Sunday, January 24, 2016

1-24-2016 Entry: Polyamory 102, a Continuing Journey Into Non-Monogamy

Hello my darlings. I know it has been a while since I checked in but life has been both busy and yet, pretty uneventful. Compared to the festivities of last weekend and the potentialities of new romance, this weekend has been somewhat of a drag. Don’t get me wrong, there was still fun socializing but nothing quite as exciting as the topless hot-tub adventure of last week, although I suppose it would be unreasonable to expect that every weekend.

You may recall that I said this past Friday would be my first trip to a swinger “play party” with my poly girlfriend but unfortunately Rose was mistaken about the day of the party, which isn’t until this coming Friday. I was a bit sad to hear that I’d have to wait another week to have this experience, but such is life. I am still just as eager, if not more eager, thanks to the added anticipation to go to this queer-friendly play party.

The extra week also gave me the opportunity to truly reflect on whether or not I wanted to actually do this, or if I was jumping into something I wasn’t ready for simply because the opportunity presented itself. I believe that I am ready for this, even if I feel a bit nervous about it. I’m hoping having Rose there to sort of take care of me will make this experience a really good one.

But enough about that, I’m sure I will have plenty to talk about once that has actually happened, so definitely be sure to check in next weekend for my report about the party. Today, however, I want to talk more about polyamory and my experience of it thus far.

As with any new experience there are sure to be ups and downs, excitements and disappointments, victories and setbacks, and the general anxiety of the unknown. Rose and I have been seeing each other for about a month and a half. I believe our first date was in the early part of December or the end of November (I cannot recall) and she has stayed the night with me twice. I did not get to see her this weekend because she and her husband had some family duties to attend to, but I will be seeing her tomorrow morning (and this coming Friday, of course).

Although we do not get to see one another super often, we definitely talk every day. Every morning she sends me a message like “Good morning beautiful” or “Good morning sexy woman” and every night she tells me goodnight in a similar fashion. We talk on the phone probably 3 or 4 times a week and our conversations are always interesting. They are not always good or even great, which is where the downs, disappointments, and setbacks start to come into play.

The first negative to this whole situation is simply that I do not get to see or talk to my girlfriend as much as I would honestly like. I’m not sure if this is just a consequence of having been in a relationship for 6 years where we spent maybe 10 days away from one another in that entire time, or if I just legitimately feel like we don’t spend enough time together. I know that she misses me and that she gives me about as much time as she honestly can, but there are lonely days/nights/moments where I wish she was around when she isn’t or can’t be.

The second negative to this situation is that the primary partner always comes before me, the secondary partner. I know you are probably thinking that jealousy is an issue here, but that’s only a very small piece of the puzzle. Yes, there is a tinge of jealousy at times when she talks to me about her sex-life with her husband. She never goes into super inappropriate details so that I am uncomfortable, but knowing that they have spent the morning together doing dom/sub play or rope-play makes me feel a bit jealous that I wasn’t a part of it or that the so-called play wasn’t with me instead. The jealousy is honestly fleeting and rarely sticks around for very long. It, thus far, has not created a problem for me or made me feel so uncomfortable that I want to end the relationship.

This dynamic of the primary coming before the secondary is also problematic in other ways outside of jealousy. To put it simply, if there is drama in the relationship between my g/f and her primary (an argument, a disagreement, family issues with the kids), that drama inevitably spills over into our relationship. If there is drama between her primary and one of his secondary partners, that inevitably spills over into their relationship, which then spills into Rose and I’s relationship. This is not to say that this spilling over has become a huge problem, but I have had to set some boundaries on this subject. When the conversation between Rose and I becomes too much like a marriage therapy session where I’m acting as a marriage counselor or confidant, things become problematic for me.

As I had to tell Rose, and as I would suggest to anyone out there thinking about polyamory, the secondary partner should not be the shoulder to always cry on when things with the primary partner don’t go well. It’s unreasonable to think that there won’t be at least some inevitable spillover when issues arise, but there is a difference between being spilled on and becoming a dumping ground for unresolved feelings. I have been happy to be a friend and to share the intimacy of such deep and private feelings, but there is a certain point when things go too far. For me, it’s when the conversation becomes about nothing besides her marital woes instead of us connecting about how much we like one another, mutual interests/experiences, or desires for the future. For you, that line might come sooner or later, but the key to navigating this issue is to set boundaries and to speak up for yourself when you feel uncomfortable. If you are fortunate like I am to have a mature and balanced partner, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If it is a problem to set boundaries or to speak up when you are uncomfortable, then I would advise taking a good, hard look at whether or not the relationship is worth the trouble.

The final issue I’ve run into since I began this journey into polyamory is the limitations it places upon you should you desire to add another relationship to your life. Not everyone is okay with sharing, and not everyone is even okay with someone who is okay with sharing. Polyamory is a lifestyle that few people truly understand and even fewer actively engage in, so unless you get in with a community of poly people (which tends to happen; birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes) your pool of potential romantic partners becomes smaller; especially if you are hoping to maintain that initial poly relationship.

What this means is that should you begin to see someone that you really like and they tell you that they do not want to share you, you must make a difficult decision. Ideally you were open about your poly life from the beginning (seriously, be open, nobody likes a player) so you’ve hopefully had some time to consider this possible outcome, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. What happens if you are a secondary partner and it’s going really well, but you start seeing someone who you like a lot, but maybe not as much as your first poly-partner, and they want you to become exclusive? If you are their primary/solo partner, then a monogamous relationship could be possible whereas with your first poly-partner it will never be possible because you are a secondary. What do you do? Do you stick with your poly-partner knowing that it will never become more than it is already, or do you give that up to be monogamous with your other less-desired partner where things could eventually end up in marriage/kids/etc.?

Only you can know the answer to that question but the important thing is to consider this crossroads before you get to it. Obviously none of us have a crystal ball that prepares us for every twist in the road of life, but it’s really important to have a basic contingency plan should you be placed in this situation. For me, the answer is relatively easy. I would go with the monogamous relationship over the poly relationship simply because of the potentials it offers that the poly relationship doesn’t. This contingency, should also be discussed with your poly-partner as well so they know that it is a possibility. Thankfully Rose and I have had this discussion and we are both on the same page that eventually, I will likely find someone who doesn’t want to share me and if that happens I will likely break things off with her for that monogamous relationship. We have both accepted the ramifications of that contingency and have decided to move forward despite them.

But polyamory is not all thorns. There are roses to this situation as well, and often they are positive aspects of the very same vine. Not getting to see my poly g/f all the time means I have plenty of time to do the things I want while not having to worry about constantly attending to her needs. My marriage was unbelievably codependent, and oftentimes detrimentally so. My ex and I were both very codependent people. She constantly needed someone to rescue her or to clean up her messes and I was constantly looking for opportunities to be her knight in shining armor. In bigger ways this played out with me working a job I detested to help her pay for her massive student loan bills, or by me taking care of financial situations that she was too overwhelmed to deal with. In smaller ways this played out with me going out of my way to do small favors for her like picking her up from work when she could have taken the bus home, or by me saving her from her often overpowering emotions. I cannot count the number of times I had to calm her down or soothe her rampant anxiety when she got herself worked up. I don’t have to do that with this poly-relationship, and I never really will.

Sure, sometimes Rose has a shitty day and needs someone to talk to in order to feel better, but that’s not the same thing as becoming so overwhelmed that she requires me to comfort her by saying that everything will be okay and that things aren’t as bad as they seem. Rose doesn’t *depend* on me to comfort her or to rescue her when things become too difficult to handle emotionally. She will never ask me to deal with the bank because she’s too anxious to talk to them. If she is going to do that, it will be her primary partner who must carry that burden. She might hope that I can comfort her or that I will be there when she needs me to be, but it’s not a dependency thing as much as a mature relationship dynamic of mutual respect and mutual desire to be a good partner.

Not having Rose around all the time also allows me to continue to date and to have a social life that my marriage never did. Just as polyamory can be detrimental to dating potential by shrinking the pool of available prospects, it also increases the potential to meet more people you may like. Rose doesn’t require me to see her and only her, and so I am not prevented from dating other people I might be interested in. Just because I have a relationship doesn’t mean I must turn away every girl who flirts with me and it certainly doesn’t mean I can only have sex with one person.

Although polyamory can shrink the pool of potential romantic partners, it also opens up access to a pool of other partners that would have been previously off limits. Rose is the perfect example of this. She is married and without polyamory I could never date her, but because of this mutually agreed upon dynamic we get to date one another regardless of that marriage. Other people who are in open relationships also become available as partners as well. There is a beautiful transwoman I’ve been talking with who is poly, and although we have not moved beyond just getting to know one another, there is dating potential there that wouldn’t be otherwise. Jane and Kate, from my previous entry, were both potential partners because of poly/non-monogamy when they wouldn’t have been otherwise (and I’m sad to report that they aren’t anymore; it has become somewhat obvious that one is strictly friendship and the other is going nowhere)

Going to this play party this coming Friday is another way that polyamory is a benefit. There are people who will be at this party that could be potential romantic partners (if not just sexual partners) and I would have never met them had I not decided to become actively poly. There are also people out there who are specifically looking for other poly people. Okcupid is littered with people searching for secondary partners and triads (not to mention FWB’s), so being in a poly relationship already makes me more appealing to them (and them to me, if I’m honest).

Lastly, being in a polyamorous relationship (at least for me) has been really satisfying because it has offered me the opportunity to have many of my needs met and at the same time given me the freedom I need after my divorce. Jumping into a serious monogamous relationship right away would have been disastrous if I’m honest. I’m fairly certain my ex is doing just that herself and while she probably thinks it’s a good idea, I have discovered just how bad of an idea it really is to rush into something new without properly unpacking the baggage of a divorce. True, she left me so maybe she was more ready for something serious than I was, but one does not simply leave a 7 year relationship and process it overnight. Then again, she has turned out to be far more coldhearted and cruel than I ever imagined she could be, so perhaps I am wrong; maybe she CAN process it overnight.

For me, though, polyamory suits my needs at this point in my life. While there are drawbacks, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s rather amazing to be with someone who is happy that I’m part of their life, but doesn’t need me to be their entire world. It’s amazing to have someone eager to be part of my life but who is mature enough to know that even if I see someone else, it doesn’t diminish our relationship. In the phone conversation I literally just finished having with Rose we talked about how many of her friends who could never make a monogamous relationship work were able to finally maintain relationships for far longer because they started living a poly lifestyle. I’m not saying poly is perfect and I’m not saying it is for everyone, but it does enable people to have all of their needs met without jeopardizing their relationships.

During my marriage, I never thought I’d be able to handle sharing my wife, and perhaps I truly couldn’t, but being on the other side of my experiences with poly, I have to wonder if being in an open relationship wouldn’t have been the answer to our struggles. She said she was worried she’d end up just wanting to marry someone else when I last proposed the idea, so perhaps this speculation is pointless, but hindsight has granted me the clarity to see that poly was a much more viable option than I assumed it would be. I will never know because the divorce is final and she has ruined our friendship almost beyond repair, but a piece of me regrets not giving poly a shot before everything fell apart. It would have been difficult for me to watch my wife date a man, but if I’m honest, I think sharing her with another person would have been far more preferable than having her run off into a one-night stand that lit the fuse to a powder keg of pain and betrayal.

Regardless, what is done is done and cannot be undone. All I can do now is continue to expand my horizons and continue to explore this thing called polyamory. I suspect that my trip into this realm is far from over and perhaps the true relationship happiness I’ve been seeking for so long is hidden within it, or maybe it isn’t; only time will tell. I’ve broken out of the gender binary. I’ve started to break out of the sexuality binary (again we will discuss this in greater detail when I have enough to write a full entry on it) and now I’m breaking out of the monogamy binary of having to choose between being single and being in a single relationship. If nothing else, I hope my experiences make me grow as a person and I hope relating them to you will enable you to see the world in a different light; perhaps even a better or more well-rounded light.

Well, my darlings, that is all I have for now. I wish you all well and I will try to write again before the play party on Friday if I can. Until then, stay fabulous and always remember you are amazing just the way you are.


Monday, January 18, 2016

1-18-2016 Entry: My Life is the L Word, Episode 2

Hello my darling. I hope you are doing well and that you don’t already have the Monday blues. Today was the first time in over five years that I started a new week without having to go to work because I didn’t have a job. In some ways, it was quite nice. I got to sleep in, which I actually needed as I was out until 1am last night, but we will get to that in a bit.

The first thing I’ve noticed about suddenly being without employment is how your sense of time becomes skewed. It was honestly a struggle to remember that today was a Monday. It was difficult to remember that Friday wasn’t a Sunday, and it’s definitely been strange to think of other people out there going to their jobs while I’m at home sleeping, cooking, cleaning, doing homework, and watching Television.

The second thing I’ve noticed is how much less stress I have. True, there is absolutely the stress of figuring out what I’m going to do now that I no longer have a job, but financially speaking I’m actually quite solid for the time being. Assuming I can cut spending to a minimum (actually rather easy now that I’m not commuting, paying for parking, or buying myself lunch during the week) I may be able to make it four or five months before I run out of money. Obviously that is a last resort. As much as I’m enjoying the free time I have now that I’m not working, I still need to find a job. I am hoping to hear back tomorrow about one that I interviewed for last Tuesday, but even if I do not get that job (which would make me sad), I still have time to find other work. I may even be able to switch careers while I’m looking for this new job by getting something in the mental health field. Only time will tell.

The third thing I’ve noticed is that it is so much harder to keep a regular sleep schedule now that I do not have to get up every morning to go to work. I am actually kicking myself right now for the 8am doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow morning (made it before losing the job thinking I’d go to it before I went in to work) because I’ve been staying up entirely too late all week and am likely going to go to this appointment like a zombie. (I wonder, how much will my doctor judge me if I show up in my pj’s?? lol)

But, All of those things are truly an aside to the main purpose of this entry. As the title suggests, my life is beginning to look more and more like the L word as time goes on. Okay, again, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration but things have been extremely interesting lately.

Where to begin? Hmm… well let’s just start with Friday night. Friday night I went out to my regular hang out (one of the many gay bars in the twin cities) to catch up with some friends. I knew that pretty much all of my friends would be there and I’d been invited a few nights earlier by another friend that requires a bit of explanation. I met this friend… who we will call Kate… on OkCupid although the reason we met on there was because I came across her profile the day after I saw her at the gay bar and said something about how I’d seen her the night before. I’d found her to be very pretty and had been tempted to introduce myself but this was back when I was just barely peaking out of my shell, so I chickened out.

Well, we started chatting a bit and found that we were both in somewhat similar situations. She is going through a divorce from the man she was married to for many years and she is leaving him in no small part because she’s realized or finally come to terms with the fact that she’s queer and not hetero. Although the tables were reversed (which has actually given me a possible insider perspective of my ex’s path out of our marriage) there were a lot of common themes. Our marriages were both ending because of incompatible sexuality and a myriad of communication issues, leaving both of us single in the queer world for the very first time in our lives.

The conversation dropped off a bit for a few weeks but eventually she messaged me again and asked if we could meet. Since then, we have met three times including last Friday. In those three encounters there have been some mixed signals on her part. She wasn’t quick to define our meeting as a friends only thing (something most girls are very quick to do if they fear there is unwanted romantic interest) despite me even asking if this was simply a “getting to know you so we can maybe be friends” interest in meeting. The first time we met, she had a romantic partner with her (a transman) who was very nice. This immediately made me assume there was no romantic interest in me at all. The second time we met, she was there with him again except this time she spent much more time chatting with me alone than with him around and at one point, while we were talking, this boyfriend of hers started making out with another person right in front of us.

Needless to say, this confused me at first, but my confusion was quickly resolved when Kate explained that the group of friends she was there with were all rather non-monogamous and often did things like make out with each other. At this point I started to wonder if maybe my initial read that she wasn’t interested was wrong, and so I started looking for the signs of attraction. I definitely found some. They are hard to explain but she seemed like she was flirting with me and seemed very interested in spending time with me. My very good friend Parker who had accompanied me to meet Kate the first time and who was with me when we met the second time noticed the same thing too and she started to wonder, like I did, if there was any interest between Kate and I.

So, I asked Kate if her b/f was non-monogamous then did that mean she was also non-monogamous? In true mixed signal fashion she basically replied that the answer was yes and no. It wasn’t something that was off the table but it wasn’t something she’d made up her mind about yet, either.

As a result, I went into our third meeting (not calling them dates because of the ambiguous nature of them) on Friday with the intention of figuring out what Kate’s interest level was. Meeting one had been very “friends” and meeting two had been rather flirtatious, so what did meeting three hold for me? I wish I could tell you a definitive result one way or the other, but I cannot. The bar was unbelievably packed that night for the drag show (which was one of the best I’ve seen thus far) and she was with that same group of friends at a table that I couldn’t really get to. I noticed her long before she noticed me but rather than fighting my way to her table to say hello, I decided to just play it nonchalant and hung out with some of my other friends. I figured that it was only a matter of time before she’d notice me or she’d run into me on her way out to smoke. I was wrong, lol.

After about thirty or forty minutes of lingering in the vicinity while watching the show and chatting with my other friends I had an opportunity to catch the attention of her boyfriend, so I bit the bullet and said hello. He was very excited to see me (as I said he was very nice, and also rather hug-happy) and immediately called over to Kate to tell her I was there. Kate looked over towards us and waved with a happy smile. I returned the wave and smile but decided to return to my nonchalant approach and didn’t go over to her table. Instead I walked back to my friends and started chatting with them.

Kate came over rather quickly and gave me a hug. We chatted for a few minutes before she decided to head back over to her group of friends and I was left to hang out with my friends or by myself for most of the night. We didn’t really get much of a chance to hang out or talk that evening before she decided to leave. On her way out she came to say goodbye to me and asked if we could set something up to meet in a place that was more conducive to talking than the loud bar. I said yes and we made plans to make plans later (you know how it goes). So, again, mixed signals. Affectionate greeting, excitement to see me, plans to get together in a more intimate setting, yet didn’t really hang out with me much and didn’t really flirt with me. I decided at this point that it would be best if I just assumed we were friends. Maybe that will change, and maybe it won’t, only time will tell.

Amidst all of these mixed-signal-meetups something else rather interesting happened. The second meeting where she was somewhat flirtatious with me was actually interrupted briefly by one of her friends (from the non-monogamous group) coming over to talk to her. This friend, upon arriving checked me out like you wouldn’t believe. There was definitely no ambiguity about what she thought of me and she was very quick to introduce herself to me with a “How you doin?” smile (she has the cutest crooked smile I think I’ve ever seen too).

At the time, I didn’t really think much of it. She was cute and I felt flattered that she so clearly thought I was hot, but I was rather distracted by Kate. My attention was on figuring out this very fickle girl who either really liked me or just thought I’d be a great friend. So, when I ran into this other girl a second time on Friday I was caught somewhat off-guard as I hadn’t thought about her at all in the time between.

I was hanging out in the vicinity of Kate’s table of friends, watching the drag show, when this girl… let’s call her Jane… stops right in front of me with that same frisky crooked smile and says, “Hi, it’s Emma, right?” to which I was totally taken aback and unsure of how to respond. I knew that this was the girl I’d met on Wednesday, and I knew that she thought I was cute (it was written all over her face), but she remembered my name and I had no idea what her name was. I felt like such an asshole for not remembering. I think I said something like, “Yes, and… I’m sorry but I don’t remember what your name was…” She laughed and said that it was okay since we’d only met the one time, but that her name was Jane (Obviously not really, but I want to keep these people I’m blogging about anonymous, at least to some degree; I’m sure if she read this she’d know I was talking about her but I doubt anyone else would and that’s the point).

I’m struggling to remember the details of our conversation but it was somewhat short and was mostly comprised of her telling me it was good to see me again before she went back to Kate’s table. I believe we had a couple more brief interchanges but for the most part we just sort of made eyes at one another. Again, I decided to take the nonchalant approach to things. I’ve gotten so burned out on trying to be the pursuer of others that I’ve decided to start letting them come to me. Sure, I’ll put myself out there, I’ll introduce myself to people (especially the cute girls) but I won’t be all like:

 let me love you memes love me

Instead, I’d rather be friendly, charming, and devil may care about the whole thing. If they think I’m intriguing and/or attractive, they will come to me; just like Jane did. I didn’t pursue her. I didn’t even remember her name; which I actually forgot again like 10 seconds after she went back to her table because OMG I wasn’t feeling bad enough that I’d forgotten it once before… my excuse, her adorable crooked smile distracted me and I forgot what she said her name was… yeah let’s go with that…

The point is, she came to me. She introduced herself to me (twice) and made a point to remember my name even after our first encounter. She stopped to say hello upon our second meeting because she wanted my attention. She could have easily walked by, not said anything or simply smiled, but no, she stopped right in front of me and made sure she was the center of my attention. I had made an impression on her and all I did was say hi, smile, and then forget her damn name. 

(as an aside: after she left that night and I gave her a hug on the way out (long story, she was crying, I tried to comfort her to which she said I was so sweet), she told me the next day that she was really looking forward to getting to know me better.)

And the thing is, this has been a rather effective strategy. Ever since Rose and I made our polyamorous relationship something more than just friendly get togethers, it’s like a switch has been flipped. I am getting many of my relationship needs met and you know how that old theory goes: when you are single no one wants you, but when you are in a relationship they all seem to flock to you. I had no less than 5 other girls that night check me out, try to dance with me, or make a point to talk to me. The only other thing that has really changed is I’ve started wearing a fake nose ring to see if I like the look enough to get my nose pierced; in no small part because I notice that 75% or more of the lesbians I encountered had their nose, eyebrow, or lip pierced.

The combination of wearing a nose ring and taking a more nonchalant approach to meeting people/dating, has definitely netted me some very positive results and I’m eager to see if that continues. But my story about the weekend doesn’t end there. No, no, Friday was really just the beginning and far less interesting that Saturday or Sunday.

Saturday Rose came to spend the night with me again and this time things went really really well. As my amazing friend Parker (she’s a dork, who I just adore) put it, we were such lesbians about the night we had together. There was no sex but that’s because there was no need for sex. There was plenty of physical affection, kissing, cuddling, spooning, falling asleep in each other’s arms, etc. but sex didn’t feel at all necessary. That doesn’t mean we won’t do that again at some point, but Saturday was more about further establishing the mental-emotional connection we share and less about getting off.

It was nice to wake up with her in the middle of the night and to have a super random conversation about our dreams before falling back asleep again. Were it not for prior engagements on both of our parts Sunday afternoon, we might have spent the whole day in bed together (at which point sex likely would have occurred, lol). Eventually we willed ourselves out of bed and she got ready to leave. She told me about a “play party” that is this Friday at her friend’s house (the one we met at the bar the week before who I thought was cute and who thought I was cute as well) and asked me if I’d want to come with her and her husband. I excitedly agreed to come and am eagerly awaiting Friday’s arrival. I’m quite excited to go to my first swinger party and I’m super excited that it’s a queer friendly party at that (there will be other trans people, lesbians, gay/bi men, etc.)

Anyways, I kissed Rose goodbye and started to get ready myself to head out to a brunch with a bunch of my queer/trans friends at a really awesome resturaunt. There were about a dozen of us and we were there for about 4 hours eating, drinking, and having a gay old time, lol. At one point we decided that the next logical step from the brunch was to hit up the strip club, which I thought was totally hilarious. I’ve never been to one before and they were very excited to take me to my first one, but alas, the clubs didn’t open for a few hours so we couldn’t go. Instead, we decided that we would have a drunken pool/hot tub party at one of the people’s apartment building. My initial thoughts were:

Yosub fuck no mj bravo

Pool party?? Oh dear god… that means I have to wear my bathing suit doesn’t it? Okay, Emma, don’t freak out. We have a bathing suit and the last time we wore it (when we tried it on before buying it) it did a very good job of concealing any hints about our sex, and it’s been a few months since then. Our chest has grown a bit since then and might actually fill in the bathing suit some. We can do this… deep breaths…

Yeah, so I decided that if I was going to unveil my bathing suit and go to the pool for the first time as a girl instead of as a guy, then this was the best possible group to do it with. I wouldn’t be the only trans person there so at least I wouldn’t feel completely alone. Even still, I knew I needed/wanted moral support so I called up my friend Parker to see if she wanted to come along to the pool party. It took some convincing but she eventually said yes. After I went home to change into my suit (which I looked awesome in now that I actually have boobs to speak of) I stopped by her house and picked her up. We drove to the pool (I’ll save our interesting conversation for another entry) and went inside.

Several of the people there were people I’d never met before that day (actually, at first, all of the people at the pool were new acquaintances) so it was nice to have Parker along with me. She fit in with us perfectly and it wasn’t long before she was making friends of her own. We both started drinking and things sort of escalated from there… lol.

How do I describe this drunken pool party? At first, it was like any other pool party. We played games in the pool, there was a lot of going back and forth from the pool and the hot tub. There was a lot of bullshitting and hanging out, and there was a lot of drinking. I stopped after my second one because I knew I had to drive and my stomach was not excited about being empty with noting but alcohol in it while we were swimming, but everyone else kept on drinking.

I actually felt really comfortable in my bathing suit and for the first time I got to be one of the cute girls at the pool getting checked out by the teenage boys who were also there (thankfully they kept their distance from me so I didn’t have to fend them off). It was great to get to be me, the real me at the pool and to not feel really worried that I wasn’t passing or that people were judging me. I felt safe and in good company. One of my new acquaintances made a point several times to tell me how beautiful and interesting I was (she was pretty hammered by the end of the night), and she even decided to kiss me at one point, although she ended up kissing almost all the girls so I wasn’t too special, lol.

That’s about when things started getting a little more interesting. We got there around 7pm and by about 11pm everyone had left except for four of us. Parker, the kissing girl, another gay girl, and I were all alone and everyone (except for me) was pretty hammered after 4 hours of drinking. What happens when you mix a lot of booze, hottubs, two lesbians and two bisexual girls together?

If you answered nudity, then you are one smart cookie, because it wasn’t long before the clothes started coming off. Parker, darling bisexual that she is and self-proclaimed exhibitionist, sort of started the whole thing by flashing people earlier in the evening, and when you go around flashing gay and bi girls, your boobs are bound to be a topic for discussion; and they were. I’m not sure how it happened or why it happened but at one point Parker was convinced (or decided to on her own) to take her top off so the gay girl and bi girl could better examine them. This is about what my reaction was when I looked up from my phone (I’d been texting someone) to see that my party guest was topless:

boobs party bouncing wide eyed

But that was just the beginning. It wasn’t long before the other bi girl (aka kissing girl) was following suit and took her top off too so they could compare notes, so to speak. The gay girl I was with looked like a kid in a candy shop as these two rather beautiful girls were topless on either side of her. Care to guess what happened next? If your answer was, “when in Rome…” then you are an even smarter cookie, because the gay girl was like, “Fuck it, we are all taking our tops off! Take your top off Emma!” as she removed her top as well.

Okay, so here I am, surrounded by three topless girls in a hot tub and I (a somewhat early transition trans* girl with relatively small breasts that only two people have seen: my ex and Rose) am being asked to take my top off too so that everyone is on an even playing field and so we can all examine each other’s boobs to compare them. I couldn’t believe it, but I said fuck it and did it. I dropped the top part of my one-piece suit so that all four of us were barechested and we all sort of came together to evaluate what we all had going on. Kissing girl came over to me and started to examine/grope them as Parker and the gay girl offered comentary.

From there, we all just hung out in the hot tub without our tops on until kissing girl decided that she wanted to put the moves on the gay girl. All of a sudden Parker and I are looking at each other with surprised expressions as kissing girl starts making out with the gay girl in-between playing with/kissing/sucking on her breasts. I could not believe what was happening. I felt like I was in the L word again. Drunken pool party turns into nudity, making out, and possibly more? It was surreal to say the least.

Eventually kissing girl and gay girl took a break so kissing girl and Parker could go outside and smoke. At this point I decided to pull my top back up again because it felt strange to be sitting their topless with just one girl who’d been making out with another one a moment earlier. The gay girl moved closer to me and started talking about how awkward she felt since Kissing girl had a girlfriend that had been at the pool earlier in the evening. I knew that kissing girl and her g/f were non-monogamous because we talked about the play party I’m going to and that’s actually how they met (at a swinger party), so I tried to reassure her that it likely wasn’t a big deal.

Amidst me trying to comfort her she asked me what I thought of her chest and wanted to know if they were sagging at all (she’s 36 and apparently worried about the effects of gravity). I assured her that they were not (because they weren’t) and complimented them. She started talking about my chest and was asking me questions about the transition. I told her this was the first time I’d worn a bathing suit and definitely the first time I’d gone around showing off my relatively new boobs. She was amazed that I’d been brave enough to follow her lead in taking our tops off and commended/complimented me (and the boobs).

At this point the evening sort of came to an end. Parker and Kissing girl came back in from smoking, and I decided that 1am was late enough to be out on a Sunday night. Parker had to work in the morning and I’d already facilitated her getting completely hammered, so I figured it was a good idea to take her home (she agreed). I said goodbye to kissing girl and gay girl (making sure gay girl was okay being left alone with kissing girl McFrisky-pants; she was) and we left. Parker and I laughed about the experience and both thought it was rather hilarious that things had gone the way they had.

And so, that was my weekend. An amazing drag show, a new potential romantic interest (with the cutest damn smile I’ve ever seen), a lovely night of cuddling/kissing/talking with my poly-girlfriend, a fun brunch, meeting new people, wearing my bathing suit for the first time, drinking, and topless hot tub shenanigans. I told you things were going to get interesting, and really, this is just the beginning. I’ve entered the realm of non-monogamous lesbian/queer socializing, dating, and sexuality. This next weekend is going to begin with me going to my first ever queer friendly swinger/play party and there were other sexuality components of this weekend that I’m saving for a later entry.

Just as a fair warning, things are going to get a little more adult programming around here. I won’t ever show nudity or be pornographically descriptive of the things I’m going to experience, but I’m going to start talking about and describing sex a lot more than I have before. I hope that you all continue to read along as I continue this journey into trans* sexuality and dating, and that any kids out there who might be reading this be wary. I know the internet is filled with porn, but the last thing I need is some midwest mother sending me angry emails about how my blog is filling little Timmy’s head with the idea that he can be Tammy and she can have great/exciting sex as a transwoman.

I refuse to censor myself, though, because I believe it’s important to openly talk about so-called taboo subjects like sexuality; especially trans*/queer sexuality. Just because I transitioned genders or because I identify as non-binary, doesn’t mean I can’t have a healthy and exciting sex life. Just because society as a whole thinks I’m a freak or some abberation doesn’t mean that there aren’t others like me or that there aren’t others out there who find an abberation like me sexy and attractive. I’ve been called sexy more times in the last two weeks than I probably had been in the last 7+ years before that.

I’m jumping into this headfirst and I’m taking you all with me because I think there is value in pulling back the guise of hetero-cis-normative sexuality to show that there are a lot of ways to go about it that don’t require a cismale penis to enter a cisfemale vagina. There are also a lot of ways to do dating, love, and sexuality that don’t require monogamy or traditionally accepted relationship forms. I’m taking us on this somewhat anthropological trip into the realm of queer/trans* dating and sex so we can all begin to see the limitations we place upon ourselves and the limitations that society tries to place upon us by making these things taboo.

 Join me or don’t, that is your choice, but I’m heading into this with excitement and you can come along if you care to. I don’t know where it will take us, but I promise one thing, this is going to be interesting if not exciting, arousing, scary, and a whole lot of other things. >;)


Friday, January 15, 2016

1-15-2016 Entry: More Life Changes

Hello my darling readers. I hope you are well and that life is keeping you busy in a good way. My life, as is becoming entirely too common these days, has taken another somewhat unexpected turn that has thrown everything into a bit of chaos.

On Wednesday of this week, I was let go from my job as a paralegal, and as I’m sitting here going over the past few months in my head, I’m honestly struggling to see why this happened. I’m not saying that there wasn’t at least some grounds for concern that put a target on my back, but I’m also not certain letting me go was the appropriate response from my former employer either.

True, I did have a discussion with my supervisor a few weeks ago about my issues regarding attendance. In the aftermath of my divorce it became a struggle most days to even get out of bed, let alone get out of bed, get dressed, drive to work, and pretend for 8 hours that I was anything but an emotional wreck. I called in sick a handful of times and even struggled with arriving at my scheduled start time. This discussion with my supervisor was a bit of a wakeup call and it showed me how much I’d let things slip in the wake of my marriage’s collapse.

I promised her I would make a renewed effort to improve my attendance and to focus more on work rather than my personal life issues. I was sincere in this promise. We set up a plan of action for making sure I made good on my promise by scheduling a check-in at the end of this month to evaluate if any improvements had been observed and we’d go from there for another month to make sure things were sticking. I fully intended to uphold my end of the deal. Going to North Carolina and getting a few days away also helped me in my resolve. I knew I needed to pull my life together. I had to start to focus on what I needed to do rather than on what I’d been through.

Then I got sick. Like legitimately sick. Sore throat so bad I could hardly swallow and I definitely couldn’t talk, not without sounding like a bullfrog, at least. I took a few days off from work because I felt like hell. I had the time off for it and I didn’t want to get anyone else sick, so I felt safe in my decision. I explained to my supervisor that this was a legitimate need for time off and not the aforementioned absenteeism. I finally scrounged together enough energy to go in on Wednesday because I knew I couldn’t justify calling in again, even if I felt worse than I had the two days earlier.

I was at work for about an hour and a half before my newly appointed CEO (we’ll get into him in a moment) came to my desk and asked if we could meet in the conference room. I knew this could lead to no good. I suspected I was going to get a formal reprimand for calling in sick after the previous issues with attendance. What I did not expect was that they were planning to let me go. They framed it in the terms of laying me off because of budget issues that required them to downsize, but for all intents and purposes, they fired me.

They sat me down at the table filled with paperwork and went over what was going down, and this is where things get really interesting the more I reflect on them. It was a Wednesday and the HR lady who was present at this meeting doesn’t work on Wednesdays, so that means they had to plan this out at least a day in advance, if not longer (I’m suspecting longer, but we’ll get to that). They had everything ready to cross the t’s and dot the I’s too. They had a checklist/agenda of what was going to happen, they had my final timesheets ready and filled out for me to sign, and they had a severance agreement all prepared and ready to go.

They explained the terms of this severance, which I am under contractual agreement not to discuss in detail, but it went something like this: In exchange for some compensation I had to agree that I would not sue them or file an EEOC discrimination claim against them. They worded the severance in such a way that I would be eligible for unemployment benefits (they made a point to remind me of that at least 3 times) and I wouldn’t be required to refund them my paid time off that I’d taken prior to accruing it (contrary to my employee handbook agreement). In short, they were paying me off to keep my mouth shut about some of the very sketchy things that went down while I worked there after I made my transition. I cannot go into detail about those because, again, I’m under contractual agreement not to disparage them.

I was asked to return to my desk, collect my things right away, and turn in my security card and bus pass. They really wanted to like escort me to my desk but I insisted that I could handle it on my own. I regret that I didn’t think to send myself some of the personal documents I had saved on the computer but I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind for that. I packed up my shit, which was rather embarrassing as it was 10am in the morning and was rather obvious what I was doing to anyone who might have paid attention, and I shut my computer down. I went to the HR office and turned in my security card and bus pass, and that’s when things got a bit more interesting.

In discussing the severance in greater detail with her so that I knew what exactly to expect, my HR lady explained that in addition to the sick time not having to be refunded, the unpaid time I’d taken in December was also not counted against me, which is very interesting. If that time wasn’t being counted against me and they’d already paid me the full amount for that pay period two weeks earlier, then this severance had been in the works for at least a few weeks. Why would my supervisor give me a verbal warning and set up a plan of action to make sure things improved with the threat of a written warning being the next step in process should I fail to improve (which she sent to HR and which HR signed off on) if they were already planning to let me go?

The only thing I can think is that this newly appointed CEO, who took over in the beginning of December, had it out for me from the start. He’d never had the authority to fire me previously but now he did, and given the character of this man it’s really not a stretch of my imagination that he’d always been uncomfortable with me and my transition. First and foremost, he is a rich, white, cisgender man in his 70’s who has a history of sexual harassment claims against him. He is about as sexist and white-privileged as you would expect any man who grew up in the 1950’s to be. When he was presented with my previous coworker (the lesbian I came out to at the very beginning of this whole process) and her girlfriend at last year’s Christmas party, he was not only awkward, but honestly inappropriate about asking what their relationship was. It was so obvious that he was disturbed that his legal assistant might be gay, so what did he think of me coming to work as a woman?

I can only postulate, but this is what I think happened. Our former CEO stepped down in the beginning of December due to health concerns and this new CEO (who I’m thinking was never comfortable with me or my transition) took his place. In the short amount of time that he was the CEO, he and I had a single issue with a single client that didn’t go as planned. It wasn’t an enormous issue but it still looked bad, even if there was no monetary/business cost associated with it. This single issue probably sealed in his mind what he wanted to do all along, to let me go. He couldn’t really justify letting me go, not after I’d had 99% glowing reviews from my attorneys for my annual review a month earlier.

Despite not having solid grounds to fire me, he still wanted me gone, so what to do? He knew, given the history of my run-ins with their HR that I likely had a solid case to file an EEOC discrimination claim against them (and I really, really did, my friends. I had every incident documented with time, date, and circumstances). He also knew that if they let me go right before the holidays (when he came to power, so to speak) I’d be super pissed off and would likely feel very compelled to retaliate by filing the aforementioned EEOC claim, so I think he bided his time. He knew that if they waited until the new year that I’d be less likely to be upset and less likely to want to sue, but that wasn’t enough. In order to cover their asses, they had to sweeten the deal.

The only way they could make sure I wouldn’t file a claim and put their reputation as a nationally recognized diversity leader (they won a national award for diversity recently) in jeopardy was if I signed, for all intents and purposes, a gag order. Even if my EEOC claim was dismissed and I didn’t win anything from them, the fact that I’d filed the claim at all would be damaging enough to their credibility. A diversity award winning law firm doesn’t have discrimination claims filed against them and remain award winning for very long.

The fact that they went above and beyond to give me as much compensation as they could stomach tells me that my hunch is probably spot on. It was even further confirmed when this CEO sat across the table from me and explicitly told me that this agreement was so that I wouldn’t file any claims against them (he made sure to spell that out more than once) and that they didn’t normally do this for their employees when they let them go. Why would they give me special treatment unless their actions weren’t justified?

If I was being let go because of sub-optimal performance or because of budgetary constraints, why would they feel such a strong need to make sure I left their employment as happy as possible? They could have royally screwed me if they’d wanted to and short-changed me upwards of a thousand dollars, but they didn’t. I could be sitting here in tears, unsure of how I’m going to survive through the end of the month if they’d felt justified enough in letting me go that they didn’t offer to make my exit as painless as possible, but I’m not.

So, I signed the agreement. Not because I don’t think I could win an EEOC claim but because I’m not interested in picking a fight that could go on for years and be a total bust. I’m not a vindictive person and I’m not out to screw anyone over. If they’d canned me without all of this, then hell yes I would file a claim but as it is, I think I’m better off in the long run not going to battle over this. And besides, I hated that job. I hated going there and doing that work. When they said they were letting me go with severance I was relieved! At long last I could be free of the, as my therapist put it, golden handcuffs they had me shackled with.

The money there was too good to give up and so I was unable to make the decision I knew I wanted to make: to leave. I wanted out so bad and they gave me my golden ticket out. The best part, if I get a new job (which I had a third interview with a company on Tuesday) then I basically got paid to not have to work at a job I didn’t like anymore. Is there any better way to go out than that?

And so, right now, I feel free. Truly, free. 6 months ago I felt so trapped and so stuck. I was in a marriage that wasn’t really working, despite all of my efforts to make it into something worthwhile. I was in a career that I despised and which was pushing me to the point of suicide time and again. I was in a social vacuum with very few friends and almost no exposure to the LGBT community. I was basically living without sex or even physical affection, and was having to cohabitate with someone who didn’t find me attractive, sexy, and didn’t really respect me or my needs.

All of those things have changed. All of those shackles have been broken and now I am free. I have dreamed again and again of just being in school without the obligations of a fulltime job. I have dreamed about being with someone who finds me sexy, attractive, and who respects me. I have dreamed of having friends to go out with and having a vibrant social life again. I have dreamed of getting more time to write and more time to focus on school, and despite the pain that I’ve gone through to get here, I am realizing those dreams.

I’m in an open (non-committal, which is what I need right now) relationship with someone who is physically affectionate, sweet, and respectful of me and my feelings. I have so many new friends that I can hardly go to the gay bar and not run into at least 3 or 4 people I know and like. I have a blossoming friendship with someone I could easily see becoming one of my closest and most valued friends. I have the time now to pursue the things I truly care about (writing, school, volunteering), and I am now in a position to make a positive career move should I choose to do so.

Losing my job, while potentially disastrous, might be the very best thing that’s happened to me in a long time, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out an important aspect to this situation. I’ve said it again and again, but little by little, my life as Robert is crumbling away to make room for my life as Emma. First was the change from HRT, second was the day-to-day appearance when I went fulltime, then came the decision to change career paths by going to grad school, then Robert’s marriage fell away, and now Robert’s last job is behind us.

I have a wonderful opportunity to start over and revolutionize my life, and I’m going to take it. Do I know for certain that things are going to go smoothly? Hell no, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything is always working out for me. Today’s tragedy is tomorrow’s blessing, my friends, and while I might be unemployed at this very moment, I’m certain that empty space where my job used to be has been cleared away for something far better and more suited to my needs.

We are Emma, and like the phoenix we will rise from the ashes of Robert’s collapsed life to build something far greater and more memorable. Chapter one of our journey into this new life has come to a close. Our transition from our life as Robert to Emma is nearly complete and the following chapters will document our rebirth into the world as a new and renewed person. There is still so much to come. Our life is truly just beginning.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

1-9-2016 Entry: Losing my (Second) Virginity and Stepping Into the Realm of Non-monogamy

Hello my darling readers. I hope this new year is off to a good start for you. My new year has certainly been an interesting one thus far, and last night was no exception.

I write to you this morning on the other side of an experience I’d been both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I have recently asserted to someone that I am, in small way, going through a second adolescence (I might have even mentioned it in the previous entry). Well, along with going through a second puberty, learning the art of feminine expression, fashion, and makeup, I’m also having to go through a second virginity.

Obviously, I have had sex before so virginity isn’t really 100% accurate but I cannot find another word that better describes the emotions I feel or the experience I’m having. When you are a virgin and you take your first steps into the realm of sexuality you are (or at least I was and am again) met with both excitement and fear of the unknown. Sex is an intense experience and can be terrible, bad, okay, good, great, or earth shattering and you never really know what it’s going to be like with someone new (or your first time).

I had never had sex as Emma, at least not really. The few encounters I had with my wife towards the end of our marriage were anything but gender-confirming experiences. I do not fault her for her inability to excitedly embrace the new sex dynamic I truly desired and honestly needed in order to feel comfortable. For her, it was still a very heterosexual dynamic that she wanted, and for me it was the opposite. I wanted to be a girl with a girl who wanted to be with a girl because she was a girl (say that 5 times fast). My ex and I could never have that because, as she put it so many times, she wasn’t a lesbian.

So, coming from this place of never having sex as this new identity I’ve taken on, I very much felt like a virgin as I considered my next sexual encounter. I didn’t know how to be a girl with a girl because I’d never really done that. I also didn’t really know how to navigate having boy parts while at the same time wanting to take on a feminine role (I do recognize how binary I’m being about this but we have to begin somewhere; never fear, when Emma is near, it’s rarely long before it becomes queer) ;)

How would this dynamic look? What would it feel like to be seen as a girl and then to introduce a penis into the mix? Sure, lesbians play with strap-ons all the time, but that’s a fun and foreign experience for them because they are playfully stepping into the phallic role. For me, it’s an old experience that I no longer really care for and actually contradicts how I view myself on a pretty fundamental level. I understand that penis does not = male, but some aspects to using one REALLY reminds me of being male; of having to play a role I didn’t like, didn’t want, and never felt at home within. I believe the only reason I was ever all that comfortable taking on a binary male role in my previous sexual encounters was because testosterone is a very powerful hormone that creates very specific urges in a person. In short, T makes you want to fuck, a lot… everything, all the time… whenever, however, and sometimes even with whomever is willing.

Estrogen is NOT like that, at least not for me. Estrogen has fundamentally changed me, my body, my thinking, and the way I experience sexuality. No longer is it about the physical yearning of needing to release something that’s been building up (thanks to Spiro there really isn’t much stockpiling going on, lol). It has now become much more of an emotional need for connection, for harmony, for passion, and for physical intertwining for the sake of erotic closeness. Can you see the difference between the two? One says “let’s cum!!” the other says, “Let’s make love, let’s get lost in each other for a while, and let’s feel ourselves become one.”

I can guarantee that very few heterosexual cisgender men ever even think the words “let’s feel ourselves become one” in their entire lives. Maybe they actually enjoy that oneness but testosterone is about getting it done. It’s about spreading seeds into fertile soils… as many as possible and as often as possible with as much soil as possible. Estrogen (for me at least) is about savoring the experience, about basking in that moment. Testosterone is to taking vodka shots to get fucked up as fast as possible as estrogen is to savoring the scent and taste of a fine wine for the pleasure of the experience. They are as vastly and fundamentally different for me as living as Emma was to living as Robert.

But, as with most things, when such a remarkable shift in perception occurs it can be scary or intimidating to move forward with such an unfamiliar paradigm. Well, my darlings, I have now done exactly that.

As many of you know, I have been dating and I recently acquired/became a girlfriend. I have been talking to/seeing this person (Rose) for probably five or six weeks now, but before the last 24 hours, we hadn’t done much more than kiss a few times. Last night, however, she decided to spend the night with me, and a lot happened.

She arrived after she got off work and we hung out for a short while just talking. We eventually went out to dinner which was a nice experience. It was really nice to be out in public with a woman and to have her not only be okay with public displays of affection, but actively engaging in it. She didn’t care if other people looked at us or if others saw us as lesbians. She didn’t care that people might make assumptions about her, me, or both of us together. She was too excited to be spending the evening with me to even notice if someone gave us a funny look.

We ate a lovely meal, and after we finished we decided to head out to a bar where some of her friends were hanging out. These friends were, as she puts it “lifestyle” friends in that they knew one another because of their polyamory/swinging backgrounds. Again, it was wonderful to be in such a busy place with a woman who was not afraid or worried about being publicly affectionate with me. She held my hand and kissed me a few times all while others looked on in that hetero, “did those two girls just kiss?” way, and wasn’t bothered by it at all.

An exciting part about this trip to the bar and me meeting these “lifestyle” friends was that one of them was… how can I put it… sexy. She was cute and frisky, and totally my type. Better still, I think she thought I was quite cute because she was making eyes at me the entire time (she even complimented how beautiful my eyes were at one point). Rose, who is polyamorous and who is actively engaging in an open relationship with me wasn’t even bothered that her friend and I were kind of flirtatious. If anything, she was excited about it! Can we say holy non-monogamy culture shock batman?

As a serial monogamist who has never been in an open relationship it is weird to find a woman attractive and to have the woman I’m on a date with be excited about it. Even more than that, her friend invited me to join them at their next “lifestyle” party (I’m guessing she had personal reasons for doing so), which Rose was totally excited about. She WANTS to take me to a sex party where I might sleep with some of her friends… where we both might sleep with her friends either together or apart…

I just don’t even know how to begin processing that. It is soooo different than what I’m used to, and I like it. It was nice to not have to worry about jealousy (or at least not worry that much about it). She brought me to meet these friends because she wants me to join her in this poly-open-swinging lifestyle and introducing me to people in that lifestyle is a big first step. She wants to have me herself, and then share me with others because she cares more about me having fun and experiencing new things than she does about needing me to fulfill her every need.

When I told my therapist about this proposed sleep over and we discussed the polyamorous dynamic Rose and I were entering into, she was thrilled to pieces about it. She said (and I agree with her on this) that this new experience was going to really help me grow and would fundamentally change the way I view love/sex relationships. Mutually agreed upon non-monogamy is a difficult path to walk, but it has the potential for such amazing fulfillment. Sure there are traps and pitfalls to deal with, but that’s the same case with monogamy. Non-monogamy offers the opportunity to have more fulfilling relationships with other people while at the same time not pressuring them to fulfill all of your needs and not having the pressure placed on you to fulfill all of their needs.

Marriage and monogamy has a great deal of pressure to be the be-all-save-all of the relationship. If your spouse isn’t fulfilled by you because they are under the impression that you must fulfill all of their needs, then resentment starts to grow and the foundation of the relationship starts to crumble under the weight of those unfulfilled needs. My marriage crumbled, despite such a loving and devoted friendship because we couldn’t meet each other’s needs anymore. She went and had an affair/one-night-stand because she felt sexually unfulfilled by me, in no small part because I felt sexually unfulfilled by her for a very long time. Resentments built up and eventually everything collapsed because of it.

Non-monogamy is a solution to that. True, it’s not the only one and it’s not even the best one for many, but it holds the potential within it of circumventing that unfulfilled-needs-become-resentments formula. True, it requires a great deal of maturity, communication, boundary setting, and flexibility in the willingness to test what’s okay and not okay, but that’s not that different from monogamy or marriage. The only real difference is the level of honesty, but we can get more into this later. We have a story to tell still!

So, we hung out at the bar for a while and eventually decided to head back to my house. When we got there it was fairly late and so we pretty much went straight to bed, even though we did not go to sleep for quite some time afterwards. Long story short, no, we did not have sex. Remember, this is Emma’s virginity-loss story, and most of the time those stories don’t skip right to sex (despite what porn might make you believe).

No, instead, we spent a long while simply talking, kissing, slowly but surely removing clothing, and exploring each other’s bodies… you know, the way two teenagers who are new to sex often do. It was slow and affectionate and exciting. It was also frustrating, but in the best possible way. Eventually we fell asleep in each other’s arms, wearing little to no clothing at all and that’s how we spent the night together.

The morning, however, was a bit more… uh… how do I put this… intense? Let’s just say that it is really hard for two adults who want to have sex together to wake up in the morning and cuddle in the mostly nude without it escalating into more.

It’s at this point that I’m going to have to disappoint because I don’t kiss and tell, at least not fully. We sort of picked up where we left off the night before and it wasn’t long before all the clothes were gone and we became extremely intimate.

At first it was amazing. I was having sexual experiences while being perceived and desired as Emma. She found me, as a woman, sexy and that was the best feeling ever; far better than any of the physical components, although those were pretty amazing too. The benefit of being perceived as and desired as a woman is that you aren’t expected, per se, to take on the masculine role. Instead it was a very mutual, lesbian-quality connection… until it wasn’t anymore.

I do not want to go into too many details but everything was going along quite well, I was having fun, it was pleasurable and exciting. I felt sexy, I felt wanted, I felt desired, and I felt lovely sensations I’d never felt before. I did not feel uncomfortable being a girl with a penis one bit, until we made a change to what we were doing and it was suddenly far too reminiscent of being a man. The fun and excitement quickly fizzled as my brain struggled to process what I was doing with who I knew myself to be.

We were a woman (mostly) and what we were doing was anything but. The way we saw ourselves, the way things felt, and the way the interaction was playing out wasn’t right and the unexpected discomfort quickly drained the sexual excitement out of the room. What had moments earlier been an amazing experience suddenly became an almost nauseating experience. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced full-fledge cognitive dissonance, but it’s not a good feeling. It’s a very uncomfortable, overwhelming, and confusing feeling.

I tried to play the sudden decrease in libido off and she was running so late because of our early-morning fun that she didn’t ask too many questions. She got in the shower, got dressed, and left shortly thereafter. When she drove away I was left with a very strange feeling. I didn’t understand what had happened but I’d somehow gone from having amazing and fulfilling fun to feeling wrong and uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I spent a while writing in my journal about the way I felt that I realized where things had gone south and why they had gone south so quickly.

Put simply, I’m okay having my male genitalia and even enjoy utilizing it during sexual intimacy but there are just some things I don’t think I can do anymore, at least not right now. There are certain ways of having sex that are TOO masculine/hetero for me to be able to enjoy or to experience without having a sudden and debilitating bout of cognitive dissonance. When we were engaging in activity that was not overtly hetero (in my mind anyway) or was very lesbian-esque it was great and fun. When things got too heteronormative that’s when it all fell apart. This is the second time this has happened, too. The very last time my ex and I had sex, I had to stop in the middle because of the cognitive dissonance I felt about the experience. I couldn’t have sex the way she wanted anymore, not without feeling uncomfortably out-of-body.

So, I have lost my second virginity and it was great, but I have also realized that there are limitations to what I feel comfortable with these days. I don’t know where all those limitations are, which is tragic, but it has become apparent to me that delving into a second round of intro-to-sexuality as a woman is going to be vastly different than it was as a man. The only thing I can hope is that Rose is willing to explore these new boundaries with me so that I can learn what I’m okay with and not okay with.

 Sadly, that is where I must leave this entry. I do not know what the future of my sex life holds for me and I do not know how it’s eventually going to look when I’m entirely comfortable within my trans* body. All I can do is hope that the fun and good outweigh the uncomfortable and bad. Overall, though, I’m feeling quite excited to have taken my first steps into the realm of trans* sexuality and non-monogamy. I sense that a great deal of adventure lies ahead of me, and never fear, I’m going to bring you all along with me. 2016 brings with it a new chapter in our life, and we think this chapter is going to get a bit more steamy than the previous one. ;)


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

1-5-2016 Entry: Vacationing, Self-reflection, and Becoming a Girlfriend for the First Time

I want to stay awake all night in order to tell you, my darling readers, about my trip to North Carolina to visit my father and family, but sadly I must cut this entry rather short. For the moment I just want to share some of the highlights, which I will flesh out a bit more tomorrow when I get some time to write.

First and foremost, my visit with my father and seeing my family was actually very good. There is so much to tell and so many small victories that I want to revel in. I am very glad that I went to see them and I am very glad that I have such loving and amazing relatives who love me enough to put in an effort to understand, accept, and affirm me.

Second, I was permitted some desperately needed alone time to really truly stop and think. I have basically just been go, go, go since the divorce, never really stopping to take a minute or to fully process. I pretty much just set the control on autopilot without really deciding where I actually wanted this life to go. The time I was allotted in the quiet, serene, and remote location of my father’s house and the cabin we spent a few days at, gave me the opportunity to really get away from it all. Leaving Minnesota, taking time off from work, and finding some seclusion was possibly the best thing I could have done for myself. Again, so much to tell.

Third, my relationship with the polyamorous woman I spoke of previously (the one that I wasn’t sure I’d see again) has escalated quite a bit. In short, after another date, some physical connection, and lots of affectionate phone calls/text messages, she asked me if I wanted to be her girlfriend and I said yes. This blossoming relationship has been going very well and my decision to set a firm boundary on what I needed from her and what I expected in a relationship has really panned out quite well. It is amazing to have your needs listened to, understood, and met without a struggle. Instead of becoming defensive of my demands for better treatment and instead of having those demands ignored, this person has done the exact opposite. She was accepting and even appreciative that I spoke up. She thanked me for letting her know that I needed something better and actually put her words into concrete and observable action… I cannot express enough how unbelievably refreshing that is.

I’d gotten so used to beating my head against a wall in my marriage in order to get my very basic needs met that it felt almost surreal to not only have those needs understood but also actively attended to. It’s such a relief to be with someone who gets my needs and shares them. I read a book early in marriage counseling that talked about the love languages that people speak (google it, it’s worth it) and upon reading that book my ex and I discovered that we had very different ways of expressing and feeling love while in a relationship. While it permitted us to make adjustments which did improve our resting state of marital satisfaction, it came a little too late to truly be effective or to overcome the hurdle of my gender transition.

This new person, however, speaks the same love languages as me and it is AMAZING! The book talks about a person’s “love tank” and when that tank is empty the person becomes very unhappy. My love tank was almost always on empty or at the very least often had the low-fuel dummy light on. My ex basically provided just enough to keep me from being totally miserable, but never enough to actually make me feel fulfilled/happy. My love tank now, however, is overflowing. I feel amazing. I feel happy. I feel carefree. I forgot what it was like to feel this way. I forgot what it was like to be with someone who complimented/affirmed me, who liked to touch/kiss me, and truly engaged in quality time with me (not just sitting in front of the TV not talking or connecting), and who expects/wants all of those same things in return.

It’s so easy with her… hmm… maybe we should give her a name since she’s now officially my girlfriend… Let’s call her Rose. Rose and I speak the same love languages and it’s just unbelievable. Add to that connection the fact that, for the first time in my life, I am someone’s girlfriend! I feel like a teenage girl who’s just been asked out by the person she likes. I’m a girlfriend. Not a boyfriend. Not a husband. I’m her girlfriend.

I cannot put into words the joy I feel at the thought of entering into a relationship as my true self. I’m me… 100% unbridled me. I’m not acting anymore. I’m not forcing myself into something that doesn’t fit or make sense. I’m me, the non-binary transfeminine extraordinaire, and she likes it. She likes me, for me. She isn’t just putting up with me out of some misplaced sense of devotion, she actually, genuinely wants to be with ME! The REAL me! She thinks I’m beautiful. She thinks I’m sexy. She thinks of me as a woman and wants me because of it, not in spite of it.

Oh there is so much to tell, but I must close with the final highlight. I think I’ve finally made my peace with my ex. I cannot say “I’m over it” because that wouldn’t be true, but anger is no longer in the guesthouse. True, anger cleaned the place out which was painful, but anger has left town.

Going back to the place where my marriage began did something to me. I proposed to my ex the last time I was in North Carolina, so going back was almost like the ghost of Christmas past came to visit me. Everything about being there reminded me of her. When I saw the exit for the Biltmore house (where I proposed) I broke down into tears. Over and over again I had these memories flash before my eyes and with them came the feeling of loss. That feeling, however, eventually subsided.

I cannot say I am over my divorce or that I don’t still have a great deal of baggage to unpack as a result of my relationship with my ex, but I can say that I have made peace with it. I think I’ve finally accepted what happened. I can’t really explain it and it doesn’t necessarily make sense, but I’ve made my peace with the divorce.  I think that going back to NC and reliving those moments where everything really began between my ex and I gave me the opportunity to fully mourn the loss of our love. It gave me the ability to look back at the years we spent together and see that we weren’t right for one another. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her or that I’m happy per se that our marriage ended, but it does mean that I finally see that we needed to part ways.

As much as I wanted my ex to be all the things I needed, she just wasn’t. As much as I hoped we could live a happy and fulfilling life, we just couldn’t. As much as I desperately wanted to make it work, it just couldn’t. As much as I was desperate for her to start putting in the effort I wanted, she just wasn’t willing to do that.

In many ways, I was suffocating inside that marriage and maybe she was too. My therapist pointed out that my suicidal ideation has dramatically decreased since the divorce, which indicates that a big part of the reason I wanted to die was because I felt so trapped by our relationship. Spending time alone with nothing but my thoughts and the ghostly reminders of our past helped me to see just how unhappy I was with my ex. I kept dreaming and wishing that we’d be happy, but we never really were. We were great friends, but we were lousy lovers. We had a lot of fun and felt a lot of love, but we also had a lot of misery and felt a lot of resentment.

She isn’t what I need anymore. Now I know that. Now I see that. Now I have made my peace with that. She didn’t fulfill me, even at our happiest moments. She didn’t give me what I needed to be happy and in many ways, wasn’t even really interested in trying to give me what I needed. It was childish of me to hold so tightly to something that wasn’t working anymore. I thought that because I’d promised to stay with her forever that it meant we had to live on in varying degrees of misery and un-fulfillment. I was so afraid that if I let go of our relationship for my own happiness that I wasn’t any better than my parents who’ve had nothing but catastrophic relationships. I see now that I was foolish to think that, because what I was actually doing was exactly what my parents did: hold on to something that wasn’t working rather than just accepting the truth of the situation.

The truth of this situation is that my ex and I were no longer any good for one another. We were holding each other back from the lives we wanted to live. She wanted to have the hetero-normative dream life of a handsome husband, a couple of kids, a big house, and lots of money for family vacations. I wanted a lesbian life filled with girl-on-girl sex. I wanted to jump into the LGBT world and explore it from top to bottom. I wanted the freedom to be social and charming, and to have fun with friends. What I wanted and what she wanted were no longer compatible. I couldn’t be her handsome husband who took care of her and provided her with children. She couldn’t be the lesbian lover and socialite that I needed. I see all of this now and I have made my peace with it.

I no longer feel angry towards her the way I did before. Not because I’ve found something to bury the anger under but simply because I no longer need the anger. The anger cleared out my guesthouse to show me how much better off I am without that stuffy old furniture lying around. The anger showed me that what I truly needed was a new beginning, and now I have that. I don’t condone her actions and the way she ended things will always be completely fucked up and cruel, but I don’t need my anger over it anymore. It served its purpose and now it is being replaced with something else… something better: romance. ;)

There will be more soon, I promise. I’m back at home and have plenty to write about.