The Virus

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Credit: netsafe.org.nz

“A virus she had,” is all that was spoken
one that addled the brain, blurred sight
and entirely enervated. A toxin floated
on a pin head slid down to the pricking
point and stabbed her, the poison flow,
its silent torrent of spinning warheads
secretly shot through her blood. She,
in substance, infected by invisible vile,
deceptively imperceptibly close, inside,
it’s like a secret stalker gone mad or
an embezzling friend, a trusted insider
and adviser to the company president.

After it struck, she felt the beginning
sensed the destruction, a slight itching
her skin, which escalated to a burning
atop the nerve endings that swelled up
and made her hands twitch with tremor
a palsied pantomime of a confused cry
“help!” or an indecipherable wave ‘bye.
And eyes dried up, had nowhere to turn
for the lack of tears to lubricate. Her lids
rasped heat across them until they were
forced open. And just as she felt flame
belching forth from her ears and feet,
trying to listen and run, the big balloon,
inflamed with too much floating-ful gas,
the bloated being she had become yet
the cellular spread like ink on water or
heartfelt lies to a congregant, popped
and shrunk, shriveled to the ground
with no chance of sky born flight again.

She could no longer hope about falling
and cashing checks and trips to a cafe
or her dreams of graduating cum laude.
She was downed. No wind could carry
scraps to the trash can, beyond repair.
A low creeping agent kept repeating it,
again and again and again, sucking out
her cells with lies and fleas, a skin fleck
disease. The potency was in a constant,
the endless duplication and replication,
ever in her face, in her mind, her heart
with words that buzzed and whirred and
shrieked love and calamitous pitiful fear.
She could not help but move her fingers
this way and turn her head a quarter turn
that way, and smile that sly forged smile.

It was insidious.
The antidote clear.
Only it was too late.
The virus never left her.
Even after her skin cooled
and her mind clarified
her body reformed.
It blemished
like a scar
stained
rusted
ruin.

Published on Rebellesociety.com

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Please visit Rebellesociety.com to read or re-read “Sun Salutations While Surviving a Short Stint in County Jail.

The editing of the piece was handled a little differently on this site, which is interesting to note.

Rebellesociety.com is a wonderful site for embracing and fostering creativity of all sorts. I have reblogged from this site to share some of the important topics covered.

Enjoy, Peace, Namaste….
And thank you once again for your continuing support.

A World with no Mistresses

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credit: http://www.troll.me/images/conspiracy-keanu/

A world without mistresses is a world that prizes honor above all else. This mistress-less world or region or culture raises children not merely to believe in themselves or to obey their parents, but to honor themselves and others.

That is not to imply all mistresses are dishonorable.

What is honor? As a verb (per google), it is to “regard with great respect” and synonymous with “esteem, respect, admire, defer to, look up to; appreciate, value, cherish, adore; reverence, revere, venerate, worship; put on a pedestal.”

It also means “pay public respect to” and is synonymous with “applaud, acclaim, praise, salute, recognize, celebrate, commemorate, commend, hail, lionize, exalt, eulogize, pay homage to, pay tribute to, sing the praises of.”

The second definition is to “fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement).”

The honor that means respect, defer to and appreciate is half the meaning of the honor that eliminates the need for a mistress. For what is it to honor the self?

Honoring self means first knowing the self. Those with self esteem believe the self worthy of curiosity and thereby knowledge. Knowing thyself as the ancients and moderns recommend for a happier life–or more meaningful, anyhow–is key.

To take inventory of the self, one’s traits good and bad, is the first step. It takes honesty, something simple in concept, difficult in practice but is that which makes honor work.

Taking frank inventory is difficult because we delude ourselves, suffer under preconceptions inherited by our parents’ stories and opinions of us that we mistake as our own.

Sometimes we do not know our own voice from others’ in our heads telling us we are kind, pretty or argumentative.

My mother always told me that I needed to have the last word on everything, that I was argumentative.

Did she label me so based on my tendency to challenge or her interpretation and reaction to being questioned? Perhaps that “confrontation” was actually curiosity or clarification by a nervous, perfectionistic kid who wanted to make sure she got everything right. If she told me to do something and I asked “Why?” was I challenging her or trying to understand? Her perception, as a busy mother of 5 kids, was that I argued.

We are complex beings and require vigilant and continuous monitoring, listening and considering to understand what we do and how we do what we do: our motivations, desires and traits.

A culture that prized honor would encourage in schools, on billboards and on television, deeds of self-respect. It would teach children not merely to quietly and mindlessly obey the commands of a teacher or words of an adult, but to stay quiet in order to listen to their heartbeat and breath.

Training them young to focus on their bodies, paying attention to its sounds and sensations, would be a foundational step to knowing themselves, easiest commenced with the physical. They would learn that how they feel is manifest in the physical and certain thoughts create physical reactions. They would know, “When I am afraid, I forget to exhale.”

They would learn yoga to keep their bodies in focus and minds quiet. This preparatory practice for meditation is required daily to hear, feel and understand themselves. It takes a quiet that is deeper and stiller than mere mouth closing.

Not that yoga and meditation are the formula to acquiring knowledge or a happy society. But those “indoctrinated” (we are all indoctrinates of a time and place) in the benefits–the necessity–for what these yield–inner focus and listening to one’s authentic voice–fare better in the odds of achieving self-knowledge requisite to honoring self.

To honor self requires self knowledge and honesty. If I know truly who I am, that I am argumentative, kind, clumsy, perfectionistic, fair, foolish and the rest of the adjectives to fill up the half dozen pages or so, I can fairly represent myself to others and circumscribe or expand my life to fit those known attributes or liabilities.

Able to accurately represent myself, I can choose those with whom I enter into agreements, knowing the wisdom of doing so and understanding humans as organic beings; we change and so our needs and wants shift.

This brings me to the second part of the definition of honor, which is fulfilling agreements. All relationships are agreements and thus negotiable.

If I honor you, I come to you honestly. I tell you who I am to the best of my ability. I present myself in hopes of being accepted as that bundle of stuff at that particular moment.

I look at you and run as fair an assessment as possible of who you are and then evaluate whether we bring enough to one another to enter into a relationship at all or if so, to what extent, degree or duration.

If I know that I am a monogamous person but you are not or are not to the same degree and definition as I am, then I must not expect monogamy from you or not enter into a relationship with you if I cannot change my need or expectation for myself.

This all takes the respect to accept people, including the self, as they/we are. Easier in an ideal world that values honor, honesty, knowledge, and integrity above all else, more than money, competition, power, blind obedience, or equality.

When people enter relationships with a firm grasp of their strengths and weaknesses, they offer an other both limitations and options for growth, romantically, sexually, financially, and communally. They offer avenues of achieving goals and desires.

They also bring liabilities which limit growth and possibility.

Think about the odds of finding the ideal match for child rearing and reproducing, financial and emotional support, sexual compatibility, friendship and trust. If you could design your life and honestly acknowledge that who you are and what you want requires serial relationships or multiple relationships throughout time or at any given time to achieve that, your odds of success would be greater if you found someone(s) like minded.

So, if you lived in a society of candid communicators that believed in respecting self and others, honored them, you could have the frank discussion of who you are and what you need.

And partial honesty severely limits what I can do with you, how much I can depend on you and what barriers I have to create in order to work around you to enjoy other aspects of you. I cannot place delicate and precious things in your hands.

But when the odds are in favor of meeting likeminded open and honest people, I could be engaged with people for as long as and in as many ways as I wanted and needed. I could agree to monogamy until that was not right for either or both of us with the understanding that all relationships are negotiable. Cheating would be eliminated. All would be negotiated.

Not that feelings would be spared and misunderstandings or cheating wouldn’t occur. But the likelihood of cheating would be reduced. The mistress would go out of style if the society that honors self and others, realistically, openly communicated their needs and desires.

Capable of loving many and so consensually enter into relationships with several open, honest and communicative people at once, true polyamorous people contribute to that potential of the mistress-less world.

True polyamory, to my understanding, eliminates cheating. It takes work to live in polyamory, more work than keeping up a lie of monogamy. The former is active and constant while the latter is passive and repressive.

Honesty and communication are acts of honor. They are crucial to monogamy or polyamory or any healthy, happy relationship and are a constant practice for readiness to understanding and acceptance.

The mistress exists and has existed for many reasons. Historically, she filled gaps for royalty politically not romantically married.

Today, she fills another kind of gap, which is the monogamy gap. It appears between what we say we want and need or our society prescribes for us and what we actually do.

She also exists because some live for risk, adventure and danger afforded only by secrecy and the forbidden entwined in her.

In that ideal fantasy world of honoring self and others, where would the clandestine loving seekers go for the thrill of the forbidden?

Beyond Monogamy: exploring the possibilities of the human heart

No Place For Sheep

monogamy not amrried to the idea

Like many of our abstract sacred moral concepts, the cult of monogamy is reified to the degree that it’s considered “natural” for humans to live within its framework. Never mind that people break out all the time, and that the entirely monogamous relationship exists more in the theory than in the practice, still the monogamous ideal dominates our culture’s sexual and loving relationships.

However, “it just is” has never been a persuasive argument for me, and the reification fallacy of misplaced concreteness always comes in useful when thinking about morality.

I’ve wondered often if one of the unacknowledged goals of monogamy is to protect us from experiencing difficult emotions such as jealousy, insecurity, a sense of abandonment, of being displaced by another. Of loss, of insignificance, and so on. These are emotions we first experience in childhood, for some of us when we acquire siblings, and for all of…

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What’s in a Name? Are you a polyamorous pansexual?

A solar system a vortex,
some believe so,
the sun sucking in
all in its range
in ever closing spirals.
That I am too, no matter,
a vortex with spirals,
children, pets, students,
parents, friends, strangers
and partners and lovers.
As my trajectory spans
the sky of my life,
I feel those close,
farther and further
ahead and behind.
I merge with them,
drag and spin them,
catapulting
their weight and shape
to bend to and for me.
I draw people powerfully
with my own pulse.

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credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/cyCtmtIu8Ks/maxresdefault.jpg

As I sometimes do, I asked my oldest daughter recently about her love interests, which appeared to be no one in particular, and as was almost always the case, she was noticeably uncomfortable with the question.

I am never sure when I ask her, that I should ask and what I should ask. My nearly nineteen year old has never been seen openly intimate with anyone thus far, though she clearly has interests to be so.

If I am honest with myself, I ask with more than mere conversational curiosity. It isn't quite concern, either. But as her mother, I want to know about her thoughts, feelings, interests and difficulties. As a budding adult human, however, she appears reluctant to share the complexity of her desires with me. Or maybe she can't articulate them and adopts a defensive posture.

However it is, I feel as uncomfortable asking her after I receive the response: "What are you trying to get from me, Mom?" Or often she will joke, "There's no one who has agreed to join the awkward club."

Yet, I know she goes out with friends, has a seemingly active social life with people of various overt and covert identities, as far as I can tell. Some are declaratively gay or lesbian. Others are more difficult to discern.

Once I asked her outright if she were in a relationship with a friend I knew to be a lesbian. After her usual overly joyous forced laugh, she steered the conversation to a more general discussion of sexual identity. Somewhere in the conversation, she declared she was pansexual.

I thought I knew what that term meant, but I wasn’t so sure she did. However, a sure way to kill the conversation was to get pedantic, probing definitions from her.

But I couldn’t help myself and asked her if she meant polyamory or pansexuality. After a blank look, she gave a decided, slow shake of the head in dismissal of me and the subject and moved on.

These morphing adults are so hard to get a handle on when they are your own offspring. I have better luck with college students I teach, though I never ask about their sexual or romantic orientation. Some offer it up unasked or wear it like a uniform, however.

After our neat little chat, I, of course, retired to my cave for some research on the topic that piqued my curiosity. There are so many terms to identify sexual and intimate orientations or inclinations that I get dizzy sometimes, despite my mastery of Greek and Latin prefixes.

The synthesis of my readings led me to believe that pansexuality is sexual openness for attraction to all gender/sexual identities: gay, lesbian, tran, cis, androgynous, to name a few off the top of an exhaustive list. Admittedly, I had to click the links to some labels.

Polyamory, as the word’s root suggests, is about loving multiply with open honesty (how else could you get away with multiple partners?). Loving is used broadly to encompass emotional intimacy and/or sexual intimacy.

What draws me often to this term–polyamory–is the notion of multiply loving that may or may not include sex. Intuitively and experientially, the idea resonates with me, especially when I reflect on all of the relationships of my life to date.

I have had love/sex relationships, love only relationships and sex only relationships with various gender-identified partners. I have known friends I have loved more than lovers, wanted to be with more than with my monogamous partner at the time. The ratio of sexual to emotional attachment or engagement has differed with each relationship long or short.

Long-distance relationships have been some of the most intense emotionally and romantically, perhaps due to the effort they require to maintain. In those, the physical to emotional calibration is far different from the daily relationship, though both are intense. The challenge of each–lack of physical touch vs. daily friction of minutia–hones different skills and underscores individual strengths and weaknesses.

I have far more patience for promise than reality, I find. Perhaps I am not much different from most in that regard–fantasy is so much more malleable than reality.

But this is why polyamory makes sense to me. I love so many people and each uniquely, which is reasonable given that each brings a specific set of attributes to a relationship. The combinations are endless in light of the global population.

I think we do largely operate polyamorously. At times, we love our girl friends or guy friends as much as or more than we love our chosen ones, our significant others. Why the term is not more widely adopted, however, is the underpinning of the term: honesty.

For all kinds of reasons, the least of which may be cultural, sociological, historical and/or biological, people around me cannot acknowledge they love to various degrees many people. It’s too threatening–to their security or sense of how things should be, as they always have been in the ways of love in monogamy.

And I am not knocking monogamous coupling as it has immeasurable benefits personally and communally. But monogamy may be not only unfit for some people as a lifestyle, but also unfit for any person at any given point along the timeline of his or her lifelong relationships.

We are a fluid people. We change, many of us. This does not suggest we are fickle or shallow lovers. It means we grow and shrink as we move through life. If we are honest, and that is not only critical but terribly challenging, we acknowledge our love and desire flux. If we are brave, we honor it and engage with others who are likewise brave enough to acknowledge it.

That takes continual checking in, open communication and honesty with self and others–a daily life practice.

So while pansexuality is a political term, in my mind, one that respects choice and a host of other attributes derivative of anatomy, biology and psychology, polyamory is the umbrella term of intimacy.

Pansexuality makes sense for my young daughter hell bent on railing against the evils of society, her youth the reason for her informed intimacy deficit.

Polyamory is not about having sex with lots of people. And the question of sexually transmitted diseases is encompassed by the honesty prerequisite. You cannot do polyamory without the honesty.

The choice and the identity is about loving people as we do, when we do and how we do–in our spanning days roaming the earth hunting and gathering, doing the business of living.

And Then There’s Phallophobia

Yesterday was Slut Shaming and Vagina Dentata. Today, I randomly encountered the correlating fear of genitalia while trolling Facebook for just such tidbits of inane trivia.

Phallophobia is a fear of penises, according to the mostcommonphobia.com website. According to the authors, the phobia most commonly derives from childhood trauma, but I would add that it may also come from such an experience as the one depicted below:

Such is a Tuesday morning in my small world of peculiar Facebook friends.

Be safe out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A History of Sluts”

A chronicle of powerful women who made their mark and were slut shamed, “A History of Sluts,” by artists Chelsea Dom and Alice Lancaster, endeavors to expose these women and their treatment.

“Slut-shaming has become so engrained in our culture that it’s now a normal and accepted practice. Women are taught to see their bodies as something shameful. I wanted to show through my project that some of the most powerful and influential women in history have been slut shamed. It’s okay to be confident and empowered. We have to take away the fear associated with the female body, and not ostracize those who openly express their sexuality.”

Fear about the female body brought back memories of some of the early myths about women that embodied such fear like the vagina dentata (toothed vagina) myth of the Greeks.

Fun research this inquiry provoked and here are some of the unearthed jewels:

Vaginas with Teeth–and Other Sexual Myths, which is a riotously good read and short, if you are in the mood to be bewildered and bemused.

And for the completely whacky, there is this movie clip called Teeth, apparently a 2007 movie about a young woman who found she had teeth in her vagina? I missed it when it hit the theaters, so I’m guessing.

In other words, the fear of women and the aggression it provokes is age old. Enculturating women to be ashamed of their bodies, rape, mutilation by self or others, slut shaming and other practices, despite laws, public outcry and international outrage, persist.

Relentless exposure of these practices, specifically brought to women’s consciousness and men’s consciences is critical to change behaviors, and educate as well as empower all people.

I cannot get behind all political art, but I like this project. Art messages the way words do not. The drawn subjects are well-chosen and representative of impactful women. I look forward to owning a copy.