Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pondering Rainbows

“I don’t have time to wake up every morning and ponder my sexuality all day.”

The above is one of a vast array of things said by an old friend to me during one of the last conversations we would ever have, because she was in the process of disowning me. It was certainly the last significant conversation we had, because the one after started as an awkward “how is your health” sort of thing that ended just as badly, but quieter and—given this was (wow) years ago—I can say with confidence it ended things between us for good.

I remember trying to explain that (a) sex is different from gender, (b) sexual orientation is separate from gender identity, and (c) that I didn’t wake up and ponder being a gender fluid person any more than she woke up pondering what it was like being a cis-gendered woman.

I never got to (c). Calling it a “conversation” was possibly too generous.

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned something from that day on this blog, and probably won’t be the last. Sometimes I’m embarrassed that I keep going back to it, because really I’m unbelievably lucky. My dad grew up southern Baptist and was a cowboy before joining the Air Force. My mom grew up very traditionally Korean and these days she's a fundamentalist Baptist. I could have been disowned for real, but they were almost anti-climatically cool about me being gender-fluid. They don’t understand some of it and sometimes they backslide a bit, but they still love me and not in a “hate the sin love the sinner” kind of way so it’s definitely a win. None of my other close friends freaked out.

I keep saying I’ll put it out of my mind, but I guess things like that never really leave you. And lately I’ve been dissecting bits and pieces of what she said to me, turning them around in my head, using those little daggers to try and understand myself better.

Today I pondered my sexuality AND my gender, dammit.

A while back the television was on and Oprah was talking to a person who’d written a book about sexual fluidity. I glanced up because I rarely hear the term “gender fluid” unless I’m saying it and this was close enough to have me riveted. Oprah carefully asked the other person a question that I imagine a lot of people probably think and keep to themselves. Paraphrasing, it went something like:

When a woman who’s been straight all her life comes out as lesbian, why is it that you often see them with women that…sort of look like men?

The interviewee, Dr. Lisa Diamond, didn’t miss a beat, explaining that you can be attracted to women, but prefer masculine features.

I remember smiling at that, but didn’t really process it because I was under deadline at the time.

Today I pondered, and it was a hell of a lot of fun. Sexuality, gender, biology, et al. are complex things, and at first I skirted along the edges:

Gay men.
Straight women.
Lesbian women.
Straight men.

And then I just dove right in:

So, okay. A masculine male might like masculine features in men. A feminine woman could go for an equally lacy female. A bisexual woman or man might like masculine traits in both men and women, although my best friend is bisexual and sie needs hir women ULTRA feminine and hir men SUPER masculine, so you can split that down the middle. A friend of mine’s daughter IDs as pansexual and I had to wiki that, but I had to explain demisexual to someone of a similar age so the younger generation doesn’t have a monopoly on terms. Bois like grrls. Bois like birls who like bois. Yes, men who were born with female bodies can be attracted to men. Or women. Or any combination of the two. Androgynes are sometimes attracted to androgynous people, but being “androgynous” applies to physical features and not all androgynes look outwardly androgynous. Similarly, not all androgynous people identify as androgyne. A feminine man might go for feminine women and it doesn’t mean that the man is repressing his homosexuality or is bisexual. He might just know he looks damned good in pink. While polyamorous people can be bisexual and vice versa, the two terms are not interchangeable. It's just possible to stack them in some cases. Like one might stack "straight polyamorous cis-gendered woman." No one has exact numbers on how many intersexed people are out there because doctors and parents tend to make the gender decision for the child at birth and then hide the information to avoid stigma for the child. Often the child won’t find out unless there’s a medical problem later in life. More and more, however, parents of intersexed children are letting their kids choose their own gender when they’re older. Some choose male, some choose female, some don’t choose. Not choosing doesn’t make them indecisive or deformed. It just means they’re intersexed. GLBTQQICA. Sometimes athletic women are straight. Sometimes they’re not. Being an athlete doesn’t have anything to do with that. Bi-gendered, 3rd gendered, multi-gendered, genderqueer, omni-gendered, cis-gendered, gender-fluid, transgendered, non-gendered. Real men wear Stetsons. Real men drive trucks. Real men cry. Real men are afraid of spiders. Confession: I have NO fucking idea what a real man is, but genuine thanks to the kind people who send me mail to let me know that I write them.

Having fun yet? And the great thing is I haven’t even scratched the surface.

On that terrible day I had a fight with someone I’d been sure would be my friend forever, I was offended that she would assume I spent so much time thinking about sexuality/gender. Now I wonder why I don’t think about it MORE. It’s an amazing, mind bending thing to look at, and it makes me happy to see something new every time I do. It’s only when you look at it all that you understand why nearly every variation of a queer symbol has a rainbow on it—a rainbow is a spectrum of light that's only visible when you look up to see the sun through the rain, and it’s bright, and beautiful, and (to borrow a story from my highly biblical upbringing) it’s a miracle.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hands are awesome...

... and sometimes ridiculously cute:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I’ve come to the conclusion that the hardest part of writing isn’t finishing a story. The hardest part is starting one—over, and over, and over again. Because that’s what you have to do to get to the end, isn’t it? Start the book, eventually go to sleep. At some point over the course of the next day, start again…until you have to go to sleep. Repeat until there’s no more story. Start process over with another story while mentally preparing yourself to start revisions on previous one. Starting is the key here. Not finishing.

This feels like an epiphany, but at the same time I feel like I’ve read this pearl of wisdom somewhere before. Which is entirely possible. Some lessons take years to sink in with me.

For a lot of little reasons that happened to coalesce at the same time, I’m not working on any stories right now.* In the last few weeks I’ve wanted to, but for whatever reason I keep having false starts, not real ones. So my vacation continues, and it’s not so bad.

The other day I was looking over one of my bookcases. I’m a hoarder packrat archiver, especially about things I write, so I’ve got a bunch of old journals. Although I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember, it hasn’t always been fiction, and as I looked through my journals I noticed that I only seemed to feel it necessary to document the details of my life when I wasn’t writing fiction or poetry. Some of those details were really…hrm…interesting and I figured that I’d post some *headdesk* unedited excerpts below:

From when I was 10 years old:

Today I went to the movies and watched Transformors the Movie. It was fun! SPike was a grown man and was saying some bad words (like (shit.)) There were few more bad words in it. It was great.

17 years old:

I understand why so many seniors take cruise classes. It’s so they don’t blow a gasket when trying to meet all of their college deadlines.

18 years old:

So, I asked him to be my Valentine.

And you know what the idiot said?

He actually said yes.

Surprised the hell outta me, and then he asked what we were supposed to do. I told him I didn’t have a clue, and he laughed again.

20 years old:

Tomorrow I’ll be trying my hand at car sales. I really, really hope I have some sort of hidden car selling talent. I don’t want to look like an idiot and be poor this summer.

25 years old:

No matter what had happened before or what would happen later—in those hours he was perfect.

26 years old:

The next thing I know, I’m wondering where my muffin is. A few seconds later I’m wondering why I’m on the floor. A few seconds after that I wonder why my mom is sobbing. Turns out she thought I was dead.

30 years old:

He dyed his hair orange and dressed up like Ichigo for me. Filthy, unspeakable deeds in the dead of night were his reward. He says next year he might do Hisagi.

31 years old:

Went to see Dark Knight. HOLY SHIT. I mean... holy shit! Heath Ledger’s Joker was iconic and the story... it’s living, it’s breathing, it digs its wway inside of you. Haha. “Why so serious?” Holy FUCKING shit!

As you can see, I was (and still am) a mess. But reading those journals had me smiling, sneezing (dust!), chuckling. I was sad in parts, hopeful in others. All emotions I try to evoke through my stories.

So maybe the lesson here isn’t about me not writing. Maybe the lesson here is about me accepting the fact that, while I haven’t jumped feet first back into any of my books yet, this blog has become a journal of sorts which allows me to get my thoughts down, rambling though they may be.

It’s a start, right?

* This post was actually written two weeks ago and last week I out of the blue updated The Jascian’s Toy. I was proud of chapter 12. I suppose now it’s time to start again.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Feed the Fetish – Furries

Ah, there’s so much I could say about furries. While I don’t classify them as one of my personal fetishes, I am fascinated and there’s a lot in the genre I really like. I do plan to write more about them at some future point. But for now, eye candy:

Big Cat dude...thing. by ~Jackademus on deviantART

Andre striptease by ~furiousfox on deviantART

November 2009 Calendar by ~humbuged on deviantART

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nifty links

The Jascian's Toy - 12 seems to be through the mirrors now. If you'd prefer to read it there instead of at The Evolution Forum, knock yourself out. :)

I've also added a 2010 link to the Best of Rowan's Ramblings section on my About Me page. It only has one entry so far, but I'm thinking 2010 is going to be a good year so hopefully there will be more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Jascian's Toy - 12

It's been almost a year since I've updated this story, and that's far too long considering how much I love it. I've posted the 12th installment on The Evolution Forum at . Registration is required there, but free. I've been a member since 2005 and have never received anything more from the automated system than birthday emails and notifications of private messages, and those settings are adjustable.

If you prefer to read the story on, it's weaving its way through the mirrors now. I'll drop you a line once it's posted on the mirror that I use. :D

The new installment is a little longer than my usual chapters. The story gets a bit darker as well, but I believe all the characters involved grow in important ways, and I'm wicked proud of it.

I hope you enjoy it.

-- Rowan