I’m all excited because I just emailed a Baltimore shop called Sugar. They’re a feminist sex toy shop with a loverly mission and a very familiar, highly missed sensibility.
I just can’t believe how long it’s been since I was regularly in a sex positive space. From Babeland, I went to Hawaii, where the topic is strangely taboo. Not judgmental of het stuff, just silent. Now homos…not so silent. After that, it was a brief stint in the Bay Area, which was good, then off to Moses Lake. I was so invisible there! Everyone looked at me and my male lover and assumed they knew all about me. It was fun to come out of the closet sometimes, with some people, but it wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t pass as straight/vanilla most of the time. The town is 40% Mormon and highly judgmental. Almost made me change my style to make more of a statement, but I didn’t want to give into that either!
And India. Well, I have to say that it’s impossible for me to be invisible in India. But I still missed the charge in the air, the fun and games of being in an open, sex positive community.
In my email, I asked whether or not they had any work for me. Full or part time. I have skills, after all. I’d need to catch up on the latest and greatest, but I should be able to handle that…
And just the idea of doing sick/vacation coverage is pretty exciting to me. If I work full time somewhere else and do fill-in work there, I’ll still have time in that environment that I prized so much. And it’s a young, energetic company – my favorite! (I don’t know the ages of people working there – I’m talking about it still having a fresh vision. People remember why they started this in the first place!)
Of course, full time there would be perfect. It’s only 4-5 miles from the bulk of the Baltimore marinas, so I could ride my bike to work and home without problems. I could do that job and then focus on writing my book. I could…well…give a shit about what I do.
I love boating, but I don’t love working for a company that is too big to know its own goals and people. And most boaters aren’t like me – scraping by, living aboard, dedicated to traveling by sail. Anyway…
So wish me luck. Maybe they’ll snatch me up!
Congratulations my lover! We may not be ship-shape or Bristol Fashion but we are definitely ready to set sail! Plot me a course, oh great Navigator!!!
Hey dena, I came upon your forgotten page (to me) in the middle of all the rest of my other forgotten sites tonight! So I decided to take in the pics and some reading. It still feels like such an invasion to read what people are up to etc. even though, they are the ones who put it out there in the first place.
Not sure you care to answer but I wonder why you would feel invisible in moses and not other places. Is it just here or is it the states in general? Is it just the “percieved goodness” of a small community? Just wondering and by the way, I as a person pretty much always feel invisible after the initial period of others wanting to know “what happened”, acting like they care. Yes I’m being all negative but it’s true; people don’t want to deal with “my life/issues/pain”…… as if I do. And so that leaves me struggling not to become or remain invisible to myself.
Sorry to hear of your hospital visit and the hardness around that. In so many ways time has stopped but almost 16 years later, as I look around and though it’s hard for me to comprehend, in my head I guess it just keeps on going……….
Hey Lexi! Blogs do feel a bit like open diaries. I like the little bit of voyeurism, myself. Grin.
Feeling invisible…I can only imagine how people fade you out of their attention. My few visibly disabled friends have had the same problem. To one friend, it felt like people thought the wheelchair made her stupid or incapable of conversation, but another friend figured it was a more-or-less unconscious avoidance of what she represented to them — pain, sorrow, and their own discomfort with those issues. The idea of discussing the book they were reading or some other perfectly interesting topic seemed frivolous when she had a big TOPIC. And they didn’t want to talk about that, so they ignored her. (She didn’t want to talk about disability all the time either, of course.)
For me, it’s not invisibility in a general way. It’s the lack of recognition of who I really am. To boil it down, I’m queer, kinky, and in an open relationship. I’m also godless, feminist, environmentalist, and against having children for myself or having more than one child for other people. Yep. That’s definitely the boiled-down version.
There are places and communities where I share at least some of those ideas with other people, and that is nice. But I don’t need to agree with other people in order to get along with them, for the most part. When I say I feel invisible, it’s because in Moses Lake and here in Norfolk, people assume that every one of those things I mentioned aren’t true. The assumption is that I’m straight, vanilla, monogamous, religious, etc, etc.
The assumptions of normalcy are constraining, and I negotiate each new relationship with decisions on how much personal information I want to/should share. In my post, I mention that I could “signal” these things more clearly. I could look more like the stereotype of a dyke. I could wear five pounds of pins that communicate my attitudes. I could plaster my car with bumper stickers.
There is the “perceived goodness” of a small community, as you say. Because I’m not biting the heads off chickens or protesting for the rights of potatoes, I must be just like them. My version of goodness is pretty seriously different from many of the versions you’d get in a poll of people in ML.
The way people avoid socializing with you, the way they act as though you were not present, makes it a struggle for you, yourself, to feel present. Is that right? When people don’t engage with you, you fade into a corner in your own mind?
The way people socialize with me, weighing me down with the responsibility of either divulging personal information about how I have sex or allowing them to assume whatever they want…this doesn’t make it hard for me to feel present in the same way you would not feel present. It makes me feel pressured, one-dimensional, fake. It makes me feel like the real me is in danger and needs to be hidden. It puts me into the closet and dares me to bust out.
There’s no way to compare and rank difficulties in life, but there are people who are unable to avoid difficulties and others who more closely fit society’s expectations and can go with the flow. Persecuted and/or misunderstood communities are often (though not always) better at engaging with people beyond the perceived hurdles. For example, I didn’t know very many people with visible disabilities until I became part of a vibrant SM community. The SM communities I’ve been in have been better at dealing with real bodies, their real feeling, needs, desires, abilities, etc. Better at planning wheelchair accessible spaces, yes, but also better at prizing hot sexy people, regardless of what shapes, sizes, or abilities their bodies have. SM communities aren’t there on race, unfortunately. Racism in SM communities works much like you experience ablism in your life – as a greeting without engagement, a discomfort that leads to treating the person as invisible.
Sigh. It’s hard to talk about this stuff without overgeneralizing. As soon as I typed that, I thought of some people of color who are comfortable and enthusiastically welcomed in the community. It’s still a real problem, generally, though. All the people I thought of are very in-your-face, determined people who, I’m sure, fought for the recognition they have.
And I haven’t even touched on the way it must feel for a person to live in intersecting invisibilities. I don’t want to put this on your experience, but I’ve heard and read that people in wheelchairs are treated as non-sexual more often than not. I can only imagine what it would be like to deal with the ways you feel invisible and the ways I feel stifled, all rolled up into one socially disregarded ball of selfhood.
Strumming my pain wth his fingers……….