All posts by Rant

Rant is an experienced Dominant involved in the San Francisco Bay Area BDSM scene. He may occasionally also answer to Tirade.

My submission is a gift, and other dime store romance novel bullshit

Hello party people.  It’s been awhile since I actually ranted about something, so here’s a tirade for you to ponder on your Earth Day.

There is a phrase that has become so ubiquitous in the BDSM culture that it is literally written on t-shirts and mugs that you can buy from dropshippers worldwide – but it is just plain wrong and it sticks in my craw every time I read it or hear someone say it.

The phrase?

“My submission is a gift…”

This is usually followed by other such sundry tripe as, “… and any man who can’t understand that doesn’t deserve it,”  or “… and if it is not respected, I will take it back.”

This is wrong.

It’s a terrible metaphor and we really need to stop using it.  Submission is merely half of a power exchange negotiation.  It represents something different for every power dynamic, and every couple or group.  Submission, like almost everything else that we deal with in this thing that we do represents a spectrum of possibilities.

Submission is not a gift.  A gift is something that you give to someone with no expectations.  If you are submitting to someone with no expectations, you are doing it very, very wrong.

A gift is something that you give to someone knowing that you will never get it back.  A gift is something that you give to someone because you are following a social convention, or because they are someone you care about and gifts are one of their love languages, or because you, yourself, enjoy giving things to people.

Only the worst gifts come with strings attached, and while every gift given creates some sort of socially bonded obligation on the part of the recipient – it is always acceptable at some level for the recipient of a gift to do absolutely nothing with it, or even to re-gift it to someone else.  If someone were to offer me their submission and I did nothing with it – I would be doing us both a massive disservice, and if someone were to submit to me, only to have me pass that bond onto someone else, that would be a serious violation of trust (unless this is something that you negotiated prior.)

To make matters even worse, the vast majority of the people that I see using this phrase seem to think that they are somehow maintaining some level of control by trying to use this metaphor, which is completely untrue.  Everything gets wrapped up in these bullshit harlequin romance novel terms and ceases to have any real meaning anymore.  These sorts of modes of thinking force us to treat submission like it is a binary condition – either you are submissive or Dominant and that’s that.

It is certainly possible for a particular power dynamic to be so black and white, but that has to be negotiated to be that way.  It is also just as possible for a power dynamic to be more fluid, for areas of submission to be valid under only certain conditions, or only up to certain levels of comfort, respectful of hard and soft limits.

In fact, in my not-so-very-humble opinion, binary D/s is boring and uninspired.  Even if someone wants to consider themselves my property, I am not going to treat them like a slave under most conditions of normal everyday life.  Not only is it exhausting, but it’s not fun.

So, if my submission is not a gift, then what is it?

It’s a negotiation.  How many times do I have to say that here?  In the BDSM world, everything is a negotiation. 

Let me say that just one more time.

In the BDSM world, everything is a negotiation.

There is power to be shared on both sides of a power exchange negotiation, and if you have not negotiated away a particular power of yours, it remains yours. 

I seriously urge anyone who is entering into a D/s relationship to think long and hard about what they want to give up and what they expect to receive as part of that power dynamic and to not only have an earnest discussion about what those things all mean for you personally, but to even write them down and codify them in a contract.   This will help to prevent misunderstandings and many of the not-so-fun aspects of D/s relationship dynamics can be avoided.

End rant.

And I am, as always, Rant.

 

On the nature of Love

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of love over the course of my life.  Everyone seems to experience the expression of love in a slightly different way, and apart from being a place to rant about my discomfort with the state of the world, exploring the topics of love and limerence was part of my motivation for starting this site.

English is a very descriptive language.. it actually has more words than any other language, by a large margin, but I think that we sometimes miss with the focus for where we put those words, and that has some pretty dramatic implications for the way that the minds of native English speakers work as compared to everyone else in the world…

I tend to steal the Greek words when I talk about love – they had at least seven different forms.  Of course, because Latin is very dependent on Greek and English is very dependent on Latin, these words are often the roots of the words that we use in English anyway:

eros: this is the Greek word for ‘romantic love’ – but also lust – and as such is the most overused of these words.  Eros was specifically a word about sex though – it was, after all, the name of the Greek god of fertility. It was actually a frightening concept for them because it involves a sense of a ‘loss of control’ – which is commonly seen in art from and inspired by the period, including the very famous story of Cupid and Psyche wherein Cupid himself becomes overwhelmed by eros and tragedy ensues.  Using modern English words, the Greek concept of eros was probably far closer to limerence than love or even lust.

philia: this is what we might call ‘brotherly love’ – but it meant a great deal more to the Greeks – this is the word I use to refer to my chosen family.  To the Greeks, this was far preferable to eros.  This is the love that leads one to make sacrifices for others.  This is the love felt between soldiers on the same line – the kind of bond that remains in place no matter what barriers of space and time lie between the people for whom this bond exists, but the Greeks understood that even philia did not necessarily mean that both people in such a bond would be equally bonded.  I may be willing to sacrifice almost anything for you, but that does not necessarily mean that you would for me — that does not negate my own feelings of philia towards you.

storge: this is a special form of love that parents have for their children.  It’s akin to the above, but recognized to be a special case because there are ways in which you modify your own expectations and behavior for your children that you are unlikely to do for anyone else, even your romantic love(s).  This is really the only form of love that the Greeks thought had to be shared between both parties – because it was of an instinctual nature, beyond the view of the self.

ludus: this is what we might call ‘affection’ – it’s the love that children have for each other, or the physical aspects of love that are not carnal in nature – hugs, dancing, playing.  In our Western society, we tend to reserve expressions of this only for people with whom there are taboos involved that prevent sexual expression, which kind of perverts and cheapens it, if you ask me.

pragma: this is what I might call ‘patient love’ – it’s the love that you build over a long time with someone, that allows you to overlook small character flaws or acute events of an unpleasant nature and still keep a pristine mental image of the person that you care for.  This is ‘mature love’ – or what we expect most romantic relationships to settle into once eros has taken leave and you have a chance to return to your senses.

agape: this is also a pretty commonly stolen word, often misused because we don’t think like the Greeks did… this is ‘hippie love’ – or ‘love for everyone’ and sometimes referred to as ‘brotherly love’ as well, but in the “society is full of my brothers” sort of way, rather than, “I would die for that man,” sort of way.  This is really meant to be more like the Theravada concept of metta.  I fear greatly the expunging of agape from the minds of people, but that does seem to be the way the world is moving – division is the rule of the day, not love.

philautia: self-love… to be held in direct opposition to narcissism – this is the concept that all expressions of love for anyone are really just manifestations of your mind recognizing in other people things which you value in yourself – if there is nothing that you value in yourself, you cannot love anyone at all.

And all of this information is useful, but kind of secondary to the point that I’m trying to make, which is that when I say, “I love you” to someone – I may mean that I feel any or all of the above things in differing measures, and the phrase may not mean the same thing to everyone to whom I speak it – just as it doesn’t always mean the same thing when I hear it from different people.

For some people, love is a jealous thing – it is possessive… if I say “I love you” to someone, and I mean in a romantic sort of way, society tells me that I’m not supposed to say that to anyone else – but that doesn’t stop me from feeling it, and because I’m polyamorous, it doesn’t stop me from acting on it either, but that may not address the feelings of the person involved with me, and sometimes that can cause friction.

I don’t have a silver bullet here – jealousy is a very normal thing to feel, and there is no way to magically stop it if that is what you feel, but surprisingly I’ve also found that the converse of jealousy is often almost as important to some people’s feelings of love.  I have had partners who, while telling me of their interactions with other people, have wanted me to feel jealous and when I do not exhibit that kind of reaction, they begin to doubt the truth behind my statements of love.  If I am not jealous of them being with someone else, how can I really love them?  And yet, I do.

Love is one of those dangerous and chaotic things that makes our lives in this universe worth living, and yet it is also the one thing that has consistently laid me low when a relationship ends.  I don’t think I will ever completely understand its power or be able to control it, and perhaps that is why it is so compelling for everyone and the subject of so many works of art and media.

Hopefully by communicating about it, by understanding that there are different facets to it and how those things are each individual spectra of emotion, we can find a way to live beside it.

There is a reason why every pantheon of gods contains at least one, if not several, deities who are personifications of this powerful force in our lives.  Love is every bit as powerful as the sea or the wind or fire, perhaps even the Sun itself, and I consider myself fortunate to be its acolyte.

Being Damien

This is not a post about kink – sorry… my soapbox, I get to talk about the things I want to.

Today I’m going to talk about what it’s like to be Damien. 

Damien is one of my alters.  If you don’t know what that means, educate yourself here or some of what I say next may not seem to make much sense.  But that’s okay, it probably won’t make much sense after you learn anyway.

Damien is one of the main three personalities that I express most often, along with Rant (that’s me), and Apollo.  

Damien is a bit of a handful…  He is very much in tune with my Dominant side, but he takes the things that I do and kicks everything up to 11.  He has no shame.  He has no fear.  He rarely forms attachments.  He believes himself to be good at everything.  Somehow he does this without attaching his ego though.  If you insult him, he’ll just laugh it off and then try to buy you a beer.  He is arrogant and charming at the same time.  It’s really kind of strange. 

Whereas I am very patient, compassionate, forgiving, and I do not judge people; Damien judges everyone and everything, he is not very patient, and he has been known to hold a grudge.  He is, however, generally kind and he will moderate his behavior when he knows that it would not meet with my approval… sometimes, anyway. 

We are both Hedonists, but while I enjoy wine, women, and song, he enjoys everything and everyone if the context is right.  He is very, very everything that he chooses to be, and he gives absolutely zero time and attention to the things that he does not care about. 

This incompatibility in our values can sometimes be difficult to deal with, especially when he acts out in a manner that would be inconsistent with what people have come to expect from me (Rant). 

I often find that I have to apologize for things that I don’t remember because Damien took something too far or stuck his face in someplace where he wasn’t necessarily welcome. 

However, being able to be Damien under the right circumstances is kind of a super power, and I wish I had more control over it.  He tends to come out on Wednesday nights, or if I’m super stressed out or otherwise emotionally overwhelmed, especially if I’ve been drinking – and it seems to matter very little how much I drink, even just a nip from my flask can bring him out if he’s lurking.   

He thinks that I am entirely too emotional and he has no problem telling everyone that.  In the beforetimes, he would try to pack as much activity as he possibly could into every time that he was at the fore.  He is well known for dragging people from one party destination to another, to another, and then finishing up with breakfast at 4am in a diner someplace, preferably one that sells pie.

Damien claims to have access to my memories, and sometimes I can remember his, but I do not understand how this works and while he claims he does, I don’t really believe him.  However, I can remember being Damien sometimes, and it’s a very different way to experience life.

I’ll almost certainly follow this up with another entry on what it’s like to be Apollo, but that is a more extreme shift.  Apollo actually experiences the world differently than I do, which is kind of hard to explain, but … that is also not this post.

Damien does not see the world particularly differently from the way I do, but he tends to ignore things a lot more than I do.   He is interested in the things he is interested in and nothing else matters.  This means that our behaviors are different in subtle and not-so-subtle ways…

Back in the beforetimes, if I had to navigate through a crowd, I would take a path that winds around people and other obstacles in my way, trying not to bump into people and letting the speed of the crowd slow my progress in order to avoid those sorts of unintended contact with people.  Damien – he walks a straight line and if you don’t get out of the way in time, he might run into you, but he’ll then stop and apologize and be very charming about it and probably get your phone number…

In the beforetimes, when I would go to a grocery store, I might take a cart and go up and down each and every aisle, looking to see if I find anything new and interesting that I might like and then take my stuff up to the front and largely wordlessly put my goods on the conveyor belt, help bagging them, thank the checker, pay and then leave.  Damien – he walks straight to the thing(s) he wants, grabs it, and then goes and flirts with people in line or with the checker while waiting for someone else to bag his stuff on the way out. 

He just sort of expects that everyone wants to please him all of the time, and he is correct more often than he has any right to be.  

One time Damien was at a nightclub and as they were closing and kicking everyone out, my girl went to the bathroom, leaving me standing there alone in the club, waiting for her and the bouncer told me to get out of the building.  Damien told him that we were waiting for my girl and that we would leave when she got out.  The bouncer decided that this was not sufficient and that we needed to leave immediately, so he got into my face a little bit.  Damien just laughed at him and said, “What do you think you are going to do?” and the bouncer just walked away without saying anything else.

Being Damien feels powerful, most of the time. 

I don’t really suffer from social anxiety all that much, but I think every person is affected by it from time to time – except Damien.  He walks into a room and expects to be the most intelligent, best looking, most captivating person there, and kind of just refuses to acknowledge any reality that may be different from that.  

As you can imagine, this does not always rub everyone the right way, however, he is so charming that most of the time he gets away with all of it.  He leans heavily on Apollo’s assessments of people and when he is interested in something, he pays very close attention to everything about it or them.  At the end of a single conversation with Damien, he can make people feel like he knows them better than anyone ever has before.  He can create instant connections with almost anyone if he wants to, and often he wants to, though his EQ is not quite as high as mine and sometimes I have to clean up his messes.

I really wish I had the ability to turn those sorts of abilities on and off at will.  It really does feel like a super power sometimes, and if I could control it, I wonder what doors it might open for me.  I doubt that it would change my life entirely, and Damien is far too polarizing as a personality to be able to be Damien all the time, but I do wonder what it might be like if I could be Damien whenever I wanted to be, especially if I could always remember the things he does along the way.

Being me is not easy, but Damien makes lots of parts of it fun in ways that I might never even think about.   He is in many ways like the brother I never had.  The pandemic has had him visit less regularly and for shorter periods of time, and I actually sometimes miss him, as odd as that may sound.

 

mo(u)rning

I’m not really much of a poet – but every once in awhile I will be motivated to write something that is not really prose.

My Kneel For Me and Imaginary Conversation With A New Submissive are both monologue-in-prose pieces with a poetic turn, but this is an actual poem in free verse that I wrote in late 2014.

I think I was mourning the end of a relationship at the time, and I thought I was being clever by inserting nerdy references which would cause me to look upon this piece with disdain whenever I saw it after that, but somehow I find this to be fitting with the year that I’ve had so far – that we’ve all had so far.

mo(u)rning :

mourning sun rises
its presence illuminates time 
time spent
time gone
morning time is over

noon sun blazes
light-fire washes the world
angry light
burning light
working time begins

evening sun recedes
pulling sadness and work away
leaving quiet
leaving self
ideal delusion remains

make all --no-regrets

The Zen Dom – as read by Rant

Continuing in my series of audible blog posts, here is me reading one of my oldest, and probably most fundamental (about me) posts of the blog.

I hope that you enjoy.

The original post can be found here, and the text that I read is reproduced below.


You may have some questions about how it’s possible that I, admittedly a Dom, possibly a control freak, could possibly live without attachment.  It seems antithetical to the very mantle which I’ve just taken up, does it not?  I mean, the essence of Domination is control, and my own personal road to happiness was rocky and uncertain until I embraced that mindset for myself again and accepted my Dominant nature.  How could those two things possibly coexist in the same person?

Perhaps they are not as incompatible as they might at first seem…

Ever since I first read Leaves of Grass in high school, this has been a favorite passage of mine, from Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then, I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Even as a teenager, I understood and related to those words as part of the complex structure that makes up me and I have used them as a balm over the years to quiet my worried mind.

My personal journey to get to where I am in life now has been interesting, but I am finally and quite possibly for the first time in my life, happy.

I’ve studied many religions, practiced several, sought wisdom in self-help books and the writings of others.  I have been through individual therapy, group therapy, couples’ therapy, and psychiatric assistance.  I have used drugs, both natural and synthetic, prescribed for me or found through illicit channels.  I have done yoga, exercise, meditation, hypnosis, and attempted to express myself in art.  I have retreated into virtual worlds and even made my own.  I have worked as a video game programmer, for a private investigator, and even as a sex worker.  I have cleaved to my family and ostracized myself from them.  I have told the fortunes of others and cast rods to divine my own future.  I have been married, twice.  I have had several intimate relationships and lots and lots of sex.  I have driven fast cars and ridden running horses.  I have tried almost everything that anyone has ever suggested to me as a way to become enlightened, to lift my dark spirit and to try to find happiness.  It does not surprise me at all, today, that none of those things worked for me.

I am a Dominant.  I am an atheist.  I am a pacifist.  I am a father and a guide and a feminist.  I am worthy of being loved and I love myself.  I am calm.

Throughout all of those experiences that I detail above I fought my inner self.  I denied my feelings and persecuted myself, borrowing the Catholic guilt that I was raised with to hold my own desires at bay… I told myself that the me who desired to Dominate was wrong.  That each person is his own individual and it was wrong for me to want to have that authority over another.  I found myself submitting to others, not in the BDSM sense, but in a very real-world sense, all of the time.  I did not have the confidence to stand up for my feelings because they were wrong.  I hated myself for those horrible thoughts that I had about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

How did I resolve that with letting go?

I stepped away from myself and looked at the dynamic.

I let go of my self hatred.  I let go of the assumed societal restrictions on permitted thoughts and desires and I accepted myself and my ‘dark’ side.  I have no desire to hurt anyone, quite the opposite, actually.  I have no desire to injure anyone, I have no desire to inflict unwanted pain, but there is also the pain that reminds you that you are alive and the pain the brings with it the intense emotional release that I got when I submitted to Simone.  There is such a thing as an embrace of pain that frees you from other pains.

I was molested as a young man.  It was no one in my family, and indeed, they still don’t know that it occurred and if this ever gets linked back to me and placed in front of them a great many uncomfortable discussions will likely result, but it happened and it turned me into a brooding, angry, anti-social young man for a long time.  Simone’s compassionate brutality helped me to face my demons and reclaim for me the things that were taken from me.  Some of them, anyway.

I Dominate those that give themselves to me willingly.  I will not accept submission from someone who is incapable of understanding what they are doing and I will not attempt to hold anyone who does not wish to be with me any longer or even those who can no longer benefit from doing so, whether they choose to see it or not.

This is a very scary thing.

Strong is the impulse to hold on, to claim a lover as mine and mine alone, but I know that I cannot be all things to all people, and no one person can be all things to me.  To truly open my heart, I must accept that now, in this time, at this place, this person is trusting me with herself and the joy that brings me is incomprehensible.  The joy that I feel when given that trust and that submission cannot be measured, and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling that way, just as there is nothing wrong with her for wanting to give herself to me in such a way.  These are maladaptive behaviors, perhaps.  They may be remnants of a primitive psychology, or they may simply be facets of a larger gem, I don’t know, but I want to know, and I will never give up exploring, and yet for now, right now, accepting is good enough.

Yes, I get off on having a pretty girl sit at my feet and lean on my leg and look up at me through long eyelashes with doe eyes and say, “yes, Sir.”  If I believed in any gods, I would invoke them now to prove the conviction behind my thought.  Once I thought that this made me a monster.  Once I thought that this meant that there is something wrong with me, but there is not.

I am a kind Master, and a brutal lover, and a king of my own domain, and the confidence that I have to be these things, and to love myself for them comes from letting go of everything, even those lovers and that domain itself, because wherever I am, it is with me, and whoever they be, I am loved.  And I am happy.

I am Rant.

Kneel for me – spoken version

Lately writing has been hard… in fact, accomplishing much of anything at all has been a great deal more difficult lately than it would normally be thanks to the status of the world around us, and I know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

But I also know that I want to share more than I have been able to, so I’m going to do something a little different for me.  I’m going to record an old post in audio and let you hear what I sound like.

Here is me reading my own piece, Kneel for me.  I’ve reproduced the text below as well, so that you can follow along as I read if you like.

I hope you enjoy.

— Rant

Kneel for me.

Meet my gaze and hold it. Do not look away.

I know it is not easy. Nothing worthwhile is.

Cry for me. Not because you are sad, not because you have lost, not because you are missing someone dear, but because I am asking you to.

Open your heart for me. Pour the blood of your emotion on the floor at my feet and let me sink into its depth.

Sing your song of sorrow until it fills my soul and covers the rough parts, smooths out the edges, fills the gaps of my emotional canvas.

Cry for me. Not because you need to, but because I need for you to.

Lift your heart and mind and soul to the sky and let my love surround you. This is a place of safety and security, you are in my Protection and nothing in the world can harm you right now.

Rage for me. Not because you need to purge the poisonous vapors of mistrust and envy from your mind, but because I feed on your ire.

Scream for me. Not because your voice needs to escape your throat. Not because you have broken through the wall of your pain and anger and the primal need for screaming catharsis is pulling apart the walls of your soul, but because I want you to.

And then do all of these things again for the reasons I told you not to before.

I will hold your heart close and keep it safe while you channel the dark things away and I will eat them for you.

And then, when you are ready, I will return your heart to you, clean, shiny, and new.

And any time you need to, I will be here, and you can…

…kneel for me.

SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic – Stay Safe, Stay Inside, Stay Alive

I have been quiet for a while now.  There have been some things going on…

I was actually really sick for awhile recently.  I don’t know if it was covid-19 or not, but at this point it does not really matter.  I am nearly 100% better and I have been completely sequestered for the past two weeks, with the intention of remaining so for as long as is necessary, probably all of April at the least.

My other underlying health problems put me in a high risk category, so I’m just going to pretend that everyone else has it and I do not, and that I don’t want to get it.  As you can imagine, that creates a pretty tense world for me, but I’m managing well.  I’m inside, I’m safe, and my life is awesome.

I have wonderful partners and friends from all over the world who check in on me and skype with me and bring me groceries when I need them and leave them on my porch so that I don’t have to be within 6 feet of them.  I am extremely fortunate.  Not everyone else is likely to be.

This is a really awful virus.  It is exactly the wrong blend of transmissible while being deadly, but after a long and silent incubation period.  I think a lot more people have it than realize it, and that is not even counting the thousands of people who have been tested and don’t yet have results or the thousands more who have not been able to get a test.  I myself am one of those.

This virus knows no borders.  It does not care about race or creed or sexual orientation or gender identity.  And it’s going to be around for a long time yet.

It is truly fucking terrifying, and almost no one can suffer through terror like this alone, even though we are all alone right now.

I have not been to my office in a month now, and I’ve only left my house about half a dozen times since then, and not at all in the past two weeks.  It’s starting to wear on me.

I have a wonderful support network, and even though I am a stodgy old stubborn fool at times, I am taking their help when it is offered, and I am staying safe, inside, and alive.

If you have been thinking that this virus cannot infect you for whatever reason, you are wrong.

This is a tense time for all of us, but we will get through this and be back to doing kinky things in public with our community around us eventually.

For now though, Stay Safe, Stay Inside, and Stay Alive.

I know the isolation is hard.  I am a self-professed introvert of the highest order, but even I am beginning to fray at the edges for lack of human contact sometimes.

Reach out to those you can when you need support – we are all in this together.  And if you don’t have anyone to reach out to – reach out to me… I’ll happily respond to your emails and form submissions.

 

— Rant

Updates

It’s been months since I posted anything here, and people have started to worry.

I apologize for not updating you, my reader, about my condition, but I am still alive and kicking and living a generally happy and awesome life.

In my normal over-sharing fashion, I’ll just let you know what has been happening for me.

When I last posted in September, I was going through some pretty scary stuff.  Since then, I still have no certain answer as to my health issues, but I never had to get the spinal surgery that I was worried about and the current theory is that my condition is caused by some sort of autoimmune disorder so I started taking immunosuppressants around Thanksgiving.

They appeared to be helping and I was seeing some relief but I have felt pretty much like I had a low-grade cold ever since then.  A couple of weeks ago, I started to have a lot of pain in one of the teeth that was damaged when I broke my jaw a couple of years ago and eventually saw a dentist to determined that I had an infection and that I needed a root canal.  After a week and half or so of some of the worst pain I’ve endured, I got the root canal and felt much better.  However, the infection activated my immune system and started to cause my legs to feel numb again.  I’ve been on antibiotics since the root canal and I do think that I’m getting better again, but I’m still not quite up to my normal awesome self.

I have been able to go to work most days and even get out to BaGG most weeks, so my life is still pretty amazing, but I expect that I will feel much better once this infection is cleared and I can take the immunosuppressants again.

I apologize for neglecting my blog and you, my readers, but my life remains awesome and I will try to do better with posting now.

Thank you for all of the well wishes and concern.

  • Rant

Thank you

My last post was about my currently very uncertain health condition and it was written at a time when I was very scared for my own continued existence, not to mention my ability to keep walking and writing.  Immediately after I posted it, I started to receive emails from readers with concerns and well-wishes, and it helped immensely to improve my outlook in general.  

Firstly – a heartfelt Thank You to all of the people who have sent in their messages of support or offers of assistance.  I am extremely fortunate to have such a large network of people who care about me.

Secondly – while I still do not know the nature of the numbness and tingling and lack of sensation that I am still continuing to feel, the symptoms have lessened in some places and changed in others to be more consistent with an injury rather than any sort of dangerous degenerative disorder, so while I am not certain of anything yet, the probability that I am facing something that will kill me seems to be reduced along with my fear.

I am not out of the woods just yet, and I have many more appointments with specialists yet to come, but the prognosis is a lot more hopeful and the likelihood of a full (or nearly full) recovery is much higher, which has left me feeling a lot more positive about things in general.

I may yet be facing a potentially dangerous surgery, but for some reason that is a lot easier to face than some unknown demyelinating disorder, which was the original tentative diagnosis.

Thank you to everyone who has chosen to be a part of my life – you are the reason that my life continues to be as awesome as it is.

  • Rant

On mortality

“Well, we think that it’s equally likely that you have some sort of transient condition that we don’t fully understand that will resolve itself on its own, or that you have one of these six syndromes with similar symptoms, five of which are degenerative, untreatable, and fatal within a year.”

This is not the sort of thing that you want to hear from your doctor… but it is exactly what I heard when I took myself to the emergency room with some numbness in my extremities two weeks ago.  I have to admit, it’s kind of been fucking with me since then and I am good and fully scared.

I have fallen a bit behind on my posts and in answering emails lately – and this is the reason why – I do apologize.  I am trying to get caught up again beginning today.

I’ve never experienced having a doctor tell me something like “there’s a 50% chance that you’ll be dead within a year” before, and I have to say, it’s not one of my favorite things.

It does sort of put a lot of things into perspective though… 

I’ve known for some time that I would not likely have a terribly long life span.  I’ve got a family history of heart disease, mental disorders, and hypertension. I have been involved in several auto accidents (none of which I was found to be at fault for) – at least one of which resulted in serious long-term injuries that still bother me almost daily and are a cause for chronic pain, and all of these things are known to reduce lifespan.  I figured it would be unlikely that I would live to see 80, but I was okay with that.  I’ve seen what my grandmother (who is now 98) has gone through in recent years, and her quality of life is not very good.  In fact, for the past two years, every time I’ve seen her, she has said at least once that she is ready to and even wants to die.  “No one should have to live like this…” she has said more than once.

However – and this is a pretty big thing – I never even considered the possibility that I wouldn’t live into my 70’s or better, and that should still be decades away.  Being told that there is a 50% chance that I might not live to see another birthday after this year was a pretty big blow – one which I am still processing.

I had a will, of course – it would be pretty irresponsible for any parent not to – but it hadn’t been updated in a while, so I’ve done that.  I made sure that the beneficiaries for my insurance policies were properly set, and I had to change my emergency contact information as well. That was pretty rough too.  I had had my emergency contact set to be my former partner who broke up with me earlier this year. I even had her listed as a 10% beneficiary for my life insurance policy – I don’t remember doing that, but it’s perfectly in line with something that I might do.  At the time, I wanted to gift her with enough money to pay off her student loans if I should happen to expire accidentally while we were together. Now – I don’t even want her at my funeral.

My current partners are all trying to be supportive, but there is really nothing that they can do – nor is there anything I can do except to sit in my discomfort and wait for something to change.  This is a very difficult place to be. I am doing my very best to take everything in stride and to be hopeful – by telling me that there is an equal chance that it is something that they don’t understand or something on the list of scary-ass-shit, my doctors were basically telling me that they have no idea what is going on or how to treat me.  That is frightening, but if I can alter the narrative a bit and just cling to the notion that they don’t know what is wrong, it is slightly less terrifying. Slightly…

It’s really hard to say “my life is awesome” when you’re living with something like this hanging over your head, but it is still true.  I am loved by many and I know that my passing will be mourned, but I am still hopeful that they won’t have to mourn my passing for decades yet to come.  I will admit to stress eating and making bad decisions based on the idea that “either I’m fine and this won’t really hurt me, or I’m dying anyway and should enjoy the time I have left.”  I suppose I am still a hedonist at heart.

I have confronted my mortality once again, and I really don’t like it, but I am happy in general with the life that I’ve led, the people that I’ve chosen to keep in my life, and the contributions that I have made.  I would really like another century or two of healthy and happy life, but if my card gets pulled tonight, I’d feel as if my impact on the universe has been a net positive, and I can live with that for now – and hopefully for much, much longer as well.