28 February, 2016

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Man: I want happiness.
Buddha: First remove 'I'...that is ego. Then remove 'want'...that is desire. All that remains is happiness.


You get up, you go to work, you come home, you eat dinner, and you go to bed. There has to be more to life than paying bills until you die, right?

Of course there is. There hasn't exactly been a shortage of people telling us as much, over the millennia. Not just the heavy hitters, Buddha and Jesus and Muhammed and such, but the myriad people who have also embraced their true selves and brightened the world in so doing.

I've been blessed to come across many such people in my short time of limited awareness...people who make a difference, lights unto the world ("enlightened" would be a fair description), souls that have touched and enriched mine and many others besides. I know...I don't believe, I know...that I will discover many more. I strive and struggle to be one of them myself.

I've read a fair number of 'spiritual' books since I was a young adult. Some have stuck with me to the point that I quote them in my mind and on the page with some frequency: Neale Donald Walsch's ...With God series is probably the most prominent of those. Others merely brushed my awareness and didn't leave a lasting impression. Regardless, many of the truths in them are merely different expressions of the same Truth, just as most religions, at heart, are the same.
It's blasphemous in nearly every one to suggest as much, of course. God forbid (ha-ha) that someone else might have a valid path to enlightenment.

My metamour Mark lent me a book he said had a profound effect on his spirituality: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. I'd heard of the book, but only barely. For some reason I thought it was a five hundred page doorstopper. It isn't. It's actually only 37 pages long, with large print and wide top and bottom margins. The edition I read was fleshed out to 112 pages with many pictures of gulls flying. I read it in about half an hour.

That was a profitable half an hour.

You may know the story: Jonathan Livingston Seagull yearns to fly. To fly free of his Flock, free of their endless preoccupation with scavenging for food, to fly just because flight, for him, is his highest expression. He's ridiculed by his peers for endlessly refining his flight technique, seeking greater speed, agility and control. Upon breaking the seagull speed record, he's banished from his Flock for 'reckless irresponsibility, violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family'. Cast out to the Far Cliffs, his spiritual awakening and subsequent journey truly begins, and eventually leads him full circle and Beyond.

The book spent 38 weeks at #1 and broke all hardcover sales records. It spawned a feature-length movie (critically panned, albeit with a Grammy-winning soundtrack voiced by Neil Diamond). It's also generated, like most things spiritual, its fair share of vitriolic misreadings. (This linked review perverts nearly every core message of the book, and indeed stands as a perfect example of the kind of contempt the desire to elevate yourself and those around you is held in.)

Seagull's messages resonated with me. I have long believed in 'power with, not power over', and that true enlightenment is revealed in enlightening others. And as an outsider to many of the world's games, for good or ill, I've certainly the "price of misunderstanding" that Jonathan alludes to: "they call you devil or they call you god".

They liked the practice, because...it fed a hunger for learning that grew with every lesson. But not a one of them...had come to believe that the flight of ideas could possibly be as real as the flight of wind and feather
--Jonathan Livingston Seagull, p. 76

That's why spirituality doesn't seem to catch hold: because many of us, even its devoted students, often find ourselves questioning, wondering if there's any real value in such esoteric, impractical teachings. After all, our world places a premium on practicality. Love thy neighbour is all well and good, but it doesn't pay the bills, does it?

No, it doesn't. But that's not what it's for, and the practical-minded people need to understand this.

We as humans are cursed with binary thinking: 'either/or' rather than 'both/and'. That binary thinking has infected our world to an alarming degree. If you're not religious, you must be an atheist; if you're not with us, you're against us; if you're not this, you must be that.

There's a passage in Conversations with God (pdf) in which the author is asking "God" if various kinds of sex are okay in God's eyes. (It's important to note that this series repeatedly tells the reader NOT to blindly believe in it, but to simply accept OR reject what it has to say on a sentence by sentence basis. "Either way, you'll have arrived at your Truth".) Also note that the 'God' in this series often mixmasters up pronouns and descriptions of Itself in order to break you free of imagining God in one (male) role.

Here's the response:

First, let’s be once again clear that nothing is disapproved of by God. I do not sit here in judgment, calling one action Good and another Evil...
Now—within the context of what serves you, or disserves you, on your Path of Evolution, only you can decide that.
There is a broad-based guideline, however, upon which most evolved souls have agreed. No action which causes hurt to another leads to rapid evolution. 
There is a second guideline as well. No action involving another may be taken without the other’s agreement and permission. 
Now let us consider the questions you’ve just asked within the context of these guidelines.
 “Kinky” sex? Well, if it hurts no one, and is done with everyone’s permission, what reason would anyone have to call it “wrong”?  Loveless sex? ... Let me just say this: Loveless anything is not the fastest way to the Goddess. Whether it’s loveless sex or loveless spaghetti and meat balls, if you’ve prepared the feast and are consuming it without love, you’re missing the most extraordinary part of the experience.
Is it wrong to miss that? Here again, “wrong” may not be the operative word. “Disadvantageous” would be closer, given that you desire to evolve into a higher spiritual being as rapidly as you can.
--Neale Donald Walsch, CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, BOOK 1

It's not about EITHER being spiritual OR practical. It's about infusing your practicality (and everything else in your life) WITH spirituality. It's about approaching everything from, and with, love. What form that love takes is up to you. It could be, as it was for Jonathan Seagull and a few exceptional souls in my experience, teaching. It could be massage. It could indeed be sex. It could be almost anything, so long as it comes from your highest expression of Who You are.

I'm still seeking that highest expression. I may never find it, but at least I'll never stop searching.

"There's only us
there's only this
Forget regret
or life is yours to miss...
No other path
No other way
No day but today"
Jonathan (Larson, not Livingston) -- RENT, the musical

21 February, 2016

Love: A Biography In Verse


I’ve always loved too easily, too many, more than two
And I refuse to say it’s her I love, not you, or you.
I love you all, no matter what. An ‘us’ there’ll always be—
I love you ‘cause you’re loveable. Is that so hard to see? 

Remember back in days of yore— high school, eleventh grade,
That girl I’d blithely kill for, if she asked me, if she made
just one small step towards me? I was mincemeat in her pie
She never did. Almost, not quite. She knew it, so did I.

I played along, I had no choice. She had me in her thrall.
I’d take a scrap of love from her, or anything at all.
She cornered me and took my hand and spoke. “Here’s where it’s at:
“There’ll never be an ‘us’,” she said. “I don’t love you like that.”

Fast forward several years to university and lust
I’d lay anything with half a chance. I’d even lay the dust.
But laying close brings love for me, that’s always been the case…
Love wasn’t in the cards for us, she said. She needed space.

I gave her space, I gave her time. I loved her from afar.
And then one day I went to her, and asked her how things are.
She held me oh so tenderly, and then she said it straight:
“There’ll never be an ‘us’,” she said. “But wow, the sex was great.”

And then I met the woman I would marry and I learned
just how it felt to reap reward of love that I had earned.
I’d never felt the like before. Not sure I ever will. 
It’s been seventeen years now and it feels so early still. 

Like anyone, we’ve had our ups. We’ve had our downs as well.
But through it all we’ve had each other: still do, you can tell. 
We know we’ll be together up until and through the end:
“There’ll always be an ‘us’”, she says. “On that you can depend.”

So this is where a rhyme like this should end, or so it’s said.
But love, it doesn’t work that way, in either heart or head.
We always knew that one day someone else would come along
And maybe someone else again. Or maybe a whole throng.

It took a lot of years for me to finally make her see
She was so lovely that others would love her, not just me.
But once she grasped that fact of life, she eagerly took part:
There’ll always be a ‘them’, I see. And that gladdens my heart.

And me? I fell as quickly. I went right head over heels.
Nothing is quite like knowing that you’re free to feel your feels.
She had a man already, but her love was much like mine
We seemed like kindred spirits. It could only be a sign. 

They say that hindsight’s perfect. I wish foresight could be, too.
I shouldn’t have been blinded, should have known before she knew.
I didn’t. I was shocked and deeply hurt to hear her say:
“There’ll never be an ‘us’, you know. I got carried away.”

My heart had not been broken in so very many years.
It used to be a normal state, the heartbreak and the tears.
But after far too long I found my feet and walked away
And set upon a different path, embraced it, come what may.

What came had been there for some time, and growing more and more.
So strange to realize love exists where like had been before.
What’s more, I think she felt it too, at least to a degree
But what is, is, what’s not is not, and this could never be.

I know this. I accept it. Well, the most I feel is wist.
I’ve never hugged her properly, for sure we’ve never kissed.
But I felt a sort of COMFORT when I heard her say this line:
“There’ll never be an ‘us’”, she said. “We didn’t meet in time.”

There are so many others I could mention, but will not.
So many people that I love, so much love that I've got.
What can I say? You're lovely, every one of you. It's true.
And that is why I love you--also you and you, and you.

So here I am beside my darling wife and metamour, 
Sensing a new beginning, but not knowing what’s in store.
“There’ll ALWAYS be an ‘us’, I say. “And I stand here, indicted
of loving all of you although my love is not requited.”

“It’s what I have, it’s what I do, it’s what I am, you see—
I love you ‘cause you’re loveable. You mean the world to me.
There are so many of you, more than half the stars above:
There’ll always be an ‘us’, you know. Because that’s how I love.”


15 February, 2016

To my readers:

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." --Ernest Hemingway

Dear Readers,

The Breadbin turns 12 this year. Twelve years, coming up on  1600 posts, well over a million words. Definitely a few clunkers in there, as well as some ancient entries of which I am not proud. (I advocated for STEPHEN HARPER. More than once. Dear God.)  A fair bit of repetitious repetition: whenever I've repeated a theme, I've tried to write in wider and wider spirals, covering at least a little new ground each time.

There's a lot of good writing in here, if I do say so myself. I've bared my soul to the world, warts and all; covered a wide variety of topics, some requiring (ugh) entirely too much research; tried to make you laugh, cry, and think.

My end goal is to make a living off my writing. That is wildly optimistic of me. I'm not putting myself down in saying so: A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the people who consider themselves writers earn enough money to write full time. But writing is place-proof and age-proof: so long as I have the mental acuity and a means to put words to screen or paper, I can write. Past retirement. I picture myself writing a quick post on the day I die. I hope that can happen. I really do.

I believe I have the talent to supplement my income, at the very least. That well over a million words I've written over the past twelve years? I've done it for free.

Maybe free is what they're worth. Maybe not. I've never had the opportunity to find out.

Enter Patreon. Patreon is sort of like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, except instead of a single (hopefully large) crowdsourced donation, it allows for a small recurring one. It's entirely voluntary: you'll still be able to read my blog for free. But if you choose to, you can donate an amount you set per post, to a maximum of an amount you set per month...as little as a dollar a month to as much as you want.

I want to make it clear that none of you are under any obligation. I'd also like to make it clear (if it wasn't already) that I'm willing to write on just about any topic: you can PM me on Facebook or leave suggestions as comments here.  This blog is my blog, but it's also your blog.

Thank you for reading. I'll be going live with Patreon in the next few weeks.

--Ken

14 February, 2016

It Bothers Me.

This is going to be a challenge to write, on several levels.

One, I find the subject matter repulsive in the extreme. As I hope I made clear in my last post, BDSM is so far out of my comfort zone that I actually recoil whenever it comes up. I can intellectually grasp the appeal of bondage, sort of, but anything involving pain or humiliation mystifies and horrifies me. In any other context, deliberately causing pain to another human being is inhuman and monstrous, and deliberately courting it is proof of extremely low self-esteem at the very least. But in the most intimate of contexts, it's "just another way to love".  I'm not sure I can express just how much this bothers me.

Two, and related, I have no idea what I'm talking about. There must be a lure to BDSM, and a powerful one: otherwise  Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn't be the top-selling book written for adults in all of history.  (Gag...literally.) What that appeal is, I can't even fathom, and I freely admit I don't want to fathom...but I simply have to accept that for every man who fantasizes about  hurting a woman, there seems to be a woman out there fantasizing about being hurt.

Three, it's controversial, and therefore no matter what I say, I'm going to unwittingly offend someone. It seems I can barely open my mouth or flex my fingers without pissing somebody off. I know I'm not supposed to care about that...but I do. Since the world has lost its sense of nuance at some point when my back was turned, and it took mine with it, writing about topics like this is like walking through a minefield on stilts while juggling swords and flamethrowers. I just did it up there myself: I'm sure women don't want to be hurt, exactly...nuance, nuance...pain in the service of sex seems to exist in some alternate universe where "hurt" ceases to have meaning.

Until it doesn't: that's when charges and courts ensue.

__________

Jian Ghomeshi. Guilty or not guilty?

We won't know until March 24...which hasn't stopped people from declaring either way.

I've watched this trial with a kind of creeping horror, not just because of the subject matter, but because the legal process has been so...cringeworthy in this case.  Three women, each utterly shredded by Ghomeshi's lawyer, in a viciously public way that had to be at least as traumatizing as any alleged assault. Marie Heinein, "the most sought-after trial lawyer in the city" according to Toronto Life, once had this to say about her profession:

"As criminal lawyers we represent people who have committed heinous acts. Acts of violence. Acts of depravity. Acts of cruelty. Or as Jian Ghomeshi likes to call it, foreplay."

--which just goes to show that lawyers believe what they're paid to believe.

Heinein has, as I said, completely destroyed both the reliability and the credibility of each of the three complainants--which doesn't mean Ghomeshi is innocent, but it sure does raise reasonable doubt in the eyes of many legal professionals.  And that makes me ill. Yes, you're supposed to judge these cases strictly on the evidence that's presented, but...

I mean, come on, it's a matter of public record that he cracked a woman's rib. He actually admitted as much by SHOWING A VIDEO OF THE INJURY to his bosses at the CBC, which led to his termination. There have been TWENTY THREE women who have come forward with allegations of assault. Twenty of them are irrelevant as far as this trial is concerned: again, strictly legally speaking, this is understandable, but  emotionally it makes me want to scream. Or weep.

(I was accused of making that cracked rib up. I didn't. People have crappy memories, it seems.)

A woman named Karen Logan (or what I can't help but think might have been a man using her account) posted this in response to my skepticism about Ghomeshi's innocence:

"Injuries are common and death is not unheard of in BDSM sex. That doesnt make him a criminal. I leave that up to the judge to decide. Also....out of all the women accusers...these ones were the best the prosecution could come up with. It was unfortunate they didnt tell the police and crown everything. It would have never made it to court. Not my opinion but expert opinion"

The fact each woman had repeated contact with Ghomeshi shortly after the alleged assaults is not in and of itself damning to their cases. Case law recognizes that this is irrelevant. The fact none of them chose to mention that contact to investigators, each claiming amnesia about it until it came up in court (how convenient)...that's quite likely fatal.

All the same: I can understand why you wouldn't choose to publicize the fact you wrote a letter extolling the virtues of the hands that just choked you, or saying this:

"You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to fuck your brains out. Tonight.”

Flowers. Loving emails. All three women (and probably many more) exhibited this behaviour, to varying degrees, after saying they were assaulted. In DeCoutere's case, above,  the "love-bombing" went on for months.

 It looks bad. It looks very bad. I've been told by a woman that it isn't bad, it's common for victims of abuse to act this way. I can see it in the case of wives married to monsters: you're manipulated, over years, into believing you deserve nothing but abuse, in a sick way actually craving it: but these relationships weren't marriages. They barely qualified as dalliances.

Nevertheless, it happens. Apparently quite often.

Were his victims coerced into acting this way? Jesse Brown thinks so. An anonymous source provides him with a chilling account of Ghomeshi's M.O. before, during, and after dates, a scheme geared around manufacturing the illusion of consent. (Lost in this is that you cannot consent to physical injury in Canadian law).

None of this came up in court. If any of it is true, that fact puzzles me mightily. One thing the Crown got right in this case: it's about Ghomeshi, not the women he allegedly assaulted. But Heinein made the trial ALL about those women. I would fully expect at least one of them to blurt out "he made me do this". None of them did. What does that mean? That it's not legally true. Which may have little or nothing to do with its factual truthfulness.

Damnit, this is hard.

Let's for just a moment discard our preconceptions and assume Ghomeshi is exactly, and only, what he says he is: a man who likes to engage in rough sex with willing women.  Even if that's the case, he was doing it all wrong. Even I, as totally ignorant as I am, know there's an intricate dance of consent involved...and not consent by duress, either. A safe word needs to be established, or a safe gesture if a gag of any kind is involved. Aftercare is critical. There is no one so contrite as a top who has just upset a bottom in a dominance/submission scene: the sub actually has all the power. (That alone took me years to fully grasp.) Ghomeshi, according to those who knew him, faked some of this and ignored the rest. Add in decades of anecdotes about creepy-stalkery behaviour (none of which is admissible in court), and it's hard to understand why he could very well walk away from all this. If that happens, he might even sue. Imagine that.

If nothing else, I can certainly understand now why victims of sexual assault do not report. It's the one crime in which the victim is put on trial.

"If you're raped, don't charge the bastard with rape. Charge him with indecent exposure. It is much easier to get a conviction for that charge than for rape. The defence is not allowed to ask anything about your sexual history or how you were dressed at the time. Forensic evidence is unnecessary. The total public embarrassment to you is cut more than in half. What's the guy going to do, leap up in court and say, 'It's a filthy lie, Your Honour, I raped that bitch'? In many states, a man convicted of indecent exposure will actually draw more prison time than a rapist. And weenie-waggers do harder time than anybody but a short-eyes -- in fact, the scheme sort of incorporates the Law of Talion. An eye for an eye..." 
--Spider Robinson, "Lady Slings The Booze"

But there's yet another side to this. Ought we simply to, as the hashtag had it, #BelieveHer, no matter what she says about what happened? That would be at least as much a travesty of justice as a guilty man getting off scot-free. It makes consent impossible to obtain for certain. In the absence of physical evidence, how do I prove I never raped someone? I can't prove a negative. A mere allegation of rape or any other kind of sexual assault would ruin my life--which is why I don't hug people near as often as I'd like to. A hug from me is a very strong declaration of trust in you.

I want to be sensitive to victims of assault and rape, at the same time cognizant that sometimes women come up with false allegations. Determining the truth of the matter is much more difficult than it seems. In this case, I've made my mind up: I've heard too many stories about the disconnect between Ghomeshi's charming, liberal, feminism-espousing aura on the radio and his actual behaviour with women. But none of those stories are under consideration here.

It bothers me. It bothers me a LOT.



08 February, 2016

Love and Marriage (and Sex!)

NSFW post. Adult themes up the ying-yang, graphic language, probably a trigger or two, reader discretion is advised, etc.

"Hardon You"

I know my constant horniness gets hardon you
Sometimes it seems I'm always in the mood
If that is so, I truly beg your pardon, too
It wasn't my intention to be rude
My love is like my horniness, in that it never quits
But I'd love you if you didn't have those tits

Men have only got the one thing on their mind
It gets so repetitious it's a crime
Somebody said a hard man is good to find
As long as you don't find him every goddamn time
You are not only something that I lust for, that I hunt
I would love you if you didn't have a cunt

I'm neurotically erotic, with a taste for the exotic
And your body is hypnotic when it's next to me
I'm dementedly attentive, and in need of no incentive
But you know you represent much more than sex to me. . . 

You know that I was horny for you from the start
And that's the way it's always gonna be
But you ought to know your sexiness is just a part
of the value you will always have for me
It may have been what caught my eye, it ISN'T why I stick
I would love you if I didn't have a dick.

--words and music by Spider Robinson

Want to get a bunch of people you have never met and will never meet really pissed at you? Dare to tell them the obvious: there's more to love and marriage than sex.

To me, this is a statement so self-evident that it shouldn't require a word of explanation or clarification. But I have found over time that it's precisely those unquestioned axiomatic assertions that trip you up. Say online, for instance, that sexual attraction is NOT a prerequisite for love any more than the other way around and holy shit. I mean I had a hundred people downvote me in fifteen minutes and some freakishly nasty comments. Nothing I haven't seen before, nothing that even rattles me, but nasty, nonetheless.

I could just walk away from it. These are nobodies hiding behind screens. Give a hundred monkeys keyboards and in short order they'll be flinging shit around online, right?  But since shit washes off, I figure I may as well try to engage them. A little. If I get through to one monkey and elevate his consciousness a wee bit, I'll have done something productive with my day.

And so. I explained how love and sex work for me. And I hope to Christ there was one silent monkey in the crowd who got it, because the cacophony and renewed shit-flinging fair drowned me out. THAT was when I walked away, head held high...but having taken note of the distinctive flavour of shit.

I'm rambling, and I haven't even started yet. Great.

I have a low libido by male standards. It's by no means nonexistent: there are days when I could cheerfully fuck a beehive. But it is and always has been subject to wild swings. My antidepressant has made the lows even lower and the spikes less frequent (still there, but once a month instead of once a week). This is, I gather, supposed to bother me as a male, because my self-worth is supposed to be all tied up in the sex I'm having *coughbullshitcough*.

It doesn't bother me much. Oh, I'd be a liar if I said I was completely unfazed, but if I have any reservations about sex, they tend to revolve around my perceived inadequacies, the ones hard-wired into my personality.

I think it's because I never had a sibling.

Screaming left turn there. Hang on, folks. *smile*

Seriously, though. I watched my nieces frolic around the house yesterday. They bring such joy wherever they go, but they're typical sisters: even at not-quite four and one, you can see at a glance how much they love each other...and hate each other.

Because that's what siblings do, right? I love you so much, you are my PERSONAL punching bag. Anybody else punches you, I kill them. Punches from me are love taps.

I never got that love-hate thing. Still don't, at all. My twin died when he was two days old and I grew up an only child. Love is love and hate is hate and the two things can't be further apart on the emotional spectrum for me.

This has had profound implications on the kind of lover I am. My love is completely devoid of anything that might require a pinch of hate as an ingredient. I can't do power trips. I can't degrade--even if it's something I've convinced myself is degrading and my partner disagrees. I can't talk dirty, I feel like a fool if I do and nothing kills a boner faster than embarrassed laughter. My top speed is barely out of second gear: as soon as I hit third I leak transmission oil everywhere. Get me on one of those fuck-a-beehive days and I'll leak transmission oil if you pop me out of park. You people who can tear around the track for five hundred miles, redlining all the way...how do you do that? I'm in awe, man. Seriously.

Ven vee are havink ze sex, is to try to pretend vee are someone else, says the sex therapist who lives in my head.
Why would I do that? (I talk back to the voices in my head. Don't you?)
Because zen vee could experience all ze Hollywood sexy things. Vee could do angry passion. Vee could be rough. Vee could zay thinks like "fuck me, bitch". 
But none of zat...excuse me, none of THAT... is sexy, I say. And if I'm pretending to be someone else, I'm not me. If I'm not me, why not just let her go be with someone else who has that soup├žon of hate that lets them be not so fucking boring? Or boring fucking, I mean?
No, no, vee can't do that! the therapist says. If vee do, then it means vee are not goot enuf--
Oh, go fuck yourself, Freud, and that's the end of that until the next time I see a movie where Mr. Alpha Sixpack Stamina is dominating the screen/wench beneath him and said wench is deep in Planet Orgasm. ASS always has the same look on his face, like sex is a matter of life and death, a test he must pass, and the woman is just the paper for him to spread his ink on.

These aren't porn movies, by the way. This is standard Hollywood fare. I can barely watch porn because of how utterly degrading it almost always is. Where's the porn where they cuddle and go slow and kiss everything that quivers, even a little? Show me porn where the woman is ravished and worshipped and lovingly sipped instead of jackhammered and whee! libido problem goes bye-bye. Does that porn exist?

I am good at what I do, or so I have been told, occasionally by people who are out of breath at the time. (Stroke that ego and watch it grow, but for god's sakes don't put it in third gear or there'll be a mess.)  It's just that what I do is not the full scope of Things That Are Done.

We happen to live a life that makes allowances for this. People assume that it's why we practice ethical nonmonogamy, because sometimes she just wants to ride shotgun in the Indy 500. Nice fringe benefit, to be sure, but not even close to why.

See, bring up polyamory in the context of sex and you must be a cuckold, a guy who gets off on the idea of his wife being with other men. I'm the furthest thing from that. That stuff is private. I couldn't tell you about it if I wanted to, because I don't know it, any of it, and don't care to know it any more than you do. Am I happy she's happy? Of course. Do I get some kind of sexual thrill out of it? Really, really, really not. The same thing will operate in reverse should I find another partner and become sexual: what happens in the bedroom stays there. Compersion--joy at another's joy that had nothing to do with you--does not have to have a sexual component.

In truth, neither does marriage. Ours does (and that's the sum total of information you're going to get about that)...but "I'd love her if I didn't have a dick". There are lots of married people on the asexual spectrum, as well as men who are "impotent" and women who are "frigid"--would you get a load of the heaping helping of judgment loading down both those words? As if whether or not a man can have sex has something to do with his potency. As if a woman who does not have sex can't possibly be warm and loving. As if.

There are lots of good reasons to get married. Passion is one of them: in a passionless marriage you are housemates and little more. It's not everything. It's not even most of the things.

 Sex may be very important to you, and that's fine. You may regard it as the glue that holds your relationship together, and if you both agree on that, who am I to say otherwise? But consider: even the horniest couple can only spend a tiny fraction of their lives fucking. I would think there's got to be something more, something stronger, that keeps you together other than ugly-bumping. Call it...call it love.

There are people who view sex as a pastime. They don't remember the names and faces of their partners, and don't care to. I accept this...but I find it sad. Sex as sport is all well and good (and I sure don't remember all the people I've played hockey with), but for me there's so much more there. It's about deep connections, for me.  I don't understand how you can connect to someone on such a fundamental level and then...just...move on.

It sometimes feels as if I am alone among men in that sex and love are inextricably linked for me. I've met more than a few women for whom sex need not involve any amount of love, too. It all goes back to that love-hate thing, the power dynamic in which I would much rather yield than wield the power. Sex without love feels much worse than, say, masturbation. (I mean, I love myself...at least a little!) It feels, again to me, as if "any hole will do" and the person attached to the hole is an afterthought, if she's a thought at all. I recognize there are probably nuances to this I don't get, but since I don't get them, I don't know how to overcome them.


I fall in love with people from the inside out: always have, always will. That hole? It happens last.

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Next post is going to be a continuation of this one, on a topic I'm incredibly unqualified to pontificate about. It'll be about a man who does have that pinch (and slap, and choke) of hatred in him.

It'll be about Jian Ghomeshi.

01 February, 2016

The Need To Explain

A dear friend of Eva's--which makes her a dear friend of mine--sent this to me the other day:



I have to admit, I stared at it for a while, not entirely sure what to make of it. Many of those things are personal bugaboos of mine, little insecurity traps. I feel some pretty intense guilt over one of them, defiance over a couple of others, and I probably spend far too much time thinking about almost all of those things as a group.

Check that, all of them.

This is supposed to be a liberating poster, something to take to heart. I'm supposed to let go of the need to justify each of these things, because they're none of anybody's business.



And yet I still looked at that first poster and thought, she's telling me to shut up about all of this stuff.

Apparently I still care too much about what others think.

I don't have to explain any of this...except sometimes to myself. And in doing so, you, dear reader, get to ride shotgun. Ready?


1) One of the biggest regrets, if not the biggest regret of my entire life is my having taken the wrong degree. Not so much my dropping out--I don't think I would have dropped out at all had I taken something a little more...relevant than Honours English, Language and Literature (abbreviated as you'd expect). I took English because it seemed to be the path of least resistance, and because I loved stories. Or at least that's the story I tell myself.

What I should have done was mapped out a career goal and followed a path straight to it. What career? Given my proclivities and my idealism, three spring to mind: politics, law, or psychology. Those are three places where I'd have made a tangible difference. Probably not electoral politics--I doubt I could get myself elected to anything--but the elected people are just figureheads anyway. Law: I have a very strong interest in the interplay between justice and mercy, and it would be a source of unending joy to fight for both of those things.  Psychology is obvious, when it seems like every person with a crisis homes right in on me (and I love the feeling I get when that crisis is averted or overcome)...but I'm not as sold on it. I care too damned much. If (when) I lost a patient I'd go off the deep end myself.

I'm more than halfway through my working life: it's far too late to start from scratch now. So I make the best of what I do, and save my "making a difference" impulse for things outside my career, and hope like hell I do. Make a difference, I mean.

2) Where I live. Also, truth be told, not where I want to live. I feel very much, even now, like this is a "starter" house, not the kind of place you spend twelve, let alone twenty or thirty, years in. It doesn't help that we specifically picked this place out with children in mind, children who never materialized.
Again, we make the best of it. There are advantages. The house has more than doubled in value since we bought it and the carrying costs are more reasonable than rent. We deliberately bought less house than we could afford, reasoning that interest rates would go up again. Silly decision, in that light alone, but it's never stupid NOT to waste money.

3) My appearance--I couldn't explain this if I wanted to. You get enough people telling you how ugly you are and you believe it, even when one person comes along and says otherwise. I know that I look better in a suit and tie...and I defiantly choose not to wear suits and ties because I am who I am, not what I look like. I cling to that. I have to.

4) My political views. Nobody wants to talk politics--it's right up there with 5) and 7) as hot-button issues. This confuses me to no end. If you hold a political view--no matter what it is--by definition you think the world would be a better place if other people held it too. At the same time, it's always good to hear dissenting views: they may force you to re-evaluate your beliefs (grow, in other words). So respectfully talking politics is something I enjoy, and I wish more people enjoyed with me.

5) Religion is the politics of the afterlife. I do believe in an afterlife:
paraphrasing Jodie Foster in Contact,

I'll tell you one thing about Time, though. Time is a pretty long time. It's longer than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just this... seems like an awful waste of time. Right?

I most emphatically do not believe in God as He is commonly portrayed. Way, way too limiting: why only male (don't answer that, it's too obvious)? Why does He act so...human (the answer to that is just as obvious, as far as I'm concerned)? But again, as with politics, I'm more than willing to listen to dissenting views. Not so as to "convert" me, mind you. Evangelization is the mark of a superiority complex, and nothing turns me off faster than people feeling they're superior to other people. No: I'm just interested in what people believe, and why they believe it. Points if the answer to 'why' is something other than "because it says so in this book, here".  I like exploring the commonalities between religions (strip away dross and ritual and you'll find, as Stephen Gaskin once said,

Religions only look different if you get 'em from a retailer. If you go to a wholesaler, you'll find they all get it from the same distributor.

Atheism and a host of civil religions (such as the blind faith in the Great God Progress) are just as likely to invoke that superiority complex: indeed, there is nothing quite so annoying as a militant atheist who mocks everything he can't see or touch. Anybody using science to disprove a holy text, OR a holy text to disprove science, misunderstands the purpose of both.

You are special, every one of you...but you are no more special than anyone else.

6) My alone time -- I'm never alone. That's something I've learned, finally, in the last year or so, to my incalculable relief. Before that I felt alone in a crowded room: cut off, isolated, often completely invisible.
But what I've learned is that if I close my eyes
and  speak your name, you're right there beside me, ready to catch me when I fall. There are a lot of you out there (in here) and I love you all.

7) Life and relationship choices: actually, I do owe people an explanation for these. Not for myself: I'm far beyond caring what uncharitable thoughts you harbour about polyamory, because I know they're based on incorrect assumptions. I owe people an explanation for my polyamory because I'm not the only poly person out there. Until it has the legitimacy it deserves, I'm going to fight for unlimited love, because I believe it's something worth fighting for. Being as unlimited love is so counter to the way the world works (and hey, it starts with big ol' #5, Who loves you "unconditionally" but still somehow judges, condemns, and damns you)--there's often a lot of explanation that has to be done.

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That friend added this:

Feel free to opine, just don't expect agreement and you won't be disappointed...


I don't expect agreement. I don't expect ANYTHING from people if I can at all help it, because people have a habit of not living up to expectations (and I'm a people, too). What I hope for is understanding and acceptance, from myself and from others. You don't have to agree with me -- what a boring world it would be if we all agreed with each other, all the time! -- but I'm learning to accept myself and I hope you can, too.