Facebook


Like pretty much every child of my generation, I have a Facebook. I joined before it was open to the general public, when one still had to have a college email address to join. I’ve watched it grow from a common college social networking site (in late 2006) to the behemoth phenomenon it is now. Let me tell you, I liked it better back then, despite the fun games that I can now play on it.

I grew up with the Internet. I watched it expand. I was in the know for Internet 2.0. I hear all the news about kids who gave out all their private info on their Myspace or Facebook and get in some kind of trouble because of it and I, like pretty much anyone born in the late 1980s and very early 1990s, thinks that they are idiotic buffoons. We know better. Not to say that we’re perfect–gosh knows, as a generation we’ve done some stupid things. But we also are the ones who have utilized social networking sites to grow social movements–creating groups, event pages and fan pages for our causes and spreading the word to all of our friends to do the same.

My Facebook is PG at most. There are no naked pictures, scandalous statements, or profanity. I have friended my sister, both of my cousins, my mother, my SO’s mother, my uncle, and my grandmother. My politics may differ from theirs, but that’s part of life, and they already knew about that. I know better than to post pictures of any illegal activity whatsoever. My generation is learning that future colleges and employers can and often will look you up on Facebook, so we should keep our pages clean. I do not link to this blog or any other site I am on, mostly because I feel more free to speak my mind on them and I’d rather my family, potential future school, or potential future employer didn’t know about the things in my life that aren’t so PG-rated.

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.

To say something…


I feel like I haven’t written in a long time, so I figured I’d share something I wrote today.  I wrote this as a response to someone’s question about what the difference between the terms “cissexual” and “cisgender” is, and I rather like it.

I subscribe to this idea: [www.gendersanity.com] where a lot of descriptors are separated from one another. To use myself as an example: I am biologically female (biological sex–far right); have a gender identity that is close to woman (gender identity–right of center, but not far right); express my gender in a way that on average is sorta androgynous (gender expression–near the center); and have a bisexual orientation slightly favoring women (sexual orientation–slightly left of center). I am both cissexual and cisgender.

Cissexual: my mental and physical sexes are aligned (biological sex and gender identity). I am not transsexual.

Cisgendered: this is a little more complicated. It also means gender normative. By the strictest definition, I am not 100% cisgendered, but I consider myself to be. My gender expression does not exactly line up with society’s expectations of how I should perform my biological sex. Society is conflating bio sex with gender expression in the term gender normative.

Weddings


My world seems to be surrounding me with with weddings.

The first wedding I will be going to as a friend and not a family member is a very non-traditional one, since there will be two brides, both of whom are already married (to men), and no marriage afterwards–just a celebration of their love, which is a very sweet thing I think.

Then my favorite site has to do a feature on the idea of fathers walking their daughters down the aisle, since that is what the Princess of Sweden will be doing at her wedding.  That left me wondering a little about what my thoughts on the issue are.

What I know for sure:

  • I would ideally like to have both of my parents walk me down the aisle were I to have a wedding.  Or to walk down the aisle or whatever with my partner beside me.
  • I would not want it in a church nor performed by a religious official (with the possible exception of a UU minister).
  • I am ambiguous about the idea of weddings and marriages as a whole.  I don’t like how one piece of paper that is often only granted to a man and woman can determine so much, like tax status and whether someone has to testify against you in court.  Why not allow consenting adults to form whatever partnership(s) they think will most benefit them with whomever they like and have that be legally binding?
  • My parents said that as long as they had met my partner they would be okay with us eloping.
  • I’m not wearing white.  Not a big fan of the color to start out with and I’d rather wear something I can wear again.  My general thoughts have been a midnight blue overbust corset underneath a black pantsuit with heels so I can look taller.
  • Open bar at the reception or party or whatever afterwards.

What I don’t know:

  • What I would say if just my father wanted to walk me down the aisle.
  • What I would do if my partner insisted upon having a church wedding (though I would hope that at that point they would know me better than to think I’d be okay with that.)
  • Whether I would want flowers–it just seems like a rather unnecessary expense.
  • Whether I really want to get married in the first place because of my above-mentioned ambiguity about the institution as a whole.

Just for fun…. Tattoos


It’s only in the last year that I have ever considered getting a tattoo. I’ve always been more of a piercings person, attached to the idea that if I ever need to I can take them out and let them heal over. However, I have been exposed to many people in this last year that have some of the most beautiful skin art and I’m just starting to have symbols that have enough significance to me to have them permanently on my body.

These are my ideas for some I would consider getting should I ever decide to do so:

  1. The Celtic symbol for the maiden, mother, crone triad, like this.  This is one of the ultimate symbols of female power and celebrating the circle of life.  I would get this at the spot where my neck meets my skull–on the other side of my neck from the fifth chakra and up a bit.
  2. The shield of the city of Siena.  This city has a hold on me unrivaled by any other foreign city and matching the city I live in now.  I don’t know where exactly I’d put this, but I’m thinking somewhere along my right side.
  3. The poly infinity heart.  I wear this symbol daily around my neck since it resonates so deeply with me.  It would be asymmetrical and have a red heart and a blue infinity sign.  I saw a design once that I loved but have been unable to find it since.  I would put this in the far left corner of my back, on the fat deposit right above where my back becomes my butt.
  4. The claddagh.  This ideas represented by this symbol are some of my core values:  heart for love, hands for friendship, and a crown for loyalty.  I would put this diagonal from the infinity heart, somewhere near my right shoulder.
  5. The title and the most repeated line of one of my favorite poems: Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas.  The whole quote would be the last two lines of the poem:  Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light.  This poem is written in a complex form called a villanelle.  I’m not sure where I’d want this, but I’d want it somewhere where each would have their own line.

That’s it, really.  Not sure whether I will ever get any, but this just establishes some possibilities.

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 Part 2


I know I’ve done this before, but it’s always good to do updates.

Hello
My gender expression is
activist, ally, assertive, BDSM, bi-romantic, bidyke, big sister, biogirl, bisexual, bitch, bondage, bottom, cat lover, cisgender, curious, daughter, different, dork, female, female-bodied, feminist, fluid, friend, geek, gender expressive, gentlewoman, girl, intelligent, introvert, kinky, LGBTQA, lady, liberal, lover, Miss, Ms., ma’am, miss, not sure of others, odd, open, passionate, poly-oriented, polyamorous, polyflexible, polysexual, pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-sex feminist, progressive, queer, queer-friendly, questioning, quirky, recreational gender blender, sex positive, sister, student, submissive, switch, top, trans-friendly, treehugger, woman, XX
What’s yours?

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.

Queer Umbrella


From what I’ve read this is a pretty common idea. Some people don’t like the use of the word “queer” because of past negative connotations, so they may use GLBT, LGBT, gay, or some permutation of those to describe the same idea.

The queer umbrella started out with just gay men, then expanded to include gay women. There is some argument about this however, because those people who participated in the events that started opening this umbrella, Stonewall being the most obvious one, were possibly trans as well; a lot of them were “cross-dressed” and that’s part of the reason the cops bust in on their scene. Bisexual people were the next to come in under the umbrella, although it probably wasn’t until after the time that the trans- people were included under the umbrella that people who identified as loving/being attracted to a wider spectrum of people than the term “bisexual” usually encompasses were included. There are, of course, many people who are queer or identify as such that don’t fit under these labels or don’t want to be labeled and arguably these people fit under the umbrella too.

The point of an umbrella is to provide coverage and protection for all people who can fit underneath it, whether from rain, snow, or sun. Any lack of inclusion means that there are people who feel queer who aren’t protected in the way that everyone else is.

There are people who have more privileged spots under the umbrella. First, I would argue that those (arguably straight) people who identify as queer, but have entirely straight relationships partake in straight privilege, but still, because of their identification, which may come from any host of reasons, belong under the umbrella. There is a thin line between these people and bisexual people who never engage in relationship-style behaviors with people of their same-sex. Sometimes people of the first group acknowledge that it may be possible for them to be attracted to someone of the same sex, but they never are. Sometimes people in the second group are the same way. I do not place myself in this category, although others who just look at my recent behaviors, would place me there.

Second, I would argues that gay men have a privileged spot under the umbrella. They were the first to be under the protection of the umbrella and for a long time they controlled who the umbrella protected. They are often still considered the voices of the queer community to the straight community. They also get to partake in male privilege.

Third, I would argue that gender-conforming LGB people have a privileged spot under the umbrella. Femme lesbians are what the media presents as representative of the lesbian population. Most of the time they dress and act like they are expected to as women in this society. Anyone who is not gender-conforming is seen as abnormal or deviating from what is accepted by “society” and are treated in accordance with that. It is also easier for people who are gender-conforming to pass as straight if they are in a society that does not look kindly upon queer people or even passes the death sentence upon them.

The discussion of a federal ENDA brought up the issue of whether trans- people are or should be included. After all, many trans- people identify as straight. Does the state of being outside the sexual orientation part of the queer bubble mean that these trans- people should not be included under the queer umbrella? There are ramifications for not having a trans-inclusive ENDA for LGB people. If a LGB person is not gender-conforming enough in their dress or attitudes for a certain employer they can still be fired for that reason. I have read some people argue that most GLB people are also trans- because they don’t conform to standards of gender-based behavior for “society”, and while I think that this is an intriguing idea, it is one for another post.

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.