2018 in Review

[Thelatestkate: Drawing of a multicolored ferret with the phrase, “I know it wasn’t easy, so thanks for sticking around for another year.”]

Trying to think back over 2018, it feels hazy and nebulous like 2017. Finally reached a point where I realized I had slipped into an unsafe eating pattern during 2017 and needed to stop that (fun fact, there’s subclinical and clinical starvation). Some People were still finalizing Their Leaving, and Someone (currently unable to name publicly) surprised me by dropping in with an interest in Adoration (less reciprocal obligations and different offerings compared to veneration or honoring).

My grandfather’s cancer diagnoses, chemo and radiation treatments, and my grandparents wound up with a second dog after years of letting Raven be an only child (after Sweetheart passed sometime in undergrad). My grandfather and great-aunt’s unexpected passings. My grandmother has started preparing for selling the house and downsizing (somewhere in town) sometime in 2019. Trying to help her navigate turning on and using the computer for the small number of necessary tasks that involve online sites – checking grandfather’s email, online bank statements – is a special kind of frustrating because she doesn’t really want to learn how to do it (fingers crossed that she goes to the intro to computers classes in the new year).

Fanfic as coping. Fanfic as realizing that I may not be interested in a certain dynamic, but it’s still rather easy to write it. Fanfic as a way to connect to certain histories. Claiming my first prompt on ao3 (and realizing that giving the character a 200+ year lifespan in this au might require finishing the draft in 2019 despite wanting it done by 31 Dec for character reasons). Fanfic as realizing a boom-and-bust method of having ideas and skeletal drafts but struggling to finish a story might be something other than laziness (Mental Illness pondering that deserves its own post). Past-me was smart to come up with a chapter uploading schedule in order to stagger it all out, but past-me was not smart in thinking I would get that many drafts done this year.

Original fiction? In my Google docs? (It’s more likely than you think.)

I have a somewhat hazy memory of voting for the first time in 2012 in the fall semester of my Freshmen year of undergrad, but it’s kind of shoved in among all kinds of other firsts, Adulting issues, and focusing on my studies during college memories from undergrad. I know I voted to re-elect Obama, but I honestly don’t remember if I voted again until 2016 (Sanders wasn’t an option anymore, so I bit the bullet and voted for Hillary Clinton). Basically, I think this past Nov was the first time I voted in a midterm, and let me tell you, that was disappointing as fuck in a rural, majority Republican county. But I made sure I was still registered, did my candidate + issue homework, and got my ass to the polls, so I did the best I could do.

Honorary shoutout to Tumblr’s content policy update and the ensuing purge effective 17 Dec 2018. I’m trying to make my remaining accounts and this WP work, but I can’t make any promises about not trying any alternatives out in 2019. (Follow certain users to Dreamwidth? Follow people seeking to recreate the better, early 2000s side of tumblr at Pillowfort.io? Figure out if it’s worthwhile following kinky bloggers to bdsmlr, qink, MojoFire, or other places?) *shrug* We’ll see.

[Source: User zadiest: i refuse to die until things are better and that is a threat]

Wibbly-wobbly, gendery-wendery

Late night contemplating of gender with my shadow selves

Part of why I hung onto pigeonholing myself into being a binary trans man is that I didn’t really know what else I could be, and the confusion was more scary than the dissatisfaction at not feeling comfortable with just being a trans man (because I thought I had to be FtM in order to be trans). It took more learning about the trans community and who all feel under this umbrella, and I ran into an umbrella for those who aren’t female or male all the time, nonbinary, and a bunch of specific names for gender identities.

Because I do not identify with the gender I was assigned at birth based on my genitalia, I am trans. I fought hard to accept that, and I will always claim that first.

220px-transgender_pride_flag-svg (Trans flags wiki)

I don’t identify as solely a man or a woman all of the time, so I eventually claimed nonbinary (AFAIK it’s a more acceptable umbrella term than genderqueer – even though genderqueer was first used in this manner – because not everyone has reclaimed queer).

120px-non-binary_pride_flag (Nonbinary flag) | tumblr_o29e9q7od71qdz3q6o1_500 (Genderqueer flag)

It really tripped me up when I was first questioning my gender that I had fleeting moments of feeling one way then another, but I eventually started to realize that I’m genderfluid.

120px-genderfluidity_pride-flag-svg (Genderfluid flag)

I kept running into all of these lists with these gender labels I’d never heard of, and I could conditionally identify with quite a few of them, but I never could identify with just one all of the time. I found it more confusing than helpful until I started to accept some degree of genderfluidity. While I can grasp at some internal feelings and perceptions, I don’t consider any of these moments that could warrant a specific label to be present long enough to justify detailed sharing with others or official claiming.

Moments (not a complete list) with example colors

  • “Both [M+W] to point of neither”
    • I’ve used comparisons to purple
  • Occasionally more masc / femme
    • Shades of purple towards blue / pink
  • Not on the binary (emphasis on the Otherness of above “neither”)
    • Green (not on the blue – pink binary at all)
  • A neutrality or sense of not being able to specify
    • Gray, hazy or blurry if unable to specify
  • Gender doesn’t matter or not able to internally detect a gender
    • Note: Specific to episodes / fluctuation of depression
    • The whiteness of a blank space

Range of label names possible (not exclusive for each option)

  • Genderqueer, bigender, nonbinary (outside of umbrella usage), androgyne
  • Trans masculine, butch / femme, demigender (demiboy, demigirl), genderflux
  • Genderqueer, nonbinary
  • Neutrois, agender
  • Some type of neurogender (gender is specific to neurodivergence / mental health)

I have nothing against people who want to use multiple labels and feel comfortable with using a specific label instead of nonbinary and/or genderqueer, but I don’t want to have to match up moments with a wide range of names for any particular one moment. I’m honestly not very good at on the spot detection (esp on a daily basis) and don’t want to get into “what” I am now with someone if I change up my presentation and get read as more of something. I know the wide range of options can help someone name their experience and find others with that gender experience (community is important), but right now, I don’t feel like finding the exact perfect label(s) will actually help me or help most people understand me.

Regarding the ‘most people’ bit, I’m not trying to sound 2edgy4u. I have family who don’t even seem to accept trans identities as an actual thing and struggle with understanding binary trans people. Even with the stereotype of ‘being born in the wrong body’ that the media loves, I don’t think they actually understand how being trans is different from drag (this is based on actual comments they have made). I honestly am bracing myself for my family to not understand and reject that I’m trans and nonbinary, full stop.

Frankly, quite a few people I’ve encountered just don’t think about gender identities or voluntarily look into ‘niche’ topics like all the possibilities under the nonbinary and genderqueer umbrella unless they’ve questioned their gender or are trans. Perhaps I’m expecting too little of some, but I’ve been relieved when someone has understood trans and nonbinary as umbrella terms. I feel like I’m just waiting for the completely oblivious non-relative to equate trans people and drag performers, and I’m honestly not always prepared to go into teacher mode.

In sum: Still trans. Nonbinary → Genderqueer + Genderfluid. I am a nonbinary trans person who is genderqueer with some genderfluidity. Outside of situations where I need to remain closeted, I prefer they / their pronouns.

Gift of Dominance

Christmas Eve Challenge: Post here, or separately, about the gift of your Dom(me), Daddy/Mommy or Master’s dominance. Or if you are unowned, in what ways do you think dominance might be a gift?

It’s been a few years since I posted about it, but at one point, I was involved in devotional power dynamics (D/s incorporated into a devotional relationship with a Higher Power, Spirit, Deity, etc.). m’Lady’s dominance was a gift in that it provided the structure I needed at that time in my life when so many things were changing – starting college, living on campus (away from home for the first time), mental health abso-fucking-lutely needing to be addressed. I was just discovering polytheism, and Her dominance provided guidance in navigating communication troubleshooting, inter-pantheon conflicts, and learning about boundaries between deities and humans. In a related vein, Princeling’s submission allowed me the chance to explore my Dominance.

However, these devotional power dynamics have since come to an end, and I have been left with a parting instruction to play responsibly with my fellow humans. With mental health and irl issues, I haven’t exactly been keen on rushing out into a dynamic, ldr, or anything of the sort. But I hope to one day find someone who can provide the gift of safety and structure in their dominance, and possibly someone else who can find those same gifts in mine. While the physical safety of everyone in a scene is important to take into consideration, I’m more thinking of a psychological or emotional sense of safety. Now, I am not saying that a potential play partner has to be my therapist, but I can’t put down every single piece of baggage, especially if someone is interested in extending a dynamic outside of a scene (into our daily lives and/or the rest of our relationship).

Examples:

As I’ve explained in other posts, I am a nonbinary trans person, and I think my post on genderqueerness and genderfluidity maybe somewhere in my drafts (tumblr imports also bring in drafts, so it’s a bit cluttered at the moment). It might sound like an incredibly low bar to have, but safety extends to not being misgendered even when someone is interacting with my body, whether we’re engaging in sexual kink or non-sexual kink. I was AFAB and I haven’t taken steps to physically or hormonally change my sex characteristics, so I am quite aware that I am typically read as female –> woman.

While the majority of managing my mental health is my responsibility, structure ties into reassurance or a reminder that I’m still part of the dynamic even if something comes up. XYZ might have happened, but using titles – as one example – is a reminder that whatever anxious, depressed, etc. belief isn’t right (I’m still worthy of service, I’m still allowed to receive service, I’m not too ___ to be doing this, and so on). Even if it’s a simple frame like a to-do list, it could be possible for structure to play nicely with my mental issues instead of being an obstacle.

A part of me is a bit concerned that I’m asking too much from a scene and by extension a play partner, but structure and safety can also intersect to create a safe space. I know I just wrote a fair bit about not being misgendered, but sometimes, for situation specific reasons, it’s cathartic to use the structure of gender play or dynamics. F’ex, my devotional D/s with Princeling drew on Caregiver/little, and when I was struggling with dysphoria from being misgendered, He accepted me using a gender specific title (Daddy Dom) to acknowledge that I was not a cis woman. Again, the bar might appear very low, but having somewhere I am seen, heard, and interacted with in accordance to my gender expression and identity would be such a safe space. Even if nothing overtly kinky or sexual happened, I would be acknowledged and accepted as myself.

(Pretty sure WP source deleted their imported post)

It’s a bit surreal stumbling across a post where you’re the OP, but I’m reblogging here to keep track of my response (edited to include link) and give my WP followers a heads up on some new content as different sideblogs get consolidated here.

Edited to include my tumblr response because I think the WP source deleted their imported post:

Writing Project: Kintsugi

This blog post is accurate as of 24 Dec 2018, but the most updated version will be at the Writing Project: Kintsugi page. I backdated the individual chapter posts to reduce the sensation of being spammed, and those posts only share basic chapter info (tags, author notes, the historical or factual basis for details) and sfw excerpts. ((I’ve got some personal headcanons for this fic and fan theory that I kind of reuse among fics that deal with Wizarding history and world building expansion, and I don’t want an inability to read the fic itself to get in the way of those.))

Admittedly, this is not what most people are following me here for, so it’s okay if it’s not your cup of tea. I have some au / backstory that gets into some more pagan / polytheist flavored material that might be a little more interesting for you guys, but the brunt of that is for future chapters (I’ve got some divinity allusions to seed that in the current chapters, but that’s it so far).

First posted: 6 Oct 2018     | Last updated: 9 Nov 2018     | WIP (6 / ?)

Ch 1: Auction (Aug 1) [ao3] || WP post

Ch 2: Acceptance (Aug 2) [ao3] || WP post

Ch 3: Acquiescence (Aug 3) [ao3] || WP post

Ch 4: The Dragon’s Tail (Aug 4) [ao3] || WP post

Ch 5: București (Aug 5) [ao3] || WP post

Ch 6: Vulnera Sanentur (Aug 6) [ao3] || WP post

While I am very aware that there is content that some people may not be comfortable with in their fics, I wrote here about why I started this fic and why I’m starting to post it now. For those who didn’t read that post, the important tags to pay attention to in terms of trigger or content warnings are Past Rape/Non-con and Rape Recovery.

Ship(s): Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Original Male Character(s)

Tags: Sexual Slavery, Master/Slave, BDSM, Post-Battle of Hogwarts, Post-War, Past Rape/Non-con, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Non-Sexual Submission, Non-Sexual Kink, Rape Recovery, Dom/sub, Dom Draco Malfoy, Sub Harry Potter, Non-Sexual Intimacy

Added: [3] Kink Negotiation, [4] Impact Play, Spanking, [5] Public Sex, Safewording, [6] Communication, Consent Issues

Notes: Inspired by a Master/slave fic that features Harry spending the summer at the dragon reserve with Charlie in Romania, an emotion based headhunting experience, and a training school for slaves among other elements. Reading “Playing with Fire” is not necessary to understand this story. The erotic performance venue described in Ch 5 comes from another fic (Sherlock the Model), but it is not necessary to read it to understand this fic.

Summary: The darkness of the black blindfold was disconcerting, but Harry tried his best not to tap his fingers or move his arms, knowing the deep blue scarf wound around his wrists was more for show than actual restraint and could come undone under too much fidgeting. Prospective buyers had to be able to test their range of motion or something along those lines. Harry had heard different footsteps and hushed whispering for the most part in Romanian, but no one had stopped to inspect him closer, to touch, or to speak to him. Someone in line had shifted and their leather shorts squeaked, but there hadn’t seemed to be very many sounds of anyone being inspected. A fluttering nervousness had crept into the young man’s gut. The private viewing before the auction officially started was rather like an auction for the particularly wealthy clients, and Matei hadn’t prepared him for this anticipation. Would Matei’s starting offer hold up against one of their offers?

Link to Spotify playlist for this fic ~

Fanfic as Coping

[Cross posted from my main tumblr blog, and originally posted on 7 Oct 2018. I don’t plan on this WP blog turning into an exclusively fandom related blog, but certain fanfics have either been instrumental to coping / grieving or Someone has decided to hijack an element, so I’m going to have some fanfic content.]

I know I’ve mentioned my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis but not really gone into it here, but I wanted to explain why it suddenly seemed like the only content I was reblogging had to do with fanfiction or inspiration for WIPs (part of my #writing prompt tag). Honestly, it may not make sense to some people, but I was drawn to reading fics with certain themes or elements when he was first diagnosed, and part of coping throughout the summer and fall included writing.

I was in not necessarily nice, proper, or polite tags on ao3. Rape / Non-con, dubious consent, consensual non-con, Master/slave, sexual slavery and Ownership, and elements where there was a loss of control. Because there’s nothing like a loved one facing a terminal illness and mortality to make you feel like you have no control over anything. There’s nothing like trying to ignore the initial anger and blame [1] and the fear to make you feel like you need to have control over something.

I came across a Master/slave fic back in April that I liked some ideas from, but obviously, I had some ideas of where I would try to take things in a different direction. The premise is that Harry is emotionally manipulated into a training school for slaves and the trainer he’s involved with will supposedly win his contract at auction, but given that it’s a Drarry fic, it’s not a surprise that the recruiter isn’t his Owner / Master. In my opinion, “Playing with Fire” seemed to gloss over the problems with this dubious training and the fallout for Harry afterwards, and I’m not even sure I can adequately explain why I wanted (needed?) to make it darker.

Some people talk about how writers like to play God, and they tend to go for a motivation by hubris. This wasn’t about pride that I could fuck Harry up more or write some part of the fic “better”. Writing the dissociation, having Harry struggle with stepping away from his body, digging into the anger at the trainer mixed in with the guilt for missing him (or at least expecting his reactions), and interspersing the memories, triggers, and flashbacks comes down to control. Figuring out if I wanted to flashback to a rape scene, only hint at it, and how it might affect Harry now is about controlling the loss of control. I, as the writer, can fuck around with this character’s body and head, and I can choose to leave us in angst or turn the arc a little upwards, and I can get us to a less fucked up place by the end. (Hopefully.)

As I’ve written about recently, my grandfather died at the end of September (a bit over a week ago). I uploaded the first chapter to ao3 last night, and I’m honestly not going to be surprised if this doesn’t get a huge amount of attention. But I’m not abandoning this fic because it’s cathartic, a bit self-indulgent in places, and it’s the closest I’ve been to something that’s not original fiction in a while. Because even as I’ve got Dark shit in the past (that’s not directly or explicitly in the current chapters), I’ve got non-sexual submission / kink, Mind Healing, kintsugi as therapy, and less fucked up shit in the future chapters. (Assuming someone sticks it out until then.)

. . .

[1] In a post from the time of the initial diagnosis, I talked about the types of cancer (lung cancer + lymphoma) and how it was partially do with an activity my grandfather chose to take part in (smoking). A part of me understands that there were other variables and doesn’t blame him solely, but initially, I did struggle a bit with that.

Boar Icon

I must admit that I didn’t really save every single post from just-another-vanic-shrine because it was mostly reblogging from my Njord, Frey, Sunna, Freya, and Vanir tags. However, I did want to keep a note of where I got the icon for that sideblog from.

avatar_a9f9282376b9_128

Ember proposed a boar symbol for consideration among those interested in Vanatru [here]. When I was revamping the sideblog from being a Mani shrine, I thought it would be appropriate given when in 2015 I started incorporating Vanir content.

I still consider myself Vanir and Vanatru friendly, but They’re some of the People Who pass by on occasion while no longer staying. It’s not consistent enough to be cyclical, but it’s sporadic enough that They just sort of pop in (or influence certain dash shenanigans).