There will be blood: When hormones affect emotions

Originally posted to my fetlife blog about a year ago.


When I’m in the middle of it, I don’t want anybody but me to say “it’s just hormones,” because the feelings are real and I don’t want them dismissed; but at the same time, I want it to be understood that the hormones involved are causing the feelings to be exaggerated to a degree where they are now affecting my mood in a negative way. I also want it to be understood that I know this is happening.

So, “it’s just hormones,” isn’t a way of dismissing the feelings, it’s a way of explaining their severity.

That’s probably why so many of us get that venomous look when someone tries to write off our feelings or behaviors as “must be that time of the month again.”

The thing that bothers me to the point of an eyeroll on a normal day may bother me to the point of frustration on a hormonal day, but the bottom line is it still bothers me either way.

I think people often mistake the hormonal amplification of a feeling as a sign the feeling has no merit at all, when it might be at the root of something that’s been bubbling under the surface for a long time.

So, what’s the right answer when an issue has come up and you are pretty darned sure that hormones are making it a bigger issue than it would be on any other day?

I don’t know how it works for everyone. For me? It’s patience and understanding. It’ll go away in a few days, but acknowledge that it’s there that day. Show compassion. Don’t dismiss it. And let’s talk about it later, when my emotions are balanced again.

I suppose this is somewhat of a PSA from a much more clear headed perspective than I was in yesterday.

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Bye, Felicia

Last month I attended my first in-person training session for my coaching certification. During the course of those three days, I (rather quickly) identified the biggest block I have to achieving any of my goals.

Laziness.

Throughout the three days in that session I worked with other members of my cohort on learning some skills to successfully coach clients to move past their blocks to achieve their goals. At the end of the three days, we symbolically broke through the biggest block that we’d identified at the beginning.

I felt really, really good.

I came home with every intention of doing the things I had planned to do. I was going to go back to weight watchers. I was going to start meditating daily. I was going to get myself organized and finish the final touches of putting together my workout area.

Apparently, symbolically counts about as much as reddit karma, ’cause I did none of those things.

In fact, when I got the email last week that alerted us that our three weeks of respite was about to end and the coursework and deliverables were about to be assigned, I became overwhelmed! The next thing I knew, I looked at my calendar and anything remotely resembling free time was GONE!

I was feeling overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed.

Tonight I spent an hour with my peer coach – another member of my cohort that is also earning her certification as a professional coach. She asked me what I wanted to work on and I said “I’d really like to work on getting healthier.”

Thus began about 20 minutes of back and forth about why my health was important to me, and how it has nothing to do with my self-esteem (which is super high) or a need to be validated by society or men or anything like that.

She seemed confused about what my block was. She finally asked me to name the thing that’s blocking me and I said “laziness.”

That’s when she suggested one of our coaching tools. What if I gave this block a name? Personified it?

I was stunned that I hadn’t thought of doing this myself. For a decade I’ve been talking about naming the depression or the anxiety or the other mental blocks that have plagued my lovers and friends. As a way of naming the thing and not internalizing it….”Jake is here right now and he’s taking up all my energy,” would be a way of saying “My anxiety is acting up and I can’t really be here for you right now.”

“OK,” I responded, feeling very open to trying it out. I walked by my bookcase and I was scrambling to try to come up with a name for my laziness. “I’ll come up with a name later, but yeah…let’s say….Uhh…..”

And then I just picked a name: Felicia.

I think it’s because it’s the name of a vendor I’m working with for an event I’m putting together, and she was the last person I spoke with before I left work today.

I figured I’d pick a better name later.

Now, to be completely honest – it took my coach and I a bit of time to get to the point where she started to listen to me and stop advising me (which is what coaches are supposed to do), but when she eventually got there, I did have quite a breakthrough.

“Felicia would say that she’ll unpack the suitcase that’s been sitting for a week in the basement tomorrow, but I am going to go downstairs and unpack it as soon as we hang up the phone.”

See, ’cause Felicia LOVES to say she’ll start things tomorrow and then find an excuse not to.

“Felicia would agree to doing 20 minutes of exercise three times a week, but I am committing to ten minutes of exercise every day for the next two weeks.”

Too many times, Felicia has committed to 3 days a week, and it’s amazing how easily three becomes two and two becomes one, and one becomes a string of excuses.

“Before I moved, I used to spend two hours a day in traffic commuting to and from work. Felicia has replaced those two hours in traffic with two extra hours of sleep in the morning, but I am going to utilize those two hours to give myself the free time that I’m saying I don’t have to exercise, meditate, or work on my blog.”

“You know what,” I said as we wrapped up our session, “the name Felicia is growing on me. I’m going to keep calling her ‘Felicia.'”

It wasn’t until my peer coach asked me what I wanted to say to Felicia that I realized what an appropriate name I’d picked for her after all.


From Urban Dictionary (modified for grammar and spelling)

Bye, Felicia

A goodbye given to any unwanted, irritating, or disliked person. Start[ed] as a [reference] to the character Felicia in the movie Friday.

This is Forty

I turned forty about an hour ago.

Minutes before that, I completed the last act of my 30th year – I turned in all the assignments for the advanced standing section of my coaching certification.

The process was more self-reflective than I imagined it would be. Much of the work I’ve already done. In fact, I went through my blog archives as part of the process of examining many of the “life review” questions I was asked about my childhood and relationships.

I can’t think of a better way to set the tone for the next ten years of my life. I spent the entirety of my 30s working at my current job. It was simultaneously a time of significant change and personal growth in some areas, and a time of stagnation and demoralization in others.

As part of the process, I was asked to idealize what my life as a coach would look like in one year, at three years, at five years, and at ten years.

It amazed me how achievable each one of those dreams is. How within my grasp it all is.

I can do this. I really can do this.

I keep thinking of where I was ten years ago. I wanted a big party for my 30th, and I always loved themed parties. My partner at the time (not yet husband) organized a 60s cocktail themed party at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. It was during the time that Mad Men was all the rage. I bought a pink cocktail dress, got my hair swept up into a beehive up-do, and perfected my cat-eyeliner by tediously studying youtube videos for techniques.

It was the night that the old-school bartender gave me a sampling of all the classic cocktails and I discovered that I love bourbon the most. To this day, a Blanton’s Old Fashioned is my jam.

I was anxious and hopeful that Tony would propose to me that night. Everybody was. He made a speech. We all waited for it. I think he knew that and intentionally decided to wait, just to fuck with us.

It happened a few months later, while he and I were alone on vacation in London.

That night of my 30th birthday party, my brother had just arrived home from his first trip to China. He and his wife had been trying to conceive. My niece will turn ten in nine months.

My brother reminded me that I was ten years off from his prediction – “One day, you’ll turn 40 and decide to write a book. It’ll be a bestseller and you’ll be set for life.”

My future husband laughed. He’d written a best seller. Before he died, he would have written two best sellers.

We were not set for life.

A year later I was married.

Three years later I was widowed.

A year after that, I was here…writing. I found you all, or you found me. I’m not sure which of us is the chicken or the egg.

I spent the second half my thirties undergoing the most challenging and rewarding personal growth spurt I may ever experience. I was confronted with the consequences of 35 years of unhealthy relationship habits and addictions to external validation, codependency, and labels.

Three years ago, the work paid off. I successfully established a relationship with myself that I had previously taken for granted. I have spent the past three years loving myself unconditionally – and in the process, I’ve learned to love and be loved without fear.

These past three years have been, without a doubt, the best of my life. And I know there’s even better to come.

At this point, an hour and 22 minutes into my 4th decade of existence. I’ve successfully completed the first big milestone of the next big step in my ongoing journey. I’m engaged and enthusiastic to continue with the in-person training for the coaching certification next week.

On Monday, I’ll be featured on one of my favorite podcasts – multiamory – as a guest interview on the topic of poly + mono relationships. I’ve had my first paying client (though as I am not yet certified, I asked instead that he donate to a fundraiser I was running for my metamour).

I’m creating a business plan. I’m setting goals. I’m meeting deadlines. I’m networking. I’m investing my time into this dream, and I haven’t felt that excited about anything (other than sex and star trek) in a really long time.

Every time I have a fear, or a doubt, or that little voice of risk aversion in my head that asks me if this is the right thing…. if I should be moving away from a steady career I’ve put 20 years into to start something risky and new…

I think about the woman who had a Mad Men themed birthday party, hoping her boyfriend would propose, who had no idea that less than four years later – every expectation, every plan, and every dream she’d ever had would get thrown out the window.

It’s time for my new dreams to come true.

This is forty. This is when it happens.

I can’t fucking wait to see where this decade takes me.

Question 16: Do you have any concerns or worries about your community or your community involvement?

The title of this post is the next question in the 50+ page “life review” that I am completing as part of my coaching certification program.

What a loaded question. Since it’s not one of the ones with the radio dial buttons for “yes” or “no,” I think it’s time to put into words the whirlwind of thoughts that I have been having on the subject.

Yes I have concerns and worries about my community, both the local and the online one. I’ve been asking myself a lot these past months why, when I’ve identified some distasteful (to me) elements possessed by the culture of these two separate but connected communities, I opt to step back in retreat over stepping up to make a difference.

I think I’ve figured it out. It’s like that old lightbulb joke – about how many therapists it takes to change a lightbulb?

Just one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

I think the community wants to change in the way that I want to lose weight. Like magic, and overnight, without actually having to sacrifice anything it enjoys or put in any long term effort into the hard work and sweat it’s going to take to build a new set of habits.

The community likes to say that it is inclusive the way I like to order a salad when I eat with people, but take a spoon to a jar of nutella when nobody’s watching.

I think the community leaders are those who once felt like they could make a difference – like they could either reinforce what they loved about it, and/or make changes to help create a better environment for themselves and the ones they care about.

Problem is that once they succeed, they think their work is finished. Just like I thought I was all set when I lost 80lbs and thought that I’d never have to wear anything larger than a size 12 again.

I was wrong.

In order for the community to be better, it has to never feel like it already is.

Yeah, I have concerns about the community.

But I don’t think I’m necessarily any better than anybody else who ever thought they could make a difference, succeeded in making a difference, and then stopped asking “what more needs to be done?”

I’d love to think that I am immune to the corruption and complacency that power and popularity seem to have on so many of our recognized leaders. In politics, in religion, in workplaces, and even in sex positive, polyamorous, and queer communities – we see people who had the best intentions get sidetracked by greed or become intentionally blind to the experiences of others.

How do I know I’d be any different?

I was reminded of something I learned in school – about George Washington and how he had said something upon the completion of his second term that led to a 150 years of Presidents that move aside after 2 terms before an actual constitutional amendment was made to enforce it.

I went to look it up and ended up on a page full of quotes about term limits…some of which seemed similar in theme to the aforementioned whirlwind of thoughts in my head:

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it. — T.B. Macaulay

You will always find those who think they know your duty better than you know it. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the way to do good to my country were to render myself popular, I could easily do it. But extravagant popularity is not the road to public advantage. –John Adams

I don’t think my concerns over community are new or unique, and I don’t think that they’ll never be addressed, nor do I think I am powerless to address them.

I think when the community is ready, it will seek out the types of leaders and organizers it needs to make those changes. And I hope it never stops trying to be better.

Experiencing “top space” through hedonism

Prologue

I decided to give topping a try a few years ago. I had connected with a submissive male, and we’d talked a lot about what he liked and wanted, and I gave it a go.

We did it once in my home and once in public at the dungeon, and it was entertaining, but the role didn’t sing to me. There was spanking and paddling, lots of teasing, and even a bit of boot worship.

But the reality was, he was getting all of his wants met. My teasing and denial of him (which was totally what he wanted) was also denying myself…and that wasn’t much fun for me.

I’d essentially “bottomed from the top”, because I didn’t do a single thing that gratified me, personally – but he had a lovely time, and the satisfaction I derived from the experience was purely about having done a “good job.”

After this, I positively declared that there wasn’t a single toppy bone in my body, and that was the end of the experiment.


Present Day

We got a little stoned. In this deliciously altered state of mind, while waiting for the timer on our dinner to ring – I was given the direction to “do whatever I wanted with [him].”

I had just over 30 minutes.


I think I found my top space. It was really difficult to hold at times, because part of what I want IS to make him feel good based on his own desires and preferences – but there were moments when my every move stopped being about what I thought would get him excited, and became purely about what was driving my own pleasure. The pace, the angle, and the strength of each thrust were bringing me closer to orgasm, and I was greedily doing what what made me feel good without consideration of how it felt for him.

Not that it felt bad for him in the slightest, but that wasn’t top of mind, you know? It had nothing to do with spanking or paddling or teasing and denying.

It really was about my pleasure. His was a side effect. But then, whenever he’d moan with pleasure, I’d remember how much I enjoyed being the source of it and suddenly I’d revert to bottom space long enough to think about asking permission to orgasm (something I enjoy doing in my bottomy space), and then remembering that the directions were to do whatever I wanted, and back into toppy space I’d go!

It was pretty fucking amazing.

I finally understand what some people get from topping. It’s neat!


As the timer wound down, I started to notice and feel the ways he was reclaiming the top side through his sadism. I don’t know if that was intentional on his part, but that’s how it felt for me and I really enjoyed it. Going from ‘it’s all about my own pleasure’ to relinquishing control through intensifying levels pain was the most incredible fucking rush.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like it.


Seriously considering changing my fet role from “bottom” to “hedonist.”

A New Chapter Begins

Hey y’all 🙂
 
An update on me. I *have* been very quiet, not just here, but on most social media lately. My relationship is stellar. Everything there continues to be fantasmical and the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship I have ever experienced in my (near) 40 years.
 
On the work side, though – things have gotten pretty gnarly. I have worked for this organization for 11 years, and in many ways, I think they still view me as the 20-something year old that first started there. The place is terribly mismanaged, as well – but they make up for this with excellent pay and great benefits.
 
Make up for it. Heh. That’s like saying that an abusive partner makes up for it by paying all the bills and providing shelter.
 
About a year ago, I was ready to walk away. I did research on what it would take to become a life coach and start my own business doing something that brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment.
 
But they sensed I was ready to leave and gave me a raise and my fear of being out on my own without the steady income and health insurance made me back away from the idea.
 
I recently attended a workshop where it became very, very apparent to me that I am holding myself back from making a change out of fear of the unknown. Out of thinking that I might have to significantly change my very comfortable lifestyle because I’m not sure if I’m cut out for self-employment.
 
And, in part because there’s a little voice in my head that asks “Why do you feel like you have anything more/different to offer than anybody else who is already doing it?”
 
The idea of becoming a life coach surfaced again, and I did some research into what it takes to become certified. It’s an investment – both in time and finances. And if I take this on, I have to see it through – I have to at least *try* to make the investment pay off.
 
The course begins in late July. By January, I will be fully certified.
 
If I can hang in there with this job until then, I can handle the financial investment *and* start working on building up my own business while maintaining a steady income and health insurance.
 
Everything that happens after that is unknown.
 
And it’s scary.
 
And it’s time.

On Fat Bottomed Bottoms

Context:  On Fetlife this week, there have been numerous posts on the subject of rope bottom diversity.  People are having a very healthy and (in my perspective) positive discussion on how to make rope bottoming more accessible to those who are not thin, bendy, young, white women.   This is was my post.


Whenever I post a photo or a writing about my rope journey, I receive messages from (mostly) women who tell me they never thought they could be in rope because of their size.

And whenever I see a photo or read a writing from another larger-bodied femme, it makes me feel so happy, and proud, and represented.

When I first started rope bottoming, I had one tying partner that I tied with pretty regularly. I had a couple of other occasional rope partners – most of them said I was fun to tie, and I choose to believe them.

But eventually they all stopped asking. Or maybe I stopped asking them. Not really sure which one of us was the chicken and which was the egg.

I had an internal narrative that they stopped asking because I wasn’t as bendy as their smaller framed partners, or because they thought I didn’t make their rope look good enough, or maybe because I was significantly more hesitant to be suspended and they wanted to “level up”.

But I never asked them, so I don’t really know if that was all in my head or what.

Thing is – even though I’ve had plenty of rope bottoming experience over the past four years, and even though I’ve had numerous rope tops tell me that I’m fun to tie, I still have that internal dialogue.

Imagine someone who’s never been tied at all.

That’s all I can say on the subject, I guess.