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March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:53 pm

Feeling a little blocked and bleary.

Last day of work is officially on Wednesday.

Lots of things I want to write about. Lack focus.

Facilitated Poly MeetUp tonight. Tried something new: Micro Small-Group. Got people to talk in groups of three or (max) four — rather than the usual “small groups” of 10 or so. Changed it up in the middle, so each grouping lasted 20 – 30mins. “You can talk about anything you like. The only rules are: If you came here together with someone, you can’t be in the same group. And you can’t be in a group with someone you’ve already been in a group with.” Feel like it worked well, created connections, sociable, people were still chatting animatedly by the time I started wrapping up for final thoughts. Also, a couple of people who’ve mentioned in the past feeling uncomfortable talking in large groups told me they really enjoyed the format.

Aug wants me to come to bed, so I’ll wrap this up too. Work tomorrow. Work the next day. Then a long weekend in Las Cruces. It’ll be good to see Dakota.

Man, this poor rat has been here for days now and the snake won’t eat. 😦

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March 24, 2012

A Little Bit o’ Scribbling About Context-Lenses

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:16 am

I just got home from seeing The Hunger Games. It was…y’know, fine.

I read the books a few months back when I was stuck in bed sick for a week. They’d originally piqued my interest because I’d heard them described as an allegory for contemporary USian politics with some challenging themes around resistance, allyship, and the relationships between several (potentially) women of color as main characters — and ’cause, y’know, the plot sounds kinda cool. And I followed the uproar when the casting call for Katniss was limited to white actresses.

I won’t go into a big discussion about why representation matters. It’s a huge topic that I don’t have the mental focus to talk about succinctly tonight. I will mention that, because representation matters so much, people who don’t often see themselves represented in pop-culture are highly attuned to pick up on small hints or potentials for representation where others might miss them. Suffice to say: I initially read The Hunger Games with a mind toward political critique but I wasn’t able to stay in that headspace at all because I got so wrapped up in the story — and the main reason I got so wrapped up was because the “love triangle” between Katniss, Peeta and Gale was (to my hungry eyes) so ripe with the potential for a working polyamorous relationship that there were moments when I found myself thinking, “Holy shit. Really? Did that scene just happen? Is there a real chance she’s going to do this in a Young Adult novel?”

[SPOILERS] Of course, she didn’t. Several times throughout the story, I found myself cursing the author: “Seriously? SERIOUSLY? You’re writing a protagonist who’s such an iconoclast she’s been breaking laws that could get her executed since before she could write, repeatedly puts her life on the line just to spite authority, and starts a revolution against a fascist dictatorship pretty much just by being Katniss…but she just can’t figure out that she can choose two boyfriends? Seriously?” And then there’s the conversation, when they’re all locked in Tigris’s basement, between Peeta and Gale about which one she’s going to choose — in which they’re basically both like, “You’re cool, dude. I totally respect you and she obviously loves you. You two should be together,” to each other. I must’ve re-read that scene five times. And so I kept holding out a little bit of hope… Maybe. Maybe…

Until the epilogue, when I was so disappointed I practically threw the book across the room. * sigh * [/SPOILERS]

But here’s the great thing about the death of the author: It doesn’t matter what Suzanne Collins was trying to do with that romantic subplot; I’m capable of reading it as a polyamorous love story (albeit one with a tragic ending) and connecting with it on that level. Humans are meaning-making machines and we’re great at making a variety of different meanings out of the same cultural artifacts. This is an incredible power, because it allows us to resist cultures that might otherwise want to erase us. I once wrote a great paper (that I never turned in) about all the various queer gender identities and homoerotic triangulations in Grease — concluding that, insofar as Grease is held up to be a classic and wholesome representation of “normal” American adolescent sexual culture, it actually does a fabulous job because normal American adolescent sexual culture actually is (and always has been) a lot more queer and genderfluid than we’re led to believe.

Reframing pop-cultural artifacts is a good exercise in resisting dominant interpretations of situations and selves. It’s also fun:

[SPOILERS] I went to the Hunger Games movie hoping that, political critique of the casting aside, it would be a good flick because it would capitalize on the rich, explosively colorful visual descriptions in the book. It didn’t. Meanwhile, Gale was basically a non-entity throughout most of the film and, without access to Katniss’s internal dialogue, the whole thing ended up looking like a fairly stock standard Boy Meets Girl, Boy Woos Girl With Burned Bread, Boy and Girl Fight to the Death in a Giant Arena story. I was bored. [/SPOILERS]

Then, about halfway through, something about the Jennifer Lawrence/Josh Hutcherson on-screen chemistry caught my attention and I started reading a kind of D/s power dynamic between Katniss and Peeta. With this contextual lens snapped in place, I started thinking back on all the additional details I knew about this relationship from the books, and found myself struck by Peeta’s powerful, unwavering, submissive devotion to Katniss. Suddenly, I found myself drawn much more deeply into the movie and actually invested in what happened to these characters. I probably never would have picked up on it just reading the books themselves, though, because I was so fixated on the poly potentialities. It was something about Hutcherson’s performance that clued me in. Now I kind of want to go back read them with that framework in mind.

This is normally where I’d put some kind of conclusion or try to make a broader political point. I don’t really have one. TL;DR: Whether the context you care about be racial identity, alternative relationship structures, US foreign policy, or fashion, there are lots of different ways to read The Hunger Games. Try it sometime. Lemme know what else you find.

(For the record: When I read them, the only character in the entire book series I genuinely cared about was Finnick. This probably tells you something about me. 😉 )

ETA Case in point: Txt from my girlfriend – “No spoilers. We’re going to play a drinking game: Every time something straight happens, take a drink.”

March 22, 2012

Remedies For Hollowness

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:49 pm

I’m having that night. You know that night. The one when all the exciting, creative projects I’ve been investing myself in suddenly seem hollow. The “I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said a million times before” night. The creeping-doubt-about-all-my-relationships-and-how-could-I-have-been-so-naive night. The empty, grasping, desperate, needy, lonely-down-in-my-bones night. You know. That one.

In the past, I’ve found two tools for managing this feeling:

1. Enforced separation from whatever or whomever I’m fixated on craving more of — usually this is some form of comfort or caretaking — because it forces me to remember that I’m okay on my own and capable of meeting most of my own emotional needs. It sounds a little harsh but it works.

2. Reaching out to people I care about, not to ask for support/appreciation/affection/care but to offer it. Telling the people I love that I love them and why I love them. Counter-intuitively, when I’m feeling empty, it turns out that being emotionally generous is often more fulfilling and re-grounding than being the recipient of others’ emotional energy.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to learn that sometimes, when I don’t feel okay, the best course of action isn’t to figure out how to be okay but, instead, just to ask someone else to take care of me.

Tonight isn’t one of those nights, though. I’m fine tonight. This is a familiar uncomfortable feeling but, at the moment, it’s not even that acute. I just feel lonely in a very visceral, embodied way. And that’s one of the benefits of being a human. I get to feel all kinds of feelings. When I’ve gotten to the threshold of how much loneliness I can stand tonight, I’ll call someone and tell them that I love them.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.

March 21, 2012

On Saying Yes to Complication — Or, At Least, On Saying Maybe.

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:53 pm

This doesn’t feel ready to be written yet, but I’m gonna draft it out and see what happens…

A few days ago, I posted this entry about my relationship to BDSM. Don’t bother clicking that link; it’s locked. It’s very personal, very political and very, very long. At some point, I’ll make it public but only after I’ve had time to edit it, share it with each of my lovers in private, get their feedback and have some heads-up conversations with them about what’s in it.

In the meantime, however, the TL;DR version is: I like BDSM. I do BDSM. I also think BDSM is incredibly complicated — ethically, psychologically, politically — especially when it involves survivors of actual oppression and abuse. This doesn’t mean I don’t think we should do it. It means I think we need to do it with intentionality and a critical consciousness about the many ways in which what we’re doing is complicated. And I think the BDSM Scene does a huge disservice to survivors, including myself, by suggesting and rhetorically enforcing the idea that erotic violence is just like any other kind of kink.

One person who has seen the post said, “I understand what you’re trying to do here but, no matter how much you contextualize, most people are going to read this as a rejection of BDSM — not a complication of it.”

But another said, “Thank you for being visible.”

And it occurs to me that the people who will be able to grok what I’m trying to say are those for whom, like me, BDSM is important but complicated. And that, for those who don’t understand what I’m talking about but want to (and maybe for those who understand, too) maybe the best thing I can do is describe ways that BDSM is important but complicated for me. I’m still figuring it all out myself. Maybe we can figure some of it out together.

Here goes. (more…)

March 19, 2012

On Being Okay with Infestation

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:38 am

I don’t have a punchy opening sentence for this post. I just need to talk somewhere. I’ve got a two hour appointment scheduled with my therapist this afternoon. I’m nervous about it. She wants to try this thing — I shouldn’t put it all on her; I asked to do it — a sort of music-therapy thing where we use sound to create a safe(r) container in which we can explore the source of my panic (rather than just dealing with the symptoms.)

I think sometimes the best thing that can happen with fears is for them to come true, so that you learn they’re not as bad as you’re afraid of. Of course, there’s a bit of a Nietzchean “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” mentality here, and that’s not actually true. Sometimes, whatever doesn’t kill you gives you trauma. (Or, in Nietzche’s case, syphilis.)

I trust my therapist. It’s why I chose her to work with; she’s smarter than me. But this is a BIG fear. It’s one I’ve been incapacitated by, in certain ways, for most of my life. It keeps me from taking care of my body. It keeps me from expressing myself creatively. It blocks my ability to have the kind of secure, healthy and resilient intimacy I want with people I care about. Obviously, I want it gone. I’m also scared of the work it will take to get there. Because I think resolving the panic is going to mean going through it, not under, over or around.

It’s been coming back, though. The panic. Just around the edges. So maybe this is a good time to try and look it in the face. I had a nice long break of several weeks where it wasn’t really coming up for me. I could even think about the things that usually trigger it without having a physical fear reaction. But last night, as soon as I turned off the lights, my pillows turned into nests of cockroaches. It took what felt like ten minutes (but was probably more like two) of taking deep breaths and fumbling for the lightswitch while trying not to touch them — but I didn’t scream and that was good.

This morning, it was ladybugs crawling all over every inch of my exposed skin. Maybe they were coming out of my skin. I’m not sure. When I put on my jacket, they started filling up my sleeves and falling out of the cuffs. * shudder * It was only a couple months ago that I had that one for the first time, the one where I’m actually made of bugs myself. I was driving to have dinner with a friend and my head suddenly turned into black and green beetles. I started screaming curses at my subconscious, “AAAAAGHGHG!! HOLY FUCK! FUCK!! HOW DO YOU EVEN COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT DISTURBING!?! FUCK FUCK FUCK I HATE YOU SO MUCH!” But, at this point, I’ve basically gotten used to it. The human brain is an amazingly adaptive thing. I was made of dust-mites for a little while this morning. I really hate that one because I know that, in reality, certain parts of me (such as my eyelashes) actually are infested with dust-mites and that makes it harder to shake the fear-fantasy.

Infestation.

Something clicked for me a couple of weeks ago. I had driven to Folsom Street Coffee to have a coffeeshop work-date with myself. I don’t know why I picked Folsom Street. I never go there. But, for some reason, that’s where autopilot had delivered me. I was sitting in the parking lot, listening to the radio because I hate to turn the radio off in the middle of a song, and I found myself staring out the window at this leafless weatherstripped bush full of all these fuzzy, wiggly, twittery birds. Occasionally, a bird would fly away, or one would come back and land, and the whole bush would shake a little with the rest of the birds twittering and wiggling. And I was just sitting there staring, unable to take my eyes away, feeling the same gut-level revulsion that I do when I think about beehive trees or a wall full of termites, not understanding why I was having this reaction. I mean, I like birds. Birds aren’t bugs. What’s wrong with m- OH!

Infestation.

The bush was infested with cute fuzzy birds.

One of the reasons I got hooked on Twitter so quickly after years of resistance is that I discovered it’s a way for me to quickly record thoughts as I’m having them, no matter where I am, and without feeling like I’m spamming 800 Facebook friends who mostly want to see photos of Antarctica or just know when my birthday is. I pulled out my phone in the parking lot and here’s what I told the Internet:

<WANDERINGPIRATE> Lightbulb: OH! Infestation!! THAT’s what’s at the root of my swarm-squick/panic attacks. Because what I value most is integrity and what I fear most is that I don’t have it. Infestation is the exact opposite of integrity but appears the same from the outside. The panic isn’t because bugs are gross or something. It’s because INFESTATION is terrifying.

<WANDERINGPIRATE> I’m afraid I’m *infested* with my mother’s abusiveness w/o realizing it, and that I’m going to hurt people I love because of it.

<WANDERINGPIRATE> That’s it. Damn. It’s so simple it’s almost stupid. Wow. Okay. #mybrain

<WANDERINGPIRATE> (This psychonautical epiphany brought to you from the Folsom Street Coffee parkinglot where, I just realized, I haven’t been in over a year til now, cuz the last time I was here I had one of the hugest panic attacks of my life. Huh. Thanks, subconscious.)

And then I leaned out of the car and threw up.

It’s hard for me to keep telling myself that “I’m fine” and “I’m making it all up” and probably “just because I want attention” when my body has uncontrolled physical reactions like that. I still do, of course. I’m great at telling myself stories, especially about how “okay” I am and, simultaneously, about how “crazy” I am for thinking I’m crazy. (Because that makes sense…)

Anyway. I feel like I’m meandering off topic. What was the topic again? Oh yeah. That I just needed to talk. About how nervous I am about therapy this evening. And about why it’s important to do it anyway. Because I’m sick of just managing this. Although, to be fair, even being able to manage it — to be able to take deep breaths and fumble for the lights and go back to the gym even if I can’t yet go back to the pool — feels like a huge positive step.

It also helps to write about it. In fact, that’s the thing that’s helped most in my life. Just being able to say what I’m seeing outloud. It sometimes puts me in mind of an interview I once read with Stephen King; I won’t Google it right now, because I’m running late for work, but in it he said something about how…basically, he has to write horror stories because it’s the only way to get the things that are haunting him out of his head. I get that. If only there were a market for stories about girls who go to the library to study and get consumed when their comfy reading chair turns into a mass of writhing maggots. I mean…there probably is. But I don’t want to go there. Ugh.

Instead, I’ll just occasionally fill my blog with creepy images and thank my readers for their willingness to be grossed out with me. By holding a little bit of my fear in your hands, you’re helping me to be okay.

March 18, 2012

I’m scared. But at least I’m not scared by myself.

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:40 pm

Blog. Hi, Blog. I’m sad tonight. I don’t really have a good reason to be sad. I’m just sad. Writing helps me out with that sometimes.

I’ve been crying a lot this week. It feels like productive crying, the kind that means I’m working through something somatically that I don’t have words for. I try not to do too much storytelling when that happens. It’s too easy to map some kind of narrative onto my emotional discomfort as a way to try and make it easier to deal with — since I’m way better at solving problems with my brain than I am with my body — but that way lies dangerous misapprehensions about what’s going on for me, especially when they get translated into conversations with other people about what’s going on for me.

I finally read the rest of Steffi’s letter today. I’d read half of it over breakfast a couple of weeks ago, but then hadn’t really had a moment to myself to finish it until this afternoon. It was wonderful, of course. Her letters always have this great balance of visceral descriptive detail and reflexive subjectively-situated analysis, and she just has killer voice. Part of me wants to publish everything she writes me on the Internet so that other people can appreciate the awesome (which is an idea that she and I have played with) and part of me wants to keep them all to myself and read them over and over again when civilization is getting me down.

Here’s an excerpt from this recent one that really made me smile:

“…The whole “cool” aspect of traveling. I hate that shit. I meet kids all the time who it feels like don’t think I’m cool enough ’cause I don’t smoke pot or haven’t been traveling for long enough or some stupid bullshit. It’s like, if we’re going to reject so many things about society and live on the streets and shit, can’t we FINALLY reject the fucking idea of “cool”?

Apparently not. I keep thinking I will eventually find some sort of group of people who don’t give a fuck about being cool but I should probably just give up on that. I’m sure, to be fair, that I care about it too.”

Meanwhile, Lafe and I are on IM chatting about the best way to navigate quitting our respective jobs. He’s drunk. And keeps saying lovely things about the twisted logic of capitalism.

Lafe: i’ve been really stressed
but i’m so glad
that this is happening
i feel like i’m about to wake up
from this long awful dream of employment and school

Which has been quite cheering, actually. Huh. Maybe I’m not sad right now because something is wrong with my brain. Maybe I’m sad because something is wrong with the world.

Standing in my kitchen earlier today, trying to figure out how to make sense of the available leftovers in the fridge enough to feed myself, I found myself thinking this: People who are close to me have been making concerned noises, but people with a less vested interest in well-being keep telling me how much “lighter” I look, emotionally, since the beginning of the year. It’s true. I feel lighter, too. And I’ve made some pretty drastic changes in my life to get there; cutting off contact with my mom, quitting my job, investing a huge amount of time and money into physical self-care, getting involved with political work that’s meaningful to me but bound to make me some unfriends. And it feels good. But it feels like a lot. As I stand looking over the edge of this cliff I’m about to jump off, a voice in my head can’t help asking, “Is it too much, too fast? Am I going to crash?”

Here’s another excerpt from Steffi’s letter:

“I’ve been thinking about you a lot. About what it would be like to take you traveling, the way I’ve been traveling. I get to experience so many beautiful things but I’m also hungry most of the time and, recently at least, cold a whole lot and I only shower about every two weeks and I’m having to learn to deal with the fact that a lot of people treat you like shit if they can tell you’re ‘homeless’. […] But the place is beautiful. Last night I watched the full moon rise over the mountains in the pure, beautiful silence. I guess I’m kinda just exhausted by traveling, life, people, whatever. Being cold all the time sure does take a lot out of you.”

True. But being sad all the time does, too.

March 16, 2012

This One’s for the Invisible Girl

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 9:24 pm

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago. I drafted it right after KinkForAll Denver, in the midst of a heated argument about ethics that was going on between several people who had (un)organized and/or participated in the event. And then I never posted it. Partly because I didn’t have time to edit it before life got in the way – and partly because I got cold feet. I share things here about my personal psychosexual experience that I’ve never been brave enough to say aloud before and, at the same time, I make some pretty contentious political points and explicitly ally myself with someone who a lot of people distrust. Doing both of these things simultaneously on the Internet puts me in a pretty vulnerable position.

I thought maybe I just wouldn’t post it. “It felt important to speak my truth when I wrote it, but I don’t want to stir up any more trouble,” I told myself. “That was exhausting and I just want to be done with it. I’m sick of being attacked.” But today, I had coffee with someone who had been at KFADEN. She’s someone I met only briefly at the event and who I’d never had a conversation with until today. She was at KFADEN for only a short time and participated quietly; I never would have noticed her if a mutual friend hadn’t suggested we get in touch. I’m really glad we did.

But our conversation also reminded me that I’m not the only person trying to navigate the emotional tangles of being an abuse survivor with a BDSM-oriented sexuality and living in an oppression culture. Hearing the personal stories of others who share this experience has helped me so much to feel like I’m not alone, like I’m not fundamentally fucked up or broken beyond repair. And, at the same time, there are lots of people like me who aren’t in a place to be able to share their stories – publicly or otherwise. I can’t know what’s going on for them. I do know that, if I share mine, that makes more space for others to breathe. I feel a responsibility to be as out as it’s safe for me to be. Not just for other people. For me. So I don’t feel like this story lives only in my head. So I don’t feel like I’m hiding it, and hiding inside it, all the time.

But that’s scary. Posting this is scary. I’m afraid that people I love are going to read it and be grossed out or turned off or tell me I’m crazy – or worse, that they’ll feel hurt or judged, or guilty about hurting me. And I’m afraid that people who have a political agenda that involves shaming me or my allies are going to use my vulnerabilities as ammo for another attack. I might be able to pre-empt the second one by stripping the post of a lot of its political content, but then it wouldn’t actually be my truth – because my emotional experience is always-and-already in conversation with my awareness of myself as a political being, and that matters; and I think it’s true for almost everybody who’s in a similar position. It wouldn’t make sense out of context. And putting it in context makes me a target.

But I have to post it anyway. For the invisible girl in the corner. Because the invisible girl in the corner is me.

(It’s also about five pages long, so I’ll put it behind a cut:)

BDSM: Why it’s important to the Revolution and how we’re doing it wrong

(more…)

On Dyad Fetishism: A Parallel Between Metamour Relationships and Body-Policing

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:04 pm

My life has been consumed by metamour relationships lately, both in theory and in practice.

This is partly due to lots of conversations I had with maymay in preparation for his Atlanta Poly Weekend 2012 Keynote: “From Triads to Triadic Relationships: Polyamory’s superpower is not what you think“. Partly, it’s due to spending a lot of time with a recent crush, and the associated kaleidoscope of emotional and logistical work involved in getting to know the important people in that person’s life, and introducing them to the important people in my own life. (Poly folks have a buzzword for the beginning stage of a romantic/sexual relationship – NRE – but we don’t have a word for the often equally emotionally-consuming beginnings of new metamour relationships; why not?) And it’s also because I just think a lot about metamour relationships all the time, both in theory and in practice; it’s kind of my schtick.

A lot of my thoughts lately have been about how metamour relationships exist structurally within the overall context of how we’re taught to do relationships in our culture. Here’s one of my recent musings, culled from a private e-mail and edited for public consumption:

On Dyad Fetishism: A Parallel Between Metamour Relationships and Body-Policing

There’s a parallel between the way we approach the “metamour” relationship and the issues (as we’ve discussed before) around the policing of “deviant” bodies. To wit: As a fat person, society tells me that I can be desired in only one of two ways:

1. In spite of my deviant body: “Doing me a favor“.
2. Because of my deviant body: Fetishism.

Obviously, both of these experiences of desire feel gross.

There is, however, another possible, pleasant, and far too rare experience for “deviantly bodied” (e.g. fat, trans, disabled, etc.) folks: Someone appreciates and is attracted to my body as something about me, rather than being attracted to me because or in spite of my body.

In body-policing culture, this third experience is illegible. Even when it does happen, it’s most often perceived by outsiders — and, often, by the people involved in the relationship itself — as one of the first two instead.

How does this parallel metamour relationships? Metamour relationships – understood as connection (of any kind) between two people who share a partner – are a deviant relationship. It’s a relationship that we’re told by dyadist culture ought not to exist and that nobody is supposed to want. To the degree that, 9 times out of 10 in our culture, when a “metamour” relationship does crop up e.g. when the partners of someone who is “cheating” potentially become aware of each other, the first impulse of everyone involved — including and perhaps especially the person in the middle of the vee — is to destroy the metamour relationship (and sometimes the metamour themselves.)

There are, of course, a number of situations — not all in the context of poly community — in which this destruction doesn’t succeed; situations when the “metamours” in question are forced to have or actually DESIRE a relationship of some kind with each other, for whatever reason.

But when and if that happens, because my metamour and I desire a deviant relationship, we’re left with two possible readings:

1. We want a relationship in spite of the fact that we’re fucking the same person: “Putting up with it.”

2. We want a relationship just BECAUSE we’re fucking the same person: Dyad fetishism.

Again, obviously, both these relationship experiences feel a little gross. They feel strained and obligatory. They’re both unsustainably dependent on or complicated by the continued existence of some other relationship(s) – with all the mistrust, insecurity, and ulterior motives, or just general uneasiness of feeling like you’re being used as a means to an end that can entail.

Making metamour relationships ALL ABOUT being metamours is a form of policing (fetishism). Trying to make them NOT AT ALL about being metamours is also a form of policing (erasure). And we’re told that those are the only two ways it’s possible for us to relate to each other. That, no matter what potentials exist for connection between us, our relationship with each other must be primarily about our shared partner and our respective relationships with that person; our metamour relationship is nothing but (at worst) a threat to or (at best) a support structure for our romantic/sexual dyads.

But, again, there’s a third option: We want to have a relationship to each other, and our shared relationship with someone else is part of what’s valuable about that relationship, but not the reason for it. (This is a cleaner articulation of my description of “triangulation” as “wanting to talk to the only other queer kid at the party, but not because you just want to talk to them about queerness”.)

This third situation, in my experience, feels great. And can also exist in different measures based on the specifics of the metamour relationship. For example, my relationship with Stoney — the boy Steffi’s traveling with — has almost none of this. He’s a nice enough guy. They seem to get along. I’m glad she’s got someone to sleep next to on the road. And he and I have very little in common. I probably won’t care if I happen to never see him again. He exists to me, mostly, as someone who it’s worth having a connection with simply because he’s connected to someone I love. (So, maybe there’s a bit of fetishism there. Not much, since “having a connection with” in this case simply means, “am Facebook friends with and he can sleep on my couch any time he’s in town.”)

At the other end of the spectrum is Elaan: The fact that we’re both planning to build a life with August is a big part of our relationship. But equally big are the fact that her Buddhist practice and my social justice consciousness inform each others’ work, that we’re really great roommates, that I care about being a part of her kid’s life, that we support each other through our respective shit with our moms, etc. In fact, the reason Elaan and I have made a point of going through “couples” counseling together over the past year is partly to ensure that, insofar as we’re both partnered with August, we want to be able to navigate our relationships with him as well as possible — but also and more importantly, because we want to make sure that our respective relationships with August don’t fuck up our relationship with each other – including if one or both of were to stop being partners with August some day.

Of course, this sort of relationship is illegible. Many people simply read Elaan and I as partners because they don’t have a framework for understanding a metamour relationship like ours. Mainstream culture, even mainstream poly culture, doesn’t give us any models that allow us to understand this kind of intentionality and commitment in a non-sexual, non-romantic relationship — especially not one that triangulates through another person.

Due to that same lack of models, Elaan and I have sometimes read our own relationship as “partners” too. Which has lead to a whole lotta trouble in the past. But that’s a story for another time…

What have I been doing all this time?

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:42 am

One of the scariest things about quitting my job is that I keep telling myself that I’m not good for anything else. (Man, just more and more parallels between capitalism and abuse, y’know?) That I’ve been totally ruined working at only this one place the last ten years; it’s the only “real job” I’ve ever had and no other employer will ever want me.

Except, of course, that’s not true. It’s not even true that I’ve only done this for the past ten years. I’ve done this on and off for the past ten years, interspersed with all kinds of other stuff. So, just to prove to myself that analyzing ethnographic data about science and math education isn’t the only thing I’m capable of doing, here’s a list (in roughly chronological order) of every way I can think of that I’ve earned money in my life:

Starting with…
– Paid babysitting gigs from age 11 through college
– Building hiking trails for the Boulder County Youth Corps
– Waitstaff at a retirement home. “Sanka or Regular?”
– Retail mall job at The Rave selling shoddy, shiny clothes to teenage girls
– Transcribing sociological interviews for my Deviance in Society professor
– All manner of things at E&ER including transcription, quality control, coding, data analysis, interviewing, lit review, project planning, academic papers; I even wrote an entry for an encyclopedia.
– Cleaning houses in Boulder
– Scrubbing toilets and other janitorial delights at McMurdo
– Winterover General Assistant-ing at the McMurdo Heavyshop, which mostly involved moving a lot of 55gal drums of oil, grease and glycol around, shoveling snow, taking out trash, sweeping up after mechanics, and listening to infinite books-on-tape on headphones I really wasn’t supposed to be wearing around the equipment
– Cashiering at Burger Bar
– Freelance transcribing tapes about charter school governance and finance
– Being a MySpace spambot for a “nationally renowned” banjo instructor
– Two seasons in USAP Supply, doling out heavy equipment parts and driving a forklift named Elvis
– Bartending Day Bar at Southern Exposure
– Accepting money from my family with all the strings that are attached to that
– There are probably a few odd jobs in there I’m forgetting
– I’ve also done some light construction, building brick walls and such, but I didn’t get paid for that
– And I’ve done a ton of other organizing, event planning, and project management “work” that I also don’t get paid for

So, um, there.

Noted: The reason that my research job gets classed in my head as “the only real job I’ve ever had” isn’t because it’s the job where I’ve, say, worked the hardest, clocked the most hours, made the most money, or felt the best about what I was doing. It’s simply because it’s the only white-collar job I’ve ever had. And that’s some bullshit.

March 13, 2012

The Internet is a Never-Ending Confessional

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:10 pm

Alright. First thing’s first: I’m going to start blogging again. I don’t know what’s going to show up in this entry. But I feel like I’m stuck in a psychological loop and I need to move. Writing does that.

I quit my job. Y’all probably already know about that. I haven’t exactly quit quit, yet. I’m in the process of quitting. I probably don’t need to explain why. I’ve had a tortured relationship with it for a while. It’s just time to move on.

I’m scared about money. Not that scared. Probably not as scared as I should be. I was never really raised to actually worry about money, just to feel immensely confused by and guilty about it all the time, and to be terrible at dealing with it because I don’t know how to think about it like a responsible person and it’s probably some man’s job to handle it for me anyway. Intersections between binary sexism and upper middle-class privilege, yay!

So, I’m giving up my steady source of income in a bad economy while paying rent and ridiculous energy bills on a house in central Boulder, and I’m carrying a bunch of credit card debt, and I’m bad with managing money and simultaneously very good at throwing money at problems that I don’t feel capable of dealing with in a more resourceful way. I’m either going to have to learn how get my shit together or drown. This should be fun.

Full disclosure: I also have access to some money that my grandparents put away for me to go to school on. I’m going to tap it, mostly so that I can continue to afford therapy, because I had a long conversation with myself in which I decided that it’s legitimate to spend my family’s money to try and recover from ways that growing up in my family fucked me up. It is an incredible ridiculous OTT privilege that I’m able to do this. I am pretty good at not getting mired in self-flagellatory privilege-guilt, but I feel WHOA way huge guilty about this. I am choosing to do it anyway, because taking the best care I’m able of my mental health is important to me and to the people who love me. I’m probably gonna keep feeling guilty about it for a while, though. And I’ve actually been putting it off and putting it off because I feel guilty about it, which has gotten me further and further into debt that I’m now paying interest on.

So, that’s stupid.

I’m gonna go deal with that right now, in fact.

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