Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wild Creatures

I love this so much and think it needs to be shared everywhere.

The Tusk

Ursus_arctos_-_Norway

by Maria Catt

I have a friend who can’t talk about her appearance without using the word “troll.” She’s short and small. She has beautiful creamy woodsy coloring– light brown hair, pink peach skin, glittering green eyes, a graceful swoop of a nose. She is small enough that you feel protective around her. You look at the space around her scanning for potential difficulty. Can she reach that plate she’s after? Am I towering over her? If I had to compare her to a magical creature, troll would not make the list– for one thing, trolls are huge and live under bridges. I’d pick nymph. I don’t know that she’d like that, nymphs don’t have a rep as being very powerful. But if I was going to cast my friend in a movie about a magical encounter, I’d have her play the spirit of an elm the hero rests under. …

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Ice Balls

I really found this exploration of gender identity to be powerful.

The Tusk

ice_ball_close-up

By Maria Catt

At the job before the one I have now one of my duties was to take water frozen in red Solo cups and use an ice ball press to press the ice hunk into a ball. It took about a minute a ball. Demand for the ice balls always out-paced my capacity to create them. I was the barback at a club in San Francisco’s financial district which was an extension of a fancy menswear store. At this store insecure bankers were encouraged to spend 500 dollars on sweaters. If those insecure bankers committed to spending 250 dollars at the store each month they got to visit The Club, which is a bar with a long scotch list, and a room to smoke cigars in, and a limited food menu with a seventeen dollar burger on it.

The scientific justification for the invention of the ice ball press…

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Responding to Polyphobia and Rude Comments

elisabethsheff

On November 7, 2014, John D. posted a comment in response to one of my Psychology Today blogs, “Does Polyamory Work?.”

In his comment, John D. assumes that polyamory is obviously pathological and an excuse for inhumane and slavish behavior. This response, just one of the many, many like it that I have received over the years, has at its core the certainty that polyamory (or kink, or feminism, or ______(fill in the blank) is debased beyond redemption. Thus far I have taken these folks seriously and provided the evidence they demanded, attempting to engage them in reasoned dialogue. While occasionally this works, far more often they either disappear or snark. My patience with their foolishness is wearing thin, and I am beginning to question my accommodating strategy.

How do you all respond to people who make comments? How seriously do you take them? What do you think of my…

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Summer Lovin’ Happened so Fast

Sometimes I find myself so enraptured in life, not even trying to mindfully live and experience it all, that I don’t take the time to sit down and get it all out. Channel the energy of the moment into words on paper. And then the moments are gone, because life is a series of moments strung together, and writing about the past, for me, is sometimes difficult because the feeling in the moment has passed.

So there I am, having not written about what it was like to lay in her arms laughing after we had sex for the first time. I didn’t try and describe what it was like to taste her, my first woman, or how she moaned in delight saying I had a magic touch. I didn’t write about the sunshine streaming in the bedroom window, or how romantic I felt in buying her a handmade gift off Etsy. Instead of writing, I was living, experiencing, loving (with a little l, not the big L).

And just like that, it’s over.

A new moment. A new feeling. A new blog entry, with the gap of time between the beginning and the end. A first chapter and a last but no middle.

The reason we ended was silly, trite, frustrating for someone like me that values conflict as a refining process toward creating a shiny diamond of relationship. Miscommunication, perhaps fear on her end, and a breakup in the middle of an argument over…toast.

Though, in the words of a shitty therapist I fired a few years ago, “it’s not about the fucking laundry toast.” Somehow the smallness of a conflict over a text message was really a symptom of something bigger. We both behaved like 8th grade girls and I’m embarrassed about my part in the ending. 

And yet, this Wise part of my soul knows the freedom I now have is what is best. I fell into a relationship with Anne, and now, with my foray into OK Cupid (like, actually messaging people), I feel like I am being more intentional. Really examining who I want to be in an open relationship and what I’m looking for in a potential partner. 

In a sappy final breakup text, sent a day or two after the fact, as I wanted to round some of the sharp edges we had left off with. In tribute to how we both enjoyed Emily Dickinson, I sent her this:

THAT is solemn we have ended-
 Be it but a play,
Or a glee among the garrets,
Or a holiday,

Or a leaving home; or later,
Parting with a world,
We have understood for better, 
Still it be unfurled.

My husband has a date!

Keith has been texting his friend Jen for a few weeks now. She used to work for the same company, though they never really talked until the season was over, but recently she reached out to him for some advice on going back to school for a similar job as his. And so he suggested meeting up for lunch. Their texting got flirty, but then she backed off when she learned he was married.

The more Keith and I talked the more I realized how much I wanted him to pursue this relationship with Jen, regardless of where it went. We set some rules that we both felt comfortable with, and he assured Jen that I was okay with their flirty texting and lunch date relationship. I’m not sure if it’ll turn into a full fledged girlfriend status, since she’s leaving in a few months to go back to school, but he’s enjoying getting to know her, and she has seemed really receptive to the openness of our marriage situation, going from somewhat jealous that he would stop texting to hang out with me, to now asking about how I am and even suggesting we all get together for a double date sometime (me with Anne, Keith with her, all of us together?!). I love that she’s thinking that way, because while I have no interest in dating her too, if she’s going to be a metamour I would really like to know her and have a non-sexual relationship with her.

So after I cleared my Friday night date plans for dinner with Anne, Keith said, “not to go tit for tat, but how would you feel if I took Jen to the Wednesday night soccer game next week?” I think he still sometimes thinks I’m going to freak out, when the exact opposite happens. It feels weird putting it into writing that I get really happy and excited that he is pursuing and getting to know someone else, and that it could possibly become sexual. At any rate, the immense freedom I feel knowing that I don’t have to go to a Wednesday night soccer game, something that starts to get bogged down in my schedule with things every single night, is also practically exciting. Keith gets to take a lady friend out, they can have a good time, and I can be home doing homey things.

It might seem like time spent apart might make us grow apart, but I actually feel closer and more connected than ever before. I really like it, and am so excited that he is getting to go on a date!

I asked a girl out!

Now that I’m back from my Vegas weekend, I have time in my schedule to go on a proper date with Anne. But I am so unskilled in the whole dating department that I was terribly nervous to ask her out. I mean, it seemed pretty apparent that we’ve been on the same page since the beginning, and she certainly seems interested in going on a date with me, but until I asked, I couldn’t know for sure. 

It’s interesting the thought process I’m going through now that I’m out. Because growing up I had certain rules in my mind for how men and women should interact as far as dating. Every experience of me going outside the gender norm (and asking a guy out) had been met with resistance or outright rudeness. And so those experiences reinforced the value that my church had taught, that guys were supposed to initiate and girls were supposed to basically wait around until a guy took some interest. 

But with girls…how does it work? Does asking her out make me too forward? Would anything happen if both of us was waiting for it to happen but to shy or awkward or nervous to say anything about it? I know what I’m feeling is reciprocated, so I just decided to take the plunge. Since she’s busy with school, and work, and kids, and her own life, I put it in her court saying in the course of a texting conversation, “I want to take you on a date,” and asked if she was free sometime this weekend. She suggested Friday night, and so I said I’d plan something. 

Keith thought it was cute that I was researching date options, and said, “oooh, Ms. romantic,” when I suggested this fancy restuarant on a marina that has a great happy hour dinner for really cheap (comparably). I love that he’s sweetly teasing me about it, because with him I am not as lovey-dovey romantic in nature. I find that I enjoy practical romance, like when he got me a really cool new book for our anniversary, rather than flowers. So he thought it was cute that I was planning such a stereotypically romantic date night for my girl. 

Today she asked me where I was taking her, and somehow she hasn’t ever been to this restaurant! I’m actually really surprised because it’s a local favorite for many people, and it makes me happy that I’ll get to show her that experience! But ya’ll, I’m super nervous…I’ve never been on a date by myself with a woman. Sure I go out with my girl friends, but there’s never been that sexual chemistry piece I’ve had to wade through. Though I know that’s reciprocal, too, as she asked me today if walking along the boardwalk would entail making out 🙂

Sigh. I’m smitten. But I’m rule driven, and have no idea how to navigate a same-sex relationship where there’s no designated ‘guy’ and ‘girl’ roles to fill. I ask her out the first time, will she ask me out the next? Do I pay for the bill? Do we ‘go dutch’? Do I kiss her first or do I wait for her to kiss me? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

But I did it. I asked a girl out on a date. Well, I guess I told her that I wanted to go on a date, and she said she would. So that’s something, right? 

Any advice ya’ll on navigating the new ‘rules’ of dating? 

My Experience Coming Out (Part 3)

I didn’t mean to, but my close friend Russ was sitting in my office, talking about his relationship status, and when he asked me how I was doing, and what was new, I blurted out:

“I am bisexual. I am going on a date on Friday, with a woman. And I’m really nervous and scared and excited.”

While the news came out of left field, and I should probably work on the delivery, he took it in stride, because that’s the kind of friends we are. We met a few years ago at non-profit working with troubled youth, and have somehow both transitioned to working at the same community college, teaching different subjects. We spend a good bit of time together talking about vulnerable parts of our life, and so it felt natural to share with him, though it was out of left field.

And then, in a stroke of beauty, he shared some beautiful and hard parts of his identity and relationship happening right now, and it felt so nice to be loved and supported by a friend, and to share in his life. It’s these simpatico relationships that I love so much. There’s no sexual element involved, but our connection is deep, and I feel so grateful to have him in my life.

And so there you have it. The second person, IRL, that I have told about who I am, and where I am headed. And so far so good…