mandysee_mandydo: (Classy Phryne)
2016-09-08 04:38 pm
Entry tags:

of apples and seeds

an apple fell from the tree
do not mourn the loss
in the shade
in the orchard
do you not see me?
see yourself?
the apples?
i am you
you are me
we are all apples in the tree
we could taste the whole orchard
and find no two fruits
tasting exactly alike
yet each so familiar
nectar sweet like a memory
like a life lived
like a life to come
seeds spill in the soil and take root
to become a tree
to become me
to become you
to become all
mandysee_mandydo: (Willow Talking)
2016-08-22 03:00 pm

letter to a willow

dearest willow tree
i've had a change of heart
i can no longer see you
the way i did
the way you were
we both have grown
seasons changed
weep if you will
this is not sad news
this is the autumn of our love
this is transformation

you reminded me of a person
a love still sallow from loss
experiences no longer shared
memories that starve us
we hunger for richer soil
for sunlight to kiss our veins

i see you everywhere
and when i do i long to find
strength and resilience
a reminder to slow down
flexibility in how i reach out
a temperament that sways in the breeze
grace under the weight of it all

dearest willow tree
i see you differently now
you are a teacher
i am your student
our roots have entangled
but our spirits dance apart
unencumbered by memory
green in the spring sun
growing together
mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Feels Frisky)
2016-06-06 08:32 pm

Vision Of Love

Last year I wrote my vision for my sexuality as I move through my forties. While I've evolved some since then, I'm still feeling mostly the same and happier than I have been in a while. That said, I'm demisexual bordering graysexual, so sex isn't a huge priority for me. Don't get me wrong; I love sex. I enjoy putting my all into pleasing my sexual partners and chasing my desires! It's just my libido is pretty low key and what I crave more than sex is deep connection. With that in mind, I figured it was time to write a vision for how I want to experience love and relationships moving forward.

I recently read All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. Her definition of love really resonated with me. She defined love as "the will to nurture our own and another's spiritual growth," as well as "an action, a participatory emotion." Love isn't what we say and promise. It's what we do and how we grow as a result. Show don't tell. Grow. My vision for how I intend to love myself and others -- and my vision for how I expect to be loved -- shall be rooted in this definition.

Last August, Shelley Bullard wrote a great article titled "The 4 Qualities Of A Conscious Relationship." I only just found it through an online polyamory community and immediately found someone had voiced where I am in regard to love and building relationships. I'm fortunate to be living this kind of love through a couple of very deep, loving platonic relationships with my soul sisters (hello my dears!). I highly recommend giving it a read. It's very easy reading and very powerful. My only qualm with it is that this kind of love need not be reserved for one person or even only for romatic relationships. I say let all love look like this. I have found it to be incredibly transformative in my platonic relationships.

So what is a conscious relationship? It is a relationship "in which both partners feel committed to a sense of purpose, and that purpose is growth. Individual growth. Collective growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place." It aligns beautifully with bell hooks' definition of love! To summarize, the four qualities of conscious relationships are:

  1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship - growth comes first.

  2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their shit.

  3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.

  4. The relationship is a place to practice love.

Love is a practice. Love is growth. Love is personal responsibility and lots of open, honest communication and processing. Love is practiced without attachment.

Admittedly I have been a self-described hopeless romantic since I was a teen. I bought into the romantic ideal and the relationship escalator (love means dating then commitment then marriage then settling down then kids and completely monogamous). Transitioning to practicing polyamory and building multiple deep platonic, romantic, and sexual relationships has impelled me to examine the romantic narrative and find it really doesn't work for me anymore. I'm far more interested in authenticity and rawness and growth.

Going back to bell hooks, she wrote about the destructive nature of romance and how it impedes genuine love:

"Its destructiveness resides in the notion that we come to love with no will and no capacity to choose. This illusion, perpetuated by so much romantic lore, stands in the way of our learning to love. To sustain our fantasy we substitute romance for love.
...
To be capable of critically evaluating a partner we would need to be able to stand back and look critically at ourselves, at our needs, desires, and longings. [...] We fear that evaluating our needs and then carefully choosing partners will reveal that there is no one for us to love. Most of us prefer to have a partner who is lacking than no partner at all. What becomes apparent is that we may be more interested in finding a partner than in knowing love."

Love is not something I should fall into but rather choose. It is incumbent upon me to know what I need, desire, and long for and then choose partners based on those criteria. I need to be open to hearing the needs, desires, and longings of others. I need to take responsibility for my own and find opportunities to support my loves in meeting their own. When conflict arises between our individual needs, desires, and longings, we are presented with opportunities to grow individually or together. I must be prepared to act on those opportunities.

And then I watched a video produced by The School Of Life on how romanticism ruined love. Give it a watch. It'll only take a few minutes.



Wasn't that fantastic? If you didn't watch it (naughty naughty!), it pretty much agreed with what hooks wrote about the destructive and dysfunctional aspects of romance and called for us to embrace post-romantic relationships. What does a post-romantic relationship look like? Watch the video! Or in summary:

  • It's normal that love and sex don't always belong together.

  • Discussing money up front in a serious way is not a betrayal of love.

  • Each of us is flawed and our partners are, too.

  • We will never find everything in one person, nor they in us.

  • Intuition can't get us where we need to go.

  • There is a special dignity around issues of practicality.

Love is about recognizing our flawed human nature in me and others and affording each of us the grace to be our human selves and grow together. Love is communicating our needs, desires, and longings up front in order to enable informed consent. Love is not magic or innate. Love is forgiving and dignified. Love is open and leaves room for multiple people to meet our needs, desires, and longings.

Moving forward, I shall endeavor to form loving, conscious, post-romantic relationships rooted in actions that nurture my own and others' spiritual growth. And good sex when the mood strikes.

EDIT (10/18/2016): I made two glaring omissions in my Vision of Love! I'm a proponent of casual love and embracing impermanence and short-term relationships just as cherished as long-term. I'm dropping a couple of resources below and will write more about my thoughts on them later.

Casual Love by Carsie Blanton

mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2016-04-19 10:55 am

caged bird

locked away in my rib cage
perched and gayly singing
"do you hear me?"
"do you hear me?"
waiting for you to
open the cage
caress it softly
and ask me why i ever
clipped its wings when
i could have let it fly free








mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2016-04-05 04:02 pm

giving thanks


thank you for
helping me find my strength
adding to my resilience and resolve
now i can see it
knowledge comes with distance and time



you tried to burn me
only to see me rise from the ashes
up to my better self

( Dedicated to all of my bullies and abusers through the years. I wouldn't be the person I am today without you.)

mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel In The Rain)
2016-03-10 12:00 am
Entry tags:

five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes


CW: suicide, depression )
If you are thinking of suicide, know that I love you and you are not alone. Please ask for help. You can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or for Text Telephone call 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

If you identify as LGBT youth you can call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. If you are transgender like me, you can call Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.

For more information:
Suicide.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The Trevor Project

Trans Lifeline
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2016-01-31 06:10 pm

feedback loop

trees
reaching into the sky
branches caress the air
looking for breath
just like

lungs
nestled in our bosoms
bronchioles caress the air
looking for breath
there is a

pattern
the way the lines split
and split again
and split again
and split again
the repetition and reiteration
is all very

mathematical
fractals occurring in nature
imperfectly executed
variables in every deviation

are you so surprised by your flaws?

look up
look inside
it's in all of nature
it's in all our natures
the way we are

crooked
gnarly
tangled
asymmetrical
wondrous
awe-inspiring
beautiful
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-12-03 10:03 am
Entry tags:

go gently

stop blaming yourself
everything is not your fault
let go
forget your past mistakes

find compassion for yourself
offer it to others, too
regret is not your friend
go for it
invite new experiences
volunteer to lift yourself and others up
evade the need to judge your feelings
neither good nor bad
existing
sit with them
set them free
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-09-10 05:04 pm

Beautifully Imperfect

Full length mirrors reflect a bigger picture
I stopped in front of one today
I saw so many imperfections
I said to myself
Lady, you are so much more than that
That's your body
It's not perfect
But it's yours
Live in it
Love it
Own it
Every flaw
Every inch
Every pound
Every curve
You are beautiful
You are smart
You are strong
You have power
The things those eyes and thighs have seen and
Still you are here
Still going
Still breathing
Still living and learning and loving
And lady can you do all of those
With passion as hot and wild as fire
That mirror has it's own imperfections
Let that light within you shine brightly
Let the shadows fall where they may
See it all in your reflection
Recognize yourself
And appreciate
All of you
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-08-22 11:46 pm
Entry tags:

Eternal

Millions of years from now
Far, far away
Near a star blinking in our night sky
Someone will see the sunlight we basked in today
We will be there in spirit

Millions of years ago
Far, far away
Near a star blinking in our night sky
Someone basked in sunlight we are seeing tonight
They are here in spirit

Right now
Far, far away
Near a star blinking in our night sky
Someone is seeing the sunlight dinosaurs basked in
We are all connected in spirit

Millions of years ago
Our neighbors' bodies transformed into stardust
Floating far, far away
Pollinating our earth to give birth to us

Right now as we pass
Our bodies too transform into stardust
Floating far, far away
Pollinating another planet to give birth to neighbors
Whose sunlight has yet to appear in our night sky

We are all connected in spirit through space and time
We are eternal and orbital, tracing circles in the night sky
Wherever you are
May I share this moment with you?
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-08-14 11:35 pm

Be Proud

Early in my transition I decided to write a poem about my self-love. Since I felt it was unrequited but burgeoning, I chose to write it as a Petrarchan sonnet. It was a fun exercise that inspired me to take the work of transition seriously and build myself up. Since I am once again doing the work to reclaim my self-worth and reawaken my sense of self-love, I chose to repeat the poetic process.

This time I refused to allow my self-love to be unrequited. No Petrarchan sonnet this time. I'm going full-on, sappy, sweet, lovey-dovey Shakespearean sonnet in spite of my distaste for the form. If the shoe fits... Fourteen lines, typical rhyming scheme, iambic pentameter, and the volta at line 9 that turns the gloomy toward the light. My imperfections are just another side of who I am. There are bright and beautiful sides. It's time they caught the light, too. So, without further ado...

Be Proud

As lines of silver streak my brunette locks
And stretch marks ripple round my heavy waist,
I struggle finding ample fitting frocks
And tears with mem'ries oft roll down with haste.

Emotions once before kept stuffed inside
Crouch ready to lash out with just a flinch.
My spirit's only happy just to hide
and legs too weary under pound and inch.

Yet these are just mere facets of my self,
imperfect yes but not without their shine!
So turn the gem that's me upon the shelf
And deeper beauty lusters clear and fine.

Oh Self, I did the best I could today.
Be proud, and know I love you anyway.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-08-10 02:22 pm
Entry tags:

In The Wilderness

My heart and mind roam free
Big game prime for the chase
For the hunt
It shall not be easy
My body is not some pristine preserve
With prey readily contained
Easy pickings for you to pluck and
Carry away, smug and well-fed
My body is a great wilderness
Beasts within have teeth and claws
Good luck taming it
It shall not be easy
It's getting late
Better light a fire
I beg of you don't burn it all down
Oh, I'll survive if you do
And rise from the ashes
Fly away
Catch me if you can
It shall not be easy
Feed that fire
It could get dark
My soul dances before you in the shadows
Like a thousand fireflies among the trees
Little glimpses of light and flame
Hints to show the way
Can you see them?
See my soul?
Let it guide you
Are you up for the chase?
It shall not be easy
My heart and mind are just ahead
Be quick or be dead
They are fast but not easy
Full of passions and desires and needs
Vivacious, vibrant, and vermilion
They do not rest
They run
They run swift
They evade
They hide
They fight back
How hungry are you?
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-07-31 03:39 pm

Reflections


I looked in the mirror this morning
I saw blue, gray, and green galaxies
Their circling arms gently holding
Worlds full of promise and opportunity
I saw you in the black hole at the center, too
Threatening to draw me in
Stretch me thin
Make it impossible for me to exist
I dance on the event horizon
Hoping for the energy
To maintain the slowly decaying orbit
Striving to achieve escape velocity
Worried I may get sucked in
Is that really where I want to be?
Lost in time and eternity?
Inhabiting darkness?
Or do I want to spread my wings and fly
Make love with the stars that
Shine brightest around me
Reflect their radiance back to them
Hold their darkness together gently with mine
Make peace with the universe and
Sing harmoniously
mandysee_mandydo: (Cosima)
2015-07-17 04:47 pm
Entry tags:

At The Foot Of A Giant

Today my family and I went for a walk along the Old Stone Arch Bridge in Keene and followed that with a visit to North Cemetery. Like the Washington Street Cemetery the graves here are all very old from the time of the city's founding. Lots of death's heads, cherubs, and urns and willows on the headstones. Shortly after arriving, we spotted this giant Eastern Hemlock.




Just as a reference for size, the below photo is me standing next to this very large Eastern Hemlock.



What particularly caught our attention about this tree was that it obviously wasn't there when these people were buried around it, or at least certainly not much of a tree at all. The headstones immediately uphill from it face it, which would mean that to bury people under the tree would mean to quite literally dig under the tree. Not very likely at all. Upon closer examination I discovered the most recent graves around the tree were of Captain Samuel Kingsbury and his wife Sarah, both of whom died within eight days of each other in October of 1863. I shall like to learn more about their story and may have to dig my Keene history books out of their box before we move.



You likely noticed as I did that the massive roots of the tree have grown around part of the headstone. The headstone came first.



It would seem that the tree is most likely no older than 150 years, or if so only just barely. It could have been a sapling or a beanpole when the graves of Sarah and the Captain were dug.

Not having any sort of measuring tape on me, I could only get a best estimate of its diameter at breast height (d.b.h.). A warm hug of this beautiful giant revealed my armspan wrapped approximately halfway around the circumference of this old Hemlock. My armspan is around 65 inches, so the circumference at breast height is about 130 inches. From this I was able to calculate a rough d.b.h. of 41 inches.

If this shade-tolerant tree were growing under dense canopy cover, it could be as old as 200 years given a d.b.h. of 41 inches. This is an old cemetery with headstones dating back as far as 1793, including the first wife of Nathaniel Kingsbury also buried near the base of this tree. It seems highly unlikely there was dense suppression. Most likely this tree grew all of its life in the wide open or under the slightest shade from a nearby tree long since dead and stump-sprouting. This means it could have grown as quickly as 2.5 inches per decade. At that rate, this Hemlock would be around 160 years old.

Assuming I'm wrong about the shade cover, even at 200 years old this tree would have only been about 6 inches in diameter when the youngest of the Kingsbury family were buried at the base of this tree. It's quite possible they buried them in the shade of a Hemlock. The tree also would not have been very tall so it seems unlikely they would have dug graves right under its shade. Most likely the tree was not there or was a sapling. The rough calculation of 160 years at the fastest possible growth rate seems to line up with this tree either just being a sapling at the time Sarah and the Captain died or taking root in the soil just after they were buried.

It was a beautiful day for a walk and this proved a fun little mystery to piece together while exploring and expanding our sense of place in our town. What made this day even more special was that my soon-to-be six years old son chose to go here so he could learn. He got to learn a bit about history, a bit about nature, and a bit about aging a tree from d.b.h.
mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Feels Frisky)
2015-07-14 03:38 pm
Entry tags:

(Not So) Daily Affirmation - July 13, 2015

Love yourself first. Love yourself most. Love yourself unconditionally. Then you can love all others fully.

mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-07-03 10:59 am

Naked



I savor preparing gifts for you
The planning
The process
The wet lips in anticipation
I like to make them beautiful
I crop the photos
I edit the videos
My body
Trimmed for presentation
Beautiful as you tell me I am
You've seen naked photos of me
But you haven't
Seen me
Naked
I want to bare it all for you
Every pound
Every curve
Every stretch mark
But I'm afraid you can't bear it
That my breasts will be too small
To whet your appetite
A mere unpalatable hors d'oeuvre
That my round belly is too large
Engorged too many feasts
Too plump and overripe
You tell me I am beautiful and
I hide pieces of me
Like distasteful scraps
Secreted away
In a napkin
I choose your gift from the menu
Prepare it and present it
And perhaps this time
Well seasoned in the process
I'll have left a little more fat on the meat
A touch more succulence
Tender and a bit raw
For you
mandysee_mandydo: (Fashionable Phryne)
2015-06-30 08:36 am

(Not So) Daily Affirmation - June 30, 2015

I refuse to hate my body any more. I am who I am. I am beautiful. And I deserve my own love and compassion more than anyone else. Love starts at home in my own body.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
2015-06-25 03:17 pm
Entry tags:

Six Words


I'm playing with fire
I can feel its heat
As we both feed it
Higher and higher
I'm afraid of how it might burn me
And how it might burn her
I'm afraid of stoking it too fast
That it burns out
I feel alive
Six words
She wrote to me
The flame burns brighter and hotter
She tells me I might be a phoenix
I'm inclined to believe her
I want to jump in the fire
Feel the inferno consume me
Embrace a rebirth
Spread my wings
Rise from ashes and
Fly away
With her
mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Pretty)
2015-06-21 11:10 am
Entry tags:

(Not So) Daily Affirmation - June 21, 2015

I am a worthwhile individual. I am valuable and important exactly the way I am. And yes, I am beautiful. Don't ever forget.
mandysee_mandydo: (Ahme Prepares The Needle)
2015-06-18 02:57 pm
Entry tags:

(Not So) Daily Affirmation - June 18, 2015

I can be uncomfortable and survive. I have been uncomfortable and survived.