Sunday, April 10, 2011


I realize something kind of sad.

I've never really been in a relationship that had much in the way of energy. Something was always missing... a feeling like my partner and I were even in the same room together, or doing more than playacting the part of the Happy Couple. I can't even nail what was missing - something that I can only call that "Nth Quality".

My ex-husband and I should have had the Nth Quality. We looked good on paper. Everything seemed to be in place. We jumped headlong into an expensive and heady series of "firsts" - moving in together, buying things together for our apartment, going on trips together... playing house.

But something was missing, and it didn't feel romantic for some reason. No amount of money spent, no amount of things in common, could make it work between us. I could never put my finger on what was missing - I went further and further into the relationship, even down to the elaborate wedding, hoping to capture this mysterious quality that we were supposed to enjoy. A friend recently commented that perhaps we were just too much alike, and I can see this, perhaps we were so much alike that we cancelled each other out.

After him, there was my ex-girlfriend. She and I were the first and only relationship that worked sexually - and for a time, that was enough. Virtually nothing else worked, and eventually that proved our undoing.

In each case, we jumped headlong into the relationship hoping that if only we saw the ritual through to completion... then everything else would magically fall into place.

With both of my long term relationships, I never felt the hopeful excitement of being in love. I felt relief - I am now in a relationship just like everyone else, whee, I'm normal - but not that "new relationship energy". They were giddy about me while I learned to tolerate them.

I grew to love my ex-girlfriend, of course. More than any other partner, and of course, the sex was like finally finding a pair of shoes that finally fit. Oxytocin is a powerful drug. But I didn't fall in love with her, and she knew it, and always held it against me.

Watching friends fall in love, I realize that the everything else is supposed to have already fallen into place. Things just work, or they don't.

The funny thing is that the "Nth Quality" seems to exist more in my friendships than in relationships. My closest friendships offer everything I could want in a partner, except for sex and romance and commitment.

I feel nervous, hopeful, scared, sad.

Nervous, sad and scared because I still don't know if I'll ever experience this. Having never done so before, having 22 years of relationship and dating experience that's done nothing but affirm the negative, I have more reason to believe I won't ever feel giddy about anyone (who will in turn feel and KEEP feeling giddy about me)...

But all the same, I have perhaps another forty or fifty years to keep hoping.

Other people fall in love, and what makes me so different from them?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A fantasy, from 2005

I found this in an old journal.

It's funny how a majority of my fantasies aren't even sexual.


I've walked home from the store. We live in a small, old neighborhood, where there are still "mom and pop" shops, where people can still let their cats out. The air is crisp and bright this morning, and I've come home with a bag full of fresh fruit.

I turn the key in the lock. I find you sitting on the floor, cast in a light beam from the window. You sit with your pictures and mementos spread out around you on the floor, the way you always do when you work on your memory books: and you like best to steal small moments of time alone to work on this.

I'd seen you eyeing the box of handmade papers, of appliques, of various treasures earlier, and quietly, I tiptoed out and walked around the block, then went to the store.

You're dressed now, in your casual things: loose-fitting overalls over a violet thermal, the Mephisto walking sandals. It's how you always look on your off days, super-casual, almost like a modern schoolteacher, even if on your work days you wear your hair back in a knot, like a schoolmarm.

You sit with your wavy, dark hair a soft aura about your shoulders. The glasses you've chosen today are the fifties cat's eye glasses, the ones that compliment your heart-shaped face. As you always are when you're working on something, you're deep in concentration, lost among the world of handmade papers and scraps scattered across our floor.

I go into the kitchen and put the groceries away. I come back, kneel, brush your hair to one side: I lean in, and press my lips against the back of your neck. My favorite spot, even after all this time. The scent of your hair and skin surround me in a warm, sweet wave. You lean back into me like a contented cat, distracted at last from your scrapbooking.

"I'll let you get back to that," I say. "Breakfast? What sounds good? I'll cook this time."

"Actually I'd like to go out. I'd like to get out today," you say. "I'm ready to go. Let's just go."

I stand, and hold out my hands, and you grasp them. I pull you to your feet. You brush a stray lock from my face, smiling into my eyes. You fold your hand into mine, and we make for the door.

Dark Initiation

(c) 2005 me

This is something I wrote quite some time ago. Enjoy.


A confined place: a box, a closet, a tomb, a crate. This is how it always begins: a confined place with barely any air, barely room to move. Barely room to breathe.

Always you hold me down, and I taste the fear, the terror.

I bite my lips: I taste the salt, the metallic tang.

I don't want this.

"Bitch," you hiss, between clenched teeth. Your grip on my shoulder tightens, pushing me against the wall: you suddenly have a strength I never knew that you had. Your fingertips dig into my shoulder.

"Let me go! I thought you were my friend!"

"Bitch," you say, again.

Your hands, your nails turned to claws: they tear my clothing, they rend my flesh, they rend me wide, wide open.

I am in a cold sweat. I am in a fury.

It gives way. It gives way to something hot, wet, and molten.

I hate myself. I hate myself for wanting this.

By day, you are nothing of the kind.

You are my friend: my sister, my brother. You are a little girl playing dress-up in black clothes, you are an angry little boy cursed with the pretense of being a little girl. I don't know, yet, which of these is the truth.

I search for the sign of the person you become at night, and I don't find her. I find only the friend to whom I've told far, far too much about myself.

Next to you, I look tall, silent, prim. You are smaller than me, you are all energy, all ferocity: tiger to my dragon.

I close my eyes. I hope you won't look. I hope you can't see the dreams I have: the dreams that leave me feeling dirty.

At night, it begins again.

You hold my hands down.

"You bitch," you growl: "You dirty bitch. Tell me you want this. Tell me you want me to own you."


The tears begin.

I drag it from the depths of myself, from within, from the place I can't look.

"I... I want this."

The look on your face. Hard stone gives way to flesh.

You reach over with a gloved hand, and stroke my face with a tenderness that I didn't know you had.

"Now you rule me," you confess.

You turn away, head tilted.

I sit up in bed. I am sweating.

The dreams come again, and again, and again.

The shame in this desire doesn't leave.

But you are never again an attacker.


It's strange to think about, how as a woman I am used to being on the receiving end. So are most women.

We ponder whether or not we are deserving, but when I think about how I'd love to have a home filled with flowers and a lover who brings me things from the market... am I more likely to have this with a man? Someone picking me up from my home in Outer Nowheresville, is a man more likely to do this, just because of social conditioning that men "do things" for women and "fix things" for women?

Of course, plenty of women are with men who *don't* do any of these things.

I desire women, not men... but at the same time... sometimes I really feel like I wouldn't mind a little bit of rescue, a little bit of coddling.

Right now is one of those times. I'm premenstrual and moody, and sometimes doubtful. I'm stressed about school and about finances and about being the last single person in my social group and about other things. I wouldn't mind it if I could just put my head in someone's lap and cry... someone who wouldn't have someone else that needed them more. If it were only okay to NEED someone.

I can't always be the strong one. I was the strong one in my last relationship, but I need someone who can also be the strong one from time to time, too.

At the same time, I wonder if perhaps I haven't brought tenderness and nurturance into my life because it's almost a foreign entity. I've stated before that my father was anti-emotion and my mother is a hardnosed and pragmatic woman. I'm so used to being left on my own with my feelings that I'm not sure I even know how to express them at times. I know how to be the martyr and look after someone else, but how do I express when I need looking after?

I have plenty of love to give, but I need someone to love me, too.

I'd like to feel more badass - that I could go out and be this super confident thing who hits on people - but right now I don't feel badass. What I feel is vulnerable, at the moment.

I want to belong to somebody. I need my hair to be stroked, I need to feel desired. I need to be held.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mastering sex

It is a strange thing to consider.

I used to think that I had to master sex. I used to have all kinds of books about sex. I used to have a big box of sex toys and lubes, various sex position and BDSM books, erotica books and mags like On Our Backs (lesbian sex magazine). Also various sets of sexy lingerie.

I think it's possible that I don't have any of these anymore. I realized this when I was looking for a book to loan to someone and couldn't find it. I don't remember what came of these things.

What I do have now:

A few books about massage, and one or two about energy healing.

Enough cookbooks to fill up a shelf, and a lot of kitchen gadgets.

Several old issues of "Real Simple" and "Martha Stewart Living".

A bunch of empty flower vases and plant pots, various plant care and gardening supplies and books/mags, a lot of tea, and books of short stories and poetry. And the beginning of a collection of fuzzy pajamas.

The only thing I have left over from the old me, are a few bottles of massage oil.

I don't know what happened to all of the sex stuff and I don't remember what I did with it. And I don't care.

I have the sneaking suspicion that my possession of those materials has little to nothing to do with my acumen as a lover, and my lover wouldn't necessarily want a glaring reminder of my past. We'd buy new stuff together, anyway.

The other things... I feel... offer much more. Coming from me, they do. I used to feel I had to master sex because at the time, it was all I had to give.


It's funny, this...

A friend of mine has recently fallen in love. The description of their relationship - how her new love is interested in her inner world, how well they seem to mesh in a way that transcends the day to day - fills me with longings of my own.

That's the main thing I crave in a relationship, "clickiness". I've come close a few times... and yet never quite had it. I've yet to be with a partner who has much interest in my inner world... in knowing the real me.

I have to ask if I've ever been the real me in a relationship. My real, authentic self. Who is my real authentic self? Would I know her if I saw her?

I think I've come closer lately than I've ever managed.

I know that in the past, I've hoped a partner would magically pull the Real Me out of myself, from behind the veil of the day to day, would see who I really was. I was conditioned not to show my emotions by a lifetime of (self-diagnosed) PTSD related dissociation, a father who railed loudly against emotional display of any kind, and a hard-nosed, pragmatic mother.

Eventually, I forgot that I had feelings. Occasionally I would click with someone on an intellectual level - because this is the main way in which I was taught to love - and I would find my feelings being teased out of me... and then my partner would feel swamped by the tsunami they'd unleashed. They would always be caught unaware, unprepared. I seemed so calm and neat and orderly. To people afraid of intimacy, I came without all of that sticky, messy stuff. The perfect partner.

My partners didn't expect to have to deal with the messiness of my emotions. They liked me initially because I was not one of these people who needed coddling of any kind. I would never demand. I was rational.

I could only relate on that level... and yet my emotional and intimate needs existed just under the surface, a seething turbulent sea beneath placid waters. I held it all in, and then swamped whoever came too near.

This was actually standard operating procedure for the person with whom I shared my longest relationship. She resented when I shared any closeness with anyone else - a resentment that ended up costing me most of my community. We were to remain locked up in a little bubble together, that's how things were supposed to be. This is what intimacy was supposed to look like. And yet she herself didn't have that mystery key to unlock me.

In the two years or more since we split up, I've started to open up again... I've become more upfront about my feelings, more authentic. I'm not in a relationship, but I share affection with many people. Some people handle singleness by outsourcing sex to casual partners, but what I'm learning to do is to love more casually. Whoever I'm with at the moment is my soulmate for that moment. I feel that more people actually care about me than ever did.

I don't feel that love is the reason to be in a relationship. I hope that now I can actually connect with someone... can feel real communion. That strangely, I have more hope now of someone knowing and caring about my inner world than I did when I needed one special person to tease it out of me.

I needed someone to know me... because nobody else could, and because I wasn't even sure I knew myself.
I still long for a close, intimate partnership, though. Ideally, I wouldn't have to facet or compartmentalize
this person, sequestering them into specific walled off parts of my life. I would be one person around
my friends, another person around my partner.

I'm aiming toward a more holistic life now. I want my partner to be comfortable around my friends -
to belong to my tribe. It's one of the reasons I don't feel inclined to search the lesbian community
for a partner - because my tribe is mixed-gender and mixed-orientation, and I'd want a partner
who is comfortable around a variety of people. I want a partner who would otherwise be my friend...
except unlike my other friends, actually want to be intimate with me.

Something special that I don't share with other people - I described this to a friend thusly... with the soulmates all presently in my life, they have to
go home at the end of the day with someone else. I want a best friend who will be going
home with me instead.

That's the main thing I want in a relationship. My closest friends and I share spiritual, creative and intellectual
points of commonality... I want someone like this... but to go home to her.

I want to feel like I can just breathe when I am with this person. I can just be myself... like
we can be authentic with each other.

Reflection after a long absence

It may seem surprising to some that a year and a half or more after my "wild fling" (which was wild to me, but standard operating procedure to him), I am actually out as a lesbian.

Perhaps only half surprising, since I was previously bisexual.

Perhaps not that surprising after all, since I was out as a lesbian before getting with my ex. And before my ex's sex change.

When I found my ex, it was as if part of me clicked into place - I was at peace with my gender for the first time, at home in my own body. But then my ex became a man. Which was his decision to make, but now I was left again to ponder the question of... "What am I?"

I started to identify as bisexual, because the idea of being seen with someone who passed flawlessly as a man - while calling myself a lesbian - seemed preposterous.

And I don't mean that I identified as bisexual; I mean that I was bisexual. Or so I thought I was.

Recently, there was an energy shift of some sort. I don't need to explain this to people who are more in tune with the metaphysical side of things, but nothing has been the same since - my senses don't work the same way; I don't even live in my body the same way that I did.

Previous to the shift, I did vastly prefer women, but I still responded powerfully to men. Or rather... to specific men who came along once every few years when I was in the right mood. I was perfectly capable of responding (and even being limerently obsessive - and swoony - look at the Daniel Jackson clone for proof of that)... up to a point, that point being actual boy-girl intercourse (which admittedly does nothing for me; I sadly have no attraction whatsoever to penis, I've recently admitted to myself).

So, up until my most recent girl-crush clarified things for me a bit more, I had every reason to believe that I was bisexual.

This may have been true at some point int he past. The thing is, over time, I have been drifting further and further up the Kinsey scale. The older I get, the more I'm attracted to women and the less (and less frequently) I'm attracted to men. Before realizing this, I experienced the occasional switchback, but a dear friend pointed out that it's like a compass wildly vacillating before finding true north.

One of my friends recently pointed out to me that having observed me, it seems as if with men, I'm attracted to the validation I receive... the promise of security. With women, I'm attracted to them. With men, I'm attracted to their attraction to me. With women, I'm attracted to the woman herself. With men, I talk myself into getting involved with them and looking for them, and with women, I've always tried to talk myself out of it.

The most significant relationship of my life was with a woman. I liked male company, but vastly preferred actual sex with women. Then there's the fact that I have yet to actually fall for a male friend. It's as if the initial attraction dies down and I'm left with nothing. I've yet to ever rekindle a spark with a male ex. But I have fallen for most of my female friends at some point or another, and seem to feel this attraction potential with most women.

It took me two years to fully get over my ex. Two years during which I returned to men because... frankly... they just seemed easier. Easier in every possible way. Less abusive. Less filled with drama and game-playing.


The traditional setup is thus: the man does much of the physical legwork; the man pays for the dates. So, when I say that it was cheaper to date men... it really was... quite literally... cheaper. Men seemed actually willing and able to do the work, to do things for me, to teach me things. For example, there actually seemed some hope I might get a man to teach me to ride a bike.

Plus, I was now armed with new insight into what men must deal with on a daily basis when faced with my species.

I have some more thoughts, but they'll wait until I'm back from school. A friend of mine has fallen in love (at a breakneck pace) and the things she enjoys in her relationship - the honesty, the knowingness of each other, the way that the two are able to get beyond the day to day of their ordinary lives - make me think, rather poignantly, of what I'd really love to have.

The other thing is that I no longer practice that form of Buddhism, but it yielded many wonderful insights. In fact, I no longer practice any religion in particular. But that almost seems like the topic of *another* post.