Expressing Energy

Ug. The cycles of diving in and staying out.
I still want to dive in and out at will
My will is strong and I need a flexible partner
A stable, dependable partner
Someone to make my ride smoother
I give it enough jolts on my own
How can I reconcile
Devouring and staying shallow?
Deep connection with total freedom?
My zero to sixty in 0.8 seconds?

Need more energy in MY work
Not in sorting out his girlfriends
He doesn’t understand that
Won’t see it from my side

How can I possibly feel balanced
Walking a tightrope
No net
First try

It’s too much to ask
Of this girl at this time
Let me find a new project
One that saps half my lust
Then I can feel more stable
More willing to engage
I’m a full rev engine and no wheels to spin

You’re not helping with the toothbrush
You won’t make the big changes
To accommodate my chaos
It’s too early in your opinion
Plus you like your life now
But it doesn’t work for me
In my state of non-productivity

So kindly hold your tongue
And stop being such a prick
And remember why you love me
When I tell you what I need
Even if you can’t provide it
Even if you don’t like what you hear.

Authenticity and ReStoking One’s Fire

Step One. Review Andrrea Hess’s Blog.

“We have to pick ONE way to let our prospects know we exist. Once they know we exist, we have to pick ONE way to invite them to be served by us.”

“Get in touch with your fear, and you’ll get back in touch with your passionate desire.”

Good stuff.

Step 2: Google Authenticity, Answer 5 Stock Questions to Find Your Authentic Self

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher, of the grade just below me. I wanted to be an archeologist, and look for things other people don’t see on the surface or have trouble finding, like dinosaur bones, or the Loch Ness Monster.

2. What makes you laugh?

I find botched social interactions really funny. I love comedy in general, the smarter the better. I think the point of this question was to find out what makes you happy and lighthearted…fail, haha.

If you’re asking what makes me happy…

…delicious food, a warm bed/shower, a lover to share my life with, babies/animals, mother nature, a good book, magazine, poem, art, achievement, respectful discourse where both parties leave learning and loving more.

3. What clothes do you feel comfortable in?

In high school I decided my dream job would be barefoot in a skirt. I’m also a fan of yoga pants/spandex so I can move my body in any direction it feels like.

4. What activities do you enjoy?

I love deciding to create something and then making it happen, and being resourceful – finding uses for things which appear useless, or making things work out. I love artistic creativity applied to tangible construction. I like art and museums and dancing. I enjoy writing. I love playing sports, being active, and hammer/discus throwing. I love being with things very different from me, and kind of studying them – my cat, babies, foreigners, people with disorders. I love talking about something I just learned. I enjoy studying/trying things that are taboo and coming to my own conclusions. I enjoy gathering friends for meals and parties. I like taking photographs. I like to study how large systems work, like the sciences of chemical engineering, or sociology, or religion, and then relating seemingly disparate things, and finding commonality. I love getting to know people very intimately, whether mentally, and/or physically. I enjoy being outside, especially when it’s warmer, and sunbathing. I love improving myself, studying languages, doing personal health experiments. I love researching things that spark my interest, and soaking up information. I love to help others and contribute to my community. I like organizing, rearranging, and redecorating, including spaces and my own appearance.

(I’m starting to feel like I’m creating an OK Cupid profile for my life, heh)

5. Who can you be yourself around?

I can be myself more easily around people that I feel love me unconditionally, of course. People who are stable and predictable. People who don’t have specific agendas and are open-minded. Non-competitive people (I’m quite competitive). Though I’m getting pretty good at just being me, I could always use more practice.

Well, maybe you know what this means, internet, because I sure don’t. I’m going to go throw a hammer a few dozen times now.

Trust and Money

It’s all too confusing
Just gotta keep writing
They’re telling me to do more
Just found peace in doing less
Too afraid I’ll be manic
Want money for money
I’m a purist at heart
Just wanna do good
Sick of the pressure
It doesn’t feel helpful
I’m trying to be
The best person I can
I’m bored with the old games
Of fufilling self-interest
Need something more than
Extra piles of cash

Three Years, New Love Perspective, Or: The Worst Advice I Took from Oprah


2010 – Sign in the Coffee Shop at Burning Man.

I ended a nine-year relationship 3 years and 2 weeks ago.  As I prepare to celebrate my 3-year anniversary with my new love tomorrow evening, I am thoughtful about what the last three years has taught me, and is still teaching me — about myself, about love, the nature of relationships — all of it.

I hadn’t dated much before I settled into my long-term relationship at the age of 21. My first love had dumped me after a few intense months for getting too deep too fast, and for being too poor to marry into his family, according to his mother.

I had lost my virginity with him, and I was raised that you marry the first person you have sex with. When he left me, I felt like I had been dumped out of a cup into the ocean, unequipped to deal with relationship dynamics post-virginity.

I met an attractive man the following summer, and went to bed with him fairly quickly, kind of rebounding, like, “Well – fuck it, what’s the point of waiting 18 years like last time?”  After a few dates together, it soon became apparent to me that I didn’t want to mate with him in the formal sense, but he was fun to be with and we enjoyed each other’s company.

I was really struggling with my sense of virtue in my newfound sexuality, so I caused him a bit of grief by going spells where I refused to have sex with him because I was trying to be “good” somehow, trying to avoid continuing to give my body to someone who wasn’t going to be my life partner. It was a very mentally conflicting time. I couldn’t yet envision a new relationship paradigm.

Because it was clear to me that I needed different qualities in a mate, I dated some other people simultaneously, but no one really clicked with me. I remember having one particularly conflicted day when I had had some physical contact with three different men in the span of 24 hours. It made me sick to my stomach and I wrote a poem about it for one of my class assignments.

Although I was very open and honest with my dates, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was doing something “wrong” by spreading my physical and emotional affection. I didn’t have my bearings for what was okay or appropriate anymore.

There was only supposed to be one.

Halfway through college, I fell head over heels for a boy who was very similar to me in our passions. I liked him even more because he seemed very independent and didn’t chase after me like I thought he should. I endeavored to seduce him, and ended up with a few intimate encounters that rocked our worlds but drove him away and left me wanting.

Like a lovesick puppy, I clung for several months onto the intensity of emotion I experienced with him and wrote about a dozen poems trying to process my emotions while in the tortuous state of un-returned affection and relationship void/chaos.

Having moved to New Mexico for the summer, I then met a man at the gym who would become my partner for the next nine years. I was (and still am) a big fan of Oprah Winfrey. The things I learned and was exposed to watching her shows in high school and college really helped me have a positive mindset.

So I listened when she recommended one day, that you should completely cut your ties with ex-boyfriends when you get a new boyfriend. That “fit” with what I was taught growing up, that you should “protect” a relationship from temptations and the like, and stay focused only on your one partner.

By the end of that summer, my “passion prey” had gotten engaged and married off, and my “long-term fling” came to visit me unexpectedly. He had driven in anticipation something like seven hours that day to come see me, and he arrived late at night. Being pragmatic, I offered he could sleep in the bed next to me, but I withheld all affection from him that night. I thought that was the proper thing to do, because I had a new boyfriend now.

I cooked him a pancake breakfast the next morning, then said my goodbyes. He was quite shocked and hurt by my cutting ties with him that night, especially given the circumstance, but was lovely and sweet to me when he saw me a year or so later randomly out in public.

So I locked and loaded in with my new partner. He was cute, ambitious like me, a bit striving, liked the finer things in life, and had goals and plans and wanted a family like I did. Although he was over ten years older than me, we felt like equals. He made it very clear that he only had eyes for me, and that I should only have eyes for him.

He was quite untrusting, questioning my answering the phone out of breath, or whom I was out to  dinner with, or what was that condom package doing under my bed (he had bought it). I had started to explore my feelings about the same sex, and he was hurt and upset about it (surprisingly to me, against stereotype). He wanted me all to himself. And that felt right, given my upbringing.

There was only supposed to be one.

Fast forward, nine years of long-distance dating, trust issues, and splitting up several times, I was so happy to be free finally. I had learned a lot about what it meant to stick and stay and work through anger toward resolution. But as we got closer to moving in together, our growth progress felt stalled and I felt hopeless about nine more years training him to love me. There had been so many failed attempts to get what I needed/wanted.

The ensuing three years of dating again would prove to be an experiment in how tightly I would hold to my notion of:

There is only supposed to be one.

It’s almost laughable at this stage, if it weren’t still such a standard in society. After a failed attempt to “lock down” my first new love, who kept moving in and out of the country, I went through several stages of dating around, settling, dating, settling, trying to create structure and imagine a new, happier life.

I don’t like the word “rebound,” as it implies that a relationship is taken on without love, attachment, or meaning, and I don’t feel that way about any of my relationships, ever. But my energy in this phase was “rebounding” from a state of untrusting/jealousy/love-scarcity, searching for the other side of the balance toward trusting/freedom/abounding-love.

I  resigned that it was no longer a black-and-white world of “no sex before monogamy,” which was spouted often on a dating show I would watch called “Millionaire Matchmaker,” all about how to lock in the life partner of your dreams. It was a patented process, of sorts, that many times ended with a couple in marriage vows. And there was something elegant about that system that appealed to my engineer mind, that appealed to my religious fundamentalist mind, while also feeling just a little too formulaic/controlling.

The past three years have been ultimately about letting go…letting go of my need to feel in control of the pace and outcome of a relationship. Letting go of conforming every relationship to the formula. Letting go of the idea that there is only one person out there worthy of my love and affection. Letting go of my need to smother a person I deeply connect with, with my continuous presence and energy from day one. My multiple relationships helped me buffer this.

While I appreciate the simplicity of the monogamous system of relating, I’ve found it too limiting to define what makes me feel healthy and loving. I’ve discovered that, with ample communication, love and trust can be established outside the boundaries of a monogamous relationship that can even be deeper and more solvent than the trust and love provided by mere process, vows and labels.

A while back, a friend of mine referred to my new relationship style as “sophisticated.” I like that description, and I think it feels more  real and true to the nature of relationships in general. And I am attracted to the authenticity of that.

In my early twenties, a girl a few years my senior said to me while we were immersed in relationship talk, “Relationships are complicated.” It hadn’t struck me before that that was correct, but it resonated with me on a deep level.

On my first date with my new love, three years ago this week, we went to a Bawdy Storytelling event in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. The theme of the night was “It’s Complicated.” We joked after the show about how silly it was that these polyamorous people had such complicated lives, and how grateful I was that my last nine years of monogamy had been so simple.

Little did I expect, we would navigate the next three years together, at varying degrees of closeness and distance, all the while with  me struggling whether to listen to my turbulent emotions, my quiet sense of knowing, or the voices of Oprah, Millionaire Matchmaker, my parents, church, and Hollywood, or the lovers who would call me a slut or a whore, either in jest, in the heat of the moment to turn me or them on (doesn’t turn me on at all), or in anger at my willingness to spread my affections further than ONE.

During a particularly intense discussion a couple weeks back, we both found ourselves admitting, “This is the most complicated relationship I’ve ever had.”

And I’ve never been happier.

Update 7/15/13: Ended three-year relationship. Complications became overwhelming. Need a happy medium. Still not ready to admit Oprah was right though(!)….tbc…

Dustin Hoffman and Beauty Brainwashing


The viral Upworthy video showing Dustin Hoffman sharing his experience about becoming an unattractive woman for a movie has got me thinking… Are we really brainwashed into expecting to have the most physically attractive partners/friends and not settling for less? Probably, yes. Is this a bad thing? It’s probably distorted. Moderation in all things is wise. Here is my take on moderation of beauty-chasing:

I’ve posted previously about my burgeoning theory on really attractive people. Over the past couple years I have had the good fortune of going to bed with a couple people I would rate a “ten” on physical attractiveness. I found out that “tens” usually find themselves most attracted to other tens, and then date down the scale for variety once they’ve pocketed a steady ten.

But it’s a rough existence. Tens find themselves sought after by all the other numbers in the chart. Jealously among ten partners can be overwhelming because of this phenomenon, and they can become hyper-controlling of themselves or their partners to compensate. It takes a strong and wise person to pull off a ten life with grace.

On the other hand, a “five” will find themselves physically equal among other fives, but will occasionally score a higher physical beauty or settle for a lower one. I supposed I’d rate myself somewhere 7-8 on the scale of attractiveness, some moments maybe a nine. I’ve subtracted points for my height, which is taller than average, and my size, which is larger than boutique store size. My breasts are small compared to my hips. And I’m pretty goofy-looking from certain angles, strikingly beautiful from others.

I was going to write an article one time called, “What to do when you find yourself in an orgy with an unattractive person.” This has happened to me a couple times; I’ve also chosen the experience one-on-one (less pressure!). If you’ve never given yourself permission to be intimate with someone you also find slightly repulsive in some way, you are really doing yourself a disservice, I must say. Many other delightful treasures lay beneath the surface. Of course when the lights are out…many shortcomings fade.

Some people have real trouble understanding what it’s like to be physically intimate with someone who is physically unattractive to you. If you can’t even imagine being emotionally intimate with someone unattractive, definitely start there, and see how it goes!

Of course, there are lines nature intends for us not to cross, and beauty is an indicator of health. Swapping water with someone who totally repulses you may indeed be bad for your health (or your future offsprings’), and it is worth being cautious. But to think you have to score the company of the highest physical beauties you can all the time might really be selling your experience on earth disappointingly short. It’s probably more a symptom of trying to validate your own worth somehow by basking in the shine off someone else’s glow. It also might feel a little too much like chasing the “popular crowd” in high school. Ugh.

But all this is coming from someone who named her own kitten Fea, meaning “ugly girl” in Spanish. I found her a bit repulsive to look at when I first saw her nine years ago — the coloring and patterns on her face made her look a bit like a burn victim. But she was so sweetly tempered, I decided it was exactly what I needed in an animal. It was a beautiful name that happened to mean ugly, which was also an honest reaction to her physical beauty at the time. I wanted a name with meaning. Now you may be wondering, will I name all my children after my first physical impressions of them? Ha, no! Physical beauty is of course just one piece of the puzzle, and my cat has had a very good sense of humor.

The Environmental Theory of Love

Love is a cycle of meeting needs. I’ve said you can’t actually love someone without knowing what they need. In this case, love is a verb. Many times, we use love in a more selfish way. I “love” him means I feel good around him, my needs are being met, etc.

But love is really the dance of having a mutually beneficial relationship with one’s total environment.

Your house benefits from you living there because you take care of it and keep it from rotting or being abused or taken over by weeds and nature. It loves you back by providing the structure you need for privacy, to keep you comfortable from the elements, etc.

When we become unbeneficial to the people or things in our lives, we start draining the “trust” account. Reciprocity is the sign of a thriving relationship. Both parties are cared for. When the scale tilts too much in one direction, and needs are not being met, the relationship approaches an empty trust and the brink of failure.

Some relationships are designed to end. Mothers stop producing milk, and children move on to new relationships.

So what’s love got to do with it?

When we find ways to nurture our environments and relationships, we build them better for ourselves. Real love is inherently also self-care, as none of us lives without relationships.

Devotion/commitment is the energy that makes love keep cycling. Trust is the currency of love.

Trust and Love

The trust has been broken
And I don’t know whether to stay
They say follow your intuition
But I don’t know what that means

All I feel are chemicals
Emotions lead me astray
They make me feel violent
They make me feel sad

If I listen to my heart
It says love at all costs
Love when trust gets broken
Love unconditionally
Love until it hurts
Don’t stop loving ever

Can’t trust my own reasoning
This, then consequence
Lawyer and judge
Evidence and hearsay

I don’t trust others
Their experience is not mine
Just becomes more data
Too much to compute!

I don’t trust my feelings
Been angry too long
I don’t trust my logic
It doesn’t fit the structure

Don’t wanna run away
There’s too much to love here
All that remains is love
And that’s a commitment

Hit Bottom

Oh, the delirious pride that comes before a fall
If you can’t speak with calmness
You’re not really angry
You’re hurt
You’re an animal
Feral and all claws
Fierce and ugly
Protecting the life that’s not yours to begin with
And now you know where you really stand
And it’s two steps back

Now I’m aware
Of the first release of panic chemical
And the troubling thoughts that follow
And I know now to put my love filter in
And start using my words
To create harmony in my environment
Because people who don’t use their words
Control and manipulate
By force or by silence and distance
But we know love won by control
Is not won at all
It will flee at the first open door

And all this talk about Laws of Attraction
Has me thinking…
There has to be a way to ask for what you need/desire
In a prayerful spirit
Like the religions teach
Without any desire to control the outcome
With a respectful appreciation of the myriad forces
Which desire mutually beneficial outcomes

Because if you don’t trust that your environment can support you
It will be a battle
And you will not win.

Oppression-Aware Housemate in Berkeley

The calm after the storm
Writing down so I remember
How control seeps into every crack of your day
If you forget to just love
Smiling at a stranger to control them
Under the guise of “helping”
Then the judgements that follow
I might seem crazy
But I do know why
And I’m trying every day
To erase the programming
My nine year old self built
To keep me safe from violence