sorcyress: Picture of a smiling tampon with the phrase "Girls: We're so emo we don't even NEED to cut ourselves" (Emo-period)
SO LET'S TALK ABOUT GENDER!

I realize I have made this announcement on Facebook, but you know, it's fucking Facebook. It's weird and complicated and doesn't show half of everything to half of everybody and no one can keep track of people properly.

And weirdly, despite LJ being The Place1, I don't think I've talked about it much here. I certainly haven't made it as an announcement. So, here's the dealio:

I am a mostly agender individual, with occasional periods of being distinctly male or female. My pronoun is they. My other useful agender/genderneutral words are "person", "partner", and "Mx".1.5

Lots of people still use "she" to refer to me, including half my boyfriends2. I was asked at Arisia by an awesome friend if I wanted him to start correcting the boyf he interacts with most. My conclusion was mostly no --there are ways in which my gender interacts with my sexuality that makes it really useful to be a girlfriend sometimes, and not just a partner or datemate. Short version: hetero boys ruin everything

(I hope it's clear this is facetious. I am honestly pretty mellow about my gender. At some point I might decide I care enough to have conversations with my partners about how they refer to me. In the meantime, it doesn't particularly bother me.

It does charm the everliving fuck out ofinto me every time sir corrects himself when talking to me and calls me a "good toy" instead of a "good girl", or other such neutralities.)


If you use "she" to refer to me, I'm probably not going to correct you. I will probably notice though. Sometimes I will care. (sometimes quite a bit).

If you use the words "woman", "girl", "lady3", or "ma'am" to refer to me, I am going to notice, and cringe a lot. These are not accurate words. I still might not correct you, because I am not in the habit of doing so, and often if I'm being referred to thusly, there are other factors at play.

(If you use the words "he", "man", "boy", or "sir" to refer to me, I am going to notice and be more mildly confused than anything else. I really do not societally code as male --I smile too much and my hair is too long. I won't be upset, but I might feel weird if you go out of your way to do it a lot.)

If you want to politely correct other people when they talk about me, that's totally cool by me. I am out to virtually everyone *except* the people who I directly interact with in my line of work. Trust me, if I'm ever in a situation where I'm around a coworker or student and also one of you, I will be *very* clear when I say "this is Megan my WORK friend who I know from WORK."4

(If you don't feel like or think about politely correcting other people, that is also totally cool. Spoons, man.)

Please don't invite me to women-only events if you actually mean that they are women-only, because I'm not.5 I am usually comfortable being invited to events that are "no men" or "no cis men" allowed.

YAY GENDER! Or, you know, lack thereof.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Actually, it's not anymore --750words is, and that _sucks_ because it's not social. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly glad I write as much as I do (discounting some of last end-of-November-start-of-December, I think I have been happier the past year than the couple before it. I think there's a non-zero amount of that which is *directly* due to writing nearly every day.)

1.5: There are a few other gendered words that are completely accurate and correct to use to refer to me --"girl scout", "gentleman", "sister". If you think it's bullshit that I request multiple genders worth of indicators for different situations, then whoops, I don't actually care about your opinion on my gender, fuck off.

2: The mathematician in me agonized about using "half" or "two". I don't expect you to keep up with how many serious partners I have at any given point, but just saying "two" seems weirdly minimizing.

3: Outside of dancing -- "lady" and "gent" are words that I've come to consider almost entirely ungendered by this point, and I think everyone would benefit if we subscribed to that idea.

4: This example is a funny joke because Megan my work friend from work might be the first person in my professionalsphere who I am ever out as poly to. She's the first person I've ever worked with who I actively want to keep being friends with once we stop working together. SHE IS THE BEST OKAY! Also we are almost perfectly matched at set, which is *awesome*.

5: Also please don't invite me to women-only events if you do not think trans women are women, because fuck you go fall in a hole.
sorcyress: Picture of a smiling tampon with the phrase "Girls: We're so emo we don't even NEED to cut ourselves" (Emo-period)
Corollary post:

I am very very lucky, in that I do not typically experience feelings of dysphoria. Even when I do, the most of it takes the form of social dysphoria (where I feel uncomfortable because I am not being responded to socially like the correct gender) and not as physical dysphoria (where my body and appearance is wrong for my current gender or Self). Mostly, I am really comfortable in who I am and how I present

(It's worth noting that I am also really good at classifying things as "drag" or "performative" and therefore holding it comfortably as "not really me". This comes up most often in the sense of my professional drag, which is what I wear to work everyday --skirts, nice sweaters, uncomfortable (but flat and sensible) shoes. I don't typically feel dysphoric wearing all that, because of course it's not actually "me", it's teacher-me, who doesn't get in trouble with the administration by wearing jeans and flannels.)

Anyways, here is the short list of things that I know make me feel physically dysphoric, and actively deeply uncomfortable about my body and presentation:

*Not wearing glasses. I cannot abide photos of myself without my glasses. I have worn them since I was six --well over three quarters of my life-- and I need them, desperately, to see. My drivers license from MA has me without glasses and it is the most uncomfortable and awful bullshit, and I have to be reminded of it every time I fly.

*Wearing all white. Which is extra fascinating because I was a Herald before much of anything else, but let's be real, Captain Kerowyn was the only one for me, and she never wore white neither. I will wear white shirts as part of being dressed up nice (in my cool suit or prince charlie or even top-level professional drag) but I basically never wear white below the waist. It remains an awful colour on me.

This gets weird when you tie into the fact that I have to wear an all white godawfully ugly formal dress for Scottish demo team sometimes, but boy, if you ever encounter me when I'm wearing it, you will quickly figure out that I am somewhere left of center. My irreverence skyrockets (if I am laughing, I am not crying) (usually), and my bitter self-loathing as I cynically mock my "marshmallow dress". I fucking hate that thing, and hate being made to wear it.

*Shaving my legs or armpits. Which I have done once, because things should be tried once1, and because Veronica asked me to and I love her more than anyone else. I have spent almost three years not talking about this on the internet because even with that love, there is, frankly, no way I can be gentle or kind about this. She wanted me to be clean-shaven for her wedding and so I was, and if you say a single harsh word about her for it, I will damage you in the night in ways you've never even dreamed of.

But it was an incredibly uncomfortable several weeks, and the first time since high school I felt compelled to keep my legs covered at all times, damn the weather. I wore pyjamas to bed every night2 so I wouldn't have to feel it or think about it, and I didn't let anyone touch my lower legs for an age, because they were so upsettingly wrong to me.

*And...that's about it, actually. I'm drawing a complete blank on other things that make me feel dysphoric, and there just flat aren't any. Not wearing glasses, all white, shaved legs.

So yeah, being forced to wear all white for my HS graduation was somewhat of a big deal for me. It was not a good situation, and not something I was okay with, and it really wasn't just an example of "well, being grown-up and having to dress professionally sucks". It was a moment of "I am being forced to look fundamentally flawed to who I am, and it makes me feel sick and wrong."

I will do dysphoria, if I deem the reasoning good enough. Dancing? Well, that's good enough, I'll wear my whites if that keeps me on the team. Veronica? Absolutely she is good enough, she is the only person good enough, and has been since 1998.

But even with "good enough" even with "I will do this for you", even with "I have actively weighed the possible responses and accepted the ultimatum as it has been presented to me, it doesn't make me stop feeling wrong.

~Sor, sometimes Eric.
MOOP!

1: Technically the rule for me is "anything worth trying is worth trying twice", since you never know if the first time just turned out real iffy for unrelated reasons. However, I don't think shaving my legs was something worth trying, so I'm sure as hell not going to try it again. If you are my best friend for seventeen years and are getting married you can consider asking, but short of that, do kindly fuck off.

2: You do you with your comfort levels, but given my druthers, I sleep naked every night. If it is cold out, that means more blankets on the bed. If it's really cold, that means sleeping with pyjamas tucked under the covers with me, so they will be body-warm when I need to get up and do things, but I don't actually wear them if I can get away with it.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility and I feel like I should probably write a thing. Mostly because I think it's been a while since I last sat down and talked about my gender with y'all, and this is as good an excuse as any.

So!

I am not trans.

But I am sure as hell not cis1. The short version is that I'm genderqueer. The long version is that I'm primarily agender with binary genderfluid tendencies. The longer version is that I'm a FAAB, enby/agender, societally-identified boy who was raised with a lot of (sometimes toxic) traditional female socialization, and who sometimes experiences strong periods of being male or female...and I'm not very serious about it.

Let's try breaking that down a little more. (and if you were wondering, they/them/their) )

~Sorcyress (sometimes PopTartsKing)
MOOP!

1: Cisgendered: having a gender identity that aligns with the gender assignment you were given at birth.

2: I am into neither "anything goes" nor "piercing", so I suppose an argument could be made that this is me fucking up the Handkerchief Code by flagging with my own weird bullshit. I don't much care.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
The Spider Monarch is a part of me that I haven't told anyone about yet.

I think I've hinted, once or twice, and named them in at least one thing I haven't posted yet (real helpful, right?). They first started to appear a little bit after Halloween last year. I can't always summon them, but when I can, they are currently one of the most powerful tools I am able to use.

They are a dom(me). They are gender neutral. You will refer to them as "Their/Your Majesty". They are not amused by excuses and have no time for procrastination. When you are actively in their web, you are expected to be listening to their instructions and Doing The Thing.

They would love to have more Little Spiders in their web. Right now I am the only one. You may think it's weird, that I can split myself like that, but I've had years to practice. I am very used to letting the other voices take over and be commanding. I am good at following commands. About the only problem I have is letting myself have the rewards that should be offered. It is hard to think of things that I am good enough to deserve, especially since, when I need to be following Their orders, I am likely to be more in the low places.

But learning how to accept rewards is a part of it. We cannot all be perfect all of the time. We cannot all be efficient, working, creating, making, doing all of the time. We need breaks. We deserve good things, especially if we can make a positive change in our worlds. The whole reason for the Spider Monarch is to help their Little Spiders create a positive change in our worlds.

You don't have to spend all your time in their web. You can choose when is the right time to be there, and when is not. You can tell them what you are trying to do, and how you can be punished and what good you should get as a reward. The Spider Monarch is not here to judge you, not for anything. They are here to help you try again, to balance the things you need with the things you want. They are here to help you up and remind you to take breaks.

I haven't been managing to schedule any time in their web, just sometimes realizing that I need to be acted on by a force greater than mySelf. I have an Indicator, a totem I wear to mark when I am theirs and will be focusing on the tasks they have set me (the tasks I have set myself).

So far it is working, a little. We will see if it continues to work.

~Sor
MOOP!
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
Several weeks ago, a friend of mine had an idea to do a mini-production of The Vagina Monologues. This would differ from the traditional v-day scene in a few ways. It would not be performed in a theatre, but in her kitchen (which while a very large kitchen probably only seated 20-30 people). She would not have a cast comprised entirely of cis woman readers, instead including genderqueer individuals and people with penises. And it would be done entirely in the nude.

The evening before it was to occur, I received a text from her that was basically "hey, I had some drop-outs, you had enthusiasm for this project, would you like to read?"

I do not do nudity. In 2011, I wrote a pretty decent post on the subject, and I stand by basically all the reasons in it. In 2012, I wrote another post on the subject, that listed a more significant reason for my reluctance towards nudity(Trigger warning!!), one I had not previously considered. I stand by that reason even more. I do not do casual nudity, because I have been taught very thoroughly that if people see me naked, they will expect0(obligate) to have sex with me.

So I immediately said yes, of course. But given the above, let's talk about why.

The most obvious reason is simply that this sounded like a cool idea, and I like being a part of making cool ideas happen. I thoroughly want to live a life full of adventure, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to say yes to adventurous things as they come your way. Do The Thing is Racheline's recent mantra, and it's a _really good idea_.

Similarly obvious, to me at least, was the fact that my friend asked me to, and it would help Make Her Life Easier. I wrote just the other day about how I pretty much exist in order to Make Other People's Lives Easier. That's not to say I'm not capable of the sentence "I'd love to, but I just can't" --I keep it in mind as a thing and use it liberally. But when I *can* do something to help out a friend, I absolutely want to.

Less obvious: I crave the spotlight. I love performing, and even when I get super shaky afterwards, I feel _really_ good about being onstage and doing something in front of people. Bonus points if I can make them laugh --and I could, I read "Because He Liked to Look at It" which is one of the happy ones1. I also got hooked in to be one of the three people for the introduction, and tapped to be the question-asker for "I asked a six year old about her vagina". I like being on stage.

Not obvious, but most important: I hate being scared of things.

I hate having phobias (which has led to me actively encouraging Natasha to let me play with her rattie3 even though he skitters and has tiny claws) and I hate having things to worry about and I hate having legitimate fears. I hate not having control over my mind and body and Self. I cannot stand the idea that I could be bested by something that terrifies me, because damnit, no!

I am stubborn. I am _so very_ stubborn, and also patient, and I'm not going to let fear or discomfort stand in my head if I can do something about it. Often, the something is aversion therapy, is taking my fear and confronting it head on, because if I confront it head on, then I am the one in charge and in control of the situation.

I have discomfort, bordering on fear, of being naked in front of people. That is _not okay_ with me. One asshole from eight years ago does not get to ruin my ability to decide when and how to present my body. And so doing things like this --where I am thrust into the spotlight, and forced to be naked, with people looking-- are a way to show my stupid hindbrain just that.

(this same friend has asked me to come live model sometime, when schedules line up. I am *super* interested)

Not obvious: Because I wanted to. Because there were lots of my friends in attendance. Because I was trying to impress at least three girls. (and once I got there and saw the rest of the guestlist, at least one boy). Because my body is toned from years of dancing and bicycling and because I have scars like lightning4 and like the moon5 and want to show all that off.

Because, like I said, if you're gonna lead a life of adventure, the first thing you have to do is say "yes" a lot. You have to create your stories before you can tell them6.

It was a good time and I am proud of myself for doing it.

~Sor
MOOP!

0: Expect means predict and expect means obligate, and I have started adding the extra words to defeat the ambiguity.

1: I find almost all of the Vagina Monologues to be sad, even the happy ones. Because underneath the joy (mine, Coochie Snorcher, The Woman who Loved...) there are always these tragic undercurrents that just strike home the fact that people are not supposed to like vaginas, that they are gross and weird and smelly, and that for centuries, they were a completely ignored (insignificant!) part of the body.

I grew up with better sex-ed than nearly anyone I know, and one of the pieces that was so great is that I never had any shame about my vulva or vagina. I was always able to ask questions, I was encouraged2 to masturbate, and I was given accurate and useful information about menstruation, long before it became relevant. So the entirety of the Vagina Monologues is a reminder of just _how_ lucky I was, and how deeply, actively, unlucky most people with vaginas are.

2: I don't know that this is exactly the right word to use, it's not like she told us "hey go have a good wank!" or anything, but she always made it very clear that it was a completely acceptable thing to do in the privacy of our own rooms, and that she wouldn't disturb us. She talked it up as a great alternative to having sex with teenagers (I think she is entirely right). It is a wonderful form of self-care and self-awareness, and I do it often.

3: Oh gosh, he's really cute. He might be the cutest non-human mammal I know right now. (This is not hard, I am not particularly fond of non-human mammals.) He likes exploring and barely uses his claws and his teeth not at all (so mostly does not trip my tiny-sharp-bits phobia) and he is not small enough nor does he move fast enough most of the time to trigger my skitter-phobia and I am enjoying interacting with him immensely when 'Tasha and I hang out.

Anyways, normally I'm phobic about things that skitter (includes rats) and things that have really tiny teeth and claws (includes rats) so I try to make a point of interacting with rats as much as possible.

4: I had reason to twist around and look at myself recently, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have cellulite and it is looks like lightning, dancing across the tops of my thighs and bottom of my ass. It is, right now, one of my very favourite things about my physical self.

5: Facts I make sure everyone knows about me as quickly as possible: I have a long scar on my back, curved like a crescent, from my heart surgery as a very small child. It is pretty much the top of my list of favourite things about my physical self.

6: And storytellers never die. Have I mentioned that I am going to be immortal? I am not joking.
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
This post will probably make more sense if you read my previous post first. Anywho, I (at 25) wrote a letter to my teenaged (15ish) year old self, and then wham-bam, 35 year old self decided to come stick their nose in.

***

Also under a cut, but not nearly as long. Probably sad stuff content wanrings )

Xan Sorcyress, known also as Katarina Ruth Erik de [redacted] de Whimsy den MOOP! ged Athe ged Gaea (what other names did you have that you'll recognize to know this is serious) departs, leaving you alone with your thoughts. And hungry.

Go eat something, kid!

***

MOOP!
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
I got pinged by a friend of mine to participate in The Sex Letters Project. Because it's me, mine is about two thousand words long, and under a cut. Warnings for sex, and also for gross abuse mentions. )

Keep reading everything you can about sex and sexuality and gender. Eventually, you will add dance and kink to that mental classification, and this is a good thing. You are really cool and interesting and I would be pretty stoked to have a friend as weird and passionate as you are.

As much love as you need,
Katarina Whimsy, known also as Sorcyress, and sometimes as [also redacted].
MOOP!

PostScript: I know you're not gonna be legally old enough to go into the sorts of shops where you could get one for a while still, and you don't have anyone who's the right selection of traits to do it for you, but seriously _get thee a vibrator as soon as possible_. They are, certifiably, The Best.

1: This may be because the term wasn't coined yet, but it's more likely because you're 15. I am writing this from a work computer, so I'm not gonna go googling the etymology just now.

2: This is not true, for a lot of reasons, but the best other naming was "little girl", and if you haven't realized your own toxic connection to that phrase, you will soon. It's not all bad, keep it in your life. Be mindful of when you call yourself by it, and how true it is (or more likely isn't.)

3: Your mother is an absolute treasure, and even when she is being the most boring stick-in-the-mud overbearing parent in the world, know that you are luckier than all your friends. You are Other, but it doesn't matter because she loves you just the same.

4: I continue the thread that your mother is the greatest, and probably the biggest reason why this letter is skipping all the bullshit mechanics parts. Mom already taught you all that, because she is on top of shit. And not judgemental towards you.

5: ...Maybe I should repeat that one again too. Too telling of the current me's issues? Yeeeah.

6: I'm sure there are people and instances in which I have "overshared". I don't care. I have enough trouble opening my soul, I refuse to give my past self advice that makes it harder.

7: Okay, yes, awesomesexual.

8: "Not trans"

9: "Female Assigned At Birth"
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
I had an interesting, and very beneficial, revelation last night.

My Ideal of Femininity has changed. This might be a significant part of why it is so much easier for me to be female than it has been for the past while, because the standards I am holding myself to are different, and much healthier to attain.

See, I've always known people who embody "How To Girl Right"1, someone in my periphiary who, if I can be like them, I can be doing this successfully. I am not, after all, successful at femininity, at female. It is not a thing that feels natural to me, not like my tomboy-genderfucked-mishmash of behaviour and appearance.

But in the past few years --I don't know how long, not exactly-- there's been a shift. And in thinking, I figured out the pivotal part of the shift, and the reason this is so important to me. The previous Ideal was about what you do, making sure you can successfully meet all the activity markers. The current Ideal is about what you are.

My current Ideal of Femininity is a person I know who is smart, and kind, and incredibly strong-willed. Who is in-touch with her sexuality, and flirtatious, but never forceful. Who is not judgemental, and listens to people with experiences she can't touch, and who would not shame someone for what they are or do not yet know.

I want to grow up into that sort of existence, because too damn long I've been trapped in a world where it matters what you do and how you do it. Putting on makeup, creating food, dancing the follow, wearing dresses...all of that is not a reflection of what you are. All of that has always felt transgressive and wrong --a different kind of drag-- and hard for me to manage. Putting on eyeliner doesn't make me feel female, it makes me feel costumed or lost. And so for too damn long, the idea of being female has been fraught, because when I feel like a girl, there is nothing I can do to encourage the feeling.

I am still very gender neutral, of course. Gender is just not something I _need_ in my day to day life. But I do have days when I feel like a boy, and I do have days when I feel like a girl, and knowing how to manifest those feelings into the real world is a pivotal part of keeping my mind safe and happy and sane.

But part of manifesting those feelings is looking towards examples, people who can do male, or female, far better than I ever could. And I have now found a new example, one that doesn't make my skin crawl quiet to contemplate, and that is a beautiful thing.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: I'm sure I have "How To Boy Right" as well, but I think it's mostly just "Racheline and also the Middleman" which is great but not especially helpful.

PostScript: Obviously I have not informed you of the identities of either Ideal I've held. The last was unhealthy, the current...I do not put friends on pedestals, not if I can avoid it. No speculation.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
Sunday morning, I was already a bit worn-out and brainsick when I saw The Truck. It was parked in front of a church, just outside of Harvard Square, and the back of it had some "sweet" Christian platitude about how we have all sinned and are all going to hell.

(Clearly, this truck belonged to the jackass kind of Christians, who would rather yell at you for how bad you are, than do anything to make the world a better place. I much prefer the Christians who actually do Good Things, and who may quietly pray for your soul, but don't get all in your face about it)

And that was annoying, primarily because it was in my way, but I could've slid right by it and never given it a second thought, until I pulled alongside it and read the quote written bold on the side.

I don't remember the exact wording, but the message was very very clear: WOMEN ARE VILE AND CORRUPTED CREATURES, AND THEIR ONLY GOAL IS TO WEAR SCANDALOUS CLOTHING TO TEMPT MEN TO WICKEDNESS. I don't think it actually said "BURN THEM ALL" as part of its message, but that's certainly what it felt like.

And reading those words, when I am tired and lost and in the middle of a grand existential crisis about whether I can even ever think of myself as a woman at all...it felt as though I had been punched between the ribs, deep where my Self resides. Because I can deal with so many things, deal with Boston drivers and not getting jobs and weird looks when I am just myself on the T.

But I can't deal with being hated.

And I especially can't deal with having that hate slapped across my face too-early in the morning, when that hate has nothing to do with me, with anything I am.

Just with the fact that the single lucky sperm of my da that made it into my mom's egg just happened to be carrying an x-chromosome instead of a y. Something that I could not even begin to control, because I literally couldn't have existed in time to control it.

Hatred because of my DNA, without ever knowing me, without ever meeting me. I'm given to believe that's normal. I am woman(ish, sometimes, approximately, in body only, who knows?) and therefore I hear sexism in jokes from friends, ("women amIright" and "because I'm the boy" and somehow the jokes aren't ever funny or maybe just the reminder isn't.) and rants on the internet, and vitriol from those who think so low of me they imagine I only exist to tempt and so low of men they imagine they only exist to be tempted.

I don't like being hated. I'm service oriented, a Girl Scout, a Herald (before there was a blue box there was a white horse, and given the choice of Companions it's never even been close.) someone who exists on this world to make it better, to make people happy, to make your life easier.

But how can I make your life better if the only thing that would please you was if I no longer existed?

~Sor
MOOP!
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
There are some things that most of the world considers to be bad, or undesirable, and I consider to be something well worth doing. Some of these are obvious, like gender/sexuality queerness1, some of these are arguable, like my desire to physically hurt people2, and some of these are strange even among weirdos, like the fact that I view consensual manipulation as a driving force of a good (including platonic) relationship3.

1: If you have a problem with me being genderqueer or into people of similar genders to myself, get the fuck out, and do not talk to me until you consider me a real person and can respect me thusly.
2: I'm comfortable with this desire. If you're not comfortable with this desire, well, you don't have to be one of the people I hurt.
3: If I do not (at least try to) convince you to be a better person, I am doing something wrong, and you should tell me so I can attempt to do more of this. I am not particularly subtle about this. I do not want to change you in any ways you don't want to change, but I do want to help you be as amazing as you dream of. A very basic example of this sort of thing is tricking people into doing distasteful tasks, by asking for evidence of the first step, and providing enthusiasm along the way.


Another of those third category things is the issuing of ultimatums. I feel that much of the world views the idea of an ultimatum as always, or often, bad --especially in relationships. An ultimatum in a relationship is always bullying, or emotional manipulation, or abuse4.

I don't think that's true.

4: Now, I'm sure there are cases where relationship ultimatums can be viewed as abuse --especially any situation in which the partner receiving the ultimatum is unable to take the option of "leave the relationship". I am only interested in situations where the ultimatum has two choices --change or leave-- and both are able to be performed without significant loss other than the relationship itself.

Also, this is a thing that is very dangerously diluted. One ultimatum about a big thing, that is probably okay. If you or your partner are threatening the end of the relationship every week, I am concerned towards the health of that relationship.


Because here's the deal: we all have unshakable, unchangable, things about ourselves and our relationships. A very common one is "I cannot be with someone who loves(romantic) more than just me". Or "All the sex I have must be consensual". Or "Absolutely no serial murderers". There are traits out there that are completely incompatible with my -or your- desires and needs. And I think it's perfectly fair, when one of those traits presents itself in an already running relationship, to present the partner with "I can't date someone who does x, change or leave".

Now, there's a risk to that. There's a really big risk: They might leave. Or perhaps more likely, they might tell you they cannot change, putting the onus on you to leave. And that sucks, and is hard, and there's a lot of socialization out there towards giving them a second chance.

But, there's a reason you presented it as an ultimatum, and that reason is because you cannot deal (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, whatever) with that trait being present in your relationship. Do not let yourself be trapped with something that is that severely damaging to you --and if it's not something you'd consider damaging, do not present it as an ultimatum in the first place.

What this all kinda boils down to is the idea that, to be healthy in a relationship, you have to know what you want, and what you need, and you have to be able to express those wants and needs. You have to be willing and able to communicate to your partner(s) about your desires. If there are things which you will be unable to cope with, things that are IMPORTANT to your quality of life, you need to be able to have those things. More importantly, you deserve to have those things, and you deserve to have partners who will work with you and help you to achieve them --if they can't give those things to you, maybe you will be able to work something out where you can get your needs from another source.

And maybe sometimes it's easier to be single, or in a situation where you can be looking for partners who will give you what you need, instead of suffering with a partner with whom you're unhappy.

In closing, there's a musical by the guy who did Rent. It's called "...tick, tick, BOOM!" and has pretty good music. "Louder Than Words" is one of my favourite songs, in part because it has the following lyrics:

Why
Would we rather put ourselves through hell
Than sleep alone at night?


Don't sacrifice your health and happiness for a warm bed. There are a lot of people in the world, and a lot of ways to meet them. Find someone who will give you what you need. Find someone you deserve.

~Sor
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
So, I don't really do the whole "casual nudity" thing.

People often complain when I post things of this length without putting them under a cut. To which I say, the scroll button is to your right, and you can cast your vote for how I manage my livejournal at the next 'election of who runs Kat's journal' which will be in approximately never. )

~Sor
MOOP!

1: As an aside, if you have ever felt uncomfortable or creeped out by the way(s) I express admiration to you, please tell me (if you feel comfortable doing so). My e-mail is kdsorceress at gmail dot com, and I would like to know what I am doing wrong, so I can not do it in the future. I am hoping this aside is entirely unnecessary, but I've fucked up in the past with regards to how much casual touch/flirting/whatever someone is okay with, and I want to be better about that.

2: I mostly don't trust people. The ways I do trust people are not necessarily the ways they want to be trusted. It is the highest honour for me to trust that you will take care of me, and I'm not actually convinced anyone has that in full. If you're complaining about that fact, because clearly you would do anything I needed and take good care of me, well fuck you. I am too damaged an individual to easily trust you, and too honorable to lie that I do.

3: Well, I don't hate the physical appearance of it anyways.

4: You know what I hate? When I line up for a dance and someone goes "OMG, you're dancing GIRL?!", sarcastic or not. What the hell, yes I dance girl! Probably about half the time. There are very few dances or nights where I am strictly one role or the other --the exception is vintage, and I will dance the girl role for Marc, or Rach, or quite a few other people if that's what is preferred or necessary. My pride has always been not that I dance the typically male role, but that I dance both.

5: This is a sharp statement. I can enjoy perfectly well being naked, the fine art of lounging, preferably entangled, with someone adored. I sleep naked whenever I can get away with it --there is something luxurious about the event. I have swam naked with friends, and wandered topless with strangers, and spent many many nights being a naked toy for my sir while he is fully dressed, and all of those were lovely things. I do not always require or want clothing --sometimes the only thought that goes into getting dressed is "is this clean and weather appropriate".

But most of the time, there's something more.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
So let's talk about it a little bit. Ain't gonna leave an elephant that big lying around without giving some explanation. I'm cryptic, not cruel.

Trigger warning, sexual and emotional abuse.

And...that's what it is, really. I consider myself to have been abused. The partner in question is kinda damaged, much more than I am. I don't think they consider themself to be an abuser, and that's fair, I guess. But I look back at what was going on, and my skin crawls, because I have so fucking few happy memories from that relationship, and that's not good.

I call the sex stuff rape, but I don't always believe it was "that bad". They never actually had intercourse with me, for instance, despite how badly they wanted to. And, you know...rape is bad. I don't want to be "that girl who was raped". So instead I'm just "that girl whose partner went too far and didn't really listen when she asked them to step back." Which isn't exactly better.

There are things that still make me nervous sexually, long after, because they happen and I Remember. But I'm working on it --no one but me gets to decide what I can enjoy-- and my current partners are both supportive and helpful. (Sparr especially seems to find it a challenge to...not fix me, I'm not _broken_... but help me scar over the damaged parts. I'm grateful for this.)

The emotional stuff was probably worse, but I don't talk about it as much --partly because it's a lot more insidious, and makes me look a lot more pathetic. There were some pretty thorough incompatibilities in our relationship, and they caused my partner to lash out at me, due to insecurity. I wound up having to give them a lot more support than I was ready for or able to.

I don't have very good journaling for a lot of the relationship, so I wonder sometimes if I'm just being crazy, and exaggerating what happened. But then I look over old chatlogs, and find the one where they're yelling at me for spending more time talking to Veronica than them, or the one where they decide to blackmail me, and I'm...reassured, unfortunately. That's not everything they did, or even the worst of it, but it's enough to know that I was absolutely the more sane partner in the relationship (and that simply should not happen with me.)

I've been writing heavily filtered posts about it for a while now --if you want to be on that filter and go read them, feel free to contact me and ask, though I absolutely reserve the right to not let you on and never explain why. Mostly, I've been working on just trying to figure shit out, and learn how to heal. That's a big part of why I went back to therapy a year ago, to try talking to someone for a while. It did help, I think. The other thing that's helped a lot is learning more about rape culture and activism and coming to terms with the fact that there are some shitty toxic narratives that get forced into our throats from day one. I've been doing what little I can to avoid those, when I can.

There's been a lot of waffling about whether or not I was ever going to make a post like this. It's...not a secret that I was raped, abused, whatever word you want to use. Indeed, it's kindof become a thing I make sure new friends know about me, in part because this happens _all the time_. It's horrifying, and I don't want anyone I know to be able to say "I don't know anyone who's been raped" because I expect I am not the only friend you have who has. Closets have always made me grit my teeth, in part because I am charismatic and popular and I want to prove to the world that you can be a functional human being and still be [gay/poly/kinky/queer/survivor/etc]

I don't want anything bad to happen to that partner. We've split, and it's cool, they're out of my life now. They weren't intentionally abusing me, they just...had a shitty life, and it hadn't taught them how to deal with people in a functional manner. I have sympathy for that. Which is all a fancy way of saying, if you know or have suspicions, don't. Don't out them, don't accuse them, just don't. Part of my reluctance to talk about this is that I don't want to drag their name through the mud (which is why there are as few personal details as I can write) and I don't want to fuck up their life any farther --I just want to be completely out of it.

At any rate, a lot of the nerve to actually make this post --which I wanted to make for LAST Coming Out Day, but couldn't find the nerve to speak up-- is due to a recent post by Holly Pervocracy, Survivor. There've been a ton of essays and blog entries that have made it seem a little easier, made it seem like I was less alone. But that one hit me like a ton of bricks, especially the intro. I don't want to say I was raped, it seems so fucking *dramatic*. But it's true. Sometimes dramatic things happen to non-dramatic people.

Anyway, I won't say I'm fixed, but I will say I'm a hell of a lot better then I was. I have written literally thousands of words on this, private and public, since before the relationship ended even. Writing...helps is such an insufficient word. And being loved by people who aren't assholes helps, and knowing people who are from the "yes means yes" school of consent theory helps, and let's face it, time helps. It still hurts, but every year it hurts me a little bit less. Someday maybe it won't hurt at all.

Happy Coming Out Day. Sorry it's such a downer this year.

~just Kat, this time
MOOP!

Trigger warnings go both ways, abuse: sexual and emotional.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
I am the survivor of an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship.

Fuck closets. It's not a thing to be ashamed of. It is a thing that, for as awful as it was, made me stronger and made me a better person.

Happy National Coming Out Day. In case you've forgotten, the other closets are that I'm bi/awesomesexual, polyamorous, kinky, and genderqueer.

Please be gentle.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
I am the survivor of an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship.

Fuck closets. It's not a thing to be ashamed of. It is a thing that, for as awful as it was, made me stronger and made me a better person.

Happy National Coming Out Day. In case you've forgotten, the other closets are that I'm bi/awesomesexual, polyamorous, kinky, and genderqueer.

Please be gentle.
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
My perfect partner

This is partially based off Sparr's My Perfect Girl which is one of my personally favourite things on the entire internet. I reread that every couple of months, at least in part to make sure I'm on track.

To preface this, one of the reasons I cite most often for my polyamorous nature is the fact that I can get different needs from different sources. I'm not altogether sure if there is a person (future past or present) who can meet this entire list, and if there is, I'm not altogether sure I ever expect to find them. So while these are all traits I look for, they are not all traits I expect or need, at least not in the same person.

This list is permanently in a stage of non-completion. I may or may not come back and add things to it later.

Remember kids, use your journal cuts so your friends don't hate you! )

Alright. I have run out of things, and this is like 1300 words long or something. Going to post it, and if I've clearly forgotten something, you can remind me of it in comments.

And to reiterate, I'm not sure there's anyone I'm dating who meets all these criteria. I'm not sure there's anyone who I'd be willing to date who meets all these criteria. This isn't a checklist, it's a set of approximate guidelines, the things I am more likely to look for, or notice. Similarly, you can be all these things and I just won't care, or find something otherwise repellent. This is because I am complicated, and you're just going to have to deal with it.

And for mek, and Magus, and sir, and Sparr? You are all awesome and amazing and make my life far better than it would be without you folks. I love you all, in varying intensities and amounts as fits, and will do everything in my power to keep you lot around. <3

~Sor
MOOP!

(1647/8000)
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
This is a RANTY RANTY RANTY post! Rant on!

SO INTERNET! Let's have us a little talk about relationships.

See, I have this friend, Turquoise1, who considers themself to be monogamous. Recently, they have entered into a relationship with a polyamorous person (Green) who already had another partner (SIlver). Turquoise is monoamorous in relation to Green --T doesn't have any other partners, nor does T wish to find any. Turquoise is perfectly happy being romantically entangled ONLY with Green.

An ex-partner of theirs accused T, because of this relationship, of "Pretending to be monogamous."

This? This is not right in a big way.

The biggest problem is that T is still monogamous, and monoamorous. They are only dating Green. They are only romantically entangled with Green. They hold sexual fidelity towards Green2. Turquoise is entirely monogamous, and implying that they were "pretending" to be such implies that they no longer ARE. Patently false.

Now, is T in a polyamorous relationship? I'd say kindof --I wouldn't call T's relationship poly, but I would call Green's relationship thus. I would call the relationship as a whole a mono-poly relationship, because oh hey, those exist and flourish, no matter how hard you pretend they don't or can't.

Because sometimes a monoamorous person falls in love with a polyamorous person, and they are willing to put in the work to keep the relationship strong, and not limit either partner or illegitimate their sexuality. They are hard, and require a lot of communication, and people who can be open and honest about their wants and needs, and otherwise are in relatively good standing with themselves3. But they happen, and they can be just as happy and healthy as any other relationship.

The second problem is the fact that, oh gasp, sexuality is fluid.

Seriously. Please let your mind wrap around that a little. Sexuality is fluid, and the types or number of people you were attracted to at one point in your life may not be the same as the types or number of people you are attracted to at another point.

Now, before you release your fury, keep in mind that sexuality doesn't *HAVE* to change, and for many people it doesn't at all. Sometimes it doesn't change so much as encounter new information --a previously monoamorous person being introduced to the concept of poly and realizing that it fits their brain better than the strictly mono structures they'd grown up with. And sometimes it absolutely radically shifts, as someone grows older and changes what they want and desire.

And none of that means the person was "pretending" earlier in life.

As an aside, I would just like to remind the audience that "relationship structure" is not necessarily equal to "personal sexuality". I know several mono folk who are in mono-poly, or full poly relationships. I know a few poly-folk who are currently, or have been in the past, in strictly mono relationships4. People make relationships work for them, as they need to.

And really, I think that's what all this boils down to: Does your relationship structure work for you. If you are happy, and your partner(s) are happy, (and ideally, *their* partner(s) are happy) then that's about the best you can hope for. "All relevant parties" does not include your friends, your parents, your exes, or anyone on the internet who thinks you're a dirty perv. If your relationship works for you, then don't let _anyone_ tell you you're doing it wrong.

As a final (unrelated) aside, I have a friend who has no interest in being in relationships at all. I hesitently suggested "asexual", but we both agreed that's not the word being looked for, as that's a totally different set of things (And indeed, many asexual people can form happy relationships, with each other or with sexual people (or both!)). He proposed "anamorous", which I think is a lovely term --and one I fully intend to use.

Rant off.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: I have friends named Red and Blue. Writing this post got a little difficult as I navigated around that to choose arbitrary names.

2: Which is to say, the only sexual contact Turquoise has had outside of Green was with Silver, and this was part of the three of them being together with everyone communicating and having full knowledge of what was going on. There is no love between T and S, and no relationship --this wouldn't have happened were they not both dating Green.

3: Oh hey, did I just describe every relationship ever! I think I did!

4: Myself included --I was well aware I was polyamorous before I started dating kSatyr, but it was an agreement from the beginning that I would be strictly monoamorous while dating him. Now, this was an unhealthy situation for me personally to be in, but that's certainly not true of all poly-folk-in-mono-relationships, and more importantly, just because I am poly doesn't mean I *had* to be in a relationship thus.

PostScript: Oh and THIRDLY, because I forgot to mention it, it is not your right to declare other people's sexuality. Ever! You cannot say "they are not doing [sexuality] the way I think you should do [sexuality] and therefore I will accuse them of pretending", because you don't know what they're thinking, you don't know how they're reacting, and you have no way of knowing what they consider themself short of asking. So, unless you are a member of the relationship police (hint: That doesn't exist.) you do not get the right to decide if someone else is doing an adequete enough job of representing the sexualities they claim to represent.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
One of my first lesbian experiences was in the context of playacting homosexual men.

The Maurauders to be exact, from Harry Potter. The timeframe was somewhere after the first movie but before the third --Severus had been revealed to be a beautiful creation1, but my Remus had not yet appeared onscreen and been nothing like I'd wanted2. So we were playing that set, four of us as James and Severus and Sirius and Remus.

It was a long sleepover, curled up in our blankets and just talking quietly. It was role-playing, the sort you do when you're young, dictating your actions to the group, and responding to what each other offers. And because we were young and exploring, what we were doing revolved around love and romance.

There may have been playacting as women as well, pretending to be partners for the Maurauders, but mostly we were just being the men and responding as them. I think I recall Lily being played cruel, to pull James away from her so he could become friends-more with Severus. I as Remus was of course to pull myself towards Sirirus. And as we pulled closer, the actions got less than purely friendly. And at some point, someone explained "well, of course we would kiss then".

And that's all it was. Just cuddling up close against each other, and kissing. It was acting, dammit --the characters would kiss, and so we did, to save them from tragedy otherwise. (I'm not kidding about the tragedy --in a game that couldn't have lasted more than three hours, we had at least two described suicide attempts and maybe a couple attempted murders, all in the name of our Dramatic Love.)

We went to bed eventually, a tangle of people just sleeping. And it wasn't ever wrong to us, that's just the way the game had gone. But still, I think none of us ever mentioned it to our parents later. There are some things you just don't talk about to your parents lest you no longer be able to stay over with Those People again.

(To clarify, I doubt any relevant parental parties would've had a problem with the lesbianism, the roleplaying, or the fact that we were being men. But parents don't want their little girls to grow up too fast, and we were old enough that the experiment mattered, but young enough that maybe it would have scared them.)

No, I don't really have any specific reason to be making this post. Just one of those things that came to mind. And of course to those who knew me at that age, it would be incurably rude to speculate who my fellow players were.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Freshman year of college, after watching Dogma, a group of us declared that Alan Rickman was made of sex. Not sexy. Just pure sex. I've never really changed in this opinion.

2: The movies disappointed me with both the boys I fantasized about from the books. I dreamed of being with Ron, constantly --red hair and gawkish limbs!-- and found Rupert Gint lacking as well. Both actors are talented and lovely, but neither was as beautiful as I wanted as a young and fickle teenager.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
I can't stop staring at this picture.

It's Racheline. She linked to it on her blog, saying this is me as a man1 and this is me as a woman. The one I am fixated on is her as a woman. It's a photograph I've never seen --I am semi-obsessive about saving pictures of people I find friends, interesting, attractive, far-away and foreign3-- and was not in all honesty the one I was expecting. The one I was expecting is her as a dancer, red dress sharp against the walls of the subway station, strong and vivid and quite utterly in control of herself.

This is a photo of something different. This is, as she says, a photo of her as a woman. And I'm fixated, on the eyes, on the hands, on the curve of her lips and tilt of the neck.

Racheline has achieved something I simply can't seem to grasp.
She is able to be beautiful. Traditionally femininely beautiful, and quite utterly a woman.

Obviously there is only so much a photo can portray, and I don't have her on IM to ask terribly prying questions about gender and mindset and comfort in ones skin. The sideways glance could just as easily be a way to hide feeling lost, unsure, but I don't think so. She defined the photo as her as a woman. And thus it is.

During NoSuchConvention, I found myself struck with one of those decisive moments in which I suddenly know who and what I am. I wrote about one not too long ago, on my most recent Erik day. That day I knew solidly that I was not my normal absence of gender, I was decidedly male.

At the con, I knew suddenly that I was not my normal absence of gender, I was decidedly female. I was female, and I wanted to be delicate, and flirty, and pretty. I wanted ruffles and lace, a proper skirt, to try on a corset and see if I too could have breasts spilling out of my top. I wanted(want) to be traditionally femininely beautiful and quite utterly a woman.

The initial problem was that I was ill equipped to achieve that at the con. I did try --let down the hair and turn my coat back into a dress-- but at best, I could hit "barefoot hippie goddess" which is not at all the same thing as pretty woman, no matter how you view gender identity. In all honesty though, I could've had access to my entire closet and not known what to wear.

The problem, the real problem, is that I do not have the talent or the security to take clothes and hair and make-up and turn myself into a woman, into a real woman who is beautiful and can smile and mean it, who understands what it's like to be feminine, and how to turn your head and move your hands. I never learned. I have watched with fascination as my sister taught myself, as Jannyblue made posts about how to appear normal, but even following their advice, I am not sure I could achieve anything more impressive than faking it, and becoming very very quiet.

I know too many real women, women who know who and what they are, and who hold themselves with ease and understand what to do and why to do it. I have seen enough examples to know I'm not right.

The moment that feels most right from prom was getting dressed, dropping the leatherman into my purse. Just in case. Maybe you can be a woman with a leatherman, but not I. It was defiance, a tomboy's toy, a geek's little weirdness. It was pulling myself away from the femininity, from the pretty dress and well-braided hair. It was giving me something solid, usual, to latch onto.

The moment that felt most right from the Highland ball, another time wearing another pretty dress, was when [livejournal.com profile] adfamiliares latched on to how lost I looked-felt-was and gave me subtle instruction. Now we go choose a table, now we put our purses down, now we go mingle, and talk with friends until you can forget that you are dressed wrong. It was a gift, from someone I admire, and it helped enough that I remember it distinct, ten months later.

I'm sure I can look like a woman, like a beautiful and feminine thing. But it comes at the cost of my voice, as I become no longer myself. Trying femininity takes effort enough that I must close myself off, hide behind eyes that are a little too wide, a little too scared. Curl to the edges of the crowd, because I can't sustain the illusion otherwise, and well, what's the point of being pretty if I ruin it by speaking?

Maybe someday I'll figure it out. I'm getting better at the boy part of things, about realizing today I am masculine and I will behave like thus. There must be similar switches to pull, things to learn (and I laugh as I wonder if maybe I shouldn't start lurking on the edges of the internet devoted to helping good little boys become lovely little girls, in whole or in part.)

I can't help but expect flames from this post. How dare I suggest all women must be feminine, be pretty (I don't think I did), that all women must be confident and self-aware and strong. And of course, I am such a lovely girl, and so beautiful and why would I think myself ugly (I don't and I'm not). Or perhaps how dare I want such a thing, why would I not embrace my body-as-is, revel in unshaven legs and unarranged hair, aspire to be a hippie goddess more than disney princess (I have always been a princess, my very name was chosen in part to let me have that identity. Children should have princess names, said Neva to my mother, and so we did, Katarina and Nikolai, and Alysandra.)

Because I am young, and still learning myself. It has not been so long since I could admit satisfaction with the shape of the meat-sack I inhabit, and I still exhibit the tendency to be unsure of that satisfaction sometimes. The mind is such a grand and glorious and more complicated organ, why would it not take me longer to come to terms? I love myself, as is, but there is an ideal that I may never reach, and it hurts to remember that, just like it hurts when I remember I will never put a rocketship on the moon.

And besides all that, the difference between attractive and charismatic is very sharp sometimes. Do not lie that I am more of the former. Prettier than average, of course, but I was trained by the best from a very young age to warp people to my will. I have more power than Buttercup ever did, but still, sometimes I can't help but wish to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

And I suppose, the only closing thought I can share is how unfair it is that Racheline has two perfect red dresses, and I haven't even got one.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: this post, and here is the man2 picture

2: It's interesting how I intersect with gender and words. In that photo, he is self identifying as a man, so I will call him a man. But I wanted so bad when writing this to soften the word, to say "boy" instead. Sometime I should look at the world, and analyze the why I call you boys and girls, why I so often abandon the words man and woman.

3: I guard and treasure every photograph I've ever found of my clone. Of Thorog. Of Rackle and Harena, of DrummerDude and Jarne. Of all the people who for so long were just avatars and text, who I connected to so much easier-stronger-better than my "real life" friends.

The internet has changed since then, and I've aged enough that I've changed too. I wouldn't necessarily go back to when pictures were a treat and a phone call unimaginable delight. But I am nostalgic for then.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
So, [livejournal.com profile] badmagic has posted a thing about advice you would give to your 15-year-old-self. This is especially interesting to me, as the difference between 15!me and 16!me is...vast, it seems. Not just the change from heartbreak and an interest in sex, but in terms of anger, of introspection, of impulsive actions, of not just being asexual but antisexual.

It's the difference between being a child and being an adult.

So I started to write advice to my 15!self. This is going by memory --I have the ability to cheat, because I have this livejournal to look at for most of that year, and the BtW file for the three month gap-- and I tried very hard to restrict it to advice that would actively be useful to 15!self --it's all well and good to tell her to meet Sparr earlier and see what happens1, but not when the opportunity won't even arise for more than two years.

So. Here's what I would have to say if me from six years ago and me from now had a nice sit-down and a chat.

1) Don't worry about not being sexual, but do be gentle to those who are. You don't have to be sexual to be sex positive, and I really do think you'll feel better about things if you stop calling people you care about tramps. Let them enjoy their sins.

2) The relationship you just started will be convoluted and confusing. Do not put as much energy into it as you do. It feels like your heart is breaking, and it probably is, but I promise it gets better. You'll be friends for a while, GOOD friends, and that's important. Even after it disappears, it was important. And I promise, eventually he dumps her, and the words he say will be the sweetest revenge you can imagine.

3) Remember that guy you met at Origins last year? Heh. Everything you dreamed and more, if I didn't change the timestream too badly by telling you all of this. And if I did...pursue his friendship. Keep his friendship, and take care of him. He'll repay you in kind, and that'll be more important than sleeping with him. Sex, as you're well aware, is not everything.

4) You have ADHD. You also have a mild auditory learning disability. This isn't why you're bad at school --you're just an unmotivated dumbass like that-- but this _is_ why you have so much trouble in Ms. H's class. See if she can give you help or advice.

5) In eight or nine months, you're going to realize you're wired to love more than one person at once. It will change things so much to tell you this -dangerously much, in terms of setting you back from being an adult- but never let yourself be forced into monoamory. Ever. Ever. It will only make everyone involved miserable. You will be younger for the experience, but you also won't cry as much.

5a) You're genderqueer by the way. Start working out how to be a boy now.

5b) Figure out a safer way to not be younger for the experience.

6) You will always have Veronica. Always. Keep her as well as you possibly can. Same with Pauli. Give both of them the attention and time they deserve.

7) If you have to wait for a boy, he will eventually be worth it. Every one of them. Even and especially the one who knows there are sparks, and makes you wait, for two and a half agonizing years. Even the one you've been waiting for ever since you made a terrible decision two years from now.

8) Go ahead and fail that class. It hurts, but it means you will get the teacher who changes your life. Let him. Tell him so. And try not to be quite so obvious when you flirt, it's just embarrassing all around.

8a) But seriously, stop being awful at school.

And as that last one doubles as advice to 21!Sor...yeah. We'll leave it at that. In all honesty...I liked myself at 15. I was young, but I've always been too clever by at least five eighths.

What would you tell your 15!self?

~Sor
MOOP!

1: *reads nametag* "Oh! Oh, you're the one my future self told me I should meet! Hello! I'm underage, would you like to be friends? I hear you'll introduce me to interesting things..."
sorcyress: A character from a comic about the maintenance workers of the universe, holding a thumbs up and saying "MOOP!" (Zonker-MOOP!)
So, let's talk a whole bunch about dancing, now that I have ranted at Marc some, and so I have removed all the anger and returned to just frustration.

First off, and mostly unrelated, I feel there ought to be a seminar at things like NEFFA and Flurry which just goes through some of the beginning dance things that can apply to multiple dance forms. Things like "Give weight" or "the most important part of a figure dance is ending in the right spot". Also, up is towards the music, down is away from the music, heads are the people facing or backs to the music, sides are the people with their sides to the music.

Though in all honesty, I can distill all of dancing into three things that everyone should know: Get to the right spot. Give weight. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

***

Second off...heh. Yeah.

So, today was the Regency tea dance, where I was again specifically asked by one of the local1 dance historians/teachers to never dance the lady's role while dressed as a gentleman (or perhaps to never have a male partner dance the lady's role while I danced gentleman, which is a problematic distinction, so out of charity I will assume I was asked the first2). The reason is for the sake of the newbies --fine, whatever, it is indeed easier for a new dancer to identify the gentleman and lady's sides of the dance when the people on them are appropriately garbed.

However, if you are going to require me not dance in the lady's role while a gent, then I am going to require two very important things from the dance community at large.

First of all, I require gentlemen to stop asking me to dance. This happens at least once at every ball I go to, and tonight it happened three times for the same dance, which is exasperating, offensive, and time-consuming. If a gent asks me to dance, I must politely explain that I am a gentleman3, disentangle myself from him, and find an eligible lady. This wastes my time, and it wastes the time of my fellow gentleman.

To the end of the dance masters and mistresses, perhaps the best thing you can do to discourage this is to refer to me properly, as a gentleman, when explaining dances. Saying something akin to "and then you will dance with the gentleman across from you --or the lady dancing the gentleman's role" while referring to me4 does not encourage your dancers to treat me as a gentleman.

In more blunt terms, when I put on the full tailcoat et al, I am not a lady dancing the gentleman's role. I am a goddamned gentleman, and I will dance the gentleman's role, except in the most dire or intriguing circumstances.

The second thing I require is that, if you insist that gentlemen may not dance together, ladies may not be permitted to ask one another to dance until and unless there are no unpartnered gentlemen.

Oh no! This is terribly sexist, isn't it? Why can't ladies ask each other to dance? Well, because if all the ladies on the floor are dancing with each other, and I am left alone at the end with another gent, our choices are to not dance, which goes against every reason I am here5, or to split up another couple, which always feels *terribly* rude to me. Perhaps the other couple is a pair of old friends, who do not see or dance with one another near oft enough. Perhaps one of the other couple is not comfortable dancing with men. Perhaps one is trying to learn how to dance the role of a gent, or is more comfortable doing such. Certainly, they may be quite pleased to be split apart, but especially when they flocked to one another in the early stages of choosing partners, it feels cruel to demand they separate.

So, if gentlemen are not allowed to dance together, then the ladies must wait until all the gents who wish to dance have partnered before joining hands. And certainly, a lady may ask a gent (and I am always honoured and pleased when it occurs to me) in order to expedite this process, but she may not be allowed to ask another lady until there are no unpaired gentlemen.

Now, for what it's worth, I think that second rule is complete and utter bullshit. When I am clothed as a lady, or clothed gender neutrally, I often ask other women to dance, in either role, because there are many people I like dancing with, and not all of them happen to dance the gentleman's role. I am fond of this ability.

Furthermore, I am perfectly willing to dance with another gentleman. Honest. I won't freak out or feel I've lost out on an important flirtation6, or feel otherwise cheated. I know many gentlemen --male, female, or queer identified-- who feel the same way, and are perfectly willing to dance either role with another gent.

And no, I'm not even encouraging male/male dancing7 (though I will happily get argumentative about that as well). I am simply pointing out that you cannot insist gentlemen not dance together unless they are in surplus, and still allow the ladies to dance together whenever they please, thereby potentially locking gentlemen out of the dance entirely.

***

Mostly unrelatedly, I also refuse to ever follow the rules of gentlemen not dancing together when it comes to couple dances at balls or other dances where there are very few of such, like only a single "last waltz". Nine times out of ten, the person I bring to dance with me is male identified, so I am _damn well_ going to dance the "special" dance with him. There is no gentleman's or lady's side to throw off the newbies with, and if it's a special important "dance the last waltz with your sweetie" dance, I see no reason why charity towards an inexperienced or unpartnered lady is more important than me getting to dance with my special important sweetie. If that makes me cruel, I happily accept the title8.

***

Almost entirely unrelatedly, it makes me weary that I so often get into conversations about costuming, and someone assumes that I am clearly looking for advice or resources to put together a proper lady's ballgown and corsetry. Um. No, I'm sorry, I am wearing this tailcoat and waistcoat because I prefer to dance the gentleman's role9 identify as a gentleman at Regency events. It is not some sort of hand-me-down "pity" garb, that I am only using until I can get an appropriate gown. I know this is a huge gender-issues clusterfuck of a thing, and will probably not be fixed in my lifetime, but man, it hurts so stupid much every time someone invalidates my masculinity by insisting or implying that I am clearly a lady, I just happen to be wearing guy's clothes.

Um, beyond that, the tea dance was fun, albeit simple, and I should never be the best dancer10 at a Regency event, that is just heinously wrong. There were delicious cookies. People complimented me on my garb, and my ludicrous non-period hat (FEATHERS).

Also, word on the rumour mill is that maybe there might be some sort of Regency-for-Scottish-dancers in Boston sometime (knock on wood), so hopefully that will happen and more of you will be available. If not, I will just have to dance with you otherwise, huzzah!

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Where local covers the upper half of the east coast

2: If you are saying that I *may*, when dressed as a gentleman, dance in the lady's role without that being problematic in terms of confusing newbies, where a cisgendered male dressed as a gentleman dancing the lady's role *would* be problematic in terms of confusing newbies, then you are NOT ALLOWED to use any variation on "because newbies cue off costumes" for why gentlemen and ladies should stick to their own sides. Because my costume is decidedly and distinctly male.

I don't know that this happened. But I also don't know that it wouldn't happen, and I find that offensive as a genderqueer person in general, and as a male-identified dancer specifically.

3: It _maddens_ me that I have to do this. It is not like I am wearing a relatively genderneutral t-shirt and jeans. I am in knee breaches, hose, a shirt, waistcoat, cravat, and tailcoat, and somehow people still assume I am dancing the lady's role? I am not talking about friends wanting a dance with me, I am talking about complete strangers who come up and ask me. What. The. Hell.

4: I'm not clear if this actually happened today, but it has certainly happened before, and even if the teacher was referring to one of the lady-identified people dancing the gentleman's role, I got more than a few glances from around the room.

5: I go dancing to dance. Everything else is secondary. I don't give a shit about your costumes, your food, or your gender roles, all I want is music and a dance.

6: I have been made livid about certain conversations in which it was pointed out that you can't have genderbalance by having a fem/fem couple, one of whom always dances the gentleman's role, because the women who danced with that female-as-gent would feel "cheated" out of a dance with a "real" male. Which is one of the reasons I've been told I can't go to Newport as a boy (in order to increase my chances of getting in). I shit you not, that is some queerphobic bull-fucking-shit right there, and I don't pander to *phobes.

7: As in, men specifically making a point of asking other men to dance, at the beginning of the "finding partners" portion of a dance, (as opposed to the end when there are no other available partners) which, yes, I suppose could technically deprive two whole ladies of dancing. Because they can't possibly dance together. Because --I shouldn't start this rant. Basically, it boils down to "everyone should learn every part, because then everyone can dance more".

8: Is Kat perhaps bitter about two assemblies ago? Noooo, how could such a thing be true!

9: I feel I should point out that in all truth, for all dancing, I prefer to be as ambidancetrous as possible --dance as evenly split down the lead/follow (or lady/gent) line as possible. However, if I am formally dressed in the costume of one gender or another, that means I am much more inclined to be dancing the role I'm presenting.

And I do really love dancing the gent in Regency. There's a lot of flirtation, gentlemen get more and better solo sequences, and I happen to prefer vests to basically every dress ever. Now that I think of it, I should change the wording up there --regardless of what role I dance, I vastly prefer to dress the gent.

10: [livejournal.com profile] genarti may very well have had the footwork and figures better than me, and there were certainly a few of the EA/CVD folks who both knew what they were doing, and had the springyness to support it. But I was decidedly in the top tier, and that is _insanely_ inappropriate for my skill level, and that of the people I know.

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sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
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