Purveyor of Pleasure

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

Category: Discourse (Page 2 of 4)

Owning It

I seem to have gotten past the point of trying to nitpick my identities and settled into a space of simply sitting back and enjoying them. That’s not to say that I’m not still analyzing and overanalyzing my identities at the same time, but I’ve gotten out of the “but what does it all mean?” funk that I seemed to be in for the better part of the last year or more. Instead of being obsessed with being seen by others as whatever given identity I want them to see me as I’ve settled into the realization that it’s not a failure on my part if I’m not seen a certain way.

Gender was a great source of questioning and anxiety last year in particular, before that it was my power/bdsm identity, and it seems as with my switch identity I have settled happily into a fluctuating identity. My genders seem to fluctuate greatly, there are times when I feel extremely compelled to present femme, which has been recently, and other times when femme just doesn’t fit as well and I lean toward the boi and fagette. I’m coming to feel like fagette is my home planet and femme and boi are the two I take frequent jaunts to on my spaceship (see: Gender Galaxy), which kind of makes sense in that fagette feels to me to be more androgynous, something else entirely, and closer to my core genderfluid identity than the presentation of femme or boi.

Overall I’m genderfluid, genderqueer, or any of the other words used to describe a non-fixed-in-the-ever-pervasive-binary and non-fixed-in-general gender. I enjoy playing with all types of gender expression. My gender is play. My gender is drag. While gender is definitely more than the clothes we wear that is a huge identifier and I do tend to dress femme most of the time, mostly because skirts are just damned comfortable (especially when you have long labia and multiple labia piercings). I also find it easier to find plus size feminine clothes that I like than plus size masculine clothes that I like. I have these damned hips to thank for that.

Instead of looking at presentation as a way of limiting myself by being unable to present the multiplicity or fluidity of my being I’m simply letting go of those worries about what others might possibly think of me and contenting myself in the knowledge that no one can have a whole idea of who and what I am because that is constantly in motion and constantly changing. If someone chooses to latch on to the idea of me as a fixed identity that is their problem and not mine.

I can content myself in the knowledge that I can be the inspiration for new and ever changing thought processes in others and in myself simply by being myself and allowing myself to be at every moment. I allow myself to simply embrace my identity at any given moment without the hangup of what I felt the last moment or what I might feel a moment from now. It’s truly freeing and inspiring.

There Is No Settling Down Without Settling For

I found this via twitter the other day and it struck me, so I wanted to share it and my thoughts on it. This isn’t a new video, it was posted in February of 2009, but it’s new to me and may be new to you. It’s Dan Savage talking about his idea of “The Price of Admission” for long-term relationships and how the best types of relationships are ones that make you better. Watch, enjoy, and see my thoughts under.

This is something Onyx and I have talked about quite a lot, and it’s not a new concept in many ways, but I do think that he is telling it in a way that is just well thought out and excellent. This idea of The Price of Admission really makes sense. With all our happily ever afters we grow up believing that there is some sort of perfect person out there who will fill a piece of ourselves we didn’t know we were missing. Those who grew up cynics like me never really had that fantasy, but I know plenty of people who did. I can’t say I was completely above it either, but being polyamorous definitely helps in that regard as well.

I think it’s part of my poly outlook that compensates partially for this one perfect person trope, since that’s part of the reason I am poly. I don’t believe that one person can complete another, I believe we are complete beings already but that we are all also intertwined and need each other for other reasons, but not in order to be complete. On that line, I do believe that any individual needs more than one interaction, whether or not that is sexual or romantic is another story, but I’m open to the possibility of sexual and romantic partnerships other than the one I have with Onyx, though I’m not actively seeking one right now.

Poly tangent aside and back to The Price of Admission. The PoA is really something everyone does in every kind of long-term relationship, friendships included. We ignore the little things that bug us (as much as we can) and focus on the things we love about the other person. If you are constantly looking for perfection in everyone else most likely you won’t have any friends and you will be a hypocrite. No one is perfect, but I do think that two people can be perfect for each other and fit together well.

I love his theory about the growth that can be inspired by long-term relationships, as I think it is really true and has definitely been proven true in my relationship with Onyx. Through encouraging the person/people you are with to be that lie they wish they were, the person they present in the beginning of courtship when they are trying to woo you as best they can you are then encouraging them to growth and to become that better person. Everyone does this, not just lovers but also friends, and it doesn’t always have to be a lie necessarily, we all have different personae that are still us even if they are ones ignoring the flaws.

It comes out similar to many cliches I’m sure we’ve all heard, such as real friends know everything about you but still like you anyway or there’s no perfect person only those perfect for you. Like Dan says, the most successful long-term relationships are ones in which you don’t just put up with the things that irritate you about your partner, but you actually accept them and make room for them in your relationship.

Equality in Inequality

I was sitting at his feet as we watched a show, the most normal of circumstances, my head resting on his thigh and his hand in my hair, and I came to a micro revelation. This isn’t really new, I’ve written about this same thing before and it’s how Onyx and I have operated for quite a while, but I had not really put the pieces together as to why I’m considered a “bad” submissive by some and why I had such trouble accepting some of the submissive tropes I had heard in the past.

I used to have more trouble submitting than I do now. I was told constantly that in order to submit I must think of my Top/Owner/WhatHaveYou as someone better than myself, higher than myself, someone to look up to not just literally. I was told that in order to be a submissive I must think of myself as less than or inferior.

While I will admit there are things which Onyx is better than me at there are just as many things which I am better than him at. We’re pretty fairly balanced as far as skills and intelligence goes, I believe. For a long while I had trouble with this concept because I was trying to fit our equality, or equity, along lines of a differentiated power dynamic.

It was from me sitting at his feet, my hair being stroked as I laid my head upon his thigh and we both watched the screen before us, that I understood this difference. For me it’s never been about being less than someone else that makes me want to submit, it’s about relinquishing control to another and trusting someone else completely enough to do that. Enjoying being treated like Onyx’s pet or prized possession, has nothing to do with being less than him or inferior to him, but is simply the dynamic we choose to enact.

The power dynamic between Onyx and myself comes from a place of equality. We are equals and because we are equals I can choose to be his property, because I have power I can choose to give that power over to him. If I had no power, if I had no choice, then there would be less enjoyment for both of us. It’s never been about inferiority for us, although there is nothing wrong with playing with that dynamic as well, but it’s just not where either of us live.

When I was having trouble submitting, when we were having trouble with our dynamic, I was told to think of him as better than me, to trust that he knows better than I do or that he is more capable than I am so that he could lead me. I had trouble with this. The real issue that was happening was I didn’t trust him and he didn’t trust himself, so we both were sabotaging the dynamic we both wanted but also feared. What I needed to do was trust that he knew what I wanted and needed and would choose what to give me, not to hold him up as greater than myself as I was told.

Although we play with power and pain there is no inequality in our relationship dynamic, which may sound like an oxymoron. I put my trust in him to take care of me and give me what I need and he puts his trust in me that I will take care of him and give him what he needs. We’re each giving and taking in different ways, but we’re both equally valued and appreciated and both getting and giving.

Perhaps equity is a better term for it than equality. Unfortunately equality comes along with all sorts of connotations that are not necessarily all good. Equality does not mean identicality or sameness, although a lot of people seem to think that is true. Equality doesn’t mean abolishing differences but it’s about celebrating sameness and differences. Really the way I use equality is the same as equity, but for the sake of minimizing confusion I think equity makes more sense in this instance.

Obviously by imposing a power dynamic on our relationship we are not equal in some senses of the word, but our contributions to each other and the relationship are equitable. They are valued the same and we are valued the same because of it. We are equals although we do not always interact in ways typically thought of as equal. We play with inequality in our actions because we are equals in every other way.

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.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

More thinking about my post Tired from the beginning of the month has lead me to this: if you don’t know, ask. Don’t ever be afraid to ask. While it’s not always enjoyable to me to explain how I identify to someone that doesn’t mean it’s not highly appreciated. I would much rather have an hour long conversation (or even five-minute) about my identities than have my gender, sexuality, spirituality, or anything else assumed. You know what they say about to assume…

For the most part I’m pretty open when asked a question directly. I don’t skirt around things and I will take a question at face-value and answer exactly what was posed. I might not offer up additional information, but I am not shy about answering questions when asked directly. While I don’t always enjoy talking about myself (I know, that may be hard to believe considering that’s most of what I do on this blog) that doesn’t mean that I would rather not be asked about something. If I can clarify something or explain something I am always happy to, as long as I have the time. I also try not to assume that the other person will know what I’m talking about.

This doesn’t mean I think they are stupid, but because I use terms in mostly academic ways and since I don’t know if they have read something I’m referencing in my identity or explanation I try not to make assumptions either way and opt to ask questions myself. “Have you heard of…”” “Have you read…?” etc. If not I try to explain as fully as possible, and even if so I often will still mention some of the basic ideas of what I am referencing to make sure we are on the same page. I do not assume anyone is on the same page as I am, but that doesn’t mean they are not as smart as me or any other nonsense like that. Knowledge on one specific subject has nothing to do with intelligence.

Specifically what I was referencing in Tired had to do with two types of people. People with whom I have had conversations regarding identity who then turn around and seem to ignore everything I have expressed about my identity regardless. Or people assuming they know my identity without asking or having a conversation about it. It is difficult for me in either of these situations to come out and say “I don’t identify that way.” I’m just not a confrontational person and it is often difficult for me to assert my identities. I realize not being able to do that is my problem, but I do think that making assumptions about someone else’s identity is never a good idea. Similarly, disregarding a conversation about an identity is also not a good idea.

It’s hard work to have identity conversations in general. I realize this. It’s difficult to ask someone a question about their identity, you can’t always know how that question will be reacted to. Just keep in mind that when you ask make sure to ask something regarding identity rather than pinning an identity to it already such as “how do you identify?” versus “are you a [insert identity here]?” You can use specific terms such as “What is your gender identity?” “What pronoun do you prefer?” “What is your sexual identity?” as well, though the slightly more open-ended “how do you identify?” may get you the widest variety of options.

Please, ask questions, ask clearly, ask for definitions of things if I or someone else uses a term in a way that is unfamiliar to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It is far better to ask than to assume. While there may be the occasional person who is offended that you would ask or who doesn’t think it is any of your business that doesn’t mean everyone would be. That said, also think about what you are asking and of whom. Should you be asking complete strangers about what genitals they have (though this isn’t the same as gender identity discussed previously) or who they like to fuck? Maybe it is, depending on the context of wherever you are at the moment, but maybe it’s not. Be smart about it, segue into it, make sure it is appropriate, but don’t be afraid to ask if you sincerely want to know and don’t.

Similarly, if you identify with something out of the norm please don’t scare people away from asking questions, if they’re asking that’s at least a step above assuming your identity and questions are an excellent time to educate them and open their minds. Who knows what kind of chain reaction you might set off. If they ask in an inappropriate way then tell them so politely and educate them as to how to ask in a better manner next time. I can’t say I’m perfect at this, but I’m trying.

It is not easy on either side of the conversation. Sometimes I just wish I could fit into societal standards in one way or another and not have to worry about things like this, not have to figure my identities out in order for me to enjoy them and understand them. I get tired of explaining the same thing over and over to the same people, sometimes I’m tired of explaining in general even to new people who are genuinely interested, but that doesn’t mean I would rather not be asked. I’m glad to challenge normalized ideas and maybe, just maybe, open a mind or two.

Tired

I’m just plain tired. I’m tired of having to explain how I identify, especially to the same people over and over again. I’m tired of people making assumptions about me rather than letting me make my own definitions and letting them know what my labels are. I’m tired of people thinking I’m straight because my partner is cis male or that I’m a lesbian because I enjoy women. I’m tired of people thinking I’m a woman because I dress femme. I try not to let it bother me when someone mislables me, but it hurts every time.

It’s difficult to inhabit middle identities while living in a binary world. There are many days when I wish I could just feel “one or the other” instead of seeing all the wonderful options out in front of me and wanting to have one of every flavor. Call me indecisive if you want, but when I can see the beauty and joy I could get from every option I can’t just pick one, it’s not in my nature.

I’m not straight or a lesbian, I’m queer. Bisexual, maybe, though I don’t like the binary aspect it implies and prefer other terms. Queer is the best description I have. Really I tend to be attracted to other queer people regardless of their gender and specifically because of their intelligence and/or personality. I’ve used intellisexual for quite some time, sapiosexual also fits which is a slightly more common term. I am attracted to people’s brains more than anything else, and usually those brains have to be queer in some way shape or form.

Similarly I do not identify with the term woman. It’s simply not a word that I identify with nor is it a way I see myself or desire for others to see me. While I may often wear feminine drag that does not make me a woman (or any spelling variation thereof). The same goes for girl. My gender identity is genderqueer regardless of the gender expressed within my gender presentation1. My gender presentation is always drag.

While I do associate with the term femme I embrace it as part of my gender presentation. I embrace the gothy glittery drag femmeininity that is all mine most days, though not all days. Femme is my presentation more than anything, but there are also days when I wear my too-small-sports-bra-slash-makeshift-binder and present as fagette. I do think that my “fagette” presentation confuses some people, however, because it still some femininity in it, dressing in boy drag is not a spectrum-banging event for me. I am realizing more and more, though, just how much femme and fagette go hand in hand for me. There are no days when I am femme that I am not a fagette, and no days when I am not genderqueer.

Recently I’ve begun using gender neutral pronouns when I am able and it makes my entire being sing. A friend of mine referred to me using ze and hir without my first requesting it and it nearly brought me to completely unexpected tears to be seen in a way that aligned with my own gender. I catch myself internally wincing when words and identities other than my own are thrown at me in conversation, but often I don’t have the energy or desire to confront the misconception of me in the eyes of others, which just ends up perpetuating it.

I’m trying to get to the point where I am not looking for the validation of others for any of my identities, but it’s difficult not to want that. I want to be seen rather than assumed away as something else. I realize that I am responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others and do not put the responsibility of figuring me out completely on other people but I’m so damn tired of having to correct people. It seems like a petty difference to ask someone to not refer to me using certain language, and yet it cuts me deep whenever it happens. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable asserting my gender identity, perhaps because it is such a fluid work-in-progress.

  1. I’m using gender identity and gender presentation to mean two different things. Someone’s gender identity has to do with the internal gender feelings the person has, whereas their gender presentation is the outward gender they show to the world. These do not always go hand-in-hand. []

Learning How to Follow

The other night Onyx and I went out swing dancing with Sinclair and Kristin at the most awesome Century Ballroom here in Seattle. Sinclair and Kristin have done lots of swing dancing, I’ve done a small amount many many years ago but have done a fair amount of dancing in general, and Onyx had never done any before1. There was a short lesson before the band got started to teach us some very basic steps and we were divided up into “leaders” and “followers” (which was nicely gender-neutral terminology and not surprising for Capitol Hill).

I was suddenly struck and unsure of which side to go on. Every time I had done swing or any partner dancing in the past I’ve always been a leader, but since Onyx was coming (he wasn’t there yet, he had to work late) I decided I would learn it from the follower’s perspective so he could be the leader.I’m sure he would have had no issue with the opposite generally if it were just the two of us, in fact I’ve lead him in partner dancing when we’ve gone out before and neither of us feels strange about it, but since it’s a social event I thought it would be a nice for me to get experience in the follower side of things. After all, I could always switch later, not to mention I would get experience with both sides either way.

We all got in a large circle of pairs and learned the very basic six count rock-step and step-step as well as a couple turns and there was great emphasis in leaders learning how to lead and followers learning how to follow. Since basically all of my experience has been as a leader I had some issues giving up control.

Surprise surprise.

Yes, I actually am talking about swing dancing, but of course this is an excellent analogy for all the problems I’ve had as a submissive. You know, just in case you didn’t already figure that out (though you probably did, I’m not discounting your intelligence I just have a tendency to over-explain. Anyway.)

I really enjoyed myself, and because the instructors had the followers switch partners every few steps while we were all going through the brief lesson I was able to dance with a number of different people, three of which asked me to dance later on in the night. I only ended up dancing with one of them because first I was catching Onyx up on the dancing technique as he had missed the instruction and then I was nursing the ankle I rolled while dancing (ouch), and by the time I was dancing again the two who I declined at the time were busy with others or had left.

I learned, however, something that I’ve been learning a lot in the last few months, especially since I got back from Juneau, and that is that I can follow and I can do a damn good job at it too when I allow myself to. When I trust that the other person is able to lead me I am able to allow them to do so, though it does take a lot of practice especially since I’m also quite a strong leader myself.

Onyx did exceptionally well as I taught him how to lead, especially for someone who claims to have no rhythm, it took a little while but he got the basic steps down. He’s agreed to take classes with me, which I am extremely thrilled about and plan to hold him to.

I was amused at how much like in the beginnings of our power relationship I was again teaching him how to lead me so that I could adequately follow, though not doing a great job at it myself. I’m sure with enough practice as well as much help from others he will become an excellent leader to my follower just as he has off of the dance floor.

I’ll still be leading with others, though, whenever I can.

  1. Onyx thinks he is completely without rhythm and body coordination despite having learned both while he was in the Norwegian army and being able to dance at the local goth club when we go out–granted goth dancing isn’t about rhythm, but anyway… []

Doublethink Over Dissonance

Onyx and I have settled in to a remarkably comfortable D/s dynamic. We have talked extensively about it, but the difference this time is that it just clicks, for lack of a better term. All the background issues that were making so much noise the last time we were trying these power roles have been resolved, thanks in large part to the many things we learned through the trial of the triad. I find myself enjoying to do things for him, and he is now more able to push and guide me than he was before. It is, in a word, wonderful.

I have noticed that I am hesitant to share this power dynamic with others, even on here to an extent. I believe this is in part due to it still, in some ways, being so new and foreign but mostly it is because it is still private and vulnerable. Despite the abundance with which I share my private feelings and thoughts on this blog (less so now than I have before, but I’m working on writing more when I don’t have writer’s block) I have an extremely difficult time sharing personal things with others, especially in person and especially those I don’t know very well. Hell, I even have trouble expressing things to Onyx sometimes which I would have no issue writing to him.

The last couple of weekends while going out with amazing people I’ve noticed myself being slightly more comfortable but still not all that comfortable with expressing my submissiveness, and that was with fellow kinky perverted people who have read my blog including stories of me being slapped and dominated and fucked. I don’t mean showing my submissvieness to them, but just talking about it.

I see others so secure in their submission and happy to proclaim to the world that they are submissive and I find myself having trouble with that. Perhaps it is because I am a switch. I can’t fully embrace my role as submissive because, although I feel submissive to Onyx, I do not feel wholly like a submissive. I cannot throw myself into submission with complete abandon because I am also a Top. Or, that is the roadblock I come to in my mind.

Although I don’t consciously think this is true, there is a part of me that thinks embracing submission fully would mean giving up the parts of myself that are not submissive. Call it internalized binary programming that says I have to be one or the other but never both. The way some people say someone can’t feel Dominant and submissive at the same time, but I highly disagree, I say I am always both and it is the people I am with and situations I am in that bring each out in me.

However, I don’t have any hesitations about expressing my dominant side. I think in part this is because it is less vulnerable, less private, in a way. I am more comfortable with it, but also because it seems to be less normative. It’s more “okay” to express because it somehow shakes up the expectations.

I feel the same way with sexuality and gender, I’m far more comfortable expressing my desires when they have to do with cis-females or trans-people than when they have to do with cis-males. Essentially, I’m far more comfortable expressing my queer sexuality than what would be seen as a hetero-sexuality, as if expressing desire for cis-males somehow makes me less queer. Of course, in some minds it does. In some minds it would completely invalidate any other expression of queerness.

Similarly with gender I have been desiring lately to express my masculine side, the personae (yes, plural) I designate as Quyn or Sebastian sometimes. I used to dress more masculine and drifted to the feminine and now I’m working on finding the way to be both or neither, to dress as I please. While I’m more comfortable expressing my femme drag queen gender identity I think because that, in some ways, is the one that is less normative, despite being assigned female at birth, but that’s a whole other post.

Perhaps in the same vein expressing submissive desires could somehow invalidate any expression of dominance. I’m not saying this is the case, but I do think that Aristotelian logic is so ingrained in our culture that it is difficult to work against. If we express ourselves as being on one side of a cultural binary we are not only saying what we are but we are saying what we are not. By this logic when I say I am submissive I’m also saying I’m not dominant. It works for everything, really: power, sexuality, gender, etc. All the identities I hold middle ground on, certainly, and others as well.

I’ve talked about this many times before, I know, and read about the phenomenon. It’s not new, but it is significant. The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that I’m more comfortable expressing one aspect but not another on these supposed binaries (and I should point out that I do not see power dynamics or sexualities as part of a binary system, but they are largely seen culturally to be so which makes operating outside of them difficult and that is why I am referring to them as binaries), and my comfortability seems to be backwards. I am comfortable expressing the non-normative desires, those outside what is culturally expected, when it’s usually (or so I think) the opposite.

I want to be just as comfortable expressing and embracing all of my identities, and the first step just like with anything is acknowledgement. I have internalized binary and aristotelian logic programming. I have internalized power dynamic programming. I can actively work on acknowledging this programming and work to move beyond it, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Instead of thinking of these socially contrary ideas in terms of conflict and feeling dissonance over them I want to get to a point of doublethink, where I am comfortable with embracing these identities that seem to be contradictory and am, further, comfortable in my own skin. That’s what it’s all about in the end, anyway.

Relational Assumptions

I came to a realization a few nights ago regaring something I’ve sort of mentioned in a previous post. As the baby of the family I was constantly reminded growing up that I was known to some only by my other relationships. I was her sister or his daughter or so on. Since then it’s always been a little bit of an irritation for me. I don’t want to be known by my relationships I want to be known as me, as a whole person, as myself.

I discovered when leaving Juneau for the first time that I had that opportunity. I was no longer bound by the familial or other relationships I was locked in to in my home town. I could be as flamboyant and outrageous as I desired, or I could safely lurk in the shadows, and no one would be the wiser, they wouldn’t have any information about me before I gave it to them.

When I moved to Salt Lake City to be with Onyx I fell back into that role. I was Onyx’s girlfriend, known by my relationship, known by association. Needless to say it irritated me again, and that irritation (among other things, really) kept me from getting to know some people I wish I had. I didn’t see the whole picture.

Upon deciding to return to Seattle I worried quite a bit about being known by my relationship again. In the few months I was gone (and some in the previous year) Onyx developed or strengthened a number of friends and acquaintences and I have been wondering how I will or won’t fit into those. I don’t have to fit in to all or any of them, but I’ve been wondering about it and wondering how my meeting them through him, being known by association, would affect my relationship with them. I realized, though, that this is more my issue than anyone elses.

When going to Tristan Taormino’s workshop at Babeland on Making Open Relationships Work, afterwards when I was able to talk with her, I introduced myself to her in relation to two things: I reviewed her awesome porno Rough Sex, and she knows my older sister. She also recognized me from Twitter as I @replied her regarding attending her workshop. Thinking about it afterwards I wondered why, when I spent so much time worrying about being known by association, why would I knowingly and purposefully put myself in that situation?

What I came up with was a bit of a happy revelation. First, specifically for that situation, she had other ways of associating me other than my sister, which made it a little safer, but I also knew that would be something which would help me stand apart. It was a way for her to remember me, being a help to me rather than a hinderance.

This is only the most recent example, and the rest of the events of the day definitely contributed to this as well, I think, but this is what made it snap in my head.

I’m responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others.

It seems so simple, it seems ridiculously simple, it was one of those “duh” moments where I would have smacked myself on the forehead if I had not been lying in bed in the dark next to Onyx when I wanted to be sleeping but my mind was too buzzy to turn off yet.

What does it mean, though, really? It’s more than just what it says, because I knew that, but it’s the way that sentence applies to this situation that I hadn’t yet put together. Basically it means I need to stop assuming people have preconceived notions about me, stop worrying about what they might possibly already think about me or what they might possibly assume, and actively work to make sure they see me as a person if I care enough to do so.

I mean, I knew it was my responsibility to do so, but instead of embracing that as meaning I should stop worrying and just do it I let my worry overtake me and stop me from even trying to make myself a whole person because I was pidgeonholed into this role. In reality, while I’m sure there are plenty of people who do see me “just” as Onyx’s partner or “just” by my familial relations or whathaveyou, the assumption that someone I don’t know my own self would do that is vastly unfair.

I think this is a step toward becoming less isolated and more outgoing, caring less what people think, being more comfortable in social situations, and being more comfortable to be the real me.

What I Don’t Need

At some point before I’ve talked about relationship needs, that is the needs of the relationship, but in the last few months something that has been extremely important for me to realize has been a different sort of relationship need, that is, a lack of need.

When I was younger a relationship or, more accurately, the absence of and desire for a relationship was always the focal point of my life, with other things often working to fill the void I felt without a partner. I think part of the reason why I left theatre life is because I was so focused on the need to be in a relationship, the need for a partner, and I thought theatre would distract from that. The reason I have recently been able to come back to it is because of this new lack of a need.

The word “need” is thrown about so much even though so often it is impossible to accurately separate needs from wants when in the moment, one must step outside and analyze and discern in order to figure out what is really necessary and what is a passing fancy, and even that is difficult without hindseight. Luckily life is much like the philosopher Jagger sang1, and often these things work out on their own. Needs aren’t bad things by any means, so long as we can distinguish between need and want.

So often are we told that in order to be a complete and true person we must be in a couple, we are only part of a whole, and when we are told something over and over again it becomes like a need. We do not need others to fulfill or complete ourselves, though we often feel like we do because we are told that we do for various reasons. We are told we are incomplete without the perfect partner, not to mention marketing strategies which tell us we are not complete without some product or another, but that is a whole other post. The point is we need to be able to be happy and complete without external influences.

This isn’t to say that we don’t need relationships. After all, humans are social creatures, as the cliché tells us, and I’ve studied enough psychology and sociology to know that is basically true2. While love is part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs relationships in general aren’t the same as the idealized spend-all-of-your-time-together can’t-think-of-anyone-but-each-other completely emotionally dependent romantic relationships perpetuated by society. We grow up thinking that is what we need, to find someone to fill the void within ourselves, before realizing that no one can really fill that but ourselves.

Need indicates more than a desire. Saying that I need something is the same as saying that there is some fundamental part of me that requires something in order to survive, be complete, or be happy. I do need friends and relationships, but that doesn’t mean I need any one specific person. If that was true than no one would ever maintain friendships outside of romantic relationships.

Distinguishing the difference between the idealized relationship and a healthy independent relationship is something the triad taught me. While I knew in my head that it was best to have lives and friends and interests outside of the relationship I always had a difficult time engaging in anything like that aside from school. Once I graduated I lost my outside focus and my relationship with Onyx was strained ever since. He was also supporting me financially, he was basically providing me with the first three levels of my hierarchy of needs and neither of us was completely comfortable with that.

Spending time away from him really has done wonders for our relationship, for both of us. I’ve gotten to the point of embracing my autonomy and independence, enjoying time alone in a new way, which was truly necessary after the triad, which truly was a spend-all-of-your-time-together dependent romantic relationship. In addition to everything else I actually think rediscovering this independence has actually been a major catalyst for the rediscovery of my desire to be submissive for long periods of time rather than for short bursts during play. Now that I am not dependent on him my choice to be submissive is that much stronger. But I digress, that also is another post.

“I need you” now leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want to be needed or to need anyone else, it puts too much pressure on the relationship. I would rather everyone involved was coming to the relationship from a place of want and desire, a place where the relationship is fun, voluntary, and exciting rather than necessary or required. Thus I am officially striking the phrase “I need you” or any derivative thereof from my romantic repertoire. I choose instead to employ phrases such as “I want you” or “I crave you” which are equally as powerful but are less dependent.

edit

Brought to my attention by the wonderful Kristi, Amanda Palmer’s cover of “I Want You, But I Don’t Need You” is fabulously in the exact same vein as my post above, and therefore needed to be embedded and shared. Not to mention it’s Amanda Palmer which automatically makes it that much more awesome.

  1. Referencing both the pilot episode of House and The Rolling Stones, of course. []
  2. I do have a degree in Psychology, which basically just allows me to go “hmm” when presented with any personal information about a person. []

Page 2 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén