Valentine’s Bitch

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I don’t like Valentine’s Day. Now, I’m sure a lot of people can’t believe that, what with me having such an awesome husband. And I do have an awesome husband. However, Luke is currently carving powder on Mount Baker, and I stayed home sick with a cold. He could have stayed home with me, but he chose to go instead. Now, I am not condemning his actions. I am not at Death’s door, and he’d been planning on going for some time. What I am saying is that love is not about a day. Luke doesn’t buy me flowers, but he puts Toby to bed every other night. He doesn’t get me cutsey stuffed animals, but he washes the dishes. He’s definitely the least romantic man I’ve ever had a relationship with. He’s also the best partner I’ve ever had in life. Valentine’s Day is all very good and well. I’m glad some relationships use it to inspire each other to dizzying heights of passion. On the other hand, I hope people who feel might feel despair on this day simply because they’re currently not “with” someone stop feeling rejected. The people who are celebrating their love are celebrating their personal relationship, and not your lack of one.

Every year I feel irritated because I see all the clever things people are doing for their lovers, and my husband just isn’t like that. Then I remember what he *is* like and I concede that 364 days a year, he doesn’t disappoint.

Whistler

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I wrote a post, and the amusing thing about it was that at the end of the post I realized something.

For the longest time, I didn’t try very hard to stand out. I ended up in a lot of cookie cutter jobs. Call center work usually, although I spent time in an accounting office and on a production floor as well. I was never a manager. I was never even a team leader. My strength was that I was good enough to be reliable, but not good enough to have to be noticed. I once went half a year without a monthly review because my supervisor said my stats were as stable as our paychecks.

So now, I’m trying something different. Something to stand out, something to push me into a bigger venue.

Only, I did the hard part. I sat down, I wrote a novel. I edited it. (Yes, I know, bad form but I know that now.) I got it published. I even made money from it. So many people give up before they get there. Hell, even I have given up before I got there. If it wasn’t for strategic pushes provided by friends who believed, I would have still been dithering at my computer with forty seven books with three chapters each written in them.

For some reason, I give myself so little credit for what I did. I mean, perhaps my book wasn’t a huge financial success, but I learned *so* much, it doesn’t matter. I figured out where I was lacking, and I’ve made considerable effort to improve. It’s the only way to learn, no different from taking a pottery class or making your first souffle. But unlike making my first souffle, or learning how to throw clay, I don’t think to myself, “Yeah, I’m an author now.”

So, my next realization needs to be that while this is my dream, it’s a dream that I’ve been pursuing for four years now. I’ve put in time, effort, and even had a manuscript edited professionally. (Although sadly, that’s where most of my learning came from and that manuscript is not ready by any stretch.)

I think at this point, most of my problem will be solved by joining my flock of friends who believe in me, and just accept that I’m chasing my dream, and that’s okay. 

Trisexual

The human animal is not a binary being. The concept of ‘either, or’ is something that makes computers work, and is the reason why they epically fail. A programmer can devise an if, then statement for his code, and it will run exactly as programmed. If a situation shows up that the computer wasn’t prepared (programmed) for, it simply breaks.

The human mind is more elegant than this. In an unfamiliar situation, a person immediately begins drawing data from whatever sources they can, to try to invent a solution that fits. While not always successful, we can make a best guess.

How we make our best guess is still a matter of much debate. There are arguments for genetic predisposition, and there are arguments for cultural upbringing. We’ve all heard it. Nature vs. nurture. And seeing that you can’t extract either factor from any person, it may be that we never know. Not to mention the people who overcome all odds to make their lives the way they believe they want them to be.

This leads me to the community of alternative sexualities. Alternative because by society’s view, humans assume that a person’s preferences dictate a predictable course of action. In truth, alternative is a catch-all phrase that suggests that there is one ‘default’ choice that is right, and then any other choice, which is inherently wrong for not being the first choice. However, human beings don’t tend towards predictable paths.

Predicting behavior is a human predilection, and an important societal trait. We like knowing what other people are going to do. It enhances our ability to create strategies. It helps us gain favor with people we like. It allows us to identify people we don’t want to associate with.

Prediction is simply an estimate of how something could turn out. While we could be right, we could also be wrong. We understand the greater motivations of people, but we never know the background story that shapes them. The idea that a person will always behave a certain way is a small view. For example, last Saturday I ordered a glass of white Bordeaux. I am far more inclined to drink red wine, and almost drink it exclusively. For dinner, I ordered a ribeye steak that had to be air lifted in from Nebraska as my entree. I’m sure my husband, who is diligent about knowing my preferences, would have put money that I would have gotten a Cabernet for my drink. But I felt like something different, and I did something unpredictable. Like we all do.

We like the comfort of predictability. When we discover a person is gay, we make certain decisions about them, based on our understanding of what we think ‘gay’ means. Certainly if a person is said to be gay, we can draw from the information around us that they prefer to have sexual relationships with their own gender. Anything further is our brain drawing from whatever sources we have to make a best guess about that person’s behaviors.

I would like to put forth that human experience is made up of little anecdotes. It always depends on the circumstances. You can say, “I prefer something,” and mean it.. and still find yourself desiring something different from time to time. I drink tea, but every now and then, I want coffee. I love steak, but my budget relegates me to eating far more chicken and fish than beef. Binary statements work with computers, but rarely is a human set to ‘1’ or ‘0’. There are extenuating circumstances that help us make our decisions.

This label of ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ is nothing but a label, a simple way to boil down a person into one set of traits. When you label someone as ‘straight,’ ‘gay’, or the ever less popular, ‘bi,’ what is being said is, “I don’t care that you’re brilliant at your job, or that you paint beautiful flowers, or that all of your friends see you as the person to call when they need help. I just care about who you fuck.”

Kinsey had the right idea with his scale. It is more accurate to say that humans tend towards sexual preferences. Look at how often two women scenarios come up in men’s porn. If they found homosexuality truly abhorrent, it wouldn’t matter if the two same-sex participants were men or women, but often times this is overlooked. If all women were straight, then the threesome would be nothing more than a fairy tale for grown men. And if these women were truly ‘gay,’ they wouldn’t want to have the man in the room while they were having fun, either. Sexuality is messy, and does not confine to expectations, no matter how much people wish that were true.

For example, Christopher Eccleson is married, and yet on the world premiere to Thor 2, he was asked a question about Tom Hiddleston and responded with, “You wouldn’t kick him out of bed.” Now, this is just an offhanded comment, but it gives you an insight into the way human minds work. We notice, even if we don’t act.

Sometimes our lack of action is from simple fear of rejection. It doesn’t matter who the object of our desire is, male, female, or a less distinct notion, when we want a person, we find ourselves terrified as to whether or not the other person might reject us. Certainly there are those who are bolder, and strike out with confidence, but they don’t want to be shot down either.

My father told me a joke when I was thirteen. He liked telling me ribald jokes, because I was finally old enough to get them. He said, “I’m trisexual – I’ll try anything once.”

That is what happens in life – we try things. Everyone has tried something sexually that worked for them, and things that didn’t. Each time, it was a discovery. And our ‘preferences’ never really prepare us for the reality of the person standing before us. Certainly we all want our lovers to be flawless in every way – perfect hair, perfect teeth, rock hard abs, a pert ass, a great laugh. The details we never fill in are the lopsidedness of their smile, or the way they screw up their face when they concentrate, or the fact that, just like you, they’re carrying 10 extra pounds. Perfection exists only in the human imagination.

I have had the unfortunate interaction with a relative who, when confronted with the idea that a man might sleep with another man, held up his fist and threatened violence to this poor, hypothetical individual. I’d never been confronted with homophobia before. I was startled by his vehemence. It was obvious that for him, whatever it meant to be gay to him, was a fear-inducing state. And I do understand that we fear what we don’t understand, and that is why we try to force ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ into tight-fitting strictures that make sense to us. It’s very difficult to say, “I’m straight except that one time when my boyfriend talked me into a threesome with my best friend when we were nineteen and drunk.” No one needs to know you that intimately, unless they’re going to know you that intimately in the near future.

I hope that there will come a time when society will stop trying to put everyone on ‘teams,’ and just accept an individual as an individual, for their personal preferences and wants. In our attempt to simplify even the most basic of questions about our fellow man, we are putting them into boxes, and we make assumptions based on those boxes, or what we think those boxes represent. What follows is a world that hates people for not conforming. This despite our inborn desire to been seen as individuals. This conflict will only end when people can find the strength to say, “Just because I don’t agree with [a given behavior], doesn’t mean it is wrong for everyone else.”

In the end, trying to define love with simple terms will never work, because love and attraction never follow the rules.

Boy Wonder

Today is my son’s sixth birthday. Yesterday he just graduated kindergarten. He wasn’t best in his class, but you must realize that there was only one person in class younger than him, and her birthday only a week away. Also realize that he spent the first six months of the year with an undiagnosed condition, ADHD. In young children it can be difficult to tell the difference between an active child and an ADHD child, so it took a while for us to think he may need additional help.

At his graduation ceremony, I felt so proud of Toby – in the past two weeks I’ve gone to two events where Toby participated, and unlike our first forays into his stage career, he was able to be still, be quiet, and be respectful. Honestly, more than reading or writing, being respectful is a big focus for me. My parents raised me to be respectful, Luke’s parents raised him to be respectful, and Toby’s in line for the same education.

It’s important to remember that it’s not the little guy’s fault. It’s just a part of who he is. We make sure he knows that.

Toby is such an amazing kid; I don’t even know where to start. He’s smart, and very observant. You can’t get much past him. His laugh is infectious and he’s such a loving child. He knows all the kids and breezes through social situations that would have *paralyzed* me at his age. Every teacher seems to know Toby, and all of them seem to hold him with genuine affection.

It’s important to mention how great Luke is with Toby, too. Just this morning Luke ran up the stairs singing the opening to Phineas and Ferb. “There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation..” I heard them giggling while I prepared lunch for the day.

Toby’s got his struggles too, but they’re kid sized. He recently got busted for buying breakfasts at school (he’s only supposed to buy lunches). He did it so he could have the sugar cereals we won’t let him eat at home. He tried to lie his way out of it, and then was hysterical when he realized he was busted. Later, though, he was so contrite, and very sorry, and almost broke my heart with how badly he felt. Now, as a parent, I don’t care about him having cereal, or spending a buck at school in the morning. I wasn’t thrilled that they were sugar cereals because sugar spikes his ADHD, and that makes his time at school more challenging for him and his teachers. But at the end of the day, I asked him not to do it, and he chose to sneak around behind my back and do it, and that needed to be addressed. When we’re kids we all do it, we all test our parents. It is the vengeance of our parents that someday we have to say, “You can’t do that.” to a defiant small one.

Being a parent is a very personal, individual choice. It’s as large of a deal as you can make. Some things you don’t get to decide. What gender you’re born with, or what ethnic background you come from. Being a parent is something you get to choose, even if you choose it by not being careful. I would never tell another person that they should have a child. But I will happily tell you how cool my kid is, and how proud I am, and how much I’ve learned and changed since I’ve had him.  

Six years ago my son entered the world, and sneezed. He didn’t cry, but looked around at the world with enormous, gorgeous eyes and looked pink and perfect. I fell in love with him and every day I fall in love again. I’m a happy mom, enjoying a special day.