Play Me?

It’s the middle of the night, and the sleepies are missing.   I went on Facebook to entertain myself until the sleepies returned from their break, but that was a bad idea.  All sorts of ideas jumped in before the sleepies got back. My brain is on overdrive, unable to shut off.

There are a lot of topics on my mind, like how the differences in being raised male vs. female in a patriarchal society can cause those raised male to romanticize the experience of being female.  I could write about trying to get back into journaling and how I want to use that to deal with issues that I’m not ready or at liberty to discuss online. I could discuss my recent failures and successes in sex, romance and polyamory. Or maybe a picture I saw of really yummy looking flan.

But you know I’m not going to talk about any of that.  Instead we are going to have another rousing game of “What the Fuck is Wrong with Kitty!?!?!”.

Wooooo, yay!!! The crowd goes wild!

I saw three things on Facebook that came together starting a long conversation with myself and necessitating this post.

Watch this video, we can call it media aid #1 before continuing:

https://www.facebook.com/Themightysite/videos?fref=photo

There was a time when I felt in control.  I had goals and plans spanning years at a time.  Every semester I could look at my lists and know exactly what classes I should take. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, from going to work the next day until I retired on to a farm decades later.  I thought of myself as an “Epicurean,” not in the sense of eating great foods, but in the classical way.  I wanted to work hard, stay focused, and have a life that maximized pleasure by minimizing pain.  It was working.

Things changed.  I changed.

From time to time I try to regain that sense of control.  I read a book on productivity, buy a day planner, join a peer motivation group or make detailed lists and schedules on my phone.  For a while it works, and I start getting things done. Generally the day-to-day stuff like cleaning and exercise get under control first.  Once I feel confident in that, I start letting myself read, write, work on fancy garden projects, try to reconnect with friends, date, get a job, or make income.  I start planning for a few weeks, a few months.  But it never sticks.

I don’t know why.

I have theories.  Is it that I’m too comfortable with my life? Am I afraid of change?  Is this anxiety a chronic disease that I can’t defeat? Do I just not care enough? None of these seem to be the right answer, let alone a solution.

The plans and goals I work hardest at, and the ones I am most likely to be successful at, are the ones that affect the people I love or need.  That brings us to media aid #2.manipulate

Am I a symbiotic parasite?  Perhaps I find people that fill a need in my life.  I then give them what they want: manual labor, money, sex, advice, support, etc.  This makes them stay and do whatever it is I needed.  Am I manipulating people into taking care of me?  Am I lying to myself if I say that I not?  Am I some monster that feeds off of others?  If people who care about me read this and say “no, of course not” is it because I am just that good at the symbiotic part? Is there anything genuine about me? Am I writing this because the parasite part thinks it will help me manipulate the foods?

There are things that I want to do for me.  I want to edit my first novel and publish it.  I want to make money and do awesome cosplay.  I like knitting, playing musical instruments, and dance.   These things always end up at the end of my to-do list, because I know I’m not going to do them and I don’t want them blocking projects I will accomplish. I’m not going to actively do anything that doesn’t benefit the hosts I feed upon.

I’ve tried to get around this by convincing my loved ones that my goals benefit them.   Some recent examples:

I actually said to my best friend, “If you make me do the work thing, I will give you $5 for everyday I make money.  You can get $150 a month just by bothering me!”

More subtly I have tried to get people who have or had an interest in me sexually engaged in the idea of me getting back into dance.  This is reasonable because it could lead to me being more flexible, thin and graceful, which could benefit them sexually or socially.

I have convinced my friend and publisher to call me once a week and shame me into working on a project for her in the hopes that this would motivate me to work on her project and my own.

I try every few days to get a friend or lover interested in my writing, so maybe they will want me to work on that.

Think about the fucked up that this is.  I try to make you love me, so that you might then be willing to give me permission to love myself.  This is going to have to go on near the top of the list on things that are most fucked up about Kitty.  Why can’t I cut out the middle man and just love myself?  It seems like it would take less time if nothing else.  

This brings us to media aid #3rpg

There was a time when my life was a first person RPG, super-open world format.  I could grind if I wanted to, I could take side quests, or I could choose any number of big plot arcs.  I could do anything that I planned out in my little gaming notebook.  

Anxiety has made my playable world smaller.  I worked so hard to level up as an accountant, but I can’t have an office job or that sort of responsibility.  I used to think about going back to school and picking another character class, but that’s likely to be as much of a failure as accounting was.  Every time I look around, the number of possible arcs decreases.

Recently I don’t feel like I’m the person playing anymore.  I feel more like the character, just standing there in a tavern waiting to be moved, directed.  That perhaps if a good player comes along at least I can finish this game in some respectable way.  Or I can be used to farm gold for a more important character.  I can keep being a changeable part of the game, keep having experiences, keep advancing.

I fear that option might close to me someday.  That I will turn into an NPC, conveying one piece of information or helping the important characters by accomplishing a single task.  What if someday I realize I’m just the tavern wench? What if being the tavern wench is all I can be, all I’m made for.  What if being the tavern wench is what I actually want?

 

Why Kitty is Creepy and Can’t Date

I have gone out maybe twice in the last few years with someone other than my husband on something that could maybe be considered a date.  I count these events as dates anyway, though the other person clearly either didn’t, or did and never wanted to do it again.  I gave subtle signs of interest such as laughing at jokes, trying to make eye contact, and asking ze about themselves (zeselves??).   I didn’t make a physical move beyond a good night hug, because I don’t feel touching someone without their permission is ok.  I have some issues that make me unable to read certain social cues, so I can’t figure out when people are giving me permission with body language.  That means I always wait for ze to make a move, which seldom happens.

Both of these people were part of the large Atlanta polyamorus community.  They have known me for years, know that I am poly, and have been around me when I am flirty (read creepy) and when I am not.  Since they asked me out, I did not feel like I should be flirty, since they clearly know I like them or I would not have said yes.

I would like to date more, but there are some real problems with this.  I assume anyone who has known me for a while would ask me out if they wanted to, so I don’t pursue those people.  I have tried OkCupid, which sounds great on paper.  Here is a place where I can give all my stats and read other people. I can figure out if we have common interests and beliefs before meeting.  Yet I have only had one OkCupid date that went well, until the guy was a jerk over text a few days later.

So that leaves dating people I meet in real life, which I have realized is too complicated for me.

Are you available? 

I don’t know how to ask someone if they are poly or are interested in dating without expressing that I am interested in them or being creepy.

If people flirt with me in a subtle way, I am missing it totally. People also flirt who are not actually available, just because they like flirting, or like myself, they use it as conversation fuel.  I don’t want to make a move on someone who is not even on the field and end up having to explain myself to a pissed off mono-mate.  People should wear signs. There were some kink community events I used to go to where everyone wore colored beads expressing their sexual preferences.  I loved those beads so much; it stopped a lot of awkward situations and made me much more comfortable interacting with people.

There are places and events I go to where I know people I am interested in will be: local social gatherings, annual conventions, parties.  I have one coming up soon, where I think some of the people I am interested in are poly. I will only be around these people for a few days, so the logical thing to do would be to ask, “Are you poly and am I in-line with your sexual preferences?”

There are a few problems with this approach:

-When I say blunt honest things like that, people think I am crazy.

– If the person is not poly, then I come across as a scary freak or a sex fiend who wants to make ze have an affair.  I can have a perfectly lovely relationship with someone who is never going to be romantically inclined towards me, so I don’t want to alienate people who could be my friends.

-If ze is poly, and ze is interested, then I have ruined the beginning of the relationship/encounter.   My favorite thing about a new person is the tense time before the first kiss, the surprise.  If I come right out and say I want to date then the first kiss loses something; that lovely tension is gone.

I loved being a teenager for this reason. When I hung out with a boy alone there was an unspoken expectation that they might or might not kiss me, and I might or might not kiss them.  It was not very complex.  I kissed or was kissed by more than twice as many people in the years from 13-17 than in the 17 years since then. I am not happy about this. If we have met, you have good oral hygiene and are not mean to me, I probably want to kiss you.  This does not mean I want to date you or have sex with you.  I just really, really like first kisses.

Do you like me?

I can’t tell if someone might be interested in me sexual or romantically unless they make a physical move or tell me in explicit terms; for example “Hey, I think you are cute, would you like to date?”  But as we have already established, that is a social no-no.  I don’t think it should be weird, but it is.  it is weird and off-putting. I know this because I have tried it, and have been told I am creepy and too aggressive.  So sadly expecting straightforward verbal initiation from other people is unrealistic.

I sometimes feel like I should print up cards that say. “Do you like me?” with a yes and no box for ze to check.  But I am sure that would break some social etiquette rule.

How do I tell you I like you?

Let’s say I know ze is poly. I know ze is available. And I think ze might like me. What am I supposed to do with this information?

Let’s go back to one of those dates I have had with people I know are poly.  Check mark there.  I was pretty sure I meet ze’s general sexual preference criteria. Check.  But nothing came of it. Maybe because I could not figure out a good way to express interest.

When I actually like someone, I get shy and nervous. I get excited and tongue-tied.  I wanted to let the person know that I liked ze.  I tried subtlety, but when I try to flirt like that, people clearly miss it.

I have tried to make joking sexual advances towards people.  I am a short, chunky, cartoon-cute sort of woman.  I think people should think my sad come-ons are funny.  Sometime they do, and sometimes they don’t.  I have been accused of everything from being creepy and needy to sexual harassment.  I have pulled back on this behavior a lot, and interest in me has decreased from low to nothing.  If I come across as easy or desperate it sometimes works at least.  I got kissed by a guy I had a crush on for years by wearing him down. It was amazing; granted, I think he only did it because he was moving all the way across the country. And while that hurt my feeling a little, I am glad he kissed me.

However I don’t want to be a creepy jerk. I don’t want to make people feel icky. I don’t want to harass anyone.  I have been harassed plenty. Last week a man on the train asked if he could lick my freckles. I have been pushed into sexual situations I did not want.  I have been taken advantage of when I was too young to make sexual decision or when I was under the influence.  I am not going to get into these heavy sounding topics.   Don’t worry about it, please; I am not looking to talk about that right now, except to say that know how bad it feels to be pressured into things like that.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel like I pushed them or forced them into sexual situations.

That high pressure, aggressive behavior is what I first experienced, it is what I know. It is the only play in my playbook.

Peaked too soon?

I am poly because I own my body and I can do anything with it I want.  I am poly because I like new experiences and getting to know people on a physical and emotional level that is not appropriate in our culture for “friends”.   I am poly because I  want to play spin the bottle or go into a closet for seven minutes with someone I just met, but people in their 30s don’t seem interested in that.    I fear that my first kiss days are far behind me, fading away into fuzzy teenaged memories.