And now: a long overdue update

March 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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On exploitation, and the lack thereof, in awesome feminist porn

June 25, 2013 at 10:40 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 yayย  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.ย  Because feminism that *doesn’t* include sex workers, isn’t a feminism worthy of the name.

 

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Ghost pathways

May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

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 themย  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…

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