Ruminations

I was in therapy last week, talking about various events in a busy couple of weeks, and how I’m keeping on top of some things, and how other things are knocking at me, and otherwise having a mental and emotional check-up.

As anyone who’s worked their way through counselling can tell you, it’s hard work that spares no blushes when everything clicks – and your relationship with your therapist can be as intimate when it comes to knowing each other as a long term partner. They learn what makes you tick, your tells, your buttons, and at their best when to back off and let you do the heavy digging.

That’s certainly the relationship I have with my counsellor – leading to more than one conversation where we’ve talked about her being as much my partner as either Lady M or lady s when it comes to our therapeutic relationship.

One of the things we explored was my sexuality, and in no small part how the attack so long ago has impacted on how I’ve expressed it over the years. The conversation veered between romantic and platonic connections past and present, and while contemplating it, I said the following (slightly paraphrased):

“For years I’ve not been comfortable showing or talking about myself, let alone exploring what it means to be me. Fear has been with me literally for decades, mixed up in the memories of the assault, but it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve been able to start to reconcile things in my head.

Over the last couple of years I’ve met and got to know such a wide range of people at kink events and general social occasions that it’s helped me to start to separate the pain and violence of the attack from the sexual aspect and honestly come to be more comfortable in who I am and how my attractions manifest.

It’s my partners, metamours, and friends that have surrounded me with love and accepted me as I start to let go. I’m still having hard times, by more and more I’m just getting irritated and angry about them than being overwhelmed.”

Now, we talked about a lot else and the above is mildly edited for brevity, swearing, and other material that I’m either not going to talk about or that is irrelevant right now.

When I finally stopped talking, my counsellor gave me a picture to consider and think on, based on what is been saying – telling me that it matched the mental image she had of me while I talked.

The picture, if you hadn’t guessed, is the lion in the picture in this blog entry. It has a lot of resonance for me – and for my partners for various aspects they have experienced of me.

There’s all sorts of symbolism of fierceness, nobility, pride (and indeed Pride), polyamory (multiple lionesses tolerating me), and protectiveness. There’s a lot more to unpack, and I’ll probably have a whole string of blogs as I pick over the various meanings, projections, and inferences that I bring to it.

So that’s what I’m quietly ruminating over at the moment

Cat bells

I really must remember to buy some more small cat bells. I’ve been getting complaints. Oh, not about my silent padding about and giving Lady M and coworkers nasty surprises when I start talking behind them, but about lady s.

The small bell that she has worn on her collar for quite some time snapped off recently. Her fiancée is most put out about this – she had got her ear in to listen out for the little jingle as lady s wandered around the house and now she has no warning.

I did offer one of the larger bells I have in the flat just as we headed out to the anniversary party, but this was deemed unhelpful.

I shall have to peruse online for replacements – I say plural as I’m bound to need spares…

Strength and Presence

I should warn you, there’s a bit of navel gazing in this post, and I’m not sure where it’s going other than its partially inspired by recent conversations and a (very NSFW) blog by my girlfriend, Lady S.

Lady M recently commented that I was quite a dominant and commanding personality while I was venting about how the term “alpha male” irritates me. It’s generally used to excuse boorish and aggressive behaviour. It’s something of a pet peeve, especially when attached to a blokey set of micro and not-so-micro aggressions in social environments.

Lady M smiled and said it was likely because, being how I am, I push back at anyone assuming an authority over me. That’s as much a reaction to the institutions I grew up in and past trauma as anything else.

In my usual way of drawing threads together, this observation matched and complemented one by Lady S, who has said that she perceives my being a Dom as about who I am rather than it being something I do.

I’ve certainly remarked in therapy over the years that there does seem to be a pattern of my taking charge in situations, or of having people seem to look to me for advice. Maybe that’s just because I’m not afraid to make decisions and make things up as I go along: I’m a great believer in following my gut instincts in snap decisions.

So perhaps it isn’t so surprising to find that being a Dom to Lady S is something that has come quite easily as we’ve talked and explored boundaries and expectations. It’s an interesting journey that I hadn’t expected, but is proving intriguing and a huge boost for my self confidence. Perhaps all that examination of my shadow side in therapy has been more productive than anticipated.

Bi the Bi Positivity

A couple of weeks ago you might have noticed an uptick in bisexual awareness and visibility as we had a month of throwing off invisibility cloaks and generally politely reminding people that we exist.

If you didn’t that’s okay, we’re used to being erased and ignored in general conversation and pop culture from both sides of the Kinsey Scale. For my part I began a small experiment, and I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far.

I’ve only recently started adding pins to my work lanyard, just to brighten things up, so thought I’d take the plunge and add a bisexuality badge to the mix – just to see what the reaction would be. Yes, there was a degree of mischievousness to it, but it was more prompted by sights and sounds of others standing up.

There was, of course, no grand reaction and certainly no negativity from any of the staff or customers. If anything I had the opposite.

The amount of smiles and softened expressions on a daily basis, from people from all walks and gender identities has been truly heartening. It’s been a great boost at a time when I’m struggling with moods and anxieties.

I’ve had big burly angry customers chill out, stressed mothers and surly teenagers slow down and hear me out, and generally felt my workplace environment feel happier than I’ve noted in a while.

Now, I’m not naive enough to put this down to a button and other people’s attitudes to the exclusion of all else. As I’ve felt more relaxed and certain I’ve no doubt presented a calmer and more, dare I say managerial, face to the world. My physical presence is somewhat solid and liable to block out the sun too – which combines with a close shaved head and calloused knuckles to reportedly be quite intimidating on occasion.

Whether it’s the button helping to soften that image, my own changed demeanor, general amusement by onlookers, or some other combination, my experience of being Out at work has been more positive than I expected – and that’s worth celebrating even now Bisexuality Awareness Month is over.

Weird Weekend

Oh, talk about an odd few days, and that’s just with the news of all the horrors and joys around the globe. I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed with the images of violence these last few days, and as I was working most of Saturday, and then had Charleesi come to stay, having an extra body around the flat has been a good change of pace. It has reminded me to focus on those around me rather than getting caught in the wash of breathless and sometimes ghoulish reporting.

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Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

The other thing that bemused me was the lack of reaction to my Love Wins post, and more specifically to how it turned into an unplanned coming out. I didn’t mention it specifically to look for a reaction, but with the wide range of people I’m blessed with knowing, I was surprised that there was no comment of any sort, except from Lady M – to whom none of it is a revelation – and privately from a good friend wanting to clarify something else in the article. I’m obviously more transparent than I realise, and most people just nodded and said something along the lines of “yes, yes, we know, get on with it.”

On the other hand, perhaps it’s down to people just skim reading and the words getting sidelined with the comments I was making. Alternatively everyone was just distracted by events in the news, and the Pride celebrations. I’ve no idea, so I guess I’m just projecting now.

I did find myself feeling like another shoe was going to drop any moment, and the mix of emotions made it more difficult to focus than it otherwise might have. Still, an evening of Once Upon A Time on Netflix, and quiet banter raised my spirits.

A quiet Saturday night then led to a good Sunday. The highlight, as ever, was the D&D session, which was hilarious and bawdy in equal amounts; this was certainly a day where I’m glad my daughter isn’t the shrinking violet some seem to see her as. We’ve finished off with a barbecue, a walk, and a good session of Charleesi and I playing Halo CE in co-op mode, which seems a good way to prepare for a fresh week.

I’ve no idea what the week will bring, apart from a work experience person that I will be setting to help me make display elements for the Summer Read. Let’s see how we go.

Love Wins

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Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

I am friends with people who are genuinely distressed about today’s marriage equality ruling in the States, and that’s led to a series of conversations with other people through the tail end of this afternoon that I have no doubt will continue.

The people who disagree have largely fallen into two categories. Those who recognise that their discomfort comes from their personal “squick” response to same sex or gender pairings (yes, I know the fluid continuum is a lot more gloriously complicated, but I’m simplifying and reflecting the views I’ve heard today),  and those who hold sincere religious beliefs about the institution of marriage and what they see as sinful relationships. I’m not going to go through the arguments in detail, partly because it won’t change anyone’s point of view, and partly because I vehemently disagree with anyone trying to insist that anyone is worth less, or should be denied basic human rights.

Slightly tongue in cheek, I expect the number of jokes about wedded domesticity to get larger and more prevalent once the (if you’ll pardon me) honeymoon period is over and people remain people. This means that they will fall in love, out of love, argue, make up, get frustrated by their partners dropping towels on the floor, or not cleaning the sink after shaving, and as for that little noise they make when falling asleep that used to sound so cute?

Well yes, people are people, no matter their gender, biology or orientation. Some are saints, some are sinners, some are heroes and some are jerks. There’s a lot of joy and a lot of hurt on both sides, and I’m lucky enough to have friends who, even as they’ve started to say something against it, have caught themselves and remembered that marriage equality is not something I’ve ever been willing to debate – because from where I’m standing, there’s nothing to debate. So, we’ve acknowledged there’s a difference and that in this instance we’ll talk about something else. Even there, Love wins, rather than being overtaken by hate and fear.

People being people, there are those on the equality side of the decision who have been less tolerant of differences of opinion, and to whom I’ve defended the right of my other friends to be upset and uncomfortable. It’s been an odd day in that respect.

It is my opinion that today has been a great step forward for the world, especially coming so soon after Ireland’s national referendum. Being both bi and poly, I’ve never been a huge fan of anyone trying to legislate anyone’s sexuality (hmm, guess I just came out, hi folks) or, in general, what consenting adults enjoy as long as its not harming anyone else. There’s enormous symbolism in the Land of the Free finally recognising the right of any adult to fall in love and get married if they choose to do so, and I’ll be watching the fallout in political terms with interest, both internally and internationally.

I may even get some popcorn.