Archive for the 'Rants' Category

21
Aug
11

Moar Metamours.

I have lots of boundaries. About lots of different things. Some of them are fuzzy and negotiable; some of them are crisp, neat, and rigidly enforced.

Not all of them are capital-R-relationship related. There’s “I will not interact with people who disrespect my personal space,” “I will not knowingly allow criminal activity in my home,” or intrapersonal stuff like “I will limit myself to two cigarettes a day.” (I’m bad at that last one.)

Some of the boundaries are drawn behind me to prevent me from going back into my comfort zone — “I will tell the Captain when I feel like hurting myself” — even though it’s easier to hide and deny, I *will* cross the boundary of non-forthcomingness, and, having once passed it, will not go back.

Some of them are based on ethical lines. “I will not practice dishonesty.” Or legal lines. “I will not sensually engage with someone who is under the legal age of consent.”

The relationship ones are complicated, though. I have trust issues. “I am absolutely fucking paranoid about THE SAME SHIT happening AGAIN but I’m theoretically poly but people, by and large, suck; but the Geisha has been fine but you can never ever trust strangers and *everyone*’s a stranger no matter how well the Captain thinks he knows them” … shorthand for I don’t always trust the Captain’s judgement when it comes to other partners. And while he’s absolutely *fabulously* good at respecting our relationship and not letting others disrespect it either, the Paranoid Brain wants to prevent that situation from ever occurring in the first place. And boundaries that really shouldn’t be there are and aren’t really helpful and are basically just a buffer against insecurity start getting thrown up.

The Paranoid Brain is the one that jumps at any chance to quash potential friendships/relationships/metamors/sharers because what if we get screwed again? The Robot Brain says the Paranoid Brain is a fear-based system and that there are ways and ways to control a situation without needing to prevent it from happening. The part of my brain that really listens to Loki says “Shit is going to happen, it’s not all going to be under your control, get the hell over yourself. Ride the wave of chaos, don’t mind the sharks.” And Me? Me is on input overload from the brains and just screaming into the pillow at this point. Me is the one who goes out for a smoke break every chance he gets, just to turn off the brains, and talks to The-Pappa-In-My-Head about life and work and Manly Topics.

The Paranoid Brain says “You’ll never top again. You’re an abusive sadist who didn’t use safewords and didn’t know what you were doing and didn’t care how he felt and harmed him and broke him and loved every fucking minute of it. That uncertainty you feel when you had Xemnas’s gorgeous red hair in your fist? THAT MEANS YOU WANT TO BREAK HER TOO.” The Paranoid Brain is glad we missed that party, glad she’s married now, glad that her husband is stationed in Europe and glad that we’ll never get explicit approval from him because that means we’ll never ever be able to hurt her too. The Paranoid Brain worries incessantly about whether we serve and bottom because we feel like we deserve what we get, whether our deep dark desire to have control taken completely away is actually deep dark self-harming guilt.

The Paranoid Brain is skeeved out by other transpeople, because we’ve never met one we got along with long-term (they’ve all pinged some form of unhealthy instability) and we are not not NOT playing therapist for others right now. The Robot Brain says this is coincidence, and surely there are many transpeople out there whom we’ve never met and who are perfectly happy, well-adjusted, functional individuals; and let’s not be prejudiced about our own. The Loki Brain is disappointed in our inability to connect with other non-gender-conforming people, but understands that we can’t lower our standards just because someone happens to be trans*. (We have struggled with this in recent months, but no details just now. That particular wave is still rolling.) The rest of me wonders if I’m just too solitary and omituinen to *have* “friends.”

The Paranoid Brain FLIPS SHIT when someone is just too helpful — the last time we let someone like that near us, she broke up the Captain and Quietone, lied about having cancer, accused me of stealing from her, broke my French Press (on a school day!), spit in my face (YES. LITERALLY.) and went crying to the Captain when I snapped at her, STILL owes Crusader a few hundred dollars, ran screaming into the night “for no reason” after the Captain made peace with Quietone, and then went through five or six people in the local TNG group in the space of a few months before finding another poor sap to whose wallet she could engage herself. *PTHOOEY!*

The Paranoid Brain wants to run criminal background checks on potential partners and metamors. Because the last time we took someone’s word for it, she talked me out of pulling over to help at an accident where she would have been recognized by cops and arrested and wouldn’t have been at our apartment the night of the fire and I would have been safe in the Captain’s bed; come to find out she was skipping parole, *still* engaging in sex work, lying to partners about it, refusing to get tested, and claiming to be a legitimate massage therapist while deriding “massage therapists who give happy endings;” FUCK all the “help” she gave me afterwards because the first thing she did was try to get rid of Loki when this was my kick in the pants from him; because she wasn’t even PRESENT for her fire, WENT THROUGH disaster response training, and still FUCKING FROZE WHEN I RAN OUT OF MY ROOM WITH MY BEST LOVED BOOK AFLAME IN MY ARMS.

The Robot Brain says I did everything I could. The Loki Brain wants all this aired in public as loudly, vehemently, clearly, and often as possible. Because people don’t know and they should know and I shouldn’t have to hide a part of me that isn’t part of me anymore; because we do sometimes get better and we’re not permanently damaged and really we don’t want to harm you. Because people lie cheat steal and I DON’T FUCKING DEAL WELL WITH THAT.

But now any un-asked-for help puts us on Red Alert, and anyone could be running a con, and anyone could be crazy, and anyone could be so broken they can’t handle our family. I could be too broken to handle another person. So I build walls around not only myself but also the Captain, one brick of bad experiences at a time, mortared with uncertainty and sealed with a desperate and wasted bid for control over everything.

This is why I have trust issues.

(The Robot Brain says “We’re only here because of the fire. Except for Loki. You’re letting temporary issues interfere with your mental health. Stop that.” Sometimes I listen. Today is not one of those times, apparently.)

Advertisements
15
Apr
10

What to do…

…when you just don’t like a metamour.

Our arrangement is that everyone has to meet a new partner before they get taken on, and then people are equal except for length of partnership. Your arrangement may be different, so some of this may not apply.

General poly stuff like schedule fu and living arrangements is not covered here. Also, I’m assuming everyone is following their particular rules of engagement, and not engaging in less-than-loving actions.

BEFORE A RELATIONSHIP IS ESTABLISHED
-RESPECT.
-Get to know the person. Maybe your first instinct is mistaken. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, you should make sure.
-Talk to your partner about it. Your partner is probably already approaching you with “So, what do you think of me and X dating?”
–Find out how much your partner is willing to sacrifice their desired-partners in favor of your right-to-choose-friends. Find a balance.
–Find out how much time you and said potential metamour would be spending in the same space.
–If the red flag is something definite (habits, personality quirks, e.g. “X does Y and that annoys me”) explain it to your partner, and see if they a. don’t see it; b. see it differently; or c. see it and aren’t bothered by it. Discuss. You and your partner are not the same person; you’re going to have different taste in romantic involvements. Questions like “Why does that bother you?” here are best left to the professionals, especially if it involves your mother or something she used to do.
-Talk to the metamour about it, probably with your soon-to-be-shared partner in tow (Who didn’t do this part? This guy…). This is something you can do with anyone you spend a lot of time with, but be careful not to set a precedent of “My partner will be on my side, and X will be the outsider.” See if you can figure out something that works for all of you.
-Remain open to the idea of letting new people into your relationship. You’re poly because you believe it works. Commit to making it work, whether that’s by opening your comfort zone to allow a new partner in or by enforcing your getting-along-with boundaries.

AFTER A RELATIONSHIP IS ESTABLISHED
-RESPECT.
-Problems don’t magically solve themselves after they’re defined. No one should expect the work to do itself, or expect that it’ll happen quickly.
-Know where your lines are, and stick to them. Doing something you’re not comfortable with, just to avoid a scene, is not always a good idea. Especially if it involves sex, moving in together, sharing financial commitments, having kids, that sort of thing. When you decide, after the fact, “I shouldn’t have done that then, it’s going to be a problem now,” nobody will be happy no matter how valid your feelings are. Your partner and your metamour will feel deceived and you will feel steamrollered.
-Don’t make scenes. Productive, rational conversation just works better.
-The shared partner, like it or not, is in the middle. Zie knows you and X better than you know each other. Zie should be open to being called on to mediate, and zie should be fair and favorable to both of you. Fair: sometimes a compromise is called for, sometimes one of you is right and the other is wrong. Favorable: determining whose needs take precedent at that moment, and who will get their needs specially catered to at a later date. (Example: You live with your partner. You need to vacuum. No, X cannot come over to drink and party tonight. Zie can come over and stay quiet and out of your way, or they can go out to a bar together.)

With Said Metamour:
-RESPECT. Failing that, basic civility will do in the short term.
-Let them know how you feel. Honestly. Making fake-nice in the beginning will be shooting yourself in the foot for any future problem solving. They may not realize there’s a problem, and most people jump to “OMG he haets meh!” when you do things like snap at them, avoid them, ignore them, and are generally passive-aggressive. (Check, check, check, and check.)
-Identify what it is you dislike about them. Ask them if they can just try to rein that in while around you. If you need to, set up a cue that will let them know they’re bothering you without making a big fuss about it.
-Make sure they know damn well that you acknowledge the issue and want to make it better, and that you have the smooth running of the entire household and the happiness of all its members first and foremost in your thoughts. They should be doing the same.

With The Shared Partner:
-RESPECT. This can take the form of honesty.
-Keep them informed of what you’re doing regarding getting along with the metamour. Give updates on progress, whether things are getting better or worse.
-Make sure they know damn well that you acknowledge the issue and want to make it better, and that you have the smooth running of the entire household and the happiness of all its members first and foremost in your thoughts. They should be doing the same.

IF YOU’RE THE METAMOUR
-RESPECT. Fall back on civility when absolutely necessary.
-Not everyone has to like you. If you need everyone to love you or you’ll be bitterly unhappy (and this is your entire reason for being poly), you have mental problems. Go get help.
-You’re new, even if it’s not a primary/secondary arrangement. Try not to step on any toes.
-If someone dislikes you, it’s usually not either something about you or something about them; it’s most likely both. Taking everything as a personal affront, or as evidence that someone is just an asshole, is not constructive at all.
-Compromise will be required. If you are not willing to compromise when getting involved with someone who already has a partner (or two), that’s a problem. A big, huge, glaring, distended sphincter of a problem.
-Expecting the shared partner to side with you all the time in the interest of a growing relationship is silly. Hasn’t zie got an existing one to take care of? Shouldn’t zie be fair to both of you?
-If the existing partner shows little interest in associating with you, don’t push the issue. They get to pick their own friends at their own speed. However, feel free to talk to the shared partner about it. Perhaps your metamour is simply having a bad day, and you can’t tell because you don’t know hir very well yet.
–If your metamour appears to be passive-aggressive, confronting them about it will only make them defensive. Talk to the shared partner about it. Zie probably knows your metamour better than you do. See above re: red flags.
–If you ask what you’re doing wrong and your metamour can’t be honest about it, or claims nothing is wrong, calling them on bullshit will make them defensive, especially if something actually is bullshit. Most people are just not comfortable saying outright “You piss me off almost daily by doing A, B, and sometimes C. When you do D, it reminds me of my mother, and I want to kick your teeth through the back of your skull.” Talk to the shared partner. Zie can probably tell something’s wrong, and might be able to talk sense into your metamour.
–Do not make scenes. It will diminish the effect when someone actually wrongs you. If you’re always in trouble and constantly need your partner’s support to deal with the big bad mean metamour, you might want to take a look at whether you’re doing something that particularly triggers those actions, especially if you’ve run into the same issue in other poly situations.

Reading back over, it sounds like I’m blaming the new person a lot. That’s not my intention at all, although my bias is that I haven’t been the new person in a while, and the most recent new person… yeah. Had a bunch of these problems. I’m more trying to figure out what everyone has control over on their own end.

#

I would like to leave you with a quaint saying: Manners are like bandaids, respect is like not getting cut up in the first place.

21
Dec
09

No, we’re nothing like you at all, really

We have worked hard at contributing to our community… One of us has served on political campaigns for candidates she is committed to; the other serves as a poll judge for every election… We support the arts with memberships and subscriptions to Baltimore’s theaters, museums and symphony… At First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, where we are members, one of us serves as secretary of the board and chair of the music committee, while the other coordinates the ushers and serves in the nursery… We like to garden and bake and dance and laugh. We take in mail for neighbors on vacation and send birthday cards to their kids.

You see, we’re like you.

And like you, we want our marriage – our commitment of 30 years – to be honored in our home state. So long as marriage is permitted to some and denied to others, we to whom it is denied are second-class citizens, separated from the fully accepted, less than equal.

Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.marriage07aug07,0,4245196.story

I have a problem with this argument — “we deserve to be married because we do everything conservative upperclass straight people do, except we’re the same sex.” No, I’m sorry, that’s not what gives you the right for your commitment to be recognized by the state. DOMA isn’t discriminatory because it decides what hobbies make people ineligible for marriage. It’s discriminatory purely against same sex couples, because they’re the same sex. That’s the argument you have to defuse, not throw this extra froufrou crapola. Cause they’ll *still* be pointing to us kinky folk, us pagans, us trannies, us polys, and saying “oh well Christian gays and lesbians should be able to get married, but we don’t want those people getting married.” It’s guilt by association. So what do you do? Throw us under the bus. Again. and again.

I don’t contribute a whole lot to my community, since I’m a poor college student at the moment. I’m not a member of an organized religion, and the religion I do nominally follow is definitely not even comparable to your average Judeochristian practice. I’m anti-politics and slowly turning anti-government, and worst of all I absolutely hate kids (unless they’re blood relations, and even then they have to be exceptionally well-behaved).

And, what’s the point of getting a ‘legal’ marriage in Canada when you could have gotten an equally invalid religious matrimonial ceremony in Maryland, and thrown the couple thousand dollars into your *local* economy instead of a foreign one? That what I call “contributing to the community.” Unless you’re a dual citizen and pay taxes in Canada for some few benefits. I bet when Maryland finally does allow recognition of same-sex marriages, like the good little progressive theocratic state it is, they’ll throw another ceremony anyway. And have to do the paperwork all over.

I think marriage (the state-endorsed part of it, anyway) is a really bad idea. I don’t think I’m just holding this opinion because I’m young and angry and haven’t found someone to settle down with yet. I think the idea of state-endorsed, in some cases encouraged and required, interpersonal legal contracts is nothing short of asinine. The state purportedly encourages people to get hitched because:

It’s better for the children. No, it’s not: stable homes are better for children. Married, or not.
Married people spend more money and contribute to the economy. Only if one of them can afford to stay home and shop. Usually, they’re both working fulltime just to pay rent, bills, food, etc. That’s not exactly disposable income, IMO.

More to come probably. Rgh.

16
Jun
09

Kinks and Shrinks

I will freely admit that I can be pretty disparaging of the mental health profession. (I have nothing against psychologists, I just don’t agree with psychologist politics.) I’m generally just stubborn about accepting help. But, the dislike of shrinks specifically is partly thanks to a bad experience with the guidance counselor in high school. Most of the reason is, I just can’t assign legitimacy to something that is a conglomeration of unverifiable hypotheses, with guidelines decided by majority vote, and interpretive standards of care that haven’t been updated in decades in some cases, that are so frequently used and abused to brainwash people into behaving a certain way — such as into being straight, into being cisgender, into being vanilla…

People who are by normative definitions mentally healthy are privileged because of it, and it’s not just the mostly noticeable ones that cause markedly different behaviour. How often have you heard “Oh, she’s just bipolar.” “*sigh* He’s off his meds again…” or my favorite, “It’s obvious to me that you can’t run you life the way you need to (read: ‘the way I do’ or ‘the way I think you should’). I think you need professional help.” By DSM definitions, I’m quite likely borderline on their pathological version of masochism (If they do remove the “cause significant distress or functional impairment” bit in the upcoming revision, as there have been rumors of. See this article, although it is NARTH, so reader beware), possibly compulsive, and dissociative in relation to gender dysphoria. And ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ being in the DSM… it’s a hormone imbalance, not a mental issue, ok? If the only effective treatment is by physiological means (hormones and surgery), it’s a medical condition! I get sad when I have the flu. That doesn’t mean I go to a shrink for three months to get some fucking Ibuprofen.

Moving on.

A notable exception I’ve found to this is one of the counselors at the University, Niceguy, who is in fact GLBTQ- and K-friendly, argues with the DSM, avoids medicating people, tries to get people to help themselves instead of imposing help on them, and comes and talks with people at the GLBTQOrg when we have planned discussions about mental health and the queer community. Niceguy and Superprof are two of the academic inspirations for another project (concurrent with Tranny 101) on anti-BDSM bias in the mental health profession. This may take the form of a literature review (publication has been suggested by Superprof, in whose class this idea spermed as a final project. Big starry-eyed hopes, I has them) or eventually a larger work. A related component is a “Here’s How to Talk About Kink” reading list to give to Niceguy and coworkers in the student counseling office. Small-scale quiet sort of activism.

Sidenote: APA Standards 2.01 (b) and (c): If a mental health professional doesn’t know enough about a client’s problem, it is the professional’s responsibility to either educate themselves, or refer the client to someone who can appropriately treat them, or a couple of other alternatives, none of which include claiming knowledge they don’t have or unnecessarily pathologizing something that’s just a little different. It is not the client’s responsibility to educate someone whom they are paying for help. (Full text of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct here.)

09
Jun
09

The Closet

Yes, I’m still in it. In a lot of places.

There are parts of my life where I am only selectively out to people who need to know — i.e., people who are boinking me (currently only the Captain) and people he trusts to be smart about it (a very small number, most of whom I only see a few times a year), and people who have access to my records at work or school, or have known me under a different name. I just tell everyone else I’m a guy. Because much as I’d love to be out about everything, it’ll be on my own damn time. And much as I think educating people is important, sometimes I don’t want to be the gateway tranny. Sometimes I just want to go out and have fun and be “one of the guys” in that special geeky way we have.

(I got glared at yesterday and reminded that I agreed to this. …And I want to do it myself, my way; not accidentally via someone else’s thoughtlessness.)

This is why social networking sites are so devious, because a link from one can have a link to the Twitter which is connected to someone’s personal anonymous blog, and a lot of the stuff on here is quite transparent if one knows the people involved. Bit of a problem. So, some care will be exercised until the issue is resolved. Don’t know what form that’ll take yet. I don’t know if I’m overreacting but uh, putting someone in danger of being outed seems like a big deal to me.

Stealth? Yes. Sometimes. Yes, most people there would probably be supportive. Yes, I’m open about most things most of the time. Yes, I have a blog with basically my entire personal life all over it. But in real life my biology in particular is not everybody’s damn business.

12
Jan
09

A note on the word ‘Tranny’

Internet, meet Mr. Serious Tranny.

‘Tranny’ (noun) is slang for transgender or transsexual; as an adjective it describes something which is inconsistent or androgynous in perceived gender. ‘Tranny’ is one of those unfortunate words that just works: it’s short, to the point, everyone has some idea what it’s about, and easily rhymable. Some people (myself included) are working on reclaiming it as a term of endearment or identity, and that’s how it’s used in this work (mostly). Some people can’t stand to hear it, because:
‘Tranny’ is also thrown out car windows with a broken bottle attached. It is followed by spit. It is followed by fists and feet and bullets, knives, baseball bats, torture, rape and murder. It keeps company with words like ‘trash’, ‘it’, ‘freak’, and ‘faggot’.
‘Tranny’ is not a word that most cisgendered people can use in any context without raising some serious hackles. I know this might sound hypocritical. We use it as a term of identity; why can’t you use it when referring to us, as long as you mean no harm? For the same reason white people can’t say the n-word: it’s our word. You threw it at us. You can’t have it back.