Category Archives: Being me

The Past…


Normally, I love to know people’s backgrounds. Where they came from helps me figure out why they are who they are. I don’t often ask questions, but usually let things come out organically, only asking questions to supplement that.

My partner Trydaen is, well, fairly closed up about his past – not that I think that it is an on purpose, to spite me thing. It seems to me that he doesn’t find it terribly relevant to the present – which is almost exactly opposite of how I see the past, but I can understand it fairly well. I’ve found that the more time I spend with him, the more little tidbits come out about his childhood through his 20s – including about his marriage.

He was technically married (but separated) when I met him and several years later when we started to date, but I never met her – I know nothing about her, short of the little bit I have gleaned from stories/context from him. It seems that she was not relevant anymore to his relationships at that point in time, so why bother? This has bothered me more and more over time – this was clearly someone he cared about enough to say yes to marriage when she proposed it and spent a large chunk of time with. Why? What happened there to sour him to notion of ever doing it again? It clearly didn’t sour her – she was remarried six months after the divorce was finalized.

But I have never known how to ask about that. How do I treat it? As I would, with all the curiosity I have? Cautiously? I don’t actually know whether it is a sore spot for him or whether it is simply no longer relevant, so no longer worth speaking about?

So I am trying. And I am proud of myself for that. When we were watching an episode of Bones a few weeks ago and (spoiler alert) Booth and Bones get married and Bones’ dad gives her away (after a speech from her about how it is just to make him happy and not a symbol of the passing of bride from father to husband) I got up the courage to ask whether his ex-wife had been given away by her father. He didn’t remember – didn’t think she had, but didn’t remember.

So that’s one thing. But what other questions can I ask to get to the why?

The feeling of missing someone…


It’s an odd phenomenon, at least in my mind.

One of the best ways to know that someone has wormed their way into my life in a significant way (usually some combination of sexually, emotionally, and intellectually–two of three is typical) is that I find myself missing them. It’s rarely at any obvious time–it’s usually just something that washes over me when my mind is not otherwise occupied. Or when I have a dream about them. Or if they come up in my News Feed.

Just going to put this out in the universe and see what pops up: if you think you might be someone I’m missing, please send me a message–there are more than a couple of you out there.

Hands


I love hands.  I’m going to say that again.  I frickin’ love hands.  They say so much about a person.  If you have callouses on them you’re probably used to doing manual labor of some kind and what kind can usually be determined by where the callouses are on your hands.

These are my hands:


(Left-top, right-top, left-palm, right-palm)

What could my hands tell you?  Well I have short stubby fingers and small palms which doesn’t tell you much except that it runs in my family and I could tell you it comes from my dad’s side.  I would also tell you that the general shape of my fingers comes from my mom’s side and when my nails are long my fingers start to resemble hers more closely than my father’s.  You could see my cuticles which might generally tell you that I don’t get manicures that often and don’t really care to do them myself.  The wrinkled skin and wrinkled knuckles would tell you that I love using my hands and have for quite a while.  If you look closer my fingernails show little to no signs of bruising, which shows that I generally take in enough vitamins to keep my nails healthy.  You might also see the little scraped scars from my roommate’s cats which might indicate that I scar fairly easily since those normally heal rather easily.

My rings indicate lots of symbolic things and you can read those if you know what they mean.  Beyond that though, I might tell you that my mother’s side of the family loves to wear rings, especially my grandmother, and that I have gone from wearing two rings back in high school to the four I regularly wear now, with a fifth I wear on special occasions.  If you move my rings you’ll see indents that the rings have left in my fingers from long usage and at this time of year tan-lines, which shows that I tan pretty easily.

If you look at my palms you’ll see well-worn lines from being a musician, writer, lifter of various objects, typer, and nervous fidgeter, some of which you might actually be able to guess.  I also have permanent callouses on the pads of my middle and rings fingers from the above activities.  I still have very slight callouses on the tips of my fingers built up from years of being a string musician.  You would also see that I am actually fairly pale when I am not tan, since you can see the veins in my hands.

And you can tell all that from just looking at my hands.  Pretty amazing stuff, huh?

I love holding hands.  It is my favorite in-public thing to do with someone I’m in a relationship with/sexually involved with/intimate in some way with since I have some boundaries on PDA.  Kissing is okay as long as it’s just pecks, don’t put your arm around my shoulder because it makes me feel owned, please don’t grope me in public because it makes me feel like an object, et cetera.  Holding hands there are no restrictions on, other than who I do it with.

I love holding women’s hands. They are generally softer and smaller and fit better within my own than any man’s ever could. To this day, my favorite person that I’ve held hands with was a gal I dated a couple years back. Her hands fit perfectly within mine, which gave me a certain kind of joy. Never found anyone since who could hold my hands like she could.

Which brings me to the inspiration for today’s post: a podcast from Sex Is Fun. Which you should listen to if you don’t already. First link goes to the particular podcast I’m talking about, second goes to the actual website. This particular episode is on non-sexual touch and how prudish our society is about it. They talk about how we don’t tend to hold hands with our friends, just generally the people we are intimately involved with in some way, which tends to be true.

Attraction


I was going to write a few days ago on my poly life, but I figured out that I wasn’t quite ready to say anything on that yet, but be assured, it is something I will write about soonish.

This is meant to be part of a two part series on attraction and attractiveness, both written close together because both are in my mind at this point in time.

As a bisexual woman, I find myself attracted in certain ways to both men and women. However, and this is a big part of me, more often to women. Big secret time: about 95% of the time, maybe even more, I do not find men physically attractive when I first meet them. Women I can be physically attracted to from the moment I meet them. With women that physical attraction does not often change–either you are or you aren’t. With men, I find that they grow on me.

I am usually first drawn to women by their looks. I think maybe this is not such a good thing–this is how society conditions people to view and judge women, on their looks first and foremost. I know this is not how I want to be judged by anyone–I’d rather people find me attractive because of my mind than by my looks. However I am starting to think that maybe this is a function of where I usually meet women, which is at bars. One of my friends I was drawn to because of her personality–I met her online and talked to her for a while before I ever met her in person, and the first time I met her it was at a board game night at her house. She is not conventionally attractive, but in my eyes she definitely is because of personality and appearance, in that order.

Men, I am drawn to because of intellect, usually. To get my attention as a guy you definitely have to be able to hold my attention in a conversation, which usually involves talking about something that engages my mind. What happens after a while is that I decide whether what a guy talks about is interesting enough for me to want to talk to him again and then I will give him my number. Looks usually don’t come into the equation until much later. After a while, usually a month or so, though it has been more and less, I start realizing that I am becoming attracted to them physically. However, with my boyfriend things were a little different. I was first drawn to him because of a physical resemblance he bears to someone I was thinking about at the time. Then the rest of the process unfolded.

I have been emboldened by reading Look Both Ways by Jennifer Baumgardner in describing my attractions. The book inspired me to not be afraid of saying that yes, I am attracted to men and women in different ways and for different reasons and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is all a natural (and fluid) part of human variation.

Identifying


To put this out there before I get started with any of the rest of this post: I am all about people not wanting to put themselves in boxes or limit themselves with words. Trust me, I think the English language (well, any languages) are too limiting to encompass the whole of humanity and that we lack words for feelings and ways of thinking that I wish we had. So, given this disclaimer, I’m going to talk about the identifying word boxes I place myself in.

This is not about the boxes that society places me in because that’s how they see me. Those are easy to say, though challenging to deal with in real life. They call me white, female, average height, overweight, brunette, student, with a loud voice and fairly large breasts. Yes, these are true, and yes they have affected the shape of my identity. However, they are not how I identify.

I call myself a bi dyke, a feminist, a transgender ally, a woman of thought, a queer person, a poly lady, and a switch who loves to bottom and takes pleasure in topping the right person, in no particular order.

I ride the middle of the Kinsey scale, sometimes on a daily basis–if you want to put numbers on it (and there are sometimes I love numbers, but other times they are harsher and more judgmental than words) I range from a 2.5 to a 3.5.

I believe that chaos is another form of organization and the chaos in my spaces reflects how my mind works–some things have to be in a certain order and others require no order.

I am working on being an ethical omnivore–buying any meat I can from places that treat their animals right in life and death–I am working my way out of being a near vegetarian because I realized I am not that.

I love the word kinky. To me it is like “queer”: so many definitions, so many ways to work it.

I call myself a liberal, but I find myself increasingly disenchanted with the political parties in this country–too conformist, too middle of the road to be good for people. If I had to pick a party that represents the majority of my interests, I would be a Lib Dem.

That’s me, in a very small nutshell.

Fathers


I have had many fathers in my life–my own being but one of them. I admire good dads–kids take a lot of patience, myself included. Having not known any of these men before they became fathers, I cannot say for sure whether they were any different before they had kids–but I can hazard a guess that that is the case.

My own father has had a massive impact on my life–not limited to the fact that he provided 23 of my chromosomes, including the X that made me female. That’s just where it started. I’ve seen the pictures of him playing with me as a baby–there is a lot of love apparent in them. And there are a lot of pictures, since I am the eldest child. He was the one who taught me how to build model cars, and will still volunteer to help if I want to build one now. I was the one he taught all the things that traditionally one would teach to boys–fixing the roof when it rained, changing the oil, filters, and tires on a car (I know a lot of guys who never learned this), building, and the painting that comes with, as well as helping me with my math and science homework, especially when we got past my mom’s level of education on those subjects. He and my mom both taught me that there’s nothing I couldn’t do and to not be restricted in what I do or think just because I’m female.

My father told me once that he only really started to see and recognize my sister and I as fully intelligent persons at about seven or eight years old–because that’s when we were intelligent enough to start debating and discussing abstract things with him. Not that we weren’t human beings to him before that point, just that we could be recognized as independent, as separate from our parents.

Now, this is not to say that I agree with my father all the time. That is by far, not the case. He believes that you can’t love adopted kids in the same way you’d love your own biological children–not that he has any experience with this, since both my sister and I, his only kids, are biologically his kids. I believe that adopting kids is a responsible way to have children especially if one does not feel a biological imperative to give birth or partner a person who can give birth. On some issues I stand much further to the left than he does–birth control (including extramarital sex), the environment, and pre-21 alcohol consumption, just to name a few. He does not identify as feminist or even pro-feminist, but the beliefs he holds and the way he helped raise my sister and I puts him squarely in that camp.

Now, I will never be a father–that second X chromosome, the one my dad gave me precludes any genetic possibility of that and I believe that my body matches my mind, gender-wise, so no changing of that. I am content, in a way, to watch the fathers in my life and how they act towards their children, how they raise them, what values they instill in their progeny as they grow from babies to adults. I look at them and see active paternal involvement in the lives of their children–both minors and adults–which is something that was rare as few as two generations ago. We are the children of one of the first generations where a father was expected to have a hand in raising their kids–we are still dealing with the traditionally culturally ingrained idea that fathers don’t have to do this, but it is showing up in small ways.

I, for one, am glad I had my father in my life–I feel sorry for those who haven’t, or had one that was not a decent human being.

S.A.D.


In this case those letters stand for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically the easiest way to explain this condition is an onset of depressive episodes as the weather turns to winter. There is no known reason as to why this happens, although there are a few possible explanations: upset sleep cycles because of the changing times the sun sets and/or a lack of certain vitamins that are produced by the sun, which people get less exposure to as winter comes on, as well as lower serotonin levels during the winter. According to Wikipedia, it is more common in northern countries–as high as possibly 20% in Ireland and about 9% in Alaska. Subsyndromal S.A.D. rates are even higher–an estimated 14.3% of the U.S. population (6.1% are full-blown) and 24.9% in Alaska.

I count myself among that 14.3%–I have (officially undiagnosed) subsyndromal S.A.D. It hits me first about the time I start school in the fall, and has for a couple years now. This condition often first manifests itself when a person is between the ages of 18 and 23, which is true in my case–I figure I was probably 19. It means that this time of year is the worst, at least in this part of the world–rainy, cloudy weather that lasts for days. It knocks my mood down terribly and means that I’m not awfully productive. When I’m at school I try to go do light therapy when I have a feeling that the next few days are going to stink–basically means that I go sit under a full-spectrum light for about twenty to thirty minutes and catch up on my reading and save my mental health.

This condition manifests itself in some odd ways. For me this usually includes a weight gain of about five pounds at the beginning of the school year, even when I have not changed my eating habits at all. This year was the first my weight held steady. It also means that I sleep a lot and never feel quite rested, so I’m always tired–this is worst in fall, but it means that I get into horrible sleep patterns in winter. I also crave carbohydrates like nobody’s business during this time of year–for most people with S.A.D. this means weight gain, but because otherwise my calorie levels are holding steady I often don’t gain too much weight in the winter. Although this year has surprised me, because I have lost weight this winter–I attribute it to eating healthier because I’m not eating cafeteria food and not nearly as much cheese and other dairy as previous years, but it could be a weird hormonal thing.

This also affects my relationships with other people. I try to make sure to tell the people who I am close to that my moods will change as summer progresses into fall and then winter–because they are the ones who will often take the brunt of my moods, so I like to give them a little warning. I try to be as social as I can, so others don’t think anything is wrong, and sometimes I manage to convince myself of that as well. In the winter much of the time my emotions fall on the negative side of things–sadness, annoyance, anger–much more frequently and easily than any other time. The depressive side of things means that I have a tendency to push people away during this time of year because I don’t want them to see this side of me–instead of drawing them close and asking for comfort.

It is common among sufferers of S.A.D. to have an almost manic period in the spring when the clouds lift and the sun comes back. We can become almost unsufferably happy, busy, and eager to change things up. This often combines itself in me with the lingering sadness from the winter, so I can seem almost bi-polar at times. The last couple years, around February, I get the urge to change things up–so I invite new people into my life and try to redefine old relationships–which ends up disastrously because I’m still not quite out of the depressive winter period. By about May I am truly out of the winter period–any relationships I form from then onwards have a tendency to stick pretty well, especially if they make it through February of the next year (I suppose; I’ve not actually had enough years to test this theory out). This is not just dating-style relationships, but friendships as well.

What I need to know at this time of year, from those close to me, is that I am loved/cared about and that I am secure in my relationship with them. What I need to tell those people at this time of year is that I care about/love them and I need to ask them to please stick with me through the dark winter months, because in the spring they will see a happier side of me again.

Bi and Poly


It is a common meme that bisexual women are slutty, or need one of each sex to make them happy.  Whereas this may be true for some bi women (as it could be for anyone) it is not true of all.  Which brings me to an odd point.

Of most women I have talked to, either in person or online, who identify as polyamorous, also identify as bisexual.  Is it just a coincidence?  I do not think so. It is a matter of choice. We like having lots of choices and see no reason to limit ourselves, to close ourselves off from the possibility that there is more out there. There is debate about whether polyamory is a choice or something inborn in a person, and honestly, I’m not so sure about this, so I’m not going to touch it.

The religious right likes to say that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is a choice–which is bullshit. The gay and lesbian community sadly parrots this to bisexual people–you must make a choice, as if we can decide who we are physically and/or emotionally attracted to. If they can’t, why do they assume we can? The same goes for the poly community–we can’t make a choice as to who we are physically and/or emotionally attracted to–it happens, often out of our control.

The choices we do have regard who we have relationships with. Where it is true that we cannot choose who we are attracted to, we can choose who we want to have relationships with–especially with regards to the poly community. We know that there are some people who we may be attracted to who may be bad relationship partners–who may not be able to respect our identities or existing relationships. And it is our choice whether we want to include these people in our lives.

While it is true that there are poly women who have both male and female partners, it is equally true that there are bi poly women who have only male, or only female partners. A multitude of partners of the “opposite” sex does not make a bi poly person any more straight than having a multitude of partners of the “same” sex makes them more gay. It is also true that having a mix of sexes with partners does not make a person any more bisexual than one who has partners of just one sex.

As for being open and out, I am of two minds. I will and do freely admit to being bisexual–it is part of who I am and a part of my dating history and I think it is important for people, especially those whom I am attracted to and may be interested in forming a relationship with. While I do believe it is important to be honest to all of one’s partners, there’s a certain point where I think poly becomes must know information. So, in summary, bi=freely open, especially to prospective partners and poly=on a need to know basis, but as early as is practical. Maybe the last half is because I am not fully comfortable with this part of myself yet–it took me years of knowing I was bisexual to be this comfortable about it and I have only been dealing with poly for months.

I’m not quite sure how I was intending to structure this when I started, but I think I’ve said all I can say on this subject at this point in time.

Things that make me genuinely happy


I’m not talking just happy for a moment, then passing into the rest of the day. These are things that will spread happiness throughout my day and that make me smile for the rest of the week if not for weeks to come.

  • Getting a hug from someone I haven’t seen for a long time, especially if it is the kind of deep hug that lasts for a long time.
  • First times.  For anything–meeting someone, kisses, make-out sessions, sex, orgasms, cooking for someone, getting drunk with someone, feeling comfortable enough to cry in front of someone.  In any kind of relationship there will always be more first times–that idea is just so encouraging.
  • Holding hands.  It’s something so simple, but it makes me so very happy.  Even seeing people hold hands is adorable.
  • The smell of the first rain after a long dry spell–it’s my favorite smell in the whole world and it just puts me in this place of utter serenity.
  • Cooking and baking.  Just being able to see the result of my long labors being enjoyed by someone or some people I obviously care enough about to cook/bake for is something I cherish.
  • Along those same lines, cooking or baking with someone.
  • Going to bed after a long day’s work and falling right asleep.  Nothing like it in the world.
  • Utterly being in a place that feels so comfortable that there’s no good word for it other than home or a could-be home.
  • Meeting new people and just clicking with them–feeling a strong chemistry of some kind.  I have had the pleasure of having this happen at least three times in the last six months.
  • Cuddling/snuggling/just being held close.
  • Falling asleep with someone.
  • Having an orgasm, especially a really good one, especially after a bit of a dry spell.
  • Long conversations that last late into the night–sometimes too late.
  • To steal a line, “the closing of strangers”.
  • Finding something I can be truly passionate about–life gets too dull without this.  I can’t just cruise along–it doesn’t work for me.  I need to be engaged in something meaningful, something purposeful.
  • Loving and making love (not in a euphemistic sense).
  • Exercising my creative potential–usually through writing, but sometimes through more crafty things.
  • Knowing that I have made someone else genuinely happy.

What makes you genuinely happy?

Queer As Folk: UK v. US


Yeah, I know I’m a big dork for watching Queer as Folk. Yes, I even admit to it on my Facebook page.

Today I decided that I was going to try to watch the UK version–found out a few things. One, it’s fairly easy to find the videos online. Two, there were only ten episodes. And last but not least, the actor who plays the bitchiest character has already played the villain in a movie I’ve seen, so he set himself up perfectly.

U.K. v. U.S. (Links are to actor’s IMDB page)

Stuart Alan Jones=Brian Kinney
Vince Tyler=Michael Novotny
Nathan Maloney=Justin Taylor
Hazel Tyler (Vince’s mom)=Debbie Novotny (Michael’s mom)
Bernard Thomas (Hazel’s gay boarder)=Vic Grassi (Debbie’s gay brother)
Romey Sullivan (Stuart’s babymama)=Lindsay Peterson (Brian’s babymama)
Rosalie Cotter (Romey’s partner)=Melanie Marcus (Lindsay’s partner)
Phil Delaney=Ted Schmidt
Alexander Perry=Emmett Honeycutt
Donna Clark (Nathan’s friend)=Daphne Chambers (Justin’s friend)
Cameron Roberts (long-term bf of Vince) [=] Ben Bruckner (long-term bf of Michael)

Differences:
1. Location, obviously. Along with that, accents.
2. Number of episodes. UK has ten–US has eighty-two.
3. Bitchiness/moodiness of main character. Stuart is more subtle about his manipulations than Brian is.
4. Timing of different events. Stuart’s child (Alfred) is born the first episode–Brian’s child (Gus) isn’t born until the third season. Things in general, move in the same order, but a lot faster in the UK version–maybe they knew they had more time for the US version so they could afford to spread things out that time.
5. HIV/AIDS. It is discussed in the US version, but not in the UK version.
6. Degree of pornography. The US version’s sex is a lot more explicit–not that the sex in the UK version isn’t explicit, it just blacks out/moves on to the next scene just when it’s about to get real good.
7. Sidekick’s mother’s hair color and occupation. Hazel has reddish-brown hair and works from home. Debbie has bright red hair and works in a diner.
8. Death/Life of friend. Phil dies of a drug overdose. Ted lives.
9. Stuart will and does bottom. Brian bottoms maybe once or twice in the whole show and there is definitely some heavy persuasion/coercion going on in those cases.
10. The guys work out at a gym regularly in the U.S. version–in the UK version they mock guys who do that.

Similarities
1. Hair color. They seem to keep it pretty consistent–one exception is #7 in differences.
2. Character types. Pretty much the same–minor tweaks of course, to keep it interesting.
3. Main character serves as sperm donor for lesbian couple. Yet he wants to play some role in his child’s life.
4. Main club. The wild club in both is called Babylon.

I haven’t finished the UK version yet, so I’m sure they’ll end differently, but we’ll see I guess.