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Pride Challenge: Day 15

Your favorite LGBT quote

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This one really struck me the first time I saw it.  To me, identifying as queer is important because of the reclaimed aspect of the word – you used this word against the LGBTIA community for so long, now we’re taking it back.  There is power in our language and this quote really goes there for me.

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Enough?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this afternoon as I was driving and they were talking about expanding sexual orientation in relation/response to non-monogamy.  The idea came up about not being queer enough to claim queer.  My first response is to call bullshit on this, but I know that I have internalized a lot of the “not enough” bullshit.

I do not feel “queer/bi enough” because I am currently a Kinsey 2.  I have a female partner who I have sex with, and might be interested in having sex with another female partner, but am otherwise not really interested in pursuing any other women.  In the past a great majority of my relationships have been with male or AMAB people.  Am I queer enough?

I sometimes do not feel “poly enough” because my saturation point is fairly low and in the past I have chosen to only have one partner when I was not mentally stable.  In that particular case I began doubting myself – not my identity, but myself, as being poly is rather central to being me – because I was not sure I would ever fall in love again.  Fortunately, that did not end up being the case.  But that still remains in the back corner of my head (more quiet than not these days).  I am not loud and proud about being poly, but don’t make much effort to keep it any bit of a secret.  Am I poly enough?

I sometimes do not feel “genderqueer/genderfluid/non-binary gendered enough” to claim that identity or to claim being transgender.  I tend to look lazy femme or just tomboyish in my presentation.  My dysphoria only flares up occasionally.  I do not have any issues with how my genitals look or work or the fact that I have visible breasts and other curves that may not be easily disguisable.  I strongly prefer they/them pronouns, but am willing to accept she/her in some contexts.  I am not out about this identity to anyone except friends.  Am I trans/NB enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “mentally ill or neurodivergent enough” to claim those.  My depression is cyclical and my anxiety is, in at least half of cases, controlled enough not to show.  Yes, I have sensory processing issues, but those tend to just come across as being a little weird to most people.  My ADHD is moderately well managed and also just tends to come across as a bit odd or flighty when not.  Am I mentally ill/neurodivergent enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “physically ill” or in pain enough to claim being a spoonie.  But the truth is – I have an autoimmune condition that I will have to take medication for for the rest of my life and does have an effect on my energy levels.  However, that’s under control and my migraines have mostly abated.  My joint pain is getting worse and I’m starting to think it might be something other than the barometric pressure shifts to that pain (the remaining migraines are definitely just that though).  My pain levels do affect my energy levels.  Yes, there are many people who have it worse.  It is hard to remember that my pain is also valid.  Am I physically ill enough to be a spoonie?

Am I enough of a partner for my partners?  The idea that I was defective because I was not the only partner a partner has, that they were looking for someone else because I am not enough never was an issue for me.  Instead it is a matter of other measures.  Am I available enough, physically or mentally?  Am I stable enough (physically and mentally) to be in a relationship with them?  Am I pretty enough to keep their attention?  Am I satisfying enough in bed for them to still want to sleep with me?  Can we build enough of a relationship to weather the years (can I contribute enough to the relationship to this building), if that is indeed something we want?

Am I enough?  To myself I can be, that I know.  And I am very glad that I am at a point in my life where this matters most.  It was not easy getting here and sometimes I slip back into old thoughts.

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November Write 6

I went to a class today…it used up basically all of my emotional bandwidth. In a good way, but that and the joint and migraine pain I’ve had today have left me very drained, so I’m not sure how much of a blog post I can manage today, so I may just delay any significant writing until tomorrow, when I may be able to tackle one of the few things in my head. I’m not quite ready to write about the class yet – I have some processing I’d like to do, both on my own and with at least one other, before I feel ready to take that on. But I did take notes to refer to later, so I will likely be able to reconstruct the day.

For now, I’m signing off until tomorrow. Hugs and loves.

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A few years perspective…

I have never been sure whether poly is an intrinsic thing to me – that I could not ever live well without it – or merely something I have chosen that continues to resonate well for me. I’ve been doing it for about 7 years now (non-monogamy for about 10) and I’m still not sure. At this point I’m not even sure if it matters – I will not go back to being monogamous.

But, for a taste of a different time…

Minx died three years ago, early in the morning on August 4th. I wasn’t seeing anyone other than Tryden at the time.

I spent more than two years out of the dating world. Almost out of the poly world. I spent that time trying to figure out what to do with myself – what do you do when a love of your life dies suddenly? How do you put yourself back together?

I tried by myself for about a year – tried to logic myself out of depression, out of grief. And that was, to a small extent, that worked. But I needed help, so I got a therapist, who gave me the tools to help myself out.

The one thing I couldn’t shake – that I wouldn’t be able to fall in love again, hence I could never truly be polyamorous again. And that crushed me. How could I live without something that had made me feel so whole, so alive? What could I be?

The reassurance that, even if I only ever had one partner for the rest of my life, I would still be poly because that’s how I felt deep inside, was little comfort. I started doubting myself – who am I without this? What happens if/when Tryden decides that he has had too much of my mopey, sad, self-pitying self and decides to leave me? What would I do then?

So, with these questions lingering in my head, I decided that, whether love was going to happen or not, I wanted to spend time with my friends, and actually start to live again. So I put myself back out there, socializing, going to events, meeting new people.

Not long after, I met (and hooked up with) Gray Sky. And not long after that, I found something happening that I didn’t expect – I was falling in love with him. So I told him, he told me back, and for a couple months everything was fine. Then it wasn’t, and we split (well, he broke up with me).

But, if I learned nothing else from that relationship (which isn’t true), then I learned that I could love again. And that was one of the greatest gifts of all.

That break up, broke my heart. As they tend to do. But, after a few months, I decided to put myself back out there again, since that worked so well the last time. I went out to a poly round-up in my area in March, the day before my birthday, to meet people, to socialize – then, when I needed it, there was a place to spend with other introverts, other social exhausted people.

And there I met Diplomat. We spent some significant time talking about politics, life, and Shakespeare. I enjoyed his company, but didn’t think it would pan out to be anything more than fantastic conversation – which was fine.

But…yeah. Not just fantastic conversation, but so much more. And he helped me remember why I chose polyamory, why I chose to love over and over again.

So, I am back. Back where I was more than three years ago, older and wiser. And so much in love – with Tryden, with Diplomat – in a different sense, with Lola – and with polyamory. <83

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Attraction

I was going to write a few days ago on my poly life, but I figured out that I wasn’t quite ready to say anything on that yet, but be assured, it is something I will write about soonish.

This is meant to be part of a two part series on attraction and attractiveness, both written close together because both are in my mind at this point in time.

As a bisexual woman, I find myself attracted in certain ways to both men and women. However, and this is a big part of me, more often to women. Big secret time: about 95% of the time, maybe even more, I do not find men physically attractive when I first meet them. Women I can be physically attracted to from the moment I meet them. With women that physical attraction does not often change–either you are or you aren’t. With men, I find that they grow on me.

I am usually first drawn to women by their looks. I think maybe this is not such a good thing–this is how society conditions people to view and judge women, on their looks first and foremost. I know this is not how I want to be judged by anyone–I’d rather people find me attractive because of my mind than by my looks. However I am starting to think that maybe this is a function of where I usually meet women, which is at bars. One of my friends I was drawn to because of her personality–I met her online and talked to her for a while before I ever met her in person, and the first time I met her it was at a board game night at her house. She is not conventionally attractive, but in my eyes she definitely is because of personality and appearance, in that order.

Men, I am drawn to because of intellect, usually. To get my attention as a guy you definitely have to be able to hold my attention in a conversation, which usually involves talking about something that engages my mind. What happens after a while is that I decide whether what a guy talks about is interesting enough for me to want to talk to him again and then I will give him my number. Looks usually don’t come into the equation until much later. After a while, usually a month or so, though it has been more and less, I start realizing that I am becoming attracted to them physically. However, with my boyfriend things were a little different. I was first drawn to him because of a physical resemblance he bears to someone I was thinking about at the time. Then the rest of the process unfolded.

I have been emboldened by reading Look Both Ways by Jennifer Baumgardner in describing my attractions. The book inspired me to not be afraid of saying that yes, I am attracted to men and women in different ways and for different reasons and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is all a natural (and fluid) part of human variation.

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Things that make me genuinely happy

I’m not talking just happy for a moment, then passing into the rest of the day. These are things that will spread happiness throughout my day and that make me smile for the rest of the week if not for weeks to come.

  • Getting a hug from someone I haven’t seen for a long time, especially if it is the kind of deep hug that lasts for a long time.
  • First times.  For anything–meeting someone, kisses, make-out sessions, sex, orgasms, cooking for someone, getting drunk with someone, feeling comfortable enough to cry in front of someone.  In any kind of relationship there will always be more first times–that idea is just so encouraging.
  • Holding hands.  It’s something so simple, but it makes me so very happy.  Even seeing people hold hands is adorable.
  • The smell of the first rain after a long dry spell–it’s my favorite smell in the whole world and it just puts me in this place of utter serenity.
  • Cooking and baking.  Just being able to see the result of my long labors being enjoyed by someone or some people I obviously care enough about to cook/bake for is something I cherish.
  • Along those same lines, cooking or baking with someone.
  • Going to bed after a long day’s work and falling right asleep.  Nothing like it in the world.
  • Utterly being in a place that feels so comfortable that there’s no good word for it other than home or a could-be home.
  • Meeting new people and just clicking with them–feeling a strong chemistry of some kind.  I have had the pleasure of having this happen at least three times in the last six months.
  • Cuddling/snuggling/just being held close.
  • Falling asleep with someone.
  • Having an orgasm, especially a really good one, especially after a bit of a dry spell.
  • Long conversations that last late into the night–sometimes too late.
  • To steal a line, “the closing of strangers”.
  • Finding something I can be truly passionate about–life gets too dull without this.  I can’t just cruise along–it doesn’t work for me.  I need to be engaged in something meaningful, something purposeful.
  • Loving and making love (not in a euphemistic sense).
  • Exercising my creative potential–usually through writing, but sometimes through more crafty things.
  • Knowing that I have made someone else genuinely happy.

What makes you genuinely happy?