Thursday, January 31, 2013

By the Way...

     I finally slapped the "Adult Content" label on my blog.  I personally don't feel that there's anything explicit enough (at this point) that I would worry about a thirteen-year-old reading it, but other people might not feel the same.  And even though it's not like I get a huge amount of traffic, I'd rather not deal with the consequences of not having that label if it becomes a potential problem. 

     I do get a lot more traffic than my comments would indicate, though.  I always wonder what those anonymous people are thinking, and how they got here. 

I Don't Like Valentine's Day, Because I Don't Hate Men.

     Our culture's commercially celebrated holidays have never held much appeal for me.  I prefer to create my own special days, and while I realize that some people find personal meaning in following the current cultural standard, I have rarely found meaning there.  I do enjoy celebrating what I call Winter Holiday, which is for me a combination of Christmas, Yule, and Solstice, but what it means to me is based on things I find internally important.

     Out of all of the typical American celebrations, Valentine's Day has always bothered me most.  If left to my own devices, I would forget about it entirely, but it can't be avoided.  Going grocery shopping any time after Christmas, there are displays full of pink and red and hearts.  Browsing on the internet or checking my email, there are advertisements for lingerie and jewelry and "adult novelties."  Most of those ads come with slogans which basically equate to "If you please your woman on this day, she just might actually give you sex."  And so, I end up thinking about that which I try to avoid thinking about.

     Really, I don't like the commercial formula of love.  I don't like being told what days are supposed to be important in my relationships, I don't like my partners being told to buy me things just because everyone else is doing it, and I don't like the entirety of the responsibility for maintaining a relationship to be placed on "the man's" shoulders.  Receiving gifts is not one of my primary Love Languages, but spending lots of money doesn't actually make meaning, and so is not important to people who do speak that language anyway.  And even so, I do like receiving gifts that have meaning on occasion (who doesn't?), but in my mind that meaning should be determined solely by the gift giver, and the gift receiver.  I don't know how many times I've heard a jewelery commercial, and thought about those penguins who choose mates based on who has the best shiny rock collection. 

     While there is some biological and psychological validity to choosing to mate with a partner who can provide the best stuff, we humans generally like to think we've grown past that.  And for the most part, we truly have... at least those of us who generally have our basic needs met. 

     Anyway, according to Valentine's tradition, it's the man's job to take the woman out to her favorite restaurant, provide her with some shiny (or delicious, let's not forget the chocolates and candy) things she likes, and hopefully he'll get laid, which she'll only barely allow because of those gifts.  And people think we're evolved.  I do realize that there are exceptions to this formula, as there are exceptions to everything I rant about, but they are few in our culture.  And hey, if you don't have anyone to buy shiny things for, or to buy shiny things for you, then you are made to feel bad.  Everyone knows that it's sad to not have a date on Valentine's Day, right?

     I've also heard people refer to it as Singles Awareness Day, in fact.  You might think that the primary goal of said day would be to raise awareness of the fact that single people aren't automatically less fulfilled, or missing something, or looking for a partner... but no, according to the Wikipedia article "On Singles Awareness Day, single people gather to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status. Some want to remind romantic couples that they don't need to be in a relationship to celebrate life."  So yes, the more positive association is there, but is is a distant second to the primary goal of commiseration.  I may be polyamorous, but I still take offense to the idea that singledom is inherently inferior. 

     Just as I take offense to the idea that it's the man's job to bring home the romance, and that I'm supposed to guard sex sparingly, as though it's something I hate and give only as a favor to one who has temporarily proven his worthiness.

     Just as I take offense to the idea that we need to be told when to show love, and that if we don't display it when everyone else does, it's not really love.

     Not to mention the ridiculous origins of the allegedly most romantic of days.

     If you do happen to celebrate the day, I hope you manage to do so in a way that is powerful and meaningful for you personally.  Even if what ends up being meaningful for you is the societal standard, I wish you an amazing day.  I wish for all of your days to be amazing though.  ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kink. (Community)

     After getting back into a blogging-type headspace, performing my monthly-ish login at Fetlife, and actually stumbling on a few things that interested me there for once, I have a few things on my mind.

     It's pretty common for me to delve more into sexual or other intimate topics when I'm feeling antsy.  When my needs aren't really being fulfilled.  And, as the reader might have already inferred, that time would be now.  It's not really anyone's fault.  I've expressed many of the needs I've had over the past few months, but no one equipped to handle them has really been around.  I'm kind of persnickety (and abnormal amongst the freaks) when it comes to things like kink.

     There are many reasons I've stayed away from the kink community as a whole.  I started typing the reasons in a sentence, but I think a list might work better here.  Before I start ranting, I suppose I should say that I know not everyone in the kink community is like this... but if you honestly don't see any of the stuff I'm bitching about, you're probably one of the reasons I don't like the kink community to begin with.

  • The aggressive acceptance of issues which would better be solved with a psychologist than a razorblade.  I know "the community" wants us all to accept that every kink is special, healthy, and no one should ever judge what someone else is into.  Bullshit.  There are many people who engage in acts which are dangerous to their health because they have emotional issues hidden under the cloak of kink.  Not every kink is healthy.

  • The above attitude also tends to promote the lax acceptance of that danger.  If you're going to get your blood on someone, then fine.  But make damned sure your blood won't harm anyone.  The risk inherent in blood contact is often handwaved because they seem like nice people, and everyone's kink is so important we wouldn't want to risk not engaging in it. 

  • The hypocrisy.  So much talk about acceptance, and yet hardly any acceptance of submission in males, or dominance in females (at least without the "bitchprincess" image).  The same people who yammer all day long about how "No, really, when that lady over there is submissive, she's really letting her inner strength come out.  Can't you see how strong she is when I get to tell her what to do?" will then talk about how weak and unhealthy male submissives are.  Even Horus, whose opinions I generally respect in such matters, said that he didn't think male submission was as healthy by nature.  Never mind the culture (even mainstream culture) which highly values female submission while degrading male submission.  Never mind that male submissives are given few to no positive role models, but plenty of reasons to self-hate by society.

  • The general attitude of most people who claim to be dominant, which is one of looking down on others, rather than being someone worth looking up to.

  • The adherence to rigid roles.  Some people like that, but it doesn't work for me.  I am situationally switchable.  Ideally, I'd have a partner who was also capable of being so flexible, but I don't know if I've ever met anyone who was, let alone been interested in/compatible with them.  Within the kink community, it's generally okay to take on one role with one partner, and another role with another partner, or to only take on different roles in certain "scenes," but generally not okay to be inherently flexible from moment to moment.

  • The refusal to accept the reality of acting out fantasy.  There are those of us who might like to engage in certain activities, but can't because of bad knees, or eczema, or the fact that branding was actually a coping mechanism in a very unhealthy emotional time, so it's not actually healthy to engage in that particular act... Not that I know anything about that.  Anyway, those staged shots of girls all bound up (bondage which might have only lasted a few minutes to take the picture, but seemingly lasts forever, due to the nature of photography), set those of us with problems up for a lot of conversations which disappoint other people.  Gee, I'm super sorry that my real life has limitations that your fantasy does not.  I see way too many people essentially whine about that, but they're not generally the kind of people I'd want to interact with anyway.
     Even though I've never been a part of the community, kink has long been a part of me.  In the early nineties, when leather culture was first finding its way into the mainstream consciousness, and most people knew what a dominatrix was, I was twelve or thirteen.  I stumbled onto the radio show that Dan Savage used to have, called Savage Love Live.  I learned so much about the spectrum of human sexuality from that show, but the thing that stuck most with me was the idea that in a dominant/submissive relationship, the submissive is the one allowing the situation.  The dominant does only what the submissive allows.  And so, in reality, to say that the dominant person is in control is not entirely accurate at best. 

     That idea is incompatible with the way many people in the community think and act, but I carried it with me throughout the years, and through several relationships which included kink in one way or another.  I've always seen serenity in both sides of the power equation.  I never thought of it as being kinky, just as being me.  Other than knowing that I didn't want to hang out with the BDSM crowd, because I didn't fit in and probably wasn't into it enough to be a part of things, I didn't really have to articulate most of these ideas until Horus came along.  With his assumptions that I was pretty vanilla because I wasn't a part of it, and with his insistence on labels having meaning and import, I finally had to find words for so many of my thoughts on kink.  Because it *is* a very important part of who I am and how I have relationships, even if forming friendships based solely on what I like to do with my partner seems just as ridiculous as choosing my friends on how much and what kind of ice cream we like.

     I did find some more words for concepts that have been on my mind tonight.  I'm not going to get down to what is lacking in my life right now, not on my blog anyway.  Someday I might be comfortable giving out such intensely personal information, but not now.  Suffice to say that real life and real people are seldom suited to the acquisition of perfect situations.  But I'm not whining about it, I swear.  Sometimes I definitely do wish I could talk to someone about these things.  Someone who had similar views, which would mean that we probably had a lot more in common than kink, and would probably also mean that I wouldn't meet them in the community. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why, hello there Blog. Long time no see.

     So, yeah... It's been about three months.  The past few months have been full of "not much" and "preparing for actual things."  Currently, we have many plans around here.  We've acquired the first of our seeds for planting gardens this year, Ptah has been doing quite a bit in the way of woodworking, and Horus is learning about and acquiring supplies to build a gasifier to power his truck.  Well, actually we'll probably do the riding mower first, but it's all amazing stuff.

     For those of you who don't know, I've been sort of trying to have my own business for a few years.  I have been making mostly costume clothing and accessories whenever conditions are right as far as space, time, energy, and supplies.  I decided sometime last year that this year was going to be one where I really put a lot of work into getting my business off the ground.  I had dreams of spending the winter making stock for my shop, and going to different area events this summer to sell my wares.  Then my crappy sewing machine decided to manifest issues which made that impossible.  I found an old machine for cheap at the thrift store, but it's been in the shop for some time now, and may have an unresolvable issue.  I haven't worked for close to a month, and so this would have been a prime opportunity to make all that stock, but I haven't had a sewing machine to make it possible.  Frankly, it feels like every time I think I have a good thing going, something happens to ensure it won't continue.  When I first really started to put effort into it a few years ago, Thoth and I ended up having to put all my supplies in storage and move into one room.  Now, I can't sew because I don't have an operational sewing machine.  Le sigh, I suppose.

     I do still have plans, though.  I have a list I've been working on for some time, of items I know I want to make, or would like to attempt to draft patterns for.  I do have some commercial patterns, but I only use them as a starting point for my own... if I use them at all.  I still have a room full of fabric and sewing supplies, and I still have all kinds of inspiration.  I still have a little hope that the people at the sewing machine repair place might be able to fix it for me, but if they can't... I don't know.  I guess we look for another machine.

     (And then I spent nearly two hours looking at sewing machines online.)

     The winter holiday season is always a casual affair around me.  We exchanged some gifts and did pretty much what we always do.  New Year is never a huge deal for me, as the natural cycles of the seasons are much more important to me than the ridiculous calendar we use.  I believe in self-improvement as a general philosophy, rather than something I try to do just once a year, so no "resolutions."  For my birthday, though, which was at the end of November, Horus and I were able to stay in a hotel for a couple days in Long Beach.  Washington, not California.  Of course I have some pictures to share.

We stopped and spent some time on a beach on the way down.  I was amused by how the little stream running to the ocean has worn away this rock so well.

The bedside lights in our room were interesting.  The hotel we stayed at (Adrift Hotel) is decorated with recycled materials.  They also use fragrance-free laundry soaps, so Horus could actually sleep on the bedding.  And they offer body products scented with essential oils, so I was able to use the shampoo. 

In the common sitting area on our floor, there were these lamps.  They look like viruses, and are made from recycled pipes and wood.  Above the lamp are bookshelves made from old wooden crates.

This was the view from our room.  I was glad that I paid extra for it.

We drove on the beach a bit, because... well, because we could.  The Long Beach Peninsula shoreline is a Washington State Highway.

On the way home, we visited Fort Columbia, and I took many pictures of the rust and decay there. 

I also took pictures of some things that weren't rust and decay.

I enjoy bridges in general, and the Astoria bridge is one of my favorites.Unfortunately, the view was not all that great while we were there.

In Astoria, we stopped at the only Indian restaurant in town, but it happened to be a good one.  My birthday lunch was the best Indian lunch buffet I've ever had.  A most satisfying end to a very nice three-day vacation.