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belenen

June 2017

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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.

belenen: (Default)
2016 summary: some of the best weeks and worst months of my life.
icon: "confused (photo of a purple diamond-shaped sign with a line leading to four arrows all curving and pointing in different directions)"

I started 2016 with a lot of hope. In January I connected a lot with Kylei, Sande, and Hannah; I had two graduation parties and started making more plans to spend time with people, and I started meditating weekly-ish with Elizabeth. But by the end of January I ended up in a dark crash over how little I felt connected to people. The beginning of February was a little better -- I got to go to Big Trees with some of my favorite people, and Topaz hosted Heather's birthday which was also nourishing and fun. But then I went to a party at Kylei's and had a terrible anxiety crash which ended up leaking into the next day and causing a horrifically painful miscommunication with Topaz. Later that month I went to the activist meet-and-greet for the first time after meaning to go for ages, and met three awesome new people. But just introducing myself made my heart beat painfully hard. At the end of February I asked my psychiatrist to prescribe me anxiety meds and start being medicated for that for the first time.

In March I did a lot of social -- met with four friends as well as with my ex-mother-in-law. I also began a four-week break with Topaz, in an effort to re-set our relationship which had become too central for both of us. In April I had two tinder fails (one flaked and the other I could hardly talk with), made a new friend, hosted a crafty party and a cuddly communion, spent time with Roger and Serenity, and went to Euphoria where I gave a talk on intimacy and made a game with it. (yeah I'd say that the anxiety meds were helping!) In May I spent a lot of time with Serenity and Evelyn, hosted a cuddly communion, spent time with Katie, Allison, Serra, and Indie, and wrote a lot of important posts. In June I spent lots of time with Serenity, presented at APW and SFQP, hung out with Arizona, Sande, Allison, Kylei, Evelyn, and Cass, and had a truth-or-truth videochat with LJ friends, as well as writing a lot of important posts.

In July stuff started getting very stressful -- Topaz went through something really traumatic, Kanika had a medical emergency and I had to take her to the vet, my little sister came in town unexpectedly, and I ran out of money and had to start begging from my bioparents. But also I spent lots of good time with Serenity and had several gathers -- two with my lil sis, also Katie, Allison, Hannah, Kylei, Elliott, Evelyn, Sande, Cass, and even Adi, so that part was positive. But August brought a lot of painful stuff for Topaz, was when I ran out of ADD meds with no access to a doctor, and was the last time I saw Evelyn for months. Roger and Allison were supportive and helpful, and I went to a SONG membership meeting which gave me hope like nothing else except for TBC ever has.

September I got a job at Starbux and finally started getting call backs and interviews for a few of the hundreds of applications I had sent. My awful bioparents also invaded my house and stayed for a month, harassing me about money, rearranging my stuff and throwing some of it away without my permission, invading my bedroom, and being transphobic. October was mostly filled up with my awful bioparents and working at Starbux but at the very end I began doing LJ Idol again. In November things got still worse -- Evelyn officially broke things off with me and Kylei blew up at me and told me we can't be friends. Then later that month Evelyn invited me to a party at their house which ended up being an emotional disaster. I quit Starbux for my new job.

December was a very mixed bag. I started my new job, which was amazing; I got a new psychiatrist and finally got medicated for ADD again; I got to spend time with Arizona, Felix, Felix's people Blaire and Shay, Allison, Jonathan, Heather, Brian, Jessica, and my little sister. But also, my grandmother died and I had to spend time with my awful biofamily, and I was so emotionally drained that I couldn't really enjoy Solstice. It was also a sad reminder of my estrangement from Kylei and Evelyn, because I wanted them at Solstice so much.

detailed events )


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belenen: (analytical)
Why making it safe & comfortable to say 'no' is as necessary as respecting 'no'
icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

To be good at consent, you have to be able to take a 'no' without external displays of hurt or offense. Because the fact that you'd never do an act that someone said no to means NOTHING if they are too afraid to tell you no because your reaction is worse than enduring things they don't want. What good is saying no when it has worse consequences than the inner turmoil of not stating your desires? If I don't say no, I can at least tell myself that my suffering is my own fault, whereas if I say no and the person reacts badly, I have to face the fact that they're more invested in not being rejected than they are in helping me to feel safe.

Reactions that I or someone I know have endured unwanted touch rather than facing include:
  • withdrawing emotionally
  • expressing self-loathing
  • apologizing profusely as if they did something wrong
  • self-harming
  • sulking or pouting
  • acting resentful or angry or insulted
  • getting irritated at them over other things that are usually not a problem
  • ceasing to initiate
  • ceasing to play
  • ceasing to cuddle
  • ceasing to express romantic or sexual interest
  • expressing a wish to be dead or not exist
  • depreciation of self
  • acting afraid to touch the person who said no
  • making snarky comments at future similar moments like 'oh NOW you want me'
  • disbelieving in the continued romantic/sexual interest of the other person.

To summarize, negative reactions include self-directed negativity, emotional and sexual withdrawal, and emotional punishment. The first two things aren't necessarily damaging to others in general, but as a reaction to a no they very often create a dynamic where the other person can't say no, and that can be very damaging.

If someone can't say no to you without fear of fall-out, they can't say no freely. And if they can't say no freely, it's not full consent. It's the responsibility of each person to make it as easy as possible for the other person to say no. Which is difficult, because it is disappointing when people say no and if you're feeling fragile it can spark a lot of negative feelings about yourself. I'm not saying don't feel those feelings: I'm saying don't make them the other person's problem.

Do whatever you need to do to manage your reaction without forcing the other person to comfort or placate you. Maybe have a list of things to read that remind you that you are loved and wanted and worthy. Maybe do something distracting like playing a game or watching a show to get past the initial overwhelm. Maybe have a set of things your person can do for you (that are easy for them! Low-energy-cost things) that will reassure you; or a set of things you can do for them, even. Maybe have a mantra you can repeat in your head to block out the negative reaction until it is small enough to handle internally. Maybe figure out the best way for them to express a 'no' that doesn't spark your insecurities so hard. Maybe give them a sentence they can say to reassure you when they say no -- and then trust in them and believe it.

I won't pretend like it's easy: it can be VERY hard. But the alternative is that your person will sometimes be merely enduring your touch and wishing you would stop. Sometimes they will experience that as merely frustrating or annoying but other times they may experience it as sexual assault or even rape. So it is simply necessary to be able to handle being told no, without your reaction causing distress to the one who said no. Nobody is automatically good at this; it is a skill that everyone has to develop. At points in my past I have done several of these and I've had several done to me. I am certain that most people who have had significant sexual experience have reacted to a 'no' in at least one of these ways.

A really good support skill for this is focusing on noticing non-verbal 'no's and asking if they actually want to continue when there is a strong change in tone, breathing, facial expression, body tension, body position, noises, etc. It is a lot easier for the person to say no when you opened the door for it, and it feels better to get a no when you opened the door for it, too. Instead of it feeling like rejection, it feels more mutual. However, even the most observant person in the world won't notice every non-verbal signal, so this is not enough on its own: it's just a good support skill. Even if you're great at noticing non-verbals (or think you are) you still need to create a dynamic where your lovers feel not just able to say 'no' or 'stop' in a dire situation, but comfortable enough to say 'nah, I don't feel like it' or 'okay I'm done now' at any time.


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belenen: (distance)
I'm hypersensitive physically & energetically: takes work & time for me to enjoy touch / shielding
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

I noticed a weird reaction in me the last two times I spent one-on-one time with Evelyn. I wondered why I hadn't done more sexy things because I had been looking forward to that aspect and in thinking back, realized that I was feeling some internal resistance in the moment while I was with them. I knew it wasn't lack of desire, so I found that feeling confusing the first time it happened and figured I was just in a weird mood or something. Then it happened again, so I took it as meaningful and examined it until I figured it out.

I realized that this was coming up for the first time because last time we were dating, it was summer and we could only have short dates, so I could flow in and out of being sexual with them without a lot of effort. That's only possible when 1) I am not hypersensitive and 2) it's a short burst of time. (and of course I have to have a strong connection with the person, but that alone doesn't do it)

Often -- I'd say most of the time -- my body and my energy system are both hypersensitive. This is especially true in winter because cold really affects me, both by bringing my emotional energy down and by making my whole body tense and uncomfortable the majority of my waking life. I also tend to get hypersensitive when I'm highly stressed, when I haven't had enough platonic touch lately, or whenever it has been more than two weeks since I had an energy reset (which is easiest to get from sex but I can also get it from energy work, sensation play, concerts of artists I love, ritual, or getting drunk). Unfortunately masturbation doesn't really help with regards to this because it's more about my energy system being shocked by contact with another energy system.*

When I am hypersensitive, touch feels about 10 times as strong as it should. If I am super hyped up, this can be fun, but most of the time it feels like everything is too rough and too cloying at the same time. When people touch me I want them to press harder AND I want it to be barely there AND I want them to just move ten feet away immediately; it creates really intense ambivalence. It's not too hard to make the hypersensitivity stop, but most of the time I expect that people don't want to help, so I usually either avoid touch or steel myself against it like when you jump into a cold pool.

I can manage my hypersensitivity by artificially raising my inner energy levels, but I can't do this for very long and it is exhausting and stressful. So usually what happens is that I feel the need to block sexual energy unless I am actively interacting with it. When I have to block, that makes it harder to get into it in the first place because I have to take the block down and it takes energy so I don't want to do it unless it's gonna be down for long enough to make it worth it. And part of me feels guilty at putting up a block at all, which makes me feel internally pressured to take it down immediately when I perceive a request, which makes my desire deflate -- a weird, frustrating little cycle.

This is true with nonsexual touch too, and is part of the reason that quick hugs or pecky kisses are often draining for me. I have to do this inner work to prepare my body so that it doesn't feel like the tactile version of a train brake screech, and if the person stops giving touch before I even finish the work, then I never get the nourishment and it was a huge amount of wasted effort. I've figured out that it takes at least four full seconds for me to even relax into a hug, and it takes at least two seconds for me to get into a kiss, and if it doesn't last at least as long as it took me to get there, then it is overall draining. I'm still willing to do it sometimes but I can't do it a lot. I'd far rather have a high-five or a nod than a short hug. I need to remember this and offer people a high five or 8-second hug rather than letting them grab me for one or maybe two seconds.

Anyway, it was interesting to realize that I was having this reaction, and that trying to deal with it alone was so not the way to go. When I mentioned this to Evelyn I said I'd probably need some help with bringing my sensitivity down at the beginning so that I didn't have to block and/or I would need to have sexual time separate from the rest of our time, and they responded supportively and casually mentioned that we could be more intentionally structured about our time together (which I find very exciting & hopeful), so I look forward to experimenting with that!

*This used to happen to me every time I left the house, because I had no shield against other people's energy and it would all just cling to me. I'd merely walk past someone and feel like bursting into tears because I felt their pain, and I didn't know how to get rid of it either so I would just feel terrible for days until it wore off. Now it only happens when I let my shields down, but I prefer to drop my shields with people I love even if it means I pick up some of their stuff. I prefer to cleanse it out later if need be and be able to connect fully in the meantime.


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belenen: (bel bites happy apple hannah)
play intimacy: sillinesses with Topaz
icon: "bel bites happy apple hannah (photo of Hannah and I from their first visit in 2006: they are smiling into the camera awaiting my kiss on their cheek but I'm biting it instead)"

^side note: holy shit it is exactly 10 years today that I first met Hannah in person *glowy hearts*

Topaz and I have a LOT of play intimacy. My connections with Hannah and Kylei were also very playful, but not this consistently. I think that part of the reason we have so much play is that Topaz really enjoys competition, and I hate it, but in play we can do it and both have fun.

A lot of our play is physical silliness. Topaz will bite me and I will bite back a little harder, and they'll bite again harder yet, and so on until they say "ow!" and we stop and rub our sore spots. Or they will try to kiss my cheek while I try to kiss theirs, both of us trying to avoid getting kissed, and landing kisses on random bits of face. Sometimes we will have raspberry-blowing battles where we both try to blow against the other person's skin to make a fart noise. Sometimes I will give them sloppy pets on their face and hair, which I would find unbearable but it makes them laugh, and I'm amused at how rude I'm being. Sometimes I will kiss all over their face, and they'll say "oh thanks, thanks, thanks!" while scrunching up to avoid the kisses. Sometimes I bite the apple of their cheeks.

Or they will try to kiss my neck, which tickles me, and so I will try to kiss theirs without baring mine, and we wrestle and giggle until we fall apart, laughing. The other day we were doing that and they accidentally blew in my ear, so I blew at theirs, which made them laugh harder than the kissfight, and they blew at mine, and we went back and forth hardly able to blow for the laughing.

We also do silly forms of affection like the 'flamingo hug' where we wrap our arms around each other and each lift one leg and wrap it around the other, so that we are both standing on one leg. It never lasts long because it is so awkward and unbalanced, but it always makes us laugh. And we will do 'puppy excitement' at each other because we decided that greeting each other as if we were lonely puppies whose human had just returned home was a fantastic way to show love. That always brings giant smiles and giggles.

And we sing silly made-up songs to each other, send poopin selfies, and poke at each other about our idiosyncrasies. We tell each other made-up stories, talk in silly voices, and color together. We used to play word association games but haven't done that in a while. We over-the-top complain about the other one's farts or bad breath, and laugh if we are the one creating the smell (but will also brush teeth or whatever if requested because we're considerate).

We also play in a more cuddly, animalistic way, where we make noises at each other and playfully demand attention like a cat (usually this is just through texting). I bunt (a feline gentle headbutt that expresses affection) and Topaz squeezes themself into my lap or between me and what I'm doing. We nip, and nuzzle, and do 'tooth hugs' (soft holding and gentle shaking with teeth). We wrestle, and sometimes when I start to get up they cling like a sloth. Sometimes I give them rides on my back (though not often lately as I am not very in shape right now). Sometimes I squeeze them until they squeak (happily).

Often after we have had a little play-bout they will hug me and say "You're so fun!" and I tell them they are so fun too.


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belenen: (intrigued)
date w Evelyn: meeting Demeter, intense emotional & philosophical discussions, many cuddles & kisses
icon: "intrigued (a photo of a snow leopard with ears flattened, peering intently over a log)"

So I had a date with Evelyn on Saturday that was surprising, nourishing, exciting, scary, and overall quite magical. Part of our time will be described in my my sextalk filter, but this whole experience is so long and complex that I decided it was fine to put it in two separate posts.

seeing their house, meeting their cat )

Evelyn asked me about my life and I talked about frustrations with biofamily, then asked about their life. They didn't know how to answer at first and said that they have been feeling a particular kind of anxious that means they are avoiding something but don't know what it is (I do the same thing) and as they talked around it, the thing that had been weighing on them came up. They looked really sad and I asked if I could lay next to them -- they said yes so I climbed next to them on the couch and pulled them into my arms.

They talked about the thing that was making them so sad and cried, and apologized and said they felt bad for imposing their vulnerability on me. That made me laugh because it is so the opposite of my experience, and they said "I know, I know" when I laughed because they know that I feel it as a gift and not an imposition but still have the guilty response. We cuddled that way and I listened while they talked about it until their housemate arrived home, and then we went upstairs to their room.

We talked a lot for a while, about all kinds of things. I talked about my philosophical stance as an idealist and how I see 'objective' reality as an illusion, that to me all minds contribute a nearly-invisible layer of reality and 'objective' reality is merely the conglomeration of all that, a sort of 'average.' That the more complex a thing is, the easier it is to change the reality of it through thought due to a domino effect. I mentioned my experience of my self as five parts and how my non-physical parts are capable of shapeshifting. I can't remember all we talked about but it was really interesting.

They wanted to be spooned several times, so I asked them what being spooned meant to them and they talked about it: being small, being held. As they talked about it I realized that I do like being spooned also, but I like spooning someone else more. I like that feeling of enveloping someone. They also talked about how they find themselves more and more attracted to traits commonly referred to as masculine. I listened and didn't say much as they seemed to be working out a self-perception, but I think in me they're attracted to my assertiveness and power (which I do not consider masculine, as nothing about me is gendered).

I asked for coffee so Evelyn made french press and we sat in the living room to drink it. Demeter came to sit with us and Evelyn scooped them up and cuddled them, telling me how Demeter had helped them through the emotionally difficult times they've had lately. Evelyn said they had never connected with a cat before (partly due to allergies) and had considered themself a dog person, but that Demeter had changed that. Evelyn blamed the effect on toxoplasmosis, which I like as a general theory but in this case I think it is more about Demeter's personality; they seem very nurturing and sensitive.

We talked about the fetishization of coercion/non-consent, and about my insecurities around the fact that people might like someone being careful with consent, but they don't fetishize it, they don't think of it as actually sexy, and how sometimes that really gets to me. I can't NOT be careful about consent but I don't want to be considered unsexy because I check in and don't do things without discussing it beforehand. They told me that they find it sexy. I think still, not in the way that I mean, but I appreciated them saying that.

kissing them is wonderful )

discussing future plans )

They are outrageously beautiful and sexy to me and I remarked on this several times, to which they responded with hiding their face and laughing in seeming disbelief (with maybe/hopefully some happiness to it). I told them that they will eventually get used to it because I will do it a lot! I feel very strongly about them and so I notice every gorgeous aspect, and they have several aspects that I find aesthetically pleasing as well.

One feature I find sooo aesthetically pleasing is their lower eyelid shape -- their lower lid comes part-way up the curve of the eye, enough that there is a crease under the eye. I don't know why I find this so beautiful but I do! (Angelina Jolie has lower eyelids like that, which is one of the reasons I find them so aesthetically pleasing) Evelyn also has very mobile eyebrows, lips that are very sharply defined, a full lower lip, and very pronounced smile lines as well as dimples! all of which I adore because it makes the face seem more expressive to me. And their face is very expressive overall, and their eye color is gorgeous, and their smile is so radiant! I am more than a little smitten.


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belenen: (bodylove -- me (belly goddess))
love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly
icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess) (a photo of my breasts and belly, covered in colorful marker drawings and glitter)"

Dear my belly,

I know it's been a long time coming, but I want to say I love you. You are soft and sensual like my breasts, but not so sensitive - perfect for casual petting. Having nuzzled other bellies, I know that nuzzling you must be so amazingly soft and sweet. I love your deep belly button and the way you make a fat teardrop shape when I sit. I love how I can squeeze you with my hands or wrap my arms around and hold you; it feels very comforting. Having you on my middle is like having a comfort pillow with me at all times. I love how you balance out my boobs enough that I can lay on my front (sorta) without pain. I love how you trick people into thinking I am not strong. Most of all I love how you feel to touch. If you were on someone else I love, I would want to pet, kiss, and nuzzle you constantly because you're so damn cuddly! I need to remember to treat my own parts with such love and attention.

I'm still learning to love some of your aspects. Like how you can't stand waistbands and are forever shoving them up right under my boobs or shoving them down to poke out above them. Probably if I wasn't concerned that other people would hate you I'd let you do what you want, but I feel I have to protect you with clothes and you make that a constant struggle. I also can't quite love how much you move. I love how it feels to touch you now that you're not dense, but feeling you move around when I run or jump makes me extra fretful that you're going to throw off my clothes. I also get a little worried that you are taking up too much space when I hug someone. I like to flow, to melt together, and sometimes you're not very melty.

I'm working on accepting and loving those things. Ultimately, I wouldn't trade you for a flat belly no matter what. You're my own soft cuddly poky belly and I am glad you exist. I'm going to try to be more expressive of my love for you and get you more rubs and pets. Thanks for being part of me.

Love,
-Belenen-


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belenen: (concupiscent)
break w Topaz is over, back to romantic / getting visuals from kissing / the kinds of kisses I like
icon: "concupiscent (a photo of Angelina Jolie, backlit in sunlight, licking honey off of their wrist while staring intensely into the camera)"

So Topaz and I are finished with the break, and back to being romantic. I think I have posted all the things I learned from it; quite a lot really. We have decided to put off sex a while longer. They said their reasons aren't there any more, but over the past week I realized that it might be a good idea for me. I realized that if we start having sex again before I have active practice with asserting my needs, then I may subvert my needs out of fear that being assertive may decrease my chances of having sex. Sex is usually not that big a miss for me but it has been a very long time, relatively speaking, and sex is the easiest way of being fully, passionately present and I really miss that sense of passionate presence. But I would like to practice being fully, passionately present in non-sexual ways, and this will be motivation for that practice.

Seeing Topaz again (on Monday) was a relief, but also didn't feel fully real. That day they got some deeply tragic news, so they were really sad. They were worried that I wouldn't want to see them but of course I did, I would always want to be there for them on such a day. We had really good, connected time despite the sad.


I had forgotten what kissing was like (when I say I have an awful memory I am not kidding). I was swept away, kissing them. I got images in my mind from the sensation and the emotion -- flowing brown watercolored silk with deep red, and brass roses with swirly flame-burnished colors at one point, and at another a sense of a green lush garden in Wonderland, with symbols floating and characters wandering. I don't know why I was getting visuals but I really love it and hope it continues. I was very wrapped up in the moment. I also forgot that I shudder with pleasure from kissing -- I mean, I forgot enough to be surprised, and then was surprised that I was surprised because it is something I would think I would be thoroughly aware of by now. I always feel just a little self-conscious about it, because even though it is involuntary I feel worried after that the person may think I'm 'being dramatic' or something.

I love kissing so much. My favorite kind of kiss is pressing lips softly together, with mouths open just enough for tongues to be able to caress each other -- maybe half an inch. I don't like it when people have their teeth together or when they have their mouth wide open. I like tongues to be relaxed, touching each other and lips and teeth, reaching at least to just inside the other person's mouth. I don't like it when I have to do all the reaching in, and I don't like it when people stick their tongue in my mouth like they're being rude to the back of my throat. And people have to be willing to suck their own tongue and swallow occasionally (which always is an awkward second) so that there isn't too much saliva. I like some closed-mouth kissing -- I like sucking on someone's lower lip and caressing their lips with the tip of my tongue, and I consider it the height of erotic to press the tip of my tongue in between someone's almost-but-not-quite-closed lips. And I like gently sliding my lips along their lips, just a little bit, and vice versa. I like very VERY gentle, broad lip biting (my lips split easily so it must be gentle, and it must be a large section not a tiny piece of my lip). I like to touch peoples' face when I kiss them and vice versa. I like to touch someone's lips with my fingers before kissing them, and sometimes during (just touching the corner of their mouth).


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belenen: (concupiscent)
yearning to be craved, desired, immersed, devoured.
icon: "concupiscent (a photo of Angelina Jolie, backlit in sunlight, licking honey off of their wrist while staring intensely into the camera)"

I yearn for someone to crave me. To want to put their hands on me and when they touch my skin, to forget themselves just a little and dig in with their fingertips because it feels so fucking good to have that contact. I want someone to intend just to give me a back pet in passing but then feel such magnetic pull that they stop, slide their hands around my waist, stroke my hips and grip them, kiss my shoulder, nuzzle my neck, wrap their arms around me, and bite me. I want someone to kiss me and get lost in it, forget everything else and revel in the sensation of my lips and tongue. I want someone to want to give me every pleasurable sensation, and to want to receive from me every pleasurable sensation. I want someone to want to be immersed in my energy, to want to feel my presence permeating theirs. I want someone to crave my hands on them and my lips on theirs and my body against theirs. I want them to want me to sink my teeth into them, to dig my claws into them. I want them to want to (for a short time) take over my self completely, and to want the inverse. I want them to want blending of energy within sex to the point that we're not sure which limb belongs to who, and I want them to be able to be present enough for that to be possible. I want them to want all of me, all of me, all of me, and I want them to want to share all of them, all. I want to intertwine with them and feel our breaths and our frequencies sync up.

All of this within the context of a mutually in-love relationship, not with any random person. I don't think I could want this with someone I wasn't in love with. I try imagining this with someone I am not currently in love with and my mind balks and throws darts at me. The feeling, if I am not in love, is that same jolt of badness that happens when I am touched with sexual intentions when I haven't had enough platonic loving touch. It's too shocking and intense to be enjoyable; the difference between sliding into a cool pool on a hot day or getting thrown into a cold pool on a freezing day.

I fall in love really easily, or at least I used to. I feel worried that that part of me is damaged with too many almosts that scalded me. I'm worried I've lost the knack of it. Strange I guess. I'm really afraid to hope.

If I can't fall in love again, if I've gotten too picky or too scared just too fuckin damaged, then I can't imagine wanting sex with other people any more. And I feel like there are so many things I barely got to try. The more I think about the idea of casual sex the more I hate it. I think it would make me feel nothing but a giant sense of loss and lack.


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belenen: (powerful)
bioparent M thinks love is a desire for ownership / feeling worthlessness is a sign of bad patterns
icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, standing with arms out and head back, knife in one hand, sabertooth tiger snarling by their side)"

prompt from [livejournal.com profile] ragnarok_08: What was the most sobering thing your parents have said to you?

What comes to mind most strongly is my parent M telling me that no one would ever love me as much as M did. This bothered me at the time but it took me a while to fully understand why. For one thing, it felt like a threat; "I am your greatest source of love so you better value me because if you don't, you just won't get love." For another, M has almost never made me feel loved, so it felt like they were simply telling me I was unlovable and I should expect that people who claimed to love me would try to control my every action, disallow me to show negative feelings and demand that I placate their negative feelings, devalue the parts of me that I most loved, seek me out only to get me to do work for them, show no appreciation beyond a temporary cessation of criticism, and give to others what I crave while pretending to treat me the same. I think this is why when these patterns crop up (in far milder ways), they feel so normal that I do not realize them for a while. I simply get more and more convinced of my own worthlessness. I think I need to note feeling worthless as a sign that I'm falling into these expectations again.

Honestly when I look at my childhood I'm amazed that I managed to learn how to love at all. I always thought that I was relatively well-off as far as escaping abuse goes, but I didn't realize 1) that I was physically abused and 2) that I was almost entirely emotionally neglected and was emotionally abused. M would tell me that they loved me at least every other day and would give me a hug before bed. From at least the age of 8, I never wanted this hug and never felt any truth in those words; it was part of a ritual I had to perform to keep my parents from being mean to me in response to perceived rejection. I would feel angry that they were saying "I love you" when they never showed any care for my feelings at all and literally told me on several occasions "I don't care how you feel." For years, I refused to say the words "I love you" unless I was currently overwhelmed by a feeling of love (thus, never saying it in response) in order that I would be sure to never say it meaninglessly like M did.

M mistakes a desire to own as love. M wants to own me, to have me care about their opinion and want to please them, to build up the qualities that M values and erase the ones M does not, to behave in a way that makes M feel good about themselves, to enjoy and desire M's company. M in fact thinks that being my progenitor means that they have the right to these things. M was physically and emotionally abused by their parents, so I understand why they don't know what love is. However, I think they have a responsibility to learn in order to reduce the harm they cause others, and I consider it reprehensible that they choose to protect their pride at the cost of hurting everyone around them.


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belenen: (disassociative)
dream about familial exclusion / triggered about fam-by-love / craving touch
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

I dreamed last night that I happened to go to my ex-spouse's family's old house, and they were all there hanging out and playing, and my biofamily (aunts and cousins) were there too. And they were like "what are you doing here?" with surprise but not even embarrassed that they had left me out and I knew. If they had any emotions about it, it was slight annoyance that I was there. I hadn't consciously been thinking about family but apparently knowing that I was going to be hanging out with Topaz' family today was bringing stuff up already.

Then while we were there today there was a moment where I felt abandoned and it triggered old feelings (of being abandoned, ignored, and lied to) which apparently haven't lost their power? Must I go through this every time I am around someone's biofamily? I'm so tired of it. But I feel like I'm always on probation and always will be, because I can't be enough of myself to even tell if they would accept me if they actually knew me. So... forever uncertain, constantly on edge.

Sydney was there and they had some really good talks with Topaz and me. I wish they lived closer so that I could spend more time with them.

Today was just really hard. I'm craving touch but have a hard time asking for it because if I ask without being able to handle a 'no' that's pressurey and gross, but there are only so many 'no's I can handle per period of time. So if I ask and get a no, it takes a while before I can ask again. And I associate having to ask for touch with being unloved, so it's this tangled mess -- I feel the need for reassurance that I am loved if gifted touch doesn't just happen.

Because when I love someone I crave touching them, so even though I logically understand that that isn't true for everyone, I don't emotionally understand it. Lots of people feel a strong urge to pet a kitten or puppy when they are nearby - I feel this about humans I love. It can be physically difficult for me to hold back (if we are in public and they aren't comfortable with PDA for instance).


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belenen: (kissy)
the art of hugs

icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"

Hugs are the usual greeting in my group of friends, and are not uncommon among my family and the families of other southern people I know. (some people take this so far as to hug others without asking first, which is horrible) It's also a really common method of comforting via the internet, at least everywhere I have been. But a lot of people don't put any thought into a hug beyond "we encircle each other with our arms and then stop." But there are such a variety of hugs!

the christian side-hug
A hug that involves people being side-by-side and wrapping the near arm around the other person's back, bringing the far arm around to touch the other's far shoulder and leaving a circle of air in between, usually looking away.
The only people I allow to do this to me are my bioparent M and Topaz' family. With my bioparent, it's because they have self-imposed limits of bodily contact with those they perceive as women. With Topaz' family, I let them set the parameters of hugs.

the straight girl A-frame
This is a variant of the christian side-hug where you face each other and put your arma around each other, but do so with your bodies at least a foot apart and your backs arched so that your chests don't touch.
I do not tolerate this kind of hug. I'd rarher have a handshake, or nothing at all.

the limp noodle
This is when someone goes to hug you but doesn't place any firmness into it, holding all of their parts away, barely touching you with their arms and chest, sometimes giving a light tentative pat at the end.
GROSS GROSS GROSS I hate this kind SO MUCH. It makes me feel like I'm covered in slime and you're trying not to get it on you. This kind of hug makes me want to punch whoever is doing it.

the quick squeeze
This is when someone hugs you for about 1.5 seconds - just wrap arms around, give a quick squeeze, and immediately pull away. This is the usual greeting hug among hippies.
I like this one okay. It's better than no touch.

the back-cracker
This is when someone hugs you with such a hard squeeze that it could crack your back (or in my case, cause your boobs to ache).
I hate this one. People do not seem to realize that the fact that it feels good to them doesn't mean it feels good to me. There's also a sub-variant, where the person isn't squeezing too hard but is squeezing at the wrong place and it is smashing my boobs. PSA: if you are hugging someone with large breasts, squeeze them around the waist ONLY not around the chest (or ask).

the favorite hug
This varies from person to person I'm sure. For me, there are several elements that make up my favorite hug; time length, emotional presence, arm placement, body height, pressure, hand movement, and above all posture softness.

For length, I prefer longer (in the 8-11 second range usually) but I let the other person end it as quickly as they wish. As soon as they lift their head from my shoulder, drop their hands from my back, or otherwise shift to end the hug, I mirror and let them out of the hug. Otherwise it's not good consent.

To be emotionally present for me means we're silent, eyes closed, fully emotionally focused on each other, not thinking about other things, not hurried.

Position-wise, I prefer to have my right arm over their left shoulder, with my other arm wrapped around their waist and them mirroring - this is an idea passed on to me from someone else that solves a lot of the squishing problems and also is more egalitarian. But one person's arms under the other is a better hug for comforting, I feel - with the person giving comfort having arms on top because they feel like a shield then. I want bodies to be close, either with us sitting next to each other thighs touching, or standing face to face with feet staggered and foot-circles overlapping.

Height should be adjusted for the hug. So, a standing person should sit or kneel to hug a sitting person. A standing tall person should widen their stance or bend their knees to hug a standing shorter person, or they should find something for the shorter one to stand on.

Pressure should be firm but not suffocating- applied only from the hands and the chest, not the whole length of the arms like a boa constrictor. Imagine folding around the person like you would fold one paper around another. Pressure should also be at the top of the back and the middle of the back, because lower back is sexual for many people and so you should ask first (I certainly don't want anyone touching me there without asking).

Hand movement should be thoughtful and not too hard of a rub, nor too much in one spot, NO PATS.

Posture should be softened (if possible) with shoulders loose and spine curved: if one person stands up straight that forces the other to bend twice as much and it feels awkward and uncomfortable.



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belenen: (honesty)
people demonize spanking because of classism / how corporeal punishment damaged me
icon: "honesty (a photo of me in soft sunlight, gazing directly into the camera with a somber expression)"

If you were spanked as a kid, you have to accept it as morally OK in order to be able to cope with it. Growing up, you are told that you are spanked because you are loved, that this is intended to help you become a better person, that this is necessary for your growth. To reject that, you have to accept that your parents hurt you and they should not have. That's painful for a lot of people. I didn't even consider that there might be anything wrong with spanking in my early adulthood, and until meeting someone who had never been spanked I didn't even know that it was possible to actually raise children and have them become decent people without spanking. It is a damn good thing that I realized this before having kids, because it would be extremely difficult to acknowledge it as wrong after I had done it. A great lesson to teach, such a reversal of behavior, but facing the fact that I might have damaged my kids? Painful beyond imagining.

Spanking also gets blown out of proportion in relation to other suffering. Many common parental actions can be far more damaging, depending on the kind of spanking that is used. The stigma against spanking is purely in relation to class behaviors. Spanking is considered a lower class behavior - direct expressions are all treated this way. Abuses which are seen as upper class parenting are seen as more acceptable by society despite the fact that they can be every bit as damaging and in some cases more damaging. These abuses are dismissed or tacitly encouraged -- like forcing them to behave in cisgendered ways, calling them names, ignoring their needs or feelings, mocking/denigrating their bodies, encouraging them to reject empathy and see others as tools, teaching them racism and rape myths and ableism and classism etc.

Spanking after the age of eight (when a child is fully capable of reasoning) is a failure of communication and in my mind, it is abuse, ESPECIALLY after puberty. I don't know about before that - it might be useful but it may also be damaging. 

When I was about 5, I lied to my teacher. I went to a private christian school where the teachers were permitted to spank us. So my teacher took me into the bathroom, explained why lying was bad, spanked me with a ruler (not very hard) and then hugged me and emphasized that she did not want to cause me pain but wanted me to remember. I felt she was being sincere, and I felt more loved by her after that than I had before. And frankly I felt an increase of trust. I remember very little of my childhood but that memory is vivid. I don't think that caused me any damage at all. That was not the kind of spanking I got from my parents.

I have been thinking about this for the past few days and realizing how deeply this has affected me. TW: physical and psychological abuse )

What being spanked taught me was not anything related to right and wrong - I learned all that through logic, reading, and talking with people. What it taught me was 'don't piss off authority or it will overwhelm your will, humiliate, and violate you.' If I had not been physically hit and intimidated by my parents, I don't think I would struggle so much with visceral fear now. Even when I can logically understand that I am not in legitimate danger, I have a very hard time pushing myself to perform any resistance to people who are in relational authority to me or who legally can control my body (bosses, some professors, cops). I think I could do it if I felt it was necessary for someone else's safety, but not for my own. Resistance for someone else doesn't spark so much fear because I didn't get attacked on behalf of others. If I am being attacked by authority, I freeze and feel deep shame and fear, and if it seems to be a deliberate attempt to hurt me it will cause a full-on breakdown. I would flat-out be a better person had I not been trained into this deeply subconscious fear of people in authority.

Since I would want my children to feel willing to resist authority for good reasons, I would not spank them. I also don't fucking ever want to motivate people through fear, and I don't want my children to listen to me because I control them body and will. I want them to listen because they trust me through me proving that I have good ideas that make their life better, because they love me and want to make me happy, and because I show true appreciation (and when appropriate, give rewards).

Spanking is objectively harmful


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belenen: (ADD-PI)
biofamily visit: discussing add-pi, racism, sex, poly, cuddles / clash w Ace / sharing lovetech
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

Earlier this week I explained ADD-PI to V and M, and they seemed to take it seriously which was a relief. I told M that I had learned some of my coping skills from them and explained, and M seemed to listen and feel pleased and connected.

Several times this week I've had discussions w Ace and M about race and they just... go nowhere. Ace doesn't seem willing/able to understand that their experience is not automatically representative of all experiences. I have tried to explain in several different ways. Also M had negative experiences as a white child in 80% black schools immediately following integration (and white flight into pop-up private schools) and they don't seem to be able to understand the misdirected anger any more than Ace. The worst is that every time I reference a fact M is not aware of, they dismiss it with "I don't know about that" and act like I didn't even say it. They told me they enjoy these arguments and when I merely raised my eyebrows in response, they asked if I enjoyed them. I said I would enjoy them if I could assign homework. They laughed. Since they didn't shake their head or offer rebuttle, there's actually a chance that I could do that and I may try.

Yesterday was fairly uneventful. Pibling L, cousin E, Ace, gparent V, and I went out shopping. We went to some thrift stores (I found several work-appropriate overshirts, two soup mugs, and an Upwords board game that was only missing 2 letter tiles) and a rocks/minerals touristy store. P had offered to put $20 towards getting me a present, and so I was able to get some stones shaped like eggs (which I'm going to use as meditation tools, rolling them in my hands).

Later P, E, L, Ace, V, M, and I played truth-or-truth again, this time just using the question sheets as backup. It was a good time, and interesting to have the contrast. A lot of questions centered around memories, some of which weren't at all personal, but everyone was enjoying it so it worked okay. At one point M asked me a question from the question sheets - (what are my thoughts on the parts of a person) and I gave a long rambly answer but people liked it and M later referred to us having green hearts as I mentioned I saw several of us that way. After M and V went to bed the rest of us kept on, and we did a merry-go-round of asking each person to list two qualities that they share with each other person. Everyone really loved that, and it gave me an idea for a similar project.

When people say goodnight I offer them a hug before bed, and E and L liked this idea. L said they want to make the same habit.

Today I spent most of the day online, having a good but intense discussion with someone about energy work, and then a giant terrible discussion/argument on my wall about the definitions of trans/cis and identity. I cried a lot. I don't know if I was having an extra ADD day or what but I felt like I could not explain myself and after a certain point it was like I couldn't even understand the words in front of me.

During lunch/breakfast I suggested a project: we all write down 3 outstanding qualities for each other person. Everyone said it was a good idea but they didn't want to do it then, and they scattered like cats.
At one point just after lunch, Ace and E were making a smoothie and I asked if I could make suggestions. Ace said no, and it hurt my feelings because they had already been doing stuff without me all morning, and I said that it hurt my feelings because it felt like they didn't want me to talk to them. Then E immediately said I could give suggestions and that made me cry. P and E were nice to me and Ace was upset. I asked why and they said they only wanted to discuss it alone. So we went into the room we're sharing and they said that they felt like I was crying whenever I didn't get my way (manipulatively). I told them that it might not seem like it but this is taking a lot of effort from me and I only ever cry in front of people when I am so overwhelmed I can't control myself (also, this was only the second time I had cried in front of anyone). I talked about how I was feeling and Ace said they felt like I wasn't trying to connect with them, that I didn't like them any more. I told them that wasn't true, I was just having a harder time with them because they're guarded. We talked a bit more and hugged and went back to work on the smoothie.They were all at the pool or grocery store from after that until to dinner.

Then we all had dinner and afterward M went immediately to bed, with V following shortly. I felt very upset that they hadn't kept thier word, and more upset because E and L were talking about being tired and I'd had no time with them all day. But they said they wanted to stay up a bit, so I asked everyone to share the story of their best sexual experience. P and E were not comfortable with this, so I changed it to top 3 necessary elements for a good sexual experience, and they all answered. We went on to talk about sex, poly, bdsm, and cuddles. And I revealed yet another layer of difference in discussing my polyamory (which L really took in stride, so much so that I think they must know a poly person). We shared our favorite cuddles as I asked everyone what theirs was. When I asked for a volunteer to show my favorite cuddles with, L offered! I was surprised because I guess I see them as being reticent. Then they came over and just curled up on the floor next to me, adorably. I showed them my favorite way to hold someone and also the infinity cuddle. They were a little nervous but they really liked it at the same time. At the end of the time, I showed everyone how to do a spiral hug and they loved that.

Also the other day I taught everyone the -5 to +5 scale for making fairer decisions, and we've used it since then (but only at my prompting, so far). I hope my parents learn to do that because it's so much better than "I want this and you want that, I'm more powerful so we do my thing."

I really want someone to say to me "wow, you've really made this trip a time of deep connection, thanks!" but I doubt that will happen. I wonder if they can tell that this is different because of the things I'm bringing to it.


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belenen: (brewing)
4 elements needed for me to feel sexual attraction: consent, bodily respect, awareness, generosity
icon: "brewing (a photo of a ceramic mug with sticks of cinnamon poking out and steam rising up)"

As a demisexual, I need to feel some kind of emotional connection with the person for there to even be a chance of sexual attraction. Often this is a connection on the spirit, soul, or heart level, but sometimes it's purely a mental connection in that we have shared a lot of intimacy in our conversations. Once I have this, the following four elements together may create sexual desire (in order of importance, not chronology).

The number one thing that determines my sexual desire is consent, both ways. To desire someone I need them to tell me that they want sex with me. No, I don't mean say flirty things or act attracted, I mean actually flat-out say "I want to have sex with you" or say an unequivocal "yes" if I ask if they want to. I'm pretty sure I won't ever feel sexual desire for anyone who doesn't feel it for me. I might have in high school (before I ever had sex), but not since I became sexually active. I also need them to be fully invested in my consent, not just asking but also showing awareness of my reactions and adjusting accordingly.

Next in importance is bodily respect: them not having terrible ideas about bodies, sex, or gender. No assigning stereotyped personality traits to body parts including genitals. No assigning body types/parts as attractive or unattractive (this is gross no matter what shape you decide is best). No ideas about more or less legitimate kinds of bodies. No believing in rules for genders. Never imposing gender on me. Not interpreting my fat as a cause or effect of my personality. Basically, not being sexist, cissexist, or looksist.

Next is awareness; self-awareness, awareness of me, ability and desire to maintain this awareness and express it throughout. To feel sexual desire for someone I need to be able to sense them letting my touch reach them emotionally. (otherwise I will feel unappreciated and/or worried that they don't really want it) I need a balance of reactive and attentive. I do not want someone who always turns into pure reaction (sometimes I might want to provide that space but not often, as it's exhausting!), but I also don't want someone who isn't reactive. I want a person who can stay mentally, spiritually, and emotionally present while feeling intensely. Someone who will still notice if I seem 'done' even if they are in the throes of sexual ecstasy. Someone who can make eye contact with me or grip my hand during sex and I can feel the 'click' of that connection.

Last is generosity (desire to give). If you could be happy only receiving every time we have sex (while knowing that I love being touched) or if you never offer anything and only give when asked, I'm not interested. I know some people are scared of not being perfect and that's why they don't want to give, and I can empathize with that, but it is not a turn-on. People who have no desire to give sexually would not be people I'd be sexually compatible with. People also need to not be so full of need that they subconsciously pull at me. That one I can't really explain, it's just a thing I feel. I don't think I can feel desire for anyone who is looking for salvation outside themselves.

If these are all met, I can have satisfying sex with a person. But each of these four elements is fucking rare. Especially awareness. So many people check out when they have sex and go to a purely physical place or have sex as a mental escape. I just don't find that remotely appealing.

Usually for it to go from "I can feel sexual desire" to "I actually want this enough to deal with the hassle of the STD/trigger/expectations conversation and the potential concerns of my current partner(s), therefore I will flip my internal switch and become sexually attracted to them" I have to be in love with the person. I don't find sex more nourishing than cuddles or conversation, so it's not worth the bother unless I am in love and therefore want to experience all possible connecting activities and want to bring them joy in any way available to me.

In a world without oppression where people valued awareness and giving, there would be many opportunities for me to want sex with people. as it is I am unlikely to want new sex partners very often )


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belenen: (healing)
cuddle communion #1! so nourishing! / consent agreements / cuddle list / leading to fill a need
icon: "healing (a photo of me and Hannah curled up together, naked, with Hannah's head resting on my legs and my arms around/over them. it's colored in violet with a fractal overlay of purple, blue, and green.)"


I had a really lovely nourishing evening last Sunday. I hosted a gather I called "Cuddle Communion" which was based loosely on cuddle parties I'd been to in the past. I went over a short list of consent agreements to begin with, and then we did structured cuddles, had a break for snacks and coffee, and then had unstructured cuddles and played truth-or-truth. I felt really connected with almost everyone there, and I definitely want to do it again. Next time I'm going to set the structured part into a flow from least to most intense, because I just did them randomly this time and that was okay, but could have been way better. Also, I want to finish the structured cuddles before the break, because after it is too hard to get back into that. And I looooove that truth-or-truth was the mental focus of the unstructured part this time, but others might want something less intense, so I want to try to set up something to listen to or watch, at least as an option.

consent agreements )

structured cuddle list )

After most people left, I was hanging out and talking with Serah and Alison about social change and leading things. Serah used to lead a spiritual gather but got burnt out, and I understand that feeling so well. I mentioned that that is why my ideal leadership is at least three volunteers who take turns and step down when they get tired. Usually what I see happen is one person leads and no one helps, and the leader gets so burnt out that they quit forever and the group disintegrates. I really think that any good leader doesn't lead because they want to lead, they lead because they see a need that no one else is filling.

Speaking of which, I felt so supported a few weeks ago when I was too exhausted to participate in intimacy practice, and the others took leadership and made it happen without me. I don't want to feel like it's mine, I want to feel shared ownership and care of IP, and that definitely made me feel that way.

I was talking with Saleena a few days ago about the same thing (good leaders just filling a need). Saleena and I are going to run a local community discussion/connection group together. The original idea was that it would be for trans people, but we want to expand it to all othered people and make it a safe space to talk or listen. I'm worried about creating a safe space where strangers can attend, because if an unsafe person attends that can be horrible, but there is no perfect solution. I think as long as Saleena and I are willing to call people on being problematic, we can make something good and safer than life in general while being imperfect.


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belenen: (interconnectedness)
why I identify as demisexual / what makes sex worth the effort / sexual vs sensual touch / kissing
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

The main reason I consider myself demisexual is that the actual 'sex' part of sex doesn't interest me. It's the things that I get during sex other than physical stimulation that make sex valuable to me. Things that make sex worth it for me are...

1) energy play that is easier and more intense because my body is revved up (exercise or roughhousing play works for this too, or some drugs I'm sure).
2) the intimacy of having someone watch my body and listen to my sounds when I am totally uninhibited. (being very drunk and dancing would provide this too, but is more work and expense).
3) the emotional high that my allosexual partners get from sex which makes them more relaxed and affectionate, sometimes for days after.
4) learning about someone in a wordless way through their reactions and desires.
5) in-depth discussions of feelings. I don't get much out of sex despite the above unless we talk out the experience afterward. This has been a difficulty for me because frankly most people are really bad at talking about sex and not great at talking about their feelings either, but I've had the occasional lover who was naturally good at it and others deliberately built their skills.

I don't experience any particular touch as always sexual, not giving or receiving. Nor do I experience any touch as inherently non-sexual. For me, sex is about intention more than anything else. I can't stand for my non-sexually-meant touch to be taken as sexual by someone else. Even if I am in a sexual relationship with them and often enjoy sex with them, if I am not wanting and intending sex, I don't want my touch to be taken that way. Along the same lines, I can often miss "I wanna have sex" signals because I don't apply sexual thought to touch unless that is invited. Someone once literally put their face in between my breasts and I did not interpret this as an expression of sexual interest (later they told me that it was and I realized that most people would probably have taken it that way).

I sometimes enjoy giving/receiving touch that would usually be sexual as purely sensual instead. Touch with that level of intimacy minus the urgency of sex makes for the most tender touch I can imagine. But then, I am not sure this translates for other people because my body still responds in a sexual way eventually. It just feels completely different and makes me almost want to cry (not in a sad way, but like I'd cry at a particularly beautiful piece of music). I've experienced this with Topaz, Kylei, and (to a much lesser extent) my ex-spouse.

I do like the physical sensation of touching other people's genitals. If not for all the mental associations, I would probably like to touch them often in non-sexual ways. That is, not for sexual pleasure but because they feel nice, warm and soft and close. I could cup my hand around them and have it held in place by their thighs which would feel very intimate (whether they were clothed or not). If not for people being ticklish or otherwise uncomfortable with the idea, I'd probably enjoy putting my hands in people's armpits for the same reason.

kissing )


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belenen: (kissy)
Love memory bank (jan and feb and then i forgot)
icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"


love memory bank )

Gonna try to get back in the habit!


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belenen: (woven souls)
essential qualities to be a good cuddler: good at consent, emotionally present & aware, not in need

icon: "woven souls (a photo of me and Hannah laying nude on black fabric, holding hands and facing each other with legs intertwined at the knee. the photo is overlaid with a scarlet and violet color filter)"

The qualities that are most vital are being good at consent, being good at staying emotionally present, and not radiating need. Consent is vital because any touch needs to be consensual and a cuddler needs to know how to navigate that and give someone safety. Being emotionally present and aware is necessary because that is the building block for being able to give cuddles that are emotionally nourishing as well as physically pleasant. Not being full of need is necessary because even if you are otherwise perfect, if you have great need you may unintentionally drain people with your presence unless they know how to guard against that, or you are amazingly good at putting it in a box for a time. (for people who are full of need, guess what would be great for them? a professional cuddler!)

1) A cuddler needs to be good at consent: good at noticing non-verbal "no"s and asking clarifying, specific questions such as, "is there any part of your body that you would like me to avoid touching? Is there any particular kind of touch that you do not like?" and things like "would you like to be spooned? would you like me to stroke your arms? do you want me to play with your hair?"
2) A cuddler needs to not be touch-starved or affection-hungry. If they go into a session without their own tanks full, it is quite possible that their touch will drain the client rather than nourish them.
3) A cuddler needs to be good at boundaries. They need to be able to state their own comfort level and to be willing and able to say no and perhaps end the session if the client is not listening to those statements and honoring them.
4) A cuddler needs to have calm, settled energy about them, so that the cuddles they give will be relaxing and they won't transfer any stress to the client.
5) A cuddler needs to be comfortable with other people's emotions, able to listen, care, and hold space without getting swept along.
6) A (professional) cuddler needs to be good at separating sexual touch from affectionate touch, so that they can both offer touch with no sexual energy and they can read when a client is not being platonic and set boundaries accordingly.
7) A cuddler needs to be good at paying attention and good at reading people's reactions, so that they can tell how to adjust their touch according to what would be the most nourishing for the client.
8) A cuddler needs to be very comfortable with cuddling, so that they don't feel self-conscious and make their client feel awkward and uncomfortable about receiving their touch. They need to have a level of confidence and willingness to change something that is not working for the client.






Only the last one is really about physical aspects. The rest is all mental! Not all of it is stuff you can control -- obviously people don't have a lot of control over how much they need or how calm they are or even how emotionally present they are (some disabilities can break you out of being present no matter how hard you try). Some of this is skill, and some of it is just qualities that you might have or you might not, and some is a combination.



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belenen: (nuzzle)
emotional/artistic work is still work / types of cuddles: giving, receiving, sharing, passive
icon: "nuzzle (a photo of two snow leopards, one facing the camera and the other in profile, nuzzling the first so much that the first one is leaning over)"


I've been thinking about cuddling for a living since I found out that there is a service near where I live that is hiring. I posted on facebook asking people if they'd be interested or knew others who would be. Some said yes and some said "yes I want cuddles but I wouldn't pay for them" and I found myself getting really offended and upset about it. Even after working it out logically (I do understand that reaction and don't need it explained) it's still upsetting. It feels like people are saying my skills aren't valuable or worth me being able to live on, which really is something I get constantly about everything I do (except stats).


People do this about every skill that is emotional or artistic in nature. Sure, it is rewarding to make art or teach people emotional skills, etc. But it takes energy! no one has an endless supply of that. Further, energy spent on emotional/artistic work means less energy for making money. Money is a thing that can get me food and shelter. If you don't think my emotional/artistic work is real enough work to earn me food and shelter then no, I don't want to give it to you. And when I have put hundreds of hours into building my skills, no, it's not the same as some random person who has never worked on it. It is really unlikely that any random person can give the cuddles I do. Affection or connection doesn't cut it; this is a skill. I have worked on these skills consciously for many years on many people. Cuddle skills are not common and even the sweetest and most loving people often have very low cuddle skills.

I am really fucking good at cuddling. I imagine that most people who are uncomfortable with the idea of paying for cuddles have in their mind the idea that cuddles are automatically mutual. They aren't. There are four kinds of cuddles as I see it - giving, receiving, sharing, and passive.

  • Giving (one-way) - this is where you are actively giving touch, such as stroking someone's hair or rubbing their back, and they aren't actively touching you, nor is there any plan for them to.

  • Receiving (one-way) - this is where you are not actively touching the other person while they are giving you touch, and there is no plan for you to give them touch.

  • Sharing (mutual) - this is where you and another person are engaged in mutually active and emotionally-present touch, such as both stroking each other's backs while lying together, or mouth-kissing, or hugging, or holding hands. It is only sharing touch if you are both actively, presently, and deliberately giving: it is quite common for one person to give a hug and the other receive it - that may look like sharing but it isn't.

  • Passive (can be mutual or one-way) - this is where you are touching the other person, but in an absent-minded or inactive way. An example would be leaning against someone while you both watch a show, or hugging while neither of you are focused on it.

If you have never just received without giving, you can't imagine how rejuvenating it is*. Shared cuddles are energizing but just receiving is like three times that intense. And it takes at least three times as much energy to just give: it's a huge investment of energy to just give fully-present cuddles, which is why I don't often do it for long stretches of time. I often brush Topaz' hair for hours on end because that is a less-present kind of giving that doesn't take much of my energy yet energizes them a lot. It's kinda halfway between passive and giving, because I shift in and out of being fully present in what I am doing (we're usually watching a show during this).

With people who do not give in cuddles for whatever reason, I only give if I am in a place where I can handle that much drain, or if I feel confident enough in their honesty & ability of response to request something that will help refill me. Mostly people are willing to give back, they just don't know how, because this is a learned skill. Sometimes I will have only passive cuddles with a person because that is something I can usually do without drain.

I probably seem arrogant, and I'm afraid someone's gonna be like "actually your cuddles stink" but I think that's an illogical fear. Though I think maybe I suck at cuddling Heather partly because I have been lazy the last few times we've hung out and partly because I don't think I've ever made them sigh in contentment, and after braggin on myself I'm also looking at all my cuddles given and thinking about my flaws.

I came up with a list of essential qualities for being good at cuddling, but I'm going to post that friends-locked because I sent it to the two places I applied to and I want to keep it under wraps until I get responses. If you're reading and you don't have an LJ, message me and I'll email it to you.

*I am sure that not all of this is true for all people, especially those who are not nourished by touch (less common, but certainly existing). Please take this with a grain of salt - I phrased it boldly because I feel strongly, not because I really think it is true for all people.


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belenen: (plant magic)
what nourishes me in friendship: self-care/growth/awareness, shared passion/enthusiasm, creating...
icon: "plant magic (photo I took of a tree blossom cluster, still in buds)"

A friend asked me what nourishes me in friendship, and after thinking on it, this is how friends can nourish me:

1. self-care/growth/awareness. This is far and away the most important, the thing that nourishes me most in spending time with someone (whether virtually or in-person). A person can be the best person in the world, but if they aren't good at self-care it will not nourish me to be around them. I think this is partly because I sense the care that they need and I have to practice a lot of self-discipline to be around them without trying to fill that hole (a vast improvement over my previous self, but still an intense and draining struggle for me), and that struggle gets exponentially harder the more I care about them. So the skill of self-care prevents me from feeling a constant drain (due to that internal struggle) in their presence.

But the other side of that, growth, is actively nourishing to me when it is shared with me. When someone has been, for instance, going to therapy regularly and learning new skills that they are applying in their relationships or their daily habits, I can feel that and it subconsciously nourishes me. (or if they have simply been taking a walk everyday because it helps them feel mentally clear and less anxious, or they've been reading more, etc) Further, if they describe it to me, it nourishes me more because I learn more about them as they learn about themselves, and I also learn about myself as they share. Sometimes this is because they share something that teaches me something new, sometimes it's just as simple as noting my reaction to a particular aspect of something and realizing something new about myself from that.

I often spark this on my own by asking questions that prompt self-reflection and growth, but that is usually a much much smaller nourishment because it requires energy to put in. If I ask a simple question and then the person makes explores it carefully and thoughtfully, that can be really nourishing, but that requires a certain mental habit of critical analysis and a level of practiced openness that most people don't have, so it is rare.

2. shared passion and enthusiasm. This is more complex than it seems at first glance, because it involves the other person not only understanding and caring about the same thing I care about, but expressing that emphatically and emotionally, 'hyper'ly even. And this could be anger, joy, excitement, shock, wonder, etc, any passionate emotion. Kylei has always nourished me in this way, because Kylei is very VERY good at being enthusiastic and loud about it. On the flip side, if I share something I feel passionate about with someone and they have a calm or flat reaction to it, I will feel drained by having shared with them and will wish I hadn't, because if I had instead written about it I would have had a better reaction just from myself re-reading it.

3. creating together. I find creating to be nourishing in itself, and when someone creates with me I feel extra nourished because I feel like they are investing in their self-care/growth as well as my self-care and growth. Conversely, if someone sets the intention with me to create, and then doesn't, I sometimes feel worse than I would have if I had just created alone.

4. spiritual working together. This can be incredibly nourishing but it requires number 1, 2, and 3 or it takes more energy than it gives.

5. asking me meaningful specific questions. This can be nourishing from anyone, but has far more impact if the question is one that I hadn't considered, and/or if it is about something that I am currently positively emotionally invested in. (being asked about things that I find stressful is draining, not nourishing, though someone who is really good at questioning can sometimes make an overall nourishing conversation out of it) Vague questions like "how are you?" are not at all nourishing because they take so much work for me to organize my thoughts and answer. (my ADD-PI means I hate vagueness in general, btw)

6. cuddles/focused touch. This can make me feel REALLY nourished BUT it is only good for me if the person is 1) good at self-care AND 2) is good at noting my reactions and adjusting for the comfort of both of us AND 3) is generous. I am very physically sensitive and it is easy to make me feel bad, and if I give a lot of cuddles without also getting them it rapidly gets more draining than nourishing. I like drinking and cuddling because I get numbed and then it is not distressing to the point of emotional suffering to have someone brush a sensitive place accidentally. Otherwise, I exclusively give (which I do really love when it doesn't happen too often) or do some specific and boundaried touch (like let them rub my feet or pet my hair).

7. gifts of effort. This can be things like driving to see me when you live far away, or doing a chore I hate doing. But if you don't ask if I want it and get a yes first (or ask if I have a blanket answer for that particular thing), it can be upsetting, because I want to be able to measure my gratitude against your effort. If it is going to take a lot out of you but only give me a little, then it is not worth it and if you do it I will just feel bad for your loss rather than feeling happy for my gain.

Things that have low to no nourishment value for me: activities which don't involve the previous things (so, going to the movies together would not nourish me unless we deconstructed it after or something), people expressing empathy/sympathy for my negative feelings (I want them to care, but I'm okay just trusting that they care unless I am in a desperate place and if I am there, I will specifically request support), being told nice things about myself, being listened to without feedback. These are all nice and certainly don't have a negative effect, but they are not things that have a large emotional impact on me.


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belenen: (night -- atlanta)
recently: time w Abby, Anika, Kat visiting / Solstice celebration & ritual / Mercury died / xmas
icon: "night -- atlanta (a photo I took of Atlanta at sunset viewed from an airplane window)"


Kylei and I attempted to make a plan for the first time since our big clash about lack of interactions, it failed but I decided to go to the park we'd made plans at anyway and it's on my list of favorites now. It was very well-wooded and though it is hilly, the switchbacks are gradual enough that I don't hate it for the incline. There was one spot that made me feel a sense of holiness. I can't wait to go back after the trees have put out leaves again.

I picked Abby up from the airport when they came into town and after we had dinner at my favorite restaurant and I petted their hair a bit they crashed out. The next day they ran errands with me (including an AWFUL stop at the incredibly crowded post office) and helped me talk with the new coffeeshop owner about putting up fractals for commission there. I felt cozy going around with them, though they were still frazzled from the day before and we spent a good bit of time in silence, especially while crafting (both finishing solstice gifts). Then Topaz and Abby and I all went to the grocery store, came back and had dinner together while watching a Xena, and I spent the night. The next morning we had breakfast and coffee together and then I went home to do all the preparation things (partially so they could have one-on-one time). When I came back I tidied Topaz' basement with Abby's help -- poor Abby was just wiped out, so we didn't hang out much.

Solstice was a giant bustle of activity, with me, Topaz, Abby, Anika, Matt, Suzu, Kei-Won-Tia, Christo, Kat and their friend Sause, Heather, Brian, Kylei, Allison & their person Jonathan, and Jaime. More people brought food than Topaz and I were expecting (Topaz made adorable delicious tiny sandwiches and got fruits and veggies and I made my superfood dip), so we actually ended up with more food than we needed. After most everyone arrived, we had ritual: a shared damiana shot (with damiana tea for the little one), writing down things to let go of and then burning them, a spiral hug, and then drawing stones from a bowl of water and water beads. I had brought a number of stones and written all the meanings in my book of magic, so after everyone drew a stone (without looking) I then told them what their stone meant. I was a bit disappointed at mine -- snowflake obsidian -- but then when I looked at the meaning I laughed out loud because it was so perfect. Anika chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Kei-Won-Tia chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Topaz chose the stone I had gotten thinking of them! I was pretty blown away by that, and pleased. I remember thinking that all of them were appropriate but I don't remember what the others got.

After ritual we started opening presents and it was WAYYYY too chaotic for me, I got very overwhelmed and almost had to leave the room, I just couldn't deal with all the things happening at once. Overall I learned that I need present opening to be more structured for me to enjoy it at all. Last year it was so much calmer just because everyone had been laying around cuddling I think, and only one person was walking around at a time. Next year I want to do Topaz' suggestion of having each person take turns giving out their gifts. I really like seeing people open my gifts and also present compersion -- watching Kylei open a gift from Heather, for instance. I hope everyone is okay with that, I think they would be but no one thought of it. Later we all had food and alcohol and played a little bit of truth or truth. Allison arrived and I gave them my present -- a fractal I'd made for them, mounted on canvas with a painted border. They seemed to really love it which made me happy and relieved (I'd never done it before and was worried that it wouldn't appeal). As things wound down, eventually it was me, Kat, Jaime, Allison (and their person, who seems to appreciate Allison exactly as they are which makes me SUPER happy), and Topaz (maybe someone else too??). I got super great cuddles, playing with Allison's hair and getting a hand massage from Kat. It's very blurry (I was drunk and exhausted) but I remember feeling so loved that these people were not just spending time with me but investing in learning about each other. I have no idea what we talked about but the energy and cuddles were very nourishing for me.

Next morning I got up and helped make pancakes, did a billion and a half dishes, had breakfast, and said
goodbye to Kat and Sause (who I didn't get to really talk with, but seems really easygoing and open; I feel like it would be fairly easy to connect with them in a much smaller setting). Then I tidied more, hung out with Jaime until they had to leave for work, and talked with Anika and Abby while massaging Abby (who had neck/shoulder pain). After Anika and Matt and Suzu left to go to Sanctuary with Kei-Won-Tia, Abby and I took off for the nearest park under grey and horrid skies -- right after we arrived it started raining, so we climbed a baseball tower (no idea what it is actually called) and watched the rain and talked about solstice.

We went home and I saw Mercury (one of my bettas) looking dead and freaked the fuck out -- turns out they weren't dead just very lethargic and with a giant wound. After flailing a while I set up a quarantine bowl and put them in it, still incredibly rattled and upset. Abby and I sat around talking for a little while as I tried to calm down, and then I drove through rain and dark with wiper blades that won't work properly, terrified, and arrived at Topaz' even more shaky, with my hands literally shaking. Abby asked how to help me, I didn't know, they gave me a hug which helped some. Then Topaz arrived and comforted me too, and I just started crying, overwhelmed. Topaz put their hand over my heart and gave energy (I checked to make sure they were pulling from elsewhere because I am not at all comfortable with people draining themselves for my sake) which helped hugely. I wouldn't have thought to ask for it but I was very grateful. I decided to go lay down for a while as Abby and Topaz made dinner. Once it was ready we watched "Playing By Heart" because apparently Abby had still never seen it??!??

Later I realized I felt sad and told Abby about it -- that I felt sad about not intentionally connecting. We talked about it and I explained that I wasn't blaming them or asking for an apology, that I just wanted a fix for the future. Eventually we felt agreement and I asked them to sit with me holding hands and put our foreheads together (I initially suggested that we make eye contact but they felt that was too intense). When we did this I felt relief, and connection, like that missing bit finally clicked.

Then suddenly Abby and Topaz were full of playful energy and played hide and go seek, I 'found' Topaz who wanted a backpack ride but when Topaz jumped on, they were too close to the wall and smashed their knee (which hurt for days and I felt SO bad, forever after the jump-on part only happens in the middle of the room). Abby went to talk to Darryl and Topaz and I wrestled and made out (which made me happy partly because in the past Topaz wouldn't have done that in the common area if there was another person anywhere in the house). Topaz had suggested 3-person cuddles and I asked Abby, who liked the idea, so we cuddled with Abby in the middle and then Topaz in the middle. I gave Abby face pets and they liked them (yay!). But then Abby was falling asleep so we just left them to it.

Next day Abby and I went over to Sanctuary to hang out with Kei-Won-Tia, Anika, Waylon, Matt, and Suzu -- Christo was supposed to join also but was busy. We played a long game of Truth or Truth and I got to know Waylon a bit; they seem like the most humbly-hungry-for-understanding person I think I have ever met, which I love. When it got near time for me and Anika to leave, I was sitting next to Abby and feeling sad that this would be the last time we saw each other for a while, not really sure what to do with that feeling. Kei-Won-Tia suggested that Abby and I go cuddle to say goodbye, which was so perfectly the thing needed. We had really sweet cuddles, very connected -- possibly the most connected cuddles we've ever had, at least to me. I felt a validation of my hope the night before that the intentional connection would have a lasting effect. Then Anika rode with me to my house in terrible dark rain again, and lounged on my bed talking and occasionally cuddling for about seven hours. It was really good to have one-on-one time and while I can't remember what we talked about (arghhh) it was meaningful and nourishing and I felt we built more connection.

The next day when I woke up my fish still wouldn't eat -- three days of not eating when this fish is usually very excited about food -- and the wound looked worse, and they seemed so depressed that I felt bad about their suffering. I looked online to see if there was some painless way I could help them die, and everywhere said that clove oil would work to make them go to sleep (it's used for fish surgery) and then a much larger dose would kill them. I had clove oil on hand so I tried it -- and they freaked out and swam all around and I felt like the worst creature ever to live, but there was no going back, so I felt trapped and had no idea what to do, I looked online again and they said to wait 10 minutes for it to work, ugh, I went back and they were still so I poured the lethal dose in, ugh, ugh, I feel like the worst person, gasping and crying, saying "I'm so sorry I'm so sorry." After, I found someone else who said they had the experience I had and apparently I either added it too quickly or had them in too large of a container or both, fuck. Never ever again. Apparently you can buy a euthenasia powder online, I'm going to do that as soon as I have money, in case this happens again. I just can't trust a method that caused distress, even if it was because I did it wrong. The video I watched about it had the fish so peacefully drifting off... *deep sad frown* Later that night Topaz picked me up and I spent the night with them, doing nothing I can remember.

Next: Topaz' biofamily christmas. LOADS OF PEOPLE ALL DAY and I had to be all demure and shit. The highlights were Topaz' parents giving me good coffee and gel pens, and me giving people small fractal prints in envelopes with the title on them. I was hoping that people would at least count it as a gift but didn't think there would be a strong reaction -- but almost everyone I gave them to exclaimed over them and seemed really happy about them! I felt so happy and gratified that they seemed to mean something to people. And I loved when they would point out ways they interpreted it. Later one of Topaz' parents referred to me as an artist which was the first time I think anyone has ever called me that (at least, to my face).

That night I had weirdly intense dreams about moving and school and Firekat and visiting a church (like, testing out a christian church to see if they were non-poopfaces). I had to pack all my things into a truck bed and I had 7 huge shelves of spices and way too many books. According to the internet, spices mean a yearning for variety, books mean calm slow progress, and packing means change ahead, putting the past behind you. My first thought was that I couldn't possibly take all of the spices, then I thought of selling some of them, and then of bringing only the ones in plastic jars (so they wouldn't break), and finally deciding fuck it, I want all of them, others wouldn't appreciate them enough. With the books, I was intrigued to see ones I hadn't read, but I didn't feel attached to any in particular (I had already packed my favorites). This all took place in the basement (subconscious). So, I'm taking that to mean I'm getting to the end of a learning phase and my focus is going to be more varied. That in rejecting limiting my options, I get to actually have it all. Later I talked about this with Topaz and they said it sounded to them like it was about me being poly (which was the same feeling I had gotten). Topaz expressed that they don't want me to hold back for their sake and I said that while I do feel I am getting to the point where I actually have the energy for additional romance, I don't have anyone in particular whom I want to pursue that with, but I will let them know if/when that changes.


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belenen: (vivacious)
why I'm in love with Topaz: the condensed stream-of-consciousness version
I'm so fuckin in love with Topaz. It's super frustrating how hard it is to find words that adequately express the things that I love so much and why I love them. I love how physical zir excitement is -- even though the wild pounding on my arm/shoulder is not actually pleasant, it's adorable in a rude way. I love how ze tucks zirself up against me in hugs or in laying cuddles, filling all the space between. I love how ze is pleased when I teasingly mock zir for being a brat. I love how ze plays with me, I love this so very much. The other day I kissed zir neck in a way that tickled, so ze tried to kiss my neck to tickle me back, and we had a laughing war for a little while. We often have bite wars like that, or Topaz will smack me in response to me teasing zir and I'll smack back and ze'll cry 'ow!' and smack me harder, so I smack harder, and ze's sort of trying to win but only kinda, and laugh and go back and forth until ze calls it off. We laugh so much, cuddle so much. We wrestle, and play tag, and annoy each other just to the point of fun and no further. I brush zir hair a lot, and hold zir and pet zir and kiss zir all the time, and ze hugs me a lot and nuzzles into me. We are sometimes kittens and sometimes other creatures and often communicate without words. I cry when I am moved by music or a concept or a scene, and Topaz looks at me and I can feel zir feeling it with me. Ze says ze loves that I cry because ze has the same feeling and ze can know that I feel it too by looking at me (I'm paraphrasing).

Ze holds my hand when we go to zir garden, almost every time, and I've just realized this is probably in reference to the first time it was cold and dark and Topaz wanted to show me things and I didn't want the discomfort and ze begged and I said that if ze held my hand and led me then it would be an adventure instead of a discomfort and so ze did, delightedly. I love that when we are holding hands in the car and I pull my hand away for something (usually because a turn is coming up and I don't want to be the reason ze doesn't have two hands on the wheel) ze gestures frantically for my hand back as soon as the impetus is over. I love that ze values holding hands and sees it as the most romantic gesture.

I love that ze takes me seriously anytime I want, and doesn't believe small things to be large when I say they are small (as in, if I have a mild desire to go to a place and ze doesn't, ze doesn't think I am minimizing my feelings for zir sake but trusts that I am being frank). I love, love, love, love, that I can ask for anything at all and be SURE that Topaz will not say yes unless ze is a yes. Sometimes ze will have difficulty saying no, but the awkward stop-start-silence is easy to read as a no so it works just as well, I drop the topic and ze brings it up when ze is ready. The lack of feigning agreement is the important thing. I also love that if ze can't talk about it now, ze will remember to bring it up later so I don't have to fret that it is going unresolved. I love that sometimes Topaz will look over my shoulder when I check email or texts, or will ask who texted me or what I am writing (I do not have a privacy setting with anyone that I want to know me who is willing to offer the same openness). I love that ze gets me little presents that show ze was thinking of me -- a dark chocolate and mint bar, or a pretty tea tin, or cinnamon altoids, or a real-ginger ale.

I love that ze is unafraid to express missing me and also doesn't pressure me for more time than I want to give, but rather expresses encouragement to me for doing things that matter to me. I love that ze has devoted so much to learning me that ze can see emotions/motives in me sometimes before I have realized they are there. I love that ze enjoys some of my word idiosyncrasies and uses them also. I love that ze values the things I give to the world and that I don't feel like it's sympathy but instead genuine belief in my art forms and my esoteric gifts. I love that ze values my beliefs even where they differ from zirs and will refer to them spontaneously sometimes -- it bolsters my faith and often happens just when I needed to be reminded. I love that ze loves my body on zir own and refers to it independently, not just when I ask zir to notice it or comment on it.

I've never felt so loved by one person in my life. I think perhaps others have loved me as much, but they did not express it in ways I could feel so deeply and fully and often.


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belenen: (interconnectedness)
2 intimacy practices (Heather, Ariana, Anika, me, Abby, Kylei, Topaz, Camellia, Kei-Won-Tia, Roger)
We had two intimacy practices this week. Tuesday, Heather and Ariana and Anika and I had a small one (Topaz was there at the start but was feeling migrainey so had to go home). It was Ariana's first and Anika's 3rd, I think? Anyway the four of us talked about lots of things as per usual but the part that stuck out the most to me was the common thread of spirituality; during truth-or-truth I asked Heather and Ariana some questions and someone else asked Anika a question that also led to discussion of spirituality. I felt very resonant with Ariana when we talked about plants and the energy of the four of us was very... soft and mighty, like moss on a giant tree. I felt really connected to everyone and like I learned a lot about Ariana in a short time.

Then tonight we had another, with me and Abby, Anika, Kylei, Topaz, Camellia, Kei-Won-Tia, Roger, and of course me. This one felt so magical, partly because I got to cuddle with Topaz and Kei-Won-Tia and Camellia (really close cuddles that felt very open, which was new between me and Kei-Won-Tia and Camellia), and partly because I felt really in sync with Topaz and Kei-Won-Tia and Anika. The truth or truth was the best it has ever been, I think, with each question opening up the questionee and a really good balance of timing. At one point I was asked to reflect out loud on the new people in my life and I did, and then felt a burst of intensified connection, and at another point there was a resonance between Kei-Won-Tia and Topaz that I also felt (to a lesser extent) which made me feel so close, and loving, and appreciative of the sharing that allowed it. Sadly Kylei started feeling ill and had to go, which meant Roger did too as they were Kylei's ride, and Anika had to go to take care of the baby, and Topaz had to leave for Cosmos. That was sad to miss, but the second half was still great and people asked me questions that made me consider things I hadn't before, which is something I treasure.

Also, Kei-Won-Tia got confused about the date for another event and so showed up early, then kept me company as I cleaned lots. Since cleaning alone is hard for me this was a wondrous (if accidental) gift <3


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belenen: (osculant)
Touch: the kinds of hugs, kisses, and cuddles that I love
I really love hugs. Before Topaz I rarely got good ones: either they squished my (very sensitive) breasts or they were loose and impersonal or even worse they were perfunctory pretend-closeness and came with the 'pat-pat' (BLUGHHHH, gross gross gross). But now I've both gotten spoiled and learned to hug better: full-body gentle pressing-close with full presence of attention, melting my arms into them rather than pressing my hands to them and sticking my elbows out. I was always afraid of hugging people 'too long' but I'm over that shit now (mostly) and don't do the wrap-arms-around-wait-one-second-exactly-and-then-pull-away unless I'm distracted. I try not to hug distractedly and it's now my favorite touch. I'm trying to get in the habit of letting the other person pull away first (the second they move to pull away I let go of course). I love being hugged from behind (because then I feel no anxiety about my breasts getting squished). I love hugging people from behind (because then I don't have to worry about people pulling me forward at the shoulder awkwardly over my breasts in hunching discomfort). I looooove hugging people shorter than me because they fit so neatly with me, their shoulder tucked under my arm and their head resting on my shoulder/chest. I love hugging people who melt into me.

Kisses are second; I like almost all varieties of kisses as long as the person doesn't eat a lot of meat (it makes you taste acrid) or have spiky stubble. I like bitey ones (if they take enough lip in, biting a tiny bit of my lip is NO) and hard-pressing ones and lots-of-tongue ones and closed-mouth full-pressing gentle ones. My favorite is full-pressing bottom-lip-sucking tongue-stroking-lips with occasional tongue penetration. Although I do really like full-mouth tongues stroking each other like snakes, as long as the person doesn't make their tongue a poky cylinder (soft tongue is better!) but I haven't done that in a long while because Topaz doesn't like it and I haven't been romantic/sensual with anyone else. Kisses on places other than my mouth I like to be soft but full-pressing (where most of your lips touch the person but not in a pursed way; putting your lips against their skin before making the kissing motion).

I also cherish cuddling and being petted (and petting others the same way). I love having someone run their fingers through my hair with soft (and some hard) tugs. I love having my back scritched or lightly stroked. I love holding hands fingers-entwined, especially with attention (like the person petting/kissing my hand) or with forearms also touching (that kind usually has to be done lying down). I love having my feet rubbed, but massage other places doesn't do much for me unless I'm sore. I love to give and receive shoulder-kisses; for me the shoulder kiss means something different than a kiss anywhere else. It means affection with no expectation of reciprocity (I don't know why it has this connotation for me). I love being nuzzled (gently). I love being wrapped up with someone, like when I lay with someone and we have arms and legs intertwined, or a flamingo hug. I love when someone paintbrush-pets me, running along my edges and contours with a skimming fingertip. I love full-body laying-down hugs where the person is on top of me with feet tucked under my legs and arms tucked under my back with hands folded over my shoulders (or vice-versa). I love biting and being bitten -- this can be playful or sensual or erotic or any combination, and is the one kind of sexual touch I like 'randomly' (outside of sexual experiences). I love when people gently press their face into my neck. I love when people sit in my lap and let me wrap them up in my arms. I looooove when people stroke my hips and waist, sliding along my side-twist. I love carrying people on my back (and I'm pretty strong: I can carry at least 3/4ths of my own weight). I love energy-flow touch like each person putting their right hand on the other person's heart chakra.

Sex is good too, but if I could never have it again I'd be fine. Loving deliberate touch, though, I need in order to be a happy and nourished person.

What are your favorite kinds of touch? be as specific and descriptive as possible ;-)
sounds: Banks - Fall Over | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (analytical)
prompt 10: how I show love and how I receive love
prompt from [livejournal.com profile] rmpenguino: How do you show your love for others? Does that influence how you receive love?

How I express love varies a lot. The ways that come easiest for me are ways that feel good to me, such as:
- showing curiosity about the person by urging them to share, asking questions, and taking in what they say.
- responding to their sharing with openness of my own (this is easier in writing, but I'm working on getting better in-person).
- giving unprompted, loving, present touch (with consent) that asks for nothing in return.
- initiating making plans to spend time with them.
- actually spending time with them.
- watching, noticing and expressing appreciation of their idiosyncrasies/uniqueness, such as their turn of phrase, or how they dress, or how they yawn, or how they laugh, their skills and talents, etc.
- taking photos of them: I often try to capture the aspects that I love so that I can show them and they can see a side of themselves they might not have seen otherwise. It's also just a way that says "I don't want to lose the memory of you" because without photos or writing I lose most memories.
- writing about them: the same "I want to remember you" sentiment, with some "I am proud to know you" also.
- creating/finding gifts that express "I know you and I care for you and I connect with you."
- acts of service: things that are difficult or unpleasant for me that will matter to the person, such as doing their dishes/laundry/etc, driving to see them, talking to them real-time without a planned conversation, making them food or coffee, or anything that doesn't come naturally to me but makes them feel loved. This one depends on how much energy I have to spare.

Does that influence how you receive love?
No, it's more that how I prefer to receive love is how I know to give love: if it's not something I would want, I have to work hard to understand it and get skill at giving it. I definitely want people to show me love in the ways that I show love, but I am willing (though not always able) to show love in ways that are not natural for me (see 'acts of service'). I can intellectually appreciate it when someone shows me love in a way that doesn't make me feel loved, but I can only feel meta-loved by it, like if you hear second-hand that someone said they love you; it is diluted.
sounds: Au Revoir Simone - Hand Over Hand | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (osculant)
expressions of love in friendship: cuddles and questions
Yesterday I was spending time with a friend whom I'd never hung out with one-on-one before, and we were exchanging meaningful questions (for me, meaningful questions are expressions of love even more than kisses or verbal statements of love), and it got me thinking about cuddles in friendship.

I realized that I want more cuddles from my friends. I don't feel touch-deprived at all, because in my relationship with Topaz we do share a lot of touch and I find it really nourishing. But it is important to me to have that dimension in my friendships, to participate in the non-verbal communication that happens only through touch. I want to feel cozy with the people I care about. And pretty much all (all but one maybe?) of my local friends are super cuddly, so where is the disconnect that leads to nothing more than greeting and parting hugs?

The disconnect is two-fold. On the one hand, I am super careful about consent, so I am not going to touch someone unless I am sure that they want it -- but I don't think to ask, so I exist in a state of not-knowing and therefore not-doing. On the other hand, I do not want to have to do all of the initiating or all of the giving, and I have gotten into that pattern so many times that I think I'm gun-shy about starting out with giving. It's not really a rational fear, I don't think, as I am pretty sure that my friends are generous with touch. But thinking about all of this made me realize that I need to verbalize these things now that I have made them consciously realized. As I talked with Cass about this, we cuddled -- walking with arms around each other or holding hands or stroking each others' shoulders. And it made me feel so satisfied and it made me feel more able to understand Cass in a way that I can't explain, and most of all it made me feel unafraid. I think in an ambient environment of no cuddles I feel anxious, I feel afraid of accidentally crossing boundaries that I didn't know existed, because it is unnatural to me to not cuddle and I have to be constantly aware of what NOT to do.

I also started thinking again about questions, about how being asked deep personal questions is such a sign of desire for intimacy and also a sign of respect. I realized that intimacy practice is actually meeting that need for me in a much bigger way than I realized, but that it is also something I want more of. I want to be prompted to share more, share new levels, look at things I haven't considered.


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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
What do you look for in a significant other? (what I want to be given)
most people answer, in one order or another, “intelligence, looks, humor," maybe with a shared hobby thrown in. I think those people are super new to understanding humans because 1) everyone has those things and 2) those things don’t make a relationship good.

If you actually want a positive relationship that nourishes you, I'm convinced you have to figure out what you want another person to GIVE, not what you want another person to BE. Except for sex-related things, this whole list pertains to close friends as well:

I want to be given:
1) love.
mostly expressed through the rest of this list. I want to feel that the person has a very deep appreciation for my existence. That is especially important at my birthday, as I feel like celebrating that day is a statement that the person feels my existence is a gift.

2) respect (belief in equality and practice of careful consent)
Being respectful of me and of all humankind (a person doesn't have to be perfectly equalist, but has to work on shunning/dismantling ranking systems like sexism, racism, heterosexism, lookism, elitism, etc.). Being respectful of all life and refrain from causing unnecessary destruction. Also being willing to pay close attention to my yes/no, my boundaries about my body, and to avoid pressuring me to anything I did not want to do.

3) expressions of desire to understand me.
Especially asking questions about things they know I care about, and asking follow-up questions to things I share, and giving feedback for the things I share. Particularly while listening to me with their whole body facing me while making eye contact.

4) expressions of valuing our connection and wanting to be close to me.
For instance, pointing out things about our connection that are especially nourishing, or that are unique. And simply stating it, like "I love how we connect." Also, building our connection through pointing out spaces or times when it is weaker and working on it. (and, if we were in a sexual relationship, expressing desire to have sex with me specifically, and appreciation for how we have sex). Another way of expressing that they value our connection would be talking about it to others, or showing public affection, or representing it in art, or appreciatively mentioning to others something I've done (in my presence).

5) affection.
through focused and emotionally present touch, eye contact, and verbal appreciation of my passions and idiosyncrasies. Especially these specific things: cupping my face in their hands and looking in my eyes. initiating kisses. hugging with bodies pressed close and faces nuzzled in for at least 8 seconds. rubbing my feet. kissing me randomly on shoulders or whatever part is in reach. stroking my back or arms lightly and briefly in passing. playing with my hair. holding my hands and looking in my eyes. noticing some small thing I do uniquely and commenting on it with affection, or adopting it as part of their self-expression also.

6) inspiration to grow, learn, and create, through them doing those things and encouraging me in those things.
looking for opportunities to grow and mature, especially with regards to increasing compassion and unlearning prejudice. Actively creating a more positive self and world, and being curious about everything (and people in particular). And being creative in some way or another (including work as an art form). Asking questions about my processes in these areas, pointing out places I have grown or could grow, and making sure to give space for those things.

7) voluntary and enthusiastic communication, through them sharing openly and honestly with me.
share zir thoughts/feelings/motives voluntarily and truthfully, with a goal of becoming ever more authentic and transparent. Desire to be known by me as much as possible.

8) freedom, through them not placing expectations on me without my explicit consent.
this means especially not expecting that kind things I do imply that I will continue to do those things. Every single time needs to be a gift, never an obligation. Also, not expecting a certain amount of my time, or to be prioritized above other things.
sounds: Au Revoir Simone - The Lucky One | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (progressing)
what I need to live, to cope, and to thrive: notes for self-care and usermanual reference
Things I need to be alive:
enough sleep -- about 7 hours a night
at least 64 oz of clean water a day
healthy, live food with enough protein and potassium and little bad stuff
physical activity (doesn't have to be intense, just has to be enough to get my blood all freshened up)
sunlight (Georgia usually gives me enough but I have to seek it out in the winter)
the freedom to be alone as often as I like, for as long as I like
meaningful connection with other humans

Things to help me cope when I'm having a hard time:
watching something that makes me laugh without making me hate the world (a hard thing to find!)
distraction by pretty things (movies with beautiful settings, Guild Wars 2)
going out and getting coffee, then enjoying it somewhere other than home
going out in nature, especially if someone else drives to the place, especially around big trees
tidying my space, especially with company
shopping for used books and/or crafting supplies
being petted, especially receiving foot rubs
someone holding space for me to be sad/hurting

Things I need to be completely fulfilled (I can live without any of these things but if too many are missing, I will slowly be drained of all energy):
people I love (who also make me feel safe) asking me prying questions
active connection with spirit-kin (like Topaz, Hannah, Kylei, Anita, Chip)
active connection with heart-kin (like Aurilion, all the treespirit folk)
active connection with soul-kin (like Kat, Topaz, Adi, Nea)
active connection with mind-kin (like Abby, Hannah, Kate, Aaron)
thoughtful, emotionally-present and mutually-generous cuddles at least every other day
emotionally-present kissing and/or sex with someone I'm (mutually) in love with
regular, emotionally-present eye contact with people I love and trust
a self-date at least once a week for at least five hours
writing in my journal at least every other day
making art at least monthly
productive crafty parties
intimacy practices
consciously opening my spiritual awareness, regularly
being effusively loving and close with multiple people
taking photos (incl. and esp. self-portraits) at least weekly, and sharing them at least monthly
being 'out' in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible (any hiding makes me feel less myself)
going to see live music at least every other month, preferably monthly
listening to my favorite artists at least 10 hours a week (in the car or at home)
raising plant babies
having a tidy home and car

(inspired by [livejournal.com profile] rextrocular's usermanual post)
sounds: The Notwist - One Step Inside Doesn't Mean You Understand | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
Topaz and closeness through touch
I want to explain my relationship with Topaz in concrete, visual terms; I want to make it real outside myself. We have so much closeness in so many ways, especially through touch.

I carry Topaz on my back often, just around the house -- I'll get up to go get water and Topaz will say, "where are you going?" and I will answer and ask if ze wants a ride (ze has never said no that I can remember) and then ze will hold the water bottle as I hold onto zir legs and go downstairs and into the kitchen. Or I'll just be walking along and ze will grab my shoulders and leap onto my hips. Or I'll take zir arms and loop them over my shoulders and lean over and walk around with zir draped over me. And we hold hands while we are in the car or while we're sitting together having coffee or if we're walking together. And if we're watching something together I'll usually have my arms around Topaz or ze will put zir head in my lap. And I brush zir hair and braid it very often, and pet zir head and face and neck. And if we're in the kitchen waiting on coffee to brew, we will be hugging and occasionally kissing. And if we pass each other in the hall, one of us will caress the other on the way. And we sleep cuddled up from feet to forehead, taking turns spooning the other. And we hold the other if the other is sad. And I constantly kiss Topaz on the shoulders and hands and face. And ze nuzzles me so often, and tucks zir face into my neck.

And the most important bit is that I never feel like my touch is falling into a vacuum. Topaz always responds, if not in movement or sound at least in energy. When I hug zir, ze's present and hugs back. When I pet zir, ze leans into it in a nonverbal purr. Often when I wrap my arms around zir and hug and then begin to move away, ze captures my arm and pulls me back. Sometimes when we are holding hands and ze needs that hand for something ze will switch hands or put my hand on another place and press it there to stay until ze picks it up again.

For a while I was worried that Topaz did not enjoy touching me as much as I enjoyed touching zir. When we talked about it Topaz explained that ze has never had this level of touch in zir life and is constantly sated, but that as ze gets used to it ze will initiate more. I've seen that happen lately and it makes me incredibly happy. I can feel that as ze is caressing me, ze is feeling nourished by that alone -- it is not a bore to lead to something more fun, but an end in itself. Because I can feel that, I can accept touch without getting to a point where I begin to feel obligated to return it, and I feel nourished and safe and loved. Recently I had an evening where I felt bare-nerve raw and asked for gentle healing touch and Topaz gave it to me without hesitation or the slightest bit of resentment though it was not what ze had been wanting.

And it's playful. We'll scramblefight like kittens, biting and giggling and shrieking in turn. We wrestle and chase and duck and pounce. Ze's strong and very aware of zir body so I don't have to worry about hurting zir; we're well-matched.

And when we kiss it's like nothing else. When we kiss briefly it's sweet, a little spark of joy, and when we kiss for more than a second it's transcendent. I'd think that I'd get tired of it but it never lessens in beauty. It still makes me sway and close my eyes and grin like the Cheshire cat, still makes shivers skitter down my back.
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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
poem: "Touch"
I've been touched like a security blanket;
clutched, clung to, squished up and dragged,
rubbed,
wrung for drips of comfort.

I've been touched like a pump dispenser;
just enough to produce results, efficiently,
buttons pressed,
manipulated for easy pleasure.

I've been touched like a pet;
absent-mindedly, mechanically petted,
as requested,
as though a pelt and not a living being.

I've been touched like a feral creature;
tentatively, rarely,
a placating gesture
with no desire.

I want
I want
I want to be touched like the familiar sacred;
a talisman, a touchstone,
a treasured carving
held reverently, closely.

I want
I want
I want hands on my skin,
fingertips like tiny tongues
tasting my candy skin hungrily.

I want
I want
I want examination, exploration
to be cherished in texture and shape,
in my softness and points,
every curve and crease,
no part unnoticed.

observe me
intimately
sounds: Austra - The Beast | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (artless)
surprisingly profound kisses / reality shifts from accidental tripping -- changed perception of fear
The other night I kissed someone and it blew me away. I've experienced kisses like that with people I was in love with, but never with someone I don't even really know. We kissed and I felt shifted out of time and when we stopped kissing I felt like I was re-entering this reality. And while we were kissing I felt zir feelings and they reflected in me and it built and got more intense and then I slowed it down and stopped because it was about to turn into sex for me and I was in the living room with other people around (who hadn't consented to sharing space with sex). But even though I'm usually nervous and super cautious about first sex, I think if other people hadn't been around I would not have even been connected enough to this reality to think that way. I don't think it would have turned actively stimulative (as in genital touch) but that's not necessary for my sex and I got the strong impression that it wasn't necessary for zirs either. I felt so perfectly in tune and unified. And before we kissed we had both talked about how we didn't want to start anything new, and while I still don't want to start a new romantic relationship right now, I'm incredibly fascinated and curious -- I want to know why it felt like that! I want to know how we connect, if it's just a body connection or if it's more than that. I am a little nervous about the idea of pursuing friendship because I'm concerned that I will start wanting more, but I can deal with that if it happens. And it's not like I have spare time!

Speaking of reality shifts, twice now I've accidentally tripped on stuff that does not cause reality shifts for other people. The experience I had was of a perception shift -- things were happening in dream reality, then as if I were watching a movie completely non-interactive, then as "real" reality, flipping rapidly like tree shadows as you drive by. I was existing in the space between all three, in the cracks of the universe. I could also feel all of my body but it felt alien and so I felt like my brain was lying to me about what was really happening; I felt actively disassociated. The first time was absolutely horrible because I didn't know if I would ever "get back" and I felt like no one could come with me and it was horribly lonely. The second time (I somehow thought the first time was a fluke -- nope!) I had a guide and there were people with me who were very connected with me and I could still feel their presence; it was still scary but I was much more equipped to handle the fear. The fear was about what is real; in dream reality it is okay to do things that in waking reality will hurt people and beings. I feared that I would cause harm to myself or others and I feared that my brain was making up a cover story to hide some horrible experience that "real" me was having. The first time, I happened to sit on a chocolate that then melted onto my leg and I was convinced that everyone was lying to me to make me feel okay about having shat myself. (that fear lasted days and three washes of my robe, which still smelled like chocolate afterward and finally convinced me that it was chocolate -- though I STILL have some doubt)

Those experiences have changed me in a profound way. My concept of reality was never very objective, and now is even more fluid. I have the ability to "shift out" and feel as if I am dreaming, which I think will serve me very well once I learn to use it to handle situations that cause me fear. I feel like I can use this to do serious work with fears I have. Because I think lots of the things I do in dreams I should be able to do in real life, like telling off sexists and racists. And I need to remember that it is okay to get in giant messes and I don't need to be living in constant avoidance of fucking up. I think my fear of physical harm is more than is rational; if my leg breaks I will probably be okay eventually, and if someone assaults me, I will probably live and recover. I cannot live as if one bruise will kill me. I need to take more risks if I want more miracles.


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belenen: (progressing)
important events in 2011 / becoming an effective catalyst for the change I want to see in the world


2011 was a whirlwind of growth and renewal; looking back, I cannot believe how much I've changed and how much my life has changed. I feel like I wouldn't even recognize my year-ago self. And yet so much has changed since the turn of the year... exponential change. I'm so much more fierce, nourished, confident, and aware than last year. I've created the sources for art, creativity, and intimacy that I want; I've found avenues for developing change; I've started stripping away the fear that blocked me from being a catalyst for equality.

In 2011 I gained a much deeper understanding of oppression, both historically and in its current manifestations; Kyle and I went through so many shifts, deepening our relationship and creating positive ways of managing conflict; Kyle became a feminist/equalist; I met lots of important new people; Kyle and I started doing energy work regularly on ourselves and each other; I was in continuous growth and needed rest which I didn't know how to take, so throughout the year I had several depressions and learned how to notice when I needed rest; I started hosting crafty parties! and now have a source of amazing creation in my life ♥; I met the Angel Oak, participated in a TreeSpirit shoot, and had so many incredible magical experiences with Kyle in Charleston; I realized my intersexedness in a profound way and began living it, though not sharing the details of meaning with folk (and it's still too scary to write about though I hope that will change soon); I experienced my first burn, Euphoria, and loved it -- then experienced my second, Alchemy, and did not like it; Aurilion and I had several bursts of intense connection; I fell in love with Abby and we started dating, quickly moving into a time-committed relationship; Arizona and I started dating again; Kyle and Adi started dating; I became part of the formation of a queer group on campus; I sortakinda dated Eanox for a short time; I had my first successful anti-oppression experience and felt thrilled with the possibilities of further action; I went to Transcending Boundaries with Kyle; I started forming tribe (a truly interconnected group of people all of whom were building connection with each other).

important events in 2011 )


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belenen: (progressing)
important events in 2011 / becoming an effective catalyst for the change I want to see in the world


2011 was a whirlwind of growth and renewal; looking back, I cannot believe how much I've changed and how much my life has changed. I feel like I wouldn't even recognize my year-ago self. And yet so much has changed since the turn of the year... exponential change. I'm so much more fierce, nourished, confident, and aware than last year. I've created the sources for art, creativity, and intimacy that I want; I've found avenues for developing change; I've started stripping away the fear that blocked me from being a catalyst for equality.

In 2011 I gained a much deeper understanding of oppression, both historically and in its current manifestations; Kyle and I went through so many shifts, deepening our relationship and creating positive ways of managing conflict; Kyle became a feminist/equalist; I met lots of important new people; Kyle and I started doing energy work regularly on ourselves and each other; I was in continuous growth and needed rest which I didn't know how to take, so throughout the year I had several depressions and learned how to notice when I needed rest; I started hosting crafty parties! and now have a source of amazing creation in my life ♥; I met the Angel Oak, participated in a TreeSpirit shoot, and had so many incredible magical experiences with Kyle in Charleston; I realized my intersexedness in a profound way and began living it, though not sharing the details of meaning with folk (and it's still too scary to write about though I hope that will change soon); I experienced my first burn, Euphoria, and loved it -- then experienced my second, Alchemy, and did not like it; Aurilion and I had several bursts of intense connection; I fell in love with Abby and we started dating, quickly moving into a time-committed relationship; Arizona and I started dating again; Kyle and Adi started dating; I became part of the formation of a queer group on campus; I sortakinda dated Eanox for a short time; I had my first successful anti-oppression experience and felt thrilled with the possibilities of further action; I went to Transcending Boundaries with Kyle; I started forming tribe (a truly interconnected group of people all of whom were building connection with each other).

important events in 2011 )


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belenen: (tree elder)
13 things I believe in!
spirit: the part of things which is the ethereal blueprint for them, the perfect core. I believe plants, minerals, animals, humans, stars, places, bodies of water, and everything else each has a spirit. I believe that all beings can commune with other beings through this core-self. I believe all beings are part of a whole self -- we are just the limbs of a much larger creature. I see humans as also having soul and heart, and of course mind and body. I feel that some non-human beings also have souls, but I'm not sure what the pattern is there.

magic: the ability of individual consciousness to affect the pattern of the universe. I believe that thoughts and emotions are magical; words are the manifestation of these things and as such can draw even stronger patterns -- especially in Naming. I believe in the use of symbols in ritual; physical representations of thoughts and emotions provide a focus that strengthens the magic. I have used my thoughts, emotions, words, and ritual to affect the pattern of my life and seen amazing clusters of "coincidences" as a result.

critical analysis: accepting and/or dismissing nothing without careful examination for the assumed meaning and possible purpose. I believe every piece of knowledge must be reshaped in order to make it part of oneself; without this, one's mind is just a collection of other people's thoughts (it's the difference between building a structure from gifted materials, and just leaving the materials in a haphazard pile. The second is not very useful). I believe every person has something I can learn from them, and I believe in taking every opportunity to find those things.

mindful touch: touch that is full of awareness. I believe touch is sacred and find thoughtless touch to be upsetting most of the time; it feels like a desecration. I believe touch requires consent, always. I want to be touched by people who are aware of my desires, my reactions, my body, my boundaries. I do my best to touch people only in ways that please them (not just in ways that don't bother them); if in doubt, I will not touch.

asking: questioning instead of assuming or accepting or wondering. Asking for what I want; asking if I have interpreted correctly; asking why a pattern exists; asking myself how I can change a harmful pattern; asking to help others learn about themselves; increasing openness through invitations to share.

bold emotion, creating/living art, colors, nudity, giving, self-love, coffee, & Georgia. )
sounds: Fever Ray - Coconut | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (confused)
on being [too] sensitive sexually
I'm a very physically/sexually sensitive person. On the positive side, it means that I have orgasms easily and that I can orgasm in several different ways. But on the negative side, it means that I have to communicate a LOT just to make sex not-bad, and for it to be really good the other person has to know me very well or be highly intuitive as well as a good listener.

specifics )

It makes me feel like there is something wrong with my body and I often want to trade it in for one that's easier -- one where penetration is NOT usually uncomfortable and hard touch is fine anywhere, right away. I can't really imagine what that would be like, but it seems like it would be more fun for others to have sex with. I feel both upset with myself for having such a "difficult" body, and with the world because I'm willing to learn other people's bodies individually and touch them in a way that is pleasurable to them and not just tactile-y pleasurable to me, and I want that in return. I want it to be normal for people to expect to have to learn me, instead of applying the same "moves" to everyone. Not that any recent/current lovers have acted like that -- but others I have wanted to have sex with have (and then I didn't have sex with them, obv), and it feels like a theme because everyone reacts to my sensitivity with such surprise. People express sexual interest in me and I think to myself that they wouldn't enjoy sex that would actually please me -- even if they'd be down with equalist sex, there's THIS to consider. Also I feel like this physical sensitivity makes me seem "not passionate" or "tentative" to others. I like fierceness! I am passionate! I like intense sensation! wanting it lighter in certain places is not about wanting it less intense -- it's about it already BEING intense.

Am I the only one who is this sensitive? Why is it so shocking? sometimes I wonder if other people turn their sensitivity down (as I have done sometimes in order to enjoy sex after I felt like the other person was trying but just not getting it -- it made the sex less pleasurable but it kept it from being uncomfortable). Or maybe it's a spirit-soul-heart-mind-body connection thing. I know I used to be less sensitive in some ways, maybe I'm this sensitive now because I'm fully present. Maybe it's just me and I'll have to resign myself to not having casual sex. That wouldn't crush me but it is a disappointing idea because many people only connect intensely through sex, so it limits me. I could just have one-way sex (where they don't stimulate me) and I do enjoy that a lot but I want to be touched too.
sounds: Blue Foundation - Witch of Troule | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , ,


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belenen: (confused)
on being [too] sensitive sexually
I'm a very physically/sexually sensitive person. On the positive side, it means that I have orgasms easily and that I can orgasm in several different ways. But on the negative side, it means that I have to communicate a LOT just to make sex not-bad, and for it to be really good the other person has to know me very well or be highly intuitive as well as a good listener.

specifics )

It makes me feel like there is something wrong with my body and I often want to trade it in for one that's easier -- one where penetration is NOT usually uncomfortable and hard touch is fine anywhere, right away. I can't really imagine what that would be like, but it seems like it would be more fun for others to have sex with. I feel both upset with myself for having such a "difficult" body, and with the world because I'm willing to learn other people's bodies individually and touch them in a way that is pleasurable to them and not just tactile-y pleasurable to me, and I want that in return. I want it to be normal for people to expect to have to learn me, instead of applying the same "moves" to everyone. Not that any recent/current lovers have acted like that -- but others I have wanted to have sex with have (and then I didn't have sex with them, obv), and it feels like a theme because everyone reacts to my sensitivity with such surprise. People express sexual interest in me and I think to myself that they wouldn't enjoy sex that would actually please me -- even if they'd be down with equalist sex, there's THIS to consider. Also I feel like this physical sensitivity makes me seem "not passionate" or "tentative" to others. I like fierceness! I am passionate! I like intense sensation! wanting it lighter in certain places is not about wanting it less intense -- it's about it already BEING intense.

Am I the only one who is this sensitive? Why is it so shocking? sometimes I wonder if other people turn their sensitivity down (as I have done sometimes in order to enjoy sex after I felt like the other person was trying but just not getting it -- it made the sex less pleasurable but it kept it from being uncomfortable). Or maybe it's a spirit-soul-heart-mind-body connection thing. I know I used to be less sensitive in some ways, maybe I'm this sensitive now because I'm fully present. Maybe it's just me and I'll have to resign myself to not having casual sex. That wouldn't crush me but it is a disappointing idea because many people only connect intensely through sex, so it limits me. I could just have one-way sex (where they don't stimulate me) and I do enjoy that a lot but I want to be touched too.
sounds: Blue Foundation - Witch of Troule | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , ,


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belenen: (concupiscent)
thoughts on BDSM, power exchange, fierce-and-equalist sex, sensation play, bondage
Two years ago I wrote my thoughts and feelings on BDSM, with this disclaimer, "my thoughts on this are not firm or concrete, and remember that this opinion may change." And it has. Part of it hasn't -- I still feel that practicing power imbalance can reinforce/perpetuate inequality, and there are elements that actively upset me (rape/incest/abuse roleplaying, humiliation, objectification, slavery) -- but some of it has changed as I've come to a better understanding of what people mean when they say BDSM. There is a lot that falls under the BDSM umbrella that's not included in the acronym. I used to think that anyone into BDSM/kink was automatically into the use of power exchange but I've learned that this is not the case. So, I want to echo my previous post on power exchange with more accurate language, and then share a bit about the aspects of BDSM that do resonate with me.
re-posting rather than linking because the old one contained unnecessary paragraphs )

As for the elements that resonate with me? fierceness, high levels of communication about specific acts, sensation play, specific kinds of bondage, and things that are referred to as "kinky" and are fetishes to some, though they don't excite me in a way that I personally consider fetishistic. I associate "fetish" with "automatic erotic response" which I don't think I ever experience (my erotic response is highly situational), but I think that other people use the word "fetish" to simply mean "something that attracts me" so I sometimes use the word that way.

I use the term "fierce" instead of "rough" to describe the kind of aggressive sex that I like )

And sensation play? this is a new one for me. I've discovered that things that would cause me pain if I were not aroused feel... I dunno how to describe it. It just feels intense, in a way that amps up my adrenaline. I love being bitten and I like being scratched (with fingernails) -- partly for the sensation and partly for the marks afterward. Being marked makes me feel really loved; it feels like a kiss that I get to wear. (sadly I don't mark easily and mine fade fast, but that makes me even happier about them when they do 'take' and last) And I love feeling ache afterward in my muscles or (every now and then) in a particularly bruisy mark. There are a lot of elements in this category that I'm curious about -- I've tried electric stimulation and even the slightest current is really unpleasant to me (I think I'm just very sensitive to that kind of energy) but there are quite a few other things I want to try. I think I might enjoy flogging or firecupping and I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy wax.

On bondage -- I resonate with bondage for sensation/energetic-current and found that to be amazing, and am definitely interested in exploring that more. I'm also interested in using bondage for trust-building -- I'm still a little undecided on that but want to try it. I think it can be done without power difference, and I'll have to try it to see.


illustrations -- me and Kyle ♥ )
sounds: Florence + the Machine - Howl | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , , , , , ,


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belenen: (concupiscent)
thoughts on BDSM, power exchange, fierce-and-equalist sex, sensation play, bondage
Two years ago I wrote my thoughts and feelings on BDSM, with this disclaimer, "my thoughts on this are not firm or concrete, and remember that this opinion may change." And it has. Part of it hasn't -- I still feel that practicing power imbalance can reinforce/perpetuate inequality, and there are elements that actively upset me (rape/incest/abuse roleplaying, humiliation, objectification, slavery) -- but some of it has changed as I've come to a better understanding of what people mean when they say BDSM. There is a lot that falls under the BDSM umbrella that's not included in the acronym. I used to think that anyone into BDSM/kink was automatically into the use of power exchange but I've learned that this is not the case. So, I want to echo my previous post on power exchange with more accurate language, and then share a bit about the aspects of BDSM that do resonate with me.
re-posting rather than linking because the old one contained unnecessary paragraphs )

As for the elements that resonate with me? fierceness, high levels of communication about specific acts, sensation play, specific kinds of bondage, and things that are referred to as "kinky" and are fetishes to some, though they don't excite me in a way that I personally consider fetishistic. I associate "fetish" with "automatic erotic response" which I don't think I ever experience (my erotic response is highly situational), but I think that other people use the word "fetish" to simply mean "something that attracts me" so I sometimes use the word that way.

I use the term "fierce" instead of "rough" to describe the kind of aggressive sex that I like )

And sensation play? this is a new one for me. I've discovered that things that would cause me pain if I were not aroused feel... I dunno how to describe it. It just feels intense, in a way that amps up my adrenaline. I love being bitten and I like being scratched (with fingernails) -- partly for the sensation and partly for the marks afterward. Being marked makes me feel really loved; it feels like a kiss that I get to wear. (sadly I don't mark easily and mine fade fast, but that makes me even happier about them when they do 'take' and last) And I love feeling ache afterward in my muscles or (every now and then) in a particularly bruisy mark. There are a lot of elements in this category that I'm curious about -- I've tried electric stimulation and even the slightest current is really unpleasant to me (I think I'm just very sensitive to that kind of energy) but there are quite a few other things I want to try. I think I might enjoy flogging or firecupping and I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy wax.

On bondage -- I resonate with bondage for sensation/energetic-current and found that to be amazing, and am definitely interested in exploring that more. I'm also interested in using bondage for trust-building -- I'm still a little undecided on that but want to try it. I think it can be done without power difference, and I'll have to try it to see.


illustrations -- me and Kyle ♥ )
sounds: Florence + the Machine - Howl | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , , , , , ,


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belenen: (ecstatic)
important events in 2010 / overwhelming change, desire, and passion wrapped in community
a drawing titled "Adolescence" by Norman Lindsay
& a fractal titled "Conception" by sideoutman:



2010 was such a huge year that I'm intimidated by the idea of trying to sum it up, but combining "Conception" and "Adolescence" is a good start. The fractal is expressive of a coiled, freshly-created energy and purpose, which I certainly conceived in 2010. The drawing (oh Norman Lindsay I love you <3) is full of exploration and communication and relating. I see myself in quite a few of the characters, and the harpies and sphinxes with their worshipful open faces speak to me of turning lack and mystery into love and knowledge. The horned characters make me especially happy, as the presence of Pan in my life this year has been quiet but oh-so-profound.

Last January I declared 2010 the year of passion, and oh GOD/DESS yes it was! both good and bad kinds. It started off with a BANG -- hate (which I hadn't felt in years) and fury (over the ex-partner), followed by a few months of stress and worry (mostly over finances), then a few days of delirious happiness (in an almost-triad with strong energetic exchange), then depression and anger (break-up pain and mistreatment), then an explosion of sheer joy (Arizona!) which increased (Serendipity!) and increased (Chip!) and increased (Kyle!) for two months, then contentment and productivity (living & working with Serendipity), then stress and shifting (school again! culture shock, not dating justben actively), then horrible pain (herpes AGH), then exploring/adventuring inspired by Kyle (meeting more people, going new places, having more sexperiences), then an emotional breakdown as I finally reach my coping limit (so much change! so much intensity!), then my first burn-type event!, then breaking up with Arizona, then lots of intoxication with dancing and kissing, and lots of friendship exploration (mostly in Kyle's social group).

Or, most everything I expressed gratitude for at the beginning of the year. It was DEFINITELY "filled with all the love and sex and joy and passion and boldness" that I could handle -- and I was able to handle more than I thought possible. And I certainly met more people with whom I connect deeply, and learned more about sex and the role it is to play in my life. And for the first time, I've experienced being satisfied by the amount of loving touch I get, and for the first time since the Wynnes I've felt fully understood and appreciated and accepted and desired. And I've become more comfortable sharing my art (I did photoshoots! with people I didn't know well at the time!) and became healthier. The only thing that I feel didn't increase is my understanding of my spiritual connection with nature and having my lil sis live with/near me, so those move to my 2011 presumptuous thanks :D

important events in 2010 )


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belenen: (ecstatic)
important events in 2010 / overwhelming change, desire, and passion wrapped in community
a drawing titled "Adolescence" by Norman Lindsay
& a fractal titled "Conception" by sideoutman:



2010 was such a huge year that I'm intimidated by the idea of trying to sum it up, but combining "Conception" and "Adolescence" is a good start. The fractal is expressive of a coiled, freshly-created energy and purpose, which I certainly conceived in 2010. The drawing (oh Norman Lindsay I love you <3) is full of exploration and communication and relating. I see myself in quite a few of the characters, and the harpies and sphinxes with their worshipful open faces speak to me of turning lack and mystery into love and knowledge. The horned characters make me especially happy, as the presence of Pan in my life this year has been quiet but oh-so-profound.

Last January I declared 2010 the year of passion, and oh GOD/DESS yes it was! both good and bad kinds. It started off with a BANG -- hate (which I hadn't felt in years) and fury (over the ex-partner), followed by a few months of stress and worry (mostly over finances), then a few days of delirious happiness (in an almost-triad with strong energetic exchange), then depression and anger (break-up pain and mistreatment), then an explosion of sheer joy (Arizona!) which increased (Serendipity!) and increased (Chip!) and increased (Kyle!) for two months, then contentment and productivity (living & working with Serendipity), then stress and shifting (school again! culture shock, not dating justben actively), then horrible pain (herpes AGH), then exploring/adventuring inspired by Kyle (meeting more people, going new places, having more sexperiences), then an emotional breakdown as I finally reach my coping limit (so much change! so much intensity!), then my first burn-type event!, then breaking up with Arizona, then lots of intoxication with dancing and kissing, and lots of friendship exploration (mostly in Kyle's social group).

Or, most everything I expressed gratitude for at the beginning of the year. It was DEFINITELY "filled with all the love and sex and joy and passion and boldness" that I could handle -- and I was able to handle more than I thought possible. And I certainly met more people with whom I connect deeply, and learned more about sex and the role it is to play in my life. And for the first time, I've experienced being satisfied by the amount of loving touch I get, and for the first time since the Wynnes I've felt fully understood and appreciated and accepted and desired. And I've become more comfortable sharing my art (I did photoshoots! with people I didn't know well at the time!) and became healthier. The only thing that I feel didn't increase is my understanding of my spiritual connection with nature and having my lil sis live with/near me, so those move to my 2011 presumptuous thanks :D

important events in 2010 )


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belenen: (concupiscent)
sex without receiving physical stimulation: reflection and consonance ♥
Sometimes when I'm feeling very deeply connected with a person and I'm stroking, kissing, pleasuring zir but not being physically stimulated myself, I feel the reflections of zir sensations through my whole being. It starts as reflections; I touch zir, ze reacts, I feel mirrored sensations in my body and I react -- and that feels so beautiful and connected and intensely erotic. Sometimes it feels so intense that I can't actually handle being physically stimulated because I'm feeling so much already. And sometimes I just want to feel what ze's feeling without being distracted by direct physical sensations.

..and then sometimes it syncs up and I fall into perfect consonance )
sounds: PJ Harvey - Oh My Lover | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , ,


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belenen: (concupiscent)
sex without receiving physical stimulation: reflection and consonance ♥
Sometimes when I'm feeling very deeply connected with a person and I'm stroking, kissing, pleasuring zir but not being physically stimulated myself, I feel the reflections of zir sensations through my whole being. It starts as reflections; I touch zir, ze reacts, I feel mirrored sensations in my body and I react -- and that feels so beautiful and connected and intensely erotic. Sometimes it feels so intense that I can't actually handle being physically stimulated because I'm feeling so much already. And sometimes I just want to feel what ze's feeling without being distracted by direct physical sensations.

..and then sometimes it syncs up and I fall into perfect consonance )
sounds: PJ Harvey - Oh My Lover | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , ,


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belenen: (heart in my throat)
missing Arizona / things I love about Arizona
I feel bruised and tangled. Bruised not from pressure, but from the absence of it... How can it hurt? just to be apart for a few days? I feel ridiculous. But I miss zir, so much, oh God/dess. My hands feel empty without zir fingers entwined in mine. My arms feel lacking in purpose because they aren't wrapped around zir holding zir against me. My lungs feel far too full, my shoulders feel naked, my thighs feel indolent. I miss everything... everything. )
sounds: Owl City - Vanilla Twilight | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , ,


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belenen: (heart in my throat)
missing Arizona / things I love about Arizona
I feel bruised and tangled. Bruised not from pressure, but from the absence of it... How can it hurt? just to be apart for a few days? I feel ridiculous. But I miss zir, so much, oh God/dess. My hands feel empty without zir fingers entwined in mine. My arms feel lacking in purpose because they aren't wrapped around zir holding zir against me. My lungs feel far too full, my shoulders feel naked, my thighs feel indolent. I miss everything... everything. )
sounds: Owl City - Vanilla Twilight | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , ,


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