A little Change

In my post a few days ago about my Equalities Journey, I talked about the amazing trans man in my life and I realised that for some if you it may not be immediately obvious who I’m talking for about. Given that I’m polyamorous it may even have seemed a possibility that it was announcing someone new.

I was in fact talking about myr s, who has been socially transitioning over the last year. During this time, by his request, I’ve been using gender-neutral terms on the blog to talk about him and this was in part because there were people to whom he had not felt able to talk to about things.

This changed last week, and so while asking if he minded my referring to him in the Equalities blog posts at work and here, we also talked about evolving his title here as well. With his being my sub, we felt that the usual Sir or Lord that I tend to use would not feel right and he wanted to keep the lack of capitalisation as well.

So as of today, may I introduce you to boy s, and what a relief it is to be catching up here with how we talk to him in the real world.

As a cosplayer, there may be a temptation at some point to do a dad-bod Kratos just so I can shout “boy!” across a crowded hall…

Explorations

We went to Bletchley Park today, despite the best efforts of the Bank Holiday traffic. We picked it partly our of interest in its history, and partly so we could return our niece to her aunt as it was a little over halfway there.

I’m not entirely sure where the afternoon went as five hours sped by and there was still a lot we didn’t see. What we did find was fascinating and heartbreaking in turn, especially when it came to the areas devoted to Alan Turing. Going from a case containing his Teddy bear Porgy to a recreation of his office was surprisingly affecting as it brought forward the human behind the stories.

We had conversations with the kids around LGBTQIA+ history and in particular around Alan Turing’s treatment – which in turn led to conversations over lunch about our relationships and the polycule. And now Lady H is friends on Facebook with myr s, and the kids want to meet the cub.

Not really what I foresaw for the day, but a positive turn amid the strangeness all the same.

Don’t Keep Straight

I burned out a bit this week with a second week of recruitment interviews that frankly left me staggering around like a well-past-best-by-date zombie. Hence no updates for a few days, because I could barely function, let alone get creative, by the end of each day.

I’ve had a bit of sleep now.

Something amazing that did happen at the beginning of the week was that I ended up being the unexpected guest blogger on the work intranet. This put my face on the front page, talking about Surrey Pride. This will take place in September 25th in Godalming, and I’ll both be in the parade, and attending with the rest of the polycule.

The other half of the article was about what I ended up calling my Equalities Journey (mostly because that was the draft file name as we scrambled to meet the deadline). While most will have read it and passed on, there have also been a scattered few lovely remarks – and a request from the Surrey History Centre to add it to their LGBTQIA archive.

Not only did they ask that, but they said if I had anything else I’d like to write for it, then they’d be happy to take that too – so I said I’d have a look at things I’ve written here and would repackage some of the appropriate content for them, as well as add whimsy and thoughts along the way.

All of which leads me to this blog, where I’ve spent a morning driving my niece and Lady M to Chislehurst Caves for a visit. With a rainbow headscarf holding her fringe back while she talked about a girl in her class and their girlfriend, she was relaxed and happy.

Meanwhile, the satnav kept telling me to ‘keep straight’ on the road – and although the urge to call out ‘I can’t do that’ never passed, it kept happening and it felt more and more tiring and frustrating to keep saying it in my head. Although not the aim of it, it did start to feel a metaphor for bi-erasure: “Keep straight, keep straight. For another five miles, keep straight.”

It was exhausting, and I felt I couldn’t say anything. While it might have been funny the first time, by the third, fifth, eleventh, seventeenth time it was a mindless litany of call and mental response. Keep straight; can’t. Keep straight; not in your dreams. Keep straight; oh give over, I’m switching you off. Beep.

If only there was that option in real life – and yet, I get that I’m in a minority and that the default societal mores and expectations have nothing to do with a satnav device. And yes, it’s picky, but representation matters. Language matters, being able to say no matters.

Well, that all got a bit serious, didn’t it?

Changing Tack

We had planned to have a very poly Christmas this year, having our first Christmas together in the almost three years we’ve been bumbling along. Oh well.

I was going to go pick up myr s, the cub, and Lady W as metamour in chief on the evening of Christmas Day. That way they could enjoy a family meal with myr s’ father and Lady M and I could have a quiet morning to ourselves. A quick dash down to Portsmouth and back in the evening and we could then have a few days cosily in our flat. In line with the then-restrictions we would also be able to welcome Lady B during that period and have a table-top dungeons and dragons extravaganza.

Because that’s how we roll.

Instead, I am now busily making up details for that one-shot game to convert for Roll20 and our usual Sunday Twitch slot. No pressure or anything, I had been planning to largely wing it for the table but now I need to at least draw some maps. I’ve even written a four part structure for the characters to completely derail.

So, there will be other Christmases, and certainly plenty of other opportunities to get us all together again, no matter what coronavirus throws at us. For now, we’ll stay safe and do our bits to keep others safe.

South Coast Sauntering

Its been a good day today, albeit one with a lot of driving. myr s invited me down for breakfast, and this coincided with Lady B having arranged to pick up a vanity table from a friend, so we thought we’d make a day out of it, kidnap Lady J too, and bustle over to Eastleigh for the morning.

My sat available decided that with all the local roadworks on the motorways that it would try and ratrun us cross country, so we had an enjoyable bought of trying to work out where it was trying to take us and then willfully ignoring it based on my passengers’ local knowledge.

If nothing else it made for cheery conversations as people recalled past jobs, workplaces, or relatives in places we passed. We duly picked up the vanity table, tetris’d it into the car with only one seat needing displacement, and went on search of food before myr s could turn into the hangry hulk.

The last time I was there was for Pride a couple of years ago, so bits of the street layout started to come back to me, enhanced by Lady Best memories of working at a now defunct club that seems to now be an empty space. We allowed the mental stretch of imagining reworking it as a split use site with an LGBTQ+ coffee/bookshop space during the day and club/bar space for the evening. Maybe when the best sellers and/or lottery wins roll in…

Oh, and we hit Poundland, partly for sugary drinks, and partly to raid the Halloween supplies. We’re all cosplayers, it’s what we do…

I also got told that the cub had explicitly demanded I not leave until we’d picked him up from school, so we did that and treated him to McDonald’s for his supper before I headed home. The grins and hugs were well worth it.

And so home, with a bag of goodies for Lady M from myr s, for a curry, mindless nonsense on the TV, and more tinkering with scenario details for the next game.

Can’t complain really…

Pronoun Practice

As I’ve mentioned earlier, myr s is non-binary, and by request I’ve not talked much about their journey. The happiness I’m witnessing as we travel with them really does warm the heart.

The biggest problem has been training myself to use the right pronouns, in particular when talking to other people about them. I don’t need correcting often, and I usually catch myself first, with the interesting side effect of my being a lot more deliberate about how I talk to or about anyone.

In practice it means I’m using much more gender-neutral terms for everyone. I’m starting to use they and them when describing people in general, and use ‘folks’ instead of ‘guys’ as often as I remember. More effectively though I’ve started just using people’s names as interchangeably as general pronouns in that deliberate attribution of things and actions to specific individuals.

Its an exercise in relearning the use of language, but its in service of not being unkind, of accepting, and that’s never a bad thing.

Surprise!

We’ve been trying to arrange it for a while, but yesterday we managed to surprise Lady M with an unannounced visit by myr s and Lady B, and then consensually kidnapped Lord S to drag him away from his opera practice. In short order we then had most of the DDC in our flat, and never have we been so grateful for having so many sofas.

A motley crew? Us?

With advance knowledge of when they were arriving I was able to have the kettle going and suitably obfuscation their arrival so that myr s was able surprise Lady M with a massive bunch of flowers – and nearly launch her out of her skin. Saying Lady M can be startled easily is something of an understatement.

We exchanged various gifts, chattered away, and the afternoon sped into evening with barely a pause. Lady M, myr s, and I were also able to put on our rings for each other too – much delayed by lockdown.

It was just so good to finally get us all back together – some of us for the first time – and those of us who haven’t really been out much during lockdown I think at times found it overwhelming. Here’s to it fast becoming a more normal thing again.

A Long Week

Well, what a week that’s been, and there’s still more to go. We’ve had libraries reopening, the wait for an MRI still ongoing for Lady M, aches and pains, and life going on.

I can tell the Lady M is starting to feel a little more comfortable as she’s making noises about logging in to work again. I still see her getting very drained very quickly so we’ll see what her management say about some limited hours. Hopefully it will stop her brain exploding a while.

The library reopening has so far gone smoothly enough, with the public largely pleased to see us, even with the limited service available. It’s all new, and a bit odd, but its working. I’m back in on Friday and I know the time will just fly by.

And myr s has an amazing new haircut, having had their first experience of a barber’s shop. They also got a new job confirmed today that I think they’ll really enjoy, so a great day all round on their front.

I’ve even heard from the Charleesi, who is decidedly not resting on her laurels but is trying some freelance writing while the job hunt continues. She’s a grafter with a lot of talent and determination so there’s little doubt there’s success to follow.

And me? I’m exhausted, but there’s nothing new there. I’m worried for Lady M, and missing myr s something fierce, but we’ll get there in the end.

Rings and Things

Being separated is hard, but we’re doing our best to keep as chipper as possible. The DDC is helping lift our spirits and support all round, but its still no substitute for when we can get our polycule back together.

In theory, we can after relaxation of restrictions were announced, but given how high infections and deaths are – exceeding what they were when we went into lockdown – there’s a wariness of believing the UK government’s competence and motives. In some ways this makes it even harder, but we’ll get through and it’ll be all the better for it when we do.

In the meantime, I finally had delivery of a set of rings that the core triad of myself, Lady M and mre S wanted to adopt to signify our link. We had some issues with a lost shipment and needing to reorder among the chaos of lockdown, but we finally have three simple matching rings that are staying in their boxes until we can all get together. They’re enamelled steel with the polyam symbol etched and painted on them – simple, discrete, and one more reason to hope for better times to come.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday after an LGBTQ+ staff network Teams meeting about the DDC and our gaming group.

On describing the mix of characters and their quirks I was told that it was a group they’d love to read a novel about. I think thats a wonderful tribute to the invention and warmth of the players and their alter egos. My little writeups here barely scratch the surface of what a joy they are to DM and game with.

Spoons Management

Yesterday wasn’t a fantastic day – one of being low in energy and mood, and it wasn’t helped by diabetes starting my day with an upset stomach that led to copious vomiting mid-morning. Still, at least when that was done I wasn’t as bloated and queasy and merely had a headache, lethargy, and a general feeling of worthlessness – so a reasonable trade-off I guess.

Part of the low energy and dip in self-esteem came from the enforced distancing and general ill health between us all. A big part of my love language is physical touch with those I’m close with – not necessarily intimately, but just the brush of hands or quick hugs or joking pokes in the ribs that cross the gaps between us and at least in my head remind and reassure of acceptance and comfort. So with Lady M having a bad fibromyalgia day and physical distance from myr s, it was a bad day to be having my brain throw a tantrum on that front.

Then there was just the part where I was physically tired as well as emotionally exhausted. I’ve been doing a lot between preparation for the D&D game, cleaning the house/decluttering, and generally being a supportive and positive person for everyone – and I just needed to collapse for a bit. Being typically introverted however, I’m generally not fantastic at communicating this coherently, which can lead to a bit of a spiral of my own making.

But that was yesterday – and today the sun is out, and we’ve spoken at appropriate distances with neighbours. They’ve all asked how we are doing now from when we’ve posted on local facebook groups about going into isolation. There’s been the affirmation that our experiences are not so different, and that generally people are choosing the positive view of how to deal with these weird times.

I have the game tonight, so I’me doing some minor tweaks and preparation for that, and I’ve started recording some odds and ends for a channel on our discord, telling stories. I’ve even written an experimental new beginning for the book and recorded that:

I think what I may start doing as I transcribe more of my short stories is also do recordings of them too as an ongoing process – partly to get practice in, but also to offer another form of accessibility to people who can’t read easily for whatever reason. It’s another creative form, and one that I hope people enjoy.