The past few months have brought me to the crux of an interesting quandary. The title of the post says, or rather, asks it all. Just how “open” do I wanna be? About my life. My path, proclivities, feelings, loves, desires.
Years ago, after the first Susie Bright book I read (Full Exposure – OMG, go read it), I felt positive I wanted to be like her. Around that time, I offered to and wound up giving a talk on polyamory at a friend’s local convention. I was green beyond belief but I was, as Linda Ronstadt sang, “Willin'”.
Willin’ to walk into a space with people I (mostly) didn’t know and talk about the fact that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with loving (and potentially sleeping) with more than one person. In fact, if I remember correctly, I was there with my then boyfriend and girlfriend. (Now ex-husband and ex-wife, but hey, that’s for another day.) And not only was I there to talk about how there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but ways to do it, books about it, conflicts that might come up (Hey, Jealousy…apparently, I’m writing in song titles tonight), compersion, etc. I was terrified to do it, but also high as a muthafucking kite when I was done. I was a poly activist! I was fighting the good fight and spreading the word about opening up relationships.
I was so young.
My heart was in the right place(s), though. A few people came up to me after the “class” to thank me. Ask questions. And while I did my best to answer them or point them in a good direction, I never really went anywhere with it. Or my dreams to write.
I did write a book way back in 2007. (Paperback Writer…I wish. More like Still Editing and Once You’re Done Maybe If You’re Lucky You’ll Be a Paperback Writer…The Beatles were SO right to go with the title that actually pops.) As the parenthetical says, I’m “still working on it.” I’ve done other things. Wrote a non-fic polyamory piece about how the Sims 2 was NOT a poly-friendly game. (Srsly. For short: it’s basically considered cheating if you take up with anyone who’s not your steady person and then, a FUCKING 6′ TALL BUNNY appears OUT OF NOWHERE, that ONLY YOU CAN SEE to prove you’ve gone insane from crying at the betrayal. That’s NOT OKAY, MAXIS.) for a close friend/mentor’s event magazine.
Tried my hand at the YA short story game after I wound up being introduced to an incredible person/now colleague and (most importantly) friend. Published six short stories, commissioned and paid for and everything. It in no way paid the bills, but it was totally the first time I’d ever been paid to write things that meant something to me. Lesbian polyamory. Asexuality. Internalized misogyny. YA pregnancy. Coping with a parent’s alcohol addiction. (Man, the tags on this post are turning into word salad.) I suppose this can all be considered “building my portfolio”, but it’s never really felt even that cohesive or important when I think about them all individually. After all, I wasn’t
- being offered a publishing contract
- in print, (beyond a non-circulating event magazine that doubled as the Playbill for the event)
- writing regularly
- making enough to earn a living from it.
- remotely famous
Amanda Palmer, in preparation for writing her book, (The Art of Asking – another OMG just go read it and then go read this article/interview about it from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova) I think, asked people how they knew they were successful. How/when they felt like “real” artists/writers/singers/actors/creators. It got written into her book like this:
There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.
It’s so simple and true and yet…and yet I still felt that thrill the first time I was in print, yet without pay. And then when my writing was liked by people. And then when I was paid for online writing. And most recently when the online writing I was asked to do was liked by people AND I was published in print and given a contract for my short story. It was like a beacon to forge ahead with those dreams. To do those things that I’ve been aching to do for years now but just never really knew how.
Sure, I had a few secret blogs that I thought I would just see if they “took off”. There are also a few secret blogs I kept secret and locked for reasons or to specific people. There’s also a not-so-secret other social networking site that I’ve been on and writing on for years. But recently, I’ve begun to tire of this cloak and dagger game of hiding who and what I am. Of being ashamed of my evolving sexuality and desires. Fuck, we’re living in the 50 Shades of Grey era. The good Christian housewives and stylists in the Southern salon where I had my hair did earlier this year were talking about kink and sex, for fuck’s sake. So when someone I’ve worked with as my gig doing programming for Jeff Mach Events asked if I’d be up for doing a guest blog post on kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com about being in the asexual spectrum and being into D/s, I thought, FUCK YES I’LL DO THAT THING. The next thought, when she asked if I had a blog or website I wanted to link up to the post was, FUCK YES I NEED A BLOG OR WEBSITE TO DO THAT THING. (BTW, you can read that post right here on my blog now, too!)
So I looked at all the myriad tried and failed attempts at making something of my dreams and realized they were either too specific and not what I wanted to do or behind barriers I couldn’t open up myself, so I set up this blog to blow open my own barriered writing. I started rebranding a lot of my social media presence (“presence”…if it can be called that…I mean, I’m not Jen Lancaster, The Bloggess, Amanda Palmer, Tristan Taormino, Lori Duron, Cecilia Tan, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy, or Susie Bright, but they’re the stars I see in my eyes I look up for guidance of who I want to be and what I want to do. A little piece here and a little piece there…more on that later) to fit who I am and what I want to write about and stand up for.
And now, here I am, with a newly published short story in the First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology, a guest blog, and my own brandy new blog with some new stuff and some relevant writings from the past few years that I posted other places.
I’m terrified and excited all at once. This puts many things I’ve only begun talking about exploring (demisexuality, cuckqueandom), mixes it with things I’ve been doing for 15+ years (poly and kinkery) and sees what happens.
It’s scary to think about being this open because things start happening like my dad calling me to congratulate me on my newly published story. My newly published, kinky, cuckqueanarific short story. I had that moment of panic thinking he’d actually read it when I realized that one of my sisters, who’s on Facebook, where I talk about things in a slightly more controlled manner, must’ve seen me being over the moon about the anthology (and subsequently terrified before the first public reading I did of it…but that’s also another story) and then told me dad. *exhale and graciously accept congrats.
Then there’s the conversation I had with my ex-mother-in-law-turned-dear-motherlyfriend (and yet another story for another time) who is…fairly conservative. But she did eventually know about and support her son’s relationship with two women. But still, fairly conservative. But as my new husband said when he joined us for lunch a few weeks ago (srsly, that WILL be another story for another time) she’s also delightful and loves me and when I decided to take the plunge and tell her about the short story being published…in the vaguest of terms…she was elated for me and asked where to find the book. I hedged and told her she might not want to read it since it’s erotica. To which she replied, “oh, please. We’re all adults. I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey.” I damn near fell over on the spot. But it just went to show me that maybe I wouldn’t lose the people I loved if I was out and proud and me. And, um, wrote about it.
There will, inevitably, come a day when someone calls me a slut for sharing these things. For loving more than one person and having an open relationship, for liking the thought of my husband fucking other people, for enjoying consensual pain and sensation play, and, ironically, for favoring all of these above random and/or casual sexual encounters. I dearly hope I won’t lose vanilla connections. But like the above-mentioned nine women I mentioned, I have to write about what I know. So there will be some (a lot of) poly in here. There’s some (a way whole bunch of) kink. Some art and music. Some gender issues. Some geekery. Some geographic, socioeconomic snark. Some mental health issues but finding the humor in it all with brilliant humanity and a lot of spunk and snark.
Those are my goals. Those are the pieces that touch me deeply so I hope writing about them will be able to touch others deeply. The art and music may come in the form of burlesque, the gender issues may not quite be a gender-evolving child, and I know nothing of Lululemon, but it’s the spirit of it all that I want to share. And here’s where I start finding my own little corner of that sky. (Cause BAM, I hadn’t thrown in a song title in a while. Oh, did I mention I’m kinda obsessed with music and musicals? Yup, that’s a passionate thing, too.)
Welcome to our world. Thank you for being here. ❤