Perspective

I usually wait ’til something triggers a blog post, I’ve no set schedule, works for me. So, I recently shared a thing from my past with a couple of online friends. I’ll share what it was in a bit.
It brought up the odd dichotomy I have about perspective, just to clarify (since I can’t draw worth beans, really, my stick figures look drunk) I’m talking about definition 2.
My perspective seems skewed, or everyone else’s is. Not sure which, to me, the things that have occurred in my life, are just normal. Possibly even logical. Now, this may very well be a part of my Aspie nature. Remember that logic and knowledge are akin to holy to me (except math, math = bad) and that emotion takes a back seat, until it doesn’t. (Clear as mud, aren’t I?)
Ahem. Definition:

perspective

noun per·spec·tive \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

Definition of perspective

  1. 1 a : the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distanceb : a picture in perspective

  2. 2 a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also : point of viewb : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>

  3. 3 a : a visible scene; especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : vistab : a mental view or prospect <to gain a broader perspective on the international scene — Current Biography>

  4. 4 : the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

perspectival

play \pər-ˈspek-ti-vəl, ˌpər-(ˌ)spek-ˈtī-vəl\adjective

I shared, what to me, is a perfectly amusing tale of ‘how not to drink.’ Yet, my memory was met with sorrow for the events that occurred. (Yeah, this is totally ’cause I’m Aspie, isn’t it?)
By the time I turned twelve, I’d learned to drink. Yes, really, no I’m not implicating anyone, it just… was the way it was in the time and place I grew up in.
I’d been raped by someone I cared about by the time I turned 17, and I stayed in a relationship with him afterward. I didn’t even ‘know’ it was clearly rape until I’d taken a sexuality class in University, years later.
I’d also been threatened with both physical abuse and having a family member abused, and loss of where I lived if I didn’t recant something I’d accidently shared about a family member sexually abusing me.
I can almost hear the gasps, but… thing is, life and childhood just ain’t pretty for so many people.
It’s why I support, desperately, authentic YA stories (kinda wish I could write them, but… my real life YA is more suited to a memoir I think. I’d never get pubbed, I’m no where near disneyfied enough for the YA market that I’ve seen. My time and energy are limited, I’ll continue writing what I love to write. Also, to clarify, I want to get pubbed only so my stories can reach the most readers, the one’s who really need/want to read them).
The YA stories that are real? The ones that tell the hard truths, the ones that explicitly describe the terrible decisions some kids, a lot of kids, make on a day to day basis, those stories need publication, so they know they aren’t alone!
I could’ve used that, then, you know?
Anyway.
I think I was all of 24 when myself, my husband and a friend were invited to the largest Halloween party in the (Capitol) city we lived in. It was a bit of a social coup to be invited. I didn’t care so much about the social coup, so much as that we had a party that promised to be fun to attend.
My social anxiety being what it is, we arranged for a cab and started the libations while we costumed up. I’ve been a professional costumer, my work is in museums and has graced stages, I’m good, so it took a bit of time. A fun time to be sure.
Lol, yes, we were well on our way to tossed when we got into the cab to go to the party, ebulliently enthused is a good phrase.
We got to the party with our donations, booze and food, of course, as one does (and ourselves).
We mingled, we drank, and since there was a free open bar, and I admit, a hot, shirtless bartender (I’m demi, not blind) well, I figured in the dumb damned way of youth, to try stuff I hadn’t yet.
Tequila shots.
Yep.
I’ll say now, just in case you ask later where my companions were, this was in the late 90’s, we’d hung together for a while then split up and mingled where we willed. (were there orgies, yes, there were, it was a goooood party).
So, by the time the challenge for Tq shots came along, I was mostly sober and alone. (I did know many people at the party, but… I wasn’t with anyone I’d come with.)
Some random person in the group I stood with asked if anyone would do Tq shots with them.
(Even now, it’s just an experience to me).
I offered, he made it to three, I made it to four. After flirting (badly I’m sure, no one ever looks as good drunk as they think they do) with the bartender, I tried oozo, because I’d never tried that either.
Apparently, I don’t handle liquor well. Too much Native in my ancestry perhaps (I was told that by someone from a rez once, I may be completely off base and smack me with a clue-by-four if I’ve misspoken, please.)
Oh gods, Drunk, with a capital D, and not in the pretty, fun way, and all of the sudden!! We’d been shooting for maybe half an hour. Remember I started this little learning experience mostly sober… well… reasonably, I wouldn’t have driven, but I consciously made decisions knowing their likely repercussions.
lol, no, I didn’t puke but gods I had to pee in the worst way. (I may be weird in liking that the other guy puked, saw him coming out of the john as I went in… only time I’ve ever liked the ‘hail fellow well met back slap’ of ‘victory’.)
By the time I was washing up at the sink, someone in full renaissance garb needed the john, no worries. I went out onto the porch for air.
I watched some poor sap fall down the three flights of wooden stairs. (yeah, the hosts should have blocked them off, they didn’t) Guess who the next poor sap was?
Yup.
I’m lucky I didn’t break my damned neck (the doc’s words the next day, not mine). He said I was lucky I’d been drunk, apparently the muscle relaxants in booze save a lot of college kids lives) I had bruises up and down the left side of my body. Um, by that I mean the whole left side of my body was black, and they gave me tetanus shots and vit-k? I think? There were needles. (In another time and place, fun, but at the time, I had no clue as to my own mortality.)
Fuck, I still remember how badly the bruising hurt.
So, being me, after the zipper ride down the stairs, I stood up and walked around (I swear, I have more than a little ‘cat’ in me) Carlin said it best at about minute 4:43 Fucking Meow
So. I walked it off (gods, there’s a sports metaphor from my stupid ‘oh, I like sports! years) Look, I don’t judge anyone for legitimately liking sports. But dang, could we just stop shoving it down everyone’s throats? There’s a fecking large percentage of the population who’re faking enjoyment of it, ya know? (Unless there’s armor and swords/axes or MMA involved, in which case I happily throw over my own reasoning.) (Sorta like faking orgasms… regardless of gender, y’all can stop that too.)
Ahem.
So, yeah, I walked it off and hobbled my way back up those fecking stairs. A guy dressed in a sheep suit met me at the top, expressing concern for my well being.
I’m not great at reading social cues, but how many women can tell ahead of time they’re about to have an issue?
I didn’t. He’d been around the whole night (yeah, yeah, alarm bells, I was young and dumb).
He asked me what I needed, when I said my husband or my friend he led me to a room with a phone. (so I could call them, ya know? In the days before frequent cell phones?)
I won’t detail what followed, but anyone who didn’t know how to apply a gooseneck (hapkido) or (yeah, hapkido, sorry) and had the will to apply that and other methods of self defense would have been raped.
I wore bruises from that the next day too.
Nothing was broken. I suppose it says something about my life that that’s the standard by which I approach injury.
So, much disturbed, still sickdrunk (there needs to be a word for that, if you know it, enlighten me, please) I left him to his, um… writhing is good (he survived, and so deserved it) and found my husband and friend. We called a cab and went home.
Except… (you knew there was more, didn’t you?)
Yeah. For the first time in my short and varied life, I puked while drunk and in a moving car.
I’m nothing if not polite. It’s a skill you learn with an Asperger’s brain. You figure out, through trial and error, what is socially acceptable and what isn’t, ’cause let me tell you, it isn’t obvious to some of us.
I got the window down and puked out of it. On the highway. (I still regard this memory as amusing, I learned my lesson, I don’t usually drink liquor and rarely drink anything to excess.) Though I pity whatever cars were behind us.
It occurs to me that this post might lose me followers. Do I care? Nope. If you’ve never, in your entire life, done something stupid when you were young, (or old, learning isn’t a bell curve) feel free to judge (and take the stick out of your ass while you’re at it). Lol, unless it was fun putting it there, then, kink on my friend! Honestly, if you’re doing whatever with a consenting, of legal age partner? Have fun with my blessings (hope you don’t need them).
It also occurs to me to say, damn, kids, if you’re reading this, it totally isn’t worth it. I speak from experience, being raped isn’t fun (please report it, I wish I had, both the successful, and the almost) (report it here) or please, in the US and Canada, call 911 or go to a police station. (I’m not internationally traveled, I’d love to link to international resources for this, email/DM/PM) This applies to male, female and non-binary gendered. If, for whatever reason you can’t (I get it, I do) my DM’s are open, my email is public. I’m here. I can’t help, but I can listen.
The cabbie robbed me. I can’t judge all cabbie’s by that one, but she spun an entertaining (now) yarn about how she had to clean her cab of the puke.
In my drunken state, I didn’t do the math, a carwash cost about 4$ then.
So, she dropped off my friends and took me to the ATM. We had all of 40$ in our account (Still in University, we were so poor then).
She took it all and demanded more. When I told her there wasn’t any, she finally drove me home. Where I found my companions on the lawn of our apartment building. We hadn’t been gone long for such a ‘rich’ experience.
As an older woman, I desperately hope neither of my kids, nor anyone’s kids, ever experience life like this. Except. I know incredibly well how hard life can be. I know that people are as varied as the days on a calendar, and that it can be as simple as a bad day that makes a person do a bad thing. It can be a bad hour, or a bad 5 minutes. Every second, we choose.
You know? I’m still viewing this, with my perspective of age, as being a learning experience. Sure, I was ticked off the next day (I mean, who wouldn’t be?)
Did I consider reporting the guy who learned his lesson? (Hopefully about more than not to wear a sheep costume!) Yeah, I did, but I didn’t know his name, and in my drunken state, had a bad description. (Sheep costume, dark hair, Caucasian, location, that’s not really enough.) I also knew exactly how the cops were likely to respond to an accusation. (Another story, later time, maybe.)
In any case, from my perspective. I learned a deep and abiding lesson and have what *I* think of, as an amusing story. From the perspective of those I blurbed this too, well… that’s where the confusion comes in.
It’s where perspective comes in. If you’ve had a relatively easy life. (I’m obviously no judge of *easy*) then your perspective will be different than mine.
If you are any of the kids I’ve taught in inner city schools, especially if you’re POC of any variety, I bow my head in respect for what you’ve lived through, because I haven’t a blessed clue. If you’re POC at all, I bow my head, because you’ve lived through so much.
… and even now, I’m *still* fecking wondering why my sharing of something someone *asked* me to share is… off? wrong? Elicited-the-response-it-did-that-I-still-don’t-understand? Yeah. That.

Identity, Representation and Writing

Narrated version here

Identity is a weird thing, I’ve spoken about my sexual ID and mentioned my neurodiverse brain. I’ve never spoken about my ethnicity except to say that I’m mixed.

I’m such a mutt. Historically, I’m what happens when early European settlers intermarry into different native tribes, then the escaped slaves do the same.

I have a rather large dose of European ancestry from the UK (except Wales) France, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal, Russia and Eastern Europe as well.

I have mixed African ancestry, as closely as my grandfather, who was Kanien’kehá:ka and African. We can’t find out where his parents and grandparents came from because they were slaves or descended from slaves, or they were native and any student of history knows what happened to them.

On other lines I have Tunisian and Egyptian ancestry. On the other side of the family there is Mi’kmaq, from my grandfather.

I’m related to the English, French, Spanish, Swedish and Danish Royal houses. (Some quite closely.) Lol, don’t get excited, a lot of people are when you trace the ancestral lines.

But you know what? I was raised in a poor, white, European cultured family in a similar town in a similar state and I never knew about my relatives who weren’t white because they weren’t talked about, not until I’d reached my teens, and then it was only the ‘proud natives’ that were discussed.

I had to dig through our family genealogy to learn more. I’d long suspected it, being a student of history, and I’m proud of all branches of my ancestry.

One thing I won’t do is to write something that can harm, when I have no experience with it. I can write about the confusion I feel at being of mixed ancestry. I could write about the struggle I’ve felt being raised prejudiced only to find out how ridiculous that is, given where my family comes from. I can write about a lot of things in regards to identity. I can write about my longing to know more of the ancestors I can find nothing about. (I have both slave owners and slaves in my family lines, all from a particular place in Virginia, but I can’t find more about the one side, guess which one?) I’m privileged because my skin is light, I do the best I can in each moment to use that privilege to help and not harm.

I will never point to my ancestry and say, oh look, I have XX DNA, that means I get to write what it’s like to be rez raised Native. Because my grandfather left the rez to marry my grandmother, I can talk about sacred practices, right? WRONG. I can write what it feels like to be POC in this messed up world because I have a lot of POC ancestors, right? Nope.

I can’t. I haven’t lived on the rez, either of them. By marriage I could live on the Huron rez too, but I don’t so I can’t know what life is like. Why in the world would I try to write something I don’t know? I wish I had the answer to why so many people feel qualified to write things that do exactly that.

Just like, even with my ancestry, I can’t know what it feels like to live in a darker skin.

It seems a very simple concept to me, yet so many people, so many writers seem to think it’s okay to rep things they aren’t or don’t know.

Kink. Something that is close to my heart. THAT I can and do write because I live it, I know it. I’ve lived it for 20 years. It completely blows my mind that there is a huge chain of books and movies about kink, that represent it badly, dangerously even, and few people except the kink community seem to care.

Being Neurodiverse, yeah, I’m okay writing what that feels like to me. I’m sure it doesn’t feel the same to everyone, but it is something I feel okay representing. Because (say it with me) I’ve experienced it.

I usually write characters who are mixed, because I’m okay with repping myself in that way, I know how powerful it feels to read that part of myself in fiction, and I can authentically give that back.

I can’t give back what if feels like to be latinx, even though, yes, Spanish and Portuguese is a large, recent part of my European ancestry. I wasn’t raised celebrating the day of the dead, so no, I don’t do it. (I do practice the celtic day of the dead, because I started practicing that one early in life and I do know it.)

I can write accurate rep on what it feels like to be raped, I can rep depression and anxiety and chronic pain. I can’t rep a lot of things and I’m self aware enough, I hope, to know it.

I do write a lot of futuristic novels where the color of ones skin or the mixed quality of their family ancestors isn’t relevant to the story line. None of my futuristic novels are ‘issue’ novels. I’m an anthropologist by training, and everyone is going to be one shade of brown or another in a thousand years or so. It’s the reality of what our humanity will become, always assuming we aren’t dead from our own stupidity by then. (Yeah, I said it, it’s stupid to be killing the planet we live on out of greed.)

Representation is important! I can’t even imagine the real, harmful damage the series of shades books have potentially done.

I know how damaging it has been to me, being demi-sexual, and never having seen that repped in fiction.

So. If you’re a writer. You write. You write good stories, I hope, and if you are called to write things, to rep things, you don’t or aren’t, please tell me you’re getting a sensitivity reader to vet things for you. I hope to hell you’re listening when they tell you something hurts or that’s not the way it is.

Fiction has power, and as the wielders of the pen, we have to be aware of what kinds of messages we are sending out into the world. We really, truly do.

I hope that if I ever feck up and write something that badly reps anyone or anything… (I’m human, and even though I try very hard to get it all right, I’m also fallible)  I hope that someone kindly tells me so, and I know I will listen. I will apologize and learn to do better.

Tidying up as Avoidance Strategy

So, I’ve known my website needed a bit of work for a while… mostly in the menu section because it was a right mess.

I’ve also been meaning to post my NYCmidnight flash fiction story now that it’s getting close to the judgement date.

So, I cleaned up the menu’s and posted the story and went to the forums on NYCmidnight to link it.

All of this to avoid some necessary line edits. It’s not easy being your own boss. Now I must horsewhip myself into doing the edits, ’cause they really do need to be done.

 

Sexuality and me

There were a few great threads on twitter tonight about representation of asexuality in fiction. (I retweeted, so they should be relatively easy to find.) Since it struck a chord and I kinda almost write sexy smexy books, I figured since I’m in a wordy mood, I’d attempt to express this part of me.

I identify as grace. AKA Gray Asexual (Wikipedia definition), so how the hades can I write kinky sex?

well…

A bit of history. For most of my life I’ve felt broken. Like the thing that made the world go ’round (love/relationships) was a puzzle piece that just didn’t fit in my life. It’s not that I didn’t have sexual/loving relationships. If anything I started early, but it wasn’t out of actual ‘desire’ to do so. I started having sex around the age of 16, (in the early 90’s) and it was with my boyfriend. I wasn’t with the person because I liked him, I was with him because he treated me decently and because it was an escape from a really terrible home environment. (that sounds so very cold and horrible, but… kids, damn, they make hard, life wrenching choices like that every damned day in so many demographics, and those types of stories need to be told. Childhood isn’t pretty for everyone, ya know?)

I had sex with him because A) I loved to read, and most of what my mom had to read was romance, and hey, all my fictional heroines were doing it (whether they wanted to or not… in case you ever wonder if fiction matters, it kinda, really does) and I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing. B) Peer pressure from the boyfriend, horny young guy about  year older than me and definitely NOT grace/ace.

Did the fact that I was raised uber-Christian matter? Yeah, it did, just not enough. I had plenty of guilt. Did the fact that my parents refused to see me as anything other than a pre-teenage girl with a frilly canopy bed and a doll house matter? Yeah, in the wrong way…

Did I enjoy it? No.

We were both virgins, so, no, I don’t know that we ‘could’ have really had fun, except that I’ve talked to a lot of people who were virgins together who had a great time.

If I asked him, I’d hazard to guess he enjoyed the process. It always left me cold, distant and just, disinterested.

Frigid.

Cold.

A bitch.

You hate me.

You can’t love me.

____

I heard all of these things.

‘What’s wrong with me!’ Rang through my soul so many times. Here I have this great guy (and for the time and environment, he really was. I bear guilt to this day that I wasn’t ‘enough’ for him).

_____

I should treat him better.

You should marry him (thank gods I didn’t when he asked, I’d have made him miserable)

Fake the orgasm, he won’t be able to tell. (Heard that one from a friend, made my relationship better for a while, I guess, on the surface.)

____

I broke it off when he asked me to marry him. I’d been away to university for a year at that point, and I… realized I didn’t miss him. I realized that it was a burden to be around him, to ‘perform’ sexually for him.

I had a rebound relationship (including sex, cause I did. not. know. that. asexuality of any type existed) with one of my best friends. It ruined the friendship, of course.

I tried sex with girls, because hey, if I couldn’t enjoy it like everyone around me was enjoying it with a guy, that made me a lesbian right? (For years I thought I was a lesbian, really. Cause I had better relationships with girls.)

Nope.

Bisexual? Maybe? (I’m pansexual, by the way… now that I have a label that actually fits me)

In my early 20’s I was ‘dating’ exclusively girls, by dating, I mean fucking, because I had friendly fuck buddies but no defined relationship.

I went to a really big event and met my husband. Man, I fought so hard against falling for him! I didn’t want a relationship with a guy, hadn’t worked the three times or so I’d tried it before, and he lived well over 8 hours by train away from me… in a different freaking country!!

I thought about it, and figured one more try with a guy… cause I really, REALLY liked this one. We got each other. (I’ll be honest, head over fucking heels in love within three days, it still strikes me as ridiculous that I fell so hard and fast for a stranger, but here we are, still married 18 years later, so maybe we did something right.)

Sex with him was afuckingamazing. For the first time in my life I GOT it.

I understood what the big deal was! (We’re talking lightning strike momentous proportions here people.)

That’s what gray asexuality (specifically demi-sexuality) is like for me.

It would have helped so much if I had known what it even was when I was a kid. (So, all of you wonderful people who can write/rep YA with Ace/Grace characters? Please, please write these stories, publishing, please buy and put them on the damned shelves!!)

For a demi-sexual (talking about me and those I’ve read about, and the friends I’ve talked with who ID as such) it’s the emotion and close relationship that makes all the difference in the world to the enjoyment of sex.

Now, I didn’t actually learn that the term ‘demi-sexual’ or ‘grace’ or ‘ace’ even existed until last year. (Here’s another iota of info, I’ve been a sexuality educator, it was not covered in ANY of my classes preparing me for teaching kids about sex… how’s that for horrifying?) That’s right, I was 39 when I learned the definition. (Another lightning strike) and realized that… holy shit… I’m NOT broken, or frigid, or bitchy or cold.

I’m grace. I’m demi-sexual.

Being polyamorous, I’ve had relationships with others in the 18 years my husband and I have been together (so has he, and we together). Only one other time have I enjoyed sex, and it was with my girlfriend, who… yes, I loved.

You’d think I’d have clued in, right? I was in my late 20’s when I fell for her (we were part of a quad together) love=good sex?

I didn’t. Which is why knowledge and stories and fiction are so very important.

So back to the first question. If I’m grace, how can I write kinky sex?

Simple answer. ‘Cause when it’s good and I’m with someone I love? It’s off the charts amazing and I’ve a way with words. 😉 I also have a great deal of experience with kink and with great sex (now). Add to that a rather vivid imagination and I get sex scenes that sizzle (not my words, those are beta-readers words)

So. This long ramble is my way of saying, please, write the stories (if I could write YA I so would, there are girls and boys and gender-fluid and non-binary and non-gendered people out there right now, just like I was, doing things they won’t be proud of later, because they don’t get why they are different). Publish the stories. Above all, educate yourselves and your kids if you have them about all the wonderful variations of sexual expression humanity can enjoy.

-Kaelan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being human

I haven’t blogged for a bit, because I’ve been human. I turned 40, which wasn’t that big of a deal to me. No where near as life shaking as I’d expected it to be for certain. Maybe that’s because I’d been really ill for about a week before.

Docs still don’t know what the hell it was, but my throat and face swelled up so much and hurt so badly I couldn’t drink. Thank gods for modern chemistry, I couldn’t have taken much more of that kind of pain. (… and having fibro, I’m used to pain) It wasn’t strep, but it had so many similarities it might as well have been.

It’s taken me a while to recover my strength. (I chuckle when saying ‘my strength’, I’m not strong, being chronically ill… maybe I should just say that I’ve sort of regained my level of ‘normal’?)

I’m back to my normal, but I’m not sleeping well because of life stress. We’re moving to a smaller house, which requires some purging of stuff. How the hell we managed to accumulate so much stuff I’d really love to know, but we have and now I have to purge it.

My youngest and last child started pre-k/junior kindergarten today and I admit I bawled like a little baby. I made it home first, though.

You know, depression never really goes away, you just learn to cope with it. All of this life stress and my lack of concrete success in finding an agent who likes my work makes depression and anxiety and self doubt rear it’s ugly head again. I have good days and bad days, like most people who cope with these issues.

Some days are full of self care in the form of comfort food and binge watching tv series. Some days I’m ripping through my word count drafting three stories, though since I can’t even sell one I have that ‘why the hell am I doing this’ issue with the writing. I can only answer (again to myself, sometimes talking to myself is the only adult conversation I have in a day until my spouse gets home) that my writing is my calling, my love and on some days, my sanity.

So, all that emotional blathering to let y’all know I’m still here, just have been more ill than usual, coping with life shite and self doubt, but that I’m still writing. I may have a new short story for you all in October. If the publisher of the anthology doesn’t pick it up by then I’ll self pub it so you can have something new to read. (It’s another suspension scene, paranormal, I had a lot of fun writing it).

Again and always, thanks for reading my words. Without you, I’d only be a writer telling stories to myself.

-Kaelan