musing


The Uneasy Balance of Self Care VS Challenging Fear

I have a particularly uneasy relationship with food. Buying it, cooking it, remembering to eat it. I will go hungry for hours, sometimes days when the headweasels are particularly bad. I develop this dread of dealing with food that causes me to freeze and want to just sleep until the anxiety goes away.

I've always had some sort of weird tension around food, from what I can recall- when I was a child, I would break into the baking cabinet and binge on chocolate chips until I was sick. It's sort of funny, as back then, I was skinny as a rail- it was only when I started taking medication for depression and thus gained weight that I went from devouring everything in my path to picking at what was on my plate. I learned how to ignore my body for hours, and am still unlearning the damage, even while people scowl at me in restaurants for eating at all.

I feel like most people, when they need groceries, or want a snack, just pack up, go to the store, and buy what they want. None of the individual things are particularly difficult for me- making a list, driving, finding what I need, paying for it, unpacking. But because of all the the above trauma, when I need to go to the shop, I spend sometimes weeks persuading myself that I can do it. I put it off by buying takeout, and portioning it out for several days. I go through my pantry and eat random things that don't really go together in order to procrastinate going to the store. I find friends to go to dinner with.

With the advent of the internet, it's much easier than ever to get all sorts of things delivered, including the dreaded groceries. I did that for the first time today- had a stranger buy my groceries for me and bring them to my apartment so I didn't have to leave. And as I clicked the "order" button and was flooded with a sense of relief, I wondered- was I doing self care, or was I avoiding challenging myself and my fears? Was the fact that I am now more willing to pay extra for someone else to bring food to me actually making my anxiety around food and cooking worse?

I'm not sure. Sometimes it feels like a reward for doing something I find difficult, like finishing a hard piece or getting an unpleasant task done. But sometimes, it's simply because the idea of going into the fridge and figuring out what to cook is just that horrifying for me. While I appreciate that my partners cook for me, I don't want to be frozen in place forever on my own, only eating fruit and vegetables that require no more prep than rinsing them off.

I'm trying to give myself small challenges, like today I made guacamole, and also I made my own french fries from scratch. Nothing too complex, but quick and easy enough that I could make them and be eating food that came from my veg box and would end up going bad. I like the food I make, but I'm still exploring why I have so much panic about the process. I suspect that it comes in part from having multiple kitchens in my life that were difficult to maneuver or cook in, which often stood in the way of me taking care of my food needs. Now I have an open kitchen and the dishes are always done, so I'm very slowly becoming less tense around food prep.

In the meantime, as I slowly breathe through this, I'm trying not to feel guilty when I pay someone to do my grocery shopping for me. It feels so ridiculously privileged, but it's also the only way I'd eat sometimes. I struggle a lot with wondering if my mental health issues make me seem like a bougie bitch when really it's just that people terrify me, seemingly more and more so each year. I suspect the hardest part is going to be giving myself space to need that kind of task done for me, for a while, as I keep pushing forward in relearning how to be outgoing. The world doesn't feel very safe, and for now being in retreat makes sense... but it's not where I want to be forever.

How do you balance taking care of mental health issues with not wanting to give into the spirals that hold you back?

Categories: anxiety, balance, personal, psychology, reflection, self care, support