I haven’t updated in a long time. Not because I haven’t been writing, but because I haven’t managed to finish anything. So instead of finishing a nice good post for this blog, please enjoy this list.
Things I learned not to do in relationships:
- On the first mixed CD one makes a new partner (especially a female identified partner) don’t put Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls” on the mix. Yes, it might be a good song, but as new partners, people are less likely to know where their partners’ body image issues come up, and said partners are less likely to know when something isn’t filled with meaning.
- People are not mind readers, if I want a person to know something, don’t keep thinking about it and getting upset that they don’t know anything about it.
- People make mistakes, but repetitive mistakes are patterns, and don’t do patterns that are unhealthy. Like breaking up and getting back together over and over again.
- Don’t cheat.
- Don’t lie about cheating.
- Don’t put up with a partner who abuses consent.
- Don’t believe anyone who makes excuses about the abuse of consent.
- Don’t be so careful around consent that nothing is ever initiated.
- I learned to not talk the way I think. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t speak my mind, I’m saying that people think differently from each other, and myself, well I definitely think differently than a lot of people. I had to learn not to talk like I think, because the way I think makes absolutely no sense to anyone else. Mostly because I think in abstractions, more than three dimensions, and on the rare occasions it is in words, it is not in complete sentences.
- Don’t forget to talk.
- Don’t be afraid of labels.
- Don’t be afraid of not having labels.
- Don’t accept terrible sex. If I want my partner to do something different ASK for it.
- Don’t assume worst intentions. This goes for everything from off-hand comments to serious conversations.
- Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t care if they are triggering. Especially if they repeat this behavior after having told them that it is triggering.
- Don’t judge their taste in movies, music, or books.
- Don’t hesitate to kiss someone after dating them for over a month, let alone after six.
- Don’t be afraid to make a move. And no, I’m not even referring to first moves here.
- Don’t sugar coat personality traits. I’m a snarky ass individual. Many exes of mine found this out 1-3 months after the break up, instead of when we were getting to know each other. Not a good thing.
- Don’t settle for something that’s completely unwanted. Example, don’t do monogamy when all I want is a poly relationship.
- Don’t be a doormat.
- Don’t let gender-slips slide.
- Don’t let partners shame me for being in pain. Be it migraine, knees, or any other of my potential problems, no one has a right to make me feel like crap because of my health. Don’t put up with it.
- Just because it’s hormonally based, doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t real. Don’t discount it, be it mine or a partner’s. Especially if I’ve managed to mess up my shots.
- Don’t stay with someone who thinks I’m a psychopath.
- If triggered and distant as a result, don’t forget to mention to a partner that something’s going on, even if it’s just to tell them that really, it isn’t their fault and I’m not about to break up with them.
- Don’t try to make out while rolling r’s. It really is just a terrible plan.
- Don’t bite down too hard. Don’t believe people when they claim they can take it if they haven’t had a bite from me before.
- Don’t ignore my instincts. When my inner red flag bullshit alarms go off, they’re right. Listen to them dammit.
- Don’t ignore friends saying “this is a terrible idea.” They’re right. They always are.
- Don’t tell partners they’re being immature, no matter how true it is. Really, there just isn’t a way that word is going to be heard well.
- Don’t put up with passive aggressive manipulation.
- People have to be their own autonomous individuals (barring M/s type agreements.) So, if they say something is okay to do, believe them even if you doubt it. Even if that means the day after having a long conversation about how it wasn’t actually okay, even though they thought it was ahead of time, I have to treat people I date as emotionally responsible adults.
- Don’t date people who aren’t emotionally responsible adults.
- Don’t date people back to back for 5-6 months each on a continuing basis. No, really, not a good idea.
- Don’t forget to laugh at the awkward, because there will always be awkward. And it’s damn funny.
- Don’t date someone who can’t tell I have a sense of humor.
- Don’t be afraid to be a baby dinosaur/puppy/dragon/cat/creature.
- When making/buying or otherwise planning on giving a partner a gift for a holiday/birthday, don’t forget to actually give it to them. Preferably that year.
Not all of these I learned the hard way, but many of the ones that seem obvious or ridiculous are probably on the list because of experience.
Some of the things I’ve said may not apply to you… but I thought y’all could appreciate them anyways. And now maybe that I’ve broken my lack of blogging streak again, I’ll manage to finish one of the damned myriad of other entries I’ve started.
I came across a poem recently, “How to Make Love to a Trans Person” and holy shit I decided to blog.
Because here’s the thing, from the first lines I got stuck on something I realized very deeply last summer at Floating World, and have not been able to get my head around since. I am incredibly disassociated from words describing my body.
I’m doing good at not dissociating from my body in general. Considering that it was my specialty in high school, that for years the main reason I self-injured was to simply be present, not dissociating is damn impressive. Going on T got me to be able to be present in my body in whole new ways. There are still plenty of things I hate about my body, there are still plenty of things that aren’t mine, but as I wrote before that this is my body is a huge step. But there are few words surrounding my body that I feel connect to my body.
Mostly, it is that I don’t think in words. Very few things relate directly to words in my head. The more complex, the more intricate, the more emotionally difficult the thought process is the more likely I am to think outside words. Needless to say, thoughts about my body fall into all three categories. When they are thoughts about the societally gendered parts of my body, it becomes a tangled mess leaving my throat to close up.
Last year at Floating World, I went to a class on FtM cock and ball torture. Suddenly, I was mentally thrust into a world completely disconnected from my thought process– the language of queer bodies. I was unprepared for being unprepared because hell, I spend my of my time in queer spaces. In high school, I went to a queer youth group, a gender youth group, and ran my school’s GSA. In college, I got even more involved. By the time floating world hit, I was a queer sex blogger. Suddenly facing my complete lack of connection to the words other people with similar identities was really difficult for me. To them, the words dick and cock was their own. In my head, it was just as separate from me as clit.
There is only one word I have ever really connected with a gendered part of my body: chest. Not breasts, tits, boobs, or man-boobs, none of them have ever felt like they were actually describing me. Certain expartners of mine might find this surprising because I never corrected their use of that language. No reason why they should know when I never told them. Except whenever referring to myself, it’s just my chest.
Cock is a specific term in my head, and it usually refers to a delightful strapped-on cock with colors ranging from flesh tones to violet. Ideally, green, but green cocks are annoyingly hard to find. Dick, not something related to my body. Clit, a semi-useful term in that technically accurate and not actually connected to me sort of way. And for that reason one I’ve used in this blog more than a few times. Describing other people’s bodies is fine. Describing my own… there aren’t words in my head.
My body is on my mind more these days than it used to be. Particularly, my hesitance to show my body to others. While I have various groups of my friends that have been in more than one orgy (you know who you are) and while I’ve now been involved in some manner with the public kink scene for over a year, in the last year I’ve had a total of one person outside of a relationship see me naked. Two counting relationships (which is actually rather amusing considering my history.) Romping around in my binder and boxers at play parties is pushing my limits, and some parties I don’t even do that much.
One on one, I can deal. I can deal with my own body, the juxtaposition created from spending a decade with estrogen coursing through my veins, and a bit over a year on testosterone. I can not think about it, just think about whatever activity I am so inclined to do. One on one, I can deal. Getting my mind to adapt to one new person at a time being allowed to see my body…
I’ve never really had the opportunity to play with multiple people I’m with whom already comfortable. Adjusting to someone new is entertaining, and rather scary when that idea is multiplied from person to people. It was hard enough pre-T, when someone would first touch my hip and they’d stiffen. They didn’t have to say anything for me to know, they were readjusting how they thought of me. Guys don’t have hips like I do. I’ve seen many incarnations, from nervous hesitation, to afraid, to simple curiosity about what makes me most comfortable. One on one, I can engage with whatever reaction happens. Confusion, nervousness, attraction, amusement… if it’s just one other person, there isn’t a problem. I can have that conversation. I don’t know if I could manage it with two people, and definitely not without fear.
The one time someone tried to make up a new word I rather violently reacted in a negative manner. Admittedly, the discussion was humiliation play, so it wasn’t supposed to be something I liked. The problem was it would have been a total turn off if the person had ever actually used it in play. As in, if they had said it, I would have ended the scene there. No aftercare, complete seperation from whatever happened. They didn’t take my lack of interest in this very well, which was their perogative but had me rolling my eyes. My body is not someone else’s to name. I have granted no one that power over me, and thus any naming of my body, my parts, is entirely mine.
So, things are named without words for the moment. It works for me, and until there are words that suit the names, people can continue using words that don’t offend me. I just have to stop expecting a connection to any word that isn’t a name I’ve granted to that part myself.
One year in, and I’m amazed at the difference T has made. My wrists are still small, but my neck has grown into a size that makes nice shirts more easy to find. My facial structure has changed dramatically, and my legs are a whole lot hairier… well all of me is. I’m growing a decent amount of facial hair, even if it isn’t enough to grow anything fun, it’s still enough that I really do need to shave more than once a week. I revel in the newfound fuzziness of my chest, the furriness of my stomach, and the muscle definition in my legs. I’m ecstatic, and without regrets.
It’s also obvious that there is a long way to go.
I want to be able to be comfortable in my body. A year ago, there was a degree to which no matter how I phrased it out loud, this body was not mine. That is the main thing T did, my situation went from dealing with “this body” to dealing with “my body” in my own head. Except, it is still really uncomfortable.
Sure, there are some things I could do fairly easily to help myself be more comfortable. Lifting weights would probably be the first thing on that list. I’m always more comfortable when I’m stronger, when I’ve got more muscle. But that doesn’t change that when I look in the mirror, my eyes are immediately drawn to the shadow on my shirt showing that I have a chest. A shadow that is difficult to detect for anyone else, looks massive to me. Everyone else thinks I bind so well, enough that I’ve had people be surprised to find out I have not yet had top surgery (though anyone who has seen me with my shirt off would definitely notice.) I see breasts. I see between them, to my new chest hair and I smile a nice big smile. Then I look again at my chest, and so long smile. These are mine, in that they are attached to me, in that I can feel them, but they aren’t mine in that they don’t feel like they belong, they don’t feel like they have anything to do with me.
It isn’t surprising, my biggest body issue that I could easily put a finger on has long been my chest. Especially since senior year of high school when they just grew so much more.
Broader shoulders helps in some ways, but they still are there, still staring at me, and anyone else who sees me shirtless (or rarely, binderless.) Surgery is a thought for the future, not even something being planned yet, let alone something to count on. So, I work on figuring out how to be more comfortable in this body I’ve got. Part of me really wants to try to grow to be okay with my chest. The rest of me responds in a fashion of “Fuck no.” Or points out the irony that would be, seeing as way back when C and I were dating, when I first explicitly told her that I’d ideally prefer to switch name and pronouns (this was definitely not a high point in our relationship, on either of our parts) and she reacted poorly, but had suggested I get top surgery earlier in the conversation. Hopefully that sentence makes enough sense. I want to be able to be comfortable enough to do things like go to The Floating World next summer, and be shirtless in the dungeon. I’d love to go to CampOut and go swimming completely topless. The first, possible. The second, technically possible but highly improbable.
Yes, going on testosterone has done awesome things. The acne is even getting more manageable. But I’ve got so much more still to think on, to process, and to learn to tolerate about my body. In the meanwhile, I’ll go back to squee-ing over my rough cheeks.
I’m both a very impulsive person, and someone who thinks things through excessively. I like contradictions. Or rather apparent contradictions. As much as I’m an easy going person (never ask me where we should go for dinner when hanging out, because 99% of the time I truly have no preference and will NOT make the decision) I get incredibly stubborn once I have decided something. I don’t decide things about the world usually, I have thoughts and ideas, but few decisions. I like the flexibility, the mutability, of my world view. I like options, and exploring all of them.
But when I decide things, it usually seems out of no where, and I stick by that decision. A good example is when I was picking colleges. I toured a bunch, and had a top 3 list, and a “never going here” list, but one day in either September or October, I randomly decided that my top school was definitely my top school and that I would apply there ED. It was out of no where enough that it caused some arguing with my mom, but I had decided. I never applied anywhere else, mostly because I was lucky and got in. But I went from considering all these options, from saying repeatedly that I’d be happy at my top school, my safety schools, that I could be happy at any of these schools, to only wanting one. I had decided.
I keep hoping that one of these day’s I’ll decide what I want to do (as in job) in the next five years of my life. I spend the time thinking about it, but that leads not to decisions, but more thoughts, and more thoughts.
I decided I would go on T years ago. The only question was when. It was something I put off and put off, but once I had decided it was time, I called up and got my appointment. Please note- I don’t like making phone calls. I called to order pizza for the first time in my life in the last few weeks, because I will do pretty much anything in order to avoid calling a stranger (or even someone I know who I don’t call often.) Once I decided it was time, I just did it.
About my only exception to making decisions is when I used to make promises to myself. That past tense is very intentional. These days I’m pretty good about holding myself accountable to goals and such, but I don’t ever make a promise to myself. Mostly because every single one made to myself I’ve broken. From never smoking cigarettes, to never hooking up with a specific person (done more than once), to never crying in front of C again, to never breaking another promise to myself. All of them weren’t just broken, more like shattered into a thousand pieces. So, no more promises to myself. I don’t want to break them, so I don’t make them and even have that on the table. I do my best, and strive to do better each time, promise or no. Fuck absolutism.
I feel like I’m about to decide something. It feels vaguely like an “impending feeling of doom” but without the doom and with a weird feeling of certainty. Weird in that I have absolutely no idea what I’m certain about.
But hey, at least it’s an update.
For some reason I’m not succeeding in writing about current things in my life, little though there may be, so I shall write a memory. Sure, it may be filled in here or there, but I never claimed to have a good memory. But it is rather ingrained in my mind…
It was one of those nights where it was cold-though-not-exactly-winter. Maybe it was a February thaw, maybe it was a cold night in march. We walked, hand in hand, except when our hands broke for a grope, a kiss, a shove, a scratch… anything really. Our hands were all over each other. We walked to the playground, just to be outside, without parents. To not fuck in the car, again. We walked to the plastic playground, lit by the moon and a yellow street lamp casting shadows of trees.
Under the jungle gym, she shoved me up against the plastic tic-tac-toe, and quickly reached under my shirt. She kissed me, hard, as she twisted my nipple, hard. She didn’t do things by halves. She leaned in again, this time going for my neck, biting down and adding to my bruises there. My hands found their way under her jacket and shirt, my nails leaving red trails across her back.
But mostly I remember the moon, and her hand unzipping my jeans and without pulling them down, finding their way under my underwear and sliding inside me. I mostly remember the moon, and the feel as her other hand slid around my neck and began to squeeze.
I stopped breathing. I stopped trying to breathe. I could have still, I think, but I didn’t even try to find out.
She let go for a moment, and I took a few breaths, nodding to her to put her hand back. She squeezed harder that second time, and longer. I closed my eyes, closed myself off from the world. No sight, no breath, and everything began to fade to white as I got off.
I don’t remember the feel of her fingers inside me that night. I don’t remember how she sucked and bit my neck, or how she twisted my nipple, just that she did. I remember how her hand felt, that first time someone took my breath out of the equation.
The next day at school, no one noticed the bruises from her hand mixed in among the hickies. And that was the way I wanted it.
I haven’t written in a week and a half, which is a long absence for me, and also missed two AwaAs. I’ve been good, but busy in my own way, and decided two things. One, I’m going to force myself to write in here regardless of level of busy, and two that I’m switching AwaA to every other week.
Life is a crazy thing. Lots of updates to come on things like my relationship with S, kinky thoughts, and of course, more on transition.
Because getting cat called and honked at by passing cars is not something I am particularly used to. I was walking down the street, to a free outdoor movie, and some guys in a passing car honked, waved, and shouted at me. Now, I was confused for a moment, looked behind me to see no one there. I figured they had to be waving at someone else. Or maybe they thought they knew me? Regardless, I returned to the phone conversation I was having. Then, walking back, I was eating falafel (mm, tasty) and some random guy I passed said “Hey, hoststuff.” Again, I looked around to see who he was talking to.
I eventually realized both times the people were talking/honking/waving at me. Which was really strange. I pass, so that meant they were doing that to someone they saw as a guy? Because for a second I wondered if I just didn’t pass, and then I looked down at myself… Even to my overly critical eye, (chest sticks out too much, god why are my hips so big, etc.) I knew I passed. And if I didn’t, then I certainly wasn’t the stereotype of a “girl” to be catcalled.
Because I’m used to people shouting shit like “Are you a boy or a girl?” or “What are you, harry potter freak?” (I used to look a lot like harry potter, at least, when my hair was shaggy, I had glasses, and I wore my trench coat.) I’m used to “Faggot” or “Dyke.” I’m used to insults, to assholes trying to shit on my one-person pride parade.
But “hotstuff” ?!
Part of me is flattered. I mean, sure it is always nice to know I still look good when I pass. Hell, gay guys finding me cute? Definitely a compliment. But shouting or saying stuff at me while I’m clearly tuning out the world, as in on my cell or eating a falafel wrap, is still being an asshole. My body is not yours to objectify, unless of course we’re in a scene and I’m in a mood to be an object and give my consent to such. But yeah, getting stuff shouted to me on from a car while I’m on my cell phone? Doesn’t matter that you see me as a guy not a girl, it’s still being an asshole. Why? Because you are interrupting me.
I’m all for compliments. I like giving them, and I’ve gotten better about taking them with grace. And know what? I’d actually be perfectly welcoming of someone walking up to me, and telling me honestly that they find me attractive. I mean hell, I met C when her friend walked up to me and said, “You see that girl over there? She’s been staring at you all night.” Another time someone said “I want your cute boy butt.” Neither of these times was I offended. The first left me stammering awkwardly and eventually engaging in a conversation with C. The second lead to a hookup that night. Forwardness is not a problem. Compliments are not a problem. The main difference? Situation.
Walking down the street while on my cell phone, I’m busy in another conversation. No, I have no interest in being hit on. While I’m walking down the street, eating falafel on my way home, I’m far more interested in food than any random person I passed who feels the need to make me feel like an object without my consent. It is situational, it is tone of voice, it is thinking before doing.
It is something I honestly didn’t expect to be dealing with again. Admittedly, the only time I dealt with it before was dressed up for Rocky in high school and running a few blocks from my car to the theater, and it was directed less at me than who I was with. Part of me assumed that with our cultural fucked-up-ness being very much cismen objectifying, I didn’t expect to be the objectified when I pass as a cisman.
Maybe that is its own form of internalized sexism. My mind is still so wrapped up in battling the internalized dialogue of “I’m a freak, who could ever want me,” that I’ve let something else slide.
Because it didn’t happen like I’ve watched it happen to my female-presenting friends. The guy just walked on, didn’t even turn around to watch me walk away eating my falafel. They just drove on after honking and waving and shouting. No follow up, no more harassment. And it mostly stuck out because it happened twice in one day. I was just wearing jeans and a tee-shirt. Nothing special. So part of me thinks I should just be grateful I look good.
But I know that isn’t right. Backhanded compliment of asshole-ness is not something I should be thankful for. Things I should be thankful for? Friends in the area who are awesome and invite me to stuff and thus make me be social. A really great and healthy relationship with S. Good phone calls with Q. Having my brother back safe from Israel. Somehow, being objectified without my consent just isn’t on that list.
Also, I am going to be on KinkOnTap tomorrow! Come join us in live at 8pm. There is a fabulous chatroom too, so it isn’t just listening, but interacting as well.
Yes we can!
And so often, we not only can, but we are. I’m sorry, but this is a major source of not okay by any stretch of the imagination. The way so many debates are structured, that Hispanics voted against gay marriage, that the gays gentrified hispanic neighborhoods, contributes to a lot of privileged language and attitudes which are then perpetuated by the advocates.
Because it isn’t just neo-nazi and other such white supremacist gays that are assholes sitting on their privilege and using it to discriminate. Two people I’ve dated have said, “I don’t mind black people, it’s niggers I can’t stand.” I’m sorry, but your white ass, confederate flag waving self should never say that word, let alone that sentence. (I quickly learned better than to date someone like that. Not being in blood red states help.) Defending that statement with something like, “But I’m not racist, I dated a black girl!” isn’t so great either.
Apparently this is a rant-filled week. I have more coming up. But after seeing that article focus on the extremists and not calling out how racist (and classist, sizist, ableist, sexist, biphobic, transphobic, and otherwise normatively prejudice) the gay and lesbian communities are. Other than a brief mention of transphobia, there is no mention of how incredibly problematic this supposed community treats many members. “Within the queer group identity, the Gs and Ls often marginalize the Ts as an unfathomable ‘other’ – as foreign to their experience as those selfsame gay men and lesbians are from the world of bigoted straights.” Yes, “Gs and Ls” sometimes treat transpeople like crap, but they do it to each other as well, and the article literally did not mention the huge backlash bisexuals receive from those same “Gs and Ls” so often.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone is biphobic, transphobic, racist, etc. I’m saying that many are, and as a group it gets worse. I’m saying we all need to watch our privilege, myself included. I’m saying that the extremists aren’t the only problem…
Fighting kyriarchy means alliances, not divisions. So you can, but please at least try to stop it already.
Hmmm. With all my more angered reactions this week I wonder, has my activist burn-out started healing finally? Must ponder that. Either way, tomorrow comes another AwaA, which will be another more socially focused one. I’ll get back to the sex soon, I promise!
Bathrooms are a big deal for me. The basic functioning of life become a daily series of questions and fears because of the frequency that I must use a public restroom. Every time I step through the door of a Men’s labeled bathroom I start questioning… Is my chest obvious? Are there stall doors? What if they notice? What if I don’t pass? and I am afraid. Admittedly, I am much less afraid here in the Northeast than I am when I’m home in the southern parts of the Midwest, but I am still afraid.
I don’t have an STP that I carry around. Mostly because I don’t have the knack yet (apparently I’m incompetent.) So I sit in fear, wondering if someone walking through the bathroom will wonder why I’m sitting down. Because I pass too well to use a Women’s labeled bathroom. I can’t quote Andrea Gibson saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t feel comfortable sticking this tampon up my penis in the men’s room” with my voice being as deep as it is. Thus, I use the Men’s bathroom… and I sit in fear hoping no one notices I’m sitting to pee, hoping no one notices when my chest isn’t perfectly bound down, hoping no one notices I’m trans, because if they notice I might get my ass kicked. Funnily enough, I don’t particularly want that to happen. I may be a masochist, but for consensual pain thank you very much.
And then, I moved to Rhode Island and discovered a much greater frequency of single-use bathrooms. Maybe it is just where I keep going, like the awesome bakery down the street, or the coffeeshop across town, but there are more single-use bathrooms I’ve come across in this tiny state in the last month than I saw in four years around my college.
This entry is for the Hack Gender project I found online. Wish I could remember who I found it through, but my browsing history sadly doesn’t tell me that.
The other night, I was walking down the street in my midwestern hometown with some friends, both old and new. We were a group of four guys and a girl. Or, to paint a more explicit picture, four FtMs and a MtF, but why would that matter? We were just hanging out, in the “alternative” part of town, when a group of girls walks up to us to play the gender-guessing game.
What, you’ve never played this? Good for you!
For those of you who have not played, on either side, here are the rules- A group of ignorant idiots walks up to an individual or group of people with non-traditional gender presentation. Maybe they’re gay, like some hot butch dyke, or maybe they’re like me and a giant genderfucking transrocking individual. Then the group ignorant idiots proceeds to guess the gender(s) of the non-traditionally presented person(s), and usually in a very rude way. They will get up in your face, stare at your neck, demand you to turn around, take off your hat, and generally make themselves unwelcome.
They finally decided, “Girl, girl, girl, boy… I don’t know what the fuck you are!”
I was the lone boy. We all loved that he got them completely confused, but as we were standing there, listening to this, hearing them not question me, hearing how I passed like that felt great. And then I promptly felt like shit. Yes, I want to pass, but I should have spoken up, maybe added to their confusion, or at least told them that they could take their ignorance and shove it up their asses because we are damn proud of who we are. I should have broken their assumptions and said I am proud of my cunt, I don’t want a dick that I can’t strap on… or off. I should have spoken up, and I didn’t.
Part of it was safety. When I’m back in the midwest, I don’t speak up because I don’t feel safe enough to speak up. Except how can we ever change society if people like me don’t speak up?
We were standing there, and my friends tattoos were staring me in the face from his wrists- “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”
I passed. I fucking passed. In the last few weeks, I haven’t been feeling it. Despite the T, I have not been feeling like I’ve been passing, like my face is any different, like my voice is low enough, any of it. It was the ego boast I needed, and came right about when I needed it most. It felt amazing, and seeing my friend who has been on T a year shows me how much more I have to look forward to. My voice passed, my face passed, they had no questions about me, hell they weren’t even really playing the guessing game with me because they saw no need to. My friends though, weren’t all so lucky. They were labeled by other people, labels that were not theirs, placed onto them without their consent.
It was a moment for a celebration, but rather than use the confidence generated from passing to help stand up for my own thoughts and beliefs, I stood still and silent.
Yet, the next night I was hanging out in another group of fabulous queers and maybe the flirtations of a friend had paid off, or maybe it was the passing of the night before, but suddenly I had the confidence to talk to someone and dispel their ignorance. We talked about everything from violet wands to SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). No, she wasn’t playing the hateful guessing game. Instead, we were in a long discussion where I was talking about BDSM to her; yes, I was talking to her. It was a clear line of information, but the main difference between her ignorance and the idiots of the night before was her willingness to learn. The night before we were approached, taunted, verbally poked and prodded to determine “what” we were, what kind of freaks were standing there. This night though, her mind was open and we were engaging together. The information flowed one way, but the communication was multidirectional.
She didn’t label me, and I didn’t assume she was stupid. That conversation, was consensual.
I have not always identified as polyamorous. Years ago in high school, I was one of those “serial monogamist,” and was I full of fail. It wasn’t that I was “really poly” or “really monogamous,” I was simply really immature. I didn’t know what the hell I wanted, or who, most of the time. Not knowing any better, I jumped from person to person while never quite being content with what was going on, and not respecting myself or my choices. Monogamy is thoroughly ingrained in our culture, and it was definitely ingrained into me.
The last really succesful monogamous relationship I had was with C. And even then, we weren’t a traditionally monogamous couple. Drunken make-outs were perfectly acceptable for most of our relationship. But the real reason why I say C was the last successfully monogamous relationship I had, was because she was the last person who I honestly wanted that kind of relationship with. As wonderful as the people with whom my two attempts at monogamy since C are, it wasn’t what I wanted, and so… things ended.
What people don’t always realize about me as a poly person is that it is something that evolved, and I’ve definitely been the person who has not wanted the openness of polyamoury. For a time, C and I had an open relationship. Except, that time I was on the other side of the coin. I offered the open relationship because at the time it was the only way I saw to keep the girl I loved with me in any way. I spent a lot of those nights being unable to handle what was going on, crying myself to sleep, hating myself for not being “enough,” and at times actually coming down sick as a result. I was in a position of not wanting the open relationship I was in, compromising because I would rather have that, than nothing at all.
At the time, I believed what I had been told. I thought monogamy was “more” than an open relationship or a poly relationship. I thought it was more intimate, more trusting, more… everything. I thought that my non-monogamous inclinations were failings. And it was all my fault.
Since C, I’d come to terms a good deal with myself. Hell at one point I turned to a friend and said, “After [current girlfriend,] I’m not going to jump into another monogamous relationship.” Well, me and that girl ended. Within a few days, I was dating someone else, having fallen right back into a monogamous relationship that ended up falling apart. It wasn’t just because of issues of openness or poly, but trust did have something to do with it. I wasn’t quite being honest with myself, so the next time I got in a relationship I made sure to sit down with her and make sure it was clear that I didn’t want monogamy. Which was fine with her, at the time… A little bit later though? She revisited the subject with me, asking about it and at first it was alright that we weren’t traditionally monogamous. We weren’t poly, but I was willing to compromise. I was open, I was talking… This would work. Until I actually acted upon the openness, and what had been okay in theory, struck a not so great chord in practice. And so we talked about it, and talked about it.
I’ve had people in poly relationships cheat. People ask, “How do you cheat in that kind of relationship?” I mean, I could’ve been dating multiple people, not just sleeping but actually in a serious relationship with multiple people, and it went the same for the other person. What is cheating? Breaking the agreement, the trust, that the other person would tell me what was going on. Or further, telling me the exact opposite of what was happening. Lying is not good in any relationship. But it spells death much faster in a poly one I’ve discovered.
With S, I’m in a different boat. The relationship began with me being brutally honest about the fact I’m poly… and the reason why. At the time especially, I was frank about still being entangled with C, and that the only solid thing I can say about C is that we are definitely not in a relationship. (That is usually the only definite thing I can say about C.) S though heard everything I had to say, and still decided to enter into the relationship, which is doubly surprising when I consider how terribly I put much of those statements. I did not say it well, and only fed a lot of her insecurities. But here I am, happily dating S, and for the first time in years I’m confronting things like jealousy and insecurities of my own. And despite that, I am really happy about things with S. We have a lot of the key things needed with poly relationships, namely trust and a startling ability to communicate. We aren’t ace at talking to each other, but when something needs to be talked about it comes up and we talk about it. After everything before, it is an amazing dynamic.
I don’t see the fact that there have been times when I have wanted a monogamous relationship as necessarily me being deluded into wanting what society ingrained into my head. Sometimes, yes that has been that. Like when I jumped back and forth between two girls during my junior year of high school. Nor do I think that I am “really” poly, and will always be poly. Things change, people change, but here and now, I’m happy with my life.
Actually, Tristan’s is on my “to buy” list. But hey, that’s life. Btw- anyone heard of any other simiarly good books? I’m always looking for reccomendations.
This blog contains sexually explicit material, so please be of legal reading age for your location. Any questions, concerns, or things you don't want to leave in a comment, feel free to email me at xmechbeyond AT gmail.com
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