Over the past month or so, several people with whom I am close—either because we were once close and reconnected, or because we are newly close—have remarked on the jewelry I wear. I have five thin chain bracelets; one around each wrist and ankle, and a fifth closely fitted at my neck. I remember the nights Sara put them there.
“You’re still wearing these,” each of these friends said to me as they slipped a finger underneath one of them.
“I know,” I reply each time. “I’m still figuring out how much of them are me, and how much of them are Sara.” Who am I today, without the life I thought I’d have?
New York City has been a difficult place to be in. Instead, I have spent much of my time North, shuffling between Boston and Providence. The “organized” Boston communities are vastly divergent from The Scene that I am used to. I like the differences—I like that they exist, and that one place is different from another—even if I don’t like all the specifics.
In Boston, I attended the second NEPups.org puppy munch. I went with a friend and met a few gay pups and a kitty girl, and I spoke about queer masculinities and how uncomfortable I feel in the gay communities I’ve tentatively explored. I have never been gay, and I still feel a twinge of discomfort “admitting” to bisexuality in such spaces.
I have a growing connection to Providence. In large part, this is due to the people I’m coming to think of as the sun girl and the metal boy. They are young (younger than I am), which for the first time in my life is a notable thing. They live in slow time and enjoy the physical world in ways that are not entirely new yet not entirely familiar to me. There is much of Sara—a goodness and comfort—in each of them.
The metal boy in particular has been a quiet revelation for me. I find myself more unsure around him than I would have thought, as though I am younger, less experienced, more hesitant. I’ve been sexual with other men before but only now, after being with him, can I wholly and without silent reservation answer “Yes” to the still often asked question, “Are you really bi?” The sun girl, for her part, is in many ways a pure blessing. She is magic and warmth and a grounding force that has helped me move forward.
My trip to San Francisco these past five days proved useful but disappointing. It’s now obvious to me that the plan I had conceived before I left Sydney and which I so steadfastly tried to make happen despite the financial and emotional burdens of losing my relationship with Sara will not actually work. I’m thankful that I met with several other friends who have each generously offered support and crash space for my planned arrival time in late June. It may have perhaps been destined for me to be alone (but not isolated) when I arrive in San Francisco; it’s been almost a decade in the making for me by now.
I’ve been to San Francisco twice before this trip, but I’ve never been so happy to leave it before. I am still determined to move there, but as I write this in my airplane seat somewhere over the landlocked middle of the continent, I find myself eagerly awaiting a return to Providence. I can’t stay on the East coast, but I can’t leave. Not yet, not when there is still so much for me to do here.
My thoughts are consistently drawn to productive pursuits; my second CSS book, my sexuality projects (KinkForAll.org and MaleSubmissionArt.com). I feel strong in ways I’ve never felt before: I bend the world. I change reality. I can.
But I’m still so, so sad, and so, so pained. I don’t cry every day anymore, but I do feel overwhelmed by it. I suspect that, in part, Sara left me because I am so driven by the things I need to change rather than the things that work. Some parts of me want to reach a point where I’m no longer fueled by things that way, but other parts of me doesn’t. As one Bostonian friend fondly reminds me, “All progress is the work of unreasonable men.”
I speak about KinkForAll so often everywhere I go that I’m uncertain whether I’ve latched onto it or if it has latched onto me. I fear for it like a father fears for a child growing too fast and yet I keep pushing it out from underneath my own auspice because I know it can’t ever be what I want it to be without experience in the world. The weekend after I was in Boston, KinkForAll Boston was set into motion by the people I spoke with there and now I am determined to be a part of it.
In the mean time, I am also thinking and becoming increasingly excited about the Sex 2.0 presentations I will give on May 9th. In particular, I’ll get to meet the likes of Sarah Dopp, one of the inspirations for the Gender and Technology presentation that was accepted (and seems to be in increasingly high demand) at the Sex 2.0 conference. I’m just learning to speak with the people I admire to that degree, and in a week and a half I’m going to stand up and present my own version of the very things they inspire me to be. I will feel like I am standing in front of the very giants whose shoulders I stood on when I was across the planet.
So again, I ask myself, who am I? What is my sexual submissiveness without the dominant presence that revived it when I had given it up those four long years ago? What is my career when I have achieved, for me, an unprecedented level of recognition after 8 long years of being in the workforce? What is my contribution to my own future, and to people like me who are still young children today?
What kind of man am I if so much of the world I live in refuses to see manliness in what I am? Because today, having considered the possibility that I was perhaps a woman at earlier stages of my life, it turns out I am a man. And I am going to make the world know it is good to be the kind of man I am.