First order of business: pin-up photos. Some of you might remember that for Christmas, ML gave me a pin-up photo shoot, and I finally did the shoot at the end of February and got the photos back last week. There were a bunch that I really liked, and I’ll post a few of them here. I’m a little excited about this because it’s the first time I’m exposing my FACE! on my BLOG! I feel pretty okay about that, and in some ways I think that it’ll enable me to feel freer posting here about whatever, because it’s just ME, it’s not me-posing-as-someone-cool-on-the-internet. Not that I pose or anything, but I do sometimes get anxiety when people figure out who I am in real life, then I’m all “OMG I’m so not as cool in real life as I lead people to think on my blog.” Which, intervention! That is not the way I want to be. So, yay, pictures!
The photos are all courtesy of BombshellBetty.net. Betty is awesome, and the photo sesh was a LOT of fun!
So I’ll post a few here, and then you should go over to my Facebook profile to see some more!
UPDATE: The swimsuit is by Fables by Barrie and they have ridiculously adorable sailor swimsuits, plus other awesome pin-up type clothing. I seriously can’t wait to wear this to the beach this summer.
PS: You can click ‘em to make ‘em big! Eep! My face is so big! Also, I’ve already had a question re touch-ups: these photos are not touched up at all, the reason my skin looks so glowy is because of the fantastic photographer and the lighting!
Gulp, it’s already the middle of January… whooops. Classes start on Tuesday, and I’ve been working and catching up with various friends the past week and a half since getting back from the east coast. Also trying to get in a lot of pleasure reading, since my books for this semester have started tumbling in and it’s veeeery clear to me that I will not have any time to read things of my own choosing this semester! So. Many. Books. ANyway, last year at the beginning of January I did a sort of year-in-review and some intentions for the coming year, and I decided to revisit that this year and see where I was last year, whether I did the things I’d been planning to do, and then look ahead to this coming year.
From last year’s post:
[I]n 2010, I hope to:
- continue to fall in love and deepen my relationship with ML. I’m looking forward to more great sex, more power play, even better communication as we learn each other through and through and more and more, mini-retreats (that hopefully won’t be too expensive), accompanying her to her sister’s wedding where she’ll be outing herself to all of her extended family and family friends, and maybe even moving in together (!) (but we’ll wait to see what my grad school plans are before we really talk about that seriously).
Well, I certainly had a functioning crystal ball on this one; this has all happened, and more! We’ve really fallen in cozy with each other, in a good way — we have had very few big fights this year, and the fighting has gotten easier as lurking questions like “will she leave me over this?” have faded away. While the frequency of our sex has decreased somewhat, it’s still great, and we did do some interesting work with power play this year. Mini-retreats… we went on a few I think? We went to Palm Springs in March for her birthday, and to Cazadero for Thanksgiving… That might be it. But two per year might be enough given our busy lives. Her sister’s wedding in August was lovely if also somewhat challenging, and I felt a bond with her through and after that that I describe in that post. AND, we moved in together! At the beginning of June. So we’ve been living together now for seven+ months and it’s fantastic. We both have such busy independent lives but we almost always manage to end the day together, in bed, with a bit of time before we have to go to sleep.
- start graduate school (speaking of).
And ever! I started the MA degree program in anthropology at CIIS here in San Francisco, and it’s got to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. I fucking love it. I can’t wait for classes to start next week (even if it does mean less time for pleasure reading…).
- leave my job (which should be concurrent with grad school, but in case I don’t get into any of the programs I’m hoping to enroll in, I STILL would like to leave my job).
Yup, I left my job at the end of May, and continued to work somewhat part-time during the summer but with very flexible hours. The summer was nice, I had a lot of time to cook and plan and read and think and do fun stuff… but I was also ready for it to be over when it was over. Too much of a good thing :)
- continue to take care of myself and be strong enough to seek help in taking care of myself, from medication and therapy, but also from intellectual, spiritual, and physical mentors, as well as friends and family.
I think that this past year, especially this fall, I have really figured out how to be at my mental and emotional best: be busy with things that I care about. It was really that simple. As soon as I started graduate school, so much of my stress and anxiety and existential ennui and co-dependency tendencies just … started to evaporate. I’m doing my thing, and it feels right.
- come out to my grandparents. There. I said it. I made it a goal.
Uh. Whoops. I forgot that I’d made that an intention this past year. We’ll see if it happens this year. I’d love to make it an intention. Problem is my grandma’s in early stages of Alzheimer’s, and I’m just not sure what coming out to them at this point would accomplish. But it’s a possibility.
- continue to write here and use it as a platform for airing my relationship-, life-, and self-processing, and continue to strengthen my internet bonds.
I did continue to write here, although with less frequency. As I’ve said before, that’s been for lack of time, not lack of motivation. But I’m still here, and I hope to figure out a way to write weekly.
So, you see, I did alright in 2010. As for 2011, I’ve got some intentions for the record as well:
- continue to fully invest myself in graduate school, worrying less about social aspects of it (which totally have been falling into place) and knowing that the more I bring myself fully to the table there, the more things will continue to open up for me. This year I’ll have to figure out a practicum and a research focus, so one of my intentions here is to think that through and carefully weigh my options. And also, I want to start ironing out post-MA plans: Ph.D.? Here, or elsewhere? Work? I’ll be meeting with my academic advisor early this semester to start talking about that.
- continue to prioritize friendships and relationships both in my graduate program and outside of it. I adore my grad school cohort.
- with ML, continue to communicate well, to set aside time to do fun things together, to leave San Francisco every so often for a breath of fresh air, to love her and appreciate her with intention. We also want to continue to grow and expand our sexual life, and though we’re not quite sure yet what that’s going to look like, we’ve got some hopes and intentions: set aside time and boundaries to work more with power play, specifically with figuring out a way for her to push through topping insecurities and me to push through subbing insecurities; push more against boundaries of monogamy/non-monogamy, and play with how we can approach those explorations as a team and make it something fun for both of us; go to sex/play parties and increasingly take our sex life out of just our own private and exclusive domain. Very excited about all of that, and I imagine I will be writing about all of that at times throughout the year.
- travel at least once out of the country. I will have so many opportunities for that this year: my sister is living in Vienna, and wants me to visit this summer and travel to Poland and Croatia with her. One of my best friends is getting married in Paris in August. And another mutual friend of ML’s and mine is getting married in Japan in the fall. Not to mention, I would love to get back to Germany, Berlin specifically, and then there’s always the possibility that my master’s work will take me out of the country too…
I think that’s a pretty good list of intentions for this year. Of course there will be surprises too, and that’s as it should be. But I will just state for the record: I am excited about this year. And I intend to continue to make this space somehow a part of it all.
Happy New Year <3 xoxo AF
PS: I will be doing a pin-up modeling shoot in a few weeks. I’m thinking I might share some photos… :)
Since my previous post was written last night when I was sleepy, I just wanted to add a few more things about my submission fantasy.
1) I do not want to be a full-time submissive. This submission dynamic is one that I want to have very specific and clearly articulated parameters (such as “this will start when we wake up on Wednesday morning and will end when we fall asleep on Wednesday night”). It’s a dynamic that I’m very, very interested in and drawn to exploring, but not one that I crave or need in my relationship all the time.
2) The main reason why I think I’m compelled to this kind of dynamic is (and I’ve touched on this before in previous posts) that in most of my daily life, I’m kind of a control freak. I keep track of most everything related to our home (when to clean, whose turn it is to do what, whose toothbrush is whose (seriously!), writing the rent check, etc.). This is not because ML can’t do it, though keeping track of things is certainly not her strong suit, but because I do it naturally. My brain is always on, scampering around, picking up loose ends and tucking them away, managing lots of little things (and big things) and snapping mental photos of things left and right. It’s what I do. But I’m increasingly craving an anti-dote to that, a space when my brain can relax and let someone else do the thinking for me and above all trust that I’ll be okay by letting go. To me, the pull to that allowing that kind of dynamic into my relationship feels erotic as well as therapeutic.
3) ML was totally receptive to giving my submission fantasy a shot, although she did express a few doubts, mostly about her ability to know whether she’s doing the right thing or not. What I somehow want to enter into the dynamic, and maybe it has to happen organically (as opposed to just me trying to explain it to her), is for her to not be thinking in those terms of “will she like this? is this the right thing?” and rather be assured and confident and all-enveloping. Attentive to me, yes, and checking in with me, absolutely. But I don’t want to be in a state of mind of having to think about “is this what I want? is she doing it right?” and would rather be in an absolutely trusting and relaxing mental space. Submission.
Any ideas on how to work on that together? Exercises to slowly bring that in? Scenarios to role-play to begin to feel comfortable? Porn to watch that we could mimic?
Shanna of Essin’ Em fame has been here the past few days, crashing on our couch (actually, our featherbed) while in town for the Folsom Street Fair. And because Shanna is so very Shanna, we have ended up talking a lot about sex (as well as things like front shops and cats and what vegetables we’d be if we were vegetables) — and last night (or was it Saturday night?) she ended up more or less facilitating a conversation about fantasies between ML and me. (If you ever are in need of a sex therapist, I think Shanna should be charging for it.) Now, I wouldn’t say ML and I have ever thought we needed a sex therapist, or have even ever been dissatisfied with our sex life. We have a rather robust sex life, actually, and when we’re healthy and not travelling, we generally fuck 3-5 times a week. Some of those times, to be sure, are nighttime quickies, but many of them are also middle-of-the-afternoon-because-we’re-horny fuckfests. And we’ve sort of vaguely talked about things we’d like to do sometime, but then “sometime” tends not to materialize because, you know, life happens.
So, sex is good. But somehow, with Shanna (who also lives at ShannaKatz.com, by the way), we ended up articulating fairly clearly and specifically (through her pointed and guiding questions) what we’d each most like to explore. I thought I’d share mine.
Imagine that we live in a foreign world and you speak the language but I don’t. This means that you have to be my guide through the world, taking me under your wing and being my voice. Imagine we’re in a restaurant and I can’t read the menu — but because the cuisine is so different from what I’m familiar with you can’t really translate it for me in a way I would understand either. So, instead, you order for me, and I trust you utterly to order with care and absolute attention to my mind and body. Because you know me. And my mind is submitted to yours: when the food arrives, I’m not thinking about whether or not you picked “right,” whether or not I like the food. I’m not worried about that. I know you picked right just because you picked it, and I trust you.
That’s the best way I can think of to illustrate the dynamic I want to explore. I want to be your little girl and your most cherished thing, delicate and pretty and wholly yours. And I want you to feel the largeness of that, the expansion of your self that comes with enveloping mine. This isn’t just responsibility, in the sense of being responsible for a child, though of course there’s that. But this is bigger than responsibility. I don’t want you to feel anxiety about whether or not you’re doing the right thing, I want you to just know that by treating me with the utmost care and respect and paternalism and delicacy and love and nurturing that you’re automatically doing the right thing.
And I know I haven’t said the word “sex” here at all, but this has everything to do with sex. Nothing and everything.
Thank you, Shanna ;)
As for her fantasy, I want it to come in her words. She says she’s willing to contribute. GUEST POST, PEOPLE. GET READY. Just, not tonight, because it’s 11:15 on a Monday and we have to be up in 7.5 hours.
Mi’lady isn’t butch. (If she were, there’s no way in hell I would call her mi’lady.)
She’s not femme, either. Not particularly. Not the way I am. She doesn’t really fit into any sort of butch<–>femme spectrum at all. Maybe she’s androgynous, though somehow I’m uncomfortable with that word too to describe her. We talked about it a bit on Sunday, and didn’t really come up with a label that fit her precisely. But what she definitely is is a dyke.
I guess her gender energy is somewhat akin to Shane from The L Word. (Though I know Shane was commonly referred to as butch, I really don’t think she was, or at least not in the way that I understand butch.) Mi’lady isn’t quite the same sort of aloof player that Shane was portrayed as, and she’s much more outgoing and free with her emotions. Allows herself to be more vulnerable than Shane’s character. But she has a similar posture, a similar sort of slightly disheveled look, a similar style. Another stylistic reference would be Tegan & Sara — she’s got a sort of punkish female androgyny–tattoo, skinny jeans, chucks, indie t-shirts, black eyeliner.
And I wouldn’t say our relationship feels particularly butch-femme, either. It’s not that clearly defined. In some ways it does feel very butch-femme. I’m very much a nurturer, in that I’m constantly doing little domestic things. Cooking, tidying, grooming, both for me and for her. I’m a multi-tasker and I’m very attentive to detail. I like things just so. In that regard I can be a care-taker of her. Because she’s disorganized and rumpled and a bit chaotic and kind of messy. Not at all detail-oriented. She’s fantastically creative, and I help keep her grounded. In a femme way.
She is a nurturer too, in a different sense, maybe in more of a (dare I say?) butch sense. She’s always “big spoon,” and we almost always fall asleep that way, with her enfolding me in her arms. She’s very affirmative with words, telling me often how sexy or beautiful I am or how much she likes what I cook or how hot those heels look, in a way that affirms and strengthens my femininity. She was the one who pursued me from the get-go, bold and a risk-taker to my subtle flirting.
But in otherways, we’re not very butch-femme. Sexually, for example, we have great sex in which she’s more dominant and I’m submissive, and great sex in which I’m more dominant and she’s submissive, and great sex that doesn’t have bottom/top roles at all. I love strapping on and fucking her with a cock (she loves it too), and don’t particularly care for the reverse (she’s open to it if I want it but isn’t insistent on it). And aside from the ways I articulated above, there isn’t really any other way that our relationship feels gendered. We’re both women.
I wonder, in a way, whether I’m most suited to a butch, considering the extent to which I think I’m really femme. For example, mi’lady doesn’t really have (or at least hasn’t at any point articulated, to me or to herself) a matching and inverted fantasy of being a “protector” and having a “wife,” the way I’ve got this fantasy of having a protector and being a wife. But… I love her. She makes me laugh, she helps me move beyond details and be flexible, she motivates me to break out of my comfort zone a little bit and then gives me room to go back in, she challenges me. And really, I don’t think it’s necessary for our fantasies to match up. I think as long as we’re willing and able to work out the kinks and figure out our dynamics and make sure we’re both giving what we’re able to getting what we need, then we should be ok.
And, you know, she really does love it when I cook for her :)
(Updated to remove weird duping of the post? It doesn’t appear in my editor but I tried to just delete all and re-paste so we’ll see if that works…)
I’ve been learning, lately, how to pay more attention to the little voices in my head. The ones that say “yay!” or “boo!” to all the little things I do. The ones that have the answer to questions like, “do I really love playing piano, or do I just think I love it because I was supposed to love it growing up? because my dad wants me to love it?” or “do I feel like myself when I wear this [insert item of clothing here]?” These voices have been buried in me for a long, long time. Digging them out has been quite an interesting process, and I think they’re still mostly buried, but at least now I know they’re there. And whenever I feel up to it, I can keep digging a bit more, and eventually I’ll have unearthed them all.
There’s something that’s been peeking out of the ground for a while now, and I’ve finally dug it up. It’s a fantasy, and it goes like this:
I am a nurturer. More than anything, I want to take care of you. I want to support you and give you what you want and be your pillar. I want to stand next to you proudly, “I’m hers.” I want to cook for you, and bake your favorite sweets for you, and clean. I want to notice the little things that make you feel better, and do them for you. I want you to dress me, in whatever you want me to wear. I want to be manicured, and pedicured, and wax my arms and legs, and spend a half an hour every morning and evening on my skincare regimen. I want to wear four-inch heels with peeping toes. I want to iron your shirts and make your bed and stroke your head until you fall asleep. I want to plan little surprises and encourage your passions and turn you on. Making you tick is what makes me tick. So.
As I said, that’s been peeking out of the ground for a while. I kept ignoring it, thinking it’s just another indicator of my co-dependency. My tendency is to want to exist for someone else rather than for myself. And I’ve always thought that that’s because it’s easier to take care of someone else’s wants and needs than it is to take care of my own. (The responsibility of making myself happy? Huge.) So it’s been really easy to write off that fantasy as something unhealthy and something I need to dismiss, something I need to work out. I’ve thought of it as the problem.
But maybe the problem itself is the very solution. Maybe it’s not co-dependency, but in fact a valid form of self-identity. Can this be? I have a lot of feelings about this. Frustration – have I really been working so hard to discover what I really want, only to realize that what I want is, again, just to do what someone else wants? Fear — what does this mean? Will I lose myself even further? Confusion — but I thought I was ambitious and driven and independent! Worry — how on earth will my friends and family take it if I come out to them this way? Excitement — wow! So much to work (and play) with here! Weeee! Intrigue – what would this feel like, to actualize this? what worlds might this open up for me?
So, I think I’m going to try this on for a while. See if it fits as well as it does in my fantasy. I need to keep reminding myself, though, that I’m doing this for me. In the end, I’m not really doing this to sacrifice myself for her. Rather, I’m allowing myself to indulge a fantasy. I’m going for a dream.
Maybe I don’t need to find co-dependency support. Maybe I need to find femme support. How about a Femme for Dummies: How to Make Sure You’re Taking Care of Yourself While Caring for Your Lover (and Others).
Anyone out there? Femme bloggers who’ve written about this sort of journey? Any femmes who read here who want to pop out and say hi? Maybe there is a Femme for Dummies that I just don’t know about? Oh my gosh, I feel so thirsty. Is this what it feels like to know what I want?
(Disclaimer: For me, the word that works best to encompass all this is “femme.” I fully realize that many, if not most, femmes probably don’t share this same fantasy and wouldn’t necessarily identify this fantasy as being femme in nature. For now, just realize that yes, I acknowledge that, and I apologize if anyone feels that their identity is stepped on. As this is all coming to light I’m sure I will write more about this in the near future, because boy do I have thoughts…)
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