phi-is-me, too.

On National Coming Out day, I saw a lot of people coming out about a lot of things. Most of them came out about their gender identity or sexual orientation, which I have been informed is the focus and intent of the day’s existence. Some came out about their relationship orientation if they were non-monogamous, but most of those did so in conjunction with one of the gender or sexuality outings. Some came out about their mental health, and some came out about their STD status. Again, mostly in conjunction with one of the above.

A few people, unfortunately, came out as cis and straight and those people really just cannot seem to let something be not about them for once.

I didn’t come out about anything. When I saw someone out their polyamory I thought about it and opted not to. 1) because National Coming Out Day isn’t about me, and 2) because technically I still do not identify as polyamorous, even though my relationship is and coming out about my partner’s lovestyle isn’t what this is about. When I saw someone come out about having HSV2, I thought about it, but opted not to because 1) National Coming Out Day isn’t about me, and 2) National Coming Out Day isn’t about me.

But there was another thought that went through my head. It was about the repercussions of coming out on my “phi” account on FB or here on FetLife where all of these things I might have come out about (if it had been appropriate for me to do so) would have no effect on my life or livelihood.

Am I really “coming out” about anything when I’m on the account where I’m already open and out about everything?

And I realized just how accurate my FetLife handle turned out to be. See, originally I wanted to just be “phi” but that one was taken. I tried a few different options, but in the end, went with “phi-is-me” because…rhyming.

But after last week, I had this epiphany….it was the understanding that, in a way, phi really is me. The most authentic me. The me that can be completely honest about myself and not suffer the consequences of speaking out, so I’m free to do so without fear and without holding back.

Enter this week’s #MeToo campaign.

#MeToo, I posted on Facebook under my phi account.

But not on the account that bears my legal name. Not on the account that shares friendships with my boss and my coworkers and my parents and my grandparents.

Not there.

I realized that for every #MeToo we were looking at on social media, there were countless who were still hesitant to post.

Think about that, for a second.

For every #MeToo someone posted, there are countless who didn’t.

Why?

Maybe out of fear or shame. Maybe because once again, it’s a campaign aimed at raising the voices of the victims rather than a campaign aimed at exposing and shaming the actions of the perpetrators.

I’ve seen the backlash. I don’t disagree with it. I also don’t disagree with the campaign itself. The silencing of victims’ voices helps create the environment under which this epidemic continues to spread.

So I didn’t join the chorus on my main account. I don’t want to be questioned by my family, who don’t understand the concept of “boundaries.” I don’t want to have to “prove it” to my father who didn’t believe me when it happened in front of his face. I didn’t want to have to explain it to my mother, whose entry-level narcissism would make it about herself either why I didn’t tell her or how she could have not known.

I didn’t want to walk into work today and have my coworkers and colleagues treat me with pity or any differently than they ever have because suddenly they realized the magnitude of this epidemic.

So maybe I didn’t help. Or maybe I helped myself.

Either way, it doesn’t matter, because by now it shouldn’t surprise anybody to know how prevalent sexual harassment and assault are in our society.

I knew. It’s not news to me.

But, that was the point of the campaign, I guess. To open the eyes of the people who didn’t already know.

So, now they know.

What are they going to do about it?

My guess is nothing. My guess is absolutely nothing.

But their kids might. Or maybe their grandkids. And if this world lasts long enough for them to have great grandkids, ….maybe by then people like me won’t need to hide behind an alter ego.

But for now, there’s phi.

phi is me.

If I include a pretty picture of me, will you read it?

Today I posted a link to an article on Huffington Post by a woman has made a valiant effort to convey what it’s like to live as a woman (and I will add my personal amendment to include those who present as women).

It was a shared post from a man who urged other men to read it all the way to the end. And, just in case they wouldn’t, he copy/pasted the portion of the article he wanted them to read.

On Saturday night, after a few drinks and a lengthy conversation about sexism and women’s issues prompted by the “grab them by the pussy” recording, my brother walked me to my car and said “I really don’t know what it’s like to be a woman.”

So when I shared that article, it was with the hope that some of the male (or male presenting) folk in my feed would take a look and try to understand.

So far, the only people who have loved or shared it are all women.


Prior to the wedding, I’d gone in for a wash and blow dry since I didn’t have my house available with the continuing water heater issues.

The woman who took me at the last minute, upon hearing that I was going to a wedding, offered to do something “more fancy” with the blow dry. I was game, so I told her to go ahead.

She ended up doing this terribly over-teased and over-sprayed gravity-defying …..thing to my hair. Someone in the waiting area actually told me I looked like Adele.

I was laughing about it, so I posted a picture on facebook. After all, it’s just a family wedding and I still had a few hours for gravity to do its job and bring my hair down. (There is NO curl that will ever stay put in my very fine, straight, hair.)

The photo got a couple laughs from my friends, and upon my arrival at the wedding more than several comments of people who were cracking up about it on their way to the wedding.

But, by the time I had my dress and makeup on, my hair had deflated significantly. It still was a little overdone, but not quite so comically. I posted an updated photo.

That one started getting all the likes. Even my dad did a heart love on it, and he hasn’t been very active on any of my posts lately at all.


I know facebook isn’t necessarily the proper venue for political statements. Neither is Fetlife. But what they are for me are places with an audience. This morning I saw a post from someone who was told his posts were “too vanilla” for Fetlife. I was a little shocked.

Nobody’s ever told me my posts are tooanything except frequent. And yet, others were commenting on that statement this morning saying that they too had been told they weren’t writing correctly enough for this website.

There were several reasons why I deactivated the option for my posts to trend, not the least of which was the reality that most of the time – it was the ranty stuff that would get pushed to the top of the K&P leaderboard. Then I’d have all these people who never read anything else I have to say making assumptions about who I am and what I’m about based on 500 words out of the 500,000 I’ve probably shared on this site.

I won’t make sweeping generalizations about what trends here. I won’t say that everything that ever makes it to K&P is crap. I will say that I’m not always thrilled with what general populations deem worthy of acknowledgment and what they would rather pretend doesn’t exist.


As of right now, 4 women have liked or shared the post I shared about what it’s like to live as a woman.

20 have loved the picture of me with my hair and makeup all done up. Eight are men. Four of those men and two of the women are Trump supporters.

I am not surprised.

But I am disappointed.

Afflicting the Comfortable

I heard a quote yesterday during a conference. The key note speaker called it out as his favorite quote. We “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”

I just saw a friend on twitter lament over a post on facebook asking “why does everything have to be about race?”

And…yeah. Because it is. But it’s a really uncomfortable reality, isn’t it? When you are the comfortable and not the afflicted and everyone wants to talk about the injustice that people who look like you perpetrate on people who look like them?

I wrote the posts about my dad a couple nights ago because I was really upset. I was really upset about the turn that conversation took. But, at the end of the day, I know my father loves me. I know that, for the most part, he’s a decent person. I was never abused or lacked for anything. I have had a very comfortable life with all my needs and most of my wants addressed.

So it makes me uncomfortable when I have to face the imperfections of my parents. When I have to face the fact that, as their daughter, my power to change them is limited. That my ability to cry and get what i want out of them stopped a long time ago.

i’ve had my dad unfollowed on facebook for years now. Started during the original Obama presidential campaign. He’s a conservative republican and a troll, so his posts hit ALL my buttons.

A cousin of mine likes to get into it with him. He’s like, the liberal version of my dad. Loves to get into the weeds of a political debate. My late husband was kind of like that, until there was a big family blow up that caused a rift and then we all decided never to speak about politics or racism again.

Anyway, so my cousin posted something the other day – about racism in America. Calling out the hypocrisy of people up in arms about a guy taking a knee during the national anthem, but seemingly unperturbed by the many guys getting shot by police without cause.

My dad commented that he took offense to the post. ‘Cause America is the greatest country in the world, y’all!

I sent my cousin a private message. I wanted to make sure he knew my dad mostly likes just getting a rise out of people and conveyed that I was impressed he (my cousin) put up with my dad’s bullshit so frequently.

My cousin wrote back:
“it’s funny because it’s exactly the same with my dad. Anyway, I think your dad and I still respect each other, we just have vastly different views. Most of that generation have bought into a political and cultural narrative [as immigrants]that they feel defines their love for this country. I think it’s possible to still love my country while recognizing its flaws and fighting to make it better for people who aren’t as fortunate as the rest of us. Your dad and my dad are good hearted and intelligent people, they’re just very much in a bubble and poking holes in that makes them very uncomfortable. So, we get on each other’s case sometimes, but I think we also both enjoy the reparte.”

Until …probably some time around the Pulse shooting in Orlando, I would nearly always run away from a fight. Until then, I would choose to disengage rather than engage with people who made me uncomfortable with their willingness to get me to the point of rage with their debate. I learned this from my interactions with my dad.

It is a lot easier to remember that i love him very much when we don’t engage in the conversations that make me want to use life’s “block” button on him. To paraphrase from my cousin, I think it’s possible to still love my dad while recognizing his flaws…I just stopped short of the fight to make him better.

Slowly but surely I’ve been a little more vocal on the topics that matter to me that are sometimes the very same ones I used to keep quiet on. But I guess I’d rather go head to head in a debate with someone on Fetlife than risk losing my relationship with my family. I don’t have so much invested here. I’m able to stay comfortable.

The turn the conversation with my dad took the other night definitely afflicted my comfort zone.

I still don’t know how I feel about that. Maybe that’s a good thing.