Purveyor of Pleasure

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

Tag: thoughts

Four Days to Top Surgery

I had the pre-op appointment on Thursday. I felt so much better after the appointment, not just because of the information that was given to me, but moreso because the level of care, compassion, professionalism, and humor that everyone I spoke with had. I feel in very good hands. Not sure if I’ve mentioned already in here that I’m having surgery with Dr. Megan Dreveskracht at La Belle Vie in Tukwilla. I’m scheduled for Noon on Thursday, October 4th. Now just four days away (basically three and a half as I’m finally posting this)!

I was pretty paralyzed for a while there… or at least moving very s l o w l y through my days. Basically, I had a whole lot of freeze happen in my nervous system after I scheduled surgery. A microcosm of the macrocosm of surgery freeze I have experienced over the last few years, no doubt. I had a challenging time staying in my own experience for a while, feeling stuck and having to sort out a lot of feelings, preferring to distract myself. I scheduled nearly a month ago, which seemed like plenty of time. I had assumed the year I waited between consult and surgery was enough time for me to have sorted through my myriad of feelings about surgery, but obviously not. Not only have I never had surgery before, making this experience terrifying in and of itself for that reason, but this is a trans surgery, so I also had all that to contend with.

My fear and freeze had to do with the questions that I had no answers to. I wondered what it would be like to have surgery. I questioned how I would be able to let myself be the kind of vulnerable and receive the kind of support I know I’ll need. I felt a whole lot of internalized transphobia come up. It had already taken me many years to come to the decision to have surgery, each movement forward finding a new set of blocks within me. Already wrestling with so many transphobic questions for years, I had paused in my road to top surgery after my initial consultations a year ago because of the way they bounced around my internal landscape. All the questions came back after I scheduled. It was no longer an abstract interest or desire, it was happening. There was a date.

Of course, this transphobia isn’t coming from me, not really, but it is inside me. It’s coming from the culture and has seeped into all of our bodies through conscious and unconscious messages. It is coming from the current power structures and social institutions that we collectively agree to. We can call it heterocisnormative imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy if we want to, but no matter what we call it, it is the water that we swim in and where we get our nourishment (and, coincidentally, why we are all actually starving). The assumptions. The caveats. The questions. The comments reminding me not to rush into anything (my response: I’ve been talking to my therapist about this for over two years. I’m not rushing). The assurance that I’m still loved if I do this (my response: that was never in question! And yet, it is, thanks, transphobia). The commentary on the politics of trans surgery or how it may or may not impact my mental health and my life to have this surgery (my response: too much for a small aside, but I’m doing this for me and the personal is political). Then there are the questions I have grappled with for years, why it took me so long to do this: what if I don’t like it? what if it’s the wrong choice? what if it means people will think I’m a man now? why does it matter so much to myself or anyone? why will it make me a “more valid” trans person (as if I’m not a valid trans person already) in the eyes of so many? why can’t I just be fine without it?

So many questions.

These questions, and more, have been running through my head pretty regularly for years. Those responses are all ones I have received directly. This is all transphobia. It’s exhausting.

It has been a long road to this surgery. I recently looked back over old journal entries to find dates for transness/transition/top-surgery-related milestones: I started binding in 2011, using gender neutral pronouns in 2010 and id’ing as genderqueer in 2007. I’m pretty sure it was also 2011 that I finally began thinking my genderqueerness might be enough to consider myself to be trans. I had previously been told by a number of trans folks that I couldn’t possibly be trans because I’m femme and AFAB, an experience that, no doubt, set me back a bit in terms of my self identity and gender expression. For a few years, at least, I was terrified and anxious any time I tried to express anything other than (cis) femme, certain that someone would realize I was a fake and call me on it. Instead of feeling like I could embrace other trans folks in my process of gender exploration, I was at least as terrified of us as I was of cis folks invalidating my gender.

I first really talked with my therapist and doctor about the possibility of top surgery well over two years ago. It always seemed like something other trans folks got, but not me. Actually, I am sure they both asked me about it prior to when I started testosterone in 2015 (which also took me over a year to actually allow myself to explore, my first appointment with my Doc to discuss T was in late 2013 and I didn’t start T until early 2015), and I have been uncertain about surgery all those years. Questioning if it’s a good idea, if it’s really for me, all those questions above, all the thoughts. I wasn’t regularly binding until a couple of years ago, having previously utilized it as part of my gender expression rather than a central indicator of it. Now, and for a while, I have been binding daily (unless I am at home all day with no visitors). I experience more social dysphoria than physical dysphoria.

Because of my level of privilege, the barriers to top surgery have all been personal and cultural, with a minimal amount of medical and/or class barriers to the experience. Because I have private insurance through my husbear’s tech job, I have a trans-knowledgeable therapist I see every week and a GP who is one of the best trans-related healthcare providers in Seattle, also arguably one of the best places to be trans in the country. My fat body has been a barrier to my choice of surgeons, and I did have to endure some fatphobia in the selection process, but there are still plenty of surgeons in Seattle who would take me as a patient. I met with three doctors to choose the one I am going with. I hit a bit of an insurance snag last year, as we switched insurances in August and again in January, and that was enough to be a factor in my stalling, but not the main cause. I took my time getting to this place because of all the barriers I had built up in myself against surgery, against getting what I want and need, against doing things for myself.

Ultimately, though, I’m doing this for me. Sometimes I wonder if transitioning is the only thing I’ve ever truly done in my life that is just for me. For so many years I tried to be cis. I tried to be happy and content with being read as a woman, even though I’m not. I tried to be content with being assumed to be straight, even though I’m not. I tried to be happy with my body the way it is, especially after so much work to love my fat body, and I will be. Surgery isn’t necessary for all trans folks, but for some of us it is the answer. Even if it eases just a little discomfort, makes our lives just a little bit easier, or makes us a little bit happier, it is worth it. It will not eliminate my experiencing transphobia, either internal or external, that is something we all have to work on every day. It will not mean I will no longer be misgendered, though I’ll be more likely to be misgendered as a man than as a woman, so that will at least be a change. At very least, this surgery will free up a whole lot of brainspace that has been dedicated to the “what if” of surgery. At best, I will feel more comfortable, more at home in my own body and in the world.

I Want to Be the Lover

As I lie in bed getting ready to sleep tonight, I think of you. Yet again. This is especially the time my thoughts turn to you, when I’m too tired to resist them wandering in your direction, when I’m too tired to stop them after redirecting them for most of the day.

Tonight, though. Tonight my thoughts about you are curious, interested, and sad. They are always sad these days, full of grief over the relationship that never really was. The relationship that had so much potential and so little actual. And yet also contained so much.

I’ve been sad a lot these last few weeks. Going through a grieving process, certainly, and no longer able to hide in the distraction from the rest of my life that you afforded me for a while. Plunged back into the cold waters of uncertainty and fear for a while, and I’m just starting to get out of them now. Hopefully.

Tonight my thoughts turned to the way you often confused me with someone else, mistaking my motives or intentions with your abuser. I’ve experienced that from others in my life as well. I am, at this point, very used to the weight of other people’s projections onto me. Often I run from them, as unfortunately I do not yet have the skill to counter them. Yet. And my chameleon tendencies makes this process extra complicated.

I realized, though, more than I have before, why I keep choosing people in recovery. I realized I was choosing this a while ago, and was worried that means I am abusive or power-seeking. I believe is the opposite. People in recovery allow me to be small, and keep me invisible, keep me unseen. It’s easier to be unnoticed when the other person is taking up all the room. And recovery takes up a lot of room by necessity.

It takes a lot to heal from the deep wounds I witness and am drawn to. Part of my work is to help these wounds heal. Part of my work is to recognize and heal these wounds I have in myself. It is easier for me to be the healer than the human, the priestess than the lover. It is easier for me to be in a role than myself, easier to be helping than vulnerable. And I want to be vulnerable. I want to be human. I want to be a lover.

I was really trying with you. I tried so hard to be vulnerable, to be human, to be me. I still went into that priestess role sometimes. I still tried to help heal you. Those other roles will never not be there, of course, but I really am trying to be me now. Trying to be all of me, or as much as I can handle in any given moment. As much as me will show up through the fear and the uncertainty. Slowly, more and more of me is coming out.

Thoughts from Puerto Rico, Day Four

Puerto Rico Sunrise 1

I’m covered in bug bites.

Woke up early enough to see the Saturn/Venus conjunction (in the upper right corner of the above image, just barely able to be seen in the image, but very visible in the sky) and watch the moon-and-sun rise. Not intentionally, it just happened that way.

Yesterday’s car adventures were beyond exhausting (The short of it is, the rental car had some mechanical malfunction with the breaks that resulted in the front passenger side tire blowing out. We were in the middle of PR with only tiny towns around and far from a rental. We changed the tire to the spare, but the breaks were still making a weird crunching sound every time we used them. Switched the spare with one of the back tires hoping it was the tire, but it made no difference. Had to call the rental company and, eventually (after so much hassle!), got a replacement car delivered to us (on the other side of the island from where we rented it). This all took about 5 hours, we missed everything we were planning on doing yesterday because of it all.). I’m grateful none of us were damaged in the experience, and dislike the loss of the day, but it worked out okay in the end.

Loving the abundance of animal sounds all around where we are staying. Roosters, frogs, doves, etc. Even if they wake me up.

Going to a place where plantains are abundant really is part of my definition of paradise.

Hammocks are love. And I need one at my house. This is not new knowledge, but is now more urgent.

Swimming (or at very least dipping my toes in water) every day is good for my soul. We’ve been going to a different beach or waterfall daily.

I could get used to this.

Puerto Rico Sunrise 2

Puerto Rico Sunrise 3

Thoughts and Experiences of Gender

Someone in a facebook group I’m in asked the question “What are your thoughts and experiences figuring out where you fall, or don’t, on the gender spectrum?” so here’s my response.

A big part of my gender experience at the moment is being sick of being seen as female, though I don’t exactly feel male either, and I strongly identify with being femme. I have played with gender consciously for years, got a degree in gender studies to help me figure some of this out (I hoped it would, anyway), and have been contemplating medical transition type stuff pretty seriously for a while now.

I have known myself to be genderqueer for over a decade (that’s when I started having language around it), and definitely have been genderqueer and worn a mixture of “masculine” and “feminine” clothing for as long as I remember. When I was very young in playdates with friends I would rarely put myself in a masculine or feminine role with things we were playing, but would choose gender neutral things (such as, we were playing wedding and I would be the officiator rather than the bride or groom–though that wasn’t 100% of the time). My mom encouraged me to wear pants and more androgynous clothing, but I also really enjoyed dresses, skirts, and more feminine clothes as well. In high school I began consciously developing my own genderqueer style, which included wearing suits one day, and a skirt and fishnets the next; or sometimes a “men’s” button up shirt, tie, skirt, and fishnets all together; or a suit jacket with a corset; or punk-y bondage pants and a tshirt; or all sorts of other things. I wore a suit to my Junior Prom, and then a vinyl dress to my Senior Prom. I shaved my head when I was 16 and kept my hair short through most of the rest of high school, constantly dying it crazy colors. I have so many other expressions and experiences that make me really realize how long I’ve been non-binary genderqueer, but that’s enough for now.

I was one of the very few out people in my high school, having come to understand myself as “bisexual” (so I called myself then, I usually go for “queer” now) in seventh grade. This and my style of dress managed to make me an outsider and weirdo, but I always felt comfortable there too. However, I had little experience with people who wanted to date me during these years, mostly people were interested in fooling around a bit, but not actually in a relationship.

In college I started experimenting and expressing femininity more, at least partially (unconsciously) because I thought that would help me get a partner. I also lost a good chunk of weight and could fit into the very high end of standard sizing (or mostly the in between sizes, but sometimes that meant standard sizing). When beginning to delve deeper into femininity and explore that I immediately was most identified with a femininity I found expressed by gay men and drag queens, but I also immediately rejected that I could express that type of femininity due to being AFAB, and was confused and sad about it.

I did find myself a partner during this phase when I was attempting to be femme cis woman, and luckily he is someone who supports me in all of my gender expression. I have struggled for years to figure out how to express myself in a way that felt truly authentic, and so I’ve just tried as best as I could. Over the years I’ve amassed a gigantic makeup collection as well as clothing all along the “gender spectrum.” I really enjoy a wide range of gender expression, as I always have. I began packing and binding quite a few years ago, and do so off and on. I also enjoy to wear push up bras, corsets, and high femme dresses. I enjoy it all.

I tried for so many years to be content with being a cis femme or femme genderqueer for a long time. Now I’m beginning to work on being seen more and read as a guy, even though I don’t identify as male or feel male really fits me, but I know female doesn’t fit me even more. If I have to choose (which I both do and don’t), I would much rather be read as male than female. So I’m much more interested in being read as a femme guy than a femme woman at this point, because that at least feels closer to who I am, even if it is not quite right. I actually have an appointment in a few hours to begin testosterone to see if it’s right for me. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m really sick of being seen as female, which seems to happen no matter how I dress or what I do. I wholly embrace my femininity and the closest way I have to describe my gender at this point is as a non-binary genderqueer femme trans person (maybe trans guy if I need to orient myself slightly in binary land–which seems to help some people see me–plus “guy” feels slightly gender-neutral at this point too). In the last few years I’ve been able to see (digitally, mostly) a number of femme trans guys and realize that aspects of transition are an option for me, which has definitely shifted my idea of what my future could be like.

All that said, I’m not sure I’ve figured out gender at all. I’m getting somewhat close, maybe.

Stream of Consciousness Life Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not bad, right?

The Things I’ve Learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Thoughts

Onyx and I spent a last week or so in Juneau, Alaska with my family. We came back from that July 7th and today we are heading to Salt Lake City to attend Element 11, Utah’s regional burn festival (aka a small-scale Burning Man). Currently our flight is a little over two hours delayed, so otherwise you may or may not have actually gotten an update from me today.

Quite a few things have happened that I may or may not get around to writing about (in no particular order):

  • Cane-a-slut Day 2011, during which I got caned and Onyx and I co-caned a lovely friend of ours.
  • Numerous salons and workshops that I probably should post about, mostly ones that I have facilitated/lead/taught, but also a few I didn’t.
  • Thoughts from a week with family, which may end up being a password protected or private post.
  • I applied to Graduate School, which I’m exceptionally excited about. I’m also excited that this means I can included on Nadia’s Educated Sluts List once I am accepted.
  • Numerous encounters of a sexual nature with Onyx, little with anyone else.
  • A major initiation in the esoteric organization Onyx and I are part of, and nine months of being dead. I also really want to write more about spirituality in general, which I imagine will happen as a byproduct of going to school as well.
  • Poly and kink developments, my evolving thoughts on and experiences with each, and the evolution of my submission and service to Onyx.
  • Reading Sacred Kink by Lee Harrington in the Sacred Sexuality Book Club that Onyx and I are hosting.
  • The daily submission rituals Onyx and I have developed which serves as a reminder of our intentional power dynamic, which we were able to engage in while in Juneau with family.
  • Gender exploration and development, the large swing from occasional-femme boy to occasional-boy femme that I experienced recently, and my fluctuations from uncomfortable to comfortable and back again with my genders.

I also have a couple of smut stories in the works, though I haven’t worked on them in a while. I’m sure there’s more that I haven’t thought of as well. Feel free to request a post on something if it intrigues you beyond the rest.

Due to this travel and focusing on my grad school application, I’m way behind on just about everything. I was already behind on writing my sex toy reviews, writing posts on here, and responding to email but now I’m even more behind. I’ve also written on Femme Galaxy a few times, and I’m way behind on doing work on it, especailly responding to emails.

One of the things I have enjoyed quite a lot that happens when we travel is in order for me to go through security we have to take off and put back on my collar. The trip to AK was the first time the collar hasn’t been around my neck since it was given to me in December. It felt strange to have it off, but each time I’ve enjoyed Onyx placing it back around me. The small gestures and phrases that remind me that I am his make me extremely elated.

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