My Holidays, My Family, My Way

In just a few weeks, my partner and I will pack up our car and begin our annual road trip south for the holidays.  It has become our tradition and something that I just couldn’t imagine not doing.  But when I tell people that we are doing this, the very first question I get asked is, “oh are you going to go visit family?”.  Well, let me just preface this by saying, my partner and I are a family.  For us, Christmas isn’t a time for visiting our family.  It is a time for us.  We go down there because we love it, it gives us a chance to relax, do whatever we want without any obligations and simply to have just a total and complete reset.

It’s funny though the looks you get from friends and acquaintances who just cannot imagine ever not spending the holidays with their family.  It is almost a moral obligation.  We are outsiders, again, straying from the norm.  Here’s a familiar term within my blog, I am once again an outlier in the way I do things.  Just because you have always spent time with your family does not mean that you have to continue to do that.

In my immediate family, the holidays were about obligation, and stress.  It was about dividing time between families, and scheduling dinners, and basically pleasing everyone but myself.  I was informed that I was only allowed to make my own holiday traditions once I had children of my own.  Until then, I was on everybody else’s clock.  And for a while, I was compliant.  I spent my 20’s just driving from house to house, having quick little visits and then heading home craving that celebratory drink, thankful that I survived another year without tears or having huge blowouts with certain family members.  Writing this, I honestly cannot believe I actually tolerated this way of spending the holidays for so long.  Especially knowing what I know now.  The holidays can actually be really fun, relaxing and completely drama and stress free if you choose to do it that way, and you better believe that I do.

I love many things about Christmas.  I love watching movies, baking cookies, and drinking all the Christmas cheer I can get my hands on.  I love getting dressed up for the parties, and wishing happy holidays to strangers on the street, and just the general joy that seems to be in the air.  It has a sense of wonderment and magic that makes me so happy.  But I also appreciate that I can do all those things completely obligation free when I am far away from those that have kept me locked in tradition for so long.

Last year, we had our entire campground to ourselves for Christmas and spent the morning drinking beer, taking sexy photos and just enjoying each other’s company and the sunshine.  In the evening we got invited to a potluck for all the people who didn’t have family that year, and my goodness it was amazing!  Everyone was so thankful to be there, that Christmas cheer was overflowing.  There was absolutely zero dinner stress.  There was no bickering, no drunk aunt that was going to say something offensive and possibly ruin the rest of the night.  There was no secret sign between partners as to when the appropriate time to make your leave was going to be.  There was absolutely zero, and I mean zero drama or even a hint of it.

That is how I choose to spend my holidays.  That is how I want to celebrate this joyous time of year.  That is why I have zero qualms about driving for nearly 30 hours at a time to arrive at this little peace of tranquil perfection.  I firmly believe that the relationships in your life should enrich you in some way.  We cannot choose our family, but we absolutely have a choice in how we spend our time, and with whom.  Even if you feel the overwhelming obligation or guilt this year, try and remember to take a little time for yourself.  Spend authentic time with those that are important to you this holiday.  And perhaps you will be lucky enough to have the mindset spill over into the rest of the year.

 

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My Sexiness Conundrum

Can I confess something to you?  Well, here goes, I just celebrated a milestone birthday, aka, reaching my mid 30’s.  And here’s the thing, for the first time, I am struggling with it, because I am really feeling my age.  Not in the aches and pain sort of way, but rather, in the realization that youth is fleeting.  While I fully accept my body just the way it is, I am suddenly coming to terms with the reality that others may not.  And while, I know this sounds incredibly superficial, being regarded as attractive matters to me.

I wish so badly that it didn’t.  I wish that I could just go out into the world not giving a damn what people think 100 percent of the time, but honestly, I do care.  Every so often, this weird feeling overtakes me where I am not sure how I am portraying myself to my friends or even those around me.  Again, I want so badly to spout off about how looks don’t matter, and it’s what’s inside that really counts.  But if I’m being honest, first impressions do matter.  How you look, smell, smile, or even just carry yourself can make a lasting imprint on a person.  And I cannot help but worry that as I age, I may have to put more effort into ensuring that I project the image that I want.  That statement alone puzzles me, with deep conflicting emotions of wanting a devil may care attitude, but also, craving a little bit of attention from time to time.

 

Take for example, an event that happened on my birthday, which might better illuminate where I am at right now.  I have a friend that I find quite attractive (OK I actually have quite a few because honestly I love my inner circle to pieces), but for this story let`’s just focus on the one.  He`’s a man that I would find myself quite attracted to if things were a little different, ie valuing the friendship far more than incorporating anything sexual.  Yes, that is a mutual thing, and not some cheesy friendzone nonsense.  For me, a friendship with this guy just makes complete sense and anything physical just wouldn`’t.  But in a moment of drunkenness, he mentioned something off the cuff about me being gorgeous, as an almost afterthought during a conversation where I was trying to figure out which of the fine ladies at our table he was most interested in so I could encourage him.

Booze was a factor, and we have never talked about attractiveness prior to this, so while I could completely be missing the mark about context here, those words were uttered.  And without rhyme or reason I found myself awash with this complete wave of relief.  Sweet, a friend I find attractive thinks I am attractive too.  That`’s awesome, quick mental high five, and I happily went on with my night.  But days later that`’s where I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  Why was just being friends with this guy not enough?  Why did it take him telling me I was attractive to give me that additional validation of our friendship?  Why did I feel that incredible wave of relief?

Again, this isn’t one of those posts where I really want to sleep with the guy.  This has nothing to do with sexual chemistry, but instead everything to do with some innate desire to be viewed as sexy by those around me.  I guess it’s just startling that I have not yet grown out of that phase of my life.  I genuinely wanted to be the lady in red, when I was in my early 20’s.  That woman who would walk into a room and turn everyone’s head.  Why? I just cannot describe exactly why, because the reality is, if that ever happened I would turn beet red, be overcome with emotion and either start giggling or crying.  But again, reaching 35, I sincerely wonder, if I have missed my chance to turn all the heads in a room.  Was that a mere fantasy of youth?  Are these moments of feeling sexy going to become less frequent?  Am I seriously going to have to start doing yoga and taking care of my body on a daily base now?  Do I just have to accept that I am always going to have this superficial urge to wow people from time to time and that’s just part of who I am?  Perhaps though putting a little extra effort in now isn’t this horrible beast of an idea…?  Oh how I wish my looks didn’t matter on the level they do.

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Trust, Privacy and Openness

For all my openness and blogging and social media, I am at the core, a private person.  I have trusted many, and been burned just as often.  It hasn’t make me more cynical or guarded, just more aware of those around me.  I don’t let people in easily and when I do, well, I still maintain a bit of coldness from time to time.  It is sincerely not a trait I am conscious of, but upon the days interactions and reflections I can see moments that I wish I had been a little more inviting.  Overall, I know I have the largest inner circle of my entire life, and I have truly incredible people with whom I love dearly.  And what’s more they are people I have chosen, and am lucky enough that they have chosen me.  But let’s get on track here, I find it difficult to navigate between trust and privacy.

 

I keep many aspects of my personal life under lock and key, especially things that I have struggled with, or currently am struggling with.  And to be a little more specific, I tend not to discuss things that really suck but are out of my control.  I don’t want to whine, or bitch about my very absent family.  I don’t want to lament the fact that my step dad is now visibly absent from my life.  And I certainly do not want to go on and on about how I just don’t have the income that I feel is proper for where I want to be in life.  Instead, I keep these things to myself, and just keep picking away at them.  I work on my perceptions, my reactions to these nagging voices, and I keep doing what I love, which is writing.

 

Is the outside perception that I am fake or cold because I don’t talk about my problems?  Perhaps, but the thing of it is, I just don’t know where that line should be.  I am find sharing about 2 minutes of my problems with my friends and loved ones, but then I just want to move on.  I want desperately to discuss adventure, and all the wonderful things about our lives.  I don’t want to dwell on what cannot be immediately changed or fixed.  I have my problems, as I know those around me do.  I work hard at fixing them, little by little and just don’t find talking about them will ever solve the issues.  Because there are things that cannot be fixed by words or actions.  There are many things that are out of our control and it’s more important to learn to cope, accept or even just not sweat it when push comes to shove.

 

But again, there is a nagging voice in me that wonders if people think I’m phoney for not bitching about my life.  If perhaps, I have set a standard that they feel uncomfortable getting real with me, until I get real with them.  Is this all in my imagination?  Am I simply rationalizing a fear that is all in my head?  Honestly, I just don’t know.  So I am putting this out into the world with earnest hope that the percolation process will help me find calm, or even acceptance to a shortcoming of mine that I often fear.  That real, terrifying fear that when people learn everything about me, they will leave…

 

Thank you to all who have liked, shared and followed my journey so far. 

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The Latest Gender Debate in the Media – Transgender Actors

I just finished reading an article stating that Scarlett Johansson stepped down from the role she had agreed to play, whereby she was going to portray a transgendered person.  Obviously this has been a media shit storm from the onset, especially when it was announced that she would play this role and not someone who was transgendered themselves.  Now, I have a few thoughts on this.

Firstly, why did she need to step down or decline the role?  Why in the world does the general populous get to dictate what a producer, director, writer, etc wants or can do with their movie and their investments?  If you don’t like something, don’t go see it.  Pretty simple stuff.  And as we all know, social media is a skewed view of what the real world wants or will support.  It’s a platform that works based on the notion that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and might I just add, something I absolutely loath in real life.

Second, are transgendered people actually trying to state that unless you are transgendered yourself, then you are not qualified to understand, empathize or portray what you go through?  Is this group truly preventing actors from acting?  Honestly!  Do you need to be a pirate to actually portray one on the big screen?  No?  Well then, this whole debacle is ridiculous.  Now, if you are saying that this role would have been perfect to award to a qualified transgendered person for exposure, etc, then please understand that this mindset works both ways.  If only a transgendered person could properly fill these shoes, then you open yourselves up to the criticism that transgendered people are only fit for transgendered roles.  And if I am not mistaken, that’s not what acting is about.  It’s actually about portraying someone else, and convincing the audience that your role is authentic and believable.  You know, pretend and make believe, or dare I say, to act?

Third, if this media shit storm strikes the movie or project hard enough, it could lose investors and never be made at all.  And then guess what, you just lost an amazing opportunity to bring a role like this into the mainstream dialogue.  The exposure you risk losing, cannot possibly be worth this much fuss, can it?  This seems like simple math.  Would you like something, or nothing?

Fourth and finally, if you truly believe that only a transgendered person is qualified to act out this very important part, then guess what?  You have failed to portray to the public exactly how you feel as an outsider in society.  And not to put too fine a point on it, but you will remain a victim and an outsider.  Not every member of society will be able to understand exactly what your pain is.  But know that each of us have our own unique pain, and it is empathy that allows us to work together as a society to accept and love one another.  And you do not need to wear every single human beings shoes to accomplish that.  It is time to learn how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a more effective way and stop playing the poor me card.  We all try that as young children, and guess what?  It does not fly in the adult world.  So time to pick a different tactic!

And honestly, these arguments I have put forward can be substituted for a long list of social justice warrior causes that are currently in the media.  Stop giving grease to the squeaky wheel, just because we don’t want to hear it squeak anymore.  Instead lets try to get to the root cause of the problem and try to fix that.

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Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier Part II

Welcome back to Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier.  And if you missed Part I and need a list of rules I am discussing, here is a handy little link.

In the swinger community not only is drama bad, but all emotions are frowned upon.  If you develop any sort of feelings you must end things with that partner and move on.  To me, this reads like immature men created a rule so that they could ensure their wives wouldn’t leave them.  Or to hide behind this mantra and fake ignorance if they were ever caught having sex outside of a club setting.  “I swear baby, she meant nothing, it was just sex”.  I don’t buy it, and I hope no one in my community plays into this antiquated way of thinking either.  Feelings are natural, and to end things because you cannot control or compartmentalize or simple enjoy them in the moments and beyond is close minded.  It is a mentality of the swinger world I want nothing to do with.

Are swingers really still this close minded you may ask?  Only 2 weeks ago I saw a person ask on a popular swingers forum about the protocol with this rule, because she was getting butterflies for a new play partner, and thinking about them outside of the club.  The unanimous response from our swinging overlords was that the “feelings be immediately shut down.  There are NO feelings allowed in swinging.  If you have feelings then end things, move on to someone else.  This is a place for the physical only.  We are not whole human beings when it comes to play time. We are objects of pleasure and only pleasure.”  Ok, so I started paraphrasing towards the end there, but it was based off of nearly 25 respondents.  All shouting wildy that she was breaking a cardinal rule and needed to re-evaluate her wants and needs.  This was supposed to be a safe place for sex, not a breeding ground for feelings or emotions.  Yeah, see, this just will never be my bag baby.  I am much more sexual and expressive with someone I get to know, than I ever could be with a stranger.  I cannot just turn things off in order to turn things on. And I don’t feel alone here.  Things are changing.  Feelings aren’t bad and shouldn’t make me an outsider or a bad swinger.  But in this pretentious world of rules, they do.

And the last bone of contention is the never make swingers out of friends rule.  Obviously vanilla people (as the term goes) would most likely be uncomfortable with getting hit on by swingers with no warning.  I get that.  However, I have had success with making partners out of friends.  And I believe that I surround myself with people who have an emotional IQ that would allow them to be flattered and politely reject my advances rather than blow the friendship up right there and then.  Now I am not saying I have ever approached a vanilla couple with my partner, but the taboo exists.  I think if we met the right couple I would have no issue with at least playing with the idea.  Are we not all adults who can handle a little flirtation and fantasy now and then?  Or is the goal to have strict division between all your social interactions?  Boring!  Make friends out of swingers, not swingers out of friends the forums shout, again and again and again.

I know I am outlier because I do not believe that rules of swingers have ethical non-monogamy at heart.  They were created in a time and place where anonymity was more important than the consent and safety of its members.  If the rules were made to keep people anonymous and safe, why then do so many feel like outsiders looking in.  Or fear the public shaming and pain if they break any of these cardinal laws.  The rules do not work for me or my lifestyle or even my core beliefs of how to interact with my current and potential partners.  These rules currently in place need to be left behind.  To become relics of the swinging past they were created for.  They create boundaries and hinder the natural course of getting to know people and do nothing to promote the fun and safety that I seek.  But I believe I am part of a growing number of couples, dissatisfied with the current standard and ready to breath new life into a community that has so much potential.  Stay tuned for the Next Generation of Swingers…