On stepping away from incrimination and accepting sexuality


“Love as thou wilt.” While reading Kushiel’s Chosen, it occurred to me that love cannot be evil. Sure, love can lead us to do immoral things, but the raw emotion can’t be wrong. How could it?

Perhaps it sounds cliché, but my religion is love. I badly want to believe in the God I grew up with, but I struggle. I do not think our mortal minds are capable of conceiving such grandiose things, if they are true. Therefore, how could a benevolent God punish mere humans for getting it wrong? I do not think he would. That would be like an adult punishing a 3 year old for failing to grasp theoretical physics! So, I believe if there is a God or some, any, force that is immortal and controls our access to the afterlife, he/she/they/it could not reasonably damn us for not grasping the truth of planes beyond our existence. If he is smarter than us, he is most likely wiser and more compassionate because if he is more intelligent, he would have to understand our lack of knowledge and intelligence. As a result, unless he is so far beyond us that we are tiny ants, unworthy of his concern, he would not damn us.

I believe we cannot know the truth of what lies beyond our awareness. We can cast our lot with one religion or another, but we cannot be certain until after death. So, our morals cannot come from religious precepts. Then were do they come from? I am not entirely sure, that would take another post. I do know having a positive impact on others is a good thing.

Yet, things are not so simple. One kind act could have awful implications that we could not possibly be aware of. For example, say a woman is starving and out of kindness I give her dinner. As a result, she is able to survive to get her next meal and eventually she finds her feet and prospers. Ten years later she gives birth to a daughter and twenty years after that the daughter gives birth to Adolf Hitler. Hitler, as your know, goes on to orchestrate the murder of millions of people. My one act of kindness saved a woman’s life, but in the end, brought untold suffering. We cannot know the full ripples of our actions. Therefore, how can we be judged solely on what measurable good we do in life? I do not think we can be judged that way. We could judge based on the immediate consequence of any one action, but even that could turn out poorly.

So, if not our deeds, what is left to judge our worth? I think the only thing left is our intent. If our intent is good, born of kindness, compassion, and love, I think we are good people. We may make wrong choices or we may make seemingly correct choices, which lead to catastrophe, but I think our intent is how we can judge a person’s character.

Assuming that supposition is right, how can love, gay, bi, straight, paraphilias, masochistic, or sadistic be wrong? I do not think it can be wrong! There are exceptions, when your “love” harms another person, it is not love; it is lust. For example, I believe pedophilia is wrong because a child cannot consent to sex and sexual abuse does immense harm to children. If pedophiles really loved children, they would not touch them.

However, as long as actions are between consenting adults and do not impinge on a third party’s rights, I conclude love cannot be immoral. Furthermore, if I am wrong, I cannot see how a just deity would damn me for my lack of perfect comprehension when I did not have all the facts. Faith maybe the best course of action, but we are weak; we are not omniscient. How can we be judged by standards that are beyond us?

In sum, thanks to Jacqueline Carey and Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève, I am another step closer to accepting this part of myself. Thanks to Deej, I accept my bisexuality. In years past, I hated my learning disability and mental illnesses. Truthfully, sometimes I still despise the mental illnesses because they make school, relationships, and life in general, much more difficult. However, I now accept my learning disability is not stupidity or a character flaw. It is a result of extreme prematurity (23 weeks gestation) and an intraventricular hemorrhage I suffered in the first 6 months of life. It is not my fault. Yes, it makes academia tougher and presents unique challenges, but I am stubborn and intelligent; I am capable of persevering. Hell, I already defied doctors’ expectations many times over. One doctor (my mom said she used to wish I’d go to medical school and become his boss in the NICU) told her: You don’t need to worry about her getting into college, or even graduating high school. She’ll be deaf, blind, and retarded. You need to worry about whether she can hold down a job, which is unlikely.

You know what? My parents are f**king right when they call me a miracle. At the time of my birth, no baby born as early as I ever survived the NICU at the hospital I was transferred to after birth. Child magazine ranked the hospital in the “top 10 best hospitals in the nation” 4 times in a row. It is considered 3rd in the nation for neonatal care according to U.S. News and World Report. Furthermore, the hospital received the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence, the Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To date, only 170 of almost 5,000 hospitals nationwide – 3 percent – have Magnet status. In January 2010, it was redesignated as a Magnet hospital by the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. Only 2 percent of hospitals nationally have achieved Magnet re-designation. In other words, it is a fricking good hospital and it was good in 1990 to. So, their inability to save a baby born at 23 weeks gestation says something about the state the neonatology at the time. I’m not perfect; there are immutable challenges I must live with, but I am freaking awesome when you consider everything.

some parts of me are awesome

As for the mental illnesses, I believe they are due, in part, to my first 6 months of life. Numerous longitudinal studies show NICU graduates have higher rates of mental illness, including mood disorders like anxiety and depression. I do not know if recovery is possible for me. I know Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can literally rewire the brain, maybe I can recover. However, whether or not I can gain remission from my mental disorders, I must believe I can manage them better. I can surround myself with people who accept me for who I am, I can utilize my support systems, and I can use coping skills to the best of my ability. Managing emotions does not come readily to me. I did not learn to healthily self-sooth and perhaps my emotions will always be more intense than most people’s, but I can learn to use the coping skills therapy taught me.

I used to think I did not have a “right” to be sick. I used to believe my life was perfect, I had a good school, nice friends, a loving family, and I wanted for naught; so, I thought I had no reason to struggle. Now I realize those things, while I am blessed to have them, do not negate my internal world. For whatever reason, I have these problems; they are my burden to bear. I wish it was not so, but I am what I am. I can be no more and no less. I have a right to my feelings, even my irrational ones, but I can learn to harness them. Moreover, I have a right to love who I want and how I want, so long as I am not taking away someone else’s rights.

*edit* While I acknowledge my prematurity had am impact on my development (if nothing else, I endured surgeries until I was 16 to correct certain problems), I do not agree with psychodynamic theory. They believe the unconscious governs most, if not all, mental illness, expressing some unknown need from our forgotten childhood. In contrast, I admit neonatal trauma can physically alter brain development, for example, my stroke.

It is possible that my former therapist is correct and I am substituting masochism for self-injury or my eating disorder, maybe it is unhealthy. At the same time, it gives me peace, security, and happiness. Again, as long as I am not harming others (For example, if shooting random people made me happy, I still could not morally do it.), and it is not detrimental to me wellbeing, I ought to be able to conduct myself as I want. I do not think peace, security, and happiness can be wrong. Granted, my eating disorder gives me those things, after a fashion, but it also harms my long-term health, which when all is said and done, takes away happiness. Masochism, done safely and sanely, does none of those things.

In conclusion, there are still ways I can better myself. Everyone is capable of self-improvement. Bisexuality and masochism do not make me a lesser human being or weak. They are part of who I am. In truth, so are my mental illnesses because they’ve given me more compassion and understanding of others. They’ve shaped me. The harm of mental illnesses can go, but they are not a character flaw or weakness on my part and in a way, I am grateful for them. Bisexuality and masochism are not diseases; they are not immoral. I…I am okay; I am not bad because of them. Alt and Olive_happy to see you Fauxlivia_happy to see you

B smile2 Felicia Day_satisfied smile

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Sometimes I like myself


Olivia_laughing about ella

Happy 2014! I looked back through my posts to make sure there was nothing too objectionable and as I read the Evil Lawyers post, I smiled and thought, “Yes! All these GIFs are perfect! Your geekiness is awesome!”

BDSM: Maybe it IS about the Pain


I have a few different ideas about pain. Of course, not all pain is equal and circumstances matter a great deal, but that is another post.

This video contains fictional examples of some of my thoughts about pain. The clips are from V for Vendetta and Legend of the Seeker. If you’d rather not watch it, I’m also going to list them and explain the ideas in the post.

http://youtu.be/rut1ONumlks

1. Pain gives us pride. This is a large aspect for me. I am proud of the amount of pain I can endure. I look at bruises or other marks, lightly touching them to make my nerves dance, and smile because I see proof of my inner strength.

2. Pain makes us powerful. I feel pride because of this power. Withstanding pain makes me powerful because the more pain I willingly endure, the less anyone or anything can truly hurt me. I am powerful because blows glance off me.

3. Pain teaches us control. Biting back a scream, forcing my body to remain still as the whip mars my flesh, or resisting the urge the cry, enables self-control. Sometimes I may not be able to control my emotions, but this helps. It gives me a measure of control that few people can match without drugs. If I can master my body, I can master my emotions.

4. Pain makes us resilient. Withstanding brutal bodily assault means lesser hurts, physical and emotional, are like minor annoyances. Once you’ve been though hell, everything else seems inconsequential.

5. Pain clarifies what is important to us. Taking yourself to the edge brings clarity. What are you willing to endure torture for? An ideal, such as honesty? Your life? Someone else’s life? It may even give you a will to live. Pain shows us there is more to life; it opens our eyes. What are we willing to sacrifice? What means more than our life?

6. Pain takes away our fear. This is the same idea as resilience. Once you’ve shown the limits of your will, there is nothing more to fear in this life.

7. Pain reveals our true selves. It strips away the veneer, the masks we put on, the image we try to project… It takes us to our base self. It shows who we really are without the trappings we live with.

8. Pain bonds us. Pain not only bonds a couple engaging in S&M, it also bonds us to others. Pain creates a new depth of intimacy. The trust and faith required to submit wholly to another person is unparalleled. This is how masochism is sexual for me. Pain has all these functions, but this one is purely about connecting with your partner on a new level. I am capable of strong, loving emotional connections, but pain brings something new to the equation. Yet, it also deepens our empathy towards everyone because pain is something all people experience.

9. Pain is transformative. Through all these ways, pain transforms our being. Once we have this knowledge of ourselves, once we are purified through the fire, we emerge as new people.

But if pain is transformative than why would someone need more than one intense scene in their life?

Because we can always become stronger, more self-controlled, more powerful, more centered. Furthermore, pain has value in the moment.

10. Pain overwhelms the brain and blissfully obliterates emotion. Sad? Angry? Hurt? Lonely? You don’t have to be. Maybe it isn’t the healthiest way to deal with emotion, but it works. I don’t have to feel. I don’t have to scream at someone in anger. All I have to do is get rid of the emotion with another sensation. That is why I self-injure. It has nothing to do with sex. I’m not saying anger does not have a place. All emotions have a time and a place; confrontation is sometimes necessary to. You have to be able to express your needs within any relationship. Needs and wants and emotional reactions are normal. It is good to be able to talk about your feelings. Otherwise you can’t have a relationship because relationships, even D/s relationships, are two-sided. A sub or slave is not a doormat, he or she has wants, needs, and feelings just like any other human being. However, some people, submissive or masochistic or none of the above, have emotional reactions  that they know are disproportionate or irrational. Sometimes those emotions have nothing to do with a legitimate want or need, they just spring up and engulf someone. In those cases, when there is no need that must be met or underlying root, and the emotion causes so much turmoil that it threatens to overwhelm the person, using pain to slay the beast makes perfect sense.

11. Pain sates the darkness. As Goodkind eloquently put it,

“The pillows were stained with her blood. It had been a long night of rare sensations experienced.

She knew she was evil, and deserved to be violated in such a brutal fashion. She could offer no moral objection to it; even in the terrible things he did to her, Jagang was nowhere near as corrupt as she. Jagang erred in simple matters of the flesh, and that could only be expected – all people were corrupt in the flesh – but because of her indifference to the suffering around her, she failed in matters of the spirit. That, she knew, was pure evil. That was why she deserved to suffer whatever he did to her. For the moment, that deep dark place within came close to being sated.” P. 420-421 of Faith of the Fallen

Clearly, self-hate reigns here. This aspect is probably the most dangerous and unhealthy part. However, as long as the self-hate exists, it is safer to satisfy the demon within through pain from someone else’s hand than one’s own. Otherwise, the feelings of self-loathing may become overwhelming and awful things like suicidal ideation can result. Obviously, you have to pick a partner who cares about your wellbeing more than you do. If you chose a sociopath, you may be no safer than in your own hands. For me, submission fulfills this to. Serving someone else give me a purpose. Subjugation feels like something I deserve. It feels right and proper. Just like pain, submission has many other facets like showing love. However, that is for another post.

 

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Masochism and Me


It isn’t that I believe I am worthless. I believe I have worth. I believe I have potential. I do not believe I am a good person. Given that I have an innate drive to punish myself, can masochism be anything but self-destructive for me? Is my self-hate the driving force for my masochism? If it is the driving force, is that okay? Is it fair to my partner? If masochism is the only way I find pleasure in intimacy, where does this leave me? Why am I this way? Can I fix it? Does it need to be fixed? If self-hate is a driving force, but not the only reason I enjoy masochism, is it still okay to participate or will it always be unhealthy? Can it be healthy if I still hate myself? What are the reasons, other than self-hate, that I enjoy masochism? Was I born this way? Am I meant to be a sub? Is that the only way I can be happy in a relationship? If kinky relationships are the only romantic type that I like, and they are unhealthy for me, what do I do?

I don’t have the answers to all these questions, but I intend to think about them.

One thing I know is that this is a part of me. The first masochistic fantasy I remember was at age 5! I did not know what it was called back then and there was no sexual component until puberty, but these thoughts have always been with me. Did I hate myself at age 5? I don’t think so, but maybe I did. If I did not, that speaks in favor of masochism as not wholly involved with self-hate.

I feel kind of guilty talking about all this because I know there is a misconception that all kinsters are crazy. I don’t want to feed in to that misconception, but I need to work through this.

Sometimes…

Lost_Sawyer some of us meant to be alone

Knowledge is a destination.


Still no work done today. 😦 Haha, my mom always asks why I have enough “self-control” to starve myself nearly to death, but not enough to study.

Well… eating disorders are mental illnesses, not “self-control.” She should know that considering she is a psychologist! Case in point: I’m trying to set aside my anxieties and focus on school. That means eating throughout the day, not obsessing about eating disorder related things, and not going over the same fears in my mind ad nauseum. I know to be successful, I need to focus solely on law school for the next 3 weeks. Despite a conscious effort to ignore my eating disorder, I constantly catch myself thinking about losing weight or feeling fat.

I know what she means though. Most people can’t subsist on water for 5 days or force themselves to throw up any food they consume, pushing past dizzy spells, pain, and blood. It doesn’t take self-control; it takes a depth of self-hate few people understand. I wish my “self-control” extended to other areas of my life. In a way, through perfectionism, it does enter other areas of my life. However, the self-loathing and fear coming from my self-concept destroy any benefit of perfectionism. Ironically, I procrastinate because of it.

While searching for a title, I came across the quote in my title: “Knowledge is a destination. Truth, the journey.” Again it is from Zeddicus Z’ul Zorander. I’m going to try to think of Law School this way. All those foreign words and new ideas seem overwhelming and tedious. However, if I learn them all, I will end up with the knowledge needed to discover the truth (of cases). Yet, right now, I need to write a paper.

The Solution, Not the Problem


How Law School makes me feel...

How Law School makes me feel…

3 weeks. I have exactly 3 weeks until the end of the semester. I am paralyzed by fear because I’m a perfectionist. I’m extremely behind in reading and I don’t really know what to expect out of law school.

This week is the last week of classes. I have a paper worth 40% of my grade due tomorrow. I also have a court observation report due on Tuesday. I haven’t observed yet, oops! After Thanksgiving, I have until December 10th to cram a semester’s worth of legal knowledge into my brain. My last exam is on the 13th. The work feels overwhelming. I’m desperately trying to remember to “Think of the solution, not the problem.” – Richard Rahl (in Blood of the Fold, by Terry Goodkind)

I have no choice. Since I am a first semester 1L, I cannot medically withdraw this semester. If I want to be a lawyer, I must pass this semester. If I fail, no law school will accept me as a new student.