mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Feels Frisky)
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

Be Proud

Aug. 14th, 2015 11:35 pm
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
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)
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?

Our Song

Dec. 7th, 2008 07:14 pm
mandysee_mandydo: (Love)
All of that typing about Yes had me wanting to listen to the song that [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf  and I consider to be our song:


(The video is crappy but the better fanvid cuts off halfway through the song.)

Homophobia

Oct. 20th, 2007 11:35 pm
mandysee_mandydo: (V)
Copied from [livejournal.com profile] fossilapostle:

Homophobia
Whether or not you are homosexual, bisexual or transgender, you should repost this in support of your friends and loved ones who are. Love is not defined by color, creed, or gender.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the boy who never finished high school, because I got called a fag everyday

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the woman who died when the EMTs stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didnt have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am a warrior for my country serving proud, but can't be my true self because gays aren't allowed in the military.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

I am the person ashamed to tell my own friends I'm a homosexual, because they constantly make fun of them.

I am the boy tied to a fence, beaten to a bloody pulp and left to die because two straight men wanted to "teach me a lesson."
mandysee_mandydo: (love)
I'm typing this now as you go to bed, [profile] painted_wolf, so you will read this later today and it will be a surprise: a surprise like you were to me. You came when I had given up hope of ever finding anyone. We have been together for eleven years now but it seems like we have been together forever. I know this may all sound so cliche but I love you truly and dearly, despite our differences and quarrels. You have been so very supportive of me and patient with my stubbornness. Happy anniversary, my love. May we have many more from here until eternity ends.

And now, lyrics I find appropriate to the moment:

Secret Message
by Rasputina

I carry a secret message
That I must give to you
It concerns suspicious blessings, now
I'm sure you'll know what to do
But if it should be some bad news
You know you can lean on me
It might explain Nostradamus
Or my addiction to prophecy

I'm not at liberty to say
How a secret message came for you today

I'm like a mirror baby
I refract light back at you
So silent, so thin, so tricky now
We do the things that lovers do

I'm not at liberty to say
How a secret message came for you today
It holds the secrets of my heart and my mind
It tells of vast expanses stretching backwards over time

Two objects at equal distance
Acting as if they care
Does weight follow mass in this instance?
Oh, E equals MC squared

I'm not at liberty to say
How a secret message came for you today
It holds the secrets of my heart and my mind
It tells of vast expanses stretching backwards over time
mandysee_mandydo: (water)
Because she explains science like this:

*I look at her pentane isomers and she explains them and starts talking about boiling points and stuff*

"Hydrogen likes to form bonds in a line."

*builds two water molecules with her chemistry modeling kit*

"So you've got these two water molecules kicking it old school, right? And they're dipolar, so the hydrogens are all positive on this end and the oxygen is all emo."

*picks up water molecules and grabs a bond, connecting the hydrogen on one to the oxygen on the other*

"So the hydrogen goes over to the oxygen and says, 'Don't be sad emo oxygen. I'll bond with you. Then we can be happy!'"

It's like having my own live-in Bill Nye the Science Guy. She's Kathy the Science Gal.

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