Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: one day at a time

On the Love of Self and Selfies

August-September 2015.

August-September 2015.

Selfies are the self-portraits of this current technological age. They tell you a lot about how the person sees themselves; how they want to be seen by others. The angle, the tilt of their head, if the smile is candid or staged, forced or relaxed, or even there at all.

In this age of social media we can (to some degree) control our image: how we are seen, what info about us and our lives is shared, and what is not. Sometimes. Sort of. We can try to tailor our image to fit into what we want to look like, who we want to be, or we can bare it all, our prides and our failings, letting the viewer or reader decide what to keep and what not to.

At the same time, we can only control so much. Other people will post about us, post pictures of us. Other people will see what they want to see, what they can see. What people see will always be filtered, not just through their screens, but through their own perceptions and life experiences, their own projections and assumptions. Do they have context for your words, your hair, your clothes, your all of you? Do they have to fight against their own or your own illusions to see you, or are you real and genuine? Are they real and genuine enough to see you?

How much are any of us related to reality?

I love posed professional-looking glamour shots, candid photos when no one knows a photograph is being taken, group action shots capturing an experience, and everything beyond and in between.

Sixteen. December, 2002.

December, 2002.

I used to hate photos of myself or having my picture taken, a reminder of this body I also hated. This Self I kept hidden and locked up from the world, buried beneath flesh and blood and muscle. Buried deep in some hidden corner of my heart. I tried, often desperately, to stay alive in a world that does not want my kind, which in a world that desperately needs us.

I was praised for emulating others and discouraged from expressing what I genuinely thought or wanted or needed. So I locked myself up so tight I often forgot to breathe. I forgot to move. I forgot to dance. I made a small space inside of myself where I could be free, and I called it paradise. It was a cage. Bits of me leaked out, because I could not help it, but inside I was frozen. Lonely.

I learned to adopt others’ ideas, others’ perspectives, others’ personae just to keep me alive. Though there were plenty of times I did not want to be. I thought for many years of the ways I could end what felt like the torture of living. I never really had access to knives sharp enough in the hardest moments, never a hand steady enough to apply the necessary pressure in the right places with knife in hand. Some kind of self-preservation sabotage, or cowardice.

Just one more day, I would tell myself. One more moment. One more breath. One at a time until the numbness takes over again.

Feeling nothing was often preferred to feeling everything.

The suffocating overwhelm of hopelessness was always more than I could handle.

Sixteen. December, 2002.

December, 2002.

Paradoxically, perhaps (in that way that life is), I found my outlet on stage acting larger than life and speaking four hundred year old lines about love, longing, pain, death, betrayal, revenge, cunning, magic.

I identified with longing: longing for love, longing for belonging. I identified with the uncertainty of desire for life, search for a sense of self, and mistrust of others. I identified with fighting to stay alive against seemingly insurmountable turmoil.

I let other stories, other characters, other personae infuse my being. They lead me back to some depth of myself where I had been hiding. Slowly. Only ever slowly. I got little glimpses of life then through these, glimpses of what life could be, though I never felt like I was part of it. Always a little removed, always a little numb, always a little (or a lot) the outsider. Always terrified of ridicule and mostly indifferent to praise, unable to really believe just about anything as real.

Although acting brought me back to myself, it was still more for others than it was for me.

I woke up one day and realized I was terrified of the world, of the other people in it, and, most importantly, of myself. I had designed a life around this fear, attempting to keep myself safe through hiding, locked away from the world in hopes that would mean I would no longer be hurt.

Determined to understand and integrate the fear, I began to investigate it. Where did it come from? What is real and what isn’t? Why do I act the way that I do? I had already been asking myself some of these questions, but did not realize just how numb I was. Just how locked inside. Just how broken.

June 2014

June 2014

I began to crack open the shell I had built up around myself over so many years, letting the outside in and the inside out. I embraced vulnerability, connection, change. I began feeling again. Deeply. Not just when I was having sex, but all the time. Sometimes more than I could bear.

Somewhere along the way I realized I was missing love for myself and trust in the world. The more I love myself the more I am able to take up space in the world, to be comfortable with who I am and what I am doing. It’s cliche, I suppose, but cliches are cliche for a reason. As I began to love myself more, I began to take selfies and revel in them. Or maybe it was the other way around.

A selfie, for me, is not just about finding the right pose, the right angle, though sometimes it is. It’s about sharing a moment in time, even if my smile often looks the same. It’s allowing myself to open up to myself, open up to the camera, open up to the viewer in a way I used to abhor. It’s showing myself off to the world. It’s taking my place in the world through allowing myself to be in it and take up (digital) space.

January 2016

January 2016

Two Months

Today I did my ninth shot of T, which makes two months that I’ve been adding testosterone to my body intentionally. I have had so many shifts and feelings about it since I started (since well before I started, really), and I’m endlessly glad I am doing this. It is showing me a lot, more than I can even hope to articulate. It still feels right and I still want it, though I’ve definitely had my struggles so far along the way (which I’m told is usual in this process, but I think often we just hear the positive side of transition because it’s an easier narrative to give and it’s way more vulnerable to show uncertainty with something so often misunderstood).

I am also so grateful for the support I have in exploring this and making this shift, this transition. Everyone I have talked to about it has been understanding and interested in a way that hasn’t felt objectifying, and the comments on my first post about it were so lovely they still occasionally bring me to tears. Onyx​ has been amazing on every level throughout this whole process, and living with someone going through similar experiences has been so useful.

It’s been interesting to experience my conceptual and embodied experiences of my non-binaryness, femmeness, and genderqueerness in this new context, the context of taking T. These aspects of myself have been central to my identity and embodied experience of the world for a good decade now, but I find my relationship with them is shifting as well as I go through this new experience. I am more confident and comfortable with them as I engage in what is often thought to be only for binary masculine people. I’ve been eating up as much media from other femme, non-binary, and/or genderqueer trans guys, which has definitely been helping, and I know that I am not alone in the way I feel and experience my gender and the world, but it’s also a struggle to be so outside of the norm.

I have had to challenge a lot of the narratives I (and others) have about testosterone and what it means to be taking it while also occasionally succumbing to or fighting off the urge to look and present more masculine to make it easier for others to see me and understand me and for myself to really embrace this transness of mine. I have had to define and redefine what it means for me to take testosterone, and I’m still not completely sure what it means, but I do know I want it. I like how it feels and who I am when I’m taking it and I like what it is doing for me, even if I’m unsure sometimes. It’s this body-based knowing and sense that I am doing the right thing that keeps me sane a lot of the time through this process.

I struggle with using the words “man” or “male” as I don’t feel those are accurate for me, though they also feel so much better than “woman” or “female” ever felt. Therefore also “he” feels way better than “she,” and this has been true for a while, but “they” is still where I live. Guy feels good, in an almost gender-neutral sort of way, but genderqueer is still where I live. As I’m feeling more comfortable, though, too, I am caring less what others refer to me as, and that has been one of the best gifts of this so far.

I’m slowly discovering this thing that I’ve kind of known for a while, but that I haven’t really had the experience of: that I can actually be me. I can actually be me the way I want to be and be seen. I can be a non-binary femme trans genderqueer (guy) and I can also be comfortable with people not really getting it and misgendering me (to a point, of course, and it still stings sometimes more than others), but because I’m actually doing the things I need to be doing for myself I’m much more comfortable. I’m more comfortable in myself, and that’s what’s most important.

Ever Changing

My life seems to be shifting in new directions all over the place, and with that comes the need for change in other areas. I have far too many things on my docket and I’ve mentioned before about needing to get organized, unfortunately I can’t seem to do that. It’s a common scenario, and I can blame the last week of non-accomplishment on my mother visiting and doing things with her, but even before that I wasn’t getting everything done that I wanted to.

It would be less of a big deal if I didn’t actually want to change. I’m trying to learn to focus with joy but I seem to not be prioritizing the way I would like to be. How does one get on top of this sort of thing?

On the flip side, I’m thinking about a new name for this blog. Something more androgynous, maybe, or something less identity based. I kind of like the idea of going back to The Feminist Fucktoy, except I’m having some weird feelings about the term feminist lately, mostly it’s connotations. While I think it’s important to reclaim a word I also don’t like the things carried out in the name of feminism that seem overtly non-feminist (in the way I understand it). There’s a longer post in there somewhere, and one I plan on writing… eventually.

What does that mean? The header might change, I might add another URL to the long list of ones that point to this blog, you’ll still be able to find me. My RSS feed will be the same. I just don’t know what I want to change it to. Cuntpet also has it’s draws, not to mention the added bonus of already having the domain, but I’m also currently and often in the mood to have someone call me Daddy, so that would be too limiting and narrow of a title. I want something that is all of me while also being flexible enough to incorporate new aspects as they develop, is that too much to ask? Well, yes.

In other words, don’t be surprised if you come to this blog one day only to discover it has moved to another domain, another phase in the blog complete, shifting in a new-yet-still-the-same direction, letting this blog evolve as I do. In some ways I’m tempted to start over, something new and different, shed this persona that is not separated from me in any way and do something more anonymous, more free. In others, I embrace the brand I’ve built up around myself and want to continue it. I just need a new phrase for this period.

The Big Question

Found here, it’s actually a shirt (and I bought one)

That is, What Am I Doing With My Life?

Oh, yes, that question.

My last protected post (leave a comment here to get the password) was all about my unsuredness regarding going back to school in the fall for theatre at Cornish here in Seattle. I discovered that because I already have an undergrad education I would not be eligible for financial aid at Cornish and since a year there is ridiculously expensive1 there was no way I could go there. They do not have graduate degrees.

So, I’ve been wandering around somewhat aimless for the last month and a half, applying for jobs, looking into places to volunteer, but ultimately without a greater goal in mind like I had with going to Cornish or, before that, getting my Body Piercing License. I need a goal to work toward. I need a five-year plan. This is how it’s always been and, I think, why the last two years since I graduated (it’s really been two years hasn’t it? Damn.) have been so weird and aimless.

I tried to fill that void with a new relationship, threw myself in to that with abandon and although it didn’t work out I learned a lot in the process. I have been applying for jobs like crazy but am in that fun limbo of overqualified to jobs I have experience in because of my degrees and inexperienced in jobs my degrees may qualify me for. It, in a word, sucks.

Being in this strange limbo and without knowing people here in Seattle who would be able to help find me a job I have been defaulting to making money however I can. I should mention, while I was in Juneau I was working part time and offered a full time position as well. While I don’t regret leaving as being with Onyx trumps everything else I do wish I had the same opportunities here that I did there.

I would still love to get my BP License or do theatre, I have strong interests in both, but they’re less of an option right at this moment as I don’t know a reputible piercer here in Seattle and a relationship like that takes time to develop and the grad theatre programs around here are already full-up this Fall. I like these careers in theory more than in practice, though, I think, because I can still do both of them on an amature level (I love play piercing, and I’m hoping to volunteer with GreenStage here in the summer). So, this brings us back around to the original question.

Oh yes, that question.

How am I supposed to answer this? I read an article about the 20something (white middle-class) youth of today viewing career as not just something you do for a paycheck, viewing it as a core part of self-expression, and I instantly related. I see my time as valuable and think if I’m not doing something I love than I shouldn’t be doing it. This is definitely a position of privilidge, and that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump at the chance to work at a coffee shop tomorrow for minimum wage so I was making some money although I know that is unlikely to happen (though, luckily, I do feel like I’m contributing something to our income since I’ve started selling ads on my websites).

What I have a passion for, though, is sex education. More broadly I have a passion for teaching. I don’t want to teach in a school, though, too much politics and I’m not all that big on kids. I love the idea of sharing knowledge and helping others learn and grow. I said a few years ago that my ideal work situation would be to do workshops and classes, travel all over to do so, go to conferences, etc. Presenting in front of an audience is kind of like doing theatre work. I feel mildly awkward with this desire as my sister is currently doing the same thing in similar/the same field.

At Sex 2.0 this weekend, though, there was a lot of talk about sex educators and the need for them as well as some specific advice I needed to hear2. The weekend previously Onyx and I went to an astrology workshop which had already sparked some ideas into my head. Those two experiences combined with various other ideas has made me come to the conclusion that I need to stop talking about it and start doing it. If I want to teach workshops and classes I need to write up an outline for a class, find somewhere to do it, and do it! What have I been waiting for?

I guess I’ve been waiting for something to inspire me, something to point me in the right direction, even though I had the initial direction down all along I just didn’t know how to do it, or the timing wasn’t right, or something. I also have a deep interest in astrology and have taken many classes on the subject. I also have the great opportunity to go to the Northwest Astrology Conference (NORWAC) this weekend here in Seattle, so I’m hoping to gain lots of information there.

I have some ideas on how to go forward with this. I am also interested in learning hypnosis, there are a number of interesting schools to get certified in that. There are also a number of astrological certification programs, not many that are accredited anymore (RIP Kepler College), but lots of options there as well. All of these things seem to go right along with my degrees as well, funny how that happens.

On the other side of things, I started working on a professional portfolio-type site, I’m writing up ideas for classes and workshops I would be interested in and able to teach3 and once the ideas are done I will start working on outlines. I want to start presenting in the next few months, maybe start doing some free introductory audio classes and then some paid ones, maybe start doing teleconferencing lectures which could then be archived and downloaded (an idea from Sex 2.0). I could also doing personal sexuality coaching, one-on-one emailing/chatting/phone conversations answering sexuality related questions for a small fee.

I have lots of different ideas and interests brewing inside me, including a class/lecture on Sex-Positive Astrology or maybe just Sexy Astrology, combining both sides of these money-making ideas into one.

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. I feel like I have knowledge enough to do this on a basic level plus I am open to learning more each and every day.

Honestly, it is scary for me to express this desire, to admit to these plans I have in my head. The other ideas I had were comfortable, becoming a body piercer or going back to school for theatre, there wasn’t much personal risk involved. Just the idea of announcing this publicly on my blog scares the shit out of me4, and that’s one of the many reasons I know it’s right.

[EDIT: I just wanted to add, I know it won’t be easy and I know it will be a lot of work, and I don’t expect it to happen immediately either. This is my five-year (or longer) plan. This is just the start of the process, the beginning spark of deciding What I Want To Do, marking it out, going for it, and starting to think about how I can make this happen. I’m ready.]

  1. read: $27,000 []
  2. “How do you get into sex education? You just teach a workshop!” []
  3. and apparently I think that every class/workshop should have a title with a subtitle. It has to be something like “Oh My G: Getting to know the G-spot & Female Ejaculation” gotta have that colon in there! []
  4. I was going to have this password protected, but it’s more of a risk to do this publically, maybe you will hold me accountable to my own hopes and dreams if nothing else []

Protected: Focus

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Spiraling Forward

Well, I’m officially moving back to Seattle. I have a one-way ticket for March 17th.

This seemed like an impossibility at the end of November, the end of the triad, and part of me is surprised at the way things turned out, yet I’m also not surprised.

I still feel guilty for the way things ended, and I feel guilty for being with Onyx again when I was so sure that wasn’t going to happen. I allowed for it to happen, obviously, and I’m happy that we have come to a much better phase in our relationship, but I still have this gnawing sense of guilt. Why? Because I told Marla it wasn’t going to happen. I told her we would be with each other, I told her we would be together. I truly believed it at the time, but I spoke in absolutes not knowing what the future would hold.

I still miss her sometimes, lots of things remind me of her, and I wonder how it will be to go back to the apartment where the three of us lived. I wonder how long it will take before it takes on new light and I see it again as my home with Onyx and not where we three lived. I’m sure it will forever be both, but eventually the pang of longing will fade. I look back now and I see how we weren’t right for each other, I know what happened has been for the best, but that doesn’t mean the love I felt went away.

Things with Onyx are so different, so new, it’s almost like a completely new relationship in some ways, and our connection is now better than ever. We were both able to break down many of the walls between us after, in spite of, and because of what happened. We are connecting on a deeper level, I think, and in new ways.

Of course, reconnecting is bringing up old issues too, namely social, things I can just think about while I’m here and don’t have any way of fixing or doing anything about now. I’m worried about the way that we fit together in social situations, I tend to be quiet and even when engaging in a conversation I never seem to get a word in because I’m not a Conversation Top. I prefer quiet intimate settings to clubs or parties, but how does one get to the point of having a quiet intimate setting without knowing people first? I tend to feel left out and even, admittedly, anxious in social situations where I don’t know anyone, or even in social situations where I do know people just not well.

Sometimes I just wish I was more outgoing, but I’m not. I’m trying to change that as much as I can, but it’s not easy.

I’m also battling again with being a queer person in a heterosexual relationship. Maybe this shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is. Sometimes I feel like I am betraying part of myself to be with him, which is an odd thing to say.

I worry about falling back into the rut that we did before, or that we are idealizing each other due to being apart and when we are back living together the changes that seem to have happened will disappear. I don’t know if this will happen, obviously, but I definitely don’t know for sure that it won’t. I am trying not to have that expectation, though, and not encourage it to happen, but I do wonder.

We are at a much better place than we ever have been before, and we have been making plans to do things that we have talked about for a while but not gotten around to. Hopefully we will be getting memberships to the CSPC in addition to planning on attending SEAF, Sex 2.0, Element 11, and generally getting more involved in the community in Seattle.

Onyx will be coming up here on Friday for a week to see the play I am in as well to spend time with me. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of relationship blah-blah-blahing lately on this blog, so hopefully soon I’ll get back to writing some sexy stuff after he’s here!

Civil War

I feel as though I have warring factions within me, aching for battle and unsure of what to do, trying to figure out who comes out on top, but there is no “on top” to come out onto, not that I would have it if there were. In a world of innumerable options I can see them all and wish to partake in all of them, and not just one by one.

It is an ever-constant ever-changing process to become the me I wish to be, and so often I have no idea how to do it. I look at the past to help inform my present, to see what worked and what not to do, but I can only do so much without the freedom to explore beyond the limited space I am in now. I am made up of not just one but many dichotomies that are constantly at war and trying to figure out how to live together harmoniously.

As much as I don’t believe in binary systems for most things because these ideas are so solid in their construction it does often feel like I am being pulled in two directions. I must be one or the other at any given time as both cannot exist in the same moment or in the same space. It’s okay to have different aspects in yourself but for them to be existing at the same time seems to be something that is not believable.

I’m tired of rigid lines separating me from myself. I feel constantly torn, constantly at war with the sides I am told are opposites. They do not feel like opposites. I never am not one while presenting as the other, so how do I adequately express myself?

So I am exploring and learning, growing, changing, as much as possible but it never feels enough. I don’t know how to become who I will be, I only know how to be the me I am right now. The trick is to be okay with that and only that in the moment while striving for better.

Rediscoveries

Now that I am somewhat outside of the relationships that have consumed me and took over my life for the last eight or so months I find myself getting more in touch with my needs. I am glad to have so much alone time and time to focus on me as me rather than me in a relationship. I’m thinking about this blog again much more than I have for the last few months, though I still have more drafts than posts.

I have so many different aspects of myself that I’m trying to appease all at once and am realizing there is no real way for me to do that. They are easily expressed by what appear to be binaries, but only because of the limitations of language and binaries being so ingrained in our way of thinking/expressing. There are multiple facets within each of the “binary” (appearing) identities, such as Top and bottom each having different aspects of power roles as well as sadomasochistic roles and kinks and fetishes of their own, and there is a multi-identity as well, such as switch. The same is true for my gender identities, though they can be broken down into femme and fagette there are multiple aspects within each and a multi-identity being genderfluid or multigendered.

I’m getting back in touch with the kink side of me, which is sad that somehow it got lost in the relationships I was having, but also understandable. The ability to have sexual intimacy was strained basically since July when Marla moved in with us, and before that it was strained as well for different reasons. This impacted a lot of things, but the little sex and sexual intimacy we were able to have was almost always short and usually fairly vanilla.

Specifically I miss bottoming. I haven’t done a lot of it in the last few months at all, though I have done some Topping. I actually miss more than bottoming, I miss submitting, and these days I often find myself desiring intense power play situations. I miss analyzing things on here as well, and having things to analyze beyond the triad. I realize I used to write a lot about power play, especially being a feminist submissive and all that can come along with that, back when my site was Fem(me)inist Fucktoy. I just miss power play in general, so much that I’ve actually gone on IRC and done some anonymously, though it’s no substitute for the real thing.

Onyx came up here for New Year’s and leaves tomorrow, which was good timing considering the desire for bottoming I’ve had. We’ve had a wonderful week so far and it has helped me remember how well we work together, how we used to work years ago before a lot of other things started getting in the way. I still don’t know what that means for us as partners, however. He’s been my lover, my friend, and my family for over four years and I hate that he spent both his birthday and the recent holidays alone, which was a big factor in my wanting him to come up here, but not the only factor. However, I still feel broken and damaged. I wonder when I will be able to trust anyone again, myself included. I still maintain that I need to be alone for a while, and he knows this and is willing to give me the time I need while still being able to be in touch and see each other.

Juneau is a good place for me to be for a while, to heal my wounds, to figure things out, to rediscover parts of myself I lost or forgot about. I’m not yet sure how to reconcile everything I feel inside, and often wonder if it is legitimate. I am still trying to figure out the underlying desires and drives which cause me to act how I do, but it’s a life-long task which may never be finished. In many ways I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

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