Other than the writing I’ve just posted (which I actually wrote last night, and put first on Fetlife), I’ve not updated this blog for several months.
The latter part of 2013 was… hard. Very hard. My fainting fit at my first weekend with the Ranger turned out to be seizures. I have Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder, it turns out: probably kicked off by stress from the divorce, and the fall-out from all of the abuse (both by my family, and by the Warrior). Then I spent much of the autumn very mentally ill indeed, and frequently suicidal. The combination of the two have led to a massive flare-up of my ME/CFS, and I’m mostly needing to use my wheelchair when out and about.
I got through it. I got through it, and spring is here. I’m still living with the Magician, and we have Exciting Life Plans. And I’m still in a relationship with the Ranger — indeed, we count the beginning of our relationship from March 17th, so it’s our anniversary in a few days. Both my relationships are a constant source of joy and strength.
The Warrior and I are now divorced. We’re on oddly quite good terms, especially having had a nice chat at a social event a few weeks ago. We still have some paperwork to sort out. I’m managing to hold in my head that odd twisty thing where I like him and wish him very well, but still have a lot of work to do to heal from his emotional, financial and sexual abuse of me. Brains are funny, people are complex. So the world goes. 😉
My body has changed a little more. Illness has aged me in the past year, and the inevitable lack of exercise from the ME flare-up has led to my putting on some more weight. I’ve been suffering from sporadic problems with emotional over-eating. I’m mostly not too happy about this, but accepting it, especially recalling that it’s likely to be temporary. I finally noticed in the autumn that with the extra weight and just the shape-changing of aging, I am no longer a small-breasted person! I was fitted for bras a few weeks ago, and it turns out that I’m roughly a 34DD. I now have three excellent bras (a plain white sports bra, a gorgeous black plunge bra, a super-sexy black-and-red lacy thing), and also a binder, and so enjoy the wonders of, essentially, optional breasts. As a polygendered person? Really not hating that.
I’m having physiotherapy to sort out some of my joint problems and trouble with walking. I’m getting a little more toned from the physio exercises, and I am noticing yet again that despite everything I actually put on muscle very quickly. I’m managing to lift weights more often, and am starting to get some biceps. Also not hating that.
Sex and kink are hard to do much of when very ill, but I’ve had some glorious times over the last few months for all that, especially with the Ranger. The Magician’s becoming more confident in identifying as “grey-ace”, or simply as asexual, and we have started to find more ways of finding the spaces where our kinks converge and creating beautiful things there. Here is where poly comes into its own, of course, because I am, it turns out, when free from abusive relationships, really an intensely sexual as well as kinky person. The Magician creating art on me and then spanking me and photographing me is both a memory that will stay with me for a while, and an event that we both hope and intend will happen more often! We’ve discussed him painting my breasts. We’ve talked about the use of clothes pegs on my nipples. I’m wondering how it would feel to have him flog my breasts and then draw on them. I have as a motivation for us both to catch up on laundry, to have him choose my outfit before we go out to social occasions, so that all evening I can feel secretly, decoratively, his.
Meanwhile, the last time the Ranger and I were alone in his house, I ended up tied by my wrists to a bedpost and spanked, hard. Then making myself come at his command, while he made patterns with rope across my chest. Then showering together, stroking each other’s wet skin with increasing fervour. Then being pressed against the cold wall of the shower while he kissed me, hard. Then sinking to my knees below the stream of water, taking him in my mouth. Then back in the bedroom, being soundly fucked on my hands and knees. And swearing comedically after he made me come yet again, him wielding a vibrator on my clit, his eyes holding mine.
I also note that it’s been rather too long since I last dominated the Ranger. And I have some fun ideas for what might happen when next I do. 😉
The difference the past year has made to my confidence and ease with my sexuality and kink-self is extraordinary. I suspect I still have some way to go! But it’s wonderful, to be able to feel that none of the things that have happened to me – not the rapes, nor the abuse, nor the crushing daily impact of the patriarchy – have succeeded in permanently robbing me of my sexual power, nor of my sovereignty and confidence in my body. It took a long time, but I am starting to get my power back.
Life and healing have some hard challenges ahead for me, I know. But after such a distance already travelled, and with two such wonderful partners to help me on my journey? I think I’m going to get there. 🙂
“Would you like to decorate me this evening?”
It’s come up in conversation so often, but the mundanities of life tend to interfere. We’re both disabled, he’s my carer. There are events to organise, jewellery to make, songs to practise, writing to proofread, dinner to cook. Games to play. Admin, and housework, and procrastination.
But today, we both noticed that it isn’t such a hard thing to find, that calm space for a while to find a point where our two kinks – his asexual, aesthetic, cheerfully sadistic, cuddly dominance; my intense, playful, passionate, shyly exhibitionist switchiness – can meet and enjoy each other.
And, he’s an artist. And I’m having body confidence trouble. No brainer, really.
So, after dinner, it comes up again. The bed hurriedly cleared of the trappings of a bed-ridden day. The fan heater moved into the bedroom. I wash my face, brush and tie back my hair. He brings through his pencil case. The subject of outfit comes up, and it is generally decided that my wearing clothes would not in any way add to the setting. 😉
For all my eagerness, it takes me a while to get comfortable, and I shift position a few times rather abruptly, trying to find a place where my abdomen doesn’t hurt, where I can breathe easily, where my hands aren’t getting tingly, where the ache of my breasts pressing into the duvet is pleasant rather than distracting.
His hands are warm, reassuring. On my bottom, on my shoulder, on my side. The pen is deliciously scratchy on my back. I trace the pattern of the trunk, the branches, the curlicues in my mind. I know and love his style so well. We share an obsession with trees.
I expect the moment to come when I slide into subspace; then am surprised to notice I am already there. I am naturally such a fidgety person; the necessity of stillness, of feeling him close and quiet and intent upon me, leaves me soft, relaxed, his. I know he could give me a command and obeying would happen automatically, instinctively. But there is just this: the silence, the scratch of the pen, his breath warm upon my lower back, my breath deep and luxuriating into my pillow. I feel myself turn into a canvas. A page for him to pour his work on to.
My mind is busy yet, of course. A restless inner monologue, at odds with my body’s stillness. I, inevitably, write bits of this essay in my head. But over and above it all, the peace of the deep water. Of knowing that I’m here, and his.
He finishes the tree. The grand initial S at its roots could stand for many things. One of them is “slave”.
There are photos, cuddling, scratching. I bury my head in his neck, nibble his ear. Ask if he might like to spank me.
Then another pattern, green, on my leg. Almost too ticklish to bear, but weight is firm on my other leg, and I hold myself still with an effort. Sliding further down.
The first swat from the little leather strap against my left cheek is shocking, and I yelp despite myself. Six of those, twelve from the beautiful soft flogger that he made to fit his hand. More from the strap. More from his hand, heavy and merciless and wonderful. I count and thank him for each one. Thirty-six in all. The strap is hell with each stroke, glorious pleasure in the afterglow. I know I’ve done well.
More photos, then we lie together, the pen drying in the warmth from the heater. He praises me. I surface. We check in. Exchange words of love, of thanks, of reassurance.
The endorphins will take a while yet to fade. The pen still longer – perhaps tomorrow’s bath will wipe it away, perhaps not. We will both watch for the fading lines, grin at the memories. Agree on the general desirability of him decorating me a little more often.
Tonight, I wear his marks.
Tonight, I am a canvas.
The wonderful Pandora Blake is again having to put up with people assuming that as a pornographer and spanking porn start, she is either being exploited, exploiting others, or both.
It’s frustrating because a lot of this rubbish is coming from people who are in most respects feminists, and in fact who take this line as what they see as a feminist position. Pandora’s written a really super post about her thoughts on this, which I highly recommend.
Naturally, a lot of porn *is* anti-feminist, and misogynist, and feeds into patriarchy. But feminist porn is not just possible, but exists and is on the increase. Pandora makes some of the best – as I’m currently in a position to judge, having recently purchased temporary membership of Dreams of Spanking. 🙂
For me to want to watch it, porn needs to be made by feminists, it needs to have women involved in the production end of things as well as starring, it needs to value the contribution of people of all genders (i.e., paying the men!), it needs to be made for more than just a cis, hetero, male gaze, it needs to feature a reasonable variety of body types. And if it’s kink, I want to get my switch on – one of the things I love about Dreams of Spanking is that it has any number of combinations of tops and bottoms, and the majority of the performers are switches who aren’t just interested in playing one role with one gender. As a queer switch, it is totally up my street.
It needs to be made with absolute respect for the performers, respecting their boundaries absolutely, creating a fun working atmosphere
Above all, it needs to be made by people who genuinely love what they are doing, and aren’t just faking that enjoyment.
Dreams of Spanking is very explicit about offering all of that, including lots of behind the scenes footage so it’s really clear exactly how much fun is being had, even (especially?) when shooting dark and edgy material.
Plus it has the advantage that I find most of the performers at least reasonably attractive, and some I darn right lust after. (Though I will happily watch films on there with no actors I particularly fancy in it – I can still find the plots fun and entertaining and the ideas sexy and inspiring me to Useful Thoughts for my own sex/kink life, and the performances deeply appealing, and the bodies of the performers decorative and pleasing to behold even if they do nothing for me sexually. Which I think is another sign of very good porn!)
I’d like to share part of a comment I made to Pandora’s blog post, because a lot of all this is resonating with things I’m thinking of myself:
One thing I am taking in pleasure in learning as part of my recovery and healing process from various forms of abuse and sexual violence, is not just that I love BDSM, and being a switch (this I have known for a while!), but also that a degree of selective exhibitionism is an important part of my sexuality, and an important part of *me*. At the moment it’s confined to sharing some photos on Fetlife, but I am finding just that a genuinely healing and affirming experience. And, yeah, have definitely been having a few Thoughts about other places I might, cautiously, be wanting to take that.
My kink, my exhibitionism, finding my authentic sexuality – all of this feels like reclaiming my body, my sexuality, my soul, for *me*. Mostly, because it *is*. Also, it’s hot. 🙂
And, speaking not just as a survivor but also as a feminist: the concept of porn of the kind that you make being oppressive is, frankly, laughable. And it’s deeply frustrating that fair trade, feminist porn made by people who utterly love what you are doing is still getting lumped in by outdated concepts of what most porn is now.
The images of women I see every time I’m on the tube and happen to look at the adverts tend to make me feel rubbish about my body, my sexuality and my status as a more-or-less-female-presenting person. What you make and share emphatically does not.
So, yay for feminist porn, and yay for the infinite variety of human sexuality! And yay for feminism that includes and listens to sex workers rather than rendering them invisible and refusing to hear their voices and experience and intelligence. Because feminism that *doesn’t* include sex workers, isn’t a feminism worthy of the name.
This post, and the article I link to, carry a heavy trigger warning for disablist hatred, for sexual abuse, and for suicide.
I’ve been deeply touched by this excellent post, on feminist blog The F Word, about disablist hatred, and in particular the horrible myth that disabled lives are not worth living; that we would be “better off dead” (and might even have a duty to be so).
The article speaks for itself, and I agree with it strongly. I do in fact strongly support the right of anyone who wants to die, to do so. But the ease with which as a society we accept (especially physically) disabled people being suicidal, compared to any other demographic, terrifies me. People should be allowed to die – but they should be given every possible opportunity to live, and live well, so that it is a true choice. What leads, I believe, to a lot of people becoming suicidal after becoming disabled, is not the impairment itself – it is living in a disablist society, it is suddenly losing abled privilege, it is the lack of financial, emotional, social and other support for disabled people. It is having grown up in a culture in which, “I’d rather be dead than unable to do [X]” is considered a totally reasonable and rational opinion to have. For someone to rationally choose to die is one thing. For someone to see no other way out because society encourages them to believe they are better off dead is not merely a tragedy; it is an atrocity.
I have been told, by someone who was supposed to be my best friend at the time, that unless my ME could be cured in short order, I would be better off dead. This happened well over a decade ago. It still hurts. It still makes me angry. And every time someone in the media reels out the “better off dead” line, every time someone talks about “mercy killing” in a sympathetic tone, with no respect for the sovereignty of the people murdered, I get furious, not to mention very, very scared indeed.
To belong to a demographic that means someone would like to kill me is bad enough. As a queer person, as someone on the trans* spectrum. Hell, just as someone who isn’t a het, cis man – I know this applies to me.
To belong to not one, but two demographics that mean that some people would not only like to kill me, but would regard doing so as an act of kindness… that fills me with a horror and distress and panic that I cannot fully articulate. All I can say is: not having experienced that visceral terror, not ever having had that hateful pity directed at you or others like you, is a fairly major part of abled privilege.
I say two demographics: along with disabled people of all ages and elderly people with dementia, the other group of people I have heard the “better off dead” line used against is survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
It’s generally directed more at those who suffered rape and other serious physical sexual abuse as a child, rather than the comparatively minor (though still traumatising) psychological ickyness that I experienced. Another reason why I do count myself as exceedingly lucky.
But it still hurts. We still live in a society in which the concept of someone being “damaged goods” is a real thing in some people’s heads, especially when the “goods” are children. And it’s really, really hard not to internalise at times.
When I have suicidal thoughts, they mostly start with a combination of that, and my disabilities.
The line goes: between my childhood, my marriage and my disabilities, I am utterly and irretrievably broken, and can never live a real, worthwhile or happy life. I would be doing myself and others an immense favour if I ceased to exist.
So far, every time those thoughts have arisen, I have overcome them.
And after I scared myself rather a lot two days ago, I made a promise to both the Magician and the Ranger: to keep being here, to keep living. To not take my own life. To always get help whenever I feel like this, from them, or others.
I tend to avoid making promises these days. For any number of reasons, not least the fact that I’m a Quaker! But this promise seemed an important – and helpful – one to make, and I don’t for an instance regret making it.
And tonight, I feel bullish and angry. I’m angry at anyone who’s ever expressed the “better off dead” opinion. I’m angry that someone like Colin Brewer could be elected to a political position in my country. I’m angry that disabled lives are considered lesser than abled lives, that paid work is considered the only measure of contribution to society, that benefits are considered “wasted”. That propaganda used in some sections of the media today is horrifyingly close to some of that used to justify Action T4.
That abled people underestimate themselves so much that they really believe that even with the right support they would not be able to lead a full or happy or beautiful life if they were disabled.
There is no respect in which I would be better off dead than in my life as it is. I am disabled, and I am currently unable to work, and I am a survivor of rape, child abuse and relationship abuse. I have agoraphobia and monophobia and ME and possible Fibromyalgia, and I have anxiety and depression, and I have Ulcerative Colitis and a deformed neck, and, it now turns out, allergic asthma. I get flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, and I tend to disassociate when receiving cunnilingus.
And my continued existence is fucking glorious, a shout of victory that laughs in the face of all defeats, a prayer offered up in breath and sweat and dirt and blood to the Gods. The trees dance when I walk past them, the sea sings to me, and the mountains know my name.
And here and now I resolve that never again is anyone going to get to tell me different.
Me, just now, to the Magician: “So, should I be worried that I’m pining a bit now for the Ranger? Does it mean that I’m not going to be able to make the long distance relationship work?”
The Magician, grinning: “No, not at *all*.”
Me, also grinning: “Are you pining a bit for [person] now?”
The Magician: “Maaaybe a little bit. 🙂 “
It was a glorious weekend. It started rather stressfully – we learned only on Wednesday that we were having a flat inspection on the Friday, specifically during the first three hours of the Ranger’s visit, and well after the Magician would have left for *his* date weekend, with one of his other partners.
Cue frantic tidying and cleaning, all made more difficult by the fact that the Magician and I are both disabled! We had a lot of help from a couple of friends, and vast amount of moral support from several others. And by the time the Magician left, the flat looked really rather nice.
The Ranger was comfortably on time. And the flat inspector was right at the end of her window, which meant 2 1/2 – 3 hours of sitting on the sofa waiting for her to arrive, cuddling and chatting and in a state of some desperation because we had been waiting for so long to be alone together…
She arrived, it was pretty painless. And then she left.
And then the Ranger and I were, finally, alone together in an empty flat, with no one scheduled to arrive and disturb us… 🙂
I have so many glorious memories of the weekend, it’s hard to keep them in any sort of order, so I shan’t try.
I gave him his first spanking. And he gave me the first spanking he had given anyone. He is… a quick learner.
I left marks on his skin. He left them on mine. My nipples are still a little tender from his teeth. I suspect he still has that bite on his thigh.
We switched a great deal, sometimes with an almost dizzying speed. Sometimes with a few hours between, because there’s a limit to how fast either of us can switch when sunk quite that hard in subspace. 😉
I remember those beautiful eyes of his pinning me to the bed. The quiet, calm, hypnotic intensity of his dom-voice. His hand locking in my hair and pulling tight. The love, the care, the delicately raised eyebrow. He was merciless and sadistic and joyful, and he had me feeling utterly helpless and entirely safe and cherished.
I remember those same eyes, wide and overwhelmed. Gazing helplessly into mine. I remember him shaking. I remember the feel of his skin beneath my hand. His long, slender, glorious beauty. The way his bottom blushed *adorably* beneath my hairbrush. The way in which he drank up pleasure and pain. The sound of him gasping, and crying out.
The way in which he calls me, “sir”. He has a beautiful voice, with a slight west country accent, especially when his guard is down. Between how happy it makes my gender, and the slight, gorgeous burr he put on the word… *happy*.
It was like, and unlike, the fantasies we’ve been exchanging. Physical and mental health and other realities intervened. Twice, I had flashbacks – both times he was wonderful, giving me space or cherishing as I needed it. Once, I actually passed out (I was awfully dehydrated, looking back!). He looked after me wonderfully.
And of course, bondage tape wouldn’t tear properly, and things were dropped, and there were socks, all of the other down-to-earth things that involve real bodies and real time, especially with me being dyspraxic. 😉 And, it was all good! We were patient, and loving with each other, and laughed when things went amusingly wrong. I loved the IMs, but reality was just so much… *more*.
Plus of course we did various other wonderful things that had nothing to do with sex or kink. 😉 We read Shakespeare in bed together! We went to the theatre! We made each other lovely food! And we talked and talked and talked. We took awfully good care of each other. And a few times I got to lie on my back and hold him curled up against me with his head on my chest, which was more precious than I can easily describe.
I am even more deeply in love with him than I was before the weekend, and I am beyond delighted that I get to see him again in just over 10 days. 🙂
I miss him, inevitably. Really rather a lot. I am pining a bit. But mostly, I just feel incredibly blessed. In the Magician and the Ranger, I really do have two quite ridiculously wonderful, brilliant, kind, delightful, beautiful and generally amazing, partners.
I am very, very lucky. 🙂
And… and, yeah. I had a sexually/kinkily active weekend. My sexual/kink power is a real thing now, and I get to use it. And to not be totally thrown when my PTSD flares up. This is kind of amazing and wonderful, and *yay*. 🙂
It is sometimes galling exactly how ingrained the abused!person thought processes are. Including the ones that date from my childhood.
Over the last few days, I’ve done some fairly assertive things. I’ve been a bit awkward and spoken my truth about being genderqueer in a religion that can sometimes be obnoxiously binary-orientated. I’ve expressed opinions about all sorts of things in all sorts of places.
And I’ve brought to a close a friendship that had long since ceased to function as one. With someone who used to be one of my best friends, but whose behaviour towards me became gradually more dismissive, more patronising, more unpleasant. Someone who regarded herself quite openly as very much superior to me, especially morally – for being mono, for being het, for being a Christian, for being not as disabled as I am. Who praised herself for “not judging me” for my lifestyle, and “not minding” about my disability. Who regarded herself as a much, much better person than any of my friends. Who refused to acknowledge that she wasn’t my only devout Christian friend. Who showed off about what a wonderful aunt she was about to become, an hour or two after I had told her that my brother had cut off communication between me and his children because I am poly. Who borrowed my things, sometimes without asking, and sometimes lost them. Who ganged up with the Warrior against me, and generally brought out the worst in him. Who demanded constant ego-boosting, but when asked tentatively to say something nice about me, could only remark that I have lots of super friends, and was good about introducing them to her. Who showed off, repeatedly, about how much more everyone liked her than me. Who crushed me with her pity, and laughed at anything about me she didn’t understand – which was an awful lot. And so on – that’s not an exhaustive list.
I had nothing approximating to enough confidence to pick her up on any of her behaviour at the time. But as I started to realise that every time I saw her I ended up feeling about two inches high – and no wonder, in retrospect – I began to just let the friendship slide. I didn’t reply to her messages, got her off the phone as quickly as I could (not least because I generally hate being phoned, which I had repeatedly told her, but she insisted on doing it anyway).
Last week, I after she left a message on my voicemail saying she wanted to revive our friendship, I sent her a message saying I didn’t want to. That I wished her very well, but I felt that we’d drifted apart, and the friendship wasn’t healthy for me.
I had a passive aggressive response back, but no indication that she’d try to contact me again. Though her implication in the message that she “didn’t judge” me, unlike many of my “other friends and acquaintances”, got under my skin more than I’d like.
And then, a day later, a mutual sort-of friend posted another passive aggressive thing on Facebook, saying that “discarding people isn’t nice” – and making it clear in the comments what he was talking about.
It’s hard. It’s hard, because I was trained from a very young age to be passive and accommodating. To never, *ever* assert myself . And to be pathetically grateful for any crumbs of friendship anyone might deign to bestow upon me. Even if they were stale, or tasted bad. Even if they were poisoned. Because if I wasn’t, then no one would ever want to be my friend again.
It’s easy to see rationally that this was abuse-talk. It’s easy to see rationally that the people who know me best, love me best, and care about me best, all like me being assertive and confident and caring about myself. All support, absolutely, my right to express my opinions, to speak my truth, and to choose where to give my time, energy and love. They *like* the newer, happier Fool. And these are people who aren’t just wonderful to me – these are people with, consistently, better judgement and greater wisdom in all areas of their life, than those who prefer the old Fool, ground down and bowed under and willing to flow wherever a path was cut for me.
Unfortunately, as we all know, knowing something rationally and believing it deep down are very, very different things.
I am getting there. My self-esteem is far better than it used to be. But the old neural pathways are still there in my brain, and when feeling stressed or tired or threatened (or all three), it’s far easier to follow them than to break free of them.
And today, I’m at a horribly low ebb. Low on confidence, very, very low on self-esteem. Convinced that most people are judging me harshly, and wishing that I was the old Fool again. Finding it hard to resist the confirmation bias that means that anyone not actively saying in, ooh, the last couple of hours that they like me, clearly doesn’t. It’s ridiculous, and I know it’s ridiculous. But it’s also very, very hard not to just go along with.
The Magician is being wonderful, as is the Ranger. And as are several of my close friends.
I will get through this, and be more confident again – I have before.
It’s just… a bit frustrating, and a bit scary, and a lot sad. I’m thirty-four. I fervently hope that there will come a day when I will no longer default to abused!person thinking. Hopefully before I am very much older…
I follow what one might describe as a twin spiritual/sacred/religious path. I am a Druid (or at least, I take part in Druid ceremonies, and follow Druidry), and I am a Quaker (or at least, I Attend at some Meetings, and follow Quakerism).
This is a combination which has surprised a fair few people, but makes complete sense to me. Both are paths that emphasise love, social justice, care for the world. Both are paths that allow – indeed, encourage – you to find wisdom from a variety of sources, not just the paths themselves.
Quaker Pagans of various kinds, and Christian Druids of various kinds, have been around for a while.
I would describe myself as a Christian-influenced Pagan. I am fond of the Christianity I grew up with – liberal, devout (and there’s a combination that far too many people see as non-existent…), passionately committed to making the world a better place. I do not regard myself as a Christian now, though I do have a huge soft spot for Jesus, and for Mary. The Sermon on the Mount remains a source of inspiration, and a challenge. I can talk religion with Christian friends, and we understand each other. But I have other loyalties, to other Gods.
There’s a post I’ll make at some point about being a Quaker – and indeed a pacifist – but also being kinky. It’s telling, I think, that there is a “kinky Quakers” community on Fetlife! 🙂
What’s been filling my mind and soul over the last few days, is the challenge of being a queer, genderqueer Pagan – a challenge that is particularly fraught at Beltaine.
The conventional teaching of several Pagan paths, is that Beltaine is the sacred marriage of the God and Goddess. The fertility rite that leads, eventually, to the birth of the new year, of the new God. It celebrates a polarity of masculine and feminine, a sexual relation that is sacredly heterosexual.
It pisses the *fuck* out of me.
I’m genderqueer. Asked how to define my gender, I’d say something along the lines of “both/neither/handwave”. A compulsory, binary opposition of masculine and feminine energy makes my heart hurt. And it’s not simply that I unite those forces within me, or any such rubbish. My genders are legion. My understanding of the Divine transcends gender by a billion light years. My love for Brighid and for Mars Protector is overwhelming, is important, and the genders we humans have given those Names are, to me, about the least important thing about them.
An understand of Beltaine, and of spirituality in general, that makes compulsory an elevation of one kind of understanding of gender and sexuality, of dividing the world into a male and a female principle who then unite with each other… it excludes so many of us. Genderqueer people. Gay people. Asexual and many greysexual people. Many bi people. Intersex people. Trans people, especially when the emphasis is so strongly on the cock and the womb. People who are mostly-cis but don’t identify strongly with their assigned gender. And when the emphasis is on fertility, it also excludes many heterosexual single people, all childless people (including many trans people again), infertile people, childfree people…
In other words, in total, most of us.
My gender is an incredibly important part of me. I cannot throw it off, or pretend it does not matter. At the same time, the following of the Wheel of the Year, as modern Druidry understands it, is likewise hugely important to me.
I do not in any way resent those for whom this binary gender opposition *is* important, is sacred, is part of their path, and their understanding of Beltaine. That’s fair enough, and if it is truth for you, dear reader, then all power to you!
But it is not truth for me. It does not, as Quakers would put it, “speak to my condition”. And when I’ve been in pagan spaces where it has appeared to be the only way of doing things, I have felt profoundly uncomfortable and excluded. It has triggered massive gender dysphoria. It has made me feel as though I have to be dishonest to myself in order to worship the Gods – which is precisely the opposite of what I feel a religious path should be about.
Several things have helped me and my brain since I started getting more thoughtful about all this, last Thursday/Friday.
One of which is this: an sheer, overwhelming sense that my genderqueerness, my defying and transcending the binary in my own life, is of the Gods, and is part of Their plan for me. The Gods made me, formed me, grew me like this. My awakening to my own gender and my awakening to a religious path that suits me, have happened in parallel. I know that I belong in Druidry. I also know that the more open and confident I am in being neither male nor female (or both, or handwave 🙂 ), the more close I will and can come to the Gods.
And then, there was Saturday just gone. The Beltaine ritual for the small but wonderful Druid grove I belong to.
There were only four of us able to make it – myself, the Magician (who is also a Quaker Druid 🙂 ), and two others.
One, was the wonderful man who was organising and running the ceremony. I will give him the pseudonym Bear. 🙂
We were passing around a talking stick at a pub before we walked out into the woods. Talking about where we were in our lives, and what we wanted from a Beltaine ritual.
And I started ranting about all this. Started talking about all the questions it threw up, and how I didn’t know the answers, but that I knew I needed to be present in the moment, and asking those questions.
And the next person to speak was Bear. And he, as I had rather hoped, agreed with me fervently. He is a gay man, who has been the only gay person at weekend Beltaine gatherings. With the women going off into one space, and the men going off into another, and then all of these heterosexual people (with perhaps a few het-leaning bi people among them) came together, and there was this glorious frisson of sexual tension. The men decorated a maypole, the women dug a hole…
And… and what does that say, to a gay man? Where was the honouring of the sacred, of the God(dess) within him?
He sympathised absolutely with the challenges Beltaine presented to me as a genderqueer person.
And then, he gave me, not answers in a prescriptive sense, but the answers he had found that helped him.
That Beltaine *isn’t* about fertility – or at least, far from just about fertility. That the Victorians called it so, because they were embarrassed about what it’s actually about. Sex. Pleasure. Passion.
It’s a fire festival. It’s the beginning of Summer, the welcoming in of our active, passionate, creative, Summer selves. For those for whom some cosmic, heterosexual, fertile gender binary offers a way into that, fair enough. But it does not have to be that way, and those of us who cannot, or will not “do” Beltaine as part of that, are not “doing” Beltaine any less well than those who can and will.
I shan’t go into too many details of the ceremony that followed – that’s bad form, and would feel wrong in any case. But Bear led a meditation that awakened the four of us to passion, to Summer. To our sexual selves. It was beautiful, and it was wonderful, and it was exactly what I needed. And it’s given me some ideas for solo work I can do, to help me tune myself into that part of myself, in *my* way. Those who have been following my blog for a while will know how precious a thing this is to me. I am working on reclaiming my sexual self from an abusive childhood, being raped when very drunk at age 19, and a marriage that included sexual abuse and other kinds of rape.
Finding a spiritual practise to help me awaken to my sexual self, without having to misgender myself in the process, is… incredible. Truly, incredible. 🙂
Bear wondered to me whether bringing a challenge to the gender and sexuality conformities within Druidry is part of what we’re both called to do. He may well be right, though he is so very much wiser and well-informed than I am, I hesitate to do more than follow in his footsteps! But, well. I am a singer, I’m aiming to be a Bard and songwriter. Possibly this is something I can bring to the table, if not now, then maybe at some later point. 🙂
And in the meantime, I feel that my thinking and praying and receiving wisdom from Bear – and affirmation and support from the Magician, who is also somewhat genderqueer, as well as being queer and greysexual – over the past few days, has helped me tremendously. The Gods want me to celebrate and affirm my genderqueerness. The Gods want me to be able to celebrate and rejoice in Beltaine, and all the Wheel of the Year. I feel that little bit closer to being the person I, and they want to be.
And all just in time for my first date weekend with the Ranger, which starts in a little under four days’ time. 😉
Thanks be to the Gods; Blessed Be. 🙂
It is a mark of the enormous trust I have for the Magician that I can submit to him, and I honestly did not expect that I would ever want to, let alone feel able to, submit to anyone else.
The Ranger and I are still a little under three weeks away from our first date, but it’s very clear already that we both passionately want him to dominate me. Our chats have been getting, if anything, steamier, more desperate, and around 50% of them have involved him dominating me. Including one last night that I am still joyfully reeling from. 🙂
And the other 50% involve me dominating him, and that’s where things get interesting. Because, thanks to the Magician, I already have some healthy, positive, *exceedingly hot* experiences as a sub. Yes, it takes a level of trust that I never truly thought I’d find with anyone other than the Magician. But it is a part of me that I have already started to become comfortable with. A part of me I understand. A way of inhabiting kink space that I find healing and helpful, as well as fantastically hot. Finding that I love submitting to the Ranger as well as the Magician was a surprise and a pleasure for us both, but in retrospect, it makes total sense.
But my own experiences prior to this as a dom, other than a couple of ill-advised chats several years ago with a Bad News person, have all involved the Warrior. Not good. Not good at all. When I first started writing this blog, I was genuinely of the opinion that I might never enjoy dominating anyone again – I was beginning to wonder if I’d been mistaken in believing myself as a switch. I had a few toppy feelings towards the Magician (he really does have a gloriously spankable bottom 🙂 ), but obviously never acted on them. But no really *dominant* feelings, and all far less powerful than my submissive feelings towards him.
I have learned to associate dominating, with being cajoled, pressurised, into doing something for someone whose submission to me was never about *me*, and never came with genuine respect. With using that control as a means of keeping myself safe, not to truly enjoy it. And the very thought of engaging as a dom in the kind of intense mind-fucks that the Magician and I enjoy, repelled me in the extreme – because the only sub I thought I’d ever have was the Warrior, and over the last few years especially, I just didn’t want to get our brains that close to each other.
Dominating someone is, if done right, at least as much of an exercise of trust in them as submitting to them. This I knew – but, in the midst of what my relationship with the Warrior had become, and how he treated me – I never joined the dots. Never realised that my absolute, and warranted, lack of trust in him, was part of the problem here…
So, that gives some context to what follows.
Which is, that dominating the Ranger is something I am finding both ferociously hot, and utterly safe and lovely. That winning his trust, giving him wonderful experiences, having him entirely at my mercy and loving what I’m doing to him, is intoxicating and glorious and makes me boggle at myself for ever thinking that I might not be a switch.
And there is added power in it, because before he and I started our chatting and shared fantasies, he believed he was entirely a dom. That he can and does joyfully submit to me, that I’ve helped him discover and explore this side of him, is one of the greatest honours I can imagine. Every time I look at his fetlife profile, and see that he now describes himself as a switch, when before he did not, I find myself smiling. I laugh about it sometimes – claim to be smug, wonder whether there’s a switch equivalent of the toaster that members of the Bisexual Recruitment Army get. 😉 But actually, most of what I feel is awe, and gratitude, and responsibility, and protectiveness, and love. I treasure it, and I treasure him.
So far, we’ve only shared fantasies, and snatched moments of privacy last weekend. But I’ve given him his first taste of subspace. I’ve come very close to hypnotising him, with just a look and a few words. I’ve made him shake, and made him gasp, and made him swear. I’ve drawn intense, automatic obedience from him. I’ve rendered him speechless, and also sent him to a place where he’s described his submissive feelings with such a beautiful, touching eloquence that, re-reading it, it almost made me cry.
I’ve found aspects of dominance within myself that I didn’t know I had. And I know the kind of dom that I am, and want to be: ruthless, calm, sadistic – but also caring, affectionate, nurturing. Full of praise for pain well taken, obedience well given. Full of encouragement, full of forgiveness. And absolutely in control.
I’ve learned from the best – shamelessly borrowing from some aspects of the Magician’s domming style, and also a little from what I’ve seen of the Ranger’s own style as a dom. But most of all, I’ve found those places in my brain that buzz delightfully at taking a strong, powerful, brilliant, beautiful, wonderful man, and having him give me that power. At playing with it, and with him. And then returning it to him, stronger, I hope, than ever. I’ve found those places in my brain, and I’ve mixed them with just the person that I am, and I like what comes of that.
I pray that I never quite get over how magical this all is, nor ever take it for granted.
I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am truly, genuinely pretty happy with my sexual and kink-self. I’ve still got ways to go, but the background level is that of comfort, of safety, of self-respect, of content. And, even though my mental health is very poor just now, and I’m feeling broken and weak in many ways, the new strength that feeling at ease with myself sexually for the first time is bringing me, is giving me firm and powerful hopes for how very, very well I am eventually going to be.
And in the meantime, just… *wow*. Being a switch is the best. And the Magician and the Ranger are wonderful. I am awfully lucky. 🙂
For the second time since getting involved with the Ranger, last night I dreamed that the Warrior was putting pressure on me to have sex with him again.
His argument was simple: you are doing this, this and this with the Ranger. Therefore you should be doing things with me, too. I was miserable, but a large part of me was all, “oh, well, since you put it like that…”.
The Magician was strangely absent from the dream, which fortunately did not get a lot further before I was woken by the alarm.
The first time I had a dream like this, it spun me, and left me feeling dreadful. This morning, while I am a little haunted by it, mostly I’m just relieved. I’ve woken up in a world where I don’t ever, *ever* have to let the Warrior touch me, ever again. And if he tries to touch me (in any capacity) without my consent, or tries to pressure me into touching him, then the wrath of a fair number of close friends, which is so far being held in check largely at my request, is likely to descend on him in a pretty bloody impressive way.
I may choose to hug him or shake his hand when I next see him. I don’t have to. I may choose to let him see me naked again (given that we both attend an annual weekend-long gathering at which there is a sauna). Again I don’t have to. It’ll be my choice, entirely. And if I do let him see me naked, it will be with the slightly petty but entirely justified satisfaction of knowing that he will be seeing something he is never, *ever* going to touch, ever again. That my bare skin is for others now, not him. And that I am no longer tied by marriage, by guilt, by being worn down, into feeling responsible in any way for his sexual needs, or his desire for me. I owe him nothing (beyond the decency and respect that I hope to manage towards all), and he has no one to blame for this but himself.
No one, ever, is going to guilt-trip, cajole, whine or otherwise pressure me into sex again. And every time my subconscious disturbs me with my fear of the Warrior getting to do that, I will have the joy of waking into a world where this is not the case.
And, besides. I highly doubt he even fancies me any more, and as far as I’m aware, he and his girlfriend are intending to be entirely exclusive. Which is fine, and their choice, and clearly what she wanted from him all along. And they’re bloody well welcome to each other. 🙂
My body, my sexuality – they are for me. But also, they are wonderful, powerful things that I get to share with people of my choosing. People who value me. People who understand consent. People who love me. People who make me tremble with desire. And in the Magician and the Ranger, I know I have chosen exceedingly well. 🙂
All at sea, or, how I’m going to start building up a NSFW supplies collection ethically and with no money…
I don’t, actually, know whether I currently own any sex or kink equipment.
The Warrior and I collectively had really quite a lot, mostly purchased years and years ago.
He used lots of it with his now-only-partner without checking with me first (meh 😦 ), and I have no idea whether in moving the things he wants to his new place, he left anything for me.
Most of it, I’m not sure whether I’d want now. Too many bad associations, and lots of the stuff wasn’t actually that good. (Pathetic little flogger from Ann Summers that did little other than leave bits of cheap suede everywhere, vicious metal handcuffs that are too uncomfortable for me to be much interested in experiencing them now, either on top or bottom. And so on. We were young, and unaware that there were better things out there.)
But I am rather hoping that when I next go to the house we used to live in, and sort out/collect some more of my stuff, he has at least left my cock behind. :-S It’s a gorgeous purple strap-on with purple velvet harness. It’s *beautiful*. And I found it very helpful indeed at a time when I was feeling particularly gender dysphoric. And it’s mine. Dammit. Not his. And definitely, *definitely* not hers.
We’ll see. If they really have taken it with them, it’s not like I’ll want it back. In time, eventually, I will acquire another one…
And in the meantime, I am thinking that I am going to have to – and certainly want to! – gradually build up a collection of sex and kink Things that I really like.
With the Magician, I do have some very delightful objects. Between us we have: his heavy paddle brush, the gorgeous cane (which scares me, for all the right reasons…), the beautiful flogger he made for himself (complete with epoxy-resin handle moulded to his hand…), the strips of theatre blackout curtain for bondage purposes. And of course, my collar and chain-leash. But those are either his, or things that are very much only for use with him. I rather like the idea of building up a collection – partly of things that I consider as mine to use with whomever I like, partly of more things for use with the Magician, and partly, I hope, of things for particular use with the Ranger. 🙂
The Magician might well be up for making me a flogger of my own at some point – though he is rather overloaded with other work, and he only sporadically feels up to making things for sex/kink purposes, which is fair enough. 😉
Building up a new collection will take a while. And there are so very many things I want to do with/to the Ranger, and that I’d like him to do with/to me, for which some form of equipment would be advantageous. The most important bits of equipment (mutual respect and love, utterly filthy imaginations, etc.), we definitely have in plentiful supply. 🙂 And I have a reasonably decent hairbrush for spanking purposes, plus one or two items of a vibrating nature… 😉 But other things… yes. I need.
I just went online and purchased some fair trade condoms. I am INCREDIBLY EXCITED at the existence of fair trade condoms. 🙂 I went for the fair-squared ones.
Beyond that, well, frankly, there are three problems:
– I don’t really know which suppliers to start looking at. I’m not that much in the scene – I sort of hover on the edge of it. And it’s a long time since I’ve done much purchasing of these things.
– I really want to purchase ethically-sourced things wherever possible, and annoyingly it looks like this is extra hard to do when buying kinky things. Or possibly it isn’t! I don’t know.
– I can’t actually afford anything other than the condoms at this point. 😉
Nothing I can do about the third of those especially! But if any of you, dear readers, are aware of (UK-based) sources of good-quality, reasonably-priced equipment for tying, spanking, insertion, pinching and other delightful treasures, I am very much open to recommendations. Even if it’s just so that I can start saving up. 🙂
I have been looking at Sh!’s website, and eying up some beautiful black leather, fur-lined handcuffs and wristcuffs, with D-rings. They would look breathtakingly sexy on the Ranger, and possibly pretty good on me. And they also look comfy, which for the most part is a lot of what I look for in bondage equipment. I totally can’t afford them yet. But possibly something to save up for. Is anyone able to comment on whether Sh!’s stuff is decent quality?
Ah well. Acquiring such things can be a medium-long term aim, and the last thing I should do right now is put pressure on myself to be an epically well-supplied kinkster, especially when finances are something of a struggle, and I’m rather short of space! And especially when the Magician can turn me into a helpless, moaning puddle with one hand gripping my hair, and the thumbnail of his other hand digging in hard and slowly across my lower back. Especially when stroking the Ranger on the back of his neck and locking gazes with him seems to produce some *very* interesting effects, and the sound of his whisper telling me one or two of the things he’d like to do to me, had me shivering with want. We have hands, we have tongues, we have teeth, we have eyes, we have minds.
But, yeah. In the long-run? A nice toy collection would also be rather pleasing.
And I am still so ridiculously excited about the fair trade condoms. 😉