[roughly translated from Chinese]
“Guys need to be more romantic, more proactive, in order to keep a girl interested in him. He needs to woo her.”
“I’ve noticed that very intelligent people tend to end up divorcing more frequently.”
“When a girl goes and beds with a man, all his male friends know she’s off limits because she belongs to him. But once they part – because easy girls never last long in a relationship – no guy will touch that girl.”
“I was going to introduce you to a nice Taiwanese boy, but then he got leukemia.”
“Never use your real birth date and social security number when registering an account online. I use your father’s birthday on LinkedIn.”
“Be careful what pictures you post on the internet. What if a sex offender sees it? It’s so easy these days to access your real name, location, and date of birth. He’d find you so easily!”
(After being told a funny story about my housemate’s mother asking when I decided I was gay) “Did you tell her you are REALLY straight?”
“Don’t think you’re too old for me to hit you.”
“Hey, I’ve never seen [your brother] cry. Let’s see what it takes to make him cry!”
“If [your brother] goes for his Masters or PhD after college, you’ll be the one person with the lowest degree of education in our family.”
“Oh, California’s sales tax increase will be good for the state. Even the Mexicans will have to pay their fair share.”
(After hearing me talk about how much I like my apartment in San Francisco) “Yeah. It’s just too bad you live in such a densely Hispanic neighborhood.”
“Are there a lot of Russians in San Francisco?”
(After I tell her about the friend who made my necklace) “Oh! Is she Taiwanese?”
“If someone said something bad about me, you wouldn’t stand for that, right? It’s a natural, familial instinct.”
“Guess what my pant size is now. Just guess!”
“Are you really that much skinnier? Everyone at Thanksgiving dinner kept commenting on how skinny you are!”
“How much do you weigh?”
“You could try my diet plan, too!”
“Have you noticed if eating so much Mexican food has made you stinkier?”
“Are either of your housemates fat? You should tell them about my weight loss method. It could really change their life!”
“If I lose another 10 pounds, your father will definitely want me to go back to Taiwan to live with him.”
“Your father made a lot of promises to me. He’s never kept a single one.”
“You’re a lot like your father.”
“There is something very, very wrong with you.”
“There was this show in Taiwan about male children being kidnapped and sold off as cucumbines[sic], being treated like girls and raped repeatedly until they turn into, like, a gay mentality, you know? And one of the actors apparently was gay, and ended up committing suicide.”
“Why are you still freelancing? Don’t you want to do something with your life?”
The word that came to mind when
you made that sound,
he said, was
I shuddered. Agony. The word pierced me to the core, and I looked down, unable to meet his eyes, betrayed by the sudden evocation.
Agony. Used to mean a suffering of immeasurable depth. It fit the circumstance, key smoothly sliding into lock – at least superficially.
Agony. Why did the word elicit such a strong reaction?
And then I realized. Because that, at its simplest, at its purest – that is what I crave.
He finished securing the rope. Knelt down, level with my head, beard brushing my cheek. I felt the heat of his breath against my skin and turned my face, eyes closed, towards him. The rope burned its tendrils into my calf, clenching down on jeans, skin, muscle. Friction against friction.
I breathed through gritted teeth:
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Sometimes I can’t breathe because there is too much air and my lungs can’t expand to make room for it all.
Sometimes I find the world so painstakingly beautiful…
Sometimes I am so excited my heart and stomach hurt
Sometimes all I want is the taste of chocolate on my tongue
Sometimes I am in love with each person I pass on the street
Sometimes thinking about the summer sun is more beautiful than the real thing
Sometimes I need to touch another person’s skin
Sometimes I can’t stop flexing my hands and looking at them, silently awed by their engineering
Found in a college sketchbook, and there is no date because I never date things properly. Written sometime between the fall of 2008 and spring 2009.
“You are going to entertain me.
You are going to tell me a story.
It will involve power, and terror.”
I watched his instructions appear on my screen, feeling a familiar mixture of heat and fear rising with each command.
Heat at the power and easy confidence behind those words, in his knowing that I am compelled to obey.
Fear at the challenge of weaving a story out of thin air, in the moment, having had no forewarning at all.
And fear of the prompt:
“You are going to tell me about the next time I pierce you.”
My heart leapt at those words. It is no secret that I hate needles. The sickly drag of metal under skin; the twin pricks of pain as my skin is opened up and made vulnerable; the dull throb and enflamed swath of skin that persists long after the initial piercing; these are things that I cannot process.
It is also true that he pierces me on occasion. Because he can. Because it amuses him. Because it is an unmistakeable statement of his ownership. And, to further drive himself deeper into my psyche, he has trained me to come from being pierced.
I licked dry lips and cleared my throat nervously. How do I even start this? Where is the setting for the story? The context?
But even as the questions ran through my head, I was already beginning to visualize the scene. I could see the low, warm glow of his nightstand lamp. There is a body there, on the bed, lying face down on crumpled sheets.
After a few false starts, I finally began.
We are in bed.
We have been playing – just as hard, and as primally – as we often do. I am lying facedown. My hands are tied in front of me – my wrists bound together with the remaining rope lashed around my waist, so that my hands lie between my legs.
I hear you move away, and the mattress shifts as you get off the bed to grab something from off the floor.
I hear and feel your body as you return. You set the object down on the bed. My heart begins to race when I hear the familiar “pop” as you open that black box. That terrible, black box.
I hear the soft crinkle of plastic as you withdraw 5 needles from the box. I turn my head away. I can’t look. I never can. You separate the needles, letting them fall onto the bed beside my body.
And, all the while, my lizard brain is screaming at me to move, to run away, to hide from the pain that I know is coming.
Instead, I hold very, very still. You’ve taken out the first needle, and I hear your voice above me, low and soothing. Speaking of your ownership. Reminding me that I belong to you.
I belong to you.
I belong to you.
I feel your fingers on my back, grasping for a chunk of skin.
I belong to you.
I try to mentally prepare myself for the sensation. It never works.
I belong to you.
It’s all I can do to not move, to not flinch at what’s coming. I breathe, breathe, breathe as you slide the first needle. In.
It’s all I could do, even in the telling, even in the imagining, not to cringe away and hide from that mental image.
I could feel the skin on my back responding, tingling and sensitive, as if in anticipation.
I don’t want to keep going. I don’t want to be pierced. But, at the same time, I do. It’s very confusing, Sir.
I let out my breath in one sharp exhale. My skin burns. It always takes me by surprise, the sharpness of that pain. I never get used to it.
It never gets easier.
Even as I am collecting myself, the second needle is in your hand. You slide it. In. Through. And back out, underneath the first. I groan through it, still holding very still.
With each needle, it’s harder to not move, to not thrash around and relieve the burning pain in my back.
With each needle, I feel myself growing wetter. It is almost impossible to ignore, and my hands are right there, between my legs.
As you slide the fourth needle under my skin, you tell me that I will come when the fifth needle is embedded in me. That I will come. Because I belong to you.
You take the fifth needle, rest it against my skin.
Come, you command, as you shove it in.
So I do.
It’s been a whirlwind of a month. I keep expecting it to be mid-September already, but it is still only the end of August.
In roughly chronological order:
- Packed up and left Seattle on August 19th, two weeks short of my original plan, so that I could
- Pick up my brother from the airport in San Francisco, because he wanted to visit schools and crash at my place.
- Arrived back in my SF apartment a whole 45 hours before my brother’s arrival.
- Since the subletter in my room was still there through the end of the month, I stayed in the living room – along with my brother – with a car still full of my belongings that I had no room to unpack yet,
- Bringing the population of our 3BR, 1B apartment to 5 people. Cozy, but surprisingly not as chaotic as I feared it would be. My housemates were amazing about dealing with all of these moving pieces, and so warmly welcoming to my brother.
- Spent 3.5 days shuttling my brother back and forth between SF and Berkeley, as well as two trips to Noisebridge and a visit to the (misnamed) Buffalo Paddock to see the bison.
- Climbed. Barbequed with the Programmer. Climbed some more.
- Ate a lot of Mexican food. Drank a lot of Mexican Coke.
It’s finally calmed down around here for me to actually think about the fact that I’ve just returned from spending two-and-a-bit months living in Seattle. To reminisce and reflect on my summer.
There are currently a lot of questions rolling around in my head concerning my Seattle trip, but they are being put gently to the side for the moment while I realign, finish unpacking, and try to bring my life back into some semblance of order. There are also friends to catch up with, a new Citadel location to visit, climbs to climb, and work to finish.
Plus, one of my housemates just got Bananagrams, and the other is racking up all kinds of outdoor climbing gear, so, you know. I’ll be a little busy.
But, no fear! I do plan to write more, soon.
And I love you all.
I belong to you.
I belong to you.
I belong to you.
Let this be my pulse, my guide, my inner fire. Let it both calm my heart and inflame my cunt, and let it give solace to my mind when it fills with doubts, fears, longing, and hurts.
I belong to you.
Let me keep this phrase at the seat of my gut at all times, that it may remind me of the depth of our relationship and the mountains we’ve crossed – together – to arrive here.
I am yours.
Let me soften my white-knuckled clutch around my vulnerabilities and desires; let me not question their validity and place in my life – in our lives.
Let this simple truth – that we belong to each other and are indelibly a part of each other’s bodies and souls – envelop me in its warmth.
Let me be open.
Let me see clarity.
Let me find balance to this intensity and fire.
Let the truth of our mutual and unequal possession not frighten me away, that I can fully embrace the wholeness that I feel. Right now, in this moment.
This is it. This is the summer of Fully Exploring Poly. I’ve been holding a lot of resistances and – not quite fears, but wary expectations – of how this summer will play out in my gut and in my heart, and I feel very strongly that, whatever happens, these next two months will be challenging and life-altering. I hope, and expect, that it will also be a time of positive change and joy.
Poly is on my mind more constantly than ever before, and I was pretty obsessed about it while I was in San Francisco. I found a fascinating blog that follows a woman’s personal journey through opening her marriage and trying to figure out if she can be in a relationship with a polyamorous partner; you can probably guess that I’ve already read the entire archive. There are just so precious few resources for having a polyamorous relationship when you yourself feel you have only enough energy to devote to one person at a time – maybe two, if one of them is long-distance.
And, as I process my own emotions and reactions, watch others’ relationship dynamics, and read, read, read (or listen, in the case of the Polyweekly Podcast), I continue to suspect that I lean more towards sexual monogamy than polyamory.
It’s been difficult for me to admit this, because I have read many of the warnings to poly partners against dating monogamous people. There’s this article, for instance. Granted, I have no desire or fantasy of turning Max monogamous with my seductive wiles (snort), but for a while it was easy to conflate the difficult emotions I felt over our relationship with the concept that my not desiring other partners was detrimental to him in some way.
It doesn’t help to be bombarded by a diverse mishmash of messages of what poly should look like, how your relationship to your partner’s other partners should look and feel, and what emotions are and aren’t healthy to feel and express.
To that end, I’ve been working to develop my own, personalized poly primer, which I hope to use as a guideline in defining and shaping my own flavor of relationship style. I’ve begun to realize, now that I’m facing the full brunt of poly, that I have relied very heavily on Max to define “poly” for me – too heavily. And while I certainly haven’t figured it all out yet, if I am to delve into this, I have to be able to identify and communicate the needs I’m looking for from my partner(s). Luckily, these needs are beginning to crystallize as I dig a little deeper inside myself.
My Poly Primer
- Dedicated space – Taken from my friend Red’s post, a space where I fit and belong in my partner’s world. Also, a space where I feel safe to express my emotions, worries, and concerns, without fear of mockery or scorn.
- Collaboration – I need to feel that there is a collaborative effort to sustain and build our relationship.
- Trust – Trust that my partner acts with good intention, compassion, and kindness.
- Support network - Something I’m actively developing and growing, a network of poly-knowledgeable friends that I can turn to for advice, comfort, or a listening ear.
- Self-acceptance – Be able to feel that my being and presence are an asset to my partner’s life, and that my self-worth is not diminished by sharing my partner with others.
- Couple versus partner – Perhaps my biggest epiphany: Desire for a “couple” relationship, versus a “partner” relationship. I say desire instead of need, because I’m not quite convinced it’s a need, but it’s at minimum a very, very strong desire.
- No surprises – Taken from one of Allena Gabosch’s Poly workshops, keep surprises to a minimum. Significant relationship shifts, new additions, NRE – please keep me informed!
- Balancing poly and D/s – I’m … still working on defining this one…
That’s a pretty long list already, and I could add more, but I don’t want it to get too unwieldy from the start.