Sunday, October 31, 2010


I’m hanging out at the house, trying to pack for my trip in three days, but my cat has decided that my lap is decidedly more comfortable than the window seat. If he wasn’t so adorable…

As part of this workshop, I’ve been told to do some preparatory homework – thinking, if you will, about what it is that is driving me to go across the country for a weekend.

I like lists, so it's easy to start there. 

Things I’m bringing: layers of clothes, new comfy yoga pants from Target, two (or more?) books, the remnants of a shattered heart, a whole lot of curiosity, a craving to experience the leaves falling in upstate New York, a lot of confusion about where I am and what I want next, a newfound sense of community and addiction to New Orleans, an irrational fear of losing my luggage or getting mugged, a dream of seeing the Stonewall Inn, a crazy libido, some moneys, two scarves, a lot of indecision, a history of sexual assault, an interest in kink, a body exhausted by work, and my camera and new CF card.

What motivates me to do this:

Good question.

Renaissance. I’m in a very pivotal place in my life, and though at times it feels like I’m free floating and directionless in a terrifying manner, I am forcing myself to dream and jump in and play with new experiences. I’ve never been to upstate New York, I’ve never been to a workshop/retreat with a group of strangers, and it’s been years since I’ve had to do the kind of emotional and introspective work these workshops require. Plus I’ve never done this kind of “work” in a way which embraces eroticism and sexuality. Yet, all of these things interest me intently. There’s a national (and maybe international?) network of people who are playing with sexuality and queerness in ways I’m fascinated by. I’ve let this part of my life wane in the last few years, and I want to reconnect with my interests and what other people are doing with sex education, kink, sexuality discussions, conferences, readings and workshops, erotica, and other venues.

Intertwined into this mess is a need for healing. I’m still reeling from the pain and chaos of ending a relationship over the last few months and all the insanity in between. I wish I could simply go to Albany and leave all of that pain there, but I know better. Healing is a slow and intensive process. I’m moving through it – I went from miserable, to functional, to ok, and now I’m grateful that the bad days are fewer and further between. But I still have those days, and I will have them after I get back. I do think having to really put myself in a place to work through that anger and pain and frustration, to face it when I’m sad instead of brushing those feelings aside, will be a big step in this process. I need to find places where I don’t feel the need to be a hard ass, where I feel safe enough that I don’t shut off, where I’m challenged to move past the protective defenses and into confrontation. So that’s what I hope to achieve: movement forward.

I’d love to say that maybe I could come back from Albany and know where to go next. I have some big decisions to make – to go to nursing school or not, to finish this degree at UNO or transfer, to to stay in NOLA or move, to apply for new jobs or take out loans, how much I need to or want to work, etc. I have some minor decisions, too, which don’t always feel so minor – what to do about Elles, whether to walk away from a potentially sticky situation, whether to go home for Thanksgiving, etc. I don’t know if I’ll find the answers to any of these questions in New York, but I think emotional, physical, and psychological journeys can coincide. At the least, I’d love to have some clarity – or blind confidence that things will be ok. Heh. Those aren’t the same thing, but really, I’ll take either at this point.

What else do I want from this workshop? To become more comfortable with my body. To find the drive to rediscover horseback riding, yoga, painting, and other interests I have let slide. To start exploring tantric, or at least, get some foundation for doing so. To relax. To meet new people. To check out of my daily life for a bit. To start investing in this blog more, writing more, exploring erotica more. 

On that note, this is my second day off in three weeks, so I don't want to spend the time writing. And it’s fucking Halloween! So I’m off to start packing, go watch the Saints game, and hopefully wash my costume in time for tonight. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fort Worth, TX Councilman on "It Gets Better"

Dallas Pride was my first pride ever -- and I returned twice more. Texas, like Louisiana, gets a lot of shit for being conservative, hick states where queers aren't welcome. But the truth is, we're here and we're out and we exist -- as do our allies. Nothing melts my heart like hearing a devout Southern Baptist talk about how wonderful gay people are. There are huge pockets of support which extend even into rural areas, often in the most unexpected places. Listening to Councilman Joel Burns' speech reminds me of all this truth -- that we're here, we're everywhere, we're loved, even if some days it doesn't seem that way.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Someone To Know You Too Well

You’ve been haunting my thoughts lately. I tell myself that this is recent, this is new, this too will pass. This memory will fade and whatever happens between us will happen – and as I immaturely want to control it, I must not. I must let go and walk away and not think about you. There are a thousand possibilities – who knows. 

Maybe someday you’ll be a good friend, and we can look back and laugh. Or you’ll be a lover, and this will be a part of our history. Or you’ll become a distant moment that I file away and recall only on similar occasions, on a fluke, when it’s convenient.

I wish to know that answer now, but I can’t.

I wish. I wish my son were not a fool. I wish my house was not a mess. I wish the cow was full of milk. I wish the house was full of gold – I wish a lot of things…

(For some reason, my night is written in Sondheim musicals)

I am perplexed by how alive and alone are two sides of the same coin for me.

Sleep to Dream

It's almost bedtime, and my thoughts are running wild and chaotic. What a strange last few days. I have much to say here, but neither the focus or the will to really do it. I'm determined to finish writing Number 9, but after the Saints defeat on Sunday, I simply haven't had the motivation. I tell myself tomorrow, but the truth is tomorrow doesn't seem to ever come.

A friend mentioned Written on the Body by Winterson this weekend, and the book seems to have gotten stuck in my head. It's been years and years since I read it, or really anything by her, though once upon a time she was my favorite author. I credit Written on the Body as a big part of my coming out process. The book is written from a first person perspective, though the protagonist has no defined sex/gender identity. At the time I read it, I wasn't comfortable with the idea of being sexual (or even romantic) with another woman. But reading the book forced me to explore my own feelings and thoughts about gender roles, sexuality, and sex in very mind-blowing ways. Granted, I was fifteen. But it was most definitely what I needed at the time. Ironic that this has all popped up around National Coming Out Day (today).

I cried this morning, when I woke up before my alarm and read the FB and twitter updates of many of my friends. I have some friends on FB I didn't even know where queer -- old camp friends, etc. -- and seeing these people who grew up in small town Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, proudly proclaim to 300+ people online that they're here and queer still blows my mind. I spoke with two close friends last week about the LGBTQ community in NOLA, in Louisiana, about the struggles we face and the challenges that hold back this community. On a microcosm, many are small and yet so pervasive -- one or two family members who hold someone back from being out, a boss that might or might not be accepting, a fear of the those who lurk in the French Quarter streets at night, etc. But the macrocosm is devastating in a different way -- the pay gap for women (and especially gender non-normative women), the racial and class divides in this town, the lack of a LGBTQ infrastructure through organizations and groups, the lack of venues for queer women, the lack of everything from healthcare to social support for trans people, pervasive (and often school-sanctioned) discrimination and bullying, etc.

I don't know why this year has hit hard -- I always wax poetic on LGBTQ holidays, but I guess the rash of suicides has just hit home. It's 2010, and groups like HRC and (our local) Forum For Equality and Gay, Inc, have put marriage and adoption at the top of the agenda, while teens are blowing their brains out. I get that it's not an either-or thing; nothing is that simple. But money is power, and the issues we choose to support with our time and money are the ones which get the most press and recognition. Thousands of people in California came out against Prop 8. In the last few weeks, five kids (that we know of) have committed suicide and where is outcry? It's coming, but it's not as well funded. This movement doesn't have the PR machine. But I'm grateful to see things like the "It Gets Better" Project. I'm glad people are reading, listening, hearing, and asking questions -- What can we do? What are we doing wrong? How can we give these kids hope?

I don't know. But we've got to start talking and listening. We've got to find a way to hear the stories of these kids, and not the post-mortem version. We've got to build a support system, an infrastructure, and we've got to start yesterday.

The suicides also brought up two of my own friends, both from high school, who've committed suicide. I'm certain neither of their deaths had anything to do with their sexual orientation or gender identity. But to think they both cut their lives off at 19. Argh. I wonder often who they would be if they were still here. If I'd still run into them from time to time. If they would find happiness. Death always leaves a hole, but suicide leaves a different kind of missing. It's been over three years, but damn, I still think about them. 19 is too young.

What are we doing? Not enough. Never enough, if this is still happening. Social change is slow, yes. But just as women found that Edna Pontillier's escape hatch was not the only one -- Nora Helmer was onto something -- LGBTQ teens have to discover the same. Death isn't a solution. There's so much more to find in Door #2.

Come out, come out, where ever you are. I'm grateful today, especially, for my "family." I'm grateful for my ex-boyfriend, Steven, the first person I came out to -- and a friend who gave me the support I really needed. I'm grateful to the psychiatrist who told me, contrary to my mother's wishes, that my being queer was just fine. I'm grateful to the straight allies, to groups like the ACLU and SPLC, to parents and family members of queers, to advocates, to those who love quietly and those who fight out loud. There's so much gold on this end of the rainbow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take Me Out Tonight

corset: check.
black tie cocktail dress: check.
strappy shoes: check.
jewelry: still undecided.

$150 ticket I scored for free: check.
Open bar: check.
Dinner: check.
Awards: eh. We'll slip out the back.

I love getting dressed up and going out!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wound Tight

At one of the many wine-fueled living room discussions from my old apartment, I remember one of the girls asking whether we thought giving or receiving sex was more intimate. We debated this topic out, and there were mixed responses in the room. My answer didn’t take much thought. For me, receiving has always been more intimate, and, at times, more challenging.

I can bury my mouth or fingers in someone else all day. Seriously. But it’s another level to let someone else pull open the layers of my body and mind and fuck me senseless.

When I first became sexually active, I was always very dominant with men. I liked the feeling of turning someone else on until they lost control, using my own body and mind to elicit an involuntary response. That kind of power was a rush. It’s an undeniably terrifying lesson to learn at such a young age. I have often used my body, my voice, my mind, to push the people around me. Only as an adult has it become increasingly important for me to control my own tendencies to dominate. I try to fall more gracefully now, to reign that urge into becoming a healthy response, not an overwhelming one. I fail sometimes. It’s an ongoing process.

Even at a young age, being on top, being in control, was about more than power. Dominance was a protective measure. Dominance left me with the illusion that I had more agency, more control over how much of my own body and mind I was opening up to someone else. It was a false prophet, leading me to believe I could protect myself.

My attitude and actions changed drastically when I started dating my first girlfriend. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was on even ground with someone. I had nothing to prove, no role to fill – because there wasn’t a prescript for how two women in a relationship thought, acted, fucked. Or at least, I felt like there wasn’t a prescript because I had not yet been socialized into a queer community. I learned much more about giving and taking sexually. More importantly, I learned to let my guard down and expose myself to pleasure, to heartbreak, to infinite possibilities.

But the reality is, I still have a lot of deep-burnt issues about control and agency, consent and release. These concepts are so interwoven that it’s hard to imagine picking them apart.

On most cars, there’s a kill switch that kicks in when you accelerate to 100mph. Sometimes 120mph. Your car can, indeed, go faster. But manufacturers place a safety limit, so that an engine literally will not accelerate more after reaching that speed.

I’m learning that I, too, have a safety kill switch. When I’m fucking someone new for the first time, I often can’t come. The sex can be spectacular. My body can be totally aroused, and I can get so close. But, as if there’s an internal switch I can’t control, I’ll lose my orgasm just as I’m getting there. It’s incredibly frustrating, and often leaves me feeling so many things – guilty, confused, and out of touch with my body. It’s difficult to explain to a partner that it’s not her, it’s me. Really.

I’ve encountered this before, years ago, but the truth is, I had forgotten about it in the four years I was in a relationship. In retrospect, I never could come to full orgasm with a guy. It wasn't not about sexual orientation, because I was attracted to the guys I dated and screwed around with. But I wasn’t comfortable letting go of myself and my body. I faced the same issue with later sex partners (and girls before we dated), but usually I could overcome it. In my memory, this became a few separate incidents, not a pattern. But I'm obviously wrong. It is a pattern.

I’ve met quite a number of girls in my life who’ve experienced the same thing, though often in a slightly different context. Many of them have expressed that they’ve never reached orgasm ever, or never reached orgasm with a partner. I’m not in that boat. But I think there could be correlations.

I definitely think it’s deeply psychological, and it’s a remnant of protection – a way for my body to close off, to keep from sharing my own intimacy. While I love to receive, to submit, there’s a lot of trust required there. Any consensual sexual act requires trust – trust that your partner will respect your choices and request, trust that your partner will listen to your body and your words, trust that you’ll be treated the way you want to be, trust that you’ll be safe from being harmed.

Problem is, this happens even when I'm consciously consenting, even when I trust my partner completely.


(Always a but.)

My body apparently feels differently.

I don’t know if it’s a remnant of being sexually assaulted. I don’t know if it’s the reason many women I know can’t orgasm. But I suspect it has something to do with letting go. I suspect it’s an internal fear – do I look ok? Does my partner judge my body? Is she/he enjoying it? Or even a more deep set, less obvious fear – one of relinquishing control of your body, your reactions. I’ve met many women who were embarrassed by the sounds or the faces they make during orgasm, the way their right leg shakes, the fact that they ejaculate, the chance that they might queef, or really, any involuntary bodily response.

Sex is messy and personal. These things are going to happen! And while I’ve apologized for many of my own reactions at different points with different partners, the truth is, those fears hold us back.

But even when I’m not caught up with these thoughts consciously, my body still cuts off. I can be completely committed and engaged in sex... and yet, nothing. This ridiculously frustrating motor kill switch is holding me back, not really protecting me. It’s hurting my ability to enjoy sex and my ability to respond to a partner. It’s fucking with my sex life, and it’s got to go.

So while I don’t really have an answer yet on how I’m going to overcome whatever is holding me back in this situation – hell, I don’t even really know for certain what or why my body responds like this – I do hope that naming the problem is step one.

In truth, I love to have my boundaries challenged. I still love to be dominant, but I equally love to submit, to be restrained, to be pushed to a grey area between pleasure and pain. I like to play with power in consensual ways, and I like to have my ideas of agency and control discussed and challenged. Sex can be as psychological as it can be physical, and I like to fuck with both – pardon the pun.

I'd even go so far as to say that at times, my own protective instinct closes me off to the point of being borderline stone -- open and willing to fuck someone else, but not to be fucked. The truth is, I don't like it there. I like to be fucked. I like my layers and complexities to be picked apart until I'm engaged in every part of sex, even the most raw and intimate and scary acts of exposing myself to someone else. That, in itself, is a turn on. Protective shields don't protect me -- they limit me from experience, exposure, opportunity.

But right now, my body is really fucking with me, in a not-so-fun way. I’m hoping this is something I can work on in Albany, as it’s definitely something I want to get to the bottom of soon.