Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Quick, panic attack! Who would have guessed?

Not really, I just happen to be hungry right now.

As I was rebuilding my life after my long, drawn-out health issues(still occurring) I began to look a little more closely at my relationship orientation. I have identified as polyamorous in the past but never really changed from a thoroughly monogamous lifestyle, not entirely because of Hat Guy's comfort level with extra-relationship activities.

I have a poly friend who subtly(not at all) mentioned that she would like to have sexy rumpus with me at some point, to help a sister out sort of deal. I thought that would be an excellent activity so I brought it up to Hat Guy while stressing that I would be completely okay if he decided he wasn't comfortable with it. True to Hat Guy fashion he thought over it for many weeks and decided he was confident enough in our own relationship to be comfortable with me exploring physical relationships with others.

(As a feminist rant-styled aside: I should mention that I was not asking permission from Hat Guy to have sex with individuals other than him, I was asking to re-evaluate the spoken bounds of our relationship. In reality I can do whatever I want, but without speaking with Hat Guy first I would have violated the agreement between us to only have sexual intimacy with him(and that's bad). All monogamous relationships have a (un)spoken bound to keep intimate physical activity between the two involved in the couple, as Hat Guy and I had and I was asking to change the structure of our relationship which require open and honest communication. )

Since the comfort level from Hat Guy was expressed I have been exploring varying levels of sex-flavoured intimacy with my poly(Polly) friend. We have had lovely cuddle times as well as some kissy activities. 

...

So there has been about a week between the last paragraph and this one. Things between Polly and I have escalated to a full friends-with-benefits relationship and I've spent most of the time between the cataclysmic event and now completely freaking out. 

"Why would you freak out, Flower Lady?" You ask so confused. "You've wanted sweet lesbian sex for forever!" 

Well, my dear questioner, I am freaking out because I am really good at pretending things don't cause me stress. Things like sex. I've had this habit throughout my adolescence of needing to have my therapist to console me after having after having sex for the first time in a relationship. After a while I get used to having sex and stop outwardly freaking out about it. 
I have always had pain during sex(with men) and never thought that anything was wrong with that because I didn't have anyone to talk to openly about sex. (It sex hurts, something is wrong and talk to a doctor about it!) It took me way too long to see that pain was bad. This was another thing that I would just "get over" or repress after time in a sexual relationship. 

Since I am in a sexual relationship already I guess the additional one was just too much for me to handle, and I freaked out. 

Part of this could be the intense amount of pain I have been in because of my health. Sex has been especially painful with men and so I have even further withdrawn sexually. 

Part of this could be a change in my orientation over time, or me misinterpreting my desires. 

It could also be partly because I have not had a friends-with-benefits situation before and I could be insecure about it. 

Any number of things could be contributing to my anxiety, but the important part is that I take a moment, step back and evaluate what is going on and reassess my comfort zones. For now my comfort zone does not include sex and my desire for sex has disappeared completely. Polly and I still see each other to play video games and cuddle and she appreciates my openness with her about everything and still wants to be friendly. The same goes for HatGuy. We have set limits on what we can and will do that will keep the both of us comfortable and happy and have found ways to meet our needs. 

Despite being thoroughly anxious, talking everything over has been super helpful and I have not totally screwed up several relationships with emotional whiplash. 

Cheers!

Monday, 28 July 2014

*Surfaces from the depths of the internet*

So I've been gone a while now, about four months. Where have I been? I've been sick, nothing too exciting but it has stopped me from blogging and working for a while. I'm back on my feet and working again, so blogging was the next step after learning how to leave my house and eat on my own. Here is my breif description of all the health and drama that has happened.

March:  Health went downhill, went into hospital. Spent the first few weeks avoiding the outside world and being upset by everything around me.

April: Lots of doctors appointments. Getting somewhere close to on my feet again, seeing people every once in a while. Also moving to new house with ROOMMATES. Dear God.

May: Quit old job, get new job about halfway through the month. New job is barista at very nice local micro-roaster cafe. Learn to leave house regularly. Also shower and not scowl forever.

June: New, different health issues pile up. Get treated for everything under the sun. No energy, still working, much relearning how to be a human bean.

July: Pretty much a normal person, reintegrating life, the universe and everything back into my days. Need to schedule basically everything I do. Still no energy, but I work in a cafe so who needs energy when you have caffeine and sugar!?



So there we have it. I will start working on my backlog of thoughts now.

-Flower Lady

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Car Sticker Families, Pride, and Assumptions

[Why didn't I publish this? This is super old. Like 2014 old.]
GreyWanders and I were out the other day looking for craft supplies and we noticed one of those sets of family sitckers. I know what you're thinking - Big whoop! Everyone has those. I know right!? I even have a set. It's got a cute little lady with a briefcase and a cool guy and we are totally holding hands! I've actually been thinking lately about adding one for GreyWanders, since we are a family and that would be excellent. We could even add our kitties and be rad!
The cat stickers are an excellent segway back into the main topic. The car we saw had one person sticker(I don't remember the gender) and probably four or five cat stickers on the back of their car. Now I've seen ones like this before with one parent and children, two parents and children, two adults and several pets, adults and no pets or children but I never openly had a reaction to it before. I've even seen really passive-aggresive sticker families with "Looking for applications" beside the one parent and kids.
When GreyWanders and I saw this car driving across the parking lot we had that automatic pity, "Oh no! Lonely with cats!" reaction. Upon further inspection we were pretty disgusted with ourselves for having such a thought. Who were we to know that the person displaying their cat family on their car was sad and lonely? They could be the happiest person in the world! They could love their cat family and want nothing else.
I feel we are kind of over-socialized to think that we can only have one kind of family and that all others are bad or lonely or uncivilized. I personally would love to have a sticker for GreyWanders but I'm not really sure what people would think of that. I assume that people would assume grown up or teenage child and probably would not get it, but I don't think it really matters. I'm proud of my family, as closeted as we are in the real world. I'd like to have more pictures of GreyWanders in our house and stickers on our car and hold hands in public and be happy and cheesy and weird and picnics and things!
Maybe that person with the four cats is proud! They love their fur-babies like I love my fur-babies! I know people who are just done with people and are super fulfilled by their cat or dog relationships and then also have friends. Why would someone bother putting themselves and their fur-family on the car if they weren't excited about it? I can't really imagine someone sitting sadly cleaning the back windshield of their car then applying the person sticker then the cat sticker then the cat sticker then the cat sticker then the cat sticker... You get what I mean. They were probably as excited as I was to apply those super dorky stickers to the back of their car! Just like that guy with the Monster green pickup truck with the green windshield wipers and the probably thirty Monster Energy Drink stickers in symmetrical patterns on that green truck! I see the thing all over the place and that guy probably thinks he is SO! COOL!
So I guess this passionate rant is really just here to observe that I was a huge jerk to make such an assumption and my branch thoughts from that. So yeah, I'm sorry cat-family-person! I bet snuggling with five cats every night is really awesome and I hope they fulfill you like my family fulfills me!
Cheers,
FlowerLady

Monday, 24 February 2014

Space and Things.

 Now that we're back from less emotional conversation, I've noticed that in developing a three-person relationship you have to overcome, sometimes for a second time, all the same problems. My biggest problem comes with some insecurity about a space being mine. Without going into it too much, I've been agressively removed from several residences in my youth and so I am really anxious over being in control of my space. Sometimes I need to express this anxiety. Outwardly and not really rationally.
My apartment with Hat Guy is currently a small one-bedroom with no doors aside from going outside and the bathroom. That's no seperation between the livingroom and bedroom, a small wall between that and the office. The kitchen is really the only seperate space and it is only seperated by a curtain. Don't judge us, student life and what-not. We're hoping to move somewhere bigger in May, but until then, no doors.
It's important to note that we are all aware and have spoken about this issue already, which is why I am blogging about it. It is also important to note that we are all aware that nobody has malicious intent in any of these interactions.
This causes issues even when just concerning Hat Guy and I. My self-esteem leads to me feeling like the space is his, not ours and I get upset.
Twice now we've run into trouble where GreyWanders has required one-on-one tme with HatGuy, in our apartment. Once being an emotional upset and the other being conversation on a topic that I was and am not privy to. In a larger house with doors and more than one room with cushioned seating this would probably be no problem, but on the first event we found that I had gotten very upset because I felt like they were talking in code around me which made me feel very stupid.

On the other occasion, which was much more recent, I had been playing WoW and GreyWanders was not interested in that and then there was the upset. I'm not really sure on how much I can describe the upset, mostly because I was not privy to the issue. Without going into too much detail we had all been sitting on the bed and GreyWanders had become upset and curled up over Hat Guy and became very upset.
At that point I finished the drawing I was working on and sort of shuffled over to my desk over in a different place in the house. I felt, not jealous, but pushed out of my own space, which as I have mentioned before, is a triggering thing for me. I need my space and felt like I could not be there and that I had to move into the less comfy area of MY space. I became upset myself about it and did talk to Hat Guy about it later, and then later than that as a group.
After talking through everyone's needs in terms of that situation - Hat Guy not wanting to be a relay between GreyWanders and I with me needing to be able to not feel swept out of a space that is designated mine and GreyWanders being able to explain more about what was going on - we felt better. I also realized that in terms of this relationship we're going to have growing pains and there will be a need for many meetings to talk things through so that we can grow a successful set of relationships between each of us and as a functioning unit.
I think that a lot of problem will be solved when we live in a place with doors though I do anticipate that when GreyWanders becomes a permanent part of our household there will be some more settling to do, just as wen had to do when Hat Guy and I first moved in together.
Like I mentioned before there have been many mirrors in creating a larger unit of a relationship(s) when it comes to the things you have to go through. Hat Guy and I have managed to get through everything so far and I hope that we can keep growing well together and even moreso as GreyWanders becomes more and more apart of the family unit.
As a side note I'm very aware of how I am wording things in terms of including GreyWanders into our family. It's not that I am saying GreyWanders isn't apart of it now, just that I'm still used to being a two-person unit and from my personal perspective I see it as growing. Hat Guy probably sees it from a different perspective, like joining together two things and I don't doubt that GreyWanders sees it in a different way still.
That's my thoughts for now.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Terrible "They"

What could possibly drive me out of silence for so long to post thoughts on the internet? One part of it is obviously procrastination. I don't need to sell my art. I could work an entry-level job forever, I say with no bitterness what-so-ever.

I digress. The real reason that I have pulled myself out of hibernation is because GreyWanders asked me one evening to read a blog post and here is my reaction:

Thinking Asexual is a blogger who often posts very compelling and interesting on their blog from the viewpoint of an asexual. There was recently this post that outlined a theory that Asexuals are capable of feeling an unspecific kind of love that Sexuals, like myself cannot. It is an incredibly well-argued post that makes several good points but I feel the need to respond to it based on two points.

1) It is hurtful.

2) It is untrue.

If we refer back to my first post then we remember that I identify as a Sexual and Polyromantic. Polyromantic rants aside, today we will focus on me being a sexual. According to several points made by Thinking Asexual in this post I am incapable of feeling an unspecific kind of love because of a single defining feature that I identify with.

Incapable is a very absolute term that completely rules out any possibility of me or any other of the several billion people who identify as sexuals feeling this kind of love. Ever. That's quite a long time and quite a range of different people you are making a huge assumption about.

I also have some thoughts on the use of "they." Thinking Asexual does not use the word "they" directly, however the assumption is made. In creating this post and having that sort of attitude towards an entire subculture you are creating an even larger divide between the subcultures than there was before. That separation is what is currently causing issues between the sexes. The "oh you know, men!!!" idea or vice versa, insert sex a for sex b.

I feel it is wrong to use the "they" principle to label every single person in a subculture and judge an unknown groups entire moral character based on one variable. Beyond being personally offended this principle simply is not scientific. You can just decide you " have no respect for them and solid reason to resent them,"  but it would not be with just cause. I can't describe the hurt I feel when I think that someone out in the world has considered resenting me and if they saw me on the street would automatically have no respect for me simply because I am capable of feeling sexual desire towards another living being. This sort of labeling is ludicrous.  I could use examples to compare what is happening but the easiest ones to are much exaggerated and I don't want to throw gas on the fire of bigger and unrelated arguments. My point is that a huge generalization is being made and it is simply not fair. Just as I cannot states simply what it means to be an asexual or possibly understand everything they feel and experience it cannot be said that sexuals are incapable of feeling a specific kind of love, romantic or otherwise.

If you have continued to read past that emotion-fueled paragraph, please try to think about it from a different angle. I am not always great at doing it but I am really trying. Especially since the further introduction of GreyWanders into my life I have strived to do this. Of course I knew about Aces before then but I didn't actively think about having relationships with them. I didn't actively think about any specific kind of relationships. Social conditioning trained me to think of relationships where I would sexual submit to a man whenever he telekinetically informed me that he wanted it and if he were distant that was fine and I would like it goddamn it. Likewise, HatGuy was socially conditioned to think that sex was everything and in order to be a real man he needed to have sex. We both know that these pieces of social conditioning are bullshit. So perhaps the idea that we have unconscious habits that direct us towards sexual-style relationships is not entirely our fault?

I'm not saying that we are completely without blame but I'm definitely playing the Devil's Advocate here. If presented with a relationship that pushed in a natural way towards a nonsexual, nonromantic, loving relationship in a style that led towards a platonic life partner then that would be cool and I could do it. If HatGuy said to me tomorrow that he never really felt sexual desire once in his life and he wanted to stay with me but remove all sexual matter, I think I might be able to do it. It would take serious remodeling of our relationship, but because of our love I would definitely be able to do that.

I'm certain that I am completely capable of feeling a nonromantic, nonsexual love with someone, that's just not what my relationship with Hat Guy has done. That is however, what Hat Guy and GreyWanders relationship has done.

 Ha! Here it is, important bit. I have proof that Sexuals are capable of feeling such love! The only reason this is proof is because of the argument that was made that sexuals are incapable of feeling these feelings. That there is no one sexual who can feel these things.

 This is where I present my lovely fiance, Hat Guy. I would definitely describe what he has with GreyWanders as "more than friends." I would never describe it as a sexual relationship. I would also not describe it as what most call romantic.

 If in an alternate universe there were a terrible event that caused GreyWanders and Hat Guy to have some sort of falling out where they did not want to see each other anymore I'm sure the event would coincide with a feeling of heartbreak all around. Nobody gets out alive sort of deal.

I've had the unique opportunity to observe GreyWanders and Hat Guy's relationship over time. Granted, I did not watch their relationship bloom from a bud, but I have watched it for over two years now and it is a very loving relationship. Despite Hat Guy already being a sentimental dude, he cherishes every Post-It Note that GreyWanders has drawn on for him and keeps every gift presented to him. Likewise GreyWanders puts huge amounts of effort into gifts for Hat Guy. Effort beyond something that someone would make for a "just friends" relationship.

They require time with each other, both alone and in a group. They miss each other deeply and don't quite function the same if they go too long without each other. GreyWanders sometimes states it as needing to "decompress," something that only he can do and something that I 'm sure a percentage of us completely understand.

On top of that I have quizzed Hat Guy thoroughly on his desires for GreyWanders. It really never occurred to him that their relationship could be anything else. Their relationship is beautiful in my eyes and I could not imagine either of them without it just as I could not imagine my life without Hat Guy. They have the love, just a different flavour.

I just really enjoy the example of Hat Guy because he seems like the last person that would have that kind of relationship. He's a cis-gendered, heterosexual white male. Statistics are against him but he managed to give zero regard to anyone who thought his relationship with GreyWanders should be more heteronormative. Likewise when he started his relationship with me he didn't drop GreyWanders because he was receiving emotional love from someone else.

 I'm not saying that all sexuals are like this. Like all subcultures there are definitely variations. I'm just not sure that anyone has gone and intentionally caused pain because of the presentation of a Plationic-Life-Partner relationship. Social Conditioning happens. What I'm saying is that perhaps everyone needs to communicate a little more clearly and if a relationship falls apart because one person spectrum of feelings does not line up or overlap at all there was probably going to be a problem anyway. Not everyone is going to have their love requited all the time or ever most of the time. I look at people who married the first person they dated and then look at my mess of a past and get super confused.  Asexuals can have really bad luck with relationships, just like Sexuals.

Like I said, it is a very well-written and well-argued post, I just disagree with it based on my own feelings and the expressed feelings of others around me. I'm looking forward to reading more posts!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Unconscious Reactions? (Or why I don't like getting drunk)

When I say I don't normally drink I mean I only drink once every two to six months and generally the event includes one small sugary drink or a glass of wine with desert. I don't get drunk. I don't enjoy being drunk and I really don't enjoy the aftermath if being drunk. 

So that said, I went to a party last night and got absolutely wasted drunk, fairly unintentionally(when you start to get tipsy you don't realize how you got to your fourth glass of wine). 
At some point early on Hat Guy had taken off to talk about a card game with someone he knew. I only knew two or three people outside of the host and her boyfriend so I found myself having to socialize with people I didn't know. 

Over the next hour and a half I noticed that I was talking mostly to guys(not unlike me) and that they were talking to me differently than usual. This isn't any sort of quantifiable difference, but I certainly noticed a different behaviour of the men than usual. They seemed more interested than usual and the conversation was much more engaging. I had also forgotten to wear my engagement ring since I had been cleaning the house just before I left for the party. 

I can't say for certain which factor had more to do with the attention I got, whether it be the lack of knowledge of my attachment or the alcohol involved in all parties. It did, however, leave me with a weird feeling. Does this mean that persons will treat me differently because I have a partner? I can't say for certain as that doesn't seen to stop some people from vesting that sort of interest in me. I also can't say for certain because that ha never happened before. I'm also confused because I enjoyed the attention of getting to know new people, and I've realized that I really don't get out enough and don't want to have to take in alcohol in order to make friends.