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

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.

Representation

I heard an interesting question today – about why people talk about their sexuality or non-traditional relationship models when they are in monogamous and ostensibly heterosexual relationships. Was it their speaking up a way of saying “I’m available?”

From personal experience: no. Not even slightly. It’s about being seen, and heard, and perhaps a sign of encouragement and support for people who are themselves struggling with the fear that they are the only people who feel the way they do.

Representation is important. Not everyone is in a safe place socially or geographically to be open about who they are or how they love – so it’s even more important that we can be as visible as practicable to fly a rallying flag for people.

So that’s why I am open about being bisexual, polyamorous, and a Dom – I rarely shout about it, but if it gives confidence or support to someone to hear someone being able to say it, then it does some good.

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.