I’m done hiding my emotions.

My day’s been a little long, with training at work and just generally getting back in the swing of concentrating on things that aren’t Netflix for multiple hours. But we did an activity called True Colors in which I found out that I, along with one other SOLer, was almost completely “blue.” According to this personality test I’m very likely to have the following traits:

Sensitive to the needs of others; Sincere; Expresses appreciation; Cooperative; Collaborative; Creative; Caring; People person; Engages others; Inclusive; Intuitive; Romantic; Loyal; Seeks harmony; Caretaker.

One of the “negative” traits that blue people have is emotional.

Now, this really fucking bugs me. Why is being emotional a weakness? I know how I feel about things, and I relate to others on a very deep level. I have emotional needs that I have to have met to feel adequately appreciated in relationships. And for a very, very long time I’ve been told to hide or try to change that fact. But after seeing that at least approximately 25% of other people are characterized as emotional that people should just start fucking dealing with it, and respecting my needs as a person.

No, I’m not going to hide it anymore when I’m hurt. I don’t care if my emotions make you uncomfortable, and I’m done apologizing for getting upset. You think you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around me? Try swallowing every single thing that hurts me so that you won’t think that I’m crazy and overly emotional. It boils and rots in my psyche because you don’t realize that these are things that genuinely hurt me, and then when I snap you’re fucking surprised.

I am done hiding this shit because I deserve people who are conscious of my emotions and who are genuinely concerned with my well being.

*drops the mic and walks away*

Don’t Yuck My Yum is a good start—but we need to turn it up to 11!

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In the spirit of going back to work after a month of winter break, I decided to write a post about something that is very near and dear to my heart: Sex Positivity.

Since beginning at Sex Out Loud a year and a half ago, the meaning of sex positivity has evolved quite a bit for me. It began when I first heard the term “Don’t Yuck My Yum,” (or DYMY for short) which essentially means that we should be respectful of all types of expression because shaming people is generally a shitty thing to do. DYMY is an ideology that promotes safe spaces and conversations—if we don’t feel like we’re going to be attacked or put down for sharing intimate desires, or posing questions about them, then we’re more likely to listen, engage, and learn. And I think that’s fantastic.

For me, DYMY was more of a starting point. It was when I started to think about personal expression (from gender to sexuality and beyond) as personal life choices that should be accepted and treated equally. But now, having worked as a sexual health peer facilitator, simply keeping our mouth shut when we are confronted with a type of expression that we don’t personally enjoy is not enough.

Truly, sex positivity is about celebrating people’s consensual, healthy choices and just generally being life-affirming. It’s not being “politically correct,” it’s providing people with information so they can make risk-aware choices that are right for them, and being supportive of whatever choices they make.

It’s not simply holding back judgement, it’s letting go of the idea that there is a right and a wrong way for people to express their gender or sexuality.

It’s recognizing that everyone deserves pleasure and happiness, and celebrating that people have found things that make them happy! Even if an activity is not for us, we remember the things that make us warm and fuzzy (or hot and bothered) might not be for everyone and to just be happy that they found something that they really enjoy.

It’s shutting down shamers, even in their subtlest form. It’s recognizing when we’re skimming over topics when we’re teaching because we don’t enjoy them. It’s recognizing when we unintentionally wince when discussing a sexual act we’re not in to. It’s about knowing our own boundaries and triggers, and when its best to exit conversations or spaces so that we don’t unintentionally distress ourselves or others. It’s learning how to get super excited over a sex toy we’ve never used, or a barrier method that’s made for bodies that we or our partners don’t have.

Sex Positivity is about celebrating the things that make people happy and empowering them to engage and explore them in risk-aware and consensual situations. It’s kinda summed up in my favorite cheers:

To finding the things we fucking love and vice versa!

If you’re looking for more sex positivity check out Laci Green who is simply amazing, or just stay tuned! I’ll be posting lots more of Sex + stuff.

A Day Without Inspiration

Well, hello there everyone. I’m having a little bit of writer’s block today. There isn’t really one topic that I’d like to write about. But since I’m doing a 30 day challenge, I’m going to sit here and write at least 500 words and you’re all going to have to suffer through it.

So how has my day been? Great, thanks. I returned a christmas present that didn’t fit my boyfriend, and was rewarded with $20. Instead of putting that money towards my past due impending bills, I went out and bought myself this totally freaking awesome Doctor Who poster:

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I was debating as to whether I should get the Day of the Doctor one (which was an episode that I didn’t really like, because personally I’m not a fan of direction the series is headed, or the almost entire lack of character development of Clara) or one with 1st-11th Doctors on it (I’ve only watched the current series, and know almost nothing about doctors 1-8), but then the dude working at the poster shop showed me this one and I shit my ass (not literally, I’m potty trained) and I just had to have it.

Also I stopped by the pizza place that I used to work at, because I hadn’t had a slice of mac n’ cheese pizza in over a month (for shame!), which if you haven’t had a slice I recommend you seek out the closest Ian’s Pizza and buy a whole pie. My old boss was working and because he loves me he gave me a free slice (what whaaaaaat). I also took the opportunity to use their wifi because I still know the employee password. Neener-neener.

Now I’m sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops in Madison, ERC. I have to say that I feel a little bad because while I was in LA with my family for the past three weeks I drank Starfucks Starbucks almost every day. Also I’ve found another little coffee shop that is a little closer to my apartment, and has bottomless cups of coffee for $3.

*Exhales loudly* Ok, almost there!

Oh! Oh! I know, I found THE BEST vine. It combines three of my favorite things: Macklemore, Jennifer Lawrence and PIZZA:

Speaking of Macklemore, and Thrift Shop which always plays at one of the bars I used to frequent, IT’S FACKING BACON NIGHT. That’s right, friends, $1 PBRs and FREE FUCKING BACON. I’m definitely going to be doing that tonight—well, if I can find some homies to join me. I’ve got a bad habit of hiberdating,* which I am working very hard on not doing anymore. If I can’t find anyone to indulge with me, I suppose I’m going to be rearrange my living room and then probably watch House of Cards.

*hiberdating: verb—when someone ignores all of their friends because they are in a relationship.

Well, I’m approaching my 500 words, and running out of interesting things to blab about. If you found anything in this word vomit post actually interesting,  let me know in the comments! I can always write more on hotspots in Madison, or silly slang.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Dream Fiction

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Anyone who knows me will attest that I have some pretty weird, creative dreams. Sometimes, when the dreams are clear or provoking I will write them down. About two years ago I had a dream about a girl who dipped her fingers in quicksilver and told the future.

And the following story fragment was born:

Maria Futurum sat behind a pane of liquid glass, waiting for her next customer to press their hands through the barrier to have their palms read. She fiddled with her curly red hair that was tied back under a yellow and orange headscarf. She fixed the strand of hair that hung next to her long pale face. She could not see her customers, but she knew that they could see her. Soon she saw the glass ripple with the hands of a new client. Old and cracked, the hands came through empty, without payment. A quiet frustration overcame Maria as she pointed to the old wooden sign to her left.

FIVE PENCE PER FUTURE

NO REFUNDS OR FREE READS

    The hands never wavered. Maybe he wasn’t looking, she thought, and pointed to the sign again after tapping the tan, leathery hands. The man behind the pane pushed his hands closer to Maria, gesturing that he had no intention to pay. It was times like this when Maria wished that she could see or hear through the wall that was between her and the people on the outside. But she knew that without the barrier, she would be unable to give the client the honest, unbiased reading that made her the most popular and trusted fortune teller on this route.

 Travelers chose to take the Flumenum Veritas instead of shorter, more direct passages through the Ignis Mountains so they could visit Maria. They knew that if she promised them safe travels, that they would make it to their destination unscathed. And if she told them to turn back, they almost always did.

But Maria was not going to reveal this man’s future for free, so she sat impassively until the weathered hands retracted angrily from the booth, through the one-way mirror of the liquid wall.

Sometimes Maria felt trapped at her table behind that wall that she could never see through. But she knew that she couldn’t read palms any other way. How could she look a mother in the face and tell her that her boy is going to be attacked by a Lup? She had for seen so many people being taken by those mangey half wolf, half men that roamed the Flumenum Veritas scavenging for a meal. And she knew that there was nothing she could do to change their fate.

     Once two little hands, so small that they could barely grasp payment for the read, placed themselves on the mat in front of her.  She knew that these infantile hands were only hours away from the jaws of a Lup. She closed the tiny fingers back around their five pence and pushed them back through the glass, without saying a word.

    Today, she was lucky. She had predicted many happy, healthy futures, and had only had that one man who tried to get his fortune for free. Maria sat, back aching from the lack of support from the small stool that she used as a chair, watching her reflection in a wooden bowl of quicksilver swirl and bubble. She didn’t know how it worked, but she knew that it was something about the alchemy between her skin and that thick silvery soup that made her able to see into people’s future. But for some reason, Maria could never see her own future. She had never known who the next customer was going to be, or what their fortune was before she read it. She never knew if she would pass through her nights unscathed by the Lups, or any of the other beasts that roamed the Relinquiae Silvarum, the Forrest of Remains, that flanked the Flumenum Veritas. And a part of her never wanted to know.

To Maria’s surprise, an hour after the man had attempted to get his fortune read for free, his cracked, labored hands shimmered through the fluid wall with the required five pence. They seemed impatient and determined, tapping the mat while Maria soaked her hands in the quicksilver.

She felt the metallic liquid seep into her skin, creeping up underneath her fingernails, and snake-like tendrils slither up and around her wrists. As she removed her hands from the engraved wooden bowl, the quicksilver hardened into smooth, pliable gloves. Maria gently scooped up the awaiting hands into her own, took a deep breath and closed her eyes in preparation for the wave of images that she knew were to come.

For the first time in her life, Maria saw herself in the flow of knowledge that passed through the vision of her mind’s eye. She saw the man that the hands belonged to, and she saw herself running with him, somewhere far away. The images were foggy and vague. All that she knew was that she was going to leave her post on the Flumenum with these weathered hands, and that she had a reason to be afraid, because someone was after her.
Her eyes bulged open when, for the first time in her career, the hands of the customer grasped her own, reassuring her.

While Maria was usually one to question the intentions of strangers, she was never one to question the validity of her own visions. She had seen too many poor pilgrims die just as she had predicted to not trust the fortunes. She had felt the urgency in the images, and knew that she had to leave right away. She hastily dunked her hands back into the bowl, and felt the heavy gloves slough off. Rummaging through her small bag of belongings that she brought with her to the post every day, she found the bladder she used to store the quicksilver, and quickly poured it in, and tied the mouth shut with a plaited leather strap. She grabbed her bank and dumped it into her coin purse. Maria had worked in that small closed in booth since her mother died when she was fourteen. It had only been three years, but telling for the travelers had aged her well beyond her seventeen years. Taking one last quick look around her booth, she whispered goodbye, knowing that she would never set eyes on it again.

“Maria.” A rough voice called to her as she fumbled clumsily with her things as she closed the booth’s door behind her. Her head whipped around to meet the hard gray stare of the leather handed man. He gestured for her to follow. The man could not be more than twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old, but his eyes, like Maria’s, told a different story.
“And you are?” Maria asked hurriedly, dodging pilgrims and trying to catch up to the man’s pace as he walked toward the trees that lined the Flumenum.
“Jack.” His voice was coarse like the stubble that lined his tan, angular face.
“What’s going on, Jack? What are we running from? How did you know to find me?” Maria asked as more and more questions kept piling up in her mind.
“This forrest has ears, and we will do best to keep them deaf to our plans.” Jack’s gray eyes scanned the sea of travelers that they walked though to the edge of the trail.
“Do you have everything you need? This is will be a long journey, and a dress like that won’t do.” He said as he examined the fabric of her dress between his fingers. Maria caught the smell of pine on his skin as he spoke.
“I—I didn’t know.”
“I know you didn’t, otherwise you would have been waiting for me this morning by the tavern. Or maybe you would have read your own future off my hands for free. But that’s neither here nor there,” Jack said, swatting the thought away with his hand, “Let’s go get something you can travel in.”
“We will be living in the Silvarum, won’t we?” Maria asked quietly, trying not to be heard.
“Living? No… Surviving? More likely.”

Self-Respect: What you think it means, and what it really means.

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If they don’t have self-respect, then why should I respect them?

This is one of the many phrases I encounter frequently in my work as a sexual health educator regarding the concept of self-respect, and it’s usually used as a justification for slut-shaming and victim-blaming.  And after having a particularly enlightening conversation with my step mom, I realized why the idea of telling someone to have some self-respect felt so squicky to me—how the hell do I know how someone feels about themselves? Somewhere along the way, we lost the whole “self” part of self-respect.

The things that we might cite as “indicators” of self-respect, such as clothing, weight, body modifications, demeanor, or general life choices aren’t going to give us pure and unbiased insight into how someone feels about themselves. But they will tell us whether we have respect for them. We use our own criteria for how we evaluate ourselves, and then import those ideas directly into the other person’s mouth.

Telling someone to have self-respect is a thinly veiled way of telling them that you do not have respect for the way that they are living their life. 

And as someone who has been the recipient of such remarks, it was confusing. I do respect myself. I think I’m pretty great, actually. I mean, I’m a self-proclaimed (and friend-certified) narcissist. And the things I was doing didn’t negate or depreciate the respect that I have for myself.

Now, I’m not saying that we’re always going to approve of or enjoy everyone’s lifestyle or choices. We aren’t. But the vast majority of the time, our opinion about how someone else is living their life is irrelevant. So the whole have some blah blah blah argument really loses traction.

When we tell people to respect themselves, we are not only being super über passive aggressive, but we are also shaming them for things that they might really enjoy. And shaming people for things they like or can’t change is on my list of top 10 worst things a person can possible do to another.

So next time you feel that phrase rolling around on the tip of your tongue, pull up your big girl panties and remember that A) it’s you who doesn’t have respect for them, and that B) whether you respect them or not really doesn’t matter, because it does not determine if they have respect for themselves.

This totally counts as a post

Hey, sorry friends—I had a busy day. I’m going to write a longer piece and post it, but I just wanted to make sure that I actually had one blog timestamped for 1/12/14, so when I look back at my 30 day challenge I won’t have to make any excuses!

To make up for my lack of valuable content here is a gif of a dancing sea creature

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hopefully that works, I’m still getting the hang of things around here