Listlessly, I flip through the pages of the New Yorker. My name is not on the masthead, and none of the articles or authors there seem to interest me. Yet I flip nonetheless.

I risk paper cuts by doing so. Judging silently, by now a young 30-something with no longer half baked ideas in her head. These ideas are well done. Overcooked, perhaps. Not yet crisped beyond palatability, but one day we will be there. But not today.

I can taste the ash of dreams in my mouth. This is not a pleasant feeling. To have been writing for so long but still be here, at my kitchen table, flipping idly through the pages. And still not feeling a sense of belonging.

Part of me still believes that it has to do with my college education, or lack thereof. I understand the Oxford comma, but fuck anyone who lets a comma get in the way of grand, human emotion.

I deserve to be on these pages. I deserve notoriety. I have slaved through the word mines of fear and near death. When will I be worthy of New York style fame. When will I be vaunted from this holding place in Oakland, California, which stymies me more as the days go by. When will I be set free from the cage of a city that no longer loves art. Who will save me.

I flip. Through this magazine and that. When will my name be here. When will I be lifted away. When can I leave Oakland. When will I be good enough. When will someone deem me worthy of saving, of paying for a way to not be here, where there is nothing, but the ashes of the dead and the deceit of the living. When do I get to be pretty on a magazine page. When do I get to be anywhere but here.

Here is a dying place, and I am biding my time among the dying. Perhaps one day I will live in a world where right here and right now are not the anathema of existence.

Sleeping With You

I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic, and his arms were locked around me. Crushing me, almost, which might explain the nightmare. But close to him in consciousness felt so much better. I am here, with him, and I am safe. I am safe from the demons in my mind which chase me through the back alleys of my bad thoughts and broken dreams. I am safe from the reality which scoots in closer with threats of unpaid bills and missed social cues. I am safe from the words and the onslaught of messages that constantly tell me I am not being the person I should be. I am here with him, quiet, in the dark. I am safe. I am okay. I am awake with him, and in his sleep he holds me so tight I can feel it in my sleep. It feels good.

So I close my eyes again, and the nightmares do not come. I fall asleep knowing I am safe with him, and I sleep well by his side for at least tonight.

Tripping Down Memory Lane

And then there I was, at 24th and Telegraph, in my high heels, with my hand bag, and with business on the brain. I had been hoofing it around town for work (because I got a new job, which is why my writing here has been sporadic), and I found myself standing outside of the café where I used to hang out when I was 17.

The first time I went there, I had sat on the 43 bus and disembarked on a rough curb in Oakland. It had been raining that day, and I walked inside the café. I had read about it in the East Bay Express, that it was where the artists in Oakland hang out. I sat inside, I ate a tuna sandwich, and I watched the rain while intermittently reading a magazine.

As I stood outside of that café, now at the ripe old age of 30, I could feel the sinking sensation that characterizes the regret of the passage of time. It’s not the same café it was in 2004, nor has it been for many years. The façade is the same, but inside, the people and the dreams they dream are starkly different.

I wound up hanging out at that café many times over the years. That café is the last vestige of the art parties where I used to hang out, something that was dubbed Art Murmur and later became First Fridays, which is now an unrecognizable beast when compared to the starry eyed meandering that characterized those first events.

So many things have happened that have changed this city. Nothing is exactly the same anymore, although the streets have the same name. The bus routes have changed numbers. Many of the people are gone. As I stood outside that café, I realized that my friend with whom I had gone to all those early teenage art parties – she was dead. She had died in the fire. That was almost a year ago.

And how many other people were gone, too. I have lost friends to many things: distance, fires, drugs, general moral conflict. Who else in this city still walks down this street after thirteen years? And what are they doing now.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the large glass windows. I am certainly different. Having lost so much to the forces of economics has changed me, as I stand here, in my high heels and my nice dress. Assimilating. I know that so many of my old friends have stayed the same, and I wonder which is worse. Or if time is the worst thing of all.

I hurry down the block, trying not to dally. I have work to do. I have money to make. I have new dreams to pursue, dreams which have been molded by the fact that my old dreams have died in the dust, thirsty and wilting. I have had to find new dreams, which are so different from the dreams I used to have. My new dreams, this new me – am I hurrying away from the scene of the crime because I do not want to see the self that I have failed to be? Or is it because I am still the exact same person, in a completely different world, and the chaos of that idea is too much for me sit with right now.

Ideas for Feminist Organization So We Can Gain Traction Before #metoo Fizzles Out

Ideas for things we can do to affect change:

  1. Do you have access to people who work in media? Do you have the power to uplift writers and artists who address these issues? Can you promote people who are active in this campaign? If so, use your power to help amplify the voice of people who are talking about these issues so that they can be heard by a wider audience. This includes reaching out to artists and writers, connecting artists and writers with editors, producers, directors, finding or creating opportunities for writer and artists who address these issues, finding a platform for these writers and artists or using your own voice to specifically target more conservative media outlets.
  2. Are you a hiring manager? Are you in the upper echelons of the company where you work? Ensure that your company hires women for good jobs and make sure that women are given a fair wage. Foster a work environment free of hostility. Let women work with dignity to support themselves. Even if you’re not a hiring manager, you can foster an environment of safety and dignity for your fellow workers by organizing and uniting. Support each other.
  3. Do you work in human resources? Workers’ rights? Political campaigns geared towards helping underrepresented know their rights and take legal action in instances of sexual harassment or abuse? Are you in the nonprofit realm or do you know people there? Use your knowledge and access to resources to help educate people on what they can do to protect themselves in the work place and out in the world. Make it easy for people to file complaints, address issues, and see real results without the fear of alienation, retaliation or smearing their reputation.
  4. Donate to Planned Parenthood.
  5. Do you have access to people in the political realm? Are you in the political realm yourself? Use your influence to pull political strings and start conversations surrounding protecting women from sexual harassment. Talk to your lawyer uncle about what every day people can do when pursuing legal action. Understand your local domestic violence laws, and ask if they are just. If they are not just, find a way to bring attention to the issue. Study your local government so you can talk to city council members about what they can do to address the problem. Get involved in policy making. Understand how the judicial system works and why judges give rapists lenient sentences. Talk to people who will talk to people about talking to judges who give lenient sentences. Understand their power structures. Infiltrate those power structures.
  6. Continue using your voice to talk about these issues. Create art. Make posts. Never shut up, never get shut down. Use your voice to find and uplift other women. Talk to other women. Speak for women who have not yet found a voice yet (but only with their permission). Build solidarity. Share resources. Show empathy and kindness. We don’t have to be friends – we just have to be allies.
  7. Do you know anyone in the law enforcement profession? Ask them to test those rape kits. Ask they why they haven’t. Ask them what you can do to make sure rape kits get tested. Talk to law enforcement about laws surrounding domestic abuse – the ones in Oakland are crazy.
  8. Support young women. Support their self esteem. Listen to them. Reinforce the fact that their voice is important and heard.
  9. Practice self defense. Teach self defense to other women. Share resources surrounding self defense with other women. Start a self defense group.
  10. Get a cup of coffee with a woman who made a #metoo post. Someone you don’t know. Reach out to one person, and let her know that someone is listening and that we are action oriented.
  11. Create a network. Support each other. Go out into public. Go into places where you don’t feel welcomed but where you can still be safe so that your presence will be known both online and in the streets. Together we are stronger.
  12. Call out problematic behavior. Problematic behavior includes inappropriate touching, sexual intimidation, sexually threatening language, use of drugs and alcohol to influence someone’s sexual activity, sexual shaming, silencing, rape, forced sexual contact, lack of consent, inappropriate language. Talk about it. Give it a name. Let people know it’s not okay.
  13. Don’t let them win. Don’t let them intimidate you. Don’t let them shut you up. Find your way to power, and use it.

The Clothes Make the Woman

I dress like a crazy person because I don’t want to talk to people. Because I’m hoping that people will look at me and like me automatically, and I won’t have to open up my mouth and make a case for myself. I hope that my clothes do that for me. That my clothes tell you everything that there is to know about me, so that I can experience the sweet relief of not having to explain myself or defend myself or act like I know what’s going on. I don’t do it for attention. I do it so that there will be no questions. I try not to look like everyone else because I don’t want to be like everyone else, and that should be enough. We can stop there. This enough. I am shy, and I am dressed like this so that you can’t tell.

Me, Too

Now seems as good a time as any to divulge the gory details of what happened.

 

Almost a year ago, I was assaulted at gun point by someone with whom I used to have a sexual relationship. It happened late at night, in the dark. I disarmed him. And after I disarmed him and kicked him out of my house, I had a panic attack. I wound up taking the wrong medication (overdosing on muscle relaxers instead of taking valium), and wound up in the hospital.

The story of the assault is one that I can summarize neatly and wrap my head around. It sucked, I was scared, and when I got home all I wanted was to feel safe again.

However, having a sense of safety within my community was taken away from me because my community turned its back on me.

When I got out of the hospital, my then roommate was very concerned about the situation. I found this to be surprising, mostly because he knew the man who assaulted me. I know that several people had called my roommate to check up on me after I passed out and before I wound up sleepwalking through my neighborhood, but he neglected to believe their concerns. When we talked within the first few days when I got out of the hospital, he imposed several ultimatums on me, including demanding that I quit drinking and quit my job (which was in the liquor industry). He blamed my assault and my overdose on my drinking. Typical. He also told me that I had overreacted to the assault, because it’s not like my abuser had been “beating me over time.”

My reaction to his assessment of the situation was to distance myself from my roommate. I had a lot of work to do to get myself back on track. I told him calmly that I didn’t want to talk to him anymore. He did not like that I was not emotionally dependent on him after a traumatic incident – we had, in the past, had a fairly codependent relationship. But not anymore.

Apparently, after I decided to take space from that relationship, my roommate went around and told several of my friends that I was crazy and violent. He made up all sorts of stories that are still to this day coming back to me, such as one story that I had tried to slash my own throat (false), and that I was threatening violence against his girlfriend (also false). He somehow convinced several mutual acquaintances that they should block me. Word of what had happened go around to people that I don’t even know (but who apparently know me). The story that everyone else heard was vastly different from what happened – I was recuperating at my mom’s house and didn’t have the time or the energy to wage a war over my narrative of the events that happened. Someone else took that away from me. My story and my voice were stolen.

Then Ghost Ship happened.

That was horrible. We all know what happened with Ghost Ship, but it’s intimately woven into this story. I wound up losing a friend to whom I had been very close since I was 18. She wasn’t one of the ones that everyone knew, and I didn’t scream about it on the Internet because that’s not my style. However, at the time I worked for a liquor company, and had reached out to a local bar owner about making liquor donations for a Ghost Ship benefit. It’s worth noting that this bar owner is the cousin of the roommate who was slandering me behind my back while I was out of town. Which is why the bar owner never returned my text messages or phone calls – a fact that worried me only days after several of our friends died. I was unable to contact the bar owner to make the donations.

Many of my friends had lost people in the fire, and we were all in mourning. One of my closest friends worked at the bar where I had tried to make the donations, and she put me on the list to the benefit. I went with her to the benefit, and when I got there, the bar owner (and cousin of the roommate who was talking shit about me) looked me in the face and told me to get out.

It was a hurtful experience, mostly because I was already in pain from losing my friend.

Several days after that, I was talking to another mutual acquaintance about what had happened at the bar. The mutual acquaintance informed me that the reason I had not been allowed into the benefit was because the man who had assaulted me at gun point was at the benefit, and the bar owner did not want there to be any conflict between me and the man who had assaulted me. So I was denied entrance.

Like the classy bitch I am, I took to the Internet to air my grievances. Specifically, I took to a private feminist group that was dedicated to healing from sexual trauma. I wrote a short post about the bar and the fact that they protected abusers.

This is the response that I got from the [female] bar manager

Well, suffice it to say: these are all lies.

What was most concerning about this two page essay about my life was: I don’t even know this girl! But apparently she knows me.

I’m not here to bash another woman, but, rather, to show you what happens when you speak out about abuse, even when in you’re in a safe feminist space, and even in supposedly progressive Oakland, California.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I forgot one very important detail about this entire story. Remember the bar owner who blocked my number, wouldn’t take my donations, and wouldn’t let me into the memorial? My roommate’s cousin?

That guy sexually assaulted me, too.

It had happened back in 2012, when I was 25 years old, and I don’t really want to go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that I woke up to him fucking me without a condom after a night of getting black out drunk. It didn’t last long, and it didn’t feel like much, but, ugh, it fucking sucked.

After that happened, I wound up walking home, and going into my roommate’s room to tell him that his cousin had sexually violated me. My roommate didn’t really care. At the time, I was drinking a lot and sleeping around, so, naturally, I had no credibility.

For years after that happened, my roommate would invite his cousin over to the house where we lived. Despite the fact that I paid rent there and was not comfortable with his cousin’s presence in my home, my roommate insisted that I had to deal with it because that’s family, and he wasn’t going to stop inviting his cousin over because of me.

I’d say we’ve gone full circle, but there’s more to this story. Over the years, I had learned to let go of it because I didn’t have a choice. Like I said, my relationship with my roommate was codependent and toxic. I developed some crazy coping mechanisms to deal with having my body and my boundaries violated by people I called friends.

A couple months before I wound up in the hospital after being assaulted at gun point, my roommate’s cousin got married. Before my roommate’s cousin got married, I remembered what had happened between me and my roommate’s cousin. And I talked to my roommate about it. Mostly, I wanted to talk to my roommate about how violated I had felt that he had done nothing when I told him his cousin had violated me. By that time, I was pretty over what had happened between me and the cousin, but I was still miffed by the lack of support and solidarity from my roommate. My roommate, however, took this to mean that he had to confront his cousin about being a rapist mere weeks before his cousin’s wedding. I had no part in the conversation between my roommate and his cousin, nor did I tell him it was necessary to have that conversation. But you can probably pick up on the fact that my roommate is messy and not too bright, and he tends to spread gossip just to fuck shit up.

So, now if we circle back to the bar manager’s post about me, you’ll see that there’s some confusion about the entire situation. I think that the bar manager thought that I was talking about the bar owner, and not the third party abuser who had pointed a gun in my face. In addition to the bar manager posting about me, a friend who knew both the bar manager and me texted me to tell me that the bar manager’s wife was going to make my life a living hell if I didn’t take the post down. Speaking up had gotten me to the point of legitimate threats and attacks against my reputation – by women who called themselves feminists but needed desperately to defend a man against me while I sat in my mom’s kitchen crying. I know, I know – this is all very complicated!

But, for the sake of simplification, let me state: me, too.

I’ve been assaulted multiple times by multiple people, and I dared to speak up about it, and look what the fuck happened.

So when I say I’m in a cynical mood today, now you know why. Because I have been running a sex blog for years, active in antigentrification circles, participated in feminist dialogue, vocal, outspoken, and present in this community – yet, when I dared to speak up about having been assaulted, on both occasions I was met with derision, inaction and shame.

Even writing this, I am afraid to speak the truth of what happened because I have, for the most part, been met with so much violence and threats and personal attacks and alienation that I’m fucking afraid.

But fuck my fear.

Me, too, but the worst part about being assaulted was the fact that so many people in my community wanted to use my pain as an excuse to levy some personal vendetta against me and ostracize me from the community. Fuck that.

I’m not perfect. I know that part of the reason why people turned their back on me was because I wasn’t the perfect victim. I drank too much, I fucked around. I ran my mouth, I liked to party. But that shouldn’t invalidate my pain, my experiences, or my place in the community.

What I want now more than ever is solidarity. I want this to be the worst that it has to be for any of us, and I’m okay with that. I don’t want you to have to fear that someone is going to come after you because you spoke up about your pain – they came after me, and I’m still here. I know what happens when people come after you for speaking out – I survived it, and I survived assault. I know how to bounce back. I know how to protect you. Let me protect you. Tell me how I can protect you.

Let’s end this here.

 

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He’s Cumming

“Oh my god, I’m cumming!”

He whips out his dick and I look over in glee as, dick in hand, there it goes, squirting out, and now there’s come everywhere. I was kinda hoping he would cum inside me, but I think he’s dealt with too many pregnancies and abortions to fall for that one ever again, although, hey, I’m on the best birth control on the world. Maybe I should tell him. But now isn’t the time for that, as we’re lying there naked and both covered in cum and sweat. The sheets on my bed are slightly slipping off. The pillows are strewn across the floor. It’s like a stunned silence, this moment of afterglow. The sun breaking in from behind the curtains. Both of us lying there, too fucked to move, although I tell him there’s a towel over there, although should I stand up and hand it to him? I don’t feel like standing up. Not after all that fucking. Not after he made me cum like that and the delight of his dick inside me still has me reeling and nailed to the bed.

I don’t know if I should look at him or if I’m supposed to look away. I feel like a greedy child as my eyes graze over his thighs and his cock and the hair on his chest. I’m too afraid to look into his eyes and see what’s in there, so I lean for a little bit and kisses on neck. God, I love to watch him cum. I love to look at him right after he’s done cumming. I like the noises he makes, the things he says. I like feeling his body between my legs as slightly he loses it and succumbs to the sensation of cumming. And cumming. Sometimes I almost want to laugh when he cums, because there’s something inherently funny about cumming. The noises and the motions of cumming – it’s not very serious, but I know if I laugh it might be perceived as ridicule. But, really, I laugh because I’m enjoying every moment of everything that is happening, and I’m thrilled by his dick as he squirts out cum. The beautiful cum. I made him cum. I love making him cum.

God, I would do anything to make him cum. I would make him cum all day, every day, if only he gave me the chance. I would bend over backward just to make him cum, and sometimes I do. I would crawl through dirt with half the produce section rammed up my ass if it would only make him cum. I want him to be cumming forever, here, with me, or at least fucking as furiously as we possibly can. I find a slice of my self worth in his orgasms (and also mine), and I would do anything to make him cum because I know he would do anything to make me cum, too. But enough about me, because isn’t this blog about how much I like to cum all the time? And what about him, the one who makes me cum? The one who makes me cum like crazy whenever I want? I wish that there were some way I could repay him for all the orgasms he has given me, so kindly and so patiently. I know that I will never be able to make him cum as much as he makes me cum, and I guess that is okay, because there are so many men before him (and after, too) who didn’t care nearly as much about my orgasm as he did. It was not nearly as much fun to make those men cum. It is not fun to watch a man cum, after all the work, especially if you know that your own orgasm will never be arriving any time soon. But him? He makes me cum all the time, and all I want is to do the same for him. I want to lie here forever, naked and heaving, covered in his cum and satisfied by knowing that I’m his baby and I make him cum the best out of all the rest of them, ever. If only dreams come true. One day…

When Does Sex End?

Does sex end when the guy cums? Or when the girl taps out? When do we stop fucking? I can never tell, personally, because no matter how much my body might be hurting or shutting down or dried up and desiccated, there’s something in my mind that screams, “Keep going!” Perhaps because I know that this moment will end eventually, but isn’t this everything that I have been working towards all week? Haven’t I wanted, above all other things, to be close to someone else? In the most carnal way possible. We need to keep fucking right now as an act of desperation in order to transcend our skin and our bones, and maybe if we fuck long enough and hard enough, one day we will wake up and we will no longer be separate, but we will have finally become two people in one body. Connected. Not forever, but for as long as it’s pleasant, and cumming is not symbolic of the end of everything that I am trying to achieve here. Cumming is something that I can do over and over again. I go to the gym and work out every day so that when the moment comes for me to take off my clothes and dive in, I will be awake and ready and able to fuck for as long as we need. Until we can fuck no longer. Until I can’t keep my eyes open. Until it is impossible to do this anymore. When my body is wreck and your dick is falling off. Until I can’t possibly cum one more time. Sex ends in a moment of failure, realizing that we are separate now, and we will always be separate, so we might as well sleep it off before we get up and drift apart tomorrow morning (or afternoon). Because sex doesn’t end after one person’s one orgasm, or even if he can’t get it up, or if I’m tired. Sex ends when I no longer want to be close to you, or I can no longer be close to you. Although, if I had my way, sex would never end, and we would be here forever, cycling in and out of fucking and sleeping and eating while the rest of the world melts away. I would like that. Wouldn’t you like that? To fuck me forever? I’ll call it true love, but all you have to do is call me back and come over tomorrow night. It will be wonderful. Forever.

The Fuck Feast Sexual Literacy Test

And, speaking of call backs and sexual literacy tests, here’s a list of things that I expect a man to ace on the first hook up:

  • Mastery of Attraction So, this is everything that happens before we get into the bedroom. A mastery of attraction means that you have a rudimentary understanding of the female ego, interpersonal communication and lust. A little bit of flattery, well responded to text messages, and flirtation. This is also the mastery of being attractive, so, y’know, take a shower and put on some nice shoes, okay?
  • Ability to get it up This is crucial. Look, if you can’t get it up, that’s fine. You overindulged. Or you’re nervous. Or you’re just no that into this. That’s fine. However, if you can’t get it up, why did you wheedle your way into my bedroom? Why are my clothes off if you can’t perform? I understand that we all can’t be perfect all the time, but being able to get an erection is crucial to fucking, and if you can’t do that, then you’re just not ready for this, honey, and you’re wasting my time. It’s back to the friend zone for you. Unless, of course, you make up for it with copious amounts of oral sex. That’s cool.
  • Oral Sex To be specific, cunnilingus. This is so day one. If you don’t eat pussy, then get the fuck away from me. If you don’t eat pussy, I can’t imagine what else it is that you won’t do. Eating pussy is the most basic move in the book, and if you don’t have this mastered, then who are you and what are you doing with your life?

Read more →

A Woman’s Experience of Lust Part II

There are snakes in my eyes as I slither between these sheets to wind up the leg of some new beast, slurping up sins and sensation like a newborn Eve on her first night fucking Adam. And what does it feel like to eat meat, red, raw and dripping while white blankets carry the new stains of another night in heaven. I would like to know what it feels like to be good, but I am too busy being bad to ever stop and pause and consider any other alternative option. I just let my fingers do the talking, whispering sweet nothings to the buttons at the top of your pants, singing sweet songs to your zipper as I zip and unzip and pull down and around. We both know what kind of secrets are hidden therein, all those beautiful inches upon inches of – well, inches of you. Read more →

A Woman’s Experience of Lust

Lust, which is just how I like it. But this is my lust, not yours. This is my deep, red sin, not yours. This is my experience of lust, my singular experience. I cannot vouch for your experience of lust, but I am offering you mine in the hopes that it can illuminate and accentuate your own experience of lust. To make it better. So that we can all experience lust on an elevated level, fine tuned and tingling in the night. This is my experience of lust, gnawing raw through the night, while yours might be elsewhere, sipping tea in the sunshine on a vast, grassy field. My lust is a beast, but yours…well, what is yours? Is your lust a rabbit, soft and petting, or a shark, filled with teeth? Is your lust a car that goes fast and crashes through the median? Or an explosion in a coal mine, killing everything around it? Is it blistering and bright? Yellow and pretty? Or does it skulk around, alone through rooms, looking ugly and yelling loudly?

This is my experience of lust. This is my experience of that chafing, fast emotion. It is a dangerous situation that I wade through wantonly, and you are welcome, dear spectator, to watch me stumble down. But you? Well, I expect you to experience lust in your own way, and if you would like to laugh at me while you do, please be my guest. But if anything, make sure that you experience your lust as beautifully as possible, because I certainly am.