Thursday, January 2, 2014

MonogamyParadigm is Now SexualityReclaimed!

Happy New Year, dear readers!

From now on, please follow me and my adventures in polyamory/open relationships, queerness, stripping, social justice and activism, and more on SexualityReclaimed.

Thank you for your loyal support, and I look forward to future blogging and discussion :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Family Christmas Card & More

Read this on SexualityReclaimed :)


This trip away from Portland to see family for the holidays has been largely fine, and some other periods of time have been “fine” in the AA acronym-sense of the word (fucked up, irrational, neurotic, and emotional).

Regular fine moments (from the quiet okayness of family time to the extremely fun and enjoyable) include:

-Doing puzzles with my sister, mom, and J

-Reading two books, and working on others

-Walking with J and our dog in the sunshine

-J and I going to the clothing-optional hot springs

-Seeing the looks of happiness and appreciation on my family’s faces when they saw the new TV J and I got them for Christmas.

-Going to Bend with J’s brother and sister-in-law, including both a wonderful walk with J and one by myself, and a ton of delicious food. Breakfast out is one of my favorite things of being alive.

-Getting a manicure and pedicure with my mom and sister

-Going for a nice hike with J’s family

-Going over to J’s grandma’s for french toast and bacon

-Playing a dance video game with J’s family

-Watching the sonogram of my sister-in-law’s baby

-Getting to visit with J’s ex-girlfriend/friend of ours for like 2 1/2 hours while in the hot tub

-Walking by myself to the coffee shop where I am now, by myself (much needed), drinking a peppermint hot chocolate. I finally feel like I am able to relax today.

AA-FINE-moments include:

-Seeing my mom’s Christmas card. Even though we took family pictures at Thanksgiving, including my sister’s girlfriend, my mom opted to use different pictures. It was extremely apparent to my sister and I that her girlfriend was absent. J thinks perhaps this wasn’t because my sister’s romantic partner is a woman, but because they haven’t been together “long enough” for my mom to warrant inclusion on the card. I don’t know. Whatever.

-Struggling with chronic body image crap (negative self-talk, obsessiveness over eating and exercise, lack of compassion and loving-kindness for myself).

-Finding out that, somehow, someone told J’s family that I was a stripper. They haven’t asked me directly about it , but somehow, they know. The gossiping drives me nuts.

-Having Christmas dinner with J’s extended family- conservative, Tea Party, highly religious. I kept myself entertained with a puzzle and lots of apple crisp. This worked for the most part.

-J’s sister going off on J about us “not working,” “having zero income,” while “some of us have to work to pay back student loans.” J got pretty frustrated and irritated. We almost left even sooner than we did (which was a day or two ahead of schedule).

-J’s mom flipping the fuck out because we visited with his ex/our current good friend. She spent the whole next day completely stressed out, her puffy eyes indicating to everyone out that she was miserable. But would she offer any information? Absolutely not. (This was the catalyst for us leaving sooner) The communication style within J’s family absolutely drives me insane sometimes. This was one of those times.

-Being with my family, and feeling the intensity of 3 pairs of eyes on my every move (my mom, sister, and dad). I don’t get it. Stop looking at me!! The over-protectiveness and incessant worrying has become easier for me to deal with in recent years, but was a lot harder for me to shake off today. Thus the trip to Starbucks in solitude.

It’s getting close to the end of the year, and the New Year has become increasingly meaningful to me. It’s a time to reflect on the year’s events, to think about growth and change. I tend to make “resolutions” and move toward change throughout the year as I think about it, but I appreciate the formal reminder.

I see in those AA-FINE-moments a lack of transparent and clear communication: a good reminder for me to continually push myself toward asserting my boundaries calmly and compassionately. While it is difficult when the content of the communication is about sensitive/taboo topics, it is more important to me to have honest relationships than to walk gingerly around family for fear of upsetting people.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? How do your families encourage you to change and grow?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

School & Dancing Options

Keep up with me at SexualityReclaimed! Come January 1, I will be posting only on SexualityReclaimed.

I have been trying to not think about my school/dance issue for the past couple of days. Here is what has been bubbling on the back burner. I have many options in moving forward with my goals. Let’s see:
  1. Stay in the program I am in: This would require me to acquiesce to the faculty and stop dancing. I could also finish what I started (question: is this a program and degree I want to stay with and be associated with?)
  2. Attempt to stay full time and fight the faculty: This is risky, as I could be asked to the leave the program, which could have a big impact on future employment and school opportunities. It also sounds exhausting to do this while in school full time. If I am able to continue dancing and stay in the program, it could have complicated ramifications. It seems like I would constantly have to assert myself and potentially fight with faculty throughout my time in the program.
  3. Stay in the program, but plan on leaving after this semester: This could give me more time to assess the whole situation, assert my perspective to faculty, but I would also need to acquiesce for the semester (and stop dancing). It seems like a good mix of things.
  4. Stay in the program, drop down to part time: I haven’t thought about this as much. Any “stay in the program” option requires me to most likely stop dancing.
  5. Withdraw from the program right now: This sounds nice in just getting away from the grossness, but also feels like a rushed decision. However, it would allow me to try to find a job and potentially apply to social work programs (I have found a couple that I like). Overall, this sort of set-up (working and in a social work program part-time) sounds best to me.
Factors at play for me include:

-I am really ready to have school be on the sidelines of my life. I want to go to school part time and work part time (or work full time and go to school less than part time).
-I feel antsy in being done with school. I want to be able to do counseling work, and so I feel like I need a counseling degree to be seen as legitimate by potential clients (in Oregon, I could be a relationship coach or counselor without a degree or license). I also want the formal training. But it sounds crummy to me to reapply to programs and start at a new one next fall.
-Time. I feel rushed in making a decision before January 6. I also don’t know how much time is ideal in making this decision.
-I have applied for a number of social service type jobs and I feel hopeful that one could work out relatively soon (in the next couple of months).
-Money. The program I am in now is expensive. I am mostly living on student loans. The amount of loans I have out now is manageable to pay back on my own. To go for one more semester I will be relying on the student loan repayment programs to get myself out from debt. I don’t want to stay in the program just because I don’t feel like I have enough time to make a decision, when that will really impact how much in loans I have.
-I feel sad thinking about leaving because: I love my advisor. I have come to know the people in my cohort so well in so little time, and I enjoy so many of them. I have been so excited about the sex therapy track at my school, and the intense clinical training there. It feels really disappointing to just leave.

Based on those factors and trying to make a rational, logical decision, it seems like withdrawing right now from the program could be best option. I think another top option is staying for one more semester and then withdrawing.

Trying to listen to what “feels best” is a lot more difficult for me. I feel overwhelmed by all of the different factors involved and potential ways I could go.

This is all slightly funny to me: in my last theories class (before all of this came up), our instructor asked us to draw a symbol of how we were feeling (about finishing up class, in general, in the moment). I drew a heart with several arrows moving outwards in many different directions. I remember explaining that I am just really excited about moving forward, but that I could see myself applying my skills and knowledge in many different ways. I am trying to retain that sense of excitement and not get bogged down in the stress of this situation.

To close, I wanted to include a parable that a reader sent to me. I really appreciated receiving this gift:

The story of The Truth and The Lie

The Truth and the Lie were sisters. Both were very beautiful women. Once on a beautiful day Truth wanted to go out for a swim, so she took off her clothes and swam in the Lake. As Truth was bathing and relaxing out in the water, Lie noticed all of Truth’s clothes on the beach. So she took them and went to the village claiming she was Truth. Truth who was afraid to get out of the water at first was so outraged that she went to town to get her clothes back telling the villagers that she was the Truth. However the villagers were so ashamed to look at the Naked Truth that they choose to believe the Lie dressed in Truth’s clothing.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all are enjoying time with friends and family. Thank you again for reading and for being supportive of me!


Merry Vulva Christmas!

Check this out and more on SexualityReclaimed


J gave me the BEST GIFT EVER!!!

He remembered that I have wanted one since I saw one in some kind of sexual education or training.

If you want your own, visit Etsy and search “WondrousVulvaPuppet” 


Underdogs & Misfits

Read this and more on SexualityReclaimed! I will be discontinuing this blog on January 1, 2014, so you will have to check out SexualityReclaimed to stay updated. Bookmark, follow, or do whatever else! :)


I recently finished Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. And, saw “Dallas Buyers Club” (if someone fits the bill as an underdog or misfit, it’s Ron Woodruff, imo). I love, love, loved that movie.

I felt so comforted reading and watching these stories, likely because I have been feeling like an underdog/misfit myself. I have felt like an outsider many times in my life (a huge motivation for going to Berkeley for college), but never so much as right now. I also really appreciated Gladwell’s reframing of what it means to be the little person (in his traditional style). It’s not about being weaker or smaller or having less resources and then miraculously overcoming a situation: there are advantages to things we normally see as disadvantages, disadvantages to things we normally see as advantages, some level of difficulty that actually leaves us stronger in the end, and limits to the big person’s power (power has its limits). There are so many ways in which the underdog actually has the advantages in a tricky situation, and may actually yield more power than the “powerful” person.

One of the parts I liked the most from Gladwell’s book is about the Big Five theory of personality, and how innovators tend to be not only open to new ideas and conscientious and persistent, but also tend to be pretty darn disagreeable. (You can take a free test here; it measures openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. I’m relatively to pretty high on all of them according to this test). Being disagreeable, according to Gladwell, isn’t just about being rude or selfish- it’s about bucking social norms and expectations in favor of pursuing ideas and values outside the box or norm. In this way, I would think of myself as pretty disagreeable. Not that it’s always comfortable for me to be disagreeable in this sense, but I think I have become more that way. (In the way that agreeableness is traditionally discussed-unselfish, helpful, etc-, I am pretty agreeable.)

“The reasonable man [woman! person!] adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~George Bernard Shaw