Messes and Mayham

The past few months have been a struggle. As you know, my ex and I split this summer after 7 years. Over the past few years, I’ve come to rely on my partner to help me with household chores I find difficult because of pain. Being newly single has meant trying to handle those tasks despite my impairment.

The result has been varied.

Things like laundry, in particular, are difficult to manage. Between the actual motivation barrier imposed by executive dysfunction as well as ADHD, and the physical burden of carrying a heavy load downstairs, bending over to both pull out clothing from the hamper and to put it into the machines, transferring the whole thing into dryers, hauling it back upstairs, and then standing and folding – it’s been a hassle and a half trying to get it done in a reasonable time period. This week even, I had to ask for help in getting it done, since my back just couldn’t handle it.

Other things have managed to become a bit easier thanks to the help from my new roommate in making things more accessible.

For the past month, we’ve been working on trying to consolidate our things while still leaving enough room in the kitchen to actually prep food. This has meant countless hours, designing and building shelves, installing pegboards, trying to figure out appropriate storage containers for all and sundry. Because of my new roommates schedule, it’s been a strange mix of two days a week of being able to unpack and consult together, followed by the rest of the time being the only one home to try and make sense of things.

In addition to trying to organize and manage the common spaces, I am still working on my room/office. Trying to organize things so that I can easily manage by ADHD, work on writing, switch to artist mode, work on some home improvement task, and record videos, all while keeping in mind my difficulties with frequent bending, lifting, and also making space for things like sleeping and having clothes, has been a challenge. Trying to balance all that with still having to get things done involving my various art supplies, has been particularly entertaining to navigate.

I feel like I’ve been living out of boxes and mess for months, though I haven’t stopped working on cleaning and organizing in all that time.

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Messes and Mayham
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6 Ways to Support Artist Friends While Broke

 As the holidays approach, many people want to help out their friends who are artisans. Unfortunately, for many of us, money is such a big restriction that it can feel impossible to do. Realistically, for many struggling artists – making sales can be the biggest actual help. Not only does it help pay for necessities, it also provides additional validation, and so on. However, when most of your friends are also struggling artists themselves, then it can be a case of just honestly not having the money available to buy something yourself.

I’ve faced this concern from both sides: the broke friend AND the struggling artist who is desperate to make sales. Not only this, but I’ve faced the problem as an artist of multiple different media: writing, storytelling, music, painting, jewelry making, cooking, and so on. Sales can also mean a variety of things: patrons, clicks on ads, views, registrations, physical sales, and so on.

With this in mind, I thought that I would share a list of 6 Things You Can Do that don’t cost money, but that can help generate more sales and go a LONG way towards helping an artist sustain themselves.

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6 Ways to Support Artist Friends While Broke

If Ever I Should Love You

I was going through my various writing folders, when I stumbled across an old paragraph I wrote about what I was looking for in a relationship. So much has changed since I wrote it. When I did, I still thought I was straight. I assumed it would be a man I would spend my life with. I assumed I would be monogamous. I assumed I would have a normal life; I didn’t yet know the extent to which disability would play a role in my life, or the hardships I would face as a result of systemic ableism. I still thoughts that my wedding would look like two people standing together in a church because they believed it would be witnessed by a god.

I first wrote that post over ten years ago, then modified it somewhat before meeting Alyssa, after I had been dumped by my partner of two years.

That relationship had taught me about the need for common interests. I realized then how important to me it was to be able to have different conversations with my partner: about books, movies, social issues, politics. To be able to share stories and discuss different aspects of them and different things that stood out to us. To be able to share knowledge about interests we might not share but find interesting because of our partner’s interest and to have the same courtesy returned.

Seeing that post at this time, while I’m still processing the dissolution of my marriage and the myriads of revelations after the fact, I considered writing a new post. I ran this idea past my therapist and she strongly encouraged me to do so as a step towards determining what it is I want and how it differs from what I had/thought I had.

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If Ever I Should Love You

I’ve started Wrapping

… wire that is.

I’ve recently restarted making jewelry out of semi-precious stones and beads. It’s been a fair amount of work, and you would not believe the blisters I’ve developed on my fingers. It’s been an interesting  lesson, and a good way to disconnect from time to time. Just focus on moulding the wire.

Here are just a few of the pieces I’ve made so far.

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If you like any of the pieces you see and want to buy them, they’re all available in my Etsy page. You can also use the splainyouathing coupon code to get 10% off.  Purchases help keep me afloat.

I’ve started Wrapping

The Emotional Labour of Asking for Help

I think one of the hardest things for me to learn after I became disabled, was when to slow down, and when to ask for help. We talk about the energy cost that comes with living with chronic illness, but accepting it is still a process. Coming to terms with the fact that you can’t do certain things is hard. You’re determined not to let being sick change you, but you have no choice. You have to. Because you are different now. There are things you cannot do, and moving on and becoming yourself means coming to terms with that.

What many people don’t understand is that it’s not a onetime thing.

It happens again every time we have to ask for help.

Society tells us, as well as everyone in our lives, that we are a burden and that that is all we can be. No matter how much we learn that it is not the case, it is still hard not to internalize that message. The message is passed along in the media around us – with disability being presented as the worst possible thing that can happen to anyone, and in the reactions of people around us.

When Alyssa and I were together for example, it was not uncommon for members of her family to question her as to what good our relationship was with me being so broken. When she had called her mother to announce our engagement, what should have been happy news was instead met with a sense of mounting horror and dramatic exclamations of “no, no, no”. Later when discussing it with her father, the concerns about tying your fortunes to a disabled person came up again. When I was with my ex before Alyssa, so many people would tell me over and over again that I was lucky to have found someone who was willing to stay with me. I think the worst however, was when a friend who also happened to be Alyssa’s partner tried to talk me out of getting a dog to train as a service dog for myself by bringing up how much Alyssa already had to do around the house.

Although it was never flat out said, the implication was obvious. I was a burden.

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The Emotional Labour of Asking for Help

Quebec’s Bill 62 puts abuse victims at risk

If you’ve been following Canadian news at all, you might have heard about a new bill that passed in Quebec. Bill 62 which essentially mandates that you cannot access public services, including bus transportation, if your face is covered.

This is just the latest in a history of bills aimed at specifically targeting Muslim women, including the horrible Values Charter and many other suggestions. They parrot similar laws passed in France, also aimed at the increasing number of refugees from Islamic countries.

The bill is racist, plain and simple. It is legislative legitimization of said racism, giving bigots a convenient cover for discriminating against brown people. Yes, Islam is a religion, but the social perception of “Muslim” is of someone with darker skin. Additionally, there is a tendency to presume that all brown people are Muslim. Many Sikh people and Indian people of various faiths have faced discrimination in Canada and the US, with a strong implication that the bigot in question assumes them to be Islamic.

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Quebec’s Bill 62 puts abuse victims at risk

10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed

Recently a series of conversations on Facebook took place surrounding a very funny summary of sex between a cishet man and a woman. The jist of the joke had to do with the experiences of women who sleep with cis men and an exaggerated version of the very similar script followed by many of these men. Basically along the lines of of ‟kisses for 20 seconds, fingers you for 30 seconds, immediately wants PiV intercourse. Pumps away with no clitoral stimulation. Cums. Asks did you cum, then rolls over and falls asleep.”

The number of women and non-binary people  who commented on the shares of this post was both entertaining and a sad commentary on the average straight sexual experience. Many of the comments included additional frequent script additions including the stereotypical downward head push when some guys want oral sex, the rareness with which men actually offer or go ahead with eating out, and the tendency for sex to really be all about his orgasm – while at the same time many men are convinced that they’re Dynamos in bed.

As I’ve written previously, I’ve been having some sexy adventures of late, in an attempt to live by the old adage: “The best way to get over someone, is to get under a lot of someones.” While it is only recently that I’ve engaged in more diverse adventures, even before my possibly tawdry experiments however, I had an uncommonly good knowledge of matters related to sex and sexuality.

From a fairly young age, I was intrigued by sex and my research took various forms including but not limited to pornography, literotica, various articles, sex and relationship advice columns, as well as actual academic studies in sexology. What’s more, for all that I may be awkward, I have been told that I have fairly good insight into people’s motivations, wants, fears, etc. Even before I lost my virginity, it was not uncommon for friends and acquaintances to seek my advice on issues related to sex and relationships, and my advice very frequently proved helpful. A few years ago, I even looked into starting an advice column, but had no idea how to seek out questions.

Continuing the fun, I asked my friends about advice they could give to cis het men when it comes to being a better lover. More hilarity ensued, but there was also an undercurrent of anger. I mean… seriously, wouldn’t you be if guys bragging about what great lovers they are, but continuously turned out to be nothing to write home about?

Based on the comments and my own experiences, I’ve put together a list of advice designed to help cis het men, and frankly anyone who sleeps with either women or people with vaginas. Note that because this article is targeted at Cis Het Men when interacting with women with vaginas, the language used may be somewhat binary in nature. This is not meant to exclude non-binary people as both existing, their identity being truth, but is only meant to deal with a very specific set of circumstances and not be a general essay on sex and different orientations. Those posts may yet be coming. Remember: Not all women have vaginas, not all men have penises, and there are more than two genders.

Without Further Ado: Ten Tips On How to Rock Her World Continue reading “10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed”

10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed

My Time is Not Yours to Waste

I just wanted to go to the store, to pick up some things I needed. I decided to take my wheelchair. I won’t lie, I wanted to hatch some Pokémon. I also wanted the chance to browse the hardware store for some odds and ends I need to finish up my room. It was a treat for myself – getting the chance to explore the store more than is otherwise possible for me. I even arranged to borrow a bus pass.

Earlier this week, the temperature dropped and I am still adjusting to the sudden cool air. Additionally I hadn’t really taken into account how the speed of the chair, adds some extra wind to the chill. Either way, I made it to the station, and awaited the weekend bus.

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My Time is Not Yours to Waste

Tales of Tinder

As a way of coping with the break-up, I’ve given myself the opportunity to have a little sexy fun. For most of my sexual history, despite always being very interested in sex, I had never engaged in casual sex. There were different reasons, including assuming that people wouldn’t be interested, but the bigger reason had to do with the fact that my attraction is often connected to a certain connection with the person. Worse, some obvious sign of bigotry or hate is an instant clit-boner killer. There have been multiple cases where I am completely overwhelmed by how attractive someone is, only to have them ruin it by saying something so enraging, that it’s just over.

Still, at this time, I’ve been finding myself in the perfect frame of mind for casual hookups. I’m not in a place where I consider myself in a place to start a new relationship. I’m not looking for someone to date since I’m too busy rediscovering what it means to be someone who isn’t part of a couple. People always talk about not becoming consumed by a relationship, but even in the best case scenario, there is a difference. When you are part of a couple, you have this assumption that there is someone there for you to count on. A partner – whether a true one or not- means that there are two of you instead of one. As a couple, your plans, your goals, your presumption about the way your life will follow, they all factor in another person in some way and change the equation.

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Tales of Tinder

Microagressions: What’s the Big Deal?

Imagine if someone suddenly jabbed you with a pin. Not very hard, it didn’t even break the skin, but enough to still inflict a quick stab of pain.

You would probably jump. You would probably react negatively, perhaps even yell something like “dude, wtf.” Still, the whole encounter is relatively benign and other than annoyance, you will most likely not leave the situation permanently scarred in any way.

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Microagressions: What’s the Big Deal?