Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Divination Project: Foreword: Jeremy-Bearimy, Mothmen, Socialism and My Cheating Heart

It is four and a half years after writing this book that I can say I finally understand something important about my own desires. Since I was a young girl, I have been both fascinated by and terrified of men. I think a lot of this is because I didn't have a brother. I think having a brother demystifies men quite a bit, but interestingly, being married didn’t entirely for me, even though Carl was open with me about his desire for me in particular and what he found alluring and he also said some things about men in general to try to help me orient myself to their desires, but I suppose it is hard for me to accept that they could be that simple. Ever since I was a little girl, there were certain things that stoked that curiosity, including the innocuous nursery rhyme about little boys being made of snips, snails and puppy dog tails. I of course had exposure to boys in school, and some of the things they said and did certainly let me know that more than a few of them were looking at me as more than just a friend, but I never knew what to do with that. I still don’t.

I generally was not attracted to the same guys my friends were, so I avoided that typical teen friendship drama. I would actually classify myself as having been boy crazy, and I feel like my childhood diary is evidence of that. There were guys I was friends with who I had feelings for who I did not pursue if they had girlfriends. I had arrangements with a boy when I was young and then another friend when I was a teenager that if we did not find other partners, we would consider getting married when we were older. We just weren't passionate about each other. I am not attracted to my friends' husbands and avoid flirting with married men. But I had a bunch of weird things happen in the past few years with unmarried men and it felt like getting hit over the head with a frying pan with the message that being monogamous was going to be a weird proposition for me, simply because of some fundamental things about me physiologically that I did not understand and cannot control. I was solicited several times over the years by other men with my husband Carl present. There was only one time a man said something under his breath to avoid Carl hearing; the other times men made sure Carl knew what they were thinking. I found it both exciting and scary because it was of course never expected, and I generally didn’t think of myself that way. Carl always handled this gracefully, thank goodness. He always chose to look at it as having something other men seemed to want, and that he chose well, but sometimes I wonder if he did. He likes to tell me a story about how when we first met and one of his suitemates asked how things were going with me, he said, “This one is going to be trouble.” Ay, yi, yi, the things he could see that I couldn’t!

I feel like I have been hit on a statistically improbable number of times for a person, let alone for a wife or mother. I’m sure there are other people out there who have learned how to gracefully deal with this, but this has been incredibly confusing for me and has been challenging, psychologically. I understand now that it happens for a number of predictable reasons which I can't help, the most obvious being my excessive chest, and another being that I subconsciously mirror people as a coping mechanism for my autism, which I do not discuss in this book because I did not realize I was doing it, but which partially explains why I am psychologically exhausted by social situations. This is sort of the explanation of what it is like to have Mirror Touch Synesthesia, (which I think I may have now healed through the tantra), and experience other people’s emotions; it can be overwhelming. It used to happen to me when I was worn out.

A woman I used to know would regularly razz me about my boobs, and I only realized recently that she was flirting. I can be kind of slow, and perhaps that is kind of fun for people to see what they can get away with. Anyway, I feel like this has made my social experiences complicated.

I don't hide my feelings well, which is something that works to my advantage. The problem is that I am very suggestible because I mirror. This was actually something Carl told me made him feel safe to approach me. When I am attracted to someone, I can't hide it because I blush and I touch my hair. I also giggle when I am uncomfortable, which is called "pseudobulbar affect." I kind of melt into a girl next door, probably because I watched so much television growing up. I just can’t imagine it is evolutionary or even native to have one’s brain turn to gelatin whenever one is attracted to someone, since it doesn’t seem very helpful for my personal survival, although I suppose from the evolutionary standpoint, I successfully reproduced, so I have fulfilled my biological imperative. So even though my husband has been present at times, some men have used this to try to see how far I could be seduced, anyway. The ‘ol Wicked Game. It's a scary game because mirroring can have the effect of escalating things quickly under the right circumstances, which luckily I have been able to avoid. My biggest concern is that men can be so violent, of course, and since I was raped as a teenager by someone I trusted, whenever a man says things to me demonstrating attraction, my mind of course has to spend some time in the dark place and I can’t just enjoy it. I think I tend to prefer docile men for this reason, although I mistakenly thought the guy who raped me was docile. I am a strong person and can effectively defend myself, but who wants to have to do that?

Some people might call what I experienced sexual harassment. Because it happened so many times, and usually with men I never met before (but not always - once it was a healthcare provider I had been seeing for years!), it would have been impractical and expensive to pursue charges against any of them, so instead I have just chosen to process the trauma through writing. What I have realized is that it is the unspoken nature of this that hurts; and it hurts both parties. We live in a world where touch, the most basic element of human connection, is scary, and I believe that is because we are culturally trained to have disordered relationships with our sexuality and poor communication skills. My own tolerance of sexual harassment was groomed through that early rape experience. Everything else after that seemed like small potatoes in comparison, so I just tried to blow off the experiences… that is until they accumulated to be something I could no longer ignore.

I once became acquainted socially with a woman who had spent 4 years in a federal penitentiary because her husband was trafficking drugs and she was a user. I met her in the context of her employment. We talked about a lot of things because she was going to school to get a degree in psychology and she was an artist and was interested in a lot of the same things. We talked about sex and psychic stuff in particular, and she told me she had been raped and beaten up by men several times. My heart went out to her, and I probably spent more time than I should have with her, because she seemed to have trouble shaking the past associates she had who kept showing up and stealing from her. It almost seemed like for her to change her life for the better, she was going to have to get far away from where she came from. Having seen where she grew up, and having gotten to meet her family who are upstanding people, I feel that she was a victim of similar circumstances with respect to her body and her surroundings. Ultimately, I got sick after writing this book, and I had to let a lot of my friends go and live their lives, so I am not in touch with her. There was a time when I imagined that all the people I met would be able to shed their troubled pasts and connect over what they had in common and make something great together, which would pay the bills legally and change things in our community for the better. In fact, she wanted to make an art therapy center and spa, and I thought that was a great idea. But as disabled and marginalized women, it was difficult to think of how to make that happen.

I think sometimes men I have been attracted to may have felt gaslit due to the way I blew off feelings I had for them because I took marriage vows with Carl. I understand how confusing it is to be rebuffed when all the signs are there. To those men, I apologize. This has kept me from having my own male friends in my adult life. I feel like my body falls in love easily and is in love with the idea of love, and that it could well be my undoing. Carl jokingly calls me "Mike Pence" when I shy away from friendships with men, but he has not seen how weak in the knees I got sometimes, especially during the time I was writing this book.

Stupid meat suit.

When I was a senior in high school, two guys, one of whom I had a terrible crush on for many years, both of whom I wrote about in my diary, asked me to do a prank with them, and I agreed. At the time we did the prank, I was over my crush, but I think I enjoyed that feeling of belonging so much that I have been wanting to recreate it in my adult life. I was hoping Jeff, the artist I met and who inspired this book, would do something fun like that with Carl and I, this book being somewhat of a "Truth or Dare" exercise. I was, more than subconsciously, looking for that man who would look into my eyes and dare me to live my life, and I was hoping I found two. I meant this writing to be a bridge to that reality, but it ended up being much more than that. It sort of became an offering to the Universe, instead.

At one point in my early married life, I fell in love with a divorced coworker. It was a scary experience, although I was somewhat prepared because I know a few couples who have been married a long time after weathering infidelity. I do not think my coworker had any feelings for me like that. However, I think he liked one of our coworkers. The three of us spent a fair amount of time connecting because our desks were in the same small lab area. We were in Southern California in the late 90's and there was something sexy about that, too. Anyway, it got too hot for me and I had to leave. I was quite fond of both of my coworkers. They were funny and real, and my female coworker introduced me to the idea that Carl's libido was indicative that he was a "healthy boy." I can still hear her saying that. She was a gorgeous French-speaking North African Muslim woman who taught me some dance moves one weekend. I learned some other things from her about being a woman and fasting during Ramadan, which seem unfair to me as a female mystic. I did feel that the conversations my crush was sometimes having with her were not work appropriate, and I mentioned that when I left during my exit interview. I learned later that our employer (a Federal entity) took my accusation seriously and put him on probation and that she was quite distressed. I wish I had been better at difficult discussions back then, because I feel badly about hurting someone who was already hurting.

There were many things I didn't like about that job, but the people I worked with were okay to work with (I liked that part probably a little too much). The pay was awful, and I am sure that contributed to my feelings for my coworker, because we had to work so much harder for our money than Carl did being an engineer. Not being paid well makes not having a caring partnership a significant factor in one's life. As lab technicians, we had to handle sometimes dangerous or fragile materials that in milligram quantities would cost us a week's pay, sold to us by someone with a high school degree, making ten times our salary, the government having negotiated all the outrageous overhead on those materials to pay for supply companies’ sales forces and executives’ lifestyles. No doubt the people who manufactured what we were using were only living slightly better than we were. Adding to the surreal nature of that first job I had out of grad school, we were working alongside a lot of people who were in the US on visas who had medical degrees from their home countries who also weren't being paid much, didn't ask questions or stand up for themselves, and sent money home. There was a lot of risk and anxiety involved in our work, something we could uniquely understand. There was no room for error, and our jobs required a lot of specialty knowledge, even though they only paid what we could have received being gas station attendants. I think that those working conditions are a little crazy making, and that it is probably normal on some level to want to connect more deeply with others who understand what one is going through. Isn’t life about finding the people who understand?. My coworker was a veteran and struggled with migraines and mood issues, which tugged at my heart strings. I am a sucker for a suffering soul, but I honestly would not have been much help then.

For many years before Carl and I connected through playing music together, we were somewhat disconnected off and on because of our online lives, and that was also the case when I caught the feels for my coworker. I am not a person who easily feels sexual attraction to just anyone; usually it happens after they display sensitivity and thoughtfulness. I think those are the sexiest traits, and a good sense of humor helps a lot. So does availability and openness, and this was something Carl and I struggled with after having kids, too. So if you are my old coworker, I am sorry for however I may have messed up your life. I wanted to be the one to get into your life and help make it better, but I understand now that this is something each person has to do for themselves. It simply can’t be someone else’s job to manage our consciousness and mood; that is a job for old age and old, weathered and proven relationships, not new ones.

My next job was with married men, also my age, who were well behaved and who had a longstanding working relationship with another woman our age in our lab which was congenial. They palled around quite a bit, and except for the repetitive nature of our work, unreliable equipment and pay, it was a fun place to work. However, it was not fun enough to go back after having a baby, especially for unreliable pay. I could have made a lot more as an administrative assistant, and in fact I had a friend from high school who worked her way up from administrative assistant in the biotech industry and enjoyed success as an executive without an advanced degree in science. So it seems to me that science has a bit of an ugly secret about who is doing the heavy lifting.

There was a single guy who worked in IT who I felt a connection with, but it wasn’t something that consumed my thoughts. I think I knew better than to let myself catch feelings after the previous experience. After becoming a mom, that was generally a lot easier. Flirting even felt a lot safer, because we knew our couple friends pretty well and that there weren't those amorous feelings, just a fun platonic energy. Maybe I shouldn't say "flirting" as much as I should say "being warm and open" although there was a time when someone else's husband seriously crossed the line verbally. It certainly helped that moms tend to kvetch about their spouses which removed “the grass is greener on the other side” part of my thinking and helped me see the foolhardiness of adultery. But honestly, I never felt chemistry with the married men I met, and that is a relief.

But then in my mid-40s, things happened which had me questioning my understanding of myself, which I detail in this book. I will confess here that my idea of homemaking and partnership involves a fair amount of intimacy. I think certain people can read that on others - if they are a person who enjoys the sensual, I suppose. And it’s true, if I had my druthers, I would lay around naked with my man all day, cooking good food, writing books and poetry, making music, art and love, but who wouldn’t? I can play a good June Cleaver, but after a time it makes me want to crawl out of my skin, and I can only handle so much of that energy. Furthermore, I have always been a curious person, especially with respect to the study of sexual arousal as it relates to consciousness, which is a rabbit hole Carl and I have been exploring. I am a bit of a biohacker, the benefit being increased mood, libido, concentration and memory. I think this stuff is way more important than material concerns beyond the basics (food and shelter), and that if other people mastered this part of their lives, the world would be a less violent place. Carl and I both consider ourselves life learners, and since we were each others' first sexual partners and are aware that we only get one go around on this merry go round called life, we were trying to be open to new experiences within reason, and even filled out one of those sex questionnaires where we learned we were both open to more than we imagined. I read a lot about sex in terms of educational materials and also physiology, and almost did sex research in graduate school. Carl has always had a great libido, which I know makes me a lucky woman. Our sex life is so closely tied to our cognitive health. I think that is the most important thing we have learned together, and we are fortunate that we had the research interests we did in consciousness. There are so many experiments we could do! Wow, that would be a dream come true to do legitimate sex research!

As college students, we had sex daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. My understanding is that the average American marriage does not make time for as much sexual intimacy as we do. I understand this happens for a lot of reasons, but I think the biggest one is that people just don’t have the energy. As a housewife, though, knowing that the products of my work (well-adjusted children and productive husband) are essentially to benefit society, I wonder if paying mothers (or rather family or household caregivers) to do what they do might help make a nation stronger. Housekeeping actually takes a lot of energy. I do realize that this treads closely to paying an army of courtesans, but maybe we need that more than we need the ability to kill people. Maybe if people were free to be caregivers and nurturers, so many other problems in society would just solve themselves. Could a government dowry prevent sex trafficking and reduce domestic violence?

Carl and I have both had single friends of the same sex and are aware of the lack of touch in single people's lives. For that reason, I was always a hugger as an adult, and was happy hugging acquaintances. We practiced attachment parenting with our children, and hugging was an important part of our family life, too. I believe human connection is something that is missing from modern life, and so I did my best to foster it with others. When I was growing up, we did not have a big house and so we had to share space. We regularly cuddled and hugged, and those were important ways we let each other know we cared even when we disagreed. This feels like a basic human need. Jeff was the kind of person who was a hugger, which clued me into his awareness of the need for touch, which I found sexy.

I have also been curious about psi phenomena as they relate to relationships due to what happened with Jeff. We were having a conversation about these sorts of things which kept getting interrupted. During that time I noticed my phone was giving me content related to our discussions. Ultimately life took us in different directions, but that didn’t keep things from getting weirder between us. With some people there is an undeniable entanglement, and almost a sense that we have known each other before. People in occult spheres talk about past lives, and it was like that. That's how it was with Carl; there was a familiarity that felt comfortable and which was highly seductive because I feel I can be my true self in those situations. I felt that pull with Jeff, too. Both of them were gentlemen. Carl's and my friendship was forged through online communication on our university’s rs6000 computer system for about a month before we met in person or even saw pictures of each other, so that laid the foundation for our relationship. I don't think either one of us expected the strength of the attraction we had when we finally met, but I had experience meeting men on the internet before we met and even had a long distance relationship with a young newspaper owner from Ohio, so I knew what kind of questions to ask to pave the way for some level of trust and understanding.

In some ways, my experiences are an acknowledgement that we do not have conscious control over who we are attracted to, and we’re not always in control of our behavior when that happens. In my case, I have on a few occasions found myself attracted to female friends, but I kept that to myself so as to not mess up my friendships. I think I have figured out that I maintained at least two friendships which were psychologically unhealthy for me because of unconscious sexual attraction. When I have the hots for someone, I’ll forgive a lot. So I thought maybe I was bisexual, but then that made me have to deal with the realization that I am not someone whose attraction to people is classifiable, and also that whole thing of falling in love easily and slutshaming myself for my feelings. I don’t choose this; my body does. It is precisely why I have always understood that sexuality is not something that is chosen. I figured all of this out in the context of being married. What I finally landed on for myself was "queer sapiosexual" because I am attracted to intelligence, humility and compassion, primarily. However, it seems that at least in my economic world, an attraction to another woman is less threatening to my marriage than an attraction to another man is; men regularly have fantasies about multiple women, but get another man in the picture and suddenly I am property to fight over. How far would you go to be part of someone’s fantasy if the chemistry was strong? This is what I have been asking myself.

For a time I thought "maybe I am pansexual…" because my desire was that confusing, but I have figured out I was looking to be seen by and also feel a soul connection with someone else and Carl and I had not worked out what made that connection come and go for us like we have now. It is not in this book, but I have special needs and I need a partner who can understand those. That part of our lives is detailed in another book, which is also a fictionalized memoir. At the time I wrote this book, neither Carl nor I understood my needs, but that has changed.

Moreover, the study I did of Tarot and Astrology showed me that there is an order to how people come into my life and what I learn from them about myself. I was learning about the collective unconscious and my role in it when I wrote this book. I spent a lot of time watching Tarot readers on YouTube as well. I no longer see Siggy, my therapist, but she was aware of my exploration of Jungian philosophy, and during our last appointment when she said she felt I did not need therapy, we discussed the collective unconscious.

I now see my purpose to try to be a peacemaker, artist, musician and sex educator sharing what I have discovered about my own barriers to happiness and health in order to help others. I have learned that human touch is important for health. I learned that the clitoris atrophies if it is not used. Furthermore, sexual pleasure reduces anxiety and several reproductive cancers. For that reason, I am pro-sex, and I believe that there is scientific evidence that things that work against libido work against life. This is a dangerous position for a woman to take, but it is necessary if we are going to change things in our world. I am trying to do that in a responsible and sensitive way, because I am a mother and it matters to me. Sexual pleasure is an important part of being a human being. I studied Kundalini yoga and the Tantra on my own and with Carl over the past 4 years, and that was sort of put in my path by my physician because I was having pelvic floor issues. I had to do it alone and in my private time, and I had to make regular practice of it. It is a journey within to awaken one's life force. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the access to solitude for mental health for these reasons. I feel so sad when I hear about couples who struggle in this department, or who have had to give it up entirely. It does feel like a “use it or lose it” ability to satisfy oneself. Perhaps somewhat revealing is the fact I don’t have the time to myself I once did during the pandemic lockdowns, so my own “expanded orgasm” isn’t as “expanded.” I hope that is not TMI. I figured out that my desire is a metabolic manifestation; at one point during my experimentation when my life worries were less, my libido drove me a bit nuts. It is weird to feel like a teenager when you are in your late 40s.

None of this would be possible without the help of men who love girls with Daddy Issues and understand the importance of motherhood. I have a good Dad, we just… well, we just had communication problems, probably due to both of us being on the autism spectrum. The pandemic allowed us to have time to correspond and learn more about each other's perspective, and I appreciate that. My Dad was actually instrumental in trying to help me understand the importance of solitude and taught me meditation when I was young, and was in no way a nobodaddy. But he wasn't good at expressing love verbally, and the alexithymia I have always struggled with was a challenge to my self understanding, too. It responds fairly well to sexual pleasure, however, which is not something he could or even should have taught me. One of the most important things I learned from my Dad, is that "Love" is not just a word to be thrown around, but a real thing one does, not just for others, but also for oneself. Most importantly, “Love” is fighting for another person’s health, peace of mind, and for their freedom to be themselves.

If you really must know, 38G, aka 38DDDD.

In the immortal words of Panic! At the Disco, “Haven't you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”

Yours truly,


No comments:

Post a Comment