Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Few of My Favorite Reactions

Publishing the book has elicited some fun and unexpected reactions. Early on, it was texts from friends who were reading it – the people who kept me apprised of how far they were and, in some cases, what made them need to retreat to their bunks. Once, I knew a friend had started it when they simply texted me with the word, “pluperfect.” Clearly they’d been impressed with the usage – meanwhile, I knew I had only used it because of a line in the movie Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (a personal favorite). Knowing how much the female lead was based on me, another friend texted to ask, “do you really have a baseball ball gag?”

Yes, yes, I do.

More recently, I had what can only be described as the most surreal moment of being a published author. It’s still a strange feeling to have people want me to sign the paperbacks at all. I understand it and I don’t mind it – but it still feels odd to be in this position. At a recent event, I had stationed myself near an exit to the hotel, a place where the event had placed volunteers to make sure people going out and coming in were with our event. I was selling books and chocolate, and a woman who had bought the book not only asked me to sign it, but was one of the volunteers, and sat not five feet from me reading it. She seemed engrossed and made sure to let me know that but – wow.

Most recently, I was at a party when a woman started asking me about the book. She is currently dating an ex of mine and we’ve rarely ever spoken, so I wasn’t entirely sure how to react to this sudden attention. Finally, she said she had read the book and enjoyed it so we talked about it a bit, including why I think it’s different than most erotica. She walked away a few minutes later and that’s when it hit me.

There’s a very brief scene where I am not nice to this particular ex. He’s the only person directly referenced who is done so in a negative way. Had she noticed? Had she mentioned it to him? It’s entirely possible that she didn’t even think about it – as another friend noted, we see what we want to see and often ignore what’s right in front of us. And, honestly, I don’t care. I considered changing the scene before publishing. I thought of all the ways it could be altered and finally decided I was comfortable with what I had written. Further, I was under no illusion that it would never get back to him. Of course this was a possibility.

Still, that’s some funny shit. And I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when she got to that part.

I’m sure the fun is far from over. At least I hope it is. I’ve been admittedly lax in the marketing department and need to get over that in order to get the book out there more. And as it does, there are sure to be more interesting moments. Let the adventures continue!


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Scratching the Surface

When news broke about the shooting in Charleston last week, I’ll admit that my first reaction was to dismiss it as just another mass murder. I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened over the past 10-15 years, and I’m a bit ashamed of how numb I’ve become to them. Further, the news came on the heels of the sudden death of a member of one of my kink communities. Although I hadn’t known him well, I am close with people who did, and I was quite fond of him. So it was a little difficult to divert my focus to a group of people I’d never even met.

As details about Charleston emerged, however, it was quickly clear that this wasn’t just another mass shooting. This felt personal. I have too many friends – people I consider family – who are people of color. And in the wake of the shooting, some of the reactions to it angered me almost as much as the event itself.

“What is the black community doing to prevent such a tragedy from happening again?” Why is it up to them to keep people from killing them? Isn’t that like asking a rape survivor what they were wearing when it happened?

“I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.” Thanks Governor Haley. Nice to know where your priorities are.

“But we really kind of fixed all that (South Carolina’s image problem) when you elected the first Indian-American female governor,” Nikki Haley said. “When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message.” Yep, really fixed that whole racism problem there didn’t you?

This week, Haley is calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag that flies over the state. Amazon, Ebay, and even Wal-Mart have removed the flag from the shelves. These are good things, an excellent start, but they are just that. A start.

To me, it feels like a Band-Aid, a way of covering up the past and pretending it doesn’t exist. My fear is that the leaders of these companies will point to this move and say, “Look, we fixed it. We fixed racism” when nothing could be further from the truth.

The history of the flag is too complex to discuss here in detail. Not only am I not knowledgeable enough to do so, but for me, the flag isn’t the point. The flag is a symbol, an object. Nobody in Charleston died last week because of that flag. They were killed because one man thought he could further divide the races. Those with similar attitudes won’t change just because they can no longer buy their flag at Wal-Mart.

It’s going to take more effort than that. It’s going to take real discussions about race. It’s going to take facing what is imbedded into so many of us and dealing with the difficult truths. It’s going to take time. Lots of time.

Many of us are taking that time now, are looking at race in ways that we might not have before. Again, it’s a good start. But will we still be willing to have those conversations after the headlines fade? After Roof is in jail? After it’s no longer fashionable?

When Eliot Rodger killed several women last year and his motives were linked to the Mens Rights movement, dialogues were started about misogyny and feminism and I was proud. But for many, those too have gone by the wayside. It’s time to continue these conversations and not relegate them to a mere 15 minutes of fame.

It’s time to effect real change.

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Went out of town – again – for a geeky event this past weekend. Another city, another hotel. This time, it was a  jeans and t-shirt sort of thing though. But as I got ready to shower Saturday morning, I caught my reflection in the mirror and realized for the first time in awhile that…I actually liked what I saw. I even got a picture of it.

I’m not fishing for compliments here, honest. This is just my thought process. Because I was also trying on clothes last week and that’s never easy, even when you find stuff you like. Not everything is in my size, not everything fits the way I thought it would, or looks as good as I want it to, etc. It’s demoralizing. Every time. It’s like I forget I’m fat until I get in the dressing room and then I’m painfully reminded. “Oh that’s right…I’m much cuter in my head than in reality…”

But you know what, fuck that shit. I like my curves, dammit. I’m actually proportional with an hourglass shape. The voices in my head can suck it.

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Loving the Sinner

In reference to Caitlyn Jenner, a friend of a friend posted a Facebook comment this week with the quote “Love the sinner, hate the sin” as if it were a biblical quote. I had issues with this but, not wanting to clutter my friend’s feed or start a war with someone she cares about, I decided to make my reaction a post of my own. As I went over my own history with this particular philosophy, along with some recent conversations though, I realized that my attitude toward this phrase is more complicated than I first thought.

In case you haven’t been following along, or are new, I used to be one of those people who was quite fond of the above phrase. It made me feel all open-minded and accepting. Eventually, I came to be ashamed of that part of my life. Regardless of the intent, and I do believe the intent is overall a positive one, that phrase is still judgmental. It’s still assuming that this aspect of a person is sinful and that you know what is right and wrong better than they do.

As a former Christian, however, I can argue both sides. Christians will tell you that loving the sinner means we all deserve love and to be loved. We are all sinners and fallen short of the glory of God, blah, blah, blah.

So why do I only ever see this phrase thrown in the direction of LGBT people? I don’t remember ever seeing it mentioned in relation to, say, Charles Manson or Josh Duggar. Or even Bill Clinton. No one says we need to love the Boston Marathon bomber in spite of his transgression. And God forbid anyone suggest we love people of other religions, especially Muslims. But as soon as someone comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, certain religious people just have to trumpet out the “we love you anyway” line.

No, no, no. That’s not the way it works. You don’t get to love someone and hate something so fundamental about them, something they have no more control over than the color of their skin. You don’t get to have an opinion on their gender, their sex life, their identity, how they see themselves, how they express themselves, or anything else. That’s why it’s their life, not yours. Don’t like it and it’s a big enough stumbling block that you feel the need to tell them you love them but hate their sin? Then don’t be friends with them. Trust me, no one wants to be merely tolerated. Love us for who we are or don’t bother.

Okay, with a deep breath, I’m stepping down from the soap box

Because you know what? Even non-Christians, people not using the “hate the sin, love the sinner” line do a version of this every day, all the time.

In college, I had a friend who let me know that everyone had annoyed him at some point. He could name exactly one person who had never once annoyed him. I thought that was horrible and immediately wondered what I had done to annoy him. I’m still not sure. It doesn’t matter because it was probably little stuff. Over time, I have realized that my own attitude towards others, even those I am closest to, is not so different. I don’t love everything about everyone I love. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect or infallible. It means that the good stuff outweighs the bad, that they have proven themselves in some way that makes me want to overlook the stuff I’m less crazy about.

In a more recent conversation after a munch, a friend asked my opinion on someone he had just met. This third party, who I’ll call F, is a bit loud, a bit of a know-it-all who has to make sure you know how connected he is to the kink community all over the country. He’s not a bad person and my impression of him has changed for the better with time, but I still need to take him in small doses only. My friend, H, stated that they didn’t completely buy all of F’s story and it was difficult to disagree. I’m not sure I do either.

And then H said something that hit very hard, something to the effect of, “But I’m rarely 100% with anyone.” His point was that we all present ourselves the way we want to be seen. None of us are 100% completely honest. It doesn’t mean we go around spreading lies about ourselves, but we do express ourselves through our own filters and our own perspectives. Recognizing that, and putting words to it, was huge for me.

What I took away is that we don’t have to agree with every little thing about a person in order to like them, love them, or care about them. We can have our differences and our disagreements and that’s okay. We can recognize the flaws and…

Wait, maybe the difference here is that I don’t necessarily see our differences as flaws. I see the people I love as imperfect just as I am imperfect, and I am not judging their imperfections. They’re wonderful and fabulous and beautiful *because* of their imperfections, not in spite of them. I don’t hate our differences. I love our differences. I embrace them. And what I see as flaws, someone else may see as a perfection. It’s not my place to name those things.

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Learning From Others

You know an event is enlightening when it generates at least three different blog posts.

Anyway, Saturday morning, I ended up in a conversation with one of the presenters. I’d met her before, followed her comments online, and always found her to be incredibly pleasant, down-to-earth, and all-around enjoyable. This was no exception. She and her husband often let people be in service to them for weekends while they are at this type of event, a practice which I find fascinating. At its best, this can be mutually beneficial, allowing the submissive to get some experience with serving and allowing the presenters to focus on presenting. At its worst, well, you get a person who stays on their cell phone all weekend lest their friends out of state worry about them. As a result, they’ve worked limited cell phone use into their agreements, and discuss the lessons they’ve learned during their classes. “Learn from us so you don’t make the same mistakes,” she said.

If only it were that easy. As one of those people who often needs to make my own mistakes because, “my situation is different” or “I can make it work for me,” I am happy to report that, this time, I am actually listening to the universe and attempting to dodge a bullet.

Sunday morning, I got to talking with someone who was working security near me. After a brief yet amusing misunderstanding regarding who we had in common, we went on to other subjects, including her recent breakup with said person.  She didn’t go into a lot of detail, but it was still quite fresh for her and she was processing heavily.

It is important to note here that this person we have in common is someone I’ve played with myself, and someone I’ve wanted to pursue in other ways as well. We’ve even – very briefly – talked about how we could see each other more often as we live a couple of hours apart. But as I considered this ex’s words, and the few words I’ve seen online from another ex this year, I find myself rethinking any kind of relationship with this person at all.

My first thought was – well, we could still play occasionally when we’re together. That’s been fun, and it doesn’t have to lead to anything else. After all, I have one of those exes myself – I’ve specifically told people that he is a good top but not a good person to get involved with further. It’s my way of being objective and non-bitter sounding because other people are surely going to have different experiences with him than I did.

In this case, however, that sounds almost disingenuous, and I’d be afraid of leading him on, because I’m sure he would be interested in more too. So the question now is what to do with all this information? I’m not ready to say, “I don’t like what I’ve heard from your exes” though I may be someday. For now, I’m going to let things go on as they have. I’m unlikely to suddenly have a bunch of free time to travel to his city when there are a bunch of things keeping me here. I think he’s simply going to be moved to that column of people I’m wary of, who I wish were better than they are.

I’m at once saddened by this and more than a little relieved. For once, I’m not learning my lesson the hard way.

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Not As Impressed As I Used To Be

When you first enter the kink community, or probably any community for that matter, there are people who seem larger than life. Often the leaders or presenters, they can seem infallible and it is easy to put them on some sort of pedestal.

It is equally as easy for them to fall off that pedestal.

This past weekend, I was reminded why one such couple has fallen off that pedestal for me. There have been various reasons over the years, but rarely have I been able to put my finger on such specific events. Keep in mind that none of this makes either of them bad people, nor do I hate either of them. They are simply on the list of people I am now guarded around as opposed to enthusiastically friendly towards.

The husband of this team, who I’ll call A, was the staff photographer. He took several pictures of me Friday night and a couple more early on Saturday. But for Saturday evening’s activities, I changed both dress and shoes and looked especially awesome. Okay, maybe it was just that my boobs were on display more than they had been the rest of the day. Still, I looked pretty terrific.

He pulled aside me and another woman who also looked fabulous and took a few pictures of the two of us in a place specifically designated for taking pictures. Most of the rest of the attendees were in listening to a speaker while she and I were milling around what we needed to. It was lovely and I enjoyed it. But when we were done, he hung back toward me and asked, “Did your boobs look this good when you were dating T?”

Seriously? That’s what you have to say to me at this point? First of all, T was my first boyfriend in the community and we broke up many years ago. Why is he even relevant here at all? Or maybe he’d rather not remember that he and his wife and I actually have partners in common, people who came after T. Whatever the case, I let it go and told him that, if anything, I had gained weight and they had gotten bigger. He accepted that. Then he noted that he hadn’t seen me much in recent years because I don’t get to his part of the state for events anymore. “Is everything alright?” he asked.

Like I would tell you? I wondered. Out loud, I told him I was fine. He followed by saying, “Just doing your own thing?” I told him I was and the conversation was over.

By doing my own thing, I mean that I’ve been extremely involved in my own community, started a business, and written a book. Things he seems to have completely overlooked and/or disregarded. Because boobs apparently. Also, my theory is that none of that has benefited him directly. Whatever.

At some point Saturday, his wife, who I’ll call T, walked by my table and pointed toward my book. “I’m going to send him over later with money. I LOVE that you’re actually part of our community!” I responded with equal enthusiasm and thought maybe, just maybe, they could be of help in promoting the book. After all, they could have been an excellent resource if that enthusiasm had been genuine. When I left Sunday, however, I wasn’t at all surprised that they never had come back for one.

And I don’t care. This is the sort of small-scale hypocrisy I’ve come to expect from both of them.

I have friends who still think the world of these two. I have no problem with that because, clearly, our experiences have been different. I think I wrote this to remind myself that I’m not making it up. My reasons are no longer a vague uneasiness. But they are also personal to me.


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This Weekend Did Not Go As Planned

And that may be a good thing.

See, I had this unattainable ideal of what this past weekend would look like for me. I was going to go all in for cigarette girl roleplay. I was going to walk around all day, each day with my little box proclaiming my inventory of cocksuckers, boobs, and reading matter. And then I was going to do a reading and sell all my books, and it would all be fabulous.

Or come crashing down and be horrible. My fear, of course, was for the latter scenario.

But neither of those happened, and it was still an awesome weekend because I adapted to my surroundings and my abilities, and still put myself out there in ways I never had before. Sure I started out walking around, talking to a few people, and making them laugh. That was great, but it was also tiring. My feet hurt quickly, I somehow managed to forget how heavy both my book and chocolate are, and I couldn’t display everything as well as I wanted to. Further, as activities for the weekend got going, there were fewer and fewer people in the social area.

As it was a bit late to change my approach that night, I decided to close up early and start over fresh on Saturday. And what a difference! I found a table near the back of the social area, chatted with people, especially enjoyed those who had volunteered as security, and even got to work on some writing.

Both Friday and Saturday night at the casino, I made myself approach people. As a vendor at such cons, I am used to taking a passive role and allowing people to come to me. This time, I went to them, people I didn’t know, and hoped for the best. And the world didn’t end. Even when they didn’t buy anything, they laughed along and appreciated the effort. What more could I ask for?

The reading itself was…awkward at best. And a lot of that was on me. I thought the lunchtime slot would work because I assumed people would get food and come back for it. When one of the MAsT groups set up a hotdog stand, I thought this would be particularly helpful. It wasn’t. Too many people went out of the hotel altogether. Being my first time, it was also a little slow going at first – I wasn’t sure how much to say, what to do, etc. But you know, I learned some things for next time. Assuming there will be a next time (I’m looking at you SMART!), it will be better because I will have done it. And that was most of the point, to put myself out there and make myself face this specific fear.

The book is going to be a slow build. I’m resigned to that and there’s nothing wrong with that. So the fact that I sold a few, including to people in other parts of the country, means a lot. Maybe it’s just the start I need. I even figured out better ways to sum up what it’s about and that’s huge for me. Two months ago, I couldn’t have done that. Even days before this event I was struggling with how to describe it.

Finally, I was dressed up the entire weekend. I didn’t even take jeans with me, knowing that if I did, it would be too tempting to simply slip back into my usual routine. Instead, I wanted to show off and I did. This took me as far out of my comfort zone as anything else. I didn’t shrink back when the event photographer came around. Instead, I posed proudly. After all, I’d put some effort into looking good and there was going to be proof, dammit!

I think this last part is something that’s going to continue here at home for a while. I’m going through an unusually feminine phase and now have dresses that I find both super cute and easy to wear that aren’t overtly sexy. That is, I can wear them in public without worrying about offending the neighbors or anyone else.

And now, this introvert is tired. Tired but proud. I did it. I made this weekend my own, pushed some personal limits, and am ready for more. Just not right away.

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When Relatives Become Family

In the middle of a convention full of self-identified vampires, energy workers, and others with varying levels of involvement in the occult, paranormal, or metaphysical realms, a not-unexpected voice called out to me. Months after discovering we had a surprising friend in common, I’d wondered whether she and her husband would be in attendance. And if they were, what would I say?

“I didn’t think anyone else in the family was this cool,” I told her. She was a second cousin, daughter of my grandma’s sister. And she looked just like her mother. Which meant there were traces of grandma in her too. The cognitive disconnect in me must have been palpable.

“Your grandmother was cooler than you think,” she replied. Grandma may have been a nice Baptist lady, but I also knew that she had held some old-world type superstitions. Still, I wasn’t quite prepared for what came next. “She and my mother used to sit in the basement with a Ouija Board,” she continued. “Mom used to read her tarot cards.”

Um, what? I had to be hearing things. Only I wasn’t. We chatted for several minutes before finally leaving the room and finding her husband. On the way, we ran into some kinky friends who brought up my chocolate business and then rattled off the name of a local kink event. My cousin never batted an eyelash. Later, someone else brought up the same event. “Please stop saying that!” I wanted to yell. But if I didn’t bring undue attention to it, maybe she wouldn’t either. I let it go.

And then Saturday morning, I attended a class led by a friend. I walked in with my cousin’s husband, T, and found another friend coming in at the same time. Somewhat oddly, we all decided to sit in the front row. I forget the exact exchange but T must have said something akin to jokingly giving my friend permission to sit up front. “Yes Sir,” my friend said. “Any other orders today Sir?”

Oh god. I wanted to crawl away and disappear. But T just laughed. How cool were these newfound relatives of mine anyway?

I would never find out. At least not that weekend. We’ve friended each other on Facebook and they’re all over the statuses of friends as well as my own. But it’s still a terribly odd thing. This is a part of my world that I’ve done my utmost to keep from my relatives. And here they are invading. Only it’s okay.  Wonderful as it is, I’m still getting used to it. How do I tell my mother that I ran into these two? Where do I say we were?

Maybe it doesn’t matter yet. I’m going to focus on enjoying this for now.

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