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The Journal Of The InnKeeper
Ranty Lessons by Joreth
12th-Apr-2017 02:12 pm - [sticky post] My New Blog Home!
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
I've been on LiveJournal since May, 2006. It's amusing - my first post says "don't expect too much, I don't have time to keep this updated." Since then, I've gotten ... prolific. But recently LiveJournal moved its servers to Russia (having been bought by a Russian company quite a long time ago). Now, it's subject to Russian laws.

Specifically, it has 1 provision that affects me and 1 provision that could potentially affect me: according to Russian law, any blog or community read by more than 3,000 readers is considered a 'publication' and is subject to State controls on publications, including the provision that the blogger or moderator is legally liable under Russian law for any content posted by any user; and blogs are prohibited from "perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation."

I don't think that I have more than 3,000 readers, so I don't think I'm considered a "publication" by their standards, although I might someday have that many readers, or maybe I do and I'm just not aware of it.  I don't think of myself as being that big of a name. But Russia does have some laws regarding content. The Russian "gay propaganda law" forbids discussion of "sexual deviancy," which includes LGBTQ issues and "propaganda of non-traditional relationships" is forbidden by this law.

Now, I don't think I'm in any real legal danger here. I seriously doubt I'm going to be arrested or sent off to Russia to stand trial or anything. But my LiveJournal blog could just up and disappear someday.  And, frankly, that's been a possibility for a while, although not for reasons of archaic and barbaric "sexual deviancy" laws.

I've been wanting to move away from LJ for some time now, mainly because people keep telling me that it's an outdated platform. Which I think is a shame, because it does everything I ever wanted in a blog. It keeps a running log of my posts, it archives them, it allows comments and gives me control over comments, it gives me design control, it's free, it doesn't take up the limited server space that I pay for on my website, and it also gives me a convenient way to follow the blogs of other people. It's basically Facebook before there was Facebook with more personalization.

But every time I looked into moving my journal over to another platform, I came across technical problems. Until recently, there was no good way to copy everything from LJ (posts, comments, design style, user icons, permissions, etc.) and set it back up on another platform. There were some clunky ways to do it, but I always seemed to hit a wall - this exporter stopped at X number of posts, that exporter didn't get comments, this other platform refused to accept my LJ password even though it's supposed to transfer from one to the other ... stuff like that.

I was able to find an archival service that could back up my posts on my own hard drive, but I had other problems getting that archive to upload somewhere else. And there were a couple of other options that were just above my technical expertise, so when looking at the long set of instructions, my eyes bugged out and I just gave up.

But with this new Russian law thing, I was motivated to look once again and this service was recommended to me. Dreamwidth offered a built-in exporter/importer that grabs all the content I wanted it to grab and actually worked, unlike some other platforms that just kept telling me that my username or password to LJ was incorrect when it wasn't. It's a free service, and it appears to have a similar "friends list" sort of reader for other Dreamwidth users. Not that I really have time to keep up with a blog reader in addition to my FB and Twitter streams (which most people use to link to their blog posts anyway). But still, I like the option.  Which means that if you have a Dreamwidth account, hit me up with it and I can follow you back.

So, for now, Dreamwidth is my new blog home and you can find it at http://joreth.dreamwidth.org. I have it set up to cross-post to LJ, which is also set up to automatically tweet links to new entries. If I can figure out a way to cross-post directly from here to Twitter, I will do that instead of tweeting my LJ.  But comments are turned off on LiveJournal so if you want to comment, you'll have to come to the Dreamwidth site, which uses OpenID so that even people without a Dreamwidth account can still participate (a plus over LJ). If you choose to link to one of my blog posts, please use the Dreamwidth URL from now on. I *think* I have it set to include the Dreamwidth link on the LJ cross-post, but if not, I will.  I still have to go through all my 1,300+ posts and manually update links to LJ posts so that they now go to my DW posts, so that's a long-term project still in the works.

Also, Dreamwidth is still, as of this posting, importing all the comments from my past posts. Their servers have been working overtime lately with the mass exodus from LJ and things are taking longer than normal. As it was, I had to wait in the queue for about 40 hours before the blog posts imported.

As always, my website is www.TheInnBetween.net and links to my blog and my most commonly used social media can be found there. I have accounts on most social media but I only use Facebook, Twitter, and my blog regularly. But if you want to find me somewhere, search for Joreth, Joreth Innkeeper, or some variation on The InnBetween.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.
Purple Mobius, polyamory
I’ve been writing a lot about Touch Starvation lately. Touch is one of my Love Languages. I have all kinds of baggage wrapped up in it, and, in fact, have been working on an adjacent theory about how emotional trauma affects the expression and repression of Love Languages. But that’s for another time.

What do you do when Touch is one of your LLs and your partner(s) is/are long distance? The last time I gave my 5LL workshop, someone asked me that question. Because of my baggage, I didn’t have a good answer, so I threw it out to the audience for brainstorming.  One of the proposed solutions that I managed to remember was to wear a shirt for a couple days and then send it to the partner so they could wear something that smells like you and vice versa. Preferably a soft shirt, something with pleasant tactile qualities.

Fast forward some time and after I announced our marriage plans, a metamour started working on a set of beautiful matching quilts for us, so we could have something tangible and symbolic of our relationship while apart. This combined the Touch LL with the Gift Giving LL and threw in some metamour bonding and was related to the theme of our wedding which was about the strength of partnerships being tied to the interconnectedness of the supportive family network.

So now, a couple years later, I find myself in strong NRE with a long distance partner at the peak of some Touch Starvation. I’m operating on a deficit of Touch already and all I want to do is be near him all the time. What to do?

As we’re getting to know each other, I’m slowly learning his LLs and his particular quirks and needs and limitations. The first night after I came home from my first visit to him, he remarked about “my” side of the bed still smelling like me. That stuck in my brain.  And then it hit me. I don’t exactly remember the order of events, did I think of this right then when he said that, or later at the fabric store or somewhere in between?

I came up with Long Distance Pillows. I’m quite sure I’m not the first to think of this. But I’ve never heard of them so someone else probably needs to hear of this too.

I know he likes soft things. I know he likes to sleep with pillows to cuddle. I know we both like Touch and that I, at least, am Touch Starved. I know he notices scent (not everyone does). So I found some very tactile-favorable fake fur material and made 2 small pillows.

two furry pillowsThe pillow of Me is solid black fur with little paw prints running up one edge, because I think of myself as a cranky black alley cat - a little rough around the edges, a little weather-worn, a little dark, but soft and lovable when I choose to be. He does not abstract himself in that way. He does not associate part of his identity with colors or animals or other symbols. So I picked a grey fur that matches my decor for the pillow of Him.

Then I slept with the pillow of Me for a month. When I went to visit him the next time, I revealed my surprise and my plan. He would sleep with Him and I would sleep with Me for the week, getting our respective scents on our respective pillows. Then I would go home, taking Him with me and leaving Me with him.

We could then have something soft to cuddle while we’re apart that reminds us of each other. When we get back together, we’ll swap pillows for the time we’re together and do it again.

A few days after I made the pillows, I was in a store and I found fake fur pillows just like the ones I was making. At first I was a little disappointed that I could have just bought a couple of pillows and saved some time. But then I realized that I like the fact that I hand made ours. In addition to putting in a zipper so they can be cleaned or the inner pillow can be replaced later and the little detail of the paw prints for Me, these are things I made myself with love and intent. That means something to me.

So, here is something that hits my Physical Touch LL, particularly the dialects of tactile sensation, scent, and sleep cuddling (which I like emotionally, but physically I have some challenges with), addresses, in part, some of my Touch Starvation, and hits my Gift Giving LL, particularly the dialects of tangible items representing thoughts I had of the person while apart and of creating which may overlap with Acts of Service as I use my skills to do something useful that I’m good at to meet an unmet need for someone.

So I share this for anyone who might find it a helpful idea. If you are not a crafty person, you can buy a pillow or blanket. If money is an issue, you can send a clothing item that you already own either to give them something with your scent or to have them wear it and send it back - depending on what you have and your individual circumstances.

You can even turn old t-shirts and other clothes into pillows and blankets if you are moderately crafty and want to save money. Some methods don’t even require sewing, you just fill the shirt and tie the openings shut. Check out no sew pillows on YouTube. This might be a good idea for those who have certain sentimental items like a concert shirt you got at a show you went to together or something. Even paper items can be turned into quilt squares (I’m not a quilter so I don’t know how but I’ve seen it done) so, like, love notes or doodles on a napkin or stuff like that.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/403593.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism
So, as someone who works in retail, this graphic actually really bothers me.  I've seen this posted at least a dozen times in the last couple of weeks, and I'm getting tired of repeating myself, so I'm just going to post this here.

Retail employers do not hire more people based on the amount of work that needs to be done, they hire people based on the amount of money they bring in.

When the store calls for more cashiers to help manage long lines, that means that people who were assigned floor duty have to put their own floor duties on hold to come and ring up.  When the lines go down, our floor duties (namely, "go-backs" - putting away all the shit that customers leave lying all over the store or return at the register) are still there waiting for us, only now we have less time to complete our tasks - tasks which have continued to build up in our absence (it's not like people *stop* leaving shit all over the store when we go up to the registers).

Meanwhile, as all the floor people leave the floor to manage the registers, all the shoppers in the store looking for an employee to help them find something or ask a question are left bereft.  So this also hurts the other customers.

Making more work for us does not help us.  We don't get more help, we get less time to do more work.

I, for example, am required to help customers who come to my custom framing counter, while also building the frames before their due date, putting away go-backs for the 3 sections of the store closest to my counter, helping customers find things no matter where in the store they are located even if they're all the way across the store in departments that I don't know very well, come up and help at the register when the line gets too long, take out the trash, sweep the floor at night, and now I get to handle "buy online, pick up in store" orders because management decided to get in on this whole internet thing where people don't have the time to actually shop so they order stuff on our website and *we* have to play Personal Shopper and go pull everything for them so that they can just run in and pick it up.

They just keep adding to my duties, but not hiring more people.

If you want retail stores to hire more people, you have to give them more money.  If they have already put in automated registers, we have already lost that company - they do not want to hire more people and making more money will not change their mind at this point, it'll just justify their decision to install self-checkout registers.  You have to give money to companies who have ethical hiring practices and reward them for socially conscious decisions.

Look, you can feel irritated or resentful of companies who are investing in automation at the expense of hiring employees - thanks Capitalism!  You can also feel irritated or resentful at the idea of doing the "work" of an employee "for free".

But this all sounds a lot like the complaints of Oregonians freaking out about having to pump their own gas - the rest of the country pumps our own gas and have for years.  Some drivers have never even known a world where someone else pumps gas for us.  Most of the rest of us thought that the reaction in Oregon to losing their full service at gas stations was ridiculous, pampered, entitled, and elitist.

Maybe we were wrong.  Maybe we should be expecting companies to continue to provide people to do things for us.

Or maybe the entire system is fucked up, and we should be encouraging more automation alongside of better social safety nets so that we develop a culture where automation is sign of wealth and prosperity of the nation, not a complete abandonment of its people.

In the meantime, while we await this magical society that takes care of its people because we can afford to once we have all the robots to do all the jobs for us, giving low-paid, over-worked, menial employees more work to do is not the best form of support for us.  Our employers will not respond to the more work with more help.  They respond by insisting we meet the rising work demands with the staff we have with not even an increase in pay.

So you're not sending any message that anyone who can do anything about it will hear.  You're just making my day that much harder.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/403285.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
A comment in a thread that I ought to archive somewhere. I know I've told this story before, but fuck if I can remember where it is now.

This is in response to Person A who is interested in Person B, but Person B is partnered and the partner pre-vetoes Person A. There is this idea that the person who just got vetoed should not have any bad feelings about it because they were never a partner to begin with, and any pre-existing partners should always get priority over people who aren't even partners yet at all.

I've heard this story a hundred times, and, as far as I'm concerned, all it does is serve to train people that their wants and needs are not important, so that when they do finally get into relationships, they are already accustomed to being doormats and can accept second-class citizenship in little bite-sized pieces until they are completely subsumed by an abusive relationship.

First, your wants don't matter because you're not even a partner. Next, your wants don't matter because you just barely started dating (the old "of course a new partner isn't equal to a spouse! You wouldn't sign over the mortgage to someone on a first date, would you?!" response). Then, your wants don't matter because, although you've been dating a while, you're still the "newer" partner. And, of course, your wants don't matter later because you signed up to be a "secondary", so even if you end up dating for a decade, you're still never as important as the "primary", who may actually be "newer" than you.

It's a slippery slope that is not a logical fallacy in this case because it's actually how this mindset plays out. So here is my commentary to that:

That whole "I'm not yet a partner, so it should be OK to prioritize an existing partner over someone who isn't a partner at all" can muddy the waters pretty well.  That's why I take it out of the immediate situation and look more at the patterns and the philosophy.  It's not about how he's treating me, it's about what he thinks is acceptable and what isn't.  He's not just putting *me* on hold in favor of an existing partner, he's putting *himself* on hold in favor of someone else.  He's voluntarily giving someone power over his autonomy *and he thinks that's OK*.

In addition, I have a bias that this particular method is not actually a successful one in terms of building security.  So he'd be doing all this agency-denying crap for no reason, because it doesn't solve whatever problem it's being used to solve.

To give an extreme example, take my abusive ex:

He had such massive insecurity that even the mere thought of his wife being interested in someone else would literally send him into a catatonic panic.  His method of dealing with this insecurity was to infringe on his wife's agency by not allowing her to do specific sexual acts until he desensitized himself to the idea.  He actually used PTSD treatment language, as if him self-diagnosing as PTSD justified this.

So, his wife started dating someone but she couldn't kiss this new boyfriend until her husband (my abusive ex) first visualized it without going catatonic.  Then she could kiss the new guy but only when her husband was present, until he could watch them kiss without going catatonic.  Finally, she was allowed to kiss her own boyfriend without an audience.

Then, he had to visualize her open-mouth kissing ... and go through the whole process again.  Then he had to visualize the new bf touching his wife's breasts over the clothing ... etc. etc.  They literally built an excel spreadsheet and ranked every single sexual act and sexual position to keep track of what she was allowed to do with her bf and whether she could do it without an audience or not.

The thing is that my abusive ex *did*, over time, get accustomed to each specific act.  So over time, the wife racked up a whole list of specific sex acts that she could do with her bf that didn't send her husband into a catatonic tailspin.

They saw this as "growth" and "improvement".

What they never understood is that the *process itself* was harmful because he *never* reached the point where he recognized that he was denying her agency or imposing on her autonomy.  They both just saw a growing list of specific things that didn't freak him out and said "see? It works? He's getting better! He's becoming more secure!"

But he *wasn't* because *every new thing* still freaked him out and he still had to go through the process every single time.  He never learned security. He learned that infringing on his wife's autonomy was justifiable.

I didn't see this pattern at the beginning because 1) he deliberately kept the details of this method from me when we started dating, and 2) I didn't want that kind of power over anyone and said so, and he insisted that our relationship would be different from the one he had with his wife, and it was ... until it wasn't.

Just by coincidence and the way my own libido works, I happened to not be interested in a new person for the next couple of years, so his wife's relationship with her boyfriend kept "growing", and I didn't have my own new partner to challenge him.  When I finally did develop an interest in someone new, he fell back on old patterns, as one tends to do when one is mired deep in fear.  He tried to insist that, not only he but our *entire network* needed to give approval to any new partner I had before I became sexual with that new partner.  Because the underlying premise never changed - that anyone should have the power to infringe on another person's agency.

That does *not* work for me.

So I resisted. In the ensuing argument, he revealed to me that he had grown interested in this other woman, let's call her Chloe.  Years ago, I had a partner who had tried dating Chloe.  It was a disaster.  She has some of the worst communication skills of anyone I've ever met.

In the early days of our relationship, when we were still getting to know each other and exploring and explaining how we each do things, I had mentioned that I cannot be metamours with her.  I would not tell anyone that they couldn't date her, but if someone that I was dating *did* date her, I could not date them anymore.

So, later, when he became interested in dating her, he chose not to date her in deference to me. He *used* this in our later arguments to convince me that I should defer to him with my new partner.  He insisted that, because he gave up a relationship for me, I should be willing to do the same thing.

I was *horrified* that he would have passed up a relationship that *he wanted*, without even talking to me about it, just because he thought I would say no.

He also brought up another partner that he *did* end up dating, whom I'll call Sierra, pointing out how he waited until he had my approval before dating her.  I told him at the time that I was not giving "approval", that he was free to date or or not as he saw fit.  I thought he understood that he could still choose to date her or not, and that just because I liked Sierra and had no problem with them dating, this was not my "approval", nor my "permission".  But he didn't understand that, because he brought up Sierra, and the fact that he only started dating her because I said it was OK, in this later argument.

So, during this argument, I got mad at him for giving me this power when I explicitly told him that I didn't want it. But especially now because he did this whole self-sacrifice thing without even telling me about it and expected his sacrifice to persuade me to make the same sacrifice in his favor.

Very little infuriates me in a relationship more than "I did this thing for you that you didn't know about and you don't want, so now you have to do the same thing for me!"

So, not only did this whole "put someone else off until security magically appears" not work, it was a sign of a pattern that wove itself very deep into how his relationships work.  The act of denying someone their agency to assuage one's own fears reinforces itself when the fears are temporarily relieved.  All this method does is teach people that denying one's agency is justifiable.  

And it doesn't just teach the people doing the agency-denying either.  It teaches us to accept it from others with small, incremental steps.  Kind of like how abuse works.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/402975.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

20th-Aug-2019 12:06 am - An Epiphany About Unicorn Hunters
Purple Mobius, polyamory
I just had a minor epiphany.

I was listening to an interview where the straight white dude in the hetero legal marriage who "opened up" (granted, he had an open relationship, but then they closed up when they got "serious" because that's what you're "supposed to do", figured out that didn't work, and opened up again) decided to lecture the poly community on how we treat unicorn hunters.

As he was talking about how hard it is for the poor newbie unicorn hunters, the thought popped into my head "says the straight het dude who is never the target of these people, telling marginalized people how to react to abuse in their communities!"

After conceding that unicorn hunting is "the wrong way", he started bemoaning how mean it is when we tell them that it's the wrong way, that we need to be nicer to them and hand-hold them gently into learning why what they're doing is wrong, because otherwise these couples are going to leave the community and try to do this all by themselves with no guidance.

So I yelled at my speakers "because it's better to not chase away the toxic abusive unicorn hunters but to instead chase away all the single, bi & pan, female-presenting (or female-assumed) people?!"  Because that's totally what happens. There is NO WAY to explain to unicorn hunters "gently" enough that they're doing it wrong, because they don't want to hear that they're doing it wrong, they want validation that they're doing it right and that they're justified in their approach.

I have this problem with religious debates too.  There is absolutely no way to tell someone "I think your god doesn't exist" without them taking it personally, no matter how "nicely" you say it.  There are no "nice enough" words, because the people who are open to hearing that message are not the problem in the first place.

So any group that tolerates unicorn hunting even a little bit ends up sending all the "hot bi babes" into the Relationship Anarchy groups, even though RA is what polyamory was *always supposed to be* (until the fucking couples with their fucking unicorn hunting found us through Montel Williams and took over - there were always hierarchical couples and unicorn hunters but they were not the majority until we reached mainstream exposure and then hordes of "couples opening up" discovered us en masse).

We get to choose: a community that is tolerant of unicorn hunting with very few hot bi babes and very few advanced, experienced polys (because they all got chased away), or a community of experienced polys and newbies who shut up and listen, all of different configurations and dynamics and orientations who feel safe because of the fostered atmosphere of respect for agency.  Because these two groups are not compatible.

It's like those fucking "coexist" stickers - no, we can't fucking "coexist" because one side is toxic and harmful to the other.  BY DEFINITION, the two camps are fundamentally incompatible with each other.

I've been trying to figure out why this is so fucking difficult for people to get.  Even people who recognize how toxic unicorn hunting is, some of them seem to think that there is room for both sides and get all up on their high horse about how "mean" we are to unicorn hunters and how we should be nicer and softly, gently, quietly lead them into seeing other people as motherfucking human beings, not sex toys.

And it occurred to me that this is basically the same thing as white people telling POC that we need to "understand" the plight of the poor rural white folk who voted for Trump, and men telling women that we need to be less strident when we explain feminism, and gay people to be less in-your-face when we demand equal rights, and atheists need to be less "militant" (funny how most of us are also opposed to violence and the military, but whatevs) when we request space for people of other belief systems.

Because we haven't been absolutely STEEPED in their viewpoint from every angle of society, so being mean to them, obviously we just don't *understand* them!

Here's the epiphany:  People who think we need to be nicer to unicorn hunters (completely ignoring the fact that there is a wide spectrum of people and personality types and argument methods that are actually used in unicorn hunting debates) see the *unicorn hunters* as the "persecuted minority" and the queer, uncoupled femmes (and our supporters) as the oppressive dominant majority.

So when someone who has nearly every axis of privilege stacked against them sees for the umpteenth bajillionth time a mostly het, cis, white couple with legal benefits tearing through their community with their homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and couple privilege, and decides they've had enough and tells that couple "ur duin it rong", that couple feels like the white man being ganged up on and cries "reverse racism!" because someone was mean to him once.

That's why we are talking past each other.  No matter how many times we explain it, people who defend the "just be nice to unicorn hunters / hierarchical / abusive / misogynistic / racist / homophobic / transphobic people in our community" position, those are people who see the cis het usually white, COUPLE as the persecuted minority.  And there is no "nice enough" way to explain to them that they're not, as long as they think they are.

They're just going to have to go through the trial by fire that all the rest of us did when our own privilege finally came crashing down on our heads and we learned how to see it.  Seeing one's privilege for the first time, particularly after believing that one is *not* privileged, is a painful, shocking lesson. It's like having ice water thrown over your head.

Except the water is actually lukewarm, you're just all fired up with your own blustering ego, so it all feels too cold by comparison.  It won't start to feel comfortable until you cool from the inside first.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/402760.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 11:41 pm - Advanced Relationship Skills
Flogging, BDSM
Relationship Negotiation 201 -

Me: As a future local partner, you will be subjected to all kinds of movie marathons, many of which include truly terrible movies. That's just part of the relationship contract of being with me.

I probably ought to have included that in the vows, or the prenup or something.

Franklin: I think I knew that when I signed on. I suppose we could make a deal: I’ll put up with your taste in movies if you put up with the fact that I like sex that’s messy and squidgy.

Me: um... maybe bad movie watching isn't so important after all?

#WhenOppositesAttract #TheRealSecretsToASuccessfulLongTermRelationship #GiveAndTake #NoSeriouslyNotWatchingTonsOfBadMoviesWithMeIsKindaADealBreaker

Metamour Relations 302 -

Franklin: Eunice suggested this totally evil idea to torture me! She's trouble.

Me: Ooh, that sounds like fun! I think I'd like to help her with that!

Franklin: You’re terrible! That’s a terrible idea! 😮

Me: I dunno, I thought it sounded like an excellent idea. I shall have to commend Eunice on her creativity.

Franklin: ...

Franklin: That also sounds like a terrible idea. The last thing she needs is someone encouraging her.

Franklin: Wait, scratch that. The last thing I need is someone encouraging her!

Me: Positive reinforcement is an excellent bonding tool.

Franklin: Um...I’m not sure we have the same idea of bonding tools.

Me: I thought you wanted all your partners to get along with each other?

Franklin: Well, there’s getting along, and then there’s “getting along,” if you know what I mean.

Me: This is what polyamory is all about! All of your partners encouraging each other, cheering each other on, helping each other out...

Franklin: I don't recall polyamory being all about ganging up on me!

Me: Details! It's the bigger picture that's important here! All your partners like each other, communicate with each other, and cooperate with each other. See? Helping each other torture you is the pinnacle of successful polyamory!

#ThePolyFamilyThatTorturesTogetherStaysTogether #PolyRoleModels #SchemingAndPlotting #JorethControlThem! #IAmTheyAreDoingExactlyWhatIToldThemToDo! #TheAmorphousSquiggle #TheTangle #SquiggleFunTimes #ClosestKnitKitchenTableInclusiveOpenNetworkEver #WhoSaysSoloPolysDoNotHaveCloseTiesWithMetamours? #MetamoursAreTheBestPartOfPolyamory #BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor #WhenAllOfYourPartnersLikeEachOtherItDoesNotAlwaysGoSoWellForYou #OrItGoesVeryWellForYouDependingOnDefinitions

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/402654.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory
I've said this before, but I just woke up and I have to get ready for work, so I don't feel like taking the time to find the post about it.

Reminder:  Not all gaslighters are cardboard, black-hatted villains, twirling their mustachios and stroking their white cats in their uncomfortable looking armchair, plotting the deliberate crazy-making of their intended victims.  I'd even venture to say that *none* of them are.

We are taught that gaslighting is an appropriate method for dealing with intimate connections who do not behave as we wish.  This is not limited to romantic partners either.  The example I use is that of a tired and harried parent trying desperately to get their child to eat their vegetables.  The toddler says "I don't like broccoli!" and the parent says "yes you do, now eat it!"

That's gaslighting.  That parent is attempting to overwrite the child's feelings by telling the child what they feel.  In the grand scheme of things, this one specific example is minor - I wouldn't call the parent "abusive" over this.  But we learn from a very early age that we can tell other people what they feel, and we can insist that we know them better than they know themselves.

We also all have shitty memories.  Yes, even you with the really good memory, you have a shitty memory too.  Our brains suck.  They do not record reality like a video recorder.  They record *feelings* and *impressions* and general concepts.  And then, when you re-tell something later, that re-telling overwrites the original memory and you remember the event as you just re-told it instead of as it was.

If a person has a shitty memory (which we all do) and also has confidence in their memories, a person without malicious intent can be very likely to insist that an event happened in a way that it did not, in fact, happen.  Combine this with an ingrained acceptance of gaslighting as a cultural practice, and I guaran-fucking-tee that every single one of you has gaslighted people before.  Only I would bet that you don't even remember doing it.

My point is that there are some people who are actually abusive with their gaslighting.  They do it habitually, they do it with malice, they do it with forethought.  But the vast majority of people are somewhere between the occasional, minor gaslighting of the parent just trying to get their kid to eat healthy and the dude deliberately trying to send his wife to the asylum to get her money (the movie where the name came from).

I fully believe that my abusive ex, whom I use as a teaching tool frequently, who had me convinced that his victim was the real abuser, genuinely, sincerely feels that he was the victim in the whole scenario and thinks I'm the evil one for accusing him of abuse.  I believe that he, to this day, does not think his demands to control his partners' behaviour with their other partners to manage his own insecurities, was "abuse", or even "controlling".  I believe that, when he had hours-long arguments with his victim that resulted in her recanting her pain and comforting him instead, I believe that he fully believes that he did not change her reality so that she became so twisted up inside that she couldn't tell what reality was.

So, when I talk about master gaslighters, I'm not trying to guess their motivations or turn them into said cardboard, black-hatted, mustachioed villains.  They are still people with complexity, and I'm quite sure they do not view themselves as the bad guys in the situations I comment on.  It doesn't change the fact that they are saying things that are not true, though, and what they say is turning people against those they are telling the not-truth about.

How or why they do what they do is not my point.  Sometimes, I may believe that I have some kind of insider information that allows me to comment on the how or why, but mostly, I'm just commenting on the what.  And people, especially those with exposure to the SJW communities, are getting REALLY GOOD at some really shitty things.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/402201.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
[This is a post I made on FB on May 6, 2018]

Y'all, I'm watching a master gaslighter at work.  I thought my ex, who had me convinced that his victim was the real problem, was good.


I then thought that this Missing Stair, who has left a trail of broken victims throughout her city and somehow managed to stage a coup against me which I caught wind of and yet she still convinced half the online poly community that I was unreasonable and on a power trip because I put a stop to the coup, was good.


It's truly impressive to watch a real pro categorically deny ever having done or said things when there exists actual print evidence that they did, and to see people fall one by one, like dominoes, into the pro's camp.  And there's nothing that can be done.  To speak up after the smear campaign has started is to create "drama".  And Hades forbid we have "drama" in our communities!  To keep quiet to avoid "drama" is to allow the accusations to go unchallenged, which makes them believable.

Any attempt at a defense is met with hostility by people who heard the first accusations and have chosen to "believe the victim" rather than look into the situation.  Remember, abusers often use our sympathy and empathy against ourselves.  In our current subculture climate, they can cry "victim" first, and be automatically believed, setting up their victims for a no-win situation and further traumatizing them. 

As far as I can tell, there is no way to tell the difference between a true victim bravely stepping forward to share their story and prevent future abuse, from an abuser crying "victim" first to win over public approval and support and further traumatize their victim, without a thorough, deep dive into the situation, which most bystanders are not in a position to do. 

And the more gaslighters I have the misfortune to meet, the more and more difficulty I have in telling the difference because I keep meeting better and better gaslighters.  They just keep upping their game. 

This one is fucking *good*. 

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/402175.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory
*sigh* my sister...

So, my family is, like, totally "normal".  They are what we are told we are "supposed" to be: my dad proposed to my mom at her senior prom, they got married right out of high school, are still married, had 2 kids and a series of dogs and raised us in the suburbs.  My sister was "the jock", I was "the brain", my mom came from a lower class immigrant family and moved into middle class, even sent me to private school.  All we lacked was a literal picket fence.

Even our dysfunctions were "normal":  I dropped out of college to work in manual labor, my sister got pregnant in high school and became a single teen mom, but we both mostly stayed out of real trouble and we love our parents.  So my sister is totally not part of any alt communities.  But she really should be.  She has like the most queer-platonic relationship I've ever seen.  Her best friend is the girl who grew up next door to us and they do *everything* together.

After I moved out, when my oldest nibling was a toddler, my sister and our next door neighbor became really close friends, so the neighbor kinda stepped in as an additional parent when I left.  She just adores my niblings and they adore her.  She is unmarried and has applied for adoption.  Even though she has a boyfriend, she is planning on being a single mother.  Perhaps if her boyfriend becomes a husband, he'll also become the adopted kid's father, but she has been planning to adopt for quite some time and is doing everything under the assumption that she will be the sole parent.

Except for my sister.  As soon as my neighbor announced that the adoption application was approved, my sister immediately teared up and shouted "WE'RE HAVING A BABY?!?!"

Once my neighbor gave the go-ahead for my sister to start telling people, she always said it as "*we* are having a baby", and the neighbor seems to be approving, not just tolerating, this perspective.  My sister will be the secondary parent to her best friend's kids, whether she ever has a spouse or not.

And now, my sister is posting pictures from her honeymoon in Cancun.  Guess who's there?  My sister brought her best friend (and her bf) on her honeymoon.

No, she is definitely not poly or bi.  We've had frank discussions of both, and, while my sister understands and accepts both concepts in other people, she says they're not for her.  But she clearly has "alternative" family structures.  Her bestie is also a co-parent and a life-partner, and apparently neither of their straight male romantic partners mind.

I keep saying how all of my alt-family philosophies and skills come from my Christian, hetero, monogamous upbringing.  I also keep saying that very little about polyamory is specific to polyamory.  My sister is proof of both.  She's not poly at all, but she still applies very poly relationship skills and traits to her het-mono life.

Considering that we hated each other as children, have *nothing* in common except a few bands that we like, and are not related by genetics, I think this supports my assertions that there is little about poly that is poly-specific and the sheer diversity of mono families can produce some healthy relationship lessons so that you don't have to be poly to still have decent relationships.

If you just look at a snapshot of our respective lives, my sister actually looks more like the "alternative" one.  I live alone and hardly ever see my partners, so if you only peek at a slice of my life, I would seem to be just a quiet, spinster aunt, while she's the one with tattoos, kids that are not much younger than herself, and what looks like a poly quad and multiple co-parents.

#SeeingPicsOfMySisterPartyingInMexicoApparentlySendsMeOnAPolyPhilosophyTangent #QueerestPolyestStraightMonoWomanEver #ILoveMyFamily #WellMostOfTheTime

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/401794.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 08:10 pm - I'm Just A Jealous Person
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Him:  I just don't get how you all keep track of everyone!

Me:  The same way I keep track of all my siblings and cousins. I know who they all are and what I've done with each.

Him:  But it's different when you have a real intimate connection. Then there's jealousy that you don't have with friends or family.

Me:  See, this is what I hate about emotional labor.  You guys are socialized to have women do your emotional labor for you and to only view your sexual partners as "intimate".  Women are socialized to have many intimate connections.  I can have several platonic girlfriends who are all deeply intimate connections, so I know that it feels the same as the connection I have to my romantic partner, sometimes it's a deeper intimacy, even.  If you could develop intimate connections with anyone other than your lover, you'd know that jealousy and all the other emotions exist whether there is sex or not and monogamy doesn't prevent them.

Him:  but don't you all feel sexual jealousy?

Me:  1) yes, but 2) not being poly doesn't prevent anyone from feeling sexual jealousy either.

Him:  But for me, sexual jealousy is this primal, internal, instinctual thing.

Me:  Yeah, all jealousy is like that.  Babies feel jealousy about parents and siblings.  You just happen to attach your feelings of jealousy to sexual activity, but it's still the same jealousy that everyone feels over anything.  Think of it like anger.  Jealousy is just an emotion.  Anger is just an emotion.  Some people are pretty laid back and don't really get angry or upset over much.  Some people get angry over very specific things but they're ok most of the time.

And some people are just Angry.  They see red.  Their anger is primal, and always there.  It's a part of who they are, it's in their identity, they are an Angry Person.

People who get angry have a few choices.  They can choose to only date people who never do anything to make them angry.  They can have random bouts of anger and that's just how a relationship with them goes.  Or they can try and learn some anger management skills and learn how to deal with their anger without making other people responsible for managing them.

But no matter which option they choose, the anger never "disappears".  There is no world in which anger is gone.  People who choose to date only people who never make them angry never lose their anger, they just don't have it triggered very often (but inevitably, *something* will, because nobody is perfect at managing other people's emotions).

People who choose anger management never lose their anger, they just learn how to manage their own emotions and, more importantly, how to choose reasonable behaviours in response to their emotions.

Now imagine that society said that the Angry Person is the default, that this is just how things are, that anger is immutable and fixed, and that all relationships should alter themselves to avoid triggering anger at all costs, and any relationship that allows the kind of behaviour that might make someone feel angry are "weird", "abnormal", and even "immoral", even if the people in those relationships are OK with having that kind of behaviour in their relationships and even if that behaviour doesn't actually trigger any anger in them at all.

Poly people are just normal people with the same range of angry feelings as everyone else but who said "I don't buy that, I think some anger is learned and angry behaviour is excused, and I think that there is a better way to feel and deal with anger."

Him:  See, that's why I admire you poly people.  I'm just a jealous person, so I couldn't do that.

Me:  #FacePalm That's the thing, you *could* if you wanted to.  But society is set up to support you in not addressing your jealousy, in just accepting it.  As long as you think it's "too hard" or you can't do it, you won't be able to because society will support you in not trying, and will actively work against you if you do try.  You could change this about yourself.  But only if you want to.

Poly people aren't special or better at any of this, we're just more deliberate about our relationships.  Anyone *could* do it, it's whether they *want* to overcome the hurdles that society has put in their way.  For some people, it's not worth the effort.  If you do not *want* to, then don't do it.  Don't come into my communities kicking and screaming and not wanting to be there.  You'll just fuck things up for all of us.

Just know that you're a making a choice. Your jealousy doesn't have to dictate your relationships, if you don't want it to.  It only does because you choose to let it.


This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/401479.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism
Watching a cop drama. Two of the cops have gotten married and had a baby (and since left the force).

Just saw a scene with a wonderful twist:

The woman leaves the baby with the man to go into the other room to get something for the baby.  We hear a small crash from the other room and the music changes.  He calls out her name and she doesn't respond.  We know something bad has happened.  The father goes into the other room, calling for the mom, and gets distracted by finding the thing for the baby. Suddenly, an armed assailant appears with a shotgun and fires, while the dad's cop instinct takes over and he ducks.

Here's the twist - the dad, unarmed, is the one running through the house and hiding, protecting the baby, eyes wide with fear.  Meanwhile, the mom pops out from around the corner with her gun drawn and has a gunfight with the assailant, scaring him off, while the man huddles in the pantry, shushing the the baby.

It would have been SO easy to have this scene with the characters reversed.  Someone would have had to consciously thought to make this scene play out the way it did.

And it helps that the man's character has been building up as the nurturing, father-figure type.  There have been several scenes in earlier seasons, when he had a baby with another character, that highlight his growth from naive rookie with daddy issues from his gangbanger dad to responsible father who makes very different decisions now that he has children to raise.  So this role reversal isn't out of the blue, it's totally within the character arcs of these characters.

But even still, I was pleasantly surprised to see this scene.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/401255.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
#ThingsIWantToToon: In the first panel, I pull my car into my parking spot next to my house. It's night, and everything is dark, empty, alone.

I get out of my car and look around cautiously, it's just the kind of neighborhood where you want to know what you are about to turn your back on. Nobody and nothing around.

I lean into the car to get stuff out of the front seat.

I turn back around and close the door. Behind the door is the silhouette of a cat, sitting facing me. I pause, wondering where it came from. But there is a chain link fence between me and the cat.

I turn to walk towards the house.

Another cat silhouette is behind me (now in front), slowly walking towards me. I stop. I am between the 2 cats.

I look back towards the other one. There are now 2 cat silhouettes sitting, watching me. Where did the other one come from?

I start walking towards the house again. The moving cat veers to intercept me.

All of this is done in spooky tones.

Then the motion sensor light comes on as the moving cat reaches me, and I lean down to pet a smiling, purring #TonyTheCat, as the #EgyptianFerals kittens come bounding up, only to bounce away before I get too close. Tone changes to bright, happy tone.

I make it into the house and fill a bowl of cat food while Tony winds his way between my feet and the kittens butt-wriggle-pounce on something in the yard. I smile.

#LifeWithFriendlyFerals #StreetCatSaga #TheCatChronicals #Toxoplasmosis #DamnParasite #CatSlave #MoreImportantThatCatsLikeMeThanPeopleLikeMe #FeralCatsAreMyPatronus #ThisIsNotMyCat #ThisIsProbablyMyCatNow

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/401131.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
I'm watching one of my cop dramas (because I have a weakness for them) and this episode has a scene that very clearly illustrates a point.

A lot of people seem really confused on the whole "privacy vs. secrecy vs. transparency" thing. I've written about it before and even have a recent post with that phrase as the title. But some people don't seem to understand how one can be transparent and still maintain privacy.

I think it's really simple.
"But boss!"

"No, I'm asking you to trust me, please. I can't tell you what's going on right now, but I promise I will tell you when I am able to. For now, just drop it."
That's it.

The plot involves a mass conspiracy that's been going on for several seasons, and recently the protagonist did a thing to thwart the agents of the conspiracy, and so needed to do it totally secretly, without the knowledge or assistance of the rest of the cop team, because mass conspiracy.

Now the conspiracy is doing its thing, and others on the team are starting to notice weird things are happening. But in order for the good guy plan to work, the silence needs to be maintained.

So, these are *cops* - detectives, no less. They're trained in the art of investigation. Lying to one's own teammate, especially in the course of the teammate doing their job and trying to solve crimes, is ASKING for crossed plot lines. This is how otherwise Good Guys end up suspicious and accidentally sabotaging the protagonist and furthering the schemes of the conspiracy.

So this character* didn't. This character was honest that there was *something* - yes, teammate, your instincts are correct, so please stop digging because you are right but I am keeping secrets for a reason.

That's all that is needed in romantic relationships too. If you trust them, then you let it go right there. If you don't, well, then you have other issues.

I can be honest with my partners and still respect privacy:
I'm sorry, sweetie, I love you, but that's not my story to tell.

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you not to pry because this is a personal matter that I don't want to share.

Yes, you are noticing something correctly. I am not telling you everything. There is a reason for that, and I will be able to tell you soon, but not now. Please trust me.

Yes, there is something bothering me but I do not want / cannot go into it right now, please drop the subject. I will let you know when I can talk about it.
You can decide how much trust you want to give to a partner who requests privacy. You can decide that whatever they don't wish to share with you is a deal-breaker. That's your right. But privacy is *their* right.

And as the person trying to maintain privacy, you can decide if this is the privacy you wish to stake your relationship on. But one can be transparent and maintain privacy at the same time. One can be *honest* about maintaining privacy. These are not mutually exclusive goals.

All too often, "honesty" is put in opposition to some other goal, like "kindness" or "privacy", as if you can only have one or the other. Most of the time, you can have both. But it takes trust going both ways in a relationship, and courage to be vulnerable and to stand one's ground, all of which require a foundation of good communication so that both people in the relationship *know* or feel confident about the trust and the safety of their vulnerability and in themselves to stand their ground.

But a good relationship does not require you to sacrifice something else important in order to be honest. If you feel that you are forced into this dichotomy, you are probably not in a healthy relationship.

*It's probably not a coincident that the teammate / boss who chose to be honest and just ask for trust is a female character. Male characters, especially cops, tend to bluster and bluff and let their egos get in the way. The female character relied on her relationship history.  I doubt that was a deliberate feminist critique of emotional labor, but I also don't think it was an accident that this is the dialog chosen for her and had it been one of the male characters or had her character been portrayed by a man, I believe this exchange would have gone differently.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/400801.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
PSA: When your friends are going through a breakup, if you are particularly close with them and have previously been in the role of support for them with their relationship stuff (or they have for you), and your friend reaches out to you for support during a breakup, you may choose to be there for them, or you may choose not to take on that particular role for yourself at this time.

But if you have not already established this kind of supportive role with your friend who is going through a breakup, try to resist the call to suddenly be their sounding board.  Even if you think you can handle it.  Even if you think that you truly have the purest of intentions.

Some people want to manipulate social circles with sordid stories of the breakup or the ex.  Some people want to gossip.  Some people want to elicit a more active role from you in revenge, punitive action, or other things.  Abusers, in particular, are *very* good at convincing others that they have been harmed and making it look like they're just "reaching out" for support when they're actually undermining the other person's ability to find their support.

Some people just don't have very good boundaries and don't recognize what is appropriate and what isn't in terms of sharing private and personal details of a relationship and a breakup.  There are tons of reasons - both benign and harmful in *intent* - for someone coming to you with the story of their breakup.  But there are very few times in which accepting that role is actually *helpful*, either for your friend, for you as the support, or for the community everyone is all a part of.

So if you don't already have that kind of relationship with someone and they contact you from seemingly out of nowhere wanting to connect or looking for support for a breakup, and *especially* if you *do* have a connection to the ex, it's probably best to clearly state your own boundaries that this is not a role you feel suited for at this time.

If *you* are going through a breakup and you have somehow managed to lose or avoid building your own support group with a very small number of people who can handle being in the role of "I will listen to you trash talk your ex so you can vent" buddy, you may find yourself now needing to reach out to people you haven't before.

Some advice:
  • Keep it to a small number of people, preferably people who are at least on the next closest ring of your concentric social circles, so it would seem like a natural next step in a progression of intimacy when you reach out to them, not a weird, out-of-the-blue request.  Don't spam dozens of people, you really only need a small handful of close confidantes, and they should be people who are close *enough* that it doesn't seem like a leap of intimacy.
  • Try to pick people who are not also friends with the ex, or who are more distant friends with the ex than they are with you.  That way you don't unintentionally (or subconsciously intentionally) fuck up their friendships, support networks, or social circles too.
  • Focus on YOU - on what YOU did, on how YOU feel, on what you could have done, on what you plan to do from here, etc.  Leave your ex out of it, other than the fact that being an ex is what makes you need support in the first place.  Your breakup is about YOU, regardless of what they did or the details of what happened.  Support is about YOU, not about your ex.
  • Be clear on what you are asking for.  Do you just want someone to listen while you sort through your thoughts and that takes speaking them out loud?  Do you want advice?  Do you want someone to hear your story and give you reassurance?  Do you want someone to hear your story and give it to you straight, whether that turns out to be reassurance or some hard truths?  Do you just want to sit with feelings of being petty and a space to be ugly for a while with someone who won't judge you for it?  Be clear.  Tell people which role you want them to play, and be prepared for them to tell you that they can't play that role for you.
Breaking up is hard. It's where your ethics meet the road.  And we ALL fuck up here.  This is how to fuck up a little bit less.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/400614.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Bad Computer!, anger
I'm starting to think that when men go through a breakup, there should be, like, this mandatory "rehab" building where they get put, where they don't have any contact with any people for a few days, they get fed, get comfy accommodations, and are only given squishy things or non-breakable things. They have to go there and just feel like shit for a while, all by themselves.

Only after a couple of days when the most acute pain has faded, then they get to talk to counselors who are especially trained in anger management and loss processing. The counselors can make a judgement call about when to let them out, whether to allow contact with loved ones and when, and whatever else needs to be decided for their recovery.

Only when they're deemed to have processed their anger and grief in healthy ways are they allowed back into society. They may still be going through the process of loss, because some breakups take time, but its that initial destructive period of anger and hurt that is the most threatening.

And if men can't figure out how to feel angry and hurt without property destruction, revenge, control, or making a "statement", then they ought to be put in isolation until they can get a handle on it.

Women too, because I've seen some really fucked up shit from women going through a breakup, but men have the power of society behind them and much fewer resources for helping them process difficult emotions.

Sometimes I see men going through breakups and I just want to lock them in their rooms for a while and take away their phones and internet until they calm the fuck down and stop trying to *make* their exes do whatever it is they feel entitled to making them do ("pay for it", "come back", whatever).

I recently had a friend who, until their breakup we all called *his girlfriend* the problem child (and she really was - manipulative, controlling, the whole 9 yards), ended up getting Baker Acted by his ex-girlfriend because he used a suicide threat to get her attention. He was held for several days with minimal contact outside.

I think that was probably the best thing she ever did for him. When he got out, we still had to metaphorically spank him occasionally to get him to stop fucking calling her and trying to "win her back", but it was *much* less destructive than before.

The longer it takes me to finish this breaking up book, and the more breakups I witness because of how many people now come to me with their breakup stories, the less lenient and lovey-dovey I become over how people should breakup. Now I just want to lock everyone in padded rooms until they come to their fucking senses and stop being jackasses.

Maybe we should pipe in some pro-agency inspirational messages to the rooms like 24-hours a day for some cultural reprogramming or something. Apparently it's going to take some sci-fi Russian super-soldier training methods to make people just STOP FUCKING TRYING TO CONTROL YOUR ROMANTIC PARTNERS, INTERESTS, AND EXES AND DEAL WITH YOUR OWN GODDAMN EMOTIONS

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/400149.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 06:21 pm - Challenge For Cismen
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
Challenge for all cisgender (particularly white) men:

Go for one entire day without making a single, unsolicited comment at someone. If nobody asked you, personally, a direct question, don't respond. Even if someone asked a question generally, such as a social media post or a room full of people, if your opinion, advice, or answer, specifically, was not solicited, then don't give an answer.

Exemption: If a thing is going to happen to you personally, if the subject involves you - your body, your emotions, your time, your possessions, your agency - then you can voice your opinion because then your opinion is relevant and your agency is important. But make sure this actually involves *you*, personally, not just a subject you have emotional feelz about, which makes it *feel* "personal".

If your partner says "let's have pizza for dinner" and you're really not feeling pizza, then give your opinion even though they didn't ask you a direct question. But if someone you know says "I like pineapple pizza", don't tell them your favorite toppings or recommend your favorite pizza parlour.

If you find this challenge difficult, ask yourself why. If you are able to complete this challenge, try doing it for an entire week.

Contemplate how difficult this challenge is for you. How did your social media activity change? How did conversations IRL change? Consider how many other men inserted their unsolicited opinions into the space you left for them that you are now aware of because you held your tongue. How did conversations look when only non-cismen were contributing?

Count the number of times you were about to say something and then remembered not to. Count the number of times you failed. Think about how often you had to actively make a decision about offering an unsolicited opinion. Ask yourself how much effort did it take for you to stop and think about everything you wanted to say, to see if it met this challenge or fell under the exemption? Ask yourself how much effort did you make rationalizing, justifying, excusing, or legitimately categorizing the things that you did end up voicing as an "exemption".

And challenge other cis men.

(challenge idea from Holly Freundlich)

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/400067.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 05:38 pm - Poly Semantics
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Hey, polys, I know that we like to make up our own terminology and stuff, and I actually think that's great.  I think it's both useful and humorous.


I mean, sure, living language, words evolve and all that, but poly terminology is LITERALLY LESS THAN A GENERATION OLD.  Most of the people who coined the various words are still alive.

Could we, like, not start making words mean their opposite while the people who coined them are still alive to define them?

We ARE all about "communication, communication, communication", yes?  I know this is a radical concept, but communication is *easier* when everyone in the conversation is using the same fucking definitions for the same words.  Sure, there are no thought police, nobody is going to drag you off to poly jail for using a word differently.  But you're making things more difficult for everyone, yourself included, by just arbitrarily making words mean their opposite.

Can we just agree to use the words as defined at least as long as the person who coined them (or popularized them) is still alive and can confirm its intended definition? Can we make our own vocabulary just last at least as long as that?

Here's something that just occurred to me that I wonder about.

So, the poly "community", the concept, whatever, has been mostly led by women or non-cis men identified persons.  I'm going to stick with the term "women" for right now because the original pioneers and the largest names with the widest reach all used that term.  Point is, women have been at the forefront of the poly "movement" from the beginning.  Literally, both the people tagged with coining the word "polyamory" are women.

Because women have been the bulk of the supporters and champions of polyamory, women have been the coiners of most of our vocabulary.

I get into a *lot* of semantics debates around poly terminology. People insist that words mean their opposites all the time, which is frustrating in general, but in the poly community, the people who coined, popularized, or invented our terms are mostly all still alive and we can *ask* them what the word means.

But people will tell those coiners, *to their faces*, that the words they invented do not mean what they created them to mean.

And because it just occurred to me, as I was thinking over the last 20 years of all the arguments I've had on poly semantics and who came up with which terms, that the vast majority of people I have had to defend as being term-coiners, have been women.

So now I wonder ... if men had developed all these terms, would we still be arguing about their definition?  Would so many people so vociferously declare to the person who invented a word that "language evolves"?  How much of the willingness to tell someone that their own word does not belong to them anymore and we can use it however we like is related to our cultural willingness to dismiss women's ideas, ignore women, 'splain to women, and take credit for women's contributions?

How much of our semantics debates are related to some deeply internalized misogyny?  How often do we arbitrarily change the definitions of terms because we, as a culture and we subconsciously as individuals, do not give women the authority to define and shape our communities?

These are all rhetorical questions.  I am not looking for anyone to answer them because I don't think they can be answered.  I just noticed a pattern, because pattern-recognition is one of the things I'm particularly good at. It might be nothing.

But it might be that, even in a woman-led movement and among women ourselves, we still don't give women the credit that they deserve.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/399619.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 05:19 pm - The Polyamorous Trial Period
Purple Mobius, polyamory
"“I’m polyamorous, but my partner’s new to this. They say they’re okay with what I’ve told them about poly, but… I can tell they’re nervous. So I’m going to damp it down for a while just to be kind to them – I’ll go easy on the side-dating.”

Don’t do that.

Your kindness will rip ’em to shreds.

Because if you give someone an artificial trial period, one where you give them the faux-monogamous experience to make them comfortable, then all you’re doing is lulling them into a sense of “Oh, this is what it’s like.”"
From the archives, this blog piece from Ferret explains why the "ease them in" method of polyamory is a terrible method, and why it's actually less kind than the alternative.
"And here’s one of the central truths about relationships: What usually scares people the most is deviations from the established norm."

"Giving them a “trial period” and then dropping the big change of “Oh yeah, I date other people now” is going to hurt someone unfamiliar to polyamory more. Often, a lot more. You are doing them zero kindnesses."
I've seen this from personal experience more times than I'm proud to admit, and I've seen it from observations in the poly community so often that it's a cliche.  And even after I had learned this lesson, and firmly held this to be true, my libido is so low that I just don't have much *room* for a lot of partners. So a new partner often gets to know me when I have, like, only 1 other partner and he's long-distance.

NRE spikes my libido temporarily with the new partner, and he gets used to the idea that I like lots of sex and *technically* have another partner but he never really has to deal with it.

Later, when NRE wears off, my sex drive drops and he starts to feel abandoned, like I've lost interest. And then, inevitably, someone new comes along, spikes my libido again, and now he has to deal with me suddenly dating someone new when he had gotten used to basically having me all to himself, on *top* of whatever other insecurity he feels about my roller-coastering libido.

I am *not* a beginner relationship.

People do not do well with change in relationships (me included), so don't make polyamory itself into one of those changes if y'all know going into the relationship that it is supposed to be polyamorous.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/399384.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 05:08 pm - I Wish Kissing Buddies Was A Thing
Nude Drawing, sex
I've said this before: I wish Kissing Buddies were A Thing; considered "nonsexual" even among monos, even if it produces sexual arousal; just friends who match your kissing style that you don't want to shag, just kiss. Maybe you're mono so you choose not to, maybe they are and choose to remain sexually fidelitous to someone else, maybe you're asexual or have a low libido and just aren't interested in more, maybe they're not the gender you're attracted to but they're still a good kisser, whatever.

I have a couple of people in my past who I had the opportunity to make out with who, for whatever reason, I can't anymore and I miss it. But I don't want sex with them. Cuddling with platonic friends is generally acceptable, especially if at least one of the people doing the cuddling is or presents as a woman, but kissing is not, and I think that's a shame.

And unless that other person is part of the radical relationship paradigm shifting communities that I am, it's not even very realistic to propose the possibility, because they (or their mono partners) will just get weird about it. At best, they'll reject the proposal, which is fine because I can handle rejection, but it still leaves me in the same position had I not asked - no Kissing Buddies and wishing that was A Thing.

Cunning Minx once coined the phrase "boobiesexual" for someone who was just really into boobs but not so much doing other stuff. Perhaps I'm part hermitsexual and part kiss-sexual? Smoochsexual? Neckingsexual? Snogosexual?


This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/399207.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism
PSA: Look, all these rules about "no single men" in an effort to weed out the predators is bullshit. Predatory men don't suddenly get not-predatory when they find their prey. A douchebag with a partner is still a douchebag.

In fact, a lot of douchebag, predatory men deliberately cultivate and groom women as partners and friends to be their beards. They know that they look more trustworthy with a woman to vouch for them, so they go out and find women to vouch for them.

Not only that, but the assumption that a douchebag stops being a douchebag once he convinces a woman to date him is basically making women be their man's keeper. It assumes that she will keep him in line. There are even songs about women making men Walk The Line. We have an entire culture built up around insisting that women police their menfolk and keep them in check. Stop making women be the keepers of men. Make them grow the fuck up on their own.

And also, here's a newsflash for you: WOMEN CAN BE PREDATORY TOO. Not having a penis (because all of these kinds of rules pretty much associate genitalia with gender) does not prevent someone from being a predatory douchebag.

Two of the worst manipulative abusers I've ever met are women. But they both get held aloft in the poly community as leaders, invited to speak, their writing passed around as Truth, and asked to organize events. Why? Because they're women, so if they cry "abuse" first, we all have to believe them  automatically, even though crying "victim" is one of the most common tools an abuser uses to isolate their victims from their social support network.

And no one is allowed to name them publicly, one of which because she managed to orchestrate a gag order on her victims, and the other because of the issues with victims going public, so to protect her victims, she remains a Missing Stair that we all have to whisper about in PMs and face-to-face conversations. Hell, even doing that is fraught with danger because someone warning someone else about her, if the person you're warning is a POC, risks you getting accused of making POC do your own emotional labor, or something.

If they were men, in today's political climate, we could name them publicly and there would be backlash. But we can't, so they go on about their merry, abusive ways.

My point is that none of these "no single men" rules actually protect your groups from predatory behaviour. "No single men" only ensures that your predators are harder to spot because they've manipulated the system with a layer of protection behind women champions, and "single men pay a higher price" only ensures that your predatory people have yet another layer of privilege on top of everything else because they are *wealthy* predators who can afford the extra money.

"No predatory behaviour" is what protects your groups from predatory behaviour. If that happens to make the single men demographic a little thin on the ground in your group, then so be it. But then the single men who *do* pass the bar are going to be quality people. And you might be surprised how many partnered men and how many women end up getting weeded out too.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/399014.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 04:10 pm - Oh, I Don't Care, Whatever You Want
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
what she says: "Oh I don't mind, we can eat anywhere. I'm not picky."

what she means: "For my entire life, I've been called bossy/picky/selfish/arrogant/bitchy for voicing my opinions and making my views known, so now when someone I care about asks me about what I want, my immediate gut reaction is to defer to the other person's preference. it's less of a hassle to capitulate to someone else's desires than to risk having someone verbally berate me for being truthful about what I want."
I was part of a 6-person web for a while. "What do you want to eat" was the biggest fucking chore. One time, that question literally resulted in 3 days worth of panicky, tearful emails and emotional processing. To this day, I still have no idea how.

Even when we instituted the rule "whoever vetoes the most recent food suggestion has to come up with a new suggestion, or else we default to the last unchallenged food suggestion", we still took ALL DAY to decide what to go eat for dinner as a group. And I mean, we would start discussing it when the last person woke up that morning and keep discussing it right up until one of them yelled that we needed to make a decision or else she was going to pass out.

So I had to hone the skills that I had begun practicing years before, where I literally did not allow myself to have a preference, and to just learn to find something I liked no matter the menu. Because at least then there were only 5 people arguing about food instead of 6.

For the last several years, to avoid the stress of choosing food, I have started simply packing my freezer with premade meals (which I was already mostly doing for other reasons that I don't want to get into here) and then just eating what was on top. That way I didn't have to choose. The amount of freedom that not having to choose food has given my emotional stress and decision making process is shocking.


No fucking wonder I became anorexic. In a world where I have no control over anything, including food, I can at least control whether or not I eat by not eating anything at all.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/398760.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism

I usually like to pick out a paragraph (or 4 or 5) to highlight as the main reason(s) I'm sharing a particular article.

For this one, I spent all 100 lines going "oh, and this one!"

So just read the whole thing. And then do these things to "make women's lives more bearable" but to also just make life more fair.

It seems to be implied that it's aimed at cis men. But there are some things in here that apply to everyone, particularly with respect to internalized misogyny like calling mean women "bitches", being aware of intersectionality, etc.

And finally, if you are a cis man, don't tell the women posting things like this the ways in which you are #NotAllMen, even if you aren't tying to dismiss the woman's post but just want to point out how you agree with her because you do whatever things she's asking men to start doing. We don't need to know.

Your men friends *do* need to know that you do those things, but they also need to know in what ways you're trying to do more. But we don't need to hear about it, just do them. We'll notice. Telling us is a prompt for emotional labor, where we feel compelled to give you cookies for doing basically the things we're saying are the bare minimum just to make us even.

You may not be asking for those cookies, but that's part of the experience of being socialized as a woman where we are trained to feel obligated to reward you when you bring your work to our attention. So don't feed into that socialization. Don't tell us the ways you don't suck, just don't suck.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/398533.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

19th-Aug-2019 03:32 pm - Introversion vs. Shyness
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
"idk why introverts have a reputation of being quiet and shy people who'd rather be alone. have you ever been friends with an introvert who's decided you're worth their time? we turn into the clingiest, most needy pieces of shit on the planet because there's so few people we can actually stand"  ~talkdowntowhitepeople

"That's exactly what all people should know."

"Also if an introvert feels comfortable around you they will literally talk and talk. It's because they spend most of their time alone so they gather a lot of information, ideas and they just MUST share them with someone."
Introversion and shyness are two different things (and both are yet different from "social anxiety"). A person can be both introverted and shy, but they are separate concepts. Introverts get overwhelmed by people. This manifests in different ways - sometimes it means that they take a long time to "warm up" to someone. Sometimes it means that they use up a lot of emotional energy after being social and need to "recharge" with some alone-time afterwards.

Sometimes it means that large crowds are actually good for them if they have a specific job function in that crowd, because a large enough crowd stops being "lots of people" and starts being "one crowd" (i.e. actors, public speakers, community organizers, etc.)

Ask my partners after I haven't seen them in a while about my info dumps. Because I spend most of my waking hours alone, and the rest of those hours at work where I don't particularly *want* to talk about important things to my coworkers, I just kind of store up conversations in my head.

The longer we go without seeing each other, the more topics I queue up. Then, the minute I see my partner, it all comes out like word vomit and I basically talk non-stop for an hour or two (or longer, depending on how much I have to say).

Introverts are not (necessarily) shy. We tend to be deep thinkers with a lot of time to do that thinking. So we might feel uncomfortable with "small talk" and not want to bother talking at all unless we can avoid the more superficial topics. But bring up something that we're passionate about? Good luck shutting us up.

This, btw, does not mean that extroverts are NOT "deep thinkers". Extroverts just need less motivation to talk to someone because talking to people energizes them, whereas talking to people we are not emotionally connected to uses our emotional energy.

For an extrovert, talking *is the point*. They like engaging in conversation for its own sake. They might have additional reasons for liking conversation, but the conversation doesn't have to be a vehicle for anything else - conversing just to converse is reason enough.

For an introvert, it's a sharing of the self, so we need more of a reason to do it. If we can have a conversation with Not People, it won't drain our energy. Large, faceless crowds can become Not People for some of us, and close, intimate friends / family / loved ones can become Not People that don't drain our energy. Or, if the subject is something we feel passionate about, it will be less of a drain because it's not so much about "talking with people" but more about "sharing of ourselves".

"Being seen" is something that most people have a drive to do. That manifests differently in different people. If you can convince an introvert that we are being "seen", we'll open right up and you won't be able to tell the difference between us and an extrovert unless you understand the real difference between introversion and extroversion.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/398307.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Nude Drawing, sex
OK. I tried an experiment and this is how it went for me.

First of all, this is not a review of the product. This is an analysis of how my own body works. I am not recommending for or against anyone else trying this for themselves. My body does weird things, and this is what happened to me.

Have you heard of PT-141? Also known as Bremelanotide, it's a peptide that someone once tested for use as a sunless tanning agent and discovered that everyone in the trials got really, really horny.

So, lots of political shit happened, and they switched to researching it as a potential solution to low libido, stopped researching it, and then started up again. It's currently in trials for libido treatments, rather than the sunless tanning properties.


I got a hold of some. It's not terribly expensive, and it's not illegal to take things that are not currently FDA approved for that purpose, as long as the thing is not *banned* for use. So I decided to experiment on myself.

See, I have a Responsive Libido. In Western Culture, we assume a "default" sexual state, based on a stereotype of a "typical man". Anything that falls outside of this "typical man" stereotype is considered an aberration which, by definition, means that all "women" sexuality is an "aberration".

Men think about sex every 6 seconds of the day (so the stereotype goes), so women not only don't because they're not men, but it's an *aberration* that they don't and our libido is considered "low" in comparison, rather than our libido being considered average and men's being "high". And, of course any men who don't fit the stereotype are also considered aberrations, even if it's not actually causing them any hardship.

Ahem. Anyway, the "default" for libido goes like this: "Hmm, I'm feeling arousal. I should go find something to have sex with!" Now, when someone is in an ongoing sexual relationship of some sort, and they have a regular partner, the answer to the question is immediately available, so most people probably are not even aware of this thought process. It goes from noticing the arousal to rubbing up on their bae with very little conscious thought in between. But that's essentially the brain's decision-tree.

Arousal for someone with a responsive libido goes more like this "Oh, hey, this thing that's happening to me? That's right! I like this. OK, I guess we can have sex now". That would be the bae currently getting rubbed up on by the amorous partner in the cliche from above.

So you can see how this stereotype takes on gendered roles. The "man" gets horny and starts touching his female partner, the "woman" starts getting touched and starts to reciprocate. This is the stereotype.

I have been struggling with this Responsive Libido for my whole life, in part because I wasn't aware there *was* a such thing as a Responsive Libido. My libido is actually kind of all over the map. See, I *think* about sex all the fucking time. But I'm rarely actually aroused until stuff starts happening to my body.

Except when I'm going through a breakup. Suddenly my libido spikes and I find myself with the other mindset - looking for "something" to have sex with pretty much constantly. Which makes my rebound hookups and/or new partners ecstatic, until my libido settles back down to it's "normal" state and then they feel rejected because I am no longer initiating sex.

I would LOVE to have control over my libido. I would love to be able to turn it on and off at will. Failing that, at least turning it on at will, so that I don't find myself sitting passively waiting for "something to happen" to my body to remind me that I actually do like sex, I just forgot about it.

Or, worse yet, knowing that I do like sex and that my body often waits to feel arousal until things start to happen to it, so I get into a sexual situation, only to find that nothing "happening" to my body is inciting the arousal even though I want it to.

Enter PT 141. When I heard that this drug was currently in trials, explicitly as an "aphrodisiac" treatment for *women* with sexual dysfunction, and that I could get some without waiting for the 10-year research and FDA process, I jumped at the chance.

I know one person IRL who has tried it, and I've seen a bunch of videos and blogs of others who have tried it. It seemed very promising. Basically, you inject a tiny bit of this stuff subcutaneously, wait about 4-6 hours, and then you get aroused for a few hours. Some people maintain their arousal even after orgasm, some don't.

As someone who is a one-time-shot, once-I-orgasm-I-want-to-roll-over-and-either-go-to-sleep-or-get-food kinda person, the idea that I might be able to maintain an arousal after orgasm sounded brilliant.

There are some mild side effects, including burning and itching at the injection site, nausea, headaches, etc. But records of this all seemed pretty acceptable trade-offs. It basically sounded no different than the side effects many diabetics I know experience with their insulin, and they go through this process several times a day, so I figured why not?

So I started taking it. Another friend of mine decided to experiment with it too so I got him a vial to try in parallel with me (not together *with* me because we have a platonic relationship). We have been comparing notes and tracking each other's responses for more data points to see if this thing works or not.

I wanted to use it with a partner, because I felt that if it worked, and I suddenly got really turned on, it would be better to have sex *with* someone than being at home alone and super horny. The first vial I obtained (10 units), I actually held onto right up until its expiration date because it took me that long to find a willing partner to experiment with.

So my new partner and I both tried the first dose - 3 units of the liquid peptide in a nasal spray (the recommended dose via nasal spray) - and waited to see if there was any effect. I felt no difference in my libido, but as I had been expecting and thinking about sex all day, we decided to have sex anyway. It was a normal arousal for both of us.

He gave up after the first dose because he did not like the idea of injections. So I switched to the injections, in case that method was simply more effective. I took 1 unit via injection the next time (the recommended dose via injection), and 2 units via injection the next time. I felt no difference in my arousal each time, although I still had sex those days.

To rule out the possibility that the vial I had was simply expired or damaged (it's a very fragile molecule and banging it around can break it), I obtained a second vial (from a different producer, just in case it was a quality control thing) and tried again. With the new 10-unit vial, I repeated the procedure with some modifications.

The first 3-unit nasal attempt, I felt most of it had run out of my nose, so I doubled the nasal dose. Again, I felt no effect at all that differed from my usual feelings. My arousal did not spontaneously start up, and when the sex got started, I felt a typical increase in arousal from the sex, and when orgasm happened, the arousal died immediately afterwards.

Next, I tried the recommended 1-unit injection dose. Again, no difference in how I typically experience arousal. This left 3 units left in the vial. Since I had tried a double nasal dose on this vial and a double injection dose on the first vial, I decided to just go for it and use up the whole triple dose. PT 141 has a very low toxicity and some of the trials used up to 6 times what I had started out with.

Unfortunately, I thought at the time, I no longer have a local partner to try this out with. So I waited until I had one whole day with literally nothing planned. I figured, on the off-chance that it worked, getting suddenly aroused while out at a social function or work would be awkward, even though I had not felt any effect so far. But that was my only concern. I really wanted to have a partner on hand, just in case it worked, but getting horny alone was less problematic than getting horny in public with no partner, so that's what I opted for, rather than letting this vial reach its expiration date too.

Apparently, triple is a huge mistake for me. About 4 hours after I took my injections, I started to get nauseated. OK, I knew that was a possible side effect, but I hadn't heard any horror stories about it. Just some notes by some people that they felt mildly nauseated and then it went away and arousal kicked in.

Not me. No, when my body decides to reject a drug, it goes all the way. You see, I'm allergic to everything with codeine in it and anything even codeine adjacent. I can't have Tylenol with codeine, I can't have Oxycontin, I can't have Vicodin. None of that. So having invasive medical procedures is something I avoid until I absolutely can't anymore. I'm not allergic to acetaminophen but it also doesn't do shit for me at all. Ibuprofen, however, is a fucking miracle drug, as long as I get enough of it. Alcohol gives me a reaction like lactic acid buildup in my muscles similar to the burning sensation you feel when you work out a little too much. Plus my core body temperature rises (which is not the warm flush you normally feel when you drink alcohol, your core temp is still the same). Weed gives me migraines. So shit reacts weird with me.

So the nausea kicked in a few hours after taking the triple dose. And then the vomiting started. 10 hours later, I could finally walk upright long enough to get from the couch in my friend's living room out to my RV to go to bed without throwing up halfway there.

Yesterday was fucking miserable for me. I felt like I had the flu. The only respite I got all day was sleeping, which is something I have trained my body to do as a response to pain because of how long it took me to find the right type and dose of painkillers that actually work on me. If I yelp or make sounds in response to pain, it's probably not very bad. If I go silent, it's probably bad. If I start to get sleepy, that means I'm fucked up.

So my body does not like PT 141. And I'm extremely disappointed about this. I was really hoping I would have found a treatment for my libido issues. It has no noticeable affect on my body at low doses and then immediately jumps to "oh god make the vomiting stop and just let me die!" in the medium doses.

The other person I know who tried it before me reports pretty consistent results. He gets mildly nauseated about 6 hours after taking the drug, it lasts for about 15 minutes, and then arousal kicks in for about 4 hours and the arousal lasts even after orgasm.

The person who took it in tandem with me reported noticeable but inconsistent results. He noticed arousal anywhere between 4 and 6 hours, and the arousal sometimes lasts after orgasm, sometimes doesn't. He still has some left to continue experimenting.

So if anyone is interested in trying this out for themselves, I am not cautioning you against it. My body does weird shit with drugs. My experience is not typical. This is not a review of the peptide itself, this is a review of my own body doing its weird shit thing that it does. This is simply a post about my own body, for my Me Manual. PT 141 is not for me and I'm very disappointed about that.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397907.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory
Q. In a polyamorous relationship is the first wife expected to be emotionally involved in the joys and sorrows of the other wives?

A. POLYAMORY: Literally, poly = many + amor = love. The state, practice, or intention of maintaining multiple romantic relationships simultaneously, with the full knowledge and consent of all the people involved.

POLYGAMY: Literally, poly = many + gamos = marriage. The state or practice of having multiple wedded spouses at the same time. This term does not imply the gender of any individual within the relationship.

POLYGYNY: Literally, poly = many + gynos = woman. The state or practice of having multiple wedded wives at the same time.

POLYANDRY: Literally, poly = many + andros = man. The state or practice of having multiple wedded husbands at the same time.

In the US, it is currently illegal to have multiple spouses of any gender. So, as Jessica said, the only way you’d have multiple wives is if two women married each other. And in that case, I would *hope* that the two wives were emotionally involved in the joys and sorrows of the other. At least, if they had the standard sort of marriage where they got married for love, rather than the “traditional” sort of marriage where they got married to join families and houses and merge land and property. If the latter is the case, then I suppose it wouldn’t be expected for either of them to be emotionally involved with each other.

Polyamory is an overarching term that means only “many loves”. That phrase can be interpreted in a very wide variety of ways. Implicit in the definition are the concepts of “ethics” and “consent” and often “romantic love” (although not necessarily that last one), but even when you imply many ethical romantisexual loving relationships with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved (the tightest definition of the term), that’s still a pretty broad term that includes a lot of variation.

For example, I am kitchen table egalitarian solo poly with a hint of RA. That’s 4 overlapping subtypes of polyamory right there. Kitchen Table Poly means that everyone in the polycule (colloquial; a group of people related by polyamorous romantic and/or sexual connections) - that is, your partners and their partners and their partners’ partners, etc. - everyone in the polycule knows each other and is comfortable *enough* with each other to sit around a kitchen table together, sharing conversation and coffee, or a meal, or whatever. This term was coined by Kimchi Cuddles.

The opposite of Kitchen Table Poly would be Parallel Poly, where one has multiple romantic and/or sexual partners that run parallel to each other and do not interact at all. It is implied by the “polyamory” part of Parallel Poly that the other partners at least *know* of each other and consent to being in a non-monogamous relationship, but they generally do not interact with each other and each relationship is highly compartmentalized and segregated.

Egalitarian Poly is a relationship structure where each person in any given relationship is equal in power to the other person in that relationship to shape and control that specific relationship and no one outside of that relationship has any more power over that relationship than the people in the relationship.

A lot of people think it means that the metamours (my partner’s other partner) are equal in status and priority *to each other*. I cannot stress enough that this *is not what egalitarian poly means*. It means that if I am in a relationship with Bob, then Bob and I are full equal partners in our relationship and nobody has more power over the course of our relationship, the shape, the look, or anything about our relationship than Bob and I have together.

Egalitarian polyamorists can have relationships that look different. An Egal Poly can have a legal spouse, a cohabiting partner, a casual partner, an anchor partner, a nesting partner, a comet partner, an FWB, etc. All of those terms are defined at The Inn Between - Polyamory btw, but you don’t need to know what they all mean for the purpose of this discussion.

The point is that Bob here can have all different kinds of relationships and still be Egal Poly. As long as the reason why each relationship looks the way it does is because Bob and that partner both want their relationship to look that way, they’re the only two who negotiated what their relationship looks like, and nobody else can tell Bob what one of his other relationships has to look like or what he can and can’t do with any of his other partners.

Each relationship that Bob gets into has to have the full freedom to grow in whatever direction it wants to go that Bob’s “first” relationship had when he wasn’t involved with anyone else.

The counter to Egalitarian Poly is Hierarchical Poly. There are 2 different definitions for this term, and it is my opinion that one of those definitions is grammatically incorrect and because of that, the use of that definition confuses and obfuscates a serious problem in the community.

So when *I* use the term Hierarchical Poly, this is what I mean: A term used to denote an unequal power structure among participants in any kind of non-monogamous relationship or group. This is where certain people are given actual power over other people and certain other people are disempowered by this relationship structure. Other people will use the terms “power” and “priority” interchangeably. For more on my thoughts of the misuse of the term “hierarchy” and the dangers of hierarchy, you can visit my blog post tag on the subject.

Solo Poly is the practice or philosophy of engaging in polyamorous relationships as an individual person and prioritizing the autonomy and agency of everyone involved over the group as a unit, regardless of how emotionally intimate or even logistically entwined each of the relationships are.

So, what this means is that a “sopo” or a solo polyamorist can have no partners, one partner, or several partners, but we always think of ourselves as an individual with partners, never “half of a couple”. We make our own decisions, we often live alone (but we don’t have to), and we move through life as an independent person.

This does *not* mean that we don’t develop deep, emotional connections or that we don’t *consider* how our actions affect our partners. Solopolys are often *interdependent*. That is, we often build close networks of people that we have deep intimacy with and with whom we can rely on, much like any other family. We just don’t give up any of our autonomy or subsume our identities into the “couple” or family unit.

Every person in a relationship is more important than the relationship itself. Which means a solopoly person will not try to “protect the relationship” at all cost. If the relationship is not bringing joy or value to everyone in it, then the relationship is not worth protecting. The safety and happiness of the *individuals* in the relationship is more important than the longevity of any relationship.

Solo Polyamory is actually a pretty complex and nuanced concept, so there is a whole lot more I go into here, if you really want to read more about it: But What Does Solo Poly Even Mean? - A Personal Perspective

Now,Relationship Anarchy (RA) means the practice or philosophy of not ranking partners according to type of relationship and sometimes refusing to label relationships at all to avoid the sorts of priority or ranking assumptions that accompany certain labels. Often there is no distinction between romantic and non-romantic relationships and platonic relationships can be held in as much importance as romantic or sexual relationships.

Western cultures have the Relationship Escalator. This is the presumptive path that romantic relationships are expected to take with an order to events or milestones and a pace that is assumed and imposed by society. The children's song "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage" is a simplified example of the Relationship Escalator.

RAs reject this Escalator. They do not accept a hierarchy of relationships imposed from the outside. They might have some relationships that have higher priority over others, but they do not assign that priority based on a predetermined hierarchy ladder that our culture has assumed.

So, for example, in the US, very generally speaking, we assume that a legal spouse would have all the priority and power for a given person, and family-of-origin comes second (except perhaps in cases of medical emergencies), friends come after that, and coworkers and acquaintances come last. Some individuals may rearrange this hierarchy for themselves, but the point is that the class of relationships that a person has comes attached with default priority, and the only way for someone to have their priority changed is to change the relationship.

RAs do not feel this way. A platonic friend could have the “highest” priority in their lives while a romantic partner might come in “second” in a case of competing priorities. An RA might choose a life partner and co-parent from among their family or platonic friends rather than a sexual partner. An RA might choose to prioritize themselves first and maintain only loose commitments and connections with everyone else. There is no structure to Relationship Anarchy - that’s kind of the point. Everyone gets to decide for themselves what everyone and everything in their lives looks like, not have their lives or their relationships dictated to them by society.

So, back to my original point… I am kitchen table egalitarian solo poly with a hint of RA. This means that I *prefer* to develop, at the very least, an acquaintanceship with all of my metamours - with my partners’ other partners. I like to meet them in person, to know who they are, and to build friendships with them where possible.

But I do not have any say whatsoever in the relationships my partners have with other people. I do not get to impose on them any restrictions or limitations or contribute to any discussions about how their relationships will look, even if I “was here first”. If I don’t like one of my partners’ other partners, I have no say in whether or not he dates her or how that relationship goes. I can choose to limit my own contact with my metamours if there is a problem, but that relationship exists outside of and independent of me.

I prefer to live alone and I make all my own relationship decisions by myself. I consult my other partners because their feelings and thoughts are important to me and I am considerate of how my actions affect them. But ultimately, any decisions to be made rest with me alone. And I reject any power over their decision-making even if they want to give it to me. I want to have some *influence* because I view my relationships as *partnerships*, where we are working in tandem to build something together. But I don’t want *power over* another person’s autonomy and agency. They have to be responsible for their own decisions and actions. I will support, encourage, and sometimes even disagree with, but never control the thoughts, actions, or decisions of my partners.

So to finally get around to answering your question, no, I am not “expected” to be involved with my metamours’ “joys and sorrows”. That would be giving up my freedom of agency and that of everyone else. I am free to build whatever kind of relationship with my metamours that my metamour and I want to build together, including becoming best friends, becoming lovers ourselves, or even having no contact, and everything in between.

My partners cannot dictate to me what my other relationships look like, and that goes for my romantic relationships, my friendships, my familial relationships, *and my metamour relationships*. My partner and their other partner do not have the power to decide on my behalf what kind of relationship I will have with either my partner or their other partner.

As a legal spouse, I do not expect my spouse’s other partners to be friends with me or to be to be emotionally involved in my joys and sorrows, even though I “was here first”. My spouse also does not expect me to be to be emotionally involved in the joys and sorrows of his other partners, or vice versa.

However, I do very much enjoy the friendships I have built with some of his other partners. My metamours bring value to my life. Half of the reason I do polyamory in the first place is because of the metamour relationship. There are a lot of different types of non-monogamy, but the term “metamour” is only used in polyamory.

Polyamory is the style of non-monogamy that best honors the relationship between one’s partners other partners. Some forms of non-monogamy block that connection entirely. Some forms of non-monogamy “expect” that connection and force it even when it does not make the participants happy.

But in polyamory, we honor the idea of “metamours”, which includes respecting the freedom of said metamours to build and develop their own relationships (or not) without undue pressure from the culture, the community, or even the mutual partner.

It’s true that some individuals within polyamory do not live up to these ideals. Some individuals who do polyamory do, in fact, attempt to restrict contact among their partners, or who do, in fact, attempt to force connections among their partners. Poly people are still people, after all, and we all still make mistakes and often are subject to the social programming we were given from our larger culture. But this is not the polyamorous *ideal*. Neither extreme is an assumption of polyamory itself. Polyamory itself leaves the question of metamours open to the interpretation of those participants.

And in my own life, I have found that my metamour connections are the best part of non-monogamy. Multiple partners are great and all, but there are a variety of ways I can get that. And often I only have one partner at a time, or no partners at all. It’s my metamours who make this style of relationship worth it to me.

My metamours bring joy and value to my life. They are my family. They are my support network. They are my friends. They are my confidantes. They are my co-conspirators. They are my rocks, my anchors, my steady ground.

Not all of my metamours have developed such close connections with me. Some of them I never even met. Some of them I actively disliked. Some of them brought such conflict that my life was disrupted and made worse because of their presence. Just like the diversity of any sort of relationship that someone else has control over - like in-laws or coworkers.

But when they *do* work out, it’s the best relationship in the world to me. My life is enriched by some of the women my various partners have dated over the years, and I am a better person because of their presence in my life. And they would not have had that kind of presence in my life (if they had any at all) had it not been for the mutual partner who chose to date us both.

So, no, I am not “expected” to be emotionally involved in the joys and sorrows of my partners’ other partners. I don’t expect it, my partners don’t expect it, and those other partners don’t expect it.

But I cherish it when it happens naturally, organically.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397660.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
The thing about new partners, is that I end up revisiting a lot of memories of old partners. When I'm in a new relationship, we talk about ourselves, and part of ourselves is our past that made us who we are today. So I end up going over a lot of old stories, partly as illustrations for how I want to be treated or want not to be treated, and partly because I'm just sharing stories of my experiences and who I am.

I don't know if "ironic" is the right word, but what got me on this tangent tonight is not a "new" partner, exactly, but talking with my most recent ex-FWB during our breakup, rather than as part of the "get to know each other" stage in the beginning. Perhaps because our relationship was less than a month, and the breakup came suddenly, and he's actually doing his part of the breakup well, some things that I associate with a "beginning" didn't happen until the end. This isn't really relevant, I'm musing tonight.

Anyway, during one of our breakup talks (because a good, compassionate breakup where both people are being kind and considerate of each other often takes several discussions and check-ins to make sure everyone is OK), I got to talking about some of my abusive exes.

Here's the thing... when I was growing up, all of our "afternoon specials" about abusive relationships were about domestic physical violence. I knew all the warning signs for a physically *violent* partner, but I knew absolutely nothing about an emotionally abusive or psychologically controlling partner.

Over the years, I've told a lot of stories about a lot of exes. In the last decade or so, as I've had the opportunity to meet and know some truly amazing people, when I've told these stories, I've been met with horrified reactions. I was not prepared for the strength of the horror in these reactions. To me, these stories were about jerks, sure, but "horror"? I mean, they weren't great stories, but I also thought they were run-of-the-mill "bad", not "abusive-bad".

Now, with a lot more education on what abuse is, I can look back over my relationship history and see that I've actually been involved with a whole bunch of abusive men. Remember, when I started telling these stories, I was not aware that they were tales of abuse. So I'm not retconning my memories, which can happen pretty easily. I can look back over the time I told one particular story, and at the time I thought it was normal-bad, but now I can see that *the story I told at that time* was actually abusive-bad.

So I've been in a lot of abusive relationships. But what I always had going for me is a strong sense of self. You can ask my mother about this. She and I have been locked in conflict over my agency for literally my entire life. She describes me as "headstrong" and "independent". From day 1. What would happen is that I would get into a relationship with someone who I saw as confident and "strong", and because I was excited to be in that relationship, he would treat me well.

But eventually NRE would wear off, and I would start showing more enthusiasm for my own life than for his. And, being an abuser (which means he believed he was justified in controlling his partners behaviour to match what *he* thought they ought to do), he would employ various psychological tactics to bring me back in line and to behave more like I did in the beginning of the relationship when I was drugged out on NRE.

But my strong sense of self would kick in and I would always resist. And he would escalate, and I would resist harder. In a very short span of time, one of us would get pissed off enough at the other to break up. So I didn't recognize these relationships as abusive because the conflict would be relatively short-lived and always resulted in a breakup, usually with me angry rather than sad over it.

Over the years, I have been faced with some form of the question "how would your exes describe you?" from a variety of sources - Cosmo quizzes, new partners, friends, etc. One of the things I pride myself is on being honest about my "flaws". So I would usually answer these questions with something along the lines of "cold-hearted bitch". That was, I believe, the most common parting shot I would get from exes.

I have always been described as "cold", as "unfeeling", even been accused of sociopathy on more than one occasion. Some days I would agree with those descriptions. Other days I'm baffled how anyone could think that of me. You see, one of the reasons why I'm polyamorous is because I feel. so. much. I have so many feelings that I'm often overwhelmed by them. I sometimes feel like River Tam from Firefly, when her brother finally starts to make progress in diagnosing what her captors did to her when they experimented on her brain - "She feels everything; she can't not."

I went out with a guy not too long ago who is way into the woo. I find his beliefs to be completely absurd, but I do find some of the language he used to be useful as metaphor. When we first started talking, he described me as "empty". He said that he "looked into me" and found just this empty space where he expected to find ... I dunno, "me", I guess. Later, as I began to trust him and to develop feelings for him, I let my guard down and he noticed. He discovered what all that "empty space" was for. Whatever emotion I was feeling at the moment floods into all that space. He said he had never met anyone who felt so much at one time. He said he couldn't even see how he once thought I was "empty" before. I said that I was never "empty", I just had walls up and was only letting him see me controlled.

I feel a lot. I feel so much that it's just too much to keep up continuously. I have to shut down every so often, just to stay sane. In fact, one of the primary symptoms of my depression is apathy. When all the bad shit gets too overwhelming and sends me into suicidal ideation, I just stop feeling anything. I think this is the main reason why I haven't managed to kill myself yet - I want to be dead but I don't feel strongly enough about anything to go through with it.

Back to my long history with abusive men. Gendered abuse has some particular traits. Women are socialized to be nurturers, caregivers, to be polite, to consider other people, to do emotional labor. Men who want to control women can use this as a form of control.

"Why would you hurt me like that? You don't want to hurt me, do you? You should stop what you're doing so that I don't feel hurt by it."

"Now, now, be a good girl..."

"Stop being so hysterical..."

"Pull yourself together, you don't want to make other people uncomfortable, do you?"

When my former metamour was being abused by our mutual partner, he accused her of hurting him for wanting to be with her other partner. She wanted to do a thing, he would get upset by it, she would try to understand why he was upset, he would accuse her of hurting him. This would immediately stop her in her tracks, as she spent the next several days wracking her brain to understand *why she was hurting him* so that she could stop.

Not me.

I moved in with my abusive fiance, against everyone's advice. Almost immediately after moving in together, he began trying to control me. He wanted to change my clothing, change my career, force me into a homemaker role. I even asked him several times why he said he loved me, since he didn't seem to like me very much.

One of the many things that he would do was coerce me into sex. He would try to initiate sex very late at night when I had to wake up early the next morning. I would reject him, so he would wait until he thought I was asleep, and put his hands between my legs and try to take my underwear off without waking me. Most of the time I had not fallen asleep yet, but I would pretend to stay asleep, hoping to discourage him but it never did. Every single night I would "wake up" to him molesting me and I would yell at him to leave me alone, and he would start an argument that would keep me awake for *hours*, trying to talk me into having sex.

After a few weeks of this nightly molestation and some chronic sleep deprivation, I started trying to leave the argument. I would get up to go sleep on the couch. As I reached the door, he would threaten to break my prized figurine collection unless I remained in the room. So I would grab my pillow and sleep on the bathroom floor, which was *technically* still in the room.

When you're in a relationship with someone, you typically work under the assumption that both of you are operating in good faith. At least, people with reasonably healthy views on relationships do. Sure, there may be conflict, but we assume that we are both on the same team and that we both want to resolve the conflict, and that we both care about each other so nobody would want a resolution that actually compromised the other person's integrity or sense of self or value system.  We might be *angry*, but we don't feel that our partners are out to get us deliberately.

This is how abusers get their foot in the door. They are not operating in good faith. So I spent those weeks arguing with him because I earnestly believed I just had to make him see why this was hurting me and he would stop because he didn't *really* want to hurt me.

But by the time I was willing to sleep on the tile floor with my head next to a toilet? I no longer believed he was operating in good faith. I was not able to leave right away, but with all my big emotions and the constant attempt to wear me down, I had to find some way to live there until I could leave.

Enter the coldness.

Once I started to believe that he really did not have my best interests at heart, I went cold. I shut down. We weren't simply not seeing eye-to-eye, he fundamentally did not see me as a whole person. He saw me only in terms of how I could support his story arc. So I stopped caring about him in return.

One of the things I had suspected him of, was being a pathological liar. At first, his lies were ridiculous but, again with the good faith thing, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Looking back on them now, I can't understand how I ever thought they could even possibly be true. But I was young and naive and in love. He made up all kinds of outrageous stories, which I will save for another time because this is already very long. Now that I had lost the rose colored glasses and I could finally see the flags were red, I decided not to believe anything he said and to start calling him on his shit.

One day, we were driving home from my parents house (where I did my laundry) and we got into one of our repetitive arguments in the car. We lived in an apartment complex with a carport underneath the apartment units. I pulled into our slot, got out of the car, got my laundry basket from the back, and started walking across the low-ceilinged carport towards the stairs to our unit, all with him still arguing about whatever.

I had gone cold. I was simply refusing to argue any further. I just couldn't expend any more energy or emotion on this same fucking argument one more time.  I said what I had to say and that was the end of it, as far as I was concerned. He did not like that, and kept arguing at my retreating back. He hated it when I went cold.

Suddenly, he stopped talking, mid-sentence. I heard a rustling, and when I looked back, he was lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious. I assumed he was faking. I stood there for a moment, watching him to see if he would get up. Then I adjusted my grip on the laundry basket, turned on my heel, and walked up to our apartment, leaving him lying on the oil-soaked concrete.

I went upstairs and started putting the clothes away. Eventually he came into our bedroom, holding his hand to his head and walking unsteadily. Slurring his words, he said that while we were arguing, he somehow managed to walk into one of the low pipes in the carport and knock himself unconscious (he was 6'4" and the carport ceiling was about 6'6" high so he had to duck under the plumbing pipes).

And THEN, while he was unconscious, a mugger came and stole his wallet. He woke up just as the mugger grabbed it and ran away. Most of his fabrications were stories intended to illicit sympathy from me, so that I would stop being mad at him and start feeling worry and concern instead. This was the most transparent lie he had ever told (and he had told some whoppers!).

So I said "oh my god! A mugger! We better call the police right away!" He immediately tried to talk me out of it, while I "argued" how important it was that we file a police report. I mean, what if the mugger came back? What if he tried to rob *me* while I'm down there alone, at night? He doesn't want anything bad to happen to me, did he? I picked up the phone and actually hit 9-1 before he finally came clean.

He made the whole thing up because I was so mad at him and he just wanted me to stop being mad at him. So I dropped the act and the phone, said "no shit", and gave him the silent treatment for the rest of the night.

This story, and several others, have been running around my mind for the last week or so. Particularly the part about being "cold". It used to bother me. At least, when I wasn't actively in one of my defensive modes where all my emotions shut down, it did. But this week I realized something. I frequently go "cold" at the end of a relationship, but talking with my ex-FWB about some of my experiences with abuse, I noticed the pattern. I go "cold" as a response to abuse.

This abusive fiance was deliberately trying to manipulate my emotions to control my behaviour. In this particular story, I finally got him to admit it. He didn't want me mad at him, so rather than address the thing I was mad about, he tried to make me feel sorry for him and to feel concern for him. Because he was trying to manipulate me into *feeling* what he wanted me to feel, my response was to stop feeling entirely.

Well, not "entirely". Like Hulk in one of the Avengers movies, I still always feel rage. That's always bubbling beneath the surface, all the time. But it gets compartmentalized, and in these situations, I just stop feeling.

Abusers are not evil super-villains twirling their mustachios and consciously plotting the manipulation of their partners. They are quite often people in pain. They are people who feel fear, as we all do. It's just that their reaction to fear is to hold a metaphorical gun to someone else's head and make them do things to prevent themselves from feeling fear. They are calculating to a certain extent, but mostly they just feel fear and they feel *justified* in reaching for tools of control to address their fears.

My abusive fiance abused me because he was afraid. He was afraid to lose me. So he tried to direct my feelings towards those that would tie me to him. So when I stopped having feelings, he was terrified. Apparently it's very scary to have someone you love go cold on you. I wouldn't know. If any of my exes ever went cold on me, it was towards the end of a relationship where I was probably sliding into apathy myself.

But as I looked back over my history, at all the people who accused me of being "cold", these were also all the same people who, when I tell stories about them to relatively healthy, non-manipulative people, are the ones that my friends recoil in horror about and tell me that they were abusive. Apparently this is my last defense mechanism for abuse. You can't manipulate my emotions to control my behaviour if I don't feel any emotions.

I'm kind of surprised at the realization that all those accusations of being "cold" were A) probably all true, but because B) were in response to abuse. When I think of abuse victims, I see mostly afternoon special TV characters and my former metamour who was an emotional wreck at the end of her last abusive relationship. I see people who are beaten down, dejected, shells of their former selves, but most of all, *emotional*.

But when *I* face abuse, I get hard. I get cold. I get sharp. There may be a reason why I like knives so much.

I'm not saying that being in abusive relationships doesn't leave long-term damage on me. It usually takes me a while to trust people again. And I'm very cynical. I don't like to open up to people. It seems like I'm very open because I talk about so many personal things in very public spaces. But I can talk about things while being guarded. I'm not really sharing any intimacy, even though I'm sharing a lot of details.

Apathy and coldness and hardness are my defense mechanisms. It's when you know I've reached the end. These are what come out in response to abuse, control, manipulation. I can only extend my compassion so far. When I feel like the other person is not meeting me in the middle, when they're not operating in good faith, when they're trying to control me, I take away those parts of me that make me vulnerable to harm and control - my emotions.

Becoming a knife edge is my response to abuse.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397338.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Swing Dance, social events, dance
Y'know what? I complain a lot about the conservatism in my local dance scene.  I complain about not being able to develop strong connections to anyone because of their political values, their anti-science beliefs, and their religiosity.  But after reading some of the comments on the post that I made on my timeline and in a couple of groups, asking for inclusivity suggestions, I feel the need to express some gratitude towards my local dance communities.

In those dance circles that I frequent, we have the following values that I appreciate:

Yes, the dance scene is quite heavily gendered by default, but when people *do* take the non-conforming role, the community typically accepts it and often embraces it. Women and people presenting as women are more likely to take lead roles in the Ballroom and Latin scenes, while all genders can be seen switching roles in the Lindy Hop and Blues dance scenes.  The Lindy Hop scene also trends towards a younger and more liberal demographic.

I have not witnessed any ageism or fat-shaming.  This does not mean that it doesn't exist, but it does mean that it's not a common occurrence.  I would believe anyone who said they did experience either in my communities, but the people I talk to about it don't seem to have experienced it.  People of all shapes, sizes, and ages are welcomed at these dance events, get asked to dance often (regardless of gender), and are active participants in the communities.

In my local communities, dance is seen as a social activity and a "community", so the general cultural attitude is that we want everyone to dance and we want everyone to have a good time.  To that effect, experienced dancers of either role, and leads of all experience levels, feel that it is their happy duty to go around the room and invite anyone to dance that they see isn't dancing.

Ballroom dance events have a convention called a "mixer" especially for this.  Because of the gendering in the dance community and also the gender roles in the culture at large that discourages men from exploring or expressing an interest in learning how to dance (thanks toxic masculinity), dance events are usually 2/3 women and 1/3 men (-presenting people).

So ballroom dance events have at least 2 points in the event where a medley of the same tempo songs are played in a row, the follows (because follows are usually women, and the women outnumber the men) line up along one wall, and the less numerous leads line up across from them.  The first lead in line takes the first follow in line, dances her around the floor once and drops her off at the end of the line, and then moves up to take the next available follow for her turn around the floor.  This way, everyone gets to dance, if they want to.

This is also a good way to be introduced to other people in the complimentary role if you're new.  Now that they've had a chance to dance with you, they know who you are and what your skill level is (and vice versa), and that relieves some of the anxiety about asking someone to dance later.

The communities encourage more advanced dancers to see dancing with newbies as an opportunity, not a punishment or a chore.  We take delight in giving newbie dancers more chances to practice because that brings more *advanced* dancers into the fold later as they improve.  I'm *thrilled* to do the same 3 steps over and over again with a newbie if it means that they will develop more confidence and keep coming back.

My dance communities, because of that whole "community" and "social activity" thing, also see dating within the community as ... challenging.  Nobody thinks you should NOT date another dancer, of course.  But pretty much everyone looks on the dance events as meat-market-free-zones.  Dances are not the place to hit on people.  They are not the place to find partners.

They're like poly discussion meetings in that respect - when you spend enough time with someone at a social event, you might eventually develop a friendship out of that space, and that friendship may eventually lead to a romantic relationship.  But the event is for dancing, not hooking up, not flirting, not hitting on people, not propositioning people.  People frown on those who hit on other dancers in the scenes.

And because social dancing is a social activity, people also frown on excessive displays of jealousy in the scene.  Some people arrive as a couple and only dance with each other.  It's allowed, but it's kind of side-eyed.  Because of that above-mentioned cultural value of making sure everyone is having a good time (which means everyone is dancing as much as they want to), and because of the gendering of roles and the gender disparity, my dance communities see it as sort of rude to monopolize one person's time when you could be out there sharing your love of dance with everyone.

They don't go too far by insisting that people dance with anyone they don't want to, but having jealousy and not wanting your partner to dance with others is kind of a cultural no-no.  When someone in the dance scene gets a non-dancing partner, and the dancer starts to drop off the scene because their partner doesn't dance and they won't or can't dance without them, that couple is usually murmured about.  The dancers in my local community see it as healthy for couples to have separate interests, or, if they share the interests, to still be able to do the interest as an individual person, even with other people.

One of the things I liked about my local dance communities, is that when my FB status changed and people found out that I had gotten legally married, not a single person changed how they treated me.  Nobody asked me if my husband would "mind" if they asked me to dance, nobody changed their dance style to a more formal, stiff, polite, or distant style, nothing like that.  People asked where he was and if he danced, but nobody suddenly got cautious around me or treated me as if I was off-limits.

In my local dance scenes, people are also usually very good about rejections.   I can say "not right now" or "no thanks" and they just nod and move on.  I'm never afraid of a bad reaction because I've never been given one in my scenes.  Everyone sees it as a sign of immaturity and the men in particular are disapproving of people who can't handle rejection gracefully.  And the women talk to each other.

Women and/or follows are also encouraged to ask people to dance, so they don't have to simply sit around waiting and hoping for someone to ask them.  This is not one of my strengths.  I still prefer to be asked than to do the asking, but once I've developed a good dancing relationship with someone, I am more likely to ask them as often as they ask me.  There are no gendered rules about who asks whom, for as gendered as the rest of the social conventions are.

So my local dance communities are not perfect. There are still a lot of things that I'd like to see improve.  I'd like to see more gender-neutral language (switching back and forth between lead/follow and men/women is still too common), I'd like to see more POC (there are a few, but more Latinx and Asians than black people), I'd like to have more people who share my politics so that I could develop off-the-floor relationships with people, etc.

But not respecting consent, body-shaming, not accepting role-switching, and using the dance scene as a pickup spot are some of the more egregious violations in the dance world that my local dance communities do not support.  Not that these things never happen, but they are not supported by my communities. And I have to give them props for that.

For the record, when I teach my lead & follow communication workshop and when I give general dance lessons, I do my best to avoid or reduce all the other complaints as well.  So if you ever wanted to learn how to dance, find me at a conference somewhere (or bring me out to your local conferences or communities!) and I will be happy to give some instruction.  I don't even have to be at an event for the purpose of teaching dance - I'll teach dance anywhere, any time someone wants to learn.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397201.html.

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Super Tech, strong, feminism
Having one of those nights where I have several really complex and long blog posts brewing in my head, but not enough concentration to sit down and write them.

One of them is about the portrayal of abortion in pop culture and my own story about it. There was one show where one person asked another to procure some abortion pills for her because she didn't have access to them. The other person did, but lectured her about "now make sure this is *really* what you want to do, because there's no coming back from this..."

And the first person interrupted her by grabbing the pill and dry-swallowing it, whispering "please act soon, please act soon, please act soon".

I want to see more representation like this. And not all by women who have gotten pregnant through rape. Not everyone who has an abortion makes a "hard choice", or has to "live with it" forever after. For some of us, it was the easiest choice we've ever made and we are grateful for having had the choice more and more as time passes.

I wish I could concentrate, because my own story is struggling to get out, and I have so much to say in support of people for whom this is not something to be agonized over. And the deep sorrow for those who feel that way but are not given the option to make their own choice.

Another blog post was bumping around my head earlier today, triggered by, I think, a podcast I was listening to. But I can't remember which one and now it's buried under the abortion post's noise. Hopefully I'll remember it when I have some time to write soon.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396924.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
#ProTip Make your desktop background the conference logo so if you need to dump out of your slideshow for any reason it looks like you did it on purpose.

(like you forgot what your last slide looked like and you hit the next button one too many times and you didn't "continuous loop until esc" so it knocked you out, or you realize you have the wrong thing loaded up and you have to quit the slideshow entirely to put the correct thing on the screen - both of which presenters did today)

In a professional show, there is a team of video engineers in the back who will switch between content sources and usually a logo. It looks very unprofessional, and very under-prepared, for your desktop with your kids or your dogs (or your wife in a bikini!) covered by a thousand folders to suddenly show up on the big screen.

Or to want to back out of Presentation Mode so that your audience sees the Edit Mode of PowerPoint on the screen, like when you want to show a video but you didn't embed it so you have to escape out of your slideshow, open up a video viewer, show the video, close the video viewer, and get back into your slide deck.

These are all unprofessional mistakes. Make your desktop the conference logo and when you plug your laptop into the projector, change your screen settings to "extended desktop". Now, the only thing that will show on the screen will be nothing but the logo background, and when you start your slideshow, it will automatically go into Presentation Mode on the extended screen so that nobody sees the Edit Mode while you start it up.

Then, escaping out of Presentation Mode or closing PowerPoint or accidentally clicking past the last slide will all default to the activity happening on your laptop and a blank background (of your logo) on the screen.

I have this and many more pro tips in my Present Like A Boss workshop.

#LiveSwitching #AlsoGoToRehearsal #OopsWhereAreMySlides?

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396719.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
OK, so you know how Rey in Star Wars is not a Mary Sue because she has exactly as much (if not more) background to justify her connection and skill with the force as Luke did in the first trilogy?  And, like, how NONE of SW really makes a whole lot of sense, it's basically just a spaghetti western in space with literal white-hat good guys and black-hat bad guys and a pretty contrived plot? (Remember, I'm a huge SW fan, I'm just not blind to the flaws in my fandoms)

So you can't think Rey is a Mary Sue unless you think that of pretty much every (male) character in the entire universe, because she is consistent with the utterly fantastical (and by that, I mean "unbelievable) universe that is Star Wars - you can't think that about Rey w/o thinking of that for everyone else without that viewpoint being basically misogyny?

So, yeah, you can't think that the tech in Black Panther is "unbelievable" or "too advanced" unless you think that about the entire MCU, because totally unrealistic tech is completely the MCU's M.O.

To think that it's somehow suddenly unbelievable now that the people whose culture evolved for thousands of years literally around and on top of the super secret super amazing metal were not capable of developing that tech while Captain America in the '40s had fucking death rays can only come from embedded racism.

This doesn't mean you hate black people. It means you have some assumptions about what it means to be black (and African) that were deliberately created and fostered by white slavers and colonizers generations ago to do exactly what these kinds of thoughts just did - think that black people are less advanced, less "evolved" than any other people.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396461.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Y'know one of the reasons why I like the Deadpool movie? Because most of the time, I can't figure out why the female love interest is interested in the male lead.

Her character isn't usually a character, it's a placeholder. She's just this generic sort of "woman shape", with generic sort of "woman attributes" that male writers think all women have - pleasant, loving, nurturing, capable yet needy, wants to save her man, shows him the light, keeps him on the right path, likes flowers and sparkly jewelry (but not too much), and is sensual without being dirty. And maybe a little clumsy, because, y'know, that's relatable.

The male leads are diverse and flawed and colorful. Exactly the sort of men that a boring, vanilla, "blank" woman would not be interested in.

But Vanessa has the same sense of humor as Wade (Deadpool), which, let's be honest, is a little over the top, if I'm being generous. Outside of a comic book movie, he's fucking annoying. Nobody who doesn't share his sense of humor is going to spend years with him smiling tolerantly while he goes through life totally incapable of having a serious conversation. But she's his match.

I like Deadpool because I *get* why the romantic couple is together. She's not a carbon copy of Wade. She compliments him. She has strengths where he does not. But she also isn't his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She's just as fucked up as he is. As the character says right in the film "your crazy matches my crazy".

I like Deadpool because it's probably the healthiest, most compatible relationship I've ever seen on screen. It's at least up there in the top 10.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396056.html.

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Bad Computer!, anger
Writer: [writes scathing review of 50 Shades and its abuse apologism]

Man: Nice review, but too many cuss words. Your emotions betray you. You should be able to discuss this topic calmly, or else people won't listen to you. You clearly have your own issues, so I can't take what you say too seriously. I identify with the main character, so he obviously can't be too bad, you just don't understand him.

Me: ♫ Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
He's a fucking motherfucker...
If you don't like the swearing that this motherfucker forced from me
And reckon it shows moral or intellectual paucity
Then fuck you motherfucker
This is language one employs
When one is fucking cross about
Fuckers fucking abusing women and then making fucking money off the story by convincing everyone it's fucking "romance erotica" ...
And if you look into your motherfucking heart and tell me true
If this motherfucking stupid fucking song offended you
With it's filthy fucking language and it's fucking disrespect
If it made you feel angry go ahead and write a letter
But if you find me more offensive than the fucking abuse apologism
embedded in every word of this fucking story THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM♫


This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395908.html.

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Nude Drawing, sex

This is why I, not only disbelieve any man who claims to be "good" at getting women off (or who offers to get me off), but I actively am repelled by the claim. A woman's orgasm becomes just one more trophy for which men compete, not an experience for the woman. The woman as a person and her pleasure is incidental to the fact that *the man got her off*.

Fuck that shit.

A man who is genuinely interested in a woman's pleasure because he cares about her experience, not his own score card, does not generally feel the need to proclaim his prowess, either publicly or in private conversation as part of a proposal to talk a woman into sex with him.

"A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research has found that men derive a sense of “achievement” by bringing women to orgasm. But not just any achievement — not the sense of satisfaction that comes from giving someone else pleasure — but the kind that comes from self-validation"

"That’s right — a woman’s orgasm and pleasure have become about reassuring insecure dudes that they’re real men"

"Being treated like a project is exhausting." - Suddenly, not only do I now *have* to orgasm (even if my body or mind doesn't really feel like it), but I also have to do emotional labor whether I orgasm or not. If I'm the one who just had sex without an orgasm, I have to spend my time consoling THE GUY for "failing". If I did manage to have an orgasm, I have to put my own afterglow on hold while the guy celebrates HIS accomplishment and I have to properly thank and reward him for receiving the benefits of his hard work.

"Because of this, reaching orgasm can feel like work and often is. It’s tiresome enough, the constant self-objectification and pressure to perform like a pornstar, without the added pressure to “come” to validate the man."


This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395698.html.

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photography, Self-Portrait, personal
valarhalla -

Fun Fact: Tenochtitlan fell in 1521. From 1603 onwards, large numbers of honest-to-god fricking Japanese Samurai came to Mexico from Japan to work as guardsmen and mercenaries.

Ergo, it would be 100% historically accurate to write a story starring a quartet consisting of the child or grandchild of Aztec Noblemen, an escaped African slave, a Spanish Jew fleeing the Inquisition (which was relaxed in Mexico in 1606, for a time) and a Katana-wielding Samurai in Colonial Mexico.

I am going to use this to go off on a tangent about racism and Mexicans.

I have posted several times before about how I am treated as white, which means that racist white people say racist white shit to me, assuming that I'm "one of them" and not realizing that I'm chicana.

I've also posted about the casta system, which stratified racism to a whole new level of granularity in Mexico that the US only wishes it could be as racist. It literally took elementary school geneology (because we didn't have genetic studies back then) and separated *each generation* of mixed ethnicity into *its own caste*. So, depending on how many generations back your full-blooded indigenous or African ancestors went (parents, grandparents, only 1 parent, only 1 grandparent, etc.), that is what marked you for your appropriate caste.

On top of that, the white colonizer's solution to the "brown people problem" in the New Land was "breed them out". As a result, the population of Mexico is basically ALL MIXED.

A genetic study of Mexico a few years ago showed that pretty much everyone has a mix of African, indigenous Mexican, and Spanish (white) in them. The study showed that pretty much everyone had indigenous and African genes from their matrilineal lines and European genes from their patrilineal lines, confirming the "breed them out" policy.

Even before genetics confirmed this, the population of Mexico knew this to be true and made it part of their political platform during the last revolution, overthrowing the casta system and uniting everyone together politically (not that it really did unite everyone in practice - there is still some ugly racism there).

I don't "look Mexican" for two reasons:

1) I am the product of assimilation. This is what a mere 2 generations of assimilation looks like. Middle and upper class Mexican immigrants tend to be in favor of assimilation and my Mexican grandparents were middle class. "Mexican" is legally classified as "Caucasian" in the US, which means that we have access to certain areas of privilege that other POC don't.

So middle and upper class Mexican immigrants see assimilation as a path towards upward class mobility, away from their lower class "immigrant" status. If you have the right accent, the right education, the right clothing, and the right political leanings (and light enough skin helps, which is also mostly inherited through class, thanks to the casta system), the US is the land of opportunity for Mexicans.

My grandparents did not speak English. My mother learned English in school. By the time I was born, she had married a white man who did not speak Spanish, and so Spanish was not spoken in my home. I have probably the whitest American accent possible - a cross between "valley girl" and "rural redneck Californian". Add to that my light skin and my cultural exposure to mostly white interests so that I know little of my own heritage first-hand, and I "pass" as white.

2) Mexico is one of the most diverse nations in the world, thanks to colonization. There are African-Mexicans and Chinese-Mexicans and Japanese-Mexicans and Euro-Mexicans and Filipino-Mexicans and everyone else.

I don't "look Mexican" because the US has been bombarding us for generations with popular media that show "Mexican" as the poor brown thugs living in the barrio with the chinos and tank-tops and flannel shirts buttoned only at the top and colored handkerchiefs signaling their gang affiliation and feisty abuelas wielding their sandals and wooden spoons in the air and spicy Latinas with too much eyeliner, short skirts and shorter tempers.

When the truth of the matter is that Mexico is a very diverse nation with every skin color in existence. It is neither the land of the drug runners and prostitutes, nor the noble jungle tribesmen and wise, wrinkled old tias sitting outside their huts. At least, no more so than the US is the Wild Wild West.

Mexico is a melting post where people came because it was the land of opportunity for them, or they came because it was the land of opportunity for someone else and they had no choice in the matter. There might be fewer Swedes and Norwegians there than, say, Minnesota, but it is still a culturally and ethnically diverse nation.

So I don't look like the stereotype of a Mexican that the US has been frightening all good little white middle class children with for generations. I look like the type of Mexican who is part of a vast, diverse heritage, made up of people from around the world, some of whom were native to the soil, some of whom traveled there to seek their fortune, some of whom fled there to avoid their fate, some of whom were brought there against their will, and who all blended together to create a new future for the land now known as Mexico.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395278.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Everyone: please learn that you are lovable *to someone* and worthy of love and that anyone who thinks you are "too" something or "not enough" whatever IS NOT THE RIGHT PERSON FOR YOU.

If people don't like something important about you, you are not going to "scare off" potential partners, you are dodging bullets.

Gaslighters and manipulators will take advantage of the cultural trope (overwhelmingly applied to women) that you have no value without a romantic partner and you must change yourself to find a partner, to keep a partner, and to make your partner happy. This is bullshit. This is how they deflect and get you to accept toxic behaviour, abuse, and general shittiness.

Not everyone HAS to like you. Not everyone WILL like you. That's OK. Don't let that fact become a weapon to manipulate you.

Not only is it OK if people don't like you for a thing, it's what you want. It's how you tell who is compatible with you and who will love you for who you are, your core self. It's a valuable screening tool. Use it to your advantage, don't let it get used against you.

Brought to you by the boring response of men telling me that I'm "too intense" or "too aggressive" to "attract a man". The appropriate response to that is not to tone myself down. It's this:

[deep breath]


Dude. No, srsly, dude. Anyone who is intimidated by me or thinks I'm too much is not man enough to be worthy of being my partner.

I eat the weak.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395219.html.

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Super Tech, strong, feminism

Watching Age of Ultron & the trumped up love story between Banner and Black Widow, where the super assassin who has never known a "normal" day in her fucking life is putting the moves on the dude who turns into a giant green monster every time he gets pissed off.

So Banner, once he finally figures out that Natasha is actually propositioning him and not just "flirting", rejects her advances, not because he's not interested, but because he can't offer her a "normal" life on a farm with kids and a day job.

So, in my head, I'm getting pissed off at the hubris of men all over again, for not allowing her to make her own damn decisions, and for assuming that a white picket fence is even an interest of hers (and at the presumably male writers who made fucking Black Widow's big secret be that she wants kids & can't have them), so this conversation pops into my head:

Banner: I can't offer you this! I can't ever have a normal life!

Romanoff: I can't have this either!

Banner: What?!

Me: Hold on a minute here.

Banner: Hey, who are you?

Me: Shut up and listen because you're mucking this all up. Bruce, look at her.

Banner: [looks at Black Widow in head-to-toe black leather]

Me: Does she look like Suzie Homemaker?

Banner: Huh?

Me: Does Natasha *look* like the house in the suburbs kinda girl?

Banner: Well...

Me: Is she a child?

Banner: No!

Me: Then stop making her fucking decisions for her! She is not under any illusions about the kind of life you lead. She's the one who tracked you down in the jungle. She's the one who talks you down from your rages. She's the one who has no super powers whatsoever and yet she can keep up with your entire fucking team!

Banner: But...

Me: No. Just stop right there. Do you like her?

Banner: I...

Me: Stop. Do you like her, yes or no?

Banner: Yes.

Me: Are you attracted to her?

Banner: Yes, but...

Me: Uh uh! Stop with all the objections. This is very simple. Stop telling her what she can't have and tell her what she *can* have. What is on the table? What can you offer her?

Banner: Huh?

Me: Excitement? Danger? Adventure? Violence? Extra emotional labor? A very good chance that one or both of you will die young in a horrible way? Some companionship on the journey? Maybe a little nookie?

Banner: Uh, yeah.

Me: Great. Natasha, how does that sound to you?

Romanoff: Sounds great to me!

Me: Excellent! Negotiations complete - you're now dating!

Banner: Wait a minute! What about when this all gets old? What happens when she changes her mind?

Me: The same thing that happens when you change your mind - you renegotiate when the time comes. Muggles! I swear!

Banner / Romanoff: Muggles?!

Me: Muggles - monogamous people. Y'all make this whole romance stuff way more complicated than it needs to be. Just say what you want, ask if they want that too, hear what it is that they want, and if you can find a compromise, then go with it, otherwise, don't.

It REALLY does not need to be this much trouble.

Me: [wanders off, muttering to myself about monogamous paradigms]

Banner: [stares after me leaving with a glazed look on his face - half confused, half "who the hell was that?"]

Romanoff: Well, you heard her - we're dating now. So quit your bitching and get over here and kiss me!

#HollywoodIAmAvailableForWritingConsultations #JustFuckingTalkToEachOther #ItIsNotThatComplicated #WhatDoYouWant?

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394895.html.

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photography, Self-Portrait, personal
Just a tip: When you post a meme about abortion, and you are TRYING to be a good ally with that meme, you need to listen to the people who are actually in the category of people who could have abortions about how that meme affects them.

Or a meme about racism, you need to listen to the people who are the targets of racism. Or a meme about transphobia, you need to listen to the people who are the targets of transphobia. Etc.

Lots of memes are great for letting off steam and for posing hypotheticals intended to illuminate an underlying issue, but that are actually terrible ideas for people to do in real life. Not every meme, not every post, not every article is intended to be a reasoned discussion attempting to persuade the opposition. Different goals for different target audiences and all that.

Most of what I post is meant for in-group solidarity. I am a place to vent frustration, to feel rage, to express ugly emotions that are not "polite" or "acceptable" or even "productive". There is absolutely a time and place for that. And I'll even be liberal and say that many times and places that make people uncomfortable are still the correct "time and place" for it.

I give people a sense of righteousness and safety that someone has their back, so that they can draw on that anger to motivate them instead of having their fear immobilize them. My posts are not necessarily the best post for guidance on how to actually talk to people about these issues. I'm what happens when the damage is already done.

But when members of the group whom you are trying to support jump in and say "OK but this kinda makes things worse for me when it's acted on", the correct answer is "you are right, this is not intended to be real advice because that would not work out well. This is intended for this other purpose. We should consider how this would affect you if it were acted on in real life and not *actually* do this."

You get to keep your meme (unless they point out that even in-group sharing or your intended goal is also harmful), but you also don't dismiss the lived experiences of people in the group you are trying to ally.

We can see that there is a need for sharing things that wouldn't be helpful if they were reality. As a feminist, I'm quite fond of embracing the baby-eating, man-eliminating jokes and memes. But when I'm trying to convince other people to not hate women, probably telling them that all men need to be rounded up and shipped off to Siberia while we feast on boy fetuses and man tears isn't the best way to do that.

So when you share a meme that is intended to point out hypocrisy but not actually be advice to tell people they ought to go do this thing, and the group you want to ally says "this would be a terrible idea, don't do this", just listen to them, concede that it would be a terrible idea, and if you must, explain that you do not advocate doing this IRL at all but it makes a good hypothetical to point out hypocrisy, or whatever you think it does.

And if the members of the group say "sure, it points out hypocrisy, I can see that, just don't actually do this", then you're all good. But if members of the group say "it doesn't even accomplish that goal and it harms us in this other way," then listen to them.

You're not being a good ally if you aren't listening to the people you're trying to help. They're not "being mean" to you by rejecting your assistance, they're trying to show you how you can be of better assistance.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394656.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

31st-Mar-2019 12:34 pm - Yet More On Holidays In #Polyamory
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Hey, look, holidays in polyamory, even the "romantic" ones are much the same as any other holiday, only maybe with more schedules to consult (honestly, with 2 kids, godparents, and extended relatives, it's not any more schedules to consult than my monogamous childhood).
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they don't have any partners at the moment, like single people.
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because their partners are long distance, like many monogamous people such as couples with one or both in active duty military service overseas.
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they didn't win the priority to get that exact day to celebrate, like a lot of partnered people whose partners work in emergency services and have to work that day.
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they don't celebrate, like some monogamous people who are conscientious objectors.
  • Many polys spend V-Day with partners but not doing anything different than any other day because they don't celebrate, like some monogamous people who are conscientious objectors.
  • Many polys celebrate V-Day on alternate days, like many monogamous people who are busy on the exact day like when it falls in the middle of the week, and polys might choose to celebrate on alternate days for the same busy-ness reasons or because they have multiple partners so they have multiple celebrations.
  • Many polys celebrate V-Day with as many of their partners and metamours as they can get at the same time, just like many monogamous people who celebrate a romantic holiday with their partners and their friends, or make it a family holiday with the kids, or with their entire extended families.
It's really no different than being monogamous (meaning that there are all kinds of ways to celebrate holidays even among monogamous people), and it doesn't *have* to be a big, stressful thing - at least, it doesn't have to be a *different* stressful thing.  Some of y'all want to make this holiday really important and then stress out about it, no matter how many partners y'all have.

It's really very simple.  Ask your partners how they feel about the holiday.  Then find the compromise that makes everyone feel cared for without putting anyone out too much.  If this is a big deal to one or more partners, then make it a big deal.  If it's not, then don't.  Express your own preferences too.

Go out together as a group.  Have your own coupley dates all on different days.  Give gifts.  Don't give gifts.  Deliberately avoid the materialistic, couple-centric commercialism by NOT celebrating your romantic relationships, but by celebrating your *metamour* relationships instead.

It's really not any different from monogamous people, except for a small percentage of us who might have group sex.  That's probably different from monogamy.  Depending on your definition of "monogamy".

But other than that, most of us celebrate like monogamous people do.  If you're new to poly and stressing out about how to celebrate:  relax.  It doesn't have to be any more complicated than the holiday normally is.

But a word of caution - if you're new to this and you're starting out by "opening up", make a point to ask your newer partners what their feelings are on the subject, and try to prioritize *their* feelings, because they get the short end of the stick in most other things.

And if there's really a conflict between your partners, then opt for either the group date or the alternate dates where *nobody* gets The Day for themselves.  Part of learning to be ethically poly is learning that we all have to give up some of our privileges and expectations in order for everyone to feel safe enough to want to concede theirs in return.  You learn to trust by giving trust.  You get their cooperation by being cooperative at them.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394418.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Bad Computer!, anger
BTW, it is not a criminal offense to be here undocumented, it's a civil offense. They are not "illegals", they are undocumented immigrants. You are more of a criminal when you take home office supplies, download a movie without paying for it, have ever snuck onto property when you weren't supposed to as a kid, ever TP'd a house, smoked weed before it was legal, or been drunk and disorderly in public (which I know a lot of you have done). Those things are *actually* criminal offenses.

You can dislike people circumventing proper channels when they immigrate, but don't pretend it's because you have a deep love for the law when you break it yourself. You might like a *particular* law, but you don't really think the law, as a general concept, is to be respected at all times and at all costs if you are willing to obey some of them and not others.

(P.S. Just to stop the argument now, I said BEING here is not a criminal offense. Sneaking in through the border without the proper procedures is a criminal misdemeanor, but merely being on US soil is not. The majority of undocumented immigrants came here legally and have overstayed their time limit (called "overstays") or otherwise violated the terms of their right to be here which is not a criminal offense, so they did not commit any crimes GETTING here in addition to not committing any crimes simply for BEING here.

P.P.S. "Undocumented" does not mean "has absolutely no paper trail whatsoever and therefore has no "documentation". The term "undocumented" in the immigration context refers to both illegal entry AND overstays / terms violations.)

"The term ‘undocumented immigrant’ refer to foreign nationals residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal visa that is no longer valid. " - https://definitions.uslegal.com/u/undocumented-immigrant/

"Undocumented Alien
An alien who entered the United States illegally without the proper authorization and documents, or who entered the United States legally and has since violated the terms of his or her visa or overstayed the time limit.
" - www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/immigration-terms-and-definitions-involving-aliens

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394122.html.

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frustration, ::headdesk::
Hetero men, your profile pictures on dating sites suck. While you want to portray a realistic version of yourself in pictures, you also don't want to *start* with you at your worst.  Fuzzy, blurry shots of you being sloppy drunk, pictures of you glowering at the camera, and topless bathroom selfies are not good choices for your top profile photo.

Look straight at the camera from eye level or slightly above, have some kind of pleasant expression on your face that isn't intended to intimidate, and look like you *can* give a shit about your appearance when you want to. Especially if you have any expectations that the people you want to date give a shit about their appearances.

It doesn't have to be a suit and tie professional headshot, especially if that's not "you". Just don't look like you're an angry asshole or a fucking loser that your future partner will have to spend the rest of their relationship with you cleaning up after you and tucking you in.

Because I *know* that y'all don't like the kinds of relationships you end up with when your partners are attracted to exactly that sort of mate.

All y'all have the same shitty pictures. If you want to stand out among the crowd, put a decent picture on your profile and don't be an asshole. Seriously, like the BARE MINIMUM of being a decent human being with a decent picture will improve your chances worlds beyond your "competition".

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393750.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
So, if you really want to limit or avoid couple privilege in your relationships, you can't have a "primary". By definition, singling out one person above all others (whether we're talking the legitimate definition of hierarchy as a power structure, or we're talking the bastardization of the term with just default priority) is couple privilege.

If you really want to subvert couple privilege, you have to give up certain privileges. Like the ability to default to anyone or have them default to you.  Picking just one person to be the top priority and/or have power over you / your other partners is, *by definition* couple privilege.

Either let it go, or just man* up and admit that you like your position of privilege even when it disempowers others and you have no intention of inconveniencing yourself for the sake of others. At least then people would know going into a relationship with you that they will always be second class citizens to you and that their hearts are not safe with you.

Children do not change my point. Plenty of people co-parent who are not in romantic relationships with each other and who are not "primaries". Divorced parents co-parent just fine, and the children get the priority they need because they are *dependent beings*.

This does not justify *disempowering* the people we are in relationships with, nor does it justify default-prioritizing one adult among all the adults. Particularly if the *stated assumption* is that the person I'm addressing explicitly says they do not want "couple privilege" in their relationships.

This is an if-then statement. If the given is "I do not want couple privilege", then one cannot have a primary. They are mutually exclusive terms.

* I thought about not using the term "man up", but then I figured straight white cis men are pretty much the top of the privilege food chain, so holding onto one's position of privilege at the expense of disempowering others is very much a "man" thing to do, although admitting it may not be. But then again, the contempt for others being naked and blatant is becoming more and more regular in certain straight white cis men these days too.

** Also, I am extremely rage-triggery on people confusing "power" with "priority" and mixing up criticisms of hierarchy and couple privilege with a Motte & Bailey tactic of "priority".

I have no patience for it at all. Read http://blog.franklinveaux.com/2013/03/guest-post-polyamory-and-hierarchy/ and www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-2-influence-control for what I mean when I talk about hierarchy and know that I will not waste any time in my threads going 'round in circles on the definition.

These are the definitions that will be used in my threads or I will simply start deleting and blocking because I'm tired of not having made any progress on the discussion of power and hierarchy in the poly community in more than 2 decades.

See also www.morethantwo.com/coupleprivilege.html

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393638.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
Q. What is a unicorn when it comes to polyamoury?

A. Everything that Jessica Burde said. I’m basically just adding some detail to add weight to what they said (more voices and all) because lots of people want to dismiss poly advice when they don’t like it. So I’m adding basically an agreement post to support their answer - their post is not just their “opinion”, it’s the observation of those of us who have been here from the beginning and have seen the origin of words and the intention of the coining of terms and what happens and why we came up with those words in the first place.

The term “unicorn hunter” came first to refer to a particular type of person / couple who uses predatory and (& this is the important part) *improbable* practices to find a partner that is so specific and/or so unattainable and/or so unlikely to exist, that we called the partner they are looking for a “unicorn” because of it, and therefore the person / couple became “unicorn hunters”.

The History Of The Term Unicorn Hunter - https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388631.html

We could have chosen another set of terms to describe this process, but the term “unicorn” (www.TheInnBetween.net/polyterms.html#unicorn) had some precedent. A lot of the early poly community was made up of people who came from the swinger community but found the lack of emotional connection unsatisfying and so built a new-to-them style of relationship that was more along what they were looking for.

In the swinger community, a “unicorn” is a bisexual woman who is willing to have a threesome with a couple and then go away without disrupting the primary couple.
So, when former swingers were trying to find more emotionally intimate multi-partner relationships, and when some of them brought some of their swinger habits with them, including searching for a bisexual woman *who would not disrupt the primary couple* even though this new style of emotionally intimate relationship would, by definition, disrupt the way they did things (I Love You, Just Don't Disrupt Anything - https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/275094.html), it was natural to adapt the term “unicorn” to a polyamorous purpose.


But, remember, “unicorn” was never intended to apply to just bisexual poly women, not even bisexual poly women who are willing to be with two people in a preexisting relationship. We had a term for them back then - we called them bipoly women (www.TheInnBetween.net/polyterms.html#bipoly).

The “unicorn” bit was specifically because the person they were looking for was a fantasy, whereas bipoly women exist in abundance.

Some people are not familiar with the history or the deliberately intended insult in the term “unicorn hunter”, and think that a “unicorn” is simply a bisexual poly woman. Because of this, some bipoly women have started calling themselves “unicorns”.

While we want to encourage people to identify however feels right to them, and while we also want to encourage it when people “take back” offensive terms to turn around systems of oppression, this all becomes very problematic when poly people do it with the term “unicorn”.

Because the term “unicorn” *in the poly community* was never intended to apply to actual people. It was specifically chosen to refer to a construct that doesn’t exist, as a way to identify predatory behaviour. So it’s not really a term that should be “taken back” because it was never meant to apply to them in the first place.

And it’s a necessary term intended to discuss a deeply problematic, harmful set of behaviours in our community. People who do those things still exist and are still a problem. In fact, I would say they’re even worse now. It’s been almost 30 years and we still haven’t reached community consensus that objectifying and dehumanizing and fetishizing women is wrong.

Not only that, but they’ve become emboldened by another poly catchphrase “there is no one right way to do polyamory”. Sure, there is no ONE right way. That means that there are more than one path to successful poly relationships. But it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any WRONG ways. Certain methods and practices are harmful and also less likely to work than other ways. These would be “wrong ways”.

But because the community embraced “there is no one right way”, it has gotten warped over the years into “there are no wrong ways”, which is absolutely not true. So we still need to talk about this problem. And we have not come up with any substitute terms that so eloquently and simply elucidate this specific problem.

“Unicorn” = mythical creature that does not exist.
“Hunter” = predator.

A unicorn hunter is a predator, someone who is harming others and the community, someone who is *hunting* a creature that they made up and that does not exist, to fulfill their own fantasies of power and purity, who is so filled with their own hubris and delusion that they chase down figments of their imagination for their own gratification.

It’s a beautiful, elegant metaphor. Many of our early terms have fallen out of favor and been replaced by new terms that better resonate with the newer generations of polys. This one has stuck around because it’s so useful.

So when bipoly women choose to identify as unicorns *in the polyamorous context of a bipoly women who is willing to date two people who are in a preexisting relationship* (as opposed to outside context uses of the term “unicorn”), it muddies up our collective dialog about a systemic problem in our communities that need to be addressed.

Polys are all about “communication, communication, communication”. But then we take existing terms and tweak the definitions in a Motte & Bailey tactic (https://www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-1-tower-village & https://www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-2-influence-control) and then get upset when people don’t see us as how we want them to see us.

Sure, language evolves and all of that. But the need for the term still exists, and if you’re trying to “evolve” a word while we still need that word with its original definition, then people are going to make some assumptions based on the original definition whether you like it or not.

So a “unicorn” is not a real person, within the context of polyamory. It’s a construct used to illustrate the predatory, harmful behaviours of objectification, dehumanization, and fetishization of certain people in the poly community.

Some people have tried to strip the term “unicorn hunter” of its intended offensive definition in order to avoid accountability for their harmful behaviour. Some people have similarly tried to strip the term “unicorn” of its intended illustrative construct because unicorns are pretty and magical and some people like thinking of themselves as pretty and magical.

But the term was coined for a reason. And that reason was not complimentary.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393409.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory
Q. If you could reconnect with any of your exes, who would it be and why?

A. Almost without exception, my exes are exes for a reason. Some of them became friends after we broke up, but I wouldn’t get back together with them. With very few exceptions.

I have an ex who I broke up with because of political pressures. We remain friends and I still care about him. The pressures on our relationship have not changed. But I did recently consider having sex with him when an opportunity came up that was uniquely suited for a fetish we have in common. We will probably never get back together, but I might possibly consider the occasional hookup if the circumstances are exactly right.

I have another ex who I broke up with because we wanted different things from our relationship together. It has now been more than a decade and we are still friends and business partners. Every so often I consider possibly getting back together with him and then I realize that neither of us has changed what we want out of a relationship, so it wouldn’t work.

However, I have a much wider range of acceptable structures in my Friends With Benefits category. The things that we want out of a relationship are irrelevant if we’re not in a romantic relationship but we are friends. It may be possible to find a FWB type of arrangement that would work. I have not yet decided if I really want to pursue this or not, so I don’t even know if he would be interested either. But it’s something I’m thinking about. I’m on the fence and leaning towards “not likely, but not impossible either”. Our platonic chemistry was always stronger than our romantic or sexual chemistry, so I don’t know, we’ll see.

The only ex I would definitely get back together with if I could would be my high school sweetheart. We broke up because we went off to college and neither of us wanted to be tied to each other over the distance and with new experiences and opportunities to explore. A few years after that breakup, I discovered that I was polyamorous, while he remains steadfastly monogamous.

That difference is not a problem between platonic friends. Since he is still the same considerate, caring, intelligent, clever, funny, creative, and passionate person he always was, and since the years have taught him to be more worldly and aware than either of us were as teenagers, I continue to love him all this time.

But it is a love that can endure whether we remain platonic friends or not, through time and physical distance. It is a love based on character and compatibility and respect and admiration, which does not require any sort of romance or sex. So, as long as he is monogamous, our friendship will remain platonic, because he is honorable towards his commitments and I respect his loyalty and honor among everything else that I respect about him.

But he is one of the greatest loves of my life and I would pursue a romantic relationship with him if we were romantically compatible. Since we are not, I cherish the platonic relationship with him that I do have, not as a consolation prize, but because it is valuable all on its own.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393030.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Someone exhibited confusion regarding the differences between Gift Giving (in the 5 Love Languages theory) and Acts of Service. They see their Acts as Gifts, so they don't know why there needs to be 2 categories.

Here is my distinction between the two:
A gift is a tangible reminder that someone is thinking of another person even when they are not physically present. It's a symbolic manifestation that someone really sees another person right down to their core. A gift represents what the gift giver perceives about the recipient.  A gift says "I see you, I see who you are as a person, and the thought of you is present with me even when you're not around, and here is a physical symbol of your presence in my life and how I see you so that you will know every time you see this that you are seen and considered and loved."

Acts of Service are physical or emotional acts of labor that are intended to ease another person's trouble, their responsibilities, their obligations. They are an action that says "I see you and I wish to share your burdens to make more time and opportunity for you to experience joy and to have a partner on this portion of your journey".
Some people exhibited surprise that the 5LL theory could be confusing, and I had some examples of how messy it can be when "theory" meets "reality":

A surprising number of people have a very hard time figuring out their own LL, or their partners' LL, or what category a particular thing fits under.

I mean, even Franklin has trouble with the 5LL theory - he keeps insisting that all these other, specific things are their own Language, rather than dialects that fall under one of the 5 umbrellas because he doesn't seem to see their connection.

For instance, he insists that "co-creating" is its own LL, whereas I think it's a dialect of Quality Time, because the point of QT is to build shared experiences together. That could result in a number of different outcomes - building a shared history, building shared memories, building shared in-jokes and language, or literally building *things* like co-writing books or co-hosting podcasts.

People also don't realize that "co-gaming" falls under Quality Time, if they think that QT means you have to be staring soulfully into each other's eyes for a couple of hours at a romantic restaurant or something. But 2 (or more) people sitting in the same room, basically ignoring each other and doing their own thing can be a form of QT for introverts, people on the autism spectrum, and others who value the idea of allowing someone into their "off-stage" space, when they don't have to "perform" or "entertain" anyone and can be their shoes-off self.

Sometimes Acts of Service and Gifts can overlap, such as when I bake and then give away my baked goods. So the basic concepts can be easy to grasp, but when you start to really dig into the subject, things get a little messier, as most human endeavors that we try to box up neatly tend to do.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392763.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism
I remember expecting my mom to have dinner ready at night, and of Super Bowl parties where dad and the guests sat in the living room while Mom (and some of her friends more interested in friendship than sports) worked in the kitchen.

I remember my mom getting so angry that I didn't want what she cooked for dinner or that I whined about being hungry because food wasn't ready yet that she told me to make my own damn dinner. And I remember her getting upset when I started doing exactly that, because I was now eating at different times and not having our family meal together.

Because she was first unappreciated and then a failure for not keeping her family "together". And I didn't understand at the time the external and internalized pressures she had on her to do it all, to be it all, and how my separation from the dinner table played into all of that.

I don't live with my partners because I can't deal with exactly this kind of default separation of roles that *everyone* I have ever been with falls into, even if they happen to make some kind of exception somewhere (maybe he cooks, but I'm still the household manager, or something).

But even living separately, I still have to remind partners that I need to eat, I still have to *ask* for their help instead of them offering to help with anything that isn't a "manly" chore, I still have to remind them when we haven't spent time together or we haven't had "romantic" time together like dates, and I often have to plan the dates.

And forget "vacations" together - I am the travel agent every single time or nothing gets planned and I don't get to do things that I want to do because it doesn't occur to them to plan anything or ask for my input. I've had exactly one partner who did this - who asked me if he could plan something for me, to take some of the responsibility off of my shoulders, who asked for my parameters and then just ran with it.


I'm told that they're just so easy-going that they don't really care what we do, as long as we're together. And THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM. They can't see how the responsibility falls on their women partners by default, or that we might have different priorities so that we *need* them to start caring about what we do together.

That's great that you don't care. However, *I* might want to do something with the fact that we're in a town I've never been in and I'm spending a lot of money to be here, so seeing nothing but the inside of a hotel room kinda defeats the purpose of taking *this* trip to *this* place.

So maybe y'all can do the Googling to see what there is to do around here, and maybe y'all can suggest some activities that you think I might enjoy, and maybe y'all can pay attention to the clock instead of me having to wake up early enough to get y'all out of bed, fed, dressed, and out the door in time to do the activities when they start?

And, again, maybe some people don't do *all* of the things - really only one of my partners is actually less of a morning person than I am, but somehow I still have to get myself up in time to make sure that they aren't distracted by something else and we leave late when that's one of my own weakest areas and maybe I need someone else keeping *me* on track for a change?

Anyway, now I'm rambling. Point is, even among "enlightened", "feminist" men, this is still a problem.

I was a young girl when I realized there was a hierarchy in my home. Chores were designated by gender. Blue jobs for my brother, and pink jobs for me. Mom did the cleaning, cooking, and most everything needed to make our house a home. Dad mowed the lawn, fixed the cars, and played with my brother and I until he could barely keep his eyes open. An amazing Father.

It took me a long time to understand why my Mother scowled at my Dad when the three of us entered the house after an incredible summer night digging in the sandbox.

That realization came fast and furious once I had kids and a marriage of my own.

As latchkey kids raised in the seventies and eighties, my brother and I were expected to do our chores and start dinner before our parents got home from work. Every day it was the same. I spent my time tidying up the house, cleaning the kitchen, and starting dinner. Usually, spaghetti, because it was the easiest thing for me to cook without burning the house down. Okay, so this one time I almost burned the house down, everyone makes mistakes. Lesson learned.

While I domesticated myself, my brother would either mow the lawn, take out the garbage, or... come to think of it, there weren't a lot of blue jobs that needed daily attention. I noticed my workload was different, perhaps even harder at times, but I was the girl, and it was what was expected of me. There were multiple days I spent bickering with my brother because I was having trouble handling my workload. I still remember thinking, I just want his help. I felt like I was drowning and couldn't do it all on my own before our Mom got home. Why was this my responsibility just because I am the girl?

This same scenario played out in my marriage many years later.

It was in those moments I realized his chore list seemed a little heavier in physical weight but much lighter in actual duties.

Nevertheless, I didn't rebel. I didn't speak out, complain, or say anything. I didn't know it to be different, or wrong. But I did know without a doubt if I did complain I would be met with resistance. I might indeed be labelled, crazy. A nag. I had heard it all before. The word 'nagging-bitch' had no trouble spilling from my Grandfather's lips while my Grandmother waited on him hand and foot.

I had spent my whole life watching the women in my life carry the weight of the entire house on their backs while men sat back and watched them do it. It was normal, expected.

A Grey Cup party filled with food my Mother made became the norm, while the men sat in front of a football game expecting more. More beer, more food, more work. More take, more take, more take. No give.

My Mom was a goddess, and in my mind's eye, she could run the world. She was already running my world, beautifully.

Somehow, I knew at that young age, I wanted to be just like my Mom. She was spectacular to watch. She could do/and did everything to keep our house afloat. My Dad by her side, supporting her every step of the way, but mostly from the couch.

From my Father's spot on the sofa, tangled in his legs I would watch my Mother drudge over the dinner I'd half-prepared. Still dressed in her silk jumper, her purse barely placed on the kitchen table, she stood over a chocolate brown stove while the three of us indulged in the newest episode of M*A*S*H.

Every once in awhile I would notice her glance through the butler's window in our kitchen to catch a glimpse of her family. Sometimes she would yell, and I would wonder why she seemed so angry. Sometimes she would pour a glass of wine and drown us out. Sometimes she would smile so big her eyes would fill with tears stained by love. All the time. Every single damn time -- she made my entire family a sit down dinner fit for a King. Not a night went by that woman didn't feed our family whole real food. She is my super-hero.

I have an amazing Father. I do. He is strong, forgiving, loving, accepting, and, what has always stood out about my astounding Dad; is he speaks of equality, freedom, and humanity in almost every sentence that leaves his prophetic mouth. However, he was brought up in a generation filled with misogynistic values. Taught to be served by his wife. Doesn't that sound stupid -- "served by his wife". I am literally shaking my head as I am writing the words. He learned it from his Dad, my Grandpa.

It's no one's fault, except maybe the patriarchy, I grew up in a misogynist's world. Back in those days, things were different. My parents were instruments of their generations belief systems, and the belief systems of generations before them.

We can, and need to change this. The mentality of women "doing it all" is not only propagated by males, but females alike. Our belief systems insinuate that the Mom should endure the burden of household chores. This is wrong and unfair.

When I was growing up, both of my parents had full-time jobs. Careers, in fact. My Mother was a successful Bank Manager, yet when she arrived home she still cooked and plated my Father's meal. No one did that for her. She did it with love, she wanted to take care of him, but regularly she was exhausted. No less tired than any man in her position. Yet she was assumed to come home and feed her family. Expected to clean "her" house, only to be told she wasn't worthy of the title on the deed. Sometimes she wanted her husband to take care of her. To plate her meal, or fold her laundry. Most times she wanted to be respected and appreciated. This I know because I have lived my Mother's life. I have catered to the men I love. Not with regret, but often with repugnance.

I now know why my Mom grimaced at my Father when he spent "his" time playing in the dirt with us, especially after a hard days work in uncomfortable heels and constricting skirts. It was her time too. Perhaps she wanted to be the good guy. The "Dad" out in the yard getting dirty. Maybe, she didn't want to cook another meal. Instead, play catch with her babies on a soft summer evening. Maybe she didn't want to do anything at all but simply sit on the couch with her babies tangled in her legs.

I want to smash the patriarchy for allowing me, my mother, and all women to believe were not capable of doing it all, without being labelled. That we were and are crazy for resisting our overburdened and under appreciated workloads. When in fact we were and often still are, doing everything, to keep our houses afloat. Making homes.

We can change our world for the better if we allow our preconceived notions to change. Not just for women and men, families. Marriages. And, most importantly our children, and our children's children.

It is time men stop telling the women in their lives they are crazy. It's not crazy to be exhausted. It's not crazy to voice fatigue. It is not crazy to ask for help. It isn't nagging when a woman pleads with her husband to clean the toilet or help around the house. She shouldn't have had to beg him to clean his mess in the first place.

Women aren't crazy; they are tired. They are tired of picking up after everyone in their lives. Women are angry they have gone unappreciated for so long. Women aren't assholes because they are finally using their voice.


Stop calling women nags and bitches. Start doing your job as their partner so they don't have to complain about the shit you don't want to do. This isn't about men helping women to run the house, it's about men actually seeing that it isn't only a woman's job.

If I learned anything from my superhuman Mother, it is:

"I can do it all, but all of it is not mine to do.”

Darla Halyk

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392458.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

photography, Self-Portrait, personal
Someone once asked me what behaviour in myself have I altered because of my experience with cis men. I think it might be illuminating for some men to hear about the kinds of things that at least one woman has changed about herself because this change was easier to make than to deal with men unaltered.  Let me repeat that:  it was easier to actually change myself than to deal with the shit men do when I am me.

And I feel that I have cultivated a space and enough armor that I can share these things publicly to make this lesson.

Other people who are not cis-men can contribute their own stories of alteration if you want to, but I'm not asking anyone to share this vulnerability in public. Because that's what this is - many of these alterations are protective behaviours and rely on the typical willful ignorance and deafness that men have towards women's emotional labor.

What I don't want is for cis men to tell me their own stories of altering themselves for women.  Everyone makes changes to accommodate the other people in their life, sometimes willingly, sometimes coerced.  This is a personal illustration of a gendered trend, and I don't want to get sidetracked with Not All Men or But Men Too.  I also don't want cis men to express more surprise at the efforts I or other women go to. At this point, nobody on my friends list should be surprised by these kinds of things - not knowing specifically what any given woman does, sure, but that we do it? Not any more.

So if you are surprised, I don't really want to hear yet again how blind men are to all the work that women do to manage men's emotional reactions.  That is part of the problem.

I also don't need to hear criticisms or anyone suggesting that the alterations were not necessary, that I was overreacting, or that I shouldn't have to do this with all men. Because you have no idea what the consequences for not altering are and also because fuck off.

I have to always cut the loaf of bread served at restaurants before dinner, and I have to do it discreetly.

I do this because I've dated too many guys who just mash the entire loaf by grasping it too tightly and using too much weight on the knife, and they grab the loaf first, ruining it for everyone else.

I do it myself because I've learned that suggesting a different way of cutting bread (as a person who used really soft bread loaves in my demonstrations as a cutlery salesperson) hurts their feelings and they respond angrily to the implication that they are not master bread slicers nor master knife wielders (whereas, I actually am).

So I just grab the bread first as if I'm really hungry (and my love of bread is usually well known), slice it about halfway, and take 2 of the slices for myself, leaving the rest of the slices for anyone else at the table who wants them. Somehow, they don't seem to notice that as a commentary on their slicing abilities.

I have learned to not ask to drive the car when I share a vehicle with a man who has access to his car. Doesn't matter if we're dating or not. I LOVE driving. I take great pride in my driving. I suffer anxiety on the scale of mild to panic attack when I'm not the driver.

And yet I do not request to drive, because I've learned that it's not worth the fight that comes from asking *the wrong man* to allow me to drive.

I've also learned how to have a panic attack silently and to hide the fact that I can't always look out of the window when I'm in the passenger seat.  Because then I have to do emotional labor, placating them that it's not because they're bad drivers, but because I'm "broken" in this way.

I never leave the house unarmed. I have had to pull a knife on 3 separate occasions in my life to warn off aggressive men - only one of whom was amorous.

I have learned how to go out alone even though I'm terribly shy because I've had so few romantic partners who are willing to do the things that I enjoy doing. If I want to go out in public with a romantic partner, it has to be for things that he enjoys, not for things that I enjoy. So if I want to do things that I enjoy, I have learned how to do them alone.

And I have learned how to deal with the feelings of loneliness that always accompany these outings without showing them "too much" to my partners because then I have to do more emotional labor in comforting them about how "hard" it is for them to do the things that I like.  For some reason, it's always a challenge, it's always difficult, it's always a sacrifice for them to do the things that I like, so my complaints about feeling lonely, feeling neglected, and feeling dismissed turn into soothing them about how much pain and hardship they're under when they accommodate me.

Sometimes they will insist that I do their things and not understand if I don't like them or not see how their feelings of rejection aren't comparable to mine when they don't like my things.  Sometimes they will be fine with me not accompanying them to their events, and then use their acceptance of me not attending their events as leverage in the arguments of why I shouldn't feel hurt when they don't attend my events.  And occasionally they actually don't have any interests outside of the home or us or the relationship, so if we don't go do my things, we just stay home and do nothing.

Even if I can drag them to an event that I like, they will inevitably take out their phones and ignore the thing that is the reason I want to be there and the thing I am trying to share with them, so sometimes I'd rather they not be there anyway.

I have developed a rather annoying habit of cutting people off and speaking over them because I've found that it's the only way I ever get to say anything when men are talking.

I tend to treat the men in my life like helpless blind people, becoming hyper aware of the space that they take up, and very gently, physically guiding them or maneuvering myself in such a way as to manipulate their own movements, to prevent them from having the sorts of accidents that so many men have - walking into people who will not get out of their way, walking in front of people because they don't notice other people are there, blocking aisles and walkways, stepping on toes, hitting people with overly large gestures, etc.

I stand between them and other people so that their large gestures can't reach the other people.  I hold their hand when we walk so that I can tug on it and hold them back from barreling into the street in front of cars just assuming that the cars will stop for them.  I take shopping carts from them so that they won't park them in the middle of the aisles.  I lean towards them when we walk so that they will be forced to veer to the side when other people are sharing the space and they would otherwise insist on maintaining their trajectory, forcing everyone else to go around them or bumping into people as if they didn't even see those people blocking their path.

I started holding my romantic partners' hands (back when I still did not like displays of affection - more on that below) just to keep them from sprinting ahead of me when we walk together. No matter what speed I walk, men keep walking ahead of me, and then complain that I'm always trailing behind.

So I hold their hand and tug on it when they go too fast.

Now that I have a knee injury to blame, I can get men to stop and wait for me when they get a significant distance ahead, and most will no longer complain about my slower speed, but the only way I can get many men to *pace* me is to hold their hand and then literally hold them back.

(Meanwhile, I have never walked with another woman or non-binary person who didn't automatically adjust their pace so that we walked together unless there was a significant reason, like a power imbalance, or someone was racing ahead to catch something for the slower people in the group, like a door or a vehicle that was about to depart.  Dancers, however, I'm discovering, are much better at keeping pace with their companions, regardless of gender, which shouldn't be surprising given the spatial awareness and the automatic body-matching that dancers do.)

I thought I disliked physical affection entirely because I did not realize at the time that all physical affection I'd had up until that point was entangled with displays of possession. I didn't know why I didn't like physical affection, just that I didn't. So I refused all physical affection except for sex in private.

It took until my mid 20s to figure out that I did actually like physical affection, and to deliberately use a relationship (with his agreement) to work on this. And, not only did I actually like physical affection, but it's one of my Love Languages, and because I had been denying it to myself for so many years, I was touch-starved, even with an active sex life.

To this day, I still have issues with instigating physical affection and from disentangling it from sex, so I am still touch-starved.

I stopped living with other people. Even though I don't make enough money to afford to live in a "safe" neighborhood, or in a building that isn't literally falling down around my ears, I choose terrible places to live because that's what I can afford on my single person's income.

I stopped living with other people because I can't handle being the Household Manager. Project Management is a full time, upper level position. I don't have the energy to do it as a second (or third) job, to do it without pay, or to do it in relationships that are not supposed to be business relationships.

And I have never had a romantic relationship with a man that didn't put me in this role by default. So I minimize it by making my living and sleeping space my own and not subject to Managing other people. I have other reasons for wanting to live alone as well, but I have tried cohabiting in the past in spite of those preferences, and it's the Household Management problem that made me alter my behaviour and stop living with partners.

I have started asking questions that I already know the answer to because I see men around me doing the wrong thing, they won't ask what the right thing is, and they ignore me when I tell them what the right thing is or they get upset with me for correcting them, and then I have to go behind them and fix it.

So when a supervisor comes along, I ask "wait, what am I supposed to do here?" or "how is this done?" or whatever, where the man in question can hear so that the boss can tell me within their earshot the "correct" way to do something, that I already know.

And I HATE that it makes me look like I know less than I do. I'm wicked smart, and I pick up on things quickly. But I have to look like I'm still a beginner at shit because men won't listen to me, so they waste my time and theirs and we all end up doing double the work.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392403.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

5th-Feb-2019 07:06 pm - But What Is My Partner Thinking?
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
"What does it mean when my partner..."

Dunno, ask them.

"But what are they trying to say when they..."

Dunno, ask them.

"Would my partner like it if..."

Dunno, ask them.

"What is my partner thinking when they..."

Dunno, ask them.

"Should I..."

Dunno, ask them.

"But they won't tell me!"

That's your answer then.

Nobody can read your partner's mind for you and translate what they're thinking. I don't care what that psychic with the neon sign says, nobody can do that. The only answer you're going to get is from your partner.

Silence is an answer. Probably not the answer you want, but it's an answer. If you have outright asked them, in no uncertain terms, to explain themselves, and they blatantly, clearly refuse to tell you, then you're asking the wrong question.

The correct question in this case is "can I remain in a relationship with someone who cares so little for me and this relationship that they won't communicate with me even with direct questioning?"

And that's a question only you can answer. Nobody in a forum or online group can answer any of these question for you. You have to ask the person you need the answer from, either your partner, or yourself.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392025.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

5th-Feb-2019 06:56 pm - What #Polyamory Really Looks Like
Purple Mobius, polyamory

“Oh you’re poly?! Are you dating lots of people? Tell me about your partners!”

"So, how many partners do you have, then?"

Well, I've been in a seriously long-term, low-key toxic relationship with the Entertainment Industry. It takes up most of my time and it interferes with all my other relationships, but I just love it.

Ballroom dancing is my secondary. I don't get to see it very often, but it's a wonderful change to my regular routine - I dress up, I go out, I get to forget all the daily grind stuff, and I come home all excited and giddy from the endorphins, and often a little too sore to walk straight.

I also have a pretty exacting Dom named Costuming. Every so often, Costuming decides to cut in and make me service it with long hours spent on my knees on the floor or bent over a table with a variety of textiles and a box of sharp pins. Everything else gets put on hold until I've completed the tasks that Costuming sets out for me.

My husband and other romantic and sexual partners have pretty well adjusted to being long-distance with all the others taking up so much of my time. I think things are working out, in spite of the challenges.

Tell us about YOUR partners! Use the hashtag so we can see all the diversity of #poly relationships! You can also just tell me in the comments if you want.

#polyamory #polyamorous #OpenMarriage #OpenRelationships #ConsensualNonMonogamy

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391709.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism
Some day, I hope to cease being surprised at how many people are REALLY offended at the idea that a person might be able to end a relationship with someone *just because they want to* and not because the other person is a horribly abusive person.  I mean, if we can just end relationships for *any reason* or no reason at all, what's to keep our own partners with us? What's to stop everyone from breaking up with us just because?!?!

Uh, well, maybe how you treat them, for one thing. This might actually require you to keep putting in effort into your relationships because there's no point at which you've "won" and you're done.

But for another thing, nothing. There is nothing to keep our partners with us or to stop them from breaking up with us. Nothing at all. Because if there was something preventing people from breaking up with us, THAT WOULD BE COERCION.

Which is a consent violation.

And abusive.

If your partners are not with you because they actively want to be with you every single day, then you're duin it rong. Your partners can leave you. Your partners can die. There is nothing in the universe guaranteeing your relationships.

Now accept that and appreciate every day that you *do* have with your partners for the gift that it is, not the prize that you are owed for having completed the appropriate levels and making it to the castle.

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391626.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

5th-Feb-2019 05:55 pm - Some Valentine's Day Suggestions
Purple Mobius, polyamory
For those who celebrate some version of Valentine's Day, consider sending your metamours V-Day cards or gifts, taking your metamours out for dinner instead of (or in addition to) your partners, and if you're into the whole gift thing, consider mother-jewelry to symbolize polyamory with birthstones to represent everyone in the polycule instead of the typical exclusive-heart type jewelry.

I mean, it can be emotionally challenging to figure out how to celebrate romantic holidays when one has multiple partners - who is going to be left out by not getting the fancy dinner on that exact day? So subvert that by sending the partners off and take your metamours out instead. Or go out with everyone all at once, and have the one-on-one dates *all* on some other day so that nobody gets The Day but everyone does.

Send a card to your metamour telling them how much they mean to you. Buy your partners and metamours jewelry that has room for more-than-one like mom- or dad-jewelry with birthstones. Turn a mono-centric, commercial holiday into a celebration of non-mono relationships with very little extra effort - just take your metamours into consideration and prioritize them instead of your romantic connections for this one day.

And what about metafores? Those former metamours who are basically still family even though you no longer have a mutual partner? Those people who, in some cases, are "the best thing I got out of my relationship with our partner was you"? Why not spend this day appreciating their place in your life, a place they might not occupy had it not been for a partner who is no longer in the picture? Send them a "glad you're in my life" card or FB post too!

Me, personally, instead of Valentine's day, I'll be celebrating Villaintine's Day by wishing my metamours and metametamours a happy Villaintine's Day and possibly scheming with my Villaintines, as good Villaintines ought to do.

#MadEngineer #Chaosbunny #KillerOfDreams #TheOutsideContractor #HarbringerDestine #VillaintinesDay #SinglesAwarenessDay #NeverTooEarlyToStartPlanningWorldDomination #IMeanGangingUpOnMutualPartners #IMeanExpressingLoveAndGratitudeForMyPolycule #PolyHolidays

This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391348.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

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