I am learning to write in mid-air. I used to never be interested in doing so. I think it is good to have this desire blossoming. I have many flights in my future, and don’t foresee that slowing down any time soon. So…we write.
I’m in first class tonight. And this is awesome. I took a bump to a later flight and ta da…comfort and a voucher for a future flight.
The woman sitting next to me is drinking something…possibly a Cape Codder. And it stinks. That’s less awesome.
I don’t have, at present, any residual desire for alcohol. I am often amazed at how so many other alcoholics describe their hunger for booze. Right now, I hate it. I have since I got sober, the smell of it on someone’s breath is often enough to sicken me. I don’t like bars…I never really did, because I didn’t want anyone else to really see the way I really drank. And today, unless I’m in a bar / restaurant, the focus on and smell of booze in bars fills me with a back-stumbling awkwardness and nausea. Flashbacks of terrible shit I would love to forget and refuse to forget.
I don’t want to ever, ever forget.
I recently found out that the first person I dated…well, kind of dated…after I got sober decided that he was done, for now, with sobriety. He had something like 15…? years clean. I felt mostly shock that you could walk away from that investment in time, in yourself, in the people who care for you. It feels almost selfish…selfish in that superficial way that suicide can seem selfish. And relapsing is, essentially, suicide, is it not?
I don’t want to forget how much like walking death being an active alcoholic was for me. So, I sit in gratitude that, for today, I’m sober.
I’m on my way to the Leather Leadership Conference. I am presenting there for the first time, I will be leading 2 sessions that are slated to discuss issues of people of color in the BDSM community. The classes are similar but different, as one is slanted to be a more personal telling of my own experiences and the other is geared towards a more free-flowing discussion. I’m looking forward to them, more so than I sometimes do to presenting, I don’t feel as nervous about them as I usually do.
I do feel nervous about some other feelings. Which is pretty much the definition of a crazy-ass recursive emotional loop-o-fooliganism, because assigning values and feelings to feelings is a Fool’s Game.
But the feelings I’m having are due to a whole lotta lotta in my life right now. Next week I have to compete in the International Ms. Leather (IMsL) competition. I say “have to” because, if it were not for my having been awarded the Ms. San Francisco Leather title, I sure as hell wouldn’t have been motivated to run for IMsL. It is not the track I’d have chosen for myself. I mean, shit. I’m under plenty of scrutiny already. I’m under plenty of pressure. I’m doing plenty of traveling. Why the fuck would I bow to the yoke of a formal obligation?
See, a few years back at IMsL, Laura Antoniou gave one of the more startling keynotes one might expect to hear at an event: a speech in which she questioned the very existence of the event.
I love questions.
She asked if the titleholder process was one that was still valid. If there were, perhaps, better ways for people to dedicate their energy ant time. If the Herculean efforts might be better spent funneling the moneys straight to the charities for which they are ostensibly, eventually targeted. Or furthering other causes, like equal rights.
These questions intrigued me, and they intrigued me enough that, when several people nudged me towards running for Ms, SF Leather, I was interested in the answer enough to place myself in front of a panel of impassive judges to see if I was “worthy.”
I hate…HATE…being judged. Who likes it? Isn’t the whole Leather community built on the premise that we eschew, buck and reject being judged for who we are? Comparing ourselves to others…we disdain this, yes? Isn’t the whole point that we create our own paradigms, our own paths, make our own choices?
I am well used to being judged, mind. As an actress for the past 36 years, I have had plenty of opportunities to stand in front of my elders / betters / potential employers and have them tell me if I was pretty enough, if I was smart enough, if I looked the part enough, if I was worthy enough, to sing and dance and smile for them.
This is a very, very fascinating way to grow up, is it not?
And even as I said a few paragraphs ago how much I hate being judged? I’m-a Gemini the fuck out of you right here and confess precisely the opposite. And both statements are the honest So-Help-Me-Lord-Ganesha truth
I love being judged.
I love it when I am judged worthy. I loved it when I got the call from my agent that I’d gotten the job. I loved it because that meant that I would be making money and would be able to help my financially crippled family pay bills. I loved it because that meant that I was the one that “They” wanted.
It is a terrible, terrible risk to put yourself out there because being judged means you can be found lacking.
And, for me? In a weird twisty paradox, NOT putting myself out there to be judged is a terrible terrible risk. It means that I may very well wind up stuck in my own hamster-ball universe, desperately trying to connect with someone who will break through, pull me out, stroke me and tell me that yes, I am the one, I am the best one for the job. Whatever the job is. Whether its an audition or putting a profile up on a dating site where I permit strangers to judge whether or not I’m an interesting prospect for a potential hookup / date / whatever…we judge and are judges every day.
In as much as I despise being judged? I need it.
It strengthens me.
If I am judged “the best for the job” it means I bolster those good feelings. I have “won.” I can hold my head up high.
If I am not judged “the best for the job?” I can hold my head up knowing I kicked ass in my own way, that I put forth formidable effort, but that this job just isn’t the one for me right now.
And life has taught me that, more often than not, the Alternative-To-The-Thing-I-Thought-I-Wanted is even better than The-Thing-I-Thought-I-Wanted.
I love that my Life unfolds this way.
A few weeks ago, while in NY, I decided that The-Thing-I-Wanted was a nice tidy part-time fuckbuddy. Someone with whom I could hook-up during my intermittent runs of “home time.” I am away so much I just KNEW that I didn’t have the time, energy or space to be with someone from whom I couldn’t just walk away when I needed to. And lo and behold, within a day or so of trolling one of the websites of my former employer, I’d found a likely hook up. He seemed fairly available, into me, our chemistry was pretty good, MUNI and BART accessible, and voila. Easy.
But, of course, it isn’t. Not as I thought it would be. I don’t find myself just walking away. I think about him more than I want to. The Hungarian, that is.
A few days ago he told me he was going to miss me…even before I walked out of the door for yet another of my awesome trips to the deep dark junglelands of exotic perverts. And I found myself rebelling at the thought of responding in kind to his rather matter-of-fact statement because I DO NOT want to miss anyone. This is kind of anti-the-point of meeting someone on a hookup site, no?? I’m not supposed to think about you when I’m on my way to be Executive Jet-Set Pervert Grrl. But there it is. I get that little bounce when I see a message from him, and immediately I’m on Emotional DEFCON 2. My never-ending synaptic impulse factory pulls apart sorts, categorizes and replays all sorts of information about him, realizing how little I know and rejecting even the possibility that it is OK to like someone. Then I do that Really Cool Thing where I feel myself calmly and rationally deconstructing my emotions and placing them in to more manageable cubes so that they don’t frictionalize one another into some kind of emotional conflagration that I cannot control. Divide and conquer works with my fizzly emotions. There, Detachment achieved. We are safe again. Well, we need detachment, right? Cold clear-eyed rationality? Come on, we all know that Painhurthurtpainrejectionbullshitfuckeryandtears…those are the by-products of thinking about someone when you oughtn’t be doing so, right?
But the interesting and odd “problem” is this: it doesn’t matter what I think I want. I always seem to want what I get.
I didn’t think I would want to run for a major leather title, but I am, and now I want it. I want to take it and break it open and feel it and inspect it and invite the world…the whole world…to see what this is like. I want to feel my feelings, and tell people. I need to know that I can be honest, and open, and free, and that it is OK.
Nah, fuck that. Not “OK.” I need to know that me being me kicks ass. That me being me means that people…lots of people…recognize it and can share in how much I love being alive. How much I love sharing. All of this. All of me.
Whatever paths lie in front of me…taking the IMsL sash home or not, seeing if things with The Hungarian look differently to me in the future…whatever those paths are…I want them.
I want everything.