taiWelcome! I’m Tai Scarlet Kulystin, the creatrix of Purveyor of Pleasure. I am a somatic sexuality educator, occultist, professional harlot, and gender & relationships coach. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

I identify as a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and prefer the pronouns ne/nem/nir or they/them. I spend a lot of my time thinking about sacred sexuality, sacred kink, relationships, the body, queer theory, depth psychology, erotic psychology, sexological bodywork, and so much more. I'm in a long-term live-in relationship with my partner Onyx, and I also have a few other relationships and lovers.
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Dying, Dying, Dead

I am dying. I am dying. I am dead. Pulling parts of myself away from the tangled mess I have weaved together throughout all these years. Endless pain and discomfort in the name of growth and abundance. What needs to die? What needs to be reborn? Strips of self that I have taken the time to mold out of experiences now need to be carefully separated from the rest of me, the parts that are useful stay, the parts that hold me back must go. Where do I go?

My back is hurting from stress, from the weight of the words that need to come out of me, but that I am having a difficult time getting onto the page. I cannot sit in this chair in a way that does not hurt me, it seems, in a way that keeps me embodied. I am out of my body, attempting to be in my mind only while writing about embodiment. How does that work?

I am carving out my space in the world. Bringing pieces together from culturally disparate places and creating a whole. At the same time I am digging deeper into myself and carving out spaces in my psyche where I can fit as well. I don’t fit anymore. I need to take what does not work and transmute it into something that does. I take myself apart so I may be whole.

My body is uncomfortable. I have a weeks-long headache of exhaustion and perfectionism. Yes, I’m having a hard time giving that up. It’s coming to the point where I do not have a choice.

I am weaving together my own ideology, my own theology, my own sacred sexology. Embracing on all the strength I have in order to focus and get this done, and it is not enough. It will be enough. Eventually it will be enough, as long as I can die. As long as I can clear this channel, get rid of this blockage, let this part of me go, it will be enough. I am enough.

My body is here. I am here. I am whole.

Stream of Consciousness Life Thoughts

Instead of attempting to do a catch-up post before I write the “real” post by trying to recap all the things that have happened since the last time so many ages ago that I posted on here, I just need to write. I’ve been doing so much writing the last few years, but so little personal writing. Grad school has sucked up all my writing time and now that I’m writing my thesis I’m going a little bit insane. I am having a difficult time getting words down on the page, however, and I’m hoping that a bit of a free write will assist with that.

I’m struggling. As always, it seems. I have had so many epiphanies and breakthroughs and beginnings of changing long-ingrained patterns, but it never seems like it is enough. And I suppose it will never be enough, because if it was I would have nothing else to work on or nowhere else to grow. I would like a breather, however. Can’t there just be a time with a bit of a relaxing, settling down, and not working on any major shit? No? Okay.

I’ve changed so much in the last few years, even just in the last year. I used to be terrified of, well, just about everything. Of myself. Of other people. Of getting what I want. Of my own power. I’ve been on a path of discovering and rediscovering my own personal power and shedding those things that have been in the way of my embracing and expressing it. My pathways were clogged for so long, and finally some bits of my own light are able to come through them and shine out of them. Still not all of them are clear, and others are gathering new gunk, but that is one of the continual processes.

Golden Dawn spiritual work, grad school, my father’s death, relationship changes, explorations in polyamory, coming into my own as a Hierophant and High Priestess, all these things have shifted and changed me internally to the point of sometimes I actually realize how strong and competent I am. Other times I am still frightened of the world and my part in it. I’m still insecure. I’m still socially anxious, self-deprecating, and uncertain of myself a lot of the time. I have worked on and healed a lot of wounds and changed old patterns for the better, but I still fall into the old pit of depression sometimes.

Aside from the stress of school and relationships, however, I am arguably the most content and least depressed that I have ever been, or at least for as long as I can remember. I am doing my work in the world, and sometimes failing at it. I am at least moving toward my work in real and tangible ways, and getting better at what I do.

I am not as enlightened or close to my ideal self as I would like to be, but I’m at least working on it. That is something. I’m grateful for the chance to be getting this really ridiculous self-designed degree in a subject that doesn’t even seem realistic or plausible to the majority of the world. I realize the privilege in that and am astounded by it. I think I’m calling it Sacred Erotic Psychology now, though even that isn’t quite right. It’s gone though a bunch of different iterations.

Relationships are consistently a struggle right around the end of the quarter. It’s like all the stress likes to get saved up until right at the end. So that’s fun. Onyx and I have had some rough patches in the last few months specifically, though we always go through alternating rough and smooth times, as is the nature of long-term relationships it seems. We had a period of really great connecting after a major shake-up in our relationship due to a rather major breaking of our agreements just before the end of last quarter. We both have come to a lot of insights of our own patterns in relationships and the patterns in our relationship with each other that we need and want to break. It has been really useful and there have been lots of growing pains. The period of connecting was really lovely and some of the best moments of our relationship in recent memory, but that too was broken and we’re now in a slightly awkward phase again. Yet not as awkward as a lot of the last year has been, so I don’t know. Only now there is a limited amount of time and energy available to really get back to smooth due to thesis writing.

So. Thesis. Yes. I need to be writing about the theoretical orientations that are foundational to my thesis, as well as historical background related to the body that informs my thesis, and the beginnings of articulating my own theoretical synthesis as well as my praxis approach. It’s a lot.

My current thesis statement/elevator speech is this: I am articulating how I as a practitioner can present eroticism as an embodied experience of love that promotes and nurtures intra-, inter-, and trans-personal connections. By integrating our embodied and mythological experience of our minds, hearts, and body/genitals though the process of identifying the disconnected parts needing to be integrated and using a variety of psychological and bodywork techniques to foster mutually beneficial relationships between ourselves and these parts we move toward experiencing and expressing our Whole Erotic Self through embodied sovereignty. This is important because loving connection and embodied erotic experiences can advance our own developmental learning, enhance our quality of life, and benefit the earth.

Not bad, right?

Struggle

I’m feeling small and sore from beating myself up today. I’m thinking a lot about what it is like to practice gratitude and self-compassion, and trying to practice it. I’m wondering what I will be like on the day I find myself much closer to the non-perfectionist end of the perfectionism spectrum and am able to marvel at the change that has occurred.

I’ve been trapped in life-paralysis for so long, waiting (not consciously) for some external force to knock me back into reality, but I’m realizing the messages I’ve been getting: the only way through it is through it; do the fucking work.

All of my life my self-worth has been connected to my accomplishments. I was told “what matters is that you do your best,” but then what was considered “my best” was also dictated to me. I was praised for excelling and giving disapproving and disappointed looks when I didn’t meet the acceptable standards. This wasn’t so bad, as I often excelled, but I also became terrified of not producing perfect work.

I have been struggling. The last year and a half has brought many things to light as I’ve worked to excavate my own self, my own darkness. I haven’t known how to ask for help. I still don’t know, as I don’t know what will help, but admitting it is a step. I have been struggling with so many things that I haven’t known what to do or where to start.

As I’ve been struggling, though I’ve also been working and I’ve been healing. I’ve been doing and changing and growing. I feel stronger and closer to that person that I want to be than I ever have felt before. I’m simultaneously nearing the end of one path and beginning another.

But, still, most days I’m struggling. I can find the strength in it and I can give it a positive spin, but I’m still hurting. I’m still feeling small and sore and there is still a part of me that is whispering “you’re wrong to feel this way” and “you’re not good enough” and “you don’t belong here.” There’s still part of me that is paralyzed and living in a state of constant fear of being found out. That part that thinks that some day everyone will realize I’m not really as interesting, intelligent, awesome, skilled, attractive, insert-positive-opinion-here, etc. as they think I am, that I’m really just unworthy of their time, energy, and love.

I know the things I would tell a client or friend who admitted this to me: everyone experiences this to some extent, some less than others, but you are not alone. I would tell them that part of themselves as their best interest at heart, it thinks that it is helping, that it is somehow keeping them safe against the threat of shame and judgment, that it really just wants them to be happy (even though its tactics are not useful). I would encourage them to feel love and compassion toward that part, to thank it, to engage with it, to work to integrate it. I would encourage them to hold themselves accountable, but also cultivate self-compassion and imperfection. I would encourage them to sit with their feelings and find where they’re rooted in the body. And so on.

These are all things I’ve told myself and am working on, but there are some days when that paralyzing part is the loudest voice inside of me. There are many days when I just break down and witness myself being paralyzed. Today was one of those days. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to be imperfect. Telling myself to lean into the discomfort and embrace vulnerability. To fake it until I become it. To do the fucking work. To Breathe.

Spiral Out Not Down

Sometimes pleasure is really difficult to access. The more stress and overwhelmed I am the more I get away from those things that make me feel good, and, ironically, from those things that resource me. My unparalleled attention to detail combined with my overactive imagination and my tendency to over think gets me in trouble more than it helps.

In the last year I’ve been gutted, split from clavicle to navel and opened up so I could see what was inside. I’m still figuring out what I found there. I’m still figuring out how to integrate that knowledge, what to keep and what to discard. I always strive for change within myself and know I can be better, stronger, faster, but I am never satisfied no matter how far I’ve come.

Of the many relationships in my life (romantic and not, sexual and not) there are very few in which I feel truly seen, truly appreciated. There are some in which I feel suffocated by the projections bring placed on me by the other. There are some in which I am able to catch glimpses of recognition. Mostly, though, I don’t allow myself to be seen. I rarely feel safe enough to allow myself to be seen, but my idea of what safety looks like is a pretty narrow band.

I’ve been greatly inspired by the work of Brene Brown lately. I’m trying to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to open up more, but it feels so… open, exposed, and like the weaker position. I know it’s not weaker, but it is a less strategic position. It feels like a less powerful position, because if I just lay myself out there than the other person can poke at all my vulnerable exposed flesh and organs. They can do as they please, without reciprocating unless they feel like it.

I try too hard. I try to be what I think the other person wants more than I try to be myself sometimes. I’m not being inauthentic, but I am not authentically showing all of myself when I do this. My own fears and insecurities bubble up and I think I have to hide some part of myself or another in order to be liked, in order to be okay. Part of me knows I don’t need to do this, but part of me worries that if I show all of me to someone they will run away screaming.

Like anyone getting a Masters in Psychology I can trace this back down to childhood. I can point to the wherefore, but I can’t always identify it in the moment.

I keep reminding myself to expand when I get in this state, rather than contract. While there is a time and a place for contracting it doesn’t seem useful. I need to push past my level of comfort and allow myself to be open, be exposed, be real. I need to stop overthinking and just be. I need to confront the parts of me that tell me to contract, to shut down, that tell me I’m not not interesting enough or not worthy of the attention. I need to recognize that I am interesting, that what I have to say is important, that it isn’t selfish to talk about myself, that other people want to see me. I’ll get there eventually.

Stained

I want to open you
to yourself.
Show you the beauty that lies within,
Help you fill the void inside you,
That empty place
that can be full.

I want to crack you open
like a pomegranate,
Taste your bittersweet juices
Until my fingers are
stained with you.

I will lift you up to
the mirror of my soul,
Reflect you back to yourself
So you can see all that you can be.

I will not heal you,
That is your work,
But I will point you to the key
So you can heal yourself.

The Things I’ve Learned

I’ve taken a break from the internet in the last few months, specifically this break has been from the online persona I have been developing on this blog since 2007. I experienced a mental breakdown of sorts, a deep depression that was catalyzed by the death of my father but had begun long before he passed. I had to step back from life and to go inside of myself. I no longer had the strength to keep moving forward so I stagnated for a while. It was necessary.

Life has been on an upswing for the last few months. All the things happened at once: I was beginning to feel like myself again, Stian and I were getting closer, and I began a few new relationships. Since then school has been figured out, I have a lot of ideas for the future and plans in that regard, and all my relationships are developing positively. More and more lately, however, I’ve been realizing just how much writing on here has meant to me, and I want to get back into it.

I have other ways of expressing and processing my thoughts and emotions now than I did when I began this blog. It is easier for me to talk openly and honestly about those things that are close to my heart. While that was a big part of my development of this blog it was not the only purpose of it. In my time away I’ve realized just how important writing is to me. I’ve had to do a lot of it in school, but that is less flow-of-consciousness writing and more actually-having-to-plan-things-out-and-be-organized writing. While I enjoy both types, there has been a distinct lack of the former in my life as of late. For a while I was so internal, so closed off, that I was unable to write, I was barely able to breathe. Now, though, I feel the desire to share pouring out of me.

Dance has become an integral part of my life experience in the last few months as well. For a long time I forgot how necessary it was to move my body in that way. I did a lot of dance when I was younger and I have wanted to take a class for years, but just never got around to it. I began taking a couple swing dance classes in November and began another three weeks ago. I hope to continue as best I can in the upcoming months, but travel plans will get in the way somewhat. I have aspirations of taking bellydance and burlesque classes as well, and who knows what else. It has become as important as sex to me, as important as breathing. I need to remember to dance, preferably every day.

What else has changed and shifted in the last few months since I have been away? I’ve been on a femme swing as well. My gender presentation has embraced femmeininity to the nth degree. I’ll certainly be discussing this in an upcoming post. Onyx and I have moved from being non-monogamous and theoretically poly to having other partners, and there have been shifts between us and our relationship as well both because of this change and because of the natural progression of our relationship to each other. Again, there will be a separate post. Or probably many separate posts.

There’s so much more needing to pour out of me, but this is where I begin again. This isn’t complete (is it ever?), but it is a (re)start.

06.27

2011

Protected: A Study in Motivation

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Check-in

Every once in a while I wake up and realize that something I used to be passionate about has become a chore and that new passions have taken over for the old ones. While writing is still a passion for me the idea of having a schedule for it or “needing” to do it is just simply tiring. I’m not sure how to fix this at the moment, but it’s something I’ve been meditating on.

Having the Kink Academy posts to write each week has put into perspective how little I write on this blog anymore. I start dozens of drafts but either end up scrapping them or writing over them with a different draft idea that rarely comes to fruition. Hell, my oldest drafts are from 2008.

The same could be said for my review blog. I have dozens of products to review right now, most of which are far overdue, and yet I am having difficulty focusing on them and actually getting anything out. I am still passionate about sharing my experience with and knowledge of toys with other people, but I think having so many toys to review just became exhausting, I never felt like I was getting anywhere, just producing post after post.

Perhaps that is the problem with blogs in general, even when a post is finished there is the next post to think about. It is an endless pull at my mind at all times: thinking about what I want to write about next.

I’m getting more passionate about creating and organizing, making space for others to share their own voices and for me to share my knowledge and experience with others. I am starting to see beyond the scope of me and into the we in a way that I’ve always wanted to but not had the ability to do before because I had too many of my own stories in the way. It is quite exciting.

So, this is my check-in, I’m thinking about my projects and figuring out how to make them better. I have something big in the works as well as lots of little improvements on everything else. I have people interested in making art with me and am figuring out how to do it. I am still committed to this writing project specifically and am excited to begin bringing aspects of myself into it that have not been seen before.

Growth requires the temporary suspension of security.

Ride the Spiral to the End

Just when I think I understand my identities the universe decides to throw me another one. It’s understandable, really, I’m forever expanding, growing, living laterally, and I don’t look at identities as fixed entities but as forever fluid, changing/shifting/evolving right along with me.

I’m not frustrated or upset by this, it’s actually quite amusing to me, but it usually disturbs my daily life until I integrate it. I tend to analyze whatever new is coming up in me individually before bringing it to anyone else, too, which doesn’t work too well. I think that I’m just going on as usual, but I’ve come to realize that what actually happens is I become internally-focused and often my sex drive suffers because of this.

Such is what has been happening for the last few weeks. I finally started expressing the sudden desires that have been arising in me lately to others which has really made a difference. I think part of the internalization had to do with me needing to make sure it was “real” before I told anyone else (whatever that means) and being somewhat afraid of making it real by voicing it to another person.

Words have power, and declaring something for a partner or the universe to hear is a pretty big thing in my world, not something I want to do idly, hence my hesitation. On the other hand, it would depend on the language used, and the language I did end up using wasn’t limiting or certain in any way.

I think the other part of the internalization was being afraid of it. I guess I should actually tell you what I’m talking about, shouldn’t I?

I wrote about it a little bit right when these feelings were starting up: for the first time I can remember I’m experiencing some body dissonance1. It has been a bit of a bumpy ride since I wrote that post talking about being Many/And Not Either/Or and about my masculinities being shy, not in a bad way just in a new and unexpected way. Maybe a roller coaster is a better description than a bumpy ride.

Not long after I wrote that post Onyx and I attended the Delving Into Power workshop. I was in femme drag the first day, boy drag the second (including a button-up shirt and tie that night), and somewhere in between the next. I realized at that workshop that I was tired of being read as a woman. The next weekend at the Aphrodite Temple I was mostly in femme drag in devotion to Aphrodite, but I found myself desiring a flat chest at the same time. Since then I’ve had this fantasy of figuring out how to make that happen: to bind to a flat chest but wear a (semi-)low-cut shirt at the same time. I’m not sure how that will work.

I say that this is new but I can’t say I haven’t thought about transitioning before. Mostly I wrote it off, though, especially because I don’t feel particularly male or butch/masculine. I do know there are femme trans men out there, though, but for as much as I want to have a flat chest and sometimes I wish I had facial hair or a deeper voice I also want to have hips and breasts.

Perhaps needless to say, I’ve been binding a lot more lately and dressing in a more masculine way with a flare of femininity. I actually find myself more interested in flashy eye makeup when I’m dressed masculine, my glitterfag coming out perhaps. It is rare that any gender expression of mine aligns completely with masculinity or femininity, usually it’s some sort of genderqueer just like me.

My makeshift binder is a little too big on me now, though, so I just recently bought an actual underworks binder (988) which I should get tomorrow! I’m actually quite excited about this. Looking back on posts I’ve written and the progression of my gender over the last many years I’m not at all surprised by this new phase, I’m actually somewhat surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

Expressing all of this to Onyx and now writing about it helps clear up some of the dissonance somewhat, making it easier to get out of my head. The disconnection I was feeling with Onyx while I was analyzing everything is definitely gone, which makes our relationship easier on so many levels. I have a feeling we’re going to start playing more with my boy selves together, too.

Ultimately, I don’t know where this is heading, and I won’t until I get there. I’m firmly committed to this gender journey, though, to keep going no matter what I find. I’m reaching out to embrace whatever may come, not knowing what it is, but excited for the opportunity to grow and change and learn.

  1. often called gender dysphoria []

Why Do I Do It?

The day of my first public workshop on gender came and went so I’ve been thinking a lot about why I want to be an educator. It was just a couple months shy of a year ago that I wrote “I want to be an educator, to teach topics that are interesting, to help expand people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics.” In some ways I’ve been doing that for a while on here, expanding people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics, but it’s definitely not the same as teaching a class on gender or sexuality out there in the big bad world.

So, what calls me to it? It’s not the money. It isn’t exactly a wildly lucrative job. Sex educators are not making money hand-over-fist, in fact many of us do not make much money at all doing what we love. It’s not the fame. I don’t see myself becoming an internationally renowned sexpert or anything like that, not that I would be against it should that happen, of course. It really is all about spreading the knowledge.

I really love sharing knowledge. Turning people on to a new fact, concept, or idea and/or expanding their consciousness and awareness is extremely gratifying for me. It is something I’ve always wanted to do. It is something I am called to do.

Really, I’ve already been doing that on this blog and my other projects for years online and now I’m overjoyed at this new step in my path: actually teaching classes and workshops. I will probably be teaching about one class a month as part of The Living Love Revolution1 which is seriously fantastic. I have many ideas for the future as well, including teleclasses and doing more skype and phone consultations for those who want coaching from me.

Speaking of, I’ve been working on a new professional site2 in the last few weeks and I’ve been working on writing a mission statement. I want it to express what I’m about and my purpose for doing what I do. It’s still in the works, being crafted by my mind one word at a time, but when it is ready it will be up on Joyful Pleasure.

  1. I redesigned the site, also, have a look! []
  2. it’s not done yet, but you can go look if you want anyway []