It is insulting to use my birth name. It is insulting to use female pronouns for me. These are really obvious (at least for most people who find their way to my blog or exist anywhere in my life.)
Plenty of CAFAB (coercively assigned female at birth) people identify as female. Some identify as male. Some who use male pronouns, go through transition, change their names, etc. don’t identify as trans, but as male, as a guy. Calling them anything but what they identify as is insulting, derogatory, and all around shitty.
I am not one of those guys.
One of the hardest things I struggled with throughout high school was the thought that I couldn’t be trans because I had no desire to become a man. I wanted T. I wanted chest surgery. I wanted to change my name, but I never wanted to become male. It took me a while to get my mind beyond the gender binary. Once I did realize I could be me without having to become a guy, I was immensely relieved. Reading Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw was a relief. Being surrounded by people for whom gender and sexuality weren’t either or options, or even a spectrum, but instead a giant twisted knot of confusion was a huge relief. My identity as a person evolved drastically in that space, mostly because I acquired and developed language for what was already there. Language like queer and trans.
Trans to me means both across and beyond. Trans is something I’ve written about a good deal, because it’s on my mind a lot. But when asked more specifically about my gender, I falter. I end up going into explanations of the universe, and occasionally hyperbolic space, because physics is the only way I can conjure up images of both the complexity and vastness of my view of gender. My gender isn’t static. I live with a series of dynamic identities that flow into each other, mixing, swirling, splitting, growing, and dying. Gender has gone through all of those. I am not a man. Sometimes people think I am a boy, because that is what it sounds like I say. On rare occasions I am, but more often, I am a boi. I am a person, though sometimes I am a creature named Creature. On occasions that creature is a baby dragon, though not always. Something that many people find surprising is that I don’t identify as genderqueer, and never have. For some reason, I have a gut reaction against identifying with that particular word. Gender variant, trans, transgender, hell even “other” feels more appropriate to my identity than genderqueer.
Queer I’ve written about less, because queer means different things to everyone. To me, it is a lot of things. It is the beyond bisexual label. It is the gender variance I live. It is my choice in partners, my approach to sex. It means creating space where no is appreciated, and touch can be request, question, demand, and desire all wrapped into one. It means being poly, in that I can (and do) fall in love with multiple people at a time, as well as sleeping with a variety of people who I like. It means I am kinky, and a switch, taking joy in things others do not with others who likewise take joy in such things. In part, queer means to me queer theory (though not necessarily gained through typical academic means.) Approaching the world with a common dialect and background with a mindfulness that is sometimes hard to find other places. It is bridging the gaps between all those things, and the world beyond these frequently “othered” borders.
Except trans, queer, all of it aren’t statements to me. They are conversations. Constant conversations with myself, and with other people. Yet, I surprisingly rarely talk about it with my friends. We talk around identity, but rarely actually ever have the conversation of “what does queer mean to you? how do you see yourself? how do you see me?” A litany of questions that are rarely asked, and it seems that is true among many of the queers I know.
In fact, I have so rarely been asked such questions that last summer when a friend asked me about my gender I completely blanked on an answer. My rather drunk ass couldn’t think of a coherent answer, despite being something I think about quite often.
At the same time, I don’t ask either. I don’t assume I have any clue what queer means to other people, but I don’t ask. In part, it isn’t really my business. In part, I’m a quiet, shy, awkward individual who tends towards silence anyways. Except those are just parts, and I’m still filling in much of the other blanks.
I love the word queer, on many levels. From the fact that it encompasses more than just my sexuality, into my gender, and certain aspects of politics and community, to that it means odd. I’m more than a little odd, and I’m more than a little queer. I say queer, and people ask me what I mean.
Except in so many instances I dislike the word queer. It’s incredibly frustrating that those not familiar with queer communities don’t ask. It’s unfamiliar, confusing, and not helpful in connecting with different groups of people. More than that, I have huge issues with many parts of various queer communities. They can be self-isolating, unrealistic, judgemental, and occasionally vicious. That is true of most communities at one point or another. But as I’ve heard from strangers and friends recently, so often it is those in the queer (or kink, or other such) community that judges and turn in on each other. No one has come up with a way to keep out the assholes and douchebag.
Carol Queen used a term that I am coming to really enjoy. “Beyond Bisexual.” I don’t identify as bisexual, because I am interested in so many more people than just two of the variety of sexes or genders out there. Except, that is a word that a lot of people understand. There is a lot of meaning there, of biphobia from within straight and GL communities alike. Hell, even I’ve gotten the “so you’re greedy” comments many bisexuals get, and that was without even mentioning being poly.
I’m not exempt from the biphobia found within queer communities. In high school, I was very angry at this one group of girls who would get drunk and make out with other girls and call themselves bi. I dealt with so much shit. I was the school dyke, and anyone could take one look at me and tell. I got asked “are you a boy or a girl” walking down the halls. They got attention, positive attention. They got boyfriends from those makeouts. It pissed me off. I had gone through confusion, harassment, etc., and they got none of it… and they weren’t “really” even bi! Yeah. I judged. I was one of those policing douchebags. I also grew up and got over myself. A lot about the situation in high school was fucked up, but getting angry because I thought of them as “supposedly bi” only contributed.
Once out of that situation, I chilled a lot. Many friends of mine in college did similar things, making out with their female friends while drunk… while having boyfriends. I didn’t get angry, hell I probably encouraged. A good number of them don’t identify as straight either. I didn’t even think about the connection until recently, at the 5 College Queer Sexuality and Gender Conference during the wonderful keynote by Michelle Tea. She brought up the drunken make-outs, how so many queers police those who partake in them, and that she herself started out that way. Between that, and something I do not recall that my friend next to me said, I started thinking about my role of policing queer identities in high school.
I’ve been on multiple sides of biphobia. I don’t want to discount it, but I also don’t want to discount my much broader sexuality, or risk obfuscating my own non-binary, non-spectrum, and very fluid gender identity. Beyond bisexual takes a word with a history, uses it as a launch pad, so I can go soaring towards the stars. Mainstream people can understand it enough to ask “what?” because it is grounded in a term they understand (whether or not they believe it exists.) Moreover, it’s a term that is specifically sexuality focused. I can use it, expand on it, without having to deal with my explaining my gender. Which is something that degenerates into fluid dynamics and 4 dimensional images of the universe.
Beyond is part of the title of this blog for a reason. It is an expansive word. Beyond bisexual can mean anything from attraction to more than two sexes/genders to going beyond attraction based on gender and into sexualities based more around specific kinks, personalities, etc.
One of the great things I learned about the word (prefix really) trans is that it doesn’t just mean across or on the opposite side… it means beyond. Trans lunar means beyond the orbit of the moon around the earth. Transcendent, transhumanism…
Yes, I’m a word nerd.
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.
Years ago, while wandering a college bookstore during a summer camp, I came across Dykes to Watch Out For, which really helped me deal with things like “that girl is hot” or the more terrifying version “my roommate is hot.”
In the second book, before it gets into the storyline involving the recurring character that are delightful even in their stereotypes, there are a few ‘random’ strips. One is about internalized homophobia, a lesbian haunted by anti-feminist/misogynistic/sexist thoughts in the form of a “total woman with a pitchfork.”
I don’t have a total woman with a pitchfork in my head, but I understand the sentiment.
And it is damn tiring to wake up every morning and have a 50% chance of a glance in the mirror focusing in on my hips with the thought “why won’t they go away?” It is tiring to glance down at my chest and know that though everyone else sees me bound so well, to me my chest sticks out. Internalized oppressions suck. Probably an obvious statement, but somehow I’m usually seen as not having any. I have opened up to a few friends about those incessant thoughts, like that being trans makes me completely undesirable to other people. I don’t very often, because in part I don’t like to complain but also when I know what it is, for me it ends up perpetuating the internalization by speaking it out loud and giving it that voice, that power. And it is damn tiring to have that constant drone of internalization.
But what is worse is that I’m so tired from arguing with my own issues that I don’t call people out nearly as much as I should. Like last weekend, sitting at a gathering at my friend’s place, some guys (who I just met that night) started saying some unfortunate things about mental illness. They had zero clue they were being offensive, but suddenly the light hearted party had me very guarded. My friend looked at me and quietly asked if I wanted her to say something, and I shook my head. Maybe I wasn’t the only person there who had an issue with what was said, and maybe if I hadn’t been there to shake my head, my friend would have said something. But I was just too tired to engage in that conversation at that time, or even be around it. Too tired of fighting my own personal demons to try to educate another person.
It isn’t always like this. Some days I’m soap boxing and nuking like the best of them. I’ll correct the friends who try asking me my birth name, and explain why it is insensitive, and call people out for their misuse of language. But after a while, explaining for the umpteenth time that I don’t ID as a man, I do not want to be a man, and my taking testosterone does not make me a man, and that my experience is only mine not no one else’s so for the last time stop placing another identity on me… all that, just isn’t worth it quite often.
A friend once said of me, “Don’t know how he identifies, but pronouns as a dude.” I always liked that, pronouns as a dude. No terminology like male or man in there. Just dude, and not declaring me one, but saying pronouns as a dude. Simile rather than equaling.
I just can’t figure out how to convey an existence of greys and colors to a black and white world without always calling others out, without always correcting people and talking about it all the time. Because I’ve got battles to fight in my own head too.
Recent adventures have included my computer breaking. From my battery to my logic board (yes, computers have logic boards, and when they break the computer goes illogical) I have new parts and this is the most functional my computer has been since I got it almost three years ago. They also gave me a bunch of free upgrades in programs that I’d otherwise have to pay for, which was awesome.
Other adventures include tearing through novels like I haven’t since high school, and reading books on spirituality. No computer? I read. A lot.
And now it is back. So I’m back.
T is interesting. I’ve grown a lot. My feet jumped a size, or a size and a half. I’m a lot broader now, no longer so scrawny. As in, my shirt neck size went from 13 1/2 to 15 1/2, and my sleeve length got longer as well. On the upside, this means I fit into regular shirts now. My sideburns are starting to come in. I really do need to shave more than once a week now, though much of the time I’m still lazy and only do it about once a week.
Still endlessly hungry. Still have a kicked up sex drive. I’ve adjusted to the second, but the first is being a much larger problem than it should be.
But one of the most interesting changes for me throughout transition is that my reactions to pain has changed. The way I feel pain, when S bites me (or when my friend bites my arm and leaves a bruise for a few days) is completely different than before. Not just more or less, but an actual different sensation that is really hard to explain. Stingy pain hurts so much more, as well as very different. At the same time, despite the fact that I’m processing pain differently and needing to completely relearn my limits and thus am far more sensitive than I would be if I knew how things would feel, I’m still needing the pain just as much. But I also like causing pain. About two and a half years ago I realized that I couldn’t date someone who wouldn’t give me pain, and hooking up would be difficult. About a year ago, I realized I couldn’t date someone who couldn’t take pain, and hooking up would be even more difficult than the former. I like pain. Be it the bite marks on my arm, or the scratches on someone else’s back, pain is really important for me. Which makes being so unclear about my own reactions to pain really damn frustrating.
And not frustrating in the fun way either.
Eventually, I’ll figure out how things are working with my body.
Travelling is always a bit of an experience, especially when flying and having to deal with airport security. This is what I wrote while sitting in an airport without wireless last week while travelling:
I’m, not big on flying. It isn’t the airplane part, minus the motion sickness and tendency for my ears to kill with pressure changes regardless of how much stupid gum I chew. I’m not afraid of flying, but I really am not big on traveling that way. Or perhaps I should say “this way” as I am presently sitting in an airport.
The government has new delightful ways to invade a person’s privacy as we travel through security. Laptops must be out of bags. Shoes must come off, leaving us to walk through security in socks or bare feet. To travel with film, you need to ask them to hand check it, giving you lots of unfortunate looks (And yes, even though TSA claims that the X-Ray machines don’t expose film under 800 ISO, it does. So really, get it hand checked if you happen to be like me and still do film photography.) Metal detectors are no longer enough, not anymore.
What happened to the country of Franklin’s “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither.”
Oh wait. We never lived in that country. At least, it hasn’t existed here in my entire lifetime.
Now though, instead of a simple metal detector there is a backscatter machine. Step inside, and blurry images of people without clothes pop up. Apparently the images are “stored in an off site location” even though they claim that said images are “not saved.” On so many levels, this machine made me uncomfortable, so I opted out. Yes, there were signs saying anyone who wants to may opt out, and that is what I did. Glad I made it to the airport with plenty of time because opting out meant waiting a bunch while they got the guy to pat me down.
Opting out meant a pat down, a very close, personal pat down.
So this older TSA guy was patting me down, and first got very confused as he touched my upper back (I travel in a Frog Bra over a binder, because airplanes are uncomfortable enough without my binder digging in) and once he got to my waist, he finally walked over to where my ID was and looked at it carefully. He called to someone else, and they both looked at my ID, then back at me, then told me to wait a moment. A few minutes later, a girl walks over, and says, “I’m sorry about that.” What are you sorry about exactly, that a male patted me down when I am legally a female? I really was tempted to say something, but bit my tongue and sighed instead. She then said that the pat down would be more extensive, and would go over “sensitive areas” so she would use the back of her hand. Interestingly enough, the guy never said this, even though he was going to be touching similarly sensitive regions. Apparently, ass and groin aren’t “sensitive” areas on a guy, but they are on a girl?
So, she pat me down. Extensively. Back of her hand and everything.
Turns out, I managed to forget a pencil in my pocket, and the TSA agent needed me to unroll my sock for said pat-down, just to make sure that there wasn’t anything hidden in my rolled up sock.
And the most uncomfortable part of all of this for me? No, wasn’t that some random guy was patting my ass (in the name of security) and it wasn’t even the change to a female TSA agent. It wasn’t even the realization that apparently as a guy, my ass and crotch aren’t sensitive areas that was the most uncomfortable, though that was probably the most confusing. The most uncomfortable was the moment that I had a very attractive female kneeling in front of me and touching me up from the ankles up to my waist. Because know what? Yeah, that made me feel fucking awkward.
But really, my gender is now identifiably on demand any time I fly because I will always opt out. I will always take the pat down over the backscatter machine, for political reasons I really don’t feel like typing out. And anytime they happen to notice that yeah, I have an “F” next to gender on my license, I will have a woman patting me down and that can put me at physical risk. Because I’m not changing that gender marker until I will not need any future medical procedures that health insurance will only cover for women, so I am putting myself at physical risk every time I fly. Maybe it is paranoia, but for my gender to be put out there in such a public manner throughout the USA is not safe.
Yeah, that was my gender filled moment on my trip. Other than that, I do believe it was the first time I flew when the person taking my boarding pass didn’t apologize for calling me sir at first.
Tomorrow, I get to act like a fool (in a good way,) spend time with good friends, be with S, and probably even dance. Which might have something to do with the fool part. Tonight, I spent time with friends and had a blast at a movie. Today, I had a good day with my mom. Yesterday, I got a bit more of my life in order. Things fall into place.
Maybe, maybe not. The puzzle pieces are going together and everyone keeps asking me what the picture is. Y’know what? I don’t know yet either. (/bad metaphor.)
I have never wanted my life to be an 80s movie. At times, I have wanted moments from certain films, but they were always 90s movies. Yeah, I’m a 90s kind of person, what can I say. But, somehow along the way my romantic, movie-esque side got squashed. In high school I aptly refered to myself as, “A romantic who’s hopeless, and probably a hopeless romantic.” Also, that line turned out to be great for online profiles at the time. Regardless, I gave flowers to the girls I dated, in fact I gave them their favorite types. I learned how to say ‘I love you’ in a ridiculous number of languages, as well as the different gendered ways to say it in each depending on how I felt any given day. Yeah, over-the-top high school romance. I did it. Badly, often. Cliche at times. But highly entertaining, and if nothing else, it was a lot of life crammed into some really hellish years.
Romanticism died. I used to have songs for everyone I dated, but that hasn’t happened recently. My last big romantic moment I threw away on a girl who it turned out wasn’t worth it, though I can’t actually regret the choices I made. Maybe I’m just jaded, and interested more in the slap, the bite, the dance against the wall in a room so crowded I’m grinding as much with the person behind me as S in front of me. Sure, it can be romanticized, but somewhere along the way, I buried that piece again.
Because part of me will always have a soft spot for candle lit nights, even though I want that hot wax dripped across bodies throughout it as well.
Dating requires a certain amount of self-assertion, of putting oneself out there enough to get rejected. Except the rejection I can handle, it is the self-advertising bit I’m not so great at. I’ve always let others come to me, rarely gone after anyone. I can’t advertise myself though. Self promotion is why I fail at cover letters, and only after a good amount of training could manage interviews. I don’t do it well, much like I don’t take compliments particularly well. I blush, and get shy and embarrassed because I have absolutely no idea how to react. Trying to compliment myself? Yeah. Not happening.
Somehow all of this relates in my head, besides just being under the category of ‘dating/hook ups/relationships/etc.’ My mind connects my lack of romance to my lack of self promotion… that there is a causation somewhere in there that is significant.
Just haven’t found that significance yet.
Sorry for the lack of updates, been recovering/getting life in order so that I don’t accidentally end up having such large gaps in entries. But, the other weekend I attended the Floating World 2010, and had a blast. So here is my entry on it!
I don’t quite know when I started thinking about myself as a kinkster, as someone in the BDSM scene. I mean yeah, the first physical relationship I had included the obvious BDSM characteristics like a safeword, and there was definitely kinky play, like knives, choking/breath play, hitting, scratching, biting, and intentionally drawing blood. But as of FW, I had only been “in” the more public BDSM scene, the community, for like six months. I had been to one major event (the winter Fetish Flea) one play party (in NYC) and sure I talked about things at KinkForAlls, and yeah I did go to the summer Flea, I still feel very like a new comer.I know the words, the gestures, anything I could have read about the community… but being a part of that community is a new thing. So, I pushed myself. I felt uncomfortable, and pushed myself. And I’m really glad I went.
There were massive number of classes, some of which I attended, many of which I did not simply because it was not possible. Classes began at 9:30am and went until 12:30am with breaks for lunch and dinner… but still, that is a ton of classes. Needless to say, I want to many of them.
The first class I made it to was run be the fabulous Lee Harrington, and was called “Inner Monster: Tops.” Basically, it was a chance to sit down in a room full of tops/doms/dommes/masters/etc. (and switches speaking from that perspective) and talk about all the things that we in the BDSM and kink community don’t talk about. We talked about the taboos of our little world, from not giving aftercare to nonconsensual situations. In many ways, it dramatically altered how I looked at the rest of my time at FW. I began thinking a lot more about what was being said and what was not, looking at how certain assumptions about “how things should work” existed in our quaint little isolated culture. It also began my semi-stalking of Lee Harrington for the con.
The next class I went to was by Cleo Dubois, which I went to because it seemed like it would help me with topping/doming. Instead it was a kind of bleh presentation with a power point… and then a fairly cool scene. The things I got out of it were eye contact can be a great tool, and making people reenter a space if you don’t think they are in the right mindset can also help a lot. Oh yeah, and zippers rock.
Then, after dinner and meet & greets, I went to Dov’s class on mindfucks. It was fun, though I was a bit sad that S went to that class with me simply because the whole point was mindfucks made easy… which really aren’t as easy when the person I’d be mindfucking is sitting next to me. After that, we went to the super cool class on FtM CBT. Yes, there was a class on cock and ball torture for people like me. And it was awesome. It was run by Lee Harrington and Bo Blaze, and they talked about everything from how for some people this could mean putting needles through their packer, while for some it could mean putting needles through their actual bits. S got a lot of evil ideas from this class. Apparently she got a whole list of ideas, though I have yet to see/hear/feel them. We’ll probably go over it soon.
The next day I woke up early, just to go to the “Making Leather” class. It was good. Little to say about it other than that it was exactly what I expected and wanted- an intro class on making stuff out of leather and talking a bit about the tools and leather and places to get both without paying too much money. That day also had me attending a class by Barbara Carrellas on breathing. Yes, breathing. It was a cool class, but I think to really get a lot out of it I’d need to spend a lot more time working with her on my breathing. Though I did learn that orgasms from breathing alone are actually possible, as in, Barbara has sat in an MRI machine which showed her brain registering an orgasm without stimulation besides breath. That, I thought, was awesome.
Later, I went to a fabulous class run by Mollena, who wore her “International Ms. Leather 2010″ and began the class by walking around and personally introducing herself/saying hello and shaking the hand of everyone in the room. That alone kicked ass. And then she started talking, and engaging with the ‘audience.’ It was about boundaries, about what those words mean, how people mean different things by words like “limit” or especially “hard limit.” She was fabulous. People were bringing up cool things. And again, Mollena was awesome, had great stories, and told them hilariously. Needless to say, after such a great presentation, I stayed in the room, and enjoyed another Lee Harrington class (he had been in Mo’s class as well… oops?) about energy exchange and how we focus so much on safe sex, but not on safer magickal sex. It was awesome, and I got up the nerve to actually ask a question relevent to my life. Someone had asked about how to stop attracting toxic people, and my question was what about being attracted to toxic people? Lee’s response boiled down to that’s a class (at least) by itself, here are some things to go read.
That night I played with puppies. Go read about it below.
The next day I slept in because I was a very tired xMech… and then went to a fabulous class called “Creative Disobedience: the Art of Being A Wiseass.” I liked Zac’s comment to me about this, “You needed this class why exactly?” It was so much fun, and the presenter, Laura Antoniou, was truly entertaining. There were delightful stories, there was frank honesty, and there was fabulous movie references. “I’m shocked, shocked to find cocksucking going on in here.” (props to whoever knows that movie.) Kept making me think about how often I used to quote movies in a wiseass manner, and how I really should start doing so again. Then I went to another fun workshop, this time by Scot, on Liquid Latex. It was a lot of fun. Scot is a lot of fun. And, as it turns out, is friends with my friends. But we got to watch a hot girl get covered in liquid latex, and then as it was peeled/torn off. It was fun. By that night, I was again exhausted. So, I went to low key classes, like Wendy Blackheart’s Buttsex, which I went to because Wendy is awesome, and buttsex is always fun, and I didn’t need to pay attention to the basics, just keep an ear open for things I didn’t already know. Same goes for the final class I attended, which was Dov’s class on knives. He had pretty knives. Also, I want a straight razor. Maybe I’ll even start shaving with it.
So that was the classes I went to. The abbreviated edition. There will be entries to come inspired by thoughts from those classes. If you have any probing questions, feel free to comment/email and ask :D.
I was not big on the dungeon. Part of this was simply that I am uncomfortable with my own body and having my shirt and binder off in such a public space, which severely limits the ability for S to top me. The bigger issue for me was the lights and sound. The lights were really contrasty between the darkened ceiling, the bright lights, and the reflective tendencies of the floor. Also, lots of loud music. There wasn’t a quiet corner, or at least, quiet enough for my overly sensitive head. Needless to say, after the first night, I took some Excedrin from Tylerpup, and had a much better time.
However, there was a lot of really cool stuff in the dungeon. There was suspension frames, there was essentially a jungle gym looking thing, there was a play area, there was a pony area, there was a medical area, st. andrews crosses scattered about, and at one point, a ten person suspension on Zac’s 2 ton frame. That was an impressive moment. Also, I had fun walking around and seeing the little things I had done/the things I had helped build. Even though I didn’t play particularly much in the dungeon, there was an energy to the room, a feeling just from walking around, and it made me happy to be there, surrounded by fellow kinksters, perverts, and deviants.
That first night though, found me and S in the back area, where it was a bit darker, cuddling, and talking a bit. She’d have to jog my memory for me to know what we were talking about (as my memory is like swiss cheese) but I remember the mood I was in then. It was pensive, vaguely depressive, dark, relaxed, tired, pained, and analytical. Not really the best mood for public play, though common enough for my head.
The second night, however, was a blast. I had leashed S, and we went off to wander the dungeon, perhaps for inspiration. We ended up near where friends were their puppy selves, romping around on a mat, watched over by two owners. S went into kitty mode (if she wasn’t already) when it was decided we’d stay and play. After a bit, I asked her if she wanted Creature to come out, and she replied with a strong affirmative. So, I took off my shirt, and thought a moment, and started romping with puppies as Creature, in my binder. We all got a lot of “Aws” and a lot of cute responses. It was a lot of fun to play with the puppies and the kitty. There was lots of biting, some scratching. And a ton of scritches. So many scritches. And I was a happy Creature who kept getting scritches, and had adorable (and hot) puppies and a kitty to play with. And they all seemed to like my creature noises.
After that, thought it wasn’t in the dungeon, we briefly went to the pool party. As I hate being submerged in water, i just sat with my feet in the water. Lots of nudity. It was fun, and then bed.
Oh, I also got hypnotized at one point.
I met a lot of fabulous people. Made friends, got closer to people I had met before, things like that. Amusing moments included when a friend apparently realized/found out that I’m trans, on Saturday. So the second day of the conference, and we had hung out over the summer, and every mutual friend we have knows… somehow he didn’t actually know. Apparently he guessed, but only because I look so young for my age (I’m lucky if people think I’m 18 or 19… which is a problem when I’m buying alcohol.)
When I first checked in, we were all told to sign the release with our vanilla name, our “real” name, our legal name. For some in the BDSM scene, their real name is their scene name not their legal name. And for those like me? I mean, my “real name” is one thing, which is different from my “legal” name (as I have not yet gotten a legal name change), which is completely different from my scene and blog name (xMech.) They did not do well at specifying what name initially. Then when I got up to deal with registration, the person behind the table checking me in starting talking at me about how I could get my gender marker changed on my passport, as some family member of theirs did. I walked away thinking, “Well, you’re trying at least? But really, wtf- my legal gender marker is none of your damn business.” Also, there are complications, and yes, I did know they had recently made it easier to change on passports. Wasn’t the best impression I got at FW. On the upside, I definitely had many better.
I got lots of scritches, and some bites. I got to give quite a few bites as well.
At one point, over some meal or other, I was sitting down with some of my more newly made friends and a person I didn’t really know, and the topic ended up on anti-war activism. It was interesting, because I’m pretty sure I’d actually met the person I didn’t know before, but wasn’t up for the whole “So I was in DC at this time, at this event, where I think we met through this organization” and instead went with “So you know my friend so-and-so?” Which she did. Trust me to go to a kink convention and end up in a really engaging discussion about anti-war and peace activism and the military industrial complex. Also, we talked about food. My kind of conversation. My kind of people.
Sadly, one of the people I was sharing a hotel with got sick right before FW. Turns out, it was whooping-cough. So we were down a person in the hotel room, but even worse, Zac lost his vender’s assistant. I stepped in at one point, and held down the fort with Tylerpup to give him a break. Met some fun new people that way, also got to play around a bit with some of his stuff, which is always fun.
Lots of fun things happened. I’m really glad I went. Even though there were moments, like of me being exhausted, or feeling uncomfortable, where I wasn’t having a blast, I learned a lot, and pushed on my boundaries. I got a sense of where many more of my boundaries were. So that is my long overdue write up on floating world! I should be back on track to writing a lot more frequently again. Hopefully I won’t have another giant down month like August was anytime soon!
I remember the first time I really had to engage with my own word choice and change what I was saying. I was never one to use “gay” let alone “faggot,” “dyke,” “cocksucker,” etc. in a derogatory manner. Hell, the only time I ever said “carpet muncher” was in a community theater production in high school, in which we were going through a list of synonyms for going down on a cunt. (Oh, the fun we had with that one.) But I grew up knowing some words were hurtful, and so I didn’t say them.
But then one summer a counselor at summer camp heard me use the term “gyp.” As in, instead of saying, “I was cheated,” I said, “I was gypped.” Common word, and I had never thought about it. I mean, it wasn’t like I was saying gay, or retard, or even cussing. It wasn’t the n-word, so it wasn’t racist, right? Wrong. Damn, was I wrong, and as soon as my counselor explained I realized how wrong I was. Gypped, for those who do not know, is short for gypsies, the Romani people. Using a negative word for an entire ethnic group to mean “cheated” made me think, and had me start working on my usage of the word. A few weeks later at another camp a friend of mine came up to me because he knew that I was Jewish. Apparently, a counselor on his backpacking trip had said to him, “Don’t jew us out of dinner now.” I was blown away. How could the counselor think it was okay to compare Jews to cheaters and thieves, smirking as if it was funny? That isn’t funny, that’s anti-Semitic! Oh wait…
And that was when it really sunk in for me.
There is a lot of fucked up language, and subsequent policing of language. What is fucked up depends on the people involved, as different people have different views on such things. Many people would police my use of cuss words such as fuck. Other people police for “PC” reasons, which has been dismissed in disturbing ways. I’m sorry, but it’s not a joke to tell a kid not to “jew” you out of food, no matter how much smirking goes on. Just like it isn’t funny to call some one a faggot. Know what? Being anti-PC doesn’t make you cool, or intelligent. I’m not for blind censorship of words, or being correct in a political or non political way. I’m for thoughtful language use and discourse. Recognizing that certain words/terms can deeply hurt someone, and not just offend them, and recognizing the reasons why, the history behind the word, makes a huge difference. It isn’t about subscribing to a philosophy. It is about respecting the people around you.
I’m big on respect. Respect for others, I do my best with, and generally do a decent job of it. It leads to me getting called “sweet” a lot, and having friends be very surprised when they discover that I can be an ass, because respect is a fundamental aspect of my life. It’s self-respect that I need to work on the most. But respecting those around me by doing my best to conscientiously chose words that do not harm others? That is something I find more than worth the extra effort.
(Also, as a fabulous final note: wordpress’ spellcheck does not know the word ‘gyp.’ Good for them!)
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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