Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Mourning simplicity

Fall In Love With An Activist

by Ana Catalina Paje

Fall in love with an activist because…

You could have the worst hair day of your life, he wouldn’t care…with his way of life, he’s had worse.

You won’t need to take her to a fancy restaurant, fine dining was never her thing…she would rather eat with her hands in the company of farmers.

You could shout at him all you want, he would just smile…he does it assert for your rights.

She doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor. After all, she does understand class struggle.

You can be frank about him, in fact, he would like that very much.
Criticism and self-criticism are second nature to him. He always wants to improve himself.

She isn’t afraid to make the first move. Don’t worry she’s no bimbo.
It’s just that she believes in the equality of sexes. And she’s knows that women hold half the sky.

When you have a fight, it’s never all your fault. He knows that partly, he was to blame. Because he is a dialectical materialist.

She’s never boring. As long as social injustice and inequality exists, you won’t run out of things to talk about.

She’s very good at sharing her life with someone. Maybe it has something to do with their practice of collective living.

Being articulate is a skill he has come to master. And he will have no trouble telling you how much he loves you.

P.S. There’s a catch. You should know that you’re not the only person who owns his heart. You share it with the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the opressed.

P.P.S. By the time you fall for an activist, give it a week or so, you’ll be an activist yourself. Because if you love and understand her, you would know it’s the right thing to do.

I have sat with this post for weeks.  I have sat with the personal exploration of how I intersect with my world and my community and what I want to do about that for far longer.  I’ve had internal arguments about whether or not I am an activist, defended my fiscal conservatism and small government views to lovers, only to shy away from these same conversations, and to some extent intimate moments, with C because I couldn’t handle the expression of hetero-normative comfort in that moment; such a stark contrast to fighting to break the rules of an already taboo culture.  It feels like I’m 16 again, wanting to belong with the queer punk kids but unwilling to shave my head, steal things, or break windows.

No one signs up for discovering that their world is far from being an easy and simplistic place full of basically just interactions.

Sometime last week I told maymay that I missed being able to go to a play party and not be struck by how white, how gender normative, how elitist it is.  I missed being able to play without being keenly aware of who doesn’t get opportunities to play.  I missed it being easy and I miss feeling included.  Maymay told me it was ok to mourn those things and perhaps that’s what I’m doing now.  It’s a beautiful sunny day, I’m co-working with a friend after early morning conference calls ate through my commute time, I’m settled back into SF after some hectic travel, and yet I’m…unsettled.  And that’s the part I don’t understand.  I thought I was upset by what the BDSM scene does to my partners, the way it casually degrades submissive men, maybe on my own behalf I was annoyed at the creepy old men…you know, the ones who wanted to add me, in the capacity of “sweet young thing,” to their submissive harem.  I’ve been annoyed at the One True Way-ism for years, but so are half the people I know.  This feels different, it’s felt different for a while, and I don’t think I quite put my finger on it before.  My language changed.  The BDSM Scene.  From “our community” to “the BDSM scene.”  This thing which has been so core to my self identity for so long feels alien.  I wonder how others do it without experiencing that shift.  How do Maggie Mayhem and Kitty Stryker do their work on exposing sexual assault in the kink community from a place within the community?  I wonder not because I want to challenge them, but because I want to learn from them.  Because, as maymay said it, and this rang painfully true; I am losing my cultural home.  And that hurts.

It hurts to realize that your community doesn’t play well with others, but it hurts so so much more to realize what you thought was your community may not be.  I wonder if now I get to find out what happens to all those kinky people who you don’t see at the munches?

Written by kinkinexile

March 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I think I understand the sense of “losing my cultural home” — interestingly enough, you’ve given me a framework in which to understand a similar loss in my past.

    Growing up in a Mormon family, I had a community, I had support, and I had structure. Sure, from about the time I hit puberty (and discovered masturbation) I had been frustrated by many things about my community, and disagreed with much of what I saw and heard. Until about 5 years ago, though, my community was just that: Community. Mine. Then there was the shift. I found myself in a circle of good friends who exposed me to other ideas, other concepts. Friends who challenged my rote-recital defenses of the things “my community” did that harmed others. “The Church” became “my parent’s church” or “the Mormons.” It didn’t take long before I couldn’t be around church-going folks without seeing the hypocrisy and the sometimes-subtle twisting of words to mean what they don’t… and it was frustrating, because I lived with my parents, I was exposed to these things daily, and I couldn’t help but see.

    I left their home, and moving out was painful; I soon realized just how much I’d left behind — the good things with the bad. What hurt was understanding the positive things I was giving up — the holiday social functions, the friendly faces bringing dinner and get-well cards when I was sick, the half-dozen people with pickup trucks in the area who would have gladly helped me move if I were part of their community. I’d already considered all of the pain I was leaving behind.

    It has taken a few years, and I only now see it starting to actually happen, but I’ve begun to build a community, to fill my life with others who share similar understandings of the world and with whom I feel comfortable. It meant a lot of time alone in between, a lot of pain and solitude… but it’s happening.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say with all that is, yes — “it does hurt to realize that your community doesn’t play well with others,” and the worse blow indeed is understanding that “what you thought was your community may not be.” It wounds, but like all wounds it can be healed over time.

    Oh — and I’d bet you already know a whole lot of those kinky people that don’t show up at munches… for the same reason that an activist for financial change probably knows a whole lot of folks who don’t show up at corporate benefit dinners. As in the text you quoted at the top of your post, spend time with activists and you become one yourself — and you keep company with other activists and find that the friends who stay are just as passionate as you!

    Sophia, NOT Loren!

    March 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    • “Oh — and I’d bet you already know a whole lot of those kinky people that don’t show up at munches…”

      * raises hand *


      March 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm

  2. * hugs *

    Doing social justice work gives you x-ray vision. Once you’ve seen the structure, it’s hard to un-see it without losing something important about yourself. That’s a super power. But, like most super powers, it’s hard to live with sometimes.

    I feel your grief. For what it’s worth, I’m grieving too. Not the same thing exactly. But we can still mourn together. Where mourning together means eating and laughing and crying together, too.


    March 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm

  3. I wish I had something comforting to offer.

    Like Sophia above my primary experience with feeling the loss of community centers around a religious group from my youth. It was different because that culture was not something I chose exactly, it was something I inherited, it was chosen by my parents. As I imagine your experience, it seems that it would cut much deeper.
    I am so sad you have that pain.

    I am one of those people no one sees at munches. I have residual childhood issues with prescriptive communities and that is very much how the BDSM community always seemed to me. I know it is freeing and welcoming to many, but it has never felt that way for me (from the outside).

    For some of us, what happens is— you get to explore whatever you want, the way you want, and make kinky friends on the internet.

    Wishing you peace and hoping there is light for the next step when you need it, oh, and hugs and cookies, those help too.


    March 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

  4. Heh. You wanna know how I’m managing?

    I had an impressive acid trip with some fabulous sex worker friends, and we came to this phrase- “commonality is not community”.

    And I build my own community, which is not 100% “the community” that I struggle with. They’re other people who feel somewhat disenchanted, but also want to fuck and not analyze all the time. We support each other from burning out. We still burn out sometimes.

    I also find it helps me to notice where change is happening. I feel a little less hopeless then.

    Kitty Stryker

    March 5, 2012 at 3:44 am

  5. […] consent” and “only yes means yes” and “consent is sexy” and such has left me with an awareness which I can’t block out, and it’s a frustrating thing when I just want something to […]

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