Visual Details are treats you take in through the eyes, to remind yourself to feel as beautiful as you look today. Enjoy!
Archive for February, 2011
“A plan with action steps you don’t do is the same as not having a plan.”
Remember how I said something really amazing happened to me this week that convinced me to let go of my compulsive need to have a 10 year plan and just ride the waves of universe-given abundance, and other New Age, earthy stuff?
Well I just got a confirmation e-mail, confirming that I can share with all you Beautiful People what tripped me out. Look!
It’s my contributors copy! Yeah, you read that right. Contributor. Let’s turn to page 64, shall we?
Trippy, right? The second I finished wanking off to my accomplishment (what? I’m a capricorn, I live for this kind of stuff!) I sat down and actually read it. It’s actually a good book. Really good in fact.
I was expecting to enjoy it for all the predictable reasons- I contributed, I’ve read everything DS has ever written, I got it for free, etc.- but it’s actually a really, really good anthology of essays. I should also disclose that I generally enjoy reading both anthologies and essays so this is a total best-of-both-worlds kind of thing for me. If you’re not into that kind of stuff, you may not enjoy it as much as I did.
Even if I wasn’t a part of it, I’d still have bought it you guys, it’s that good. The mix of famous, industry famous and non-famous people is really good too. I think that will make it more meaningful to the demographic that will need this the most. Yeah, Ellen Degeneres is awesome and has a hot wife, but not all lesbians relate to her, you know?
I loved “Growing Up Gay…and Kinky,” because it was unexpected and bears saying.
The selection of essays from religious groups/people/leaders warmed my heart. There’s a lot of religion bashing in the gay rights movement. It’s understandable, but it’s also damaging to those who search for solace in an accepting god, especially for kids who so badly need solace in their young lives. Religion, when done right, is about love, and so is sexual orientation, so seeing an essay written in Arabic from a Christian man (amongst others) was uplifting.
There’s also a story I can no longer find about a lesbian farmer which is incredibly important. It wasn’t until well after I uploaded my video that I realised that not everybody will/wants to live in a big city and/or go to university.
In the book’s intro, Dan Savage also addressed the fact that that the IBGP won’t/can’t solve the gay bullying crisis, which is true. It’s too complex for a simple resolution to be sufficient. What it can do however, is to illustrate potential and provide positive reflections for LGBTQ youth, of themselves, in a highly accessible manner.
On the back flap of every book is a youth resource card, which was a smart move. You can slip out of the house, head out to the library and BAM! list of safe places for you to figure yourself out, right there. The parent resource card was an excellent move too.
If you’ve never seen them before, Dan Savage is actually the dude on the right and Terry Miller is the dude on the left. Their names are in alphabetical order, but the picture isn’t. I used to spend hours in the library as a kid, secretly reading each and every single book in the Gay & Lesbian section. That was how I first discovered Dan Savage, and I remember being scandalised by all the talk of santorum and safe words and rimming. (“You put your mouth where?!”)
That isn’t a part of this, but this is a part of that too.
I pass the baton onto you, Next Generation of Youth. Go forth, and read all the awesome literature that’s being produced to enrich your life and warm your soul.
A friend asked me if I get royalties for it. Nope. All the contributors, from Alison Bechdel to Ellen Degeneres to Barack Obama contributed their work gratis and all proceeds go to supporting the IGBP. You can find out more and pre-order your copy here.
If you’re of any age and are trying to figure yourself out, and discern what you want out of life and love, I have these three things to say:
1) I don’t know how to solve problems, but I do know how to listen, and if that’s what you need my dear, holla at a girl. I check my e-mail compulsively.
2) You are not alone, no matter how alone you feel. Sometimes, your monkey brain exaggerates the bad and shrinks the good, and if that’s what you’re going through, it’s OK to feel that way. Forcing yourself to be happy, while scientifically proven to be effective, isn’t necessarily the path for everybody. Sometimes, you just happen to be one of those people who needs time to ride the waves of sadness when they come, and then cauterize those wounds and move on when it’s time. There be help out there ya’ll!
3) It gets better. It may not get better tomorrow, or the day after, but if/when you make the choice, growing older can mean growing wiser and growing happier and you’re growing each and every second of each and every day, even as you sit here right now. Woah, right?
I mean, look at me! My life is awesome, and I have no idea what the hell I’m doing any more. I feel lost, but the journey’s pretty cool, so I’m going with it. I think the point isn’t to fall in love with someone and live in a nice house with an amazing career and cute clothes. I think the point is to fall in love with yourself, and be so deeply in love that the feeling is unshakeable and eternal, in the face of all the smelly shit life throws your way. You love yourself so much that even the stankiness of reality can’t shake your own beautiful groove. Hot.
P.S. I’m not sure if you can see it clearly, but the cover quote is by a man named Armistead Maupin. If you’re at all a bookworm and enjoy LGBTQ fiction, go read his stuff. I find it poignant and highly fitting that he was the one chosen to do the quote, considering that he didn’t even feel safe to come out until he was thirty, and now he’s rich and famous and totally living the IGB mantra like a pro.
I love wood. (Tee Hee!) No seriously though, immaturity aside, I really do love using trees and twigs and bark and woody colour palettes as design elements. We work so hard as people to remove ourselves from the harshness of nature, only to forget that we are a part of nature itself.
Remember how I said yesterday that I want to live inside an albino redwood tree that looks like it’s been blessed by Tibetan monks and New York City Drag queens? By that, I meant that I want to bring the elements into my home and then tszuj it up. I have a vision for reclaimed tree stump bedside tables, a small water fountain by my door, a mini desert greenhouse, scented candles, lots of foliage and liberal use of white and white space.
Voila le inspiration board for the albino redwood tree!
Descriptions, clockwise from the top:
- Tree branch book shelf- love the general idea of using book storage as a decorating element, and sprawling it all over the walls.
- All white room with a giant wooden pantry- my obsession with all while rooms probably means something about my sanity. I just accept it now.
- Gold leaf twig wallpaper, wood framed mirror- I think this is how Snow White decorated her dressing room.
- All wooden, rustic country bedroom- Snow White’s bedroom. Or as Carson Kressley would say “Look at this country gymboree!”
- The wooden dining table that started my interest in unfinished wooden furniture.
- Intricate wooden headboards- I actually don’t do well with headboards. I toss and turn a lot while I sleep and crashing into them while turning over or stretching in the middle of the night is a common occurrence. I have to sleep on a queen sized bed and stack body-length pillows against the wall to protect myself. If they weren’t such a safety hazard, I’d probably have that exact one.
- Love, inscribed over a bed. I’m covetous of this idea. Methinks I should paint the word into my wall above the bed instead?
I also made colour palettes to help me along in the design process. Thanks to smartphones I can take them along with me to Home Depot and do a colour match. (I hope.)
Colourful Trees is the pallet for my furniture, Bedroom is for accessories, beddings and window coverings. They’re just jumping off points for shopping, but it’s nice to have the visual cues.
Color by COLOURlovers
I cannot tell you how excited I am to actually begin putting serious effort into decorating my abode. There will be much thrift-store shopping and public park exploring in the next long while, believe you me! I watched too many episodes of Queer Eye as a little girl to not believe in the magic of a makeover!
May the fabulous be with you,
FYI, whenever I disappear from my every-weekday-plus-Sunday posting regiment, this is why:
See that book? It’s one of SIX that need to be read on the weekly, plus my personal library of books that are actually interesting. Not an excuse- just an explanation.
Yesterday, I have very little memory of, other than somehow finding it within myself to do an essay a whole two days before it’s due. Progress!
Around 2am, I had a sudden burst of real inspiration: I was going to create a plan for the rest of my life! So I opened up an Excel spread sheet and got to work. At 6am I finally collapsed into bed with but one thought in my head- “I feel overwhelmed”. All the things on my list? I have a genuine desire for them.The timeline I’ve put myself on? It makes me feel like my dreams are slave drivers, and that stuff ended centuries ago.
I went back and deleted my life plan. I’m so over that sound track.
Today, is the best day of my life so far.
I was woken up this morning (o.k. it was technically 1 in the afternoon) by the sound of the door bell. Canada Post delivered something today that reinforced everything I decided yesterday: the best laid plan are candles in the winds of life. Nowhere in my past plans did I ever, ever make a section for the accomplishment that was brought to me this morning, but I did it regardless.
Where do I go from here? Well, I’ve made peace with the fact that I will miss out on a lot in the future by not having a plan right now. I’m certainly going to lose the image and ego that comes with being the Kind Of Girl Who Always Knows What She’d Doing and Where She’s Going, and that sucks because it was a really impressive schtick while I had it. But, I’m leveraging on my future at the expense of my present.
Yeah, I’ll miss out on a lot by tossing out my 5 year plan, but in the place of those things, I have made space for better things to happen.
Here’s the current plan, for now, based on areas of focus.
My purse is 14.6 pounds. That’s a small child I’m lugging around on my shoulders! I want to pare it down to the necessities. I mean, I will never need 150 floss-toothpicks at once. Why do I have a giant bag of them with me at all times?
The room came furnished. I don’t have a natural sense of interior design aesthetics, but like all great skills in life, I know that sort of thing can be learned. Mama Daring said she’d support me in redecorating and so did two friends who are furniture designers(!!). I want my room to feel like I’m living inside an albino redwood tree that’s been blessed by Tibetan monks and a New York City drag queen. I call it The Clubhaus.
It’s time to take the rose coloured glasses off about university. This place is not a movie set with a Hot Professor just waiting to marry me so we can be the cool, quirky, well-read couple with a charming age gap by the closing credits. *ahem* It’s my reality and my reactionary work flow of jumping from one emergency “OMG!I!HAVE!6!HOURS!TO!WRITE!THIS!PAPER!” to the next is exhausting and stupid. Plus, I don’t look cute in panic mode.
This is the fuel for the majority of weekends. I spend Friday shopping and getting ready for the evening, and then I spend Saturday recovering from the madness. It’s not even fun any more- it’s just a rut I’ve perfected. If I keep this up, by the end of the year I’ll have lost 104 days/ 28% of the possible opportunities that 2011 brings me to actually do things that are meaningful to me. Let’s not even discuss my liver. How/why my weekends so quickly denigrated into mindless debauchery is beyond me, but awareness is the first step in change, right? I want to fill my weekends with the same kind of music/dancing/dressing-up routine that I enjoy, but go into the next Monday having remembered it all.
My dear friend’s boyfriend pointed out that I could have come to this “zen out and take it slow” conclusion in 20 minutes and gotten a full night’s sleep if I had just smoked a joint and listened to good music. But my method of self-discovery is a little more poetic, don’t you think?
Yours in love,
I really want to find more confidence when it comes to writing about sex. It’s such a universal subject, while somehow managing to remain incredibly isolating. I’ve charged myself with articulating the things we find it difficult to discuss, so let’s start tackling this one. Sex, that elusive search for another person’s body heat, and the even more elusive (at least, it seems to be for women) search for orgasms.
I once heard an orgasm described as the crescendo of a pleasure waterfall, which I think is incredibly accurate. For those precious few seconds, you’re suddenly overcome with a distinct euphoria that is at the mercy of, and at once entirely removed from, everything that happened leading up to that point. It’s a precious few seconds where there’s nothing in the world but you, your erratic heartbeat and those agonizingly gratifying muscle contractions. My favourite part of orgasms is that, like all things good in life, you have the ability to take it into your own hands and create your own experience with it, regardless of whether or not anybody else is around to support you. Your orgasm, your way. It’s like the Burger King of sexuality.
I worked for several months at a retail sex toy store, and at least once a week, I’d have a woman stand in front of me, wallet in hand, confessing that she’d never had one. The part that upset me the most is that 98% of the time, I’d eventually discover that she wasn’t pre-orgasmic (that’s the actual sex-therapy word for a sexually active person of any gender who has yet to experience an orgasm) due to being physiologically incapable of reaching the crescendo, but because she’d never felt comfortable enough, or worse yet, aroused enough, to achieve one. That breaks my heart a million different ways because in all the while that I worked at our location, not once did I ever encounter someone with a penis admitting to not being comfortable enough with his body to orgasm. (I never had any openly trans clients to my knowledge.)
It was empowering to sell those women their first Ophoria or Lelo or We Vibe (the top 3 selling brands of quality sex toys in the industry). I felt like I was doing my own part to give these women the tools they needed to break a little freer from the shackles of the patriarchy that was repressing their sexual pleasure. I loved that I had a training manual and my own personal experience and an employee discount at my arsenal to help women get more in touch with themselves.
Perhaps this phenomenon of the pre-orgasmic female (pre-orgasmic due to a lack of comfort as opposed to the entirely separate and totally out of my league pre-orgasmic due to a physical inability) is a heavily heterosexual dilemma. I hear, more often than I’m comfortable hearing, of ladies who’s personal sexual exploration begins and ends at the hands of their male partners. I thought it would stop once I quit that job, but people’s knowledge of my work history makes them very comfortable talking to me about such things. Granted, I’m quite glad to listen, and not just because I’m nosy and can listen without judging. It’s because when I hear of a woman struggling to relax and enjoy her own body, I relate and resonate with that struggle in a very raw way. My struggles with my sexuality are long over, but my struggles with being totally OK inside myself and my personal expectations aren’t. Different story, same plot line.
Fundamentally, a (biological, cisgendered) man can never, ever, truly understand what it means and feels like to have a vulva, and a vagina and a clitoris. No matter how many hours you spend sexing each other up, his contact time with you will never add up to all the hours in your life that you’ve lived inside your own beautiful body. I get that couples can learn how to please each other well, but for some reason, I can’t shake the notion out of my head that our orgasms need to be our own responsibility, much in the same way that our intelligence and our overall happiness in life are also our own responsibilities. It’s important to feel satisfied within a coupling, but its so much more important to feel satisfied within your self-relationship. Even if you stay together till death do you ‘part, one of you is gonna die first, and if you’re a woman, you’re probably going to be the one to outlive your male partner.
To expect someone living a physiologically separate existence to somehow magically develop an intimate understanding of yourself (especially when it would appear that even you are struggling to develop that same understanding) seems like a frustrating way to go about having mind-blowing orgasms.
I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly don’t have the answer to this one, but I do still remember what my training manual told me to say in these situations:
- It’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with your partner, if you are having partnered sex, but masturbation is a powerful and fun way to get in touch with your fantasies and desires.
- Focusing on your breathing can help you relax considerably.
- Sometimes, you just have to be patient with yourself. Everybody experiences their bodies in different way and finding out how yours works should be fun! If it’s not fun, try something new!
I’m going to think about this issue more, because if I’m just obsessive like that, but for now, all I can do is identify the issue and attempt to grapple for a semblance of a resolution. I’d like to do more research and write a gay and lesbian version of this essay. But the third point is, I think, the most important one- sex should be fun, not degrading or oppressive or upsetting or a trigger for feelings of inadequacy.
That’s why Valentine’s Day sort of bothers me- not because it’s a manufactured holiday, but because it seems to make it really difficult for people to just have fun with their love/sex lives. They either worry about living up to expectations, or gripe about the fact that it’s a fake day, or gripe about being single. Since when did we take the date on the calendar so seriously? Sex, and the pursuit of the orgasm, just like Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year, should be just another way of enjoying what it means to be alive in this world. Fun and liberating.
The great thing about Valentine’s Day is that just like every other day of the year, its significance is whatever you attach to it. If today didn’t meet your expectations, there are essentially two courses of action: change your expectations or learn from your experience and try again tomorrow.
I love how life lessons apply so readily to sexy times.
Om shanti sexy,
Today’s lipstick: Covergirl Outlast Double Lipshine in Spring Wine
The question of the day, every day, is “What are you going to do so that today’s the best day ever, and tomorrow’s going to be even better?”
Yesterday, I had an incredibly uplifting Skpye chat with David, a.k.a. The Love Of My Life. I’ve been seriously thinking about the kinds of people I want to be friends with, and the events that lead me to ask that question. He quietly listened when I recounted the tale. When I was done, he said something to me that I can’t stop replaying in my head: “When someone is as articulate as you are, it’s really easy to fool people into thinking you’re OK, with all that intelligence of yours. You’ve talked everyone into thinking you’re just fine, including yourself.” It was an Aha! moment.
“I think in all of your writing, you’ve learned to derive a sense of catharsis from planning. Now you need to learn to feel that same sense of catharsis from actually doing. You have to put your journal down and go do.”
Today, I want to act on that golden tongue wisdom. I’ve noticed that when I write down my goals inside my notebook, I often forget to open up my notebook again until the end of the day. So today, I’m writing my goals down on an index cards so the page is always open and face-up. The index card will come around everywhere with me. I’m worried about what will happen when I’m running a multi-million dollar company and my to-do list is longer than an index card, but let’s focus on today’s issues and figure out what works for now.
The other thing I did when I wrote out my daily goals was to write why I want to do that particular thing today, as a way to add a little more urgency and meaning to the task. For example, the first goal on my list is “Write utilitarian analysis of dynamic pricing issue so I have less of the overall essay to do tomorrow”. I often find myself just doing random crap so I can say I’ve done things. If I up the percentage of meaningful things I do, I should live more meaningfully, right?
Hey beautiful people! I have an upper respiratory tract infection. Sexy. Look at me, with those pouty chapped lips and fleece blanket. Who do you know that looks cuter when they can hardly breathe? But really though, I’m exhausted and need some sleep. Be back on Monday, healthy and refreshed!
-A.Y. loves you