Celebrating 8 Years of Butchtastic

On October 6th, my blog turned 8.  Eight years of blogging about sex, gender, relationships, parenting, and whatever else comes bubbling to the surface.  Throughout those years and all those posts (1,148 total), I’ve posted some pretty vulnerable stuff, digging into the heart of relationship troubles, gender identity and depression.  This post is from that first month in October of 2008 and touches on vulnerability (The Fear of Being Important to Someone):

The other night, I said something that I didn’t fully understand at the time.  Do you ever do that?  Have the words come out before you really know what you’re saying, or why?  I was responding to something said to me, “That scares me.”

“What do you mean, what scares you?”

“Um, it scares me to be important to people.”

I couldn’t explain it at the time, and luckily wasn’t pressed to, but I’ve been thinking about it today trying to figure out what I meant.

Why does it scare me to be important to someone else?  Being important to someone tends to imply responsibility and expectations.  Not that I want to be a loner, not at all.  I love the people in my life, I want to be needed, that makes me feel good and gives my life much of its purpose.  I guess my problem is that I worry.  I worry about not being able to live up to the expectations people have of me.  I worry sometimes that I won’t be able to maintain relationships to the level I, and they, have come to expect.

Sometimes I want to run away, hide, to ‘turtle’ until my batteries are recharged, until I feel like I can manage all the expectations in my life again.  I’ve worked hard to be where I am, to have a family, a career, a very nice life but sometimes I want to run away from it.  That’s all kinds of fucked up, I suppose, but that’s how I feel sometimes.

I guess I probably sound ungrateful.  You might not have times like this yourself, where your accomplishments and the things you have actually feel like burdens.  Maybe I sound like a whiner, maybe I am.  What I know is that when I’m feeling this way, it’s frustrating and I get angry at myself.  I know I have a good life, I know it’s inconsiderate and ungrateful to feel this way, but this is my truth.  Sometimes I want to be anonymous, I want to make choices and do things and act in ways that I can’t anymore.  Because I have responsibilities, because people depend on me, because I’ve gotten what I wanted in life.

I’m ambitious and driven to do more and challenge myself.  I want to maintain and create new friendships and close relationships.  So this pattern continues and I’ll be here again, thrashing around like a hormonal teenager who doesn’t want to buckle down and do her homework or take out the trash.   It’ll happen and I’ll get over it and I’ll move on.

I don’t think it’s being important to people that scares me, exactly.  What’s really happening is that in these moments when I need to shirk my responsibilities to others, when I need to turtle and hide from the world, I’m afraid that I’ll hurt the people I love, the ones who are important to me.  I’m scared that they’ll need more than I can give them, and that I’ll try, but never quite fill the need, and in the end, I’ll lose them anyway.  I’m scared of not being enough.

I’ve been non-monogamous for over nine years now and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about relationships, certainly, but I think I’ve learned at least as much about myself.  I’ve learned about the rewards of vulnerability, about how to be open and honest and scared but not withdrawing.  I’ve become much more aware of the way I react under a lot of different situations and even better, how to communicate with my partners about my reactions.

Evoe reposted a blog talking about poly and trust and consent that really resonates with me.  In any kind of relationship, we should be there by choice, we should be actively consenting to all that the relationship entails.  Well, I guess we can’t choose our family, but otherwise, we’re in a position to choose.  I find it liberating and empowering to acknowledge that every time my partner and I have sex, we are actively consenting. I know that we are together by choice and that choice is actively given and not taken for granted.

There are still times when I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being in relationships, of creating a situation where I might mess up and fail my partner in some way.  I don’t feel it as strongly now as I did in the post above, and a lot of that is because I have many years of experience now.  That experience has taught me that when engaged in an honest, vulnerable relationship that is consenting and respectful, it’s OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to not always be your best self. Showing up and being present is key, accepting both your partner and yourself for where you are in that moment is essential.  I am very blessed both in the relationships I have now and in the ones that I have had, for all they have taught me.

Nine years of poly and eight years of blogging…. and still so much to do and learn.

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Unpacking Privilege: Some Things I’ve Learned as a Trans Man

You’ve probably heard the term ‘privilege’ used to describe an advantage some people have over others.  I actually prefer the word ‘advantage’ because I think it accurately describes the impact of privilege, which is generally what we are looking at as social activists and allies.

I’ve posted about privilege before, but like an infinitely big onion, there always seems to be a new layer to peel back and more insights to examine.

There are advantages I have always had as a white person, as a person with a particular kind of education, and as a person who grew up in a stable home, with healthy and abundant food.  More recently, I have become the recipient of advantages due to masculinity, and then to being perceived as male.  And with my male passing privilege, and a lack of obvious stereotypical signs of queerness, people often assume I am straight.

Straight, white men are at the top of the privilege pile in this country. By virtue of how I am perceived by the outside world, I am one of those guys.  I didn’t ask for it, additional advantage was not the goal of my transition, but I have it regardless.  Trying to deny it on the basis of who I know myself to be would be disingenuous and hurtful to those who do not receive those advantages for equally unearned reasons.

I bring this up because in a recent thread on Facebook, someone I perceive to be a white male was trying to argue a point about not writing people off because of their choice of who to vote for.  Specifically, someone had posted that they weren’t going to respect people choices if they chose to vote in a way that endangered them, their families and loved ones.  The specific subject was Trump, but this applies to many candidates and measures. The poster further said that those who crossed the line would be written off, excommunicated.

A counter point brought by the man was that if your response to oppressive comments and actions was always to build walls and shut people out, there was no way to open a dialogue and possibly change minds. He argued against self-segregation and further asserted that if he wanted to be part of a better future, his duty as a citizen was to engage people he disagreed with.

On the one hand, this makes sense and other the other hand this assertion chock full of privilege.

I agree that someone needs to listen to and engage in people with opposing viewpoints.  Much can be learned and sometimes that learning is mutual and potentially this discourse helps to change minds for the better.  It is also true that not everyone can engage in that discourse without doing harm to themselves. So I nominate the guy who is white and straight and full of privilege to be the one who steps forward to engage in dialogue.

Here’s an analogy to illustrate my point:  let’s say you and some other people are in a firefight.  The other side is heavily armed and your group is hunkered down behind cover while bullets spray the area.  Within your group, you’re having a discussion about what to do about your situation.  You advocate advancing toward the other side to listen to their viewpoint and share yours.  The rest of your group looks at you in horror and flatly refuses to move from behind the cover.  You don’t understand why, after all, how will the fight ever stop if you can’t engage them in a conversation.  Meanwhile the bullets are punching holes all around you.  Finally, someone in the group points out what has been obvious to them but that you’ve overlooked:  you’re dressed in head-to-toe Kevlar and are virtually bullet-proof.  You can afford to stand up and walk toward the opposition without concern about your bodily safety.  The others in your group don’t have that advantage, they’re all in regular clothing and some have been hit by bullets in previous fights and are struggling with PTSD.

Privilege is having bullet-proof clothing in a firefight.  Privilege is having a shield that others don’t have.  Privilege comes in the form of advantages you have that you take for granted and don’t even realize other people don’t have.  Allyship is about leveraging your privilege in a way that helps those who have less advantages without further oppressing them. If your allyship includes making assumptions about what others can do based on your own capabilities, you are not being an ally, you are part of the problem.

The Kevlar analogy is just one way to communicate this concept.  Some people respond to sports metaphors.  If you are in a position of trying to bridge the gap of understanding about privilege, I think it’s useful to find out what that person’s interests are and design your metaphor accordingly.

I have come to this place where I am someone who does attempt to bridge the gap, though there are times when I will close ranks and refuse contact with opposing views for my own emotional safety.  I may look like a straight white guy, but inside I still bear the scars of being shit on by society. Sometimes you just have to pull back into your shell for safety.

Regardless of my past, my transition has resulted in me gaining a layer of protection and advantage.  It has also moved some of my social activism from that of a member of an oppressed group to that of an ally.  This element of social transition has been a difficult one.  I’ve spent most of my life dealing with shit because I was a recognizably queer woman, and later as a butch queer woman.  I added my stories about experiencing oppression through homophobia and misogyny to the chorus of others.  I was part of the group, I was recognized and welcomed into those circles and my opinion and ideas mattered.

Now, I’m the guy with the Kevlar suit.  Even though I can still remember how it feels to be disrespected because of my sex and taking abuse because of my sexual orientation, my reality has changed. It has changed not because my past has been erased or my experiences have less validity, but because of external perception.  That’s all it takes. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t ask for it.  No one asks for oppression, and the privileged don’t need to ask for their advantages.  The reality of privilege and oppression is that each is determined by other people based on what they see and perceive.

I have the Kevlar now, but I didn’t always.  That perspective allows me to speak from my lived experience about oppression and disadvantage. As I continue to unpack my privilege, I recognize more and more the assumptions I make from my position of advantage and recognize those assumptions in others.  I can enter men’s spaces and areas of privilege and that means I have a platform from which to educate.  Increasingly, that’s the form that my social activism is taking.

 

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Thank You for the Comments

Several people have taken the time to leave comments for me lately and I super-appreciate each of you.  For those of you who are loving my Daddy/girl stories, I wanted to give you a little taste of what I’m working on, and ask you a question.

“Daddy?” she asked.

We’d been watching TV together in a very non-kinky way after eating dinner.  Speaking that single word brought my whole body to attention.

“Yes, sweet girl?” I answered.

“I have an idea for a scene.” She continued when I nodded.  “I want to seduce Daddy. You’ll be reluctant and I’ll bring you over to the dark side.”

I chuckled, even that short description created a preview in my mind that was very compelling.  “Oh you will, will you? Should I resist very much?  How hard should I make it for you?”

 

Now, the question… for those of you who have done Daddy/girl play, have you ever flipped things like this and seduced Daddy?  If you have and you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear about the experience.

And now, back to writing.

 

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Pic

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Working on a New Story

I’m working on a new Daddy/girl story… are you excited?

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Smart, Vulnerable Posts on my Partner’s Blog

Red has been doing some deep thinking lately about gender and sex. You should check it out:

Never Say Never: More Gender Stuff

#realtalk #IPEEWHENISQUIRT

This latter one is particularly vulnerable… and this is what I think:  If you temporarily lose control of your bodily functions when having sex, YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!  No one has a right to shame you for what your body produces.  Along with unpacking privilege and disabling racism and misogyny  and fat shaming, I think dismantling the norm of shaming sexual practices is important work.  Shame is the root cause of a lot of problems in our culture.  Are you with me in committing to that work?

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Reading is Sexy

10288756_823035587730388_3287626445466034200_n Read something. A book, a magazine, the back of the cereal box, the newspaper, that post your friends are all reposting, the blog  you’re so behind on, the erotic stories that turn you on, the childhood favorite you’ve already read a million times, the book you borrowed from a friend and should get back to them, the instructions on how to do something crafty or arty, the voter’s pamphlet, the HR policies of the new company or agency you’re getting at a job at to make sure they do right by LGBTQ people, the posters on the walls of your favorite social gathering place, the stories people of color write about living under racism, the stories indigenous people write about living on a continent they had rights to before invaders came and made them second or third class citizens, read about history, read about the rise of fascism in Europe and the rise of communism and the rise of democracy and how any political system can be perverted by greedy people who already have the most privilege but want more, read about people in different countries, from different states, from different classes, with different histories and contexts and expectations and biases and assumptions, read.  FUCKING READ IT ALL.

Reading is smart.  Read to children, your own or others. Read to show them it’s fun, to show them reading is meaningful, to animate stories for them, to create worlds and characters for them, read to show them the world as it exists and the worlds that could exist.

And after you read, think.  Think about how there are no new stories and yet people keep writing, think about how history repeats itself, think about your privilege, think about the assumptions you make and the ways your thinking is biased by privilege you have the most trouble seeing, think about how to unpack it, think about how to acknowledge that your perspective and assumptions do not apply universally across the world or the universe. Think about the fact that we are more alike than we are different, we all are born and breathe and consume and shit and fowl our nests one way or another.

Think, read, think, read, think, repeat.  Sit still and think.  Watch the clouds and think.  Watch people and think.  Feel the blood in your veins and the breath in your chest and think. Think about the fact that all feelings are valid.  Think about meeting people where they are.  Think about what you’ve read and how it has opened your mind and your heart and see if it doesn’t enable you to meet people where they are.  Look people in the eyes when you speak to them.  Connect as one living solidity of stardust to another.

Think, read, breathe, connect.  Repeat.

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Almost Butchtastic’s Blogaversary – Time to Pay the Hosting Bills and Celebrate

On October 6th, I will celebrate the finish of my 8th year of blogging here and the start of my ninth.  Not surprisingly, during the first of October, my bill for hosting this blog will also be due.  I’m hoping some of you can help me with that.

My Patreon account has one subscriber so far, and I will be using that money to go toward my hosting expense.  I’ve also got money from the two anthologies I was published in, and those three contributions together will get me almost there, but I’m still short.   For those of you who are new to my blog and have recently discovered my Daddy/girl stories, this is a great way to help me keep those stories available and add more.

There are two ways you can contribute – through Patreon and through PayPal.

(If you contribute through PayPal, make sure to enter a note saying that the contribution is for Butchtastic).

Whether or not you can contribute to the cause, I appreciate you reading and I LOVE COMMENTS FROM FANS!  Thank you for being a part of my 8 year journey.

And, since you are reading this and interested in keeping this blog around, what should I do for my blogaversary?  I’m going to be thinking about special Patreon-only content for the event and also something for all readers.  What should I do?  Do you have ideas?

 

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Hey Fan of Butchtastic, Want to be a Patron?

Not too long ago, I launched my Patreon page.  Patreon is a platform for artists looking for supportive patrons.  The idea is that supporters pledge a monthly amount or by post and the artist does cool things for them in return, along with pursuing their art.

I got the idea from Sinclair Sexsmith at Sugarbutch Chronicles.  My friend Micah at NeutroisNonsense also has a Patreon account, as does trans actor and educator, Scott Turner Shofield.  And so on with many other artists, performers and writers.

I’m on Patreon to find ongoing funding to keep my work available and to havd additional resources for making it more accessible in different forms. For example, audio readings of my work and an e-book anthology and maybe some fun videos.  My baseline is to have enough funds to keep the blog hosted.  Beyond that, I’d like to revamp it, modernize it and re-catalog my stories so they’re easier to find.  And read.  And reread.

People who subscribe through Patreon get cool additional stuff other people don’t get.  Have a favorite story on Butchtastic?  Want a recording of me reading it?  Subscribe and make that suggestion.  Have other ideas for stories?  Patrons have greater access and more input.

My Patreon cherry has already been popped at the $5/month level, but other cherries remain. Want to be my first $50/month patron?  In addition to the posted rewards for that level, I’ll give you something extra.  Have a favorite story on Butchtastic?  Want me to read it to read it to you in a Skype call?  Make that pledge and let’s make it happen.

Want to be the one to pop my $100/month cherry?  You get a Skype chat each quarter.  I could read stories to you, or we could talk about the stories behind the stories.  If you live close enough, maybe we could plan an in person visit to celebrate your cherry-poppin’ visit.

You can also make a one time contribution via PayPal and I’ll reward you as well… especially if you give me some ideas about what you’d like.

Most of all, I want your input.  If making monetary contributions doesn’t work for whatever reason, please consider sending me feedback, ideas for stories or other content, or whatever comes to mind.  Creating can be a very lonely activity and I find myself craving community. You could be a part of that.  I hope you will.

 

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Steamy Shower Pic

I don’t know when I’ll be able to get top surgery, but transition has given me a lot that I am able to enjoy every day, like body hair.  I had no idea I’d love being furry the way I do…

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