The Guise of the Lumber Sexual

I got asked this question and I had a fun time dissecting it.

What makes a man manly? (And the guise of the Lumber Sexual, or is it a woman’s dreamt up, make believe ideal?)

Well, I could certainly tell you what makes a man not manly, but I’d like to keep this on the up and up, so I will stay focused on the actual question. What is manly?

I suppose we would need to first recognize a Lumber Sexual, and most people, having now just read the words “Lumber Sexual,” have an image in their head of who this person is. When I think of Lumber Sexual, and indeed, there is an immediate attraction to this aesthetic, though not limited to men as there are plenty of lesbian Lumber Sexual’s out there, too, I think of a natural man. A man with true grit, and just the right amount of fucks to give. A man that looks good in everything because the man wears the clothes, the clothes don’t wear the man! That Lumber Man. The general head-to-toe look of a Lumber Sexual consists of a minimum of these 5 key components:

1. The Beard. You cannot be Lumber Sexual if you cannot grow a beard, the exception only being if you’re a lesbian. In San Francisco, it is probable that in any trendy coffee shop serving $5 drip coffee, you will hear a beard-centric conversation pertaining to the amount of time it took to grow that beard. Very, very interesting… The juvenile in me thinks of Roald Dahl’s crude depiction of the beard.

“…a hairy jungle around his mouth, he was always able to find a tasty morsel here and there to nibble on.”

Alas, I am a dirty girl and a huge fan of them. I find The Great Beard incredibly manly. I love to sink my fingers into a man’s beard and pull him toward me for a kiss. Every man has a signature musk in his whiskers. Some are beautiful, filled with so many colors and patterns. For me, beards turn me feral and growly. They make me more sexual and I want to rub my most womanly scents into them. I worship the beard.

Sooooo, Fella’s, when you don the Great Beard and you don’t make me feel like a cat in heat, it’s such a bummer. Those are the moments when I feel bamboozled, when I realize that I was attracted to an aesthetic that had nothing to do with who the person is, and that is what makes it a disappointment.

2. The Hair. Honestly, it’s a 90’s throw back with more grease and pomade. Long on top with some sort of product worked into it, clipped down short on the sides, and that one pendulum of hair that, not by accident, swings between his eyebrows. It’s like a 1950’s, sexier version of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell.

I can take it or leave it. I can pull your hair or I can lick and bite your head, doesn’t matter to me at all. If a man has kind eyes that can hold my gaze and tell a thousand playful thoughts without saying a word, that is manly.

3. The Flannel. This is not to be confused with the type of flannel that Kurt Cobain wore, loose and thrifted, and covered in cigarette holes and stale nicotine. These flannels are crafted and made of fine wool. They can be worn under a 3 piece suit, and probably have. These flannels have never touched a grain of sawdust, let alone covered the back of a man who has cut down a tree. These are sensible shirts to keep men warm. They are no longer outback to me, they are universal, practical, classic tartan that have no association with nature.

What I love to see is the broad curve of a man’s shoulders under his shirt. That beautiful shape of a man who still holds himself up. But this is a man who looks best in a white t-shirt, or nothing at all. This is a man who still lifts me up when he gives me a hug because he likes the weight of my entire body on him, which sends a deeper message that he’s strong enough to hold the weight of my world and can keep me safe, at least for 5 seconds. It’s not the flannel that keeps this man warm, it is the abundance of love he allows in.

4. The Denim. A Lumber Sexual wears quality materials, less is more which is a sign of maturity, refinement, and financial stability. Often this denim is $400 Japanese selvage, zero stretch, cuffed about 1.5”-2″ above the boot exposing an intentionally colorful sock beneath. If this Lumber Sexual is a true denim connoisseur, then he never washes them. Instead he spot cleans and freezes them to kill any bacteria and scent, then hangs them outside to freshen up, so to preserve the physical idiosyncrasies of the man inside them; the wallet imprint, the shift bulge, the whiskering in all the creases, and the faded highlights of his leg muscles.

I absolutely approve these jeans for men. This can only be done with a well made pair of quality denim. I rather love the idea that no man could wear another man’s pants. Women are generally softer, so our fade marks don’t have the same definition that men have. Women need the stretch in denim to keep their squishy parts from looking flattened. I secretly want denim that I can wear almost every day without washing, that bear my womanly essence; but sadly that essence can also be known as the all too infamous “crotch rot” (which is an embarrassing combination consisting of dried up pussy juice and possible menstrual tracks…for those that didn’t know, now you do…sorry.) So, I am envious of the relationship men have with their denim, just as I am of their ability to write their name in the snow.

5. The Boots. The boots are typically qualified the same way the flannel and denim are; something of the hand made variety, sewn together with industrial thread, soft hide, and stacked wood. They are usually about ankle high and worn with colorful or printed socks. They’re meant to last and be resoled again and again, his foot so embedded in the shoe that you could cast a mold of his foot out of it.

I, myself, love boots. As a woman, one shoe does not cover the spectrum of moods I present myself in. I could never be satisfied with one image. But, if you are going to commit to a look, then I think, at the very least, own it. I can respect anyone that breaks in a boot, because they can’t just be any boot, they have to be “the one”. You get a gut feeling when you know you’ve found the perfect pair, and there is always a grievance period when it is truly time to replace them. You don’t have to be Lumber Sexual to have this kind of relationship with your shoe, this exists with lots of people and lots of types of shoes; the same can be said for a trusty pair of Chuck Taylor’s or Vans Half Cabs.
But a lovely pair of leather boots age and wrinkle with the man, they can reveal a thousand miles of life, they are an extension of the walk he walks. The boots I am attracted to are not the steadfast boots that stayed the course, creating a seamless and smoothed out route leading to clear destinations and boundaries. And mind you, there is nothing wrong with this pair of boots, they are by no means less honorable, but I would grow tired of the trench they have created. Okay, so what does that mean? Does a man with boots covered in nicks and dings in the leather, and soles caked in mud and grease really live a more ruthless and carefree life? Do these boots really will him to step into any situation and toe the line no matter what obstacles are put before him? Probably not.

And if I haven’t confused you with so many metaphors, then you might find yourself wondering how many other expectations we have placed on someone just by the trend they got onboard with, or the ideas we’ve created around that image. Just the same that a man dressed as a lumberjack should be strong and rugged, self-assured without a need for validation, to smell of eucalyptus and cedar (and maybe a touch of pipe smoke), and to embody a calm and warm spirit that puts my restlessness at ease; it can be equally assumed, at this rate, that a woman dressed with done up hair, flawless make-up, a body hugging dress, and stiletto heels is an excellent lover, body confident, witty, flirty, and sexually diverse.

Sometimes liking what you see isn’t really seeing what you like. As I grow older, I find myself more deeply attracted to traits that cannot be bought. Traits like humility, a sense of humor, patience, an open mind, and kindness. If you possess these in addition to a rugged aesthetic, then you are winning, otherwise, you’re just another trend representative with some explaining to do.

Living in Domnation: The Pussies

You’re reading this because you want to know, and you might even feel a tickle deep inside.  And if you do, for the love of Goddess, enjoy it!  Whether it’s the cast of stigma and shame that it has been burdened with, or the weakness in our understanding of it, “Pussy” is such a great thing of nature, that it deserves so much more recognition for its strength.  I am pussy, and pussy is me.  My need to be one with my pussy is rich, and I intend to make it all the wiser.

If I leave my understanding of pussy to science, I feel detached in every aspect.  When I look at pussy in the perspective of long, unpronounceable Latin words and colorful, anatomical charts, my pussy seems without a soul.  Not to say there is no room for scientific explanation, believe me, my loins sometimes behave in a way that can only be biological.  But even when I leave my orgasms to electric or lithium operated tools and rubber, I am distracted by the barriers that block my human need for touch and turn me into a gyrating robot instead.

I speak a lot about men and the variety of ways I engage with them, but lately, it is with women that I feel the strongest connection and appreciation. This is new to me having felt guarded most of my life towards women.  As a girl I was conditioned by society to feel threatened by other girls; hundreds of deep-rooted years of learning to be more desirable, so to marry and secure a place in this world.  And it continues today, as pop culture often pits women against each other in an attempt to sell products that make us believe that one is better than the next. We can easily forget our human nature, that we work best as a community, offering our bosom when one is too ill, nurturing the belly when one is too weak, stroking the skin when one is longing for affection.  How did we ever allow ourselves to get to the place where we would secretly wish for another’s failure for personal gain?  This, to me, is the departure of our species as women, when we no longer nurture and we stand against each other with our arms across our breasts.

For me personally, I learned to form more meaningful relationships with women through motherhood, art, and now kink.  When I first became a mother I didn’t have women that I leaned on.  My own mother was not raised by her mother and didn’t seem to embrace mothering herself.  I had no one to tell me that they also didn’t know what the fuck they’re doing, that their relationship with their partner is also shifting and changing, that they also have needs and no longer know if they’ll ever tend to them.  I searched out the kind of woman who will bring out my best self, and who let me be needed so that I can help her, too.  These women are my sisters, they are an extension of the woman who I strive to be, their infinite energy helps me to see and touch the world in places I’ve never been.  As a dominatrix working out of a cooperative playhouse, I have a community of women with like interests.  For the fact that we are generally physically vulnerable; no clothing to stereotype the other, no preconceived notions as to what we’re all doing there, no need to compete for attention or affection, we can be our truest selves.  When women are together in an unguarded and supportive unity, I can see why the man has historically wanted to protect the woman and keep her safe, instinctively throwing himself against any imposing forces.  It is not because women are weaker, or couldn’t hold their own when threatened, it is because their sense of nurture and communal strength is so strong and deep, that we could not have survived without it.

Still, when our pussy becomes the object that defines who loves us the most, and who we love the most, the pussy’s instincts become inhibited and confused about how to feel.   And why is this?  Because the pussy is where the sex happens, and when burdened with devotion, it becomes the cave in which we hide our love from each other, it no longer is the center in which we reach ecstasy and let our animal spirit out.

When the men went off to hunt, and the women stayed together with the children, surely you do not believe that a woman never answered the call of her own desire.  Even today, when women spend regular time with each other, their menstrual cycles sync up, they naturally adapt to each other’s ebb and flow; which means that it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that they also got horny together.  And what do women do when they are in need?  They help, they lend a very helpful and loving hand indeed.  It isn’t about being bi, or gay, or in a relationship, or even emotionally responsible for each other, it’s simply about fulfilling a need.  Women are generous by nature.  The women I have surrounded myself with are so hungry for life, yet so willing to be devoured, I am humbled regularly by what some will sacrifice to keep the peace.

Having spent so much more time with women in a sexual environment, I have learned that some of my own hang-ups are quite normal, and needn’t be a hang up at all.  I revealed to my sisters that it is much easier for me to orgasm with, or in front of, someone that I don’t have feelings for, that I’m not even necessarily physically attracted to.  In some instances, the more appalling or gross the man is, the more crude and obscene I can be in my own orgasm, thus reaching it easily and rather quickly, compared to my usual 20-30 minutes or never.  It seems that when I have deeper emotions for someone, that it muddies the freedom I have to let go, that there is so much more at stake, that I end up caring more about their pleasure than my own.  Almost every woman that I’ve told this to has quickly responded, “Oh I’m that way.”  When I told this to an ex partner of mine, he said, “I hope you figure that out, what a shame.”  Which revealed a fundamental difference in how we consider sex, intimacy, and our understanding of how the pussy works.  To him, it is a shame that I have a harder time sharing or reaching ecstasy with someone I love, perhaps like withholding, or some kind of faulty disconnect that is tragically deep-rooted.  That the word “shame” was used at all to describe what I felt to be an enlightenment, says a lot about the mind-fuckery we create in our heads around sex and love.  The ability to produce an orgasm, as a means to express the depth of our intimacy, is an immediate form of pressure, which makes it impossible to let go for the “Big O.”   Not only that, you are left with a trail of self-doubt that runs through both participants.  The non-producer feels they have let the other down, or has to prove in other ways that they love and enjoy them, while the other feels ineffective and inadequate.   And not to say that my ex meant it that way, more so, I’m sure he meant that it would be a next-level connection if you can orgasm with someone you are deeply in love with.  I think that sounds lovely, too, but I don’t feel ashamed of the type of orgasm I reach, or that I have loved many people without the ability to have an orgasm with them.  I am learning to enjoy my orgasm without pressure, that it doesn’t have to be racked with so much fucking romance.  The most romantic feeling I have ever felt is the feeling of being understood.  Which is probably why I’m feeling so lovey towards my lady friends.

What has felt like a greater shame, are the friendships I have lost when sex was taken out of our dynamic.  In general, I think women want to have some sort of friendship with their lovers, at least I do.  I have bedded men that, once sex was introduced, became attached in a way that we did not agree on.  And I believe their attachment transpired because of my natural instinct to want to nurture and tend to them; feeding their bellies, their minds, and their libido.
While I haven’t figured out how to balance love, and sex, and exploration with men, I am deeply comforted by the fact that what I share with my lovely women will not be possessed, but rather shared like a recipe for love and affection.

Living in Domnation: “Bernie”

For those of you who are squeamish about kink, or are uncertain if you really want to hear my stories, I advise you to go no further. However, if your curiosity will open you to a world of people and their “quirks”, maybe even help you get in touch with your own, please embrace the weird I am about to share. The single most important take-away I have gained from becoming a Dominatrix is, from day one, I judge people about 90% less than I did before I did this type of work (which I consider an alternative therapy). I truly feel honored to be someone that people are comfortable to let go some of their most secret desires, their most deep-rooted shame, or just their need to relent and be free of pressure.

For some odd reason I don’t feel like starting at the beginning with this development in my life. It just doesn’t feel organic enough to go back and reflect on it sequentially. Basically, my journey this past year has lead me to a life of doing P/T random jobs, and P/T Dominatrix work. I won’t lie, I struggle with the Dominatrix title a bit; not just for the scared, glassed over eyes that I receive the moment someone registers the word “dominatrix” after I tell them what I do, but also because I simply do not like titles at all. I never identified myself as anything until I became a mother. I was not the girl who became part of a group that was called anything (i.e. jocks, preps, nerds, even artists). School was agonizing for me, I was so uncomfortable and spent most of my time trying not to show it. That being said, I am open to all kinds of people, especially if you’re quirky.

My first story in my “Living in Domnation” series is going to be about Bernie. The thing about Bernie is that all the women, dominant and submissive, who have seen him have talked about his session. Bernie is OLD, as in 90 years old, not even kidding. He smells of pungent musk and rancid lunchmeat, and he has grabby hands that, half of the time, look petrified in the grabbing position.

A session with Bernie basically consists of an hour of playfully taming him. Like when you have a puppy that keeps jumping up and you have to kindly, but firmly, push the dog down and wag your finger, “oh you….” His profile is covered in warning notes made by all the Mistresses, and believe me he has seen us all.

“He likes his n/t (nipple torture) but watch out they drip!”

“CBT (cock and ball torture) but they’re soaking wet, MUST WEAR GLOVES the whole session!”,

“He grabs and claws at you, set boundaries and punish immediately!”

I admit, I was curious, don’t ask me why.

So yes, I agreed to meet the old fart. I guess I had to know what it was like to beat up, a little, on a 90 year old man. When I met him in the Welcome Room of the CoOp that I work out of, indeed I could see he was that of history. The skin of someone that old is so unique to age; the way a newborn baby fresh from the womb has a purple, embryonic tone to it, so does a very old person, no matter what your origin is. And truly his smell left much to be desired. I adjusted my breathing to breathe through my mouth and out my nose so I did not have to taste what I was smelling. When he first looked up at me, his bottom eye lids drooped just enough to flash their veiny, red insides, and his bottom lip also drooped just enough to reveal the tops of his purple gums below his thick stained bottom teeth, which solved a mystery that I have wondered about all of my life regarding old people and their teeth. Up until that moment I had always wondered why old people’s teeth seemed so thick and rounded, and then I realized that they are the stumps of what is left of the tooth, and that the gums have receded down. Isn’t that something to look forward to? Thank goodness that mystery is now solved.

Bernie says, “Ahh, you’re cute”, and proceeded to refer to me as such the entire session. It’s not the most powerful endearment, if you know what I mean? I lead him to the one first floor room meant to bring life to sissy or mommy type scenes, which boasts a metal twin sized, canopy bed, a vanity, and a mirrored wall cabinet equipped with “soft impact” tools and a variety of clamping and clipping devices. Bernie is probably about 5’11”, but I bet he was about 6’1” when he was in his prime. When he drops his trousers, he reveals thin legs, each with a bit of saggy inner thigh that resembles freshly piled whipping cream. He’s shaped like a lollipop with two sticks. When I start my sessions with someone for the first time, I like to take time to get to know their bodies; run my fingers over every inch, find their tickle spots, slap them hard suddenly to test out their threshold in a playful way, remind them when they complain of how hard it was that they just survived the pain just fine. But with Bernie I was conflicted and uncomfortable to go further with my natural way. His skin was covered in odd greyish patches of dry skin. None of it was soft. I felt by running my fingers across it, it would cause bits of skin to fall off. (This is what they meant by “gloves the whole session”), it seemed so humiliating to put gloves on when I am not touching anywhere near genitalia. Still, I understood the need as well. I decided to leave my sheer stockings on, and to use my legs as much as possible. I approached him in a burlesque sort of way, since he loves to see all the women, which to me meant he enjoyed the show or performance of us. While I was hanging from the bed and batting his grabby hands away and kicking them before he could touch me, I looked at his sweet, goofy old face watching me twirl above him, then slink over him from one side of the bed to the other, poking my head up the side of the bed like a kitten ready to pounce, and all I could think to myself was, “I might be the last woman that he plays with…I could be the last woman he ever sees!” This man is a veteran of motherfucking Word War II! Can you even wrap your mind around that? A thousand years ago, or rather 70 years ago in 1945, he fought in a war and came home, and some young woman in her 20’s probably climbed all over him then, too.

I became acutely aware of how much I wanted to be the most beautiful, sensual, playful woman he ever did see. I romanticized about how I would dance in and out of his final thoughts as he falls into an eternal slumber that night, this old kinky soldier who discovered his kink in the 50’s. What a time young Bernie must have had.

Bernie broke my imagination, bringing me back to the reality of the red wine colored carpet and the dated gold trimmed vanity, by stating he wanted to stand with his back against the wall to “finish up the session.”

“Okay….sure, of course.”

What came next I could have never in my perviest, wildest dreams imagined. With his back to the wall, like a crude question mark up against a straight line, and his legs in a permanent saddled, urban cowboy position, he reaches down, cradles his old cock with both stiff hands, as if lifting a fallen baby bird, then vigorously, violently starts to make his hands go back and forth in opposite directions, as if to warm and save the dying bird. I think during this particular moment I embodied no actual dominant role, nor did I pretend to find what he was doing sexy in any way. I just leaned my back against the metal post of the bed and watched in amazement as he gave his cock an “Indian Burn”. From the grunt and distorted face that followed, I assumed that he must have orgasmed, though nothing came out of his cock, save the constant drippiness that existed the whole session, which was exacerbated by my following him around putting a towel underneath his feet, again, like he was a puppy about to wet the carpet.

To a lot of people this doesn’t sound fun, and I will admit, it is by far not my favorite scene. But, he’s a human that will die living, and I support that.

Crazy In Vain

To be called crazy is one thing.  As an individual you can process that word however you choose; maybe relating, maybe feeling misunderstood offensively or defensively, or maybe just indifferent.  But when called or referred to as crazy when you are a mother, there is no contemplating the word, you are simply hyper accelerated into a next level category loaded with stigma.

I am a bit sensitive to this word these days.  I have displayed antics over the past couple of years that are worthy of a raised eyebrow, at the very least, and definitely a topic of conversation for mutual friends to discuss over drinks, or dinner, or group texts.  I don’t deny that if I were on the outside looking in, that I would also indulge in a conversation about me.  As a matter of fact, I find myself so interesting I am constantly trying to find ways to put myself on blast so that I can shoot this thing out for the world to gobble up, regurgitate, devour again, and so on.  Being an openly sexual woman, telling my true and fictional stories including erotica, embracing BDSM as a legitimate outlet for some’s mental stability even my own, and hoping to create a community of like-minded individuals, is not for everyone.  I am not offended by that.

I believe in projection, that what I put out into the world bounces back.  I think that if I want to be an honest person willing to reach down deep inside, so that even the ugly is beautiful enough to expose, that I will attract the people I really want in my life, which means it will be filled with love.

I know, I know…that’s soooo crazy.  It is crazy…feeling…when you are ending a 12 year union (8 married), with two beautiful, young children that are like our spirit animals, while undergoing a frustrating and clumsy transition in career, and living in the most beautiful city that we can barely afford to live in.  This does feel crazy, believe me.

My mother must have reached this place.  Once, or thousands of times, she must have been here wondering if her wants are strong enough to disrupt what IS, and knowing her convictions would have to be strong enough to turn into realities.  Can she do it?

My mother did not leave with her convictions and create new realities.  She did not leave and create a space that suited her better where she felt she could be herself and thrive as an individual.  As her daughter, I did not get to see my mother bloom her fullest bloom, or dance her personal dance with all her best moves.  I understand her sacrifice staying married, what she sacrificed of herself, what she never got to know.  Maybe self-doubt was the cloud that took the light from her, I don’t know, but as her daughter and now a mother, I believe that she could have used some support.  As her daughter I don’t want her sacrifice to live in vain.  As her daughter, I would like to give her sacrifice some honor by becoming a woman that chose to live full of life.

To my mother, who I have called crazy, who I have misunderstood, whom I was disappointed in and maybe have disappointed, I understand.  I’m crazy, too.  Maybe even crazy enough for us both.

A letter to Alcohol

Dear Al~[cohol],

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted you, but I think about you all of the time.  You were the love of my life.  I hated you.  You were an abscess on my self-confidence.  You were always there for me.

Try as I did [pretend to] I couldn’t seem to get rid of you.  You just kept me in your glass; I was a pointless grain of sand being flipped over and over in your time.

But you knew me, Al.  You seemed to love me.  The good, the bad, and the ugly as they say…you preferred ugly.

It was a red flag I ignored when I started waking up to incomprehensible lipstick poetry written on the vanity mirrors, which I would frantically wash off before the boyfriend saw it.

I should have known you were trouble when you sent me on a  2 year whiskey kick believing I was a pool shark.  Remember that, Al?  Remember when I shit-talked a couple of Mexican bar flies and handed them their asses in pool, until I could barely walk and they had to graciously help me onto the 49 bus line to Van Ness, where I passed out until the bus driver shook me awake and told me the line is done for the night?

Oooh, Al! I would hate you more if I could remember all the embarrassing reasons why I should.  You were so boring!  What was I thinking?  I’d spend all that money on you and we rarely ever had sex.  I felt so unattractive and worthless with you.  But who would want me?  You, Al.  Always you.

You got really nervous when I told you about a little voice I heard; a little angelic whisper which seemed to be coming from deep inside, from a place of creation, a place of birth which sung out to me like a jingle:

You get one life.  You get one life.  You get one liiiiiiife!!”

Well ain’t that the truth?  Oh God! The truth.  The truth is, I can’t live a life with you, Al.  I can’t live an honest, attentive, loving, and generous life if you’re in it.  You really had to go.

It’s been 2 years since I said goodbye.  I see you around town everywhere I go.  We share a lot of mutual friends and even family.  You are always going to be there for me, and I thank you for it.  I owe you an apology, Al.  I really do.  I used you and abused you and then projectile vomited you to the curb, quite literally.  You were only doing what you were supposed to be doing.  I blamed you for all my character flaws, even now I find myself doing it.

It’s not your fault, Al.  It’s not your fault that I never learned to believe in myself, or that I’ve been on survival mode for so long that I didn’t know how to reach out for help, or a hug.  So I reached for you, and you were there for me.   And now I get your message, Al.

You needed me to get over you so I could gain my worth back.  Leaving you made me believe in myself.  It was you or me and I chose me.  You have become the thing that I am most proud of…So Touché, Al, Touché.  And while you will always leave a lasting flavor in my mouth, I hope I never taste you again.

Yours in vain,


Beyond Say Less and Laugh More

Okay, I admit.  When the infamous “Ugly Face Beyonce” went viral, I laughed.  I looked at the picture over and over and over again and just doubled over.  I laughed because who knows how many times she makes this face when she dances and nobody really catches it?  I laughed at this intimate moment when gravity defied motion and her skin doesn’t seem to know which way to stretch, and her eyes haven’t quite caught up with her rather intense, jerky dance style, and every muscle in her curvaceous body seemed to be flexed at the same time, and how some photographer snapped the million dollar photo of this golden diva looking a bit more like The Rock.  And who cares?  Every one!  There seems to be a wave of pleasure going over her fans, and you can crudely see them all going up in arms like a halftime cheer in a sold out sports arena.  Her biggest fans are quick to laugh in her face, at her face, and the many distorted faces she absolutely makes in the throes of a rigorous performance.  And they should, because it’s funny shit.  It could be the charming thing about her if she would learn to look at herself and say “Yep, that’s my I’m getting freaky face.”  For people who “UnFan” her because she is a lot more of a natural human being than we secretly hoped she wasn’t, than guess what?  They’re not fans. What I wanted from Beyonce in this time of humble humility, was for her to laugh at herself.  I wanted her to go on The Tonight Show w/Jimmy Fallon and re-enact the top 5 ugly faces she makes.  I wanted her to show everyone that she is beautiful inside and out.  I was really bummed out when it felt like a scramble to hide what nature does to us sometimes.  Everyone has their ugliest face.  Everyone has had a slow motion fall, knowing that bystanders are witnessing in that horrific moment, the terror in your eyes and the contortion of your mouth as you make an ungraceful pummel to the ground like a person who has never fallen in their life.  And we’ve all had friends take our picture, usually after a night of abusive drinking, of our mouth loosely open like a chronic mouth breather and our eyes are half-open and crossed under heavy eye-lids.  Why should Beyonce be any different? What gets me is Beyonce didn’t own that beautiful mug of hers for the good/the bad/and the ugly.  She has the power to teach people, especially women and young idols, to accept themselves for everything they are.  She has the platform to turn this human moment into a hilarious joke she is sharing with the world.  And sadly, she let her publicist do all the talking and she let down her fans.

Love Me, But Love Me Not

I was going to apologize for the loss of momentum and delay in getting this next post out, but I promised you I would be unapologetic and I meant it.  I got stuck in a place that I was trying to leap over.  I thought I was going to go right into sexuality after the last entry.  It seemed appropriate since dancing has brought out my sexual nature and being sober has allowed me to feel it.  However, when I started in on it, it wasn’t something I could just go right into.  I had to think about who I am sexually; my first experiences, my first exposures, my first lusts and feelings and curiosities.  Apparently this wasn’t going to be some juicy revelation about feeling frisky again, and I wasn’t going to just debate the primitive value vs. the emotional value of sex, and I certainly wasn’t going to contemplate out loud how sex doesn’t have the same value or meaning across the world, or in every generation, or sometimes in your own home.  This just wasn’t going to go down like that no matter how much I tried.

So, I found myself going back in time.  I have been feeling travel-worn from roaming around in my memories the same way I would roam around the neighborhoods I lived in, singing to myself, and looking for friends and daydreaming about being someone else.  And when I started to write I saw myself as a little girl that I wanted to help.  I wanted to reach into my brain and pull myself out and hold my child self.  It’s strange when you learn something about your past as an adult even though you remember it the same.  There were things that happened as a kid that, at the time, I didn’t really understand.  I just remember those times as incidences, as moments that caused a change and maybe tears were shed, or words were yelled, or there were sacred moments of laughter.  But, it’s not until I’ve gotten older and have had my own experiences, have made my own mistakes, have become a parent myself, that life events even from childhood have taken on so much more meaning.

For the past couple weeks after beginning this blog, I’ve struggled with insecurity, complete and utter sadness, loneliness and self-loathing.  Simultaneously, I’ve been disgusted with myself for all of this, hoping my kids don’t catch me staring off with tears and snot running down my face as I stand over the kitchen sink with dirty dishes in my hands and hot running water wasting down the drain.  I’ve tapped into this place in me that feels pathetic and the last thing I want is to feel sorry for myself.  Still, I remember when I almost couldn’t feel any of this, and that’s a worse feeling.

I didn’t learn about sex from my parents.  I don’t remember my parents talking or teaching me and my brother about anything that was personal.  They told us to be clean, treat people the way we want to be treated, stick up for ourselves, be a good sport, and to eat all of our food.  That’s what I remember about what they taught us.  Surely there were more lessons and most likely I have a selective memory, but I also couldn’t tell you what those other lessons were.  When it came to sex and puberty, my brother and I learned from the the kids in our neighborhoods, and from our own experiences.  We almost never told my parents about it and they never asked.

My first secret was a sexual one, which is probably why it stands out so much.  I’m a pretty open person, the type to tell on myself for doing something wrong, but this particular secret I didn’t tell my mother until I was about 20 years old.

I have a clear memory of almost being molested when I was about 4 years old.  We were living in Navy Housing in San Diego.  My brother was in Kindergarten, my father was either gone on another West/Pac Navy tour or just working, and my mother was home.  I was wearing a hand-me-down PacMan raincoat, I distinctly remember the plastic smell and the squeaking sound the jacket made as I wandered around Navy Housing talking to myself and lost in my imagination.  There was a boy in the neighborhood who was known for having every single Star Wars doll that was ever made.  Looking back, I don’t know what he was doing home, but he was home alone when I knocked on his door to see if I could play with some of his toys.  I was startled when he returned to the door with no pants on and holding a case that concealed most of his Star Wars figurines.  Even at that age I felt conflicted because I sensed I shouldn’t be there, still, I really wanted to play with his toys.  He sat cross-legged in front of his screen door that was ajar between us.  I was kneeled down on the outside, eyeing the case through the screen.  I’m guessing he was about 13 from the patch of hair I recall sprouting above his penis.  That was what was strange to me, I’d never seen a penis with hair before.  He began pulling out a few different Princess Lea dolls, one was wearing all red and another in a white robe.  He must have seen my eyes grow wide with excitement because he held up the white one and said, “If you touch this [pointing to his penis] I will give you this Lea.”  I hesitated for a moment then reached around the screen door with half my body in and poked his penis and grabbed the doll.  I quickly sat back on my heels and anticipated the next deal he was going to make now eyeing the red Princess Lea like a dog would eye a steak on the dinner table.  Next, he held up the red Lea and said “Now, this time, if I touch you [pointing down to indicate my private part] then I will give you this Lea.”  I sat still for a few solid seconds, I didn’t expect him to say that.  I thought for sure he was going to make me poke at his penis again which, so far, had been pretty painless so when he said that, an immediate wave of confusion and shame washed over me.  I was so thankful for that screen door.  I got up and bolted to the nearest place I could think of.  I ran to the baseball field that was just a block away from my duplex.  I hid in the dugout and played with my new Lea, not really enjoying her and not really understanding why.  There was a hollow pole about 2 feet long sticking up out of the ground where a wooden bench once rested on top of.  I was holding my Princess Lea above it, pretending she was walking on the edge and accidentally dropped her in.  At first I was so upset I started crying thinking of what I had just done to get her.  But, when I realized my mother would ask me where I got it when I got home, I was relieved I dropped her down the tube.

As I was writing this it dawned on me that I didn’t run home.  I was 4 years old, why didn’t I go home?  As a parent I especially wonder this because I hope that my own daughter, in a time of fear or uncertainty, would feel that her home is a place where she feels safe, protected, and loved.

And so it continues, this epic heartache, this break in my arteries that continues to leak out this ability to feel loved.  Since I’ve been sober, I keep coming back to this.  I grew up barely ever crying, trying to be so tough and knowing I wouldn’t get very much sympathy if I did cry.  Now I cannot seem to stop the tears from coming, and I mostly do it in private.  I do believe my child self would tell me to stop all this nonsense.

My mother went through some serious bouts of depression, some times were darker but it was always really there.  I don’t have a lot of memories of my dad.  He had interest in sports, which seemed to be the only way to connect with him, so unless you were active in any, he didn’t say or inquire much.  For a couple years I rode in my dad’s Volkswagon Beetle at around 6am almost every morning to go to ice-skating lessons.  This was the most time I’d ever spent with him which is what I liked about ice-skating the most.  My dad loved ice-skating and seemed to love watching me.  It’s like he finally found something to connect with me on.  Ice skating was really expensive and I was well aware of it.  I didn’t really love it enough to put my family through any hardships while I pouted my way through more lessons so, like every other sport I attempted, I quit. After that, my dad and I went back to not knowing each other.  This was in Washington State where we moved to from San Diego when I was in 4th grade.  It felt like the greyest place on earth and I’d never seen so many white people in one place.  It was intimidating.  I never felt intimidated by anyone until I moved to Washington.  In San Diego, I went to school with mostly Mexican and African American kids in National City.  My skin was always dark from the sunshine so I blended in and I never thought twice about people’s race or how much money anyone had.

Living in Washington was my first experience with classism.  I despised what it did to my brother.  He envied all the wealthy kids and their giant houses in new developments and all their fancy cars.  He would criticize what we had and point out how awful and ugly everything was in our house.  He didn’t like any of the clothes we got, he was never happy with the shoes we could afford.  My brother was good at soccer and baseball, playing on select teams, receiving awards, and was friends with kids whose parents pretty much owned the leagues.  He would show off his rich friend’s stuff to me, insisting I go with him to their houses so he can show me rooms that no one was even allowed to walk into because they might disrupt the carpet tracks vacuumed into them.  It made me feel lonelier seeing my brother fall into this.  Every day my mom grew less motivated, working odd jobs here and there spending her spare time making things, until all she had the energy to do was play video games while chain-smoking.  I can barely remember my dad being home except for when we had home projects that he would work on.  I learned my dad spent a lot of time drinking on the military base he worked on.  In 6th grade, I also learned what the behaviors of an alcoholic were from D.A.R.E (Drug. Abuse. Resistance. Education.), so I came home to my mom and asked her if my dad was an alcoholic.  She asked me where I heard that and I told her I learned about it in school.  She looked straight into my eyes and said “Yes, he is.”  Since I had always monitored my parents marital happiness and financial problems, I felt I was part responsible in making my dad behave better.  I instantly became angry with him and thought he was the reason for all the issues that were going on in our family.  Looking back, and having become an alcoholic myself, I don’t think that my dad drank as bad as I made it out to be.  None the less, he drank to escape his family and his life, perhaps himself, which is the root of it all for any alcoholic.  From 12-14 years old I would wait up late with my mom and interrogate my dad when he’d come home late after drinking, which did seem to be more often, though not daily.  He would show up drunk to my brother’s baseball practice, or to my ice-skating lessons that were in the evening.  My brother was embarrassed of our house and our stuff, and I was embarrassed of our family.  We all stopped talking to each other.  I spent most of my time in my room talking to my friend on the phone or at other people’s houses.  My mom used to criticize me for how much time I spent at my friend’s house saying, “You always try to go find a better family.”  When I was really little I would try to stay at my friend’s house during lunch because their parents actually made them lunch.  One girl’s mother, particularly, often made grilled cheese sandwiches which to me was as good as eating at a restaurant when she would.  My brother and I would scour our kitchen for whatever was readily available like cold hotdogs out of the package, bologna with the peppercorns punched out, or sometimes we’d even suck on bouillon cubes when there was nothing that didn’t need to be cooked.  I was mortified the first time one of my friends told me that their mom said I had to go home for lunch and I can’t keep coming over to eat their food.  After that, when I spent a lot of time at someone’s house I would start participating in their chores, feeling like I should contribute since they were feeding me and giving me a place I felt at home in.  I did this all the way up until I stopped living with my parents.  I still feel like I need to earn my keep wherever I am or else I have no right being there.

When I was 13, my dad had retired from the Navy and was working a couple jobs at a time.  We were really broke and our family was at a low.  My mom was the worst I’d seen her, barely leaving the house or changing out of her pajamas.  It’s hard to believe that she was only a couple years older than I am now when she was like this, which is a huge reason why I am doing this blog.  My dad finally got a lead for a job in Japan.  He’d been traveling to California, maybe for some kind of training (I can’t recall) and had called to check in on us.  My brother and I were both on the phone at the same time telling him how things were going and how aloof and dark my mom had been.  He asked to speak to her so my brother gave her the phone and I stayed on in my room (the days of land lines and phones in every room,) covering the mouthpiece so I could listen in.

My dad:  “The kids are saying you’re not doing anything, just sitting around playing Dr. Mario and barely leaving the house….”

My mom:  “Yeah so.  I don’t care… I don’t care about them…I don’t care about any of this… So what?”

After hearing her say this, I became the most scared I ever felt in my life. I had been experiencing “mean girls” for a couple years and only had a couple of real friends.  The rest were superficial, not people I would ever invite over let alone allow into my house to meet my family.  People at school seemed afraid to like me because it could result in having other people not like them for being my friend.  And now my mother didn’t give a shit about me.  I really believed that I had some kind of unlikeable quality in me and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

I was in eighth grade the first time I confronted my mom about her depression and how scared I felt about her.  I wrote her a long letter telling her that it worried me to see her not care about anything when we needed her.  I left the letter for her to find and when I got home she was waiting for me in our kitchen sitting on a barstool.  She had been crying but she also seemed a bit happy.  I think she felt a sense of purpose, a new sense of urgency or hope.  I couldn’t believe it, it worked!  She was better and she was going to try to stop being so depressing.  I really believed that.  I didn’t know depression was a sickness.  I thought she had a choice to be better. But a few days later I came home from school and she was kneeled down on the carpet with a Nintendo controller in her hands, and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth just daring to ash on her threadbare, pink sweatpants that she always wore.  I said “Hi Mom” in a voice that was sure not to hide my disappointment, to which there was no reply.  A couple years before that, my dad had hand-written a “contract” to me promising me he was never going to drink again because it meant so much to me, his “Sweetie.”  It was a silly piece of paper that I held onto for years and eventually threw in his face to remind him of how often he lied.  My father once read my diary when we first moved back to Japan right before my Freshman year of High School.  In it I spoke of boys I made out with, wanting to have sex for the first time, and smoking weed (a couple stems and some shake) once.  He told my mom I was some kind of nymphomaniac and druggie.  I wasn’t really that mad that he read it, I acted like I was because I was always mad at him then.  I was actually happy he wondered about me or had any interest at all.  I told him all he had to do was ask, but my dad never asked me questions, ever.

I went to a Junior High School, which was seventh through ninth grade.  Again, it was in Washington State so it was predominantly white and pretty well-to-do, mostly middle and upper-middle class.  When I got to eighth grade I had blossomed a little and was getting noticed by some of the Freshman boys.  Right away at the beginning of the year a popular Freshman took notice of me and asked me out.  I was so surprised and so flattered.  I thought he saw something in me for a moment, something that no one else could see.  My family was so broken, I felt broken too, but this kid liked me.  He met me at my locker, walked me to my classes, wrote me love letters and called me every night on the phone.  I made him a beaded necklace and I tried to enjoy this.  But, I’d make excuses as to why he couldn’t come over or why I couldn’t go places with him.  I wouldn’t tell him that my house was the most depressing place in the world and that I had no money to go to the movies, or eat somewhere, or do anything.  He was 15 and had a truck waiting for him to be old enough to drive, and I couldn’t relate to that.  He told me he loved me and I broke up with him.  I couldn’t fake who I was anymore.  Later, another popular Freshman wooed me into girlfriend status and I dumped him pretty much the same way.  He invited me to his house to hang out and then go to a movie.  His parents were doctors and his house was like a museum, there was literally an antique wheelchair in the living room which had an entire wall made of glass that allowed for a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound.  He had his permit so, he drove me home in his soon-to-be car while his mom sat in the back seat.  I called him up that night and broke up with him, I couldn’t handle it.  When you get the attention of popular boys in school, a large portion of girls in the school will hate you for it.  And when you break up with the popular boys in school, those same girls openly hate you but now with the support of the guy you broke up with.  There never felt like a win with that, you just simply turn into a loser.  There was one guy that I would just make out with on the weekends because our best friends were dating and we just figured we may as well.  There was never any drama with it and we had tons of fun.  It was probably one of my healthiest relationships to date and it’s probably because he didn’t love me and he didn’t expect me to love him back.  It’s like if I didn’t want or expect someone to love me, I could be more myself.

This trend of being wooed and dumping boys continued throughout High School and into my 20’s. I never had a type.  What I had were guys that had families that I wanted to be in.  And the families that I could most relate to were the relationships that ended with the most heartache.  I had boyfriends that were tortured souls and our relationship thrived on extreme highs and lows, tests of sexual limits, doomed and drawn-out endings.  And there were a couple boyfriends who just realized that we were having fun and had a strong attraction, but not really each other’s beat and now we are casual Facebook friends.

I am a loyal person.  I love people.  I don’t like to stay mad, I truly want everyone to be happy.  I always want to be drama-free, even though I’m too restless and impatient for it to be.  I love when people tell me the truth, even if it’s hard to hear.  I am a forgiving person.  I try to accept reality, whatever I determine that to be.  And I try not to judge people, though I don’t claim to like everyone.  And I don’t know if any of this is enough to allow me to feel loved.  Theoretically it should be, I’m not dumb, I get the logical part of it all.  But I’m not sure I know if or when I’ve truly felt it.  How do you learn something like that?