Grumpy

Just one of those days – its a bit quiet, emails were few and far between, work planned for tomorrow is tomorrow, and a minor storm in a teacup incident is eating away at me far out of proportion to what it actually is – especially as its something that is generally solving itself.

My jumping up and down therefore seems unhelpful, so I’ve been killing aliens on the XBox instead, using the new controller that Lady M bought me as a lockdown “just because” present.

A thing of beauty

Its made up in the red/purple/pinks of the bi flag, and has a lovely solidity to its grip and play. She had it custom made through the Microsoft website and it arrived this morning.

So thats a good thing.

About Last Night

With isolation looming for many of us, a group of us self-confessed geeky queers set up a Discord server last night and started playing Cards Against Humanity.

The carnage was livestreamed on the Book of Faces for a while, and I have to say it was a wonderful three hours of letting our collective hair down and laughing at the world. My cheeks have not ached from grinning so much in ages.

Even with the coughing fits and pauses where we had to battle for bandwidth with everyone else using the site it was a great morale boost. It was exhausting, but much needed. Here’s to more, and I think there will be.

With all the worries and upsets around us, having a safe space to unwind is going to be all the more important, and this allows us to keep and make connections even as health dictates we keep our distance. I’d say it may even keep us sane, but that does seem like tempting fate.

Counselling Nuggets

I’ve been going to the same counsellor now for the best part of twenty years. Initially it was do deal with issues around trauma, depression, anxiety, and prolific self harm, but these days is as much a clear space to keep grounded and to work through and process life in general. Lady M has recently started seeing one too.

I mention this because we had a huge power cut a couple of evenings ago in our neighborhood. With our usual aplomb we both said ‘candles’, turned on the torches on our phones, and soon had enough light from various sources to relax on the sofa and have a quiet natter about life, the universe, and everything else our attention latched onto.

Lady M started recounting how she was talking about our polycule in session, and how supportive her counsellor had been. From various online discussions I’ve become aware of just how lucky we are to have found people who have not been judgemental, let alone supportive of how and who we love. Some of it seems in support of something that makes us happy, and some of it is recognition of the emotional labour and honesty required to make these – and indeed any – relationships flourish.

While all of us are out – and in general have had positive regard from co-workers and most of our families, it has still been hugely important to have these structured places to be able to talk in depth about each other and what’s going on in our collective and individual lives. Humour plays a huge part in how we talk about and to each other – and while it’s not my place to recount what Lady M says she talked about and the responses she got, I do want to share something from one of my recent sessions.

I’d been talking about myr s and their embracing of their non-binary journey and was asked how the changes made me feel. I said that the great advantage to my partners of my being bisexual was that I can put my hands in their pants and be very happy with whatever I found there. It took my counsellor a good couple of minutes to stop chuckling.

New Year, new them

There will be a couple of small changes to how I refer to one of my partners on this blog – and indeed in day to day life – as they continue to evolve and become more comfortable in their expression of who they are. As a loving partner it is no great effort to support and acknowledge them and the smile on their face as I do makes the world a brighter place.

I’ve previously mentioned how lady s had been more comfortable in talking about their gender identity following bouts of dysphoria, and they’re now far happier to use more gender-neutral terms to describe themselves and interact with the wider world. A change of forename and middle name has begun, while still retaining their surname to keep life simpler for the cub. A mix of feminine and neutral pronouns is now being used as well – and so for the purposes of this blog I will start using the latter. It intersects nicely with our existing dynamic. A change of title has also been agreed.

The graphic above is a list I found of a variety of gender-neutral titles used around the world (which of course also appealed to the word-magpie writer that I am, collecting elements I can weave into my fiction). Some of them were familiar, and some of them were new to me – and this formed part of the discussions around how to proceed from here.

Myr stood out in the end for a couple of reasons. One was the sheer geekiness of it being a Game of Thrones reference: the city of Myr being referenced in several ways through the books and tv series. The other reason again referred back to our dynamic – though mainly in an ironic and tongue in cheek way.

So that leads me back to myr s – who remains the same loving and amazing person they ever were, but now comfortable to begin expressing themselves in a more genuine and comfortable way. Love you.

It’s Nearly the Weekend

I don’t know if it’s the tail end of a bug or something but I seem to be very tired again as a consistent base-level status. Fortunately it’s almost the weekend, and in this instance that’s three days off. I’ve just got to get past an early start to oversee an asbestos audit of one of the buildings I manage. Who knew being a library manager could be so exciting?

I’m going to spend a couple of days with lady s – our first catch up this year – and part of it is going to be spent supporting her as she continues to develop and firm up the expression of her non-binary feelings. She wants to have the option of dressing and presenting in a more masculine way as she deals with her gender dysphoria – but has expressed that she wants to continue using she/her pronouns. To that end I’ve offered to help her pick out some masculine cut clothing options while I’m there.

How do I feel about this? It’s an opportunity to go clothes shopping, and as we’re a fairly similar build it does give us both wardrobe options if either of us is visiting the other. More importantly I’m supporting my partner in a matter that has been causing considerable distress and in a way that will hopefully help them feel better.

I have however been told off for suggesting buying a squeaky toy to put in her boxer shorts. No matter what, the teasing and silliness continues..!

Consider That You May Be Wrong

I was cornered (literally) recently by someone who had had rather a lot to drink, and who had some pressing truths that he wished to share or possibly impart upon me. So yes, I got harangued by a drunken relative recently. What was I harangued about? Well, to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure – as it was a long rambling monologue that veered between the present day, my childhood, parental behaviour, my being an enigma, the infrequency of visits to this person, my coming out, my relationships, my immediate family, and that I had been heralded as someone who would take over the world one day.

Now, aside from a champagne glass that I had held aloft to join in toasts, and a glass or two of wine with the meal, I was entirely sober – and so was mindful enough to cock an eyebrow and let them ramble rather than try to unpick the unholy mess.

Since then, I have been trying to unpick it slowly so that I can process and discard each element rather than trying to react at the time even as another three statements were loaded on top. The whole thing was topped off with the quote that I’ve used as the title to today’s blog – “Consider that you might be wrong.”

Now, my entire modus operandi is to assume that I might, and probably am, wrong – it manifests as perfectionism, hypercriticality of myself, and no small degree of anxiety on an ongoing basis – so “consider that you might be wrong” is hardly a great challenge. As the conversation didn’t actually specify what I might want to be considering, I thought it best to just let the monologue die rather than wade into some potentially very murky waters.

Was I being urged to consider that I am wrong about my career choices? Or about my relationships and sexuality? Was I being told I was wrong to be an enigma, whatever was meant by that? Or was it wrong that I had decided to be myself rather than following someone else’s path for me?

It’s been nagging at me, but I don’t think I want to go back to the individual concerned to ask clarification questions because I don’t owe them any answers or explanations, and if they can’t directly ask me questions, why should I struggle to interpret a series of convoluted insinuations?

Ugh.

I feel better for getting that down on the page.

International Coming Out Day

It really shouldn’t need to be a thing – and coming straight after Bisexual Awareness Month/Week/Day it may feel superfluous to some – but the sad thing is that around the world people live in fear of not being accepted for simply being themselves and loving the people they love. I’m incredibly lucky and privileged to be who I am where and when I am – there are many who are not.

Is there a political side to this? Given the assaults on LGBTQIA+ rights where so much progression has been made in recent years in some places? Where there are whole swathes around the world where being who I am carries a death sentence? Where people are imprisoned and tortured? Where every week brings news of people assaulted in the streets? You’re damn right there is. This is why visibility and representation of the normality of my and others’ lives is so vital.

So as I’ve made no secret of being who I am (I mention it on all my social media profiles, for example) – today is just a matter of continuing to be visible. It may not be an urgency for me, but if it helps someone? Then that is a good thing.

Lanyard Inclusivity

I may have mentioned previously that I have a number of badges on my work lanyard. Some are representations of fandoms, or of work initiatives, while others are for LGBTQIA+ representation, or are purely decorative. They serve a multitude of functions – not least of which is being visible, which may seem a strange option, but does serve a function when people are struggling to describe who served them last time. “The man with the badges” works just as well, especially with the amount of swapping of staff we have to do at the moment between sites.

From time to time, a member of the public tries to interpret some of the badges that are less common in appearance, which can lead to some interesting conversations – some of them useful, some of them an exercise in confirming or denying nothing depending on the tone of the questioner.

What has been heartening recently however, is seeing the slow spread of LGBTQIA+ badges on a number of other staff members’ lanyards – either as quiet declaration or as allies – and finding the very reassurance I’ve hoped to project to others coming from seeing them in front of me.

It just reinforces how important representation in the workplace is.

Birthday girl

Despite the best efforts of her employers we were determined to help lady s celebrate her birthday this weekend.

As she was having to work the actual day, we arranged to head down on Saturday after I finished work, and we gathered together with Ladies J and B to escort her to the pub for food and drink and a quiet evening of silliness.

And the nice thing is that we don’t need to drink to have fun, be daft, and let our humour out to play. The next morning would see us having a breakfast too, but we were mindful that lady s had to work soon. So we contented ourselves with putting the world to rights over pizza, puddings, and pints of diet soda.

The following morning we showered lady s with gifts before breakfast and dropped her and Lady J to work. Lady M and I spent the day being tourists before Lady M headed home. I lurked in the area until lady s finished work and ubered her home. The rest of our evening was spent watching YouTube clips before bed called and we turned in.

Lady s said it felt in many ways that it didn’t really like a birthday this year, but a 12-9 shift will take the wind out of most people’s sails. Between us, I think we did our best to counteract it all

Capitalisation matters

The sharper-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve started referring to lady s in lowercase as opposed to the Capitalisation that I use for everyone else if I talk about them: Lady M, for example. This is not a slur, or a mistake – in fact it was discussed and agreed explicitly with lady s before I started doing it.

In D/s, the use of capitals is important for denoting negotiated power levels between partners. As I explained to someone recently when they were asking questions about “doms and subs”, you should always capitalise the reference to the person who has been given the control, and put in lower case the person who has surrendered it.

In writing about them this way, it then makes the dynamic roles obvious at a glance. Whether it is Dom/sub, Master/slave, Lord/lady, (or any other set of terms agreed between partners) you can be sure to avoid embarrassment or irritation.

These are terms and roles that are held very close to people’s hearts. Purely as a matter of not being an arse to people it’s best to acknowledge and respect that dynamic as best as possible in the same way that you might respect the terms husband and wife – and therefore the bond between them. To people in what’s called the Lifestyle, this dynamic is often treated as an analogue to marriage.

So as her Dom, lady s has said that this feels a better fit to the dynamic that we have. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this makes her weak however. As anyone who has met her will testify, she’s a vivacious, strong minded, independent and passionate woman – and her offering that strength to me is a constant source of amazement.

So now you know why I have my loves: Lady M and lady s, and why I refer to them as such. They are both strong and wonderful people who make my life immeasurably better.