Monday, June 13, 2016

74/100 Consent

The events of the past week have allowed me to get in touch with an anger within myself that society has told me isn't OK or appropriate for a woman. Be polite, be sweet, never show them you're angry because you'll be called bossy, emotional, moody, or a bitch.

Call me a bitch. In the wise words of Adele, you can "suck my dick."

I'm still putting my thoughts together on the Orlando massacre, and in the mean time have made contributions to causes and candidates I believe in (and am grateful to have the means to be able to do so). I've voted in every election since I turned 18, even though I'm fairly discouraged by politics in general and try not to focus much energy toward it/them. However, as a woman living in the US, I no longer have the option to not take politics seriously or spend energy on it. The problem is being a woman on the internet who has an opinion draws is that it draws ire from the eye of Sauron and all the Orcs rush out of the darkness to harass and threaten you. Welcome to being a woman on the internet in 2016. I've managed to avoid the hate groups and their henchmen so far (notice I don't use my last name on social media?), and have carved out a nice little existence for myself online but only because I've never really taken a controversial stand on a topic. Given my childhood, I'm incredibly adept at cruising through the shadows and blending in, just outside of the gaze of these groups. But I've been lucky so far.

Writing is the way I process through something. I've written a post at least a dozen times in my head. But I'm not ready to open the gates for the Orcs just yet - I'm still sharpening my tools and watering my horses. Soon, we ride.

Today I want to talk about consent. The Stanford rapist case that made headlines this week left me nauseous. The anger feels like heartburn and from time to time I get the physical feeling that there is a heavy weight around my neck getting tighter and tighter. The rape victim's letter that she read in court to her rapist should be required reading for everyone. It's long. Read it anyway. (I won't even begin to touch the generations of abject privilege and lack of personal responsibility the rapist's family has shown. JFC).

I don't know about you, but the topic of consent was completely absent when I was coming of age. I went to an all-girl's catholic school where they showed us pictures of aborted fetuses and preached abstinence and the most forward thing they did was show us how to put a condom on a banana. Sex education is absolutely WOEFUL in the US.

I did not consent to the first time I had sex. I told that story here.

But this is a different story.

After my divorce I was seeing a guy who told me he wanted to take things slowly and not sleep together right away. A few weeks in, things were getting pretty hot and heavy one night when he declared that he wanted to fuck me. As much as that was all I wanted, I declined because I recognized that he was too drunk to consent. I told him he'd regret going against his stated wishes in the morning. He had a tendency to black out and seem totally coherent but not remember things the next day. The next day when I asked him if he remembered our conversation from the previous evening....he didn't. Thank goodness I made that decision. For the both of us. By the grace go I...

I won't sit here and claim some superior moral high ground though. I was pressuring him to go against his convictions at every turn. And the one time he relented is when he was black out drunk. Not sure what to think about that. It still feels yucky to say that and think about my behavior from that time in my life.

A few years ago I called him as part of my recovery process to make amends for pressuring him to do things he wasn't comfortable doing and putting him in an uncomfortable situation in general. Eating shit is never fun, but it is absolutely required to get right with yourself. Owning your part of a story is important. He brushed me off and said "it takes two to tango" but I was genuinely sorry. I learned a huge lesson from that experience and one of the things that came out of it is that it really put consent in perspective for me. It changed the way I interact with men during moments where consent is required and given. I'm more vocal in giving consent, and thankfully am able to recognize when it is being given. And when it isn't.

If you have kids, this is a crucial lesson to teach them. "Consensual sex" is a bit of a misnomer because by definition sex is consensual, anything other than that is rape. Point blank. Help them make the right choice. Boys and girls need to know this. We need to stop rape culture in its tracks and burn it to the ground, and the way to do that is start young and let kids know that both sexes deserve respect and have autonomy over their bodies. ESPECIALLY young girls.

Consent is not a back rub. Consent is not the absence of "No." Anything less than a clear-eyed, open-hearted, unequivocal YES is not a green light. If someone is pressuring you to do something you don't want to do, tell them to fuck off and show them the door. 

Monday, May 30, 2016


This is the change I've made lately, and it's made all the difference. It's funny, they say you meet someone when you stop looking. Only took me 3 years to surrender to being single, and now I enjoy it. Guess what that means? #singledaysarenumbered #butwealldiealone

One day, I realized he might not exist. My soulmate, I mean.
I realized there might not be someone walking around this earth just waiting to meet me. Someone with a private world just as intricate as mine that, one day, I would get to share and be a part of and know.
And I realized I was keeping a vacant spot in my heart for this person who might not exist. That I wasn’t allowing myself to be whole because how could I be whole with my other half missing?
It was an excuse, of course. A simple view of life that would exempt me from having to put in the effort of filling myself up with the love I was waiting for someone else to supply.
The reality is this: Life is a churning, chaotic thing with no guarantees, and in the throes of the tumbling you might run into people to hold on to for a while. Sometimes for a night, sometimes for life.
And holding on to someone is a worthy thing. A wonderful thing. Something to look forward to and appreciate and embrace with your whole heart.
But the love you get from holding on to someone will never be as reliable as the love you can give yourself. Right here. Right now.
So here’s my advice. Be open to love, but don’t be empty for it.
- John Paul Brammer 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

72/100 Tinder

After threatening to do it for months, I finally joined the dating app Tinder.

A friend told me months ago that being on Tinder made her realize she was far more attractive than she gave herself credit for, and that it helped her realize that there are good men out there. I can already see what she means. I don’t know if it’s the platform or how much my thoughts about things have changed over time, probably a combination. But it doesn’t feel as charged as previous attempts at dating.

In early 2015 I used OKCupid OKstupid for a hot minute and after what I consider an onslaught of knuckle dragging, harassing, abusive messages and a handful of beyond mediocre dates, I gave up. I also realized that there was more work I needed to do to heal myself before I could date again. And if I did the work to change what I was putting out (fear), maybe I’d get a different response. It was still too charged for me at that time, and that situation shredded what little self-esteem I had. So I did some work. And some more work. It's been almost 18 months since then.

A couple months ago damn near everyone in my life who is close to me started asking me when I was going to start dating, or telling me I should date. I laughed, “Is just being out in the world NOT dating?” I’d laugh. But it was a defense mechanism (this is why I’ve been talking about it SO MUCH LATELY I’m sure). I didn’t trust that I’d changed enough to be able to open my heart and life to sharing it with people or someone. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy mending my heart and my life and I didn’t know if it had healed enough to test out the scar tissue yet to see if it would hold. My life is small and quiet and I’m content with that today, but I do wish I had more fun.

Something unusual happened last week. Well, a LOT of unusual things happened, here are a couple of them.

I got a phone call from a friend of mine who needed a place to crash for a night. He came over, we chatted and hung out, and went out to get a bite to eat. He slept on my couch (really, he did - he’s like my brother). I’d always assumed that having someone in my house would feel violating; I barely even invite friends over and haven’t had a party of more than two other people at any given time (yet). My house is my sanctuary and I protect it as such. When we were driving out to eat, there was an old sense of familiarity that I missed. When I see couples driving, I miss the companionship – just having a person around, and someone to kick around town with. Having him over was so out of the realm of my normal life, it showed me something I’m homesick for. And I don’t believe in coincidences, so I thanked the Universe for the message.

The second unusual thing was I left work a little early one day last week to run out and buy drip irrigation supplies. On the way home I dropped into Home Depot and bumped into a friend. As he and I were chatting, something down near the self-checkout caught my attention. Two young ladies who were trolling Home Depot for dates (I know this because I heard them walk by me later talking about it) walked by this guy down in the self checkout line and he stepped out of line to gawk(/holler?) at them. That’s when I realized it was the last guy I dated. Why he was in Roseville at Home Depot at 4pm on a Wednesday is beyond me. (That's MY Home Depot!) But! Right after that, he looked my way and down the aisle, and there was that moment of recognition. And the next time I looked over, he was gone. Skedaddled right the fuck out of there ASAP. LOL.

This may not seem like a big deal, but I consider his presence in my life an omen these days. He shows up whenever I am leveling up into my next realm of consciousness, and serves as a way point on my journey. He shows me just how far I've come these past three years.

Anyway. So I've been on Tinder for almost a week now and it's making me laugh more than anything. I'm not taking it too seriously. Where I would once worry about someone liking me, now my thought process is DO I EVEN LIKE THEM? A big shift.

How Tinder works:
You swipe right on someone's profile to indicate you like them.
If you both swipe right, then you can send messages.

Here's how it really works:
You both swipe right, get matched, and nobody sends a message.
A woman sends you a message and you never reply.
A guy sends you a message and you never reply.
Tada! Yay Tinder!

Broken down by gender:

Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? No. (swipes left)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)
Would I fuck her? Yes. (swipes right)

Would I fuck him?
Does he look like he would kill me?

Further analysis and reasons for disqualifications, according to me
Has kids or has unexplained kids in his pics
Pics with girls (is she your ex? Why would you post that?)
Cropping a girl out of a pic (don't care if she's your mom)
Wearing a wedding ring in his pic (Recently divorced, no thanks)
"Just got out of a six year relationship"
Every picture is him holding a beer/drink
Works in the alcohol industry
First picture is his motorcycle/dog/sunset/hiking vista
His dog is in all of his pictures
"I like my dog more than I like humans."
"I love my dog more than anything." (Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. You will never come in anywhere in his top 5 priorities)
OMG ALL THE HIKING PICTURES is he going to take me into the woods and kill me?
Wakboarding pic, skydiving pic, hiking pic, biking pic all on the same profile
No pictures of his face in his profile pics (Really bro?)
Bartender. Bar back. Bartender. Bartender. Mixologist.
Neck tattoos
Gross beard (sorry dudes, not a fan)
kik username listed
Works for that one utility company where I am convinced you have to be a sociopath to work there
You have Harvard listed as your school in an obviously ironic way
Obviously fake name
"I'm in Sacramento for the next couple months, not by choice but by court order..."

Anyway. I don't hate it. It doesn't feel very vulnerable and is sort of fun. No dates have come of it for me and probably never will. But hey, at least I can say I did it now.