What Kind of Man

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.

8 replies on “What Kind of Man”

  1. While it heartens me to hear you finding solidity in answers that before proved too fluid to grasp, and excites me that you continue to refuse to accept complacency and ignorance (because you, most definitely, are a doer, and this world is in desperate need of intelligent doers), I wonder why, if SF is a square hole, you are still considering it. I don’t expect you to answer that question, but change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good thing. I’d hate for you to be miserable when you might not need to be.

  2. I cannot wait to see the world you’re making.

    Me neither, Heliotrope. I wish I had a better big-picture view of what the world will be when it becomes more of what I’m trying to make it. Thanks for your help, and for your support.

    I wonder why, if SF is a square hole, you are still considering it.

    Sigrid, I should clarify that San Francisco is not a place I feel is a square hole. My trip there was less than completely positive but it had to do with the particular living situation I was trying to maintain rather than the city itself. I’m glad I made the visit because now I’m able to back peddle out of a bad situation before I am stuck in it.

    Think of it like a course correction: I am flying towards an apartment in San Francisco and I have just discovered that my flight path is actually going to be a crash. So instead of just crashing, I’m going to adjust my flight path so I’ll land in a better position when I finally do get there.

    This is frustrating and disappointing because the original plan, the easier one, didn’t work out, but I learned a long time ago that the easy path is very rarely the one that best suits me. :)

  3. That’s much better. After seeing your comments about how disappointed you were, and then reading this, I jumped to erroneous conclusions. My apologies. :)

    Just remember, easy is boring, anyway. ;)

  4. Meitar, as always, a heart-touching statement. I know you’re probably flailing at the moment, wondering where to go and what to do, but you’ll find yourself soon, I know you will.

  5. I did read this quite some time ago, more near to when it was published, and it made me feel inexplicably close to you and I wanted to hug you and hold you close and hope to hide you from the pains of reality and give you a soft, gentle place to hide.

    Of course, that’s kind of a silly feeling, so I kept it to myself, but the end of the post stuck with me for a long time. I came a few points away from an A in my final semester of Sociology, and my teacher told me if I wrote an essay on whatever I wanted related to Sociology, I could have the A.

    I wrote it on gender, and found I needed a title. I just printed the paper, and it is titled, “And I am going to make the world know that it is good to be the kind of woman I am.”, and I felt you should know that, first, I stole from your closing line, and, more importantly, what you say sticks with people, and what you say is really true.

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