In the past few days, I have been part of an interesting pair of online discussions. They have been an emotional challenge for me. Online forum participation is something that I have done in passing over the years, but I have never been skilled at active engagement on them. Picking up a skill takes practice, and I just don’t put in the hours. Hell, my own Fetlife student lounge is a great example of something I just haven’t kept up on… I blog aright, and have since ’98- but the chat/bbs thing never was my fetish.
That said, I am glad for it. I am glad it has given me some really intense personal life stuff to reflect on. I made a vow to the Gods back in November, before my leather brother and fellow spirit worker, Scotty. It was a crazy weekend, an intense roller coaster of a time that I may never talk about in depth publicly because it is not one of my most graceful weekends ever lived- but it was a weekend that transformed me. I am not a perfect person, by a long shot. But gosh, was it a weekend where I grew.
The vow in short was to start seeing people as people, not anecdotes, projections or things just in my story.
And, over the course of the current dialogue online I have found… includes me.
I have simplified so much of my life into easily repeatable sound bites for consumption. This thread has called me on that in a really profound way, and has me starting to look at my own life as a person, not just as an anecdote, projection or thing in my story.
Its being upsetting, traumatic, challenging… and slowly… fruitful.
I am more than my own anecdotes. My life is not a simplified thing that can be gobbled in a few bites. In fact, when I simplify me down, reducing over and over again over an open flame- I loose some of the vastness that is me. I transform my own past. I loose touch with the nuances.
To such a degree that I forget parts of my own story- I hear the tale before I hear the truth of my own existance.
I have said things in classes like “I am grateful that I found the scene because it saved my life in many ways.”
That is such a frakkin’ over-simplification. That is an over-exaggeration. That is an understatement. All in one sentence. And yet, it is fast and easy to digest. My reality is so much more complex than that.
I have said things online like “I started in the scene in ’95,” and by saying it enough times, I simplified my own memory. In fact, to such a degree that I slipped things a whole year sideways as to when I went to my first public playspace. I held onto ’95 because it was a year I had to repeat over and over again… 9512-024 was my Camarilla number, and thus I joined the Cam in ’95… I always associate joining the public Live Action Roleplay world with when I started kink. Because they were so interwoven for me. I truncated timelines. I was unfair to myself and the world simplifying my story, and by doing so, forgot my own nuances.
I started doing kink stuff at Sci-fi cons and playing with folks who were in the public kink community in ’95, while visiting Portland on a regular basis and doing the part time street punk thing (that second part was actually starting in ’94). I went to my first public SM space (Seattle) and private play parties (Tacoma) in ’96. I simultaneously did my senior year of highschool, my freshman year of university, started working at Wizards of the Coast, and turned 17- all in the ’96-’97 school year (how I tracked things in memory… by the year in school).
Thus, saying I started in the scene in ’95 is an oversimplification, and when I started saying it in ’03, it was a way to make it digestible. So digestible that I lost track.
I am staring at my own life. How many sound bytes of my truth do I, as a storyteller, do every day? I make me a thing that the world can parse, and in doing so, do not share my depth, my full truths.
If I am to truly work on this vow I have made, to see people fully as people, I must start with the being in the mirror.
I am not simple statements, consumable facts. I will be sitting with myself a lot I think, looking at how to do this best. How to find me and all “I AM” between the stories. As a bard, I must keep telling them. It is part of my Work right now. It is part of what I DO on this plane… and others. I share, I translate, I let folks hear. But when I loose my core and my own past amongst the words – who am I then?
So I sit, I breathe, I remember. Or in some cases, I try to remember. Because in some of the periods I gloss over- I gloss over for good reason. Because they were times that hurt, profoundly hurt, on a core level. Times I don’t see a reason today to have to reconstruct- because I am not ready to face them. Times of suicide attempts (or in one case, one might argue success), drug use, physical and sexual abuse, sorrow… and also profound beauty, love and adventure. Sometimes, I think for myself at least, I need to give myself permission to not remember all the details. To remember would take time to process in depth- and I am not ready for all of that today.
But for now, tonight, it is enough to just start remembering that “I” am beyond my own anecdotes.