So, I'm thirty now, which conceivably makes me more of a Proper Adult than being in my twenties. I certainly feel under more pressure to behave like an Adult, to have Real Furniture and be doing something with my life that I can point to as a success. Like write a book, which is long overdue (and I'm very close to making enough per article from my patrons so that I can spend the time to write the book!) I spent my 30th birthday dealing with a broken down car, working, and playing my 3DS while watching TV. I ate a cupcake and went to bed at a reasonable hour. It wasn't a big deal, but then, nothing feels like a big deal anymore, just ongoing creeping panic at a low simmer.
Reflecting on my twenties, I spent a lot of it on unrequited love. Unrequited community, where I invested more than I got back, unrequited friendships where I gave more than I got back, unrequited relationships where I was more emotionally available or stable than the other person could be. I've spent a lot of time being Good Giving and Game and getting very little of that back. When I turned 20 I was sexually adventurous, excited, interested- now I feel drained, like I crave being a sexual and sexualized being but don't know how. I miss the sense of assurance I had when I was doing sex work in London, where my desirability was confirmed regularly- I still feel insecure being a fat woman in San Francisco.
This year is the year I'm going to try being really true to myself. I'm going to dedicate my social time, which is now more precious to me as my spoons are fewer, to people who make that one on one or small social gathering time for me. I don't think I want to go to massive parties so much this year, as I find them overwhelming and alienating. I want to be surrounded by people who will draw me out of my shell, not people who I have to perform for in order to feel accepted. I've written about community, and this is the year I'm going to purposefully seek out mine as often as I can. I'm going to stop "making an appearance" and only going to things I give a shit about run by people who talk to me outside of events. If I'm not having fun, I'll leave. If a partner isn't respecting my space, I'll leave. If my grandmother starts talking shit about my body, I'll leave. I don't have to stay and fight every battle.
I'm also going to stop overwhelming myself trying to be a one person crisis center. I need more people working on Consent Culture, as writers and as content curators, as well as people donating lists of local, alt-sex friendly resources rather than taking it all on myself. It's time for me to actually make time to get some volunteers on board to help. And even though it makes me feel really vulnerable and awkward I'm going to keep being open about how I feel and what's going on for me, because it helps me process and helps me get the care I need. It's also ok for me to focus on my own needs. The revolution never ends, and it's ok to take breaks.
I figured it might be useful to think about thirty things I learned in my twenties, because I like to overanalyze everything.
1. It is possible to travel by yourself to a new town and still have fun.
2. Road trips are worth it, every time.
3. I don't need sex to be happy, but regular sex does help my happiness.
4. I can't make myself like a fetish I don't like.
5. Sometimes beautiful people are really kind. Sometimes they're awful. Don't assume.
6. Women can also treat me like I owe them sex after dinner and it's just as violating.
7. If I say "he's going to get help soon" for longer than two months, I'm lying to myself.
8. There is no "acceptable angry hitting".
9. If I haven't seen the contents of the box in years, I don't need what's inside.
10. Create limits to crafting supplies. Then be creative about using them up to get more.
11. Pinterest is actually filled with good, easily implemented ideas.
12. I am actually not bad at performing on stage.
13. The line between an anxiety disorder and depression is blurry.
14. If I feel pissy, make sure I don't need water, food, sleep, or a hug before anything else.
15. People will pay for my writing. I don't have to work "for exposure".
16. My boundaries are ok. They may be hard for other people, but my real friends will respect them.
17. I enjoy nonsexual touch from people I trust.
18. I'm more creative than I thought I was.
19. I enjoy making time to read. When the computer stresses me out? Try reading.
20. I do have a sense of humour. It doesn't depend on laughing at marginalized people.
21. Sometimes you have to challenge the status quo. That will be painful. Be prepared.
22. Cats make everything better.
23. If a sex party doesn't make me feel desired and sexy? Stop going.
24. I don't always have to DIY. I can encourage others.
25. Signal boosting is important and useful.
26. I am a good lecturer and people like to listen to me speak.
27. I really love DnD.
28. Drugs aren't always bad, but I need to feel safe and like I can get away to enjoy them.
29. Vulnerability is hard and scary, but I'm always surprised who comes to help out.
30. Sex work was amazing for me in many ways- it was also very hard work, and pretending it wasn't doesn't help me.
Oh yeah, and 31. I have cancelled a wedding. I have gotten divorced. Neither was the end of the world, but it's ok that I still feel upset about it. I deserve to have a dreamy proposal and a wedding that's about love, not practicality.
So there we have it. I'm thirty, and I'm still alive.
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