In Which It Occurs To Me That i Have Absolutely No Idea How To Meet Someone…

An ally friend of mine and i were having a conversation the other day.  We talked about a number of subjects, including this crazy gender identity adventure i’ve been on, and she helped me out with an outfit/potential cosplay i’ve been putting together (she helped lace up the corset when i tried some things on to show her what i had in mind, too…).  Inevitably, the conversation worked its way around to relationships, and i came to a realization: i have absolutely no idea how to meet someone…

It’s been a running joke for me for a few years now (ever since i fully embraced my BDSM orientation) that i keep doing and realizing things about myself that make it more and more difficult to find a romantic partner–essentially making my dating pool more and more shallow every time i come to a new mental place.  It was difficult enough when i realized that i would probably not be able to have any sort of extended romantic relationship without there being at least some element of BDSM and power exchange in the dynamic, and that i would have to address this issue early with any potential significant others.  Then there was the whole polyamorous layer that got added in, because i hadn’t already created enough of a challenge.  Now i’ve added a potentially even more difficult layer to the cake, especially living in this area.

To be perfectly fair, i wasn’t all that adept at meeting romantic interests to begin with.  i’ve never been good at the bar/club scene; large crowds of people make me nervous and i can’t dance for shit.  Online dating websites have never really panned out for me either–i’ve always been too outside the norm for eHarmony to accept me, Plenty of Fish failed to bite, and OK Cupid is not so OK at archery when it comes to me.  i’ve even tried Adult Friend Finder… Yeeeah… i could probably go the rest of my life without reading some variation of “no fat people, it’s nothing personal just a preference,” and die moderately happier than if i continue to be subjected to that shit.  i’ve never tried speed dating, but i’ve also never actually heard of a speed dating event happening in any area where i’ve been living (and also have heard that it tends to fail spectacularly for most who try it anyway).

So where does that leave me?  There’s always the idea of asking a friend who i feel especially close to on a date, but that’s historically been something i’ve shied away from, mostly out of fear that they aren’t that into me and a rebuffed attempt would create a new sense of awkward that would eventually shake the whole friendship apart.  And at this point in my life, most of my group of friends are either with someone already or even married.  Welcome to almost-30 singledom…

i literally do not know how to meet someone in a romantic context, and this has only increased over time.  And i can already hear one of the oft-repeated objections: “Just quit worrying about it.  Live your life and do your thing.  Quit looking so hard and someone will fall into your lap.”  That’s a lovely platitude and a nice thought, but the fact is that it isn’t wholly realistic.  To begin with, i am worrying about it, and telling me not to only makes me worry about it even more.  As i said in “In Need of Contact,” my feelings of loneliness and the need to be touched have only been increasing lately.  In fact, i think a lot of my food cravings and tendency to eat way more than i should (and feel guilty about it afterward) has been an unconscious (or subconscious) desire to “fill the hole” that would otherwise be satisfied by touch and cuddles and general feelings of closeness.

On top of that, i’m not exactly a standard case, so even if just going about life and waiting for something to appear out of the blue would work for most people, it’s not exactly going to be super-effective for me, especially living in this area.  i need to have the safety to divulge those parts of myself to a potential partner that could put me at risk of social exposure, or job/career loss, or worse.  That’s not going to be a possibility in a case where something just “falls into my lap.”  It almost needs to be a controlled situation for it to be successful, which i realize is far from possible most of the time just out and about in public, and this would imply that i should think more about those who i am already close enough to to be out with, a group primarily composed of people who already have partners.  Catch-22.

i also know that i’m probably overthinking this.  It’s what i do, and i’m very good at what i do.  There is still no way to deny the issues i’ve mentioned, though.  How do i date someone if they don’t know the things about me that will affect the future relationship, but i don’t tell those things to anyone except those who i know well enough not to run screaming?

i don’t have the answer.  i’m not even sure there is an answer.  i wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there wasn’t one.  This is probably something i’m going to have to bite some kind of bullet on in order to have any kind of desired outcome.  Because while we do have niche dating sites like “Christian Mingle” and “Farmers Only,” i doubt there’s one out there for pansexual polyamorous gender fluid BDSM submissives.  That seems like it’s probably a little bit too niche to be marketable…

But who knows?  Maybe the perfect partner(s) will suddenly fall into my life tomorrow completely without any semblance of warning whatsoever.  The universe does have a tendency to love irony like that.

i’m not going to hold my breath, though…

Posted in BDSM, Gender, LGBT, Life, Personality, Relationships, Sexuality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quickies: A Pronominal Predicament…

Some of you are aware that i have recently made the decision to change my personal pronouns to the perfectly grammatically acceptable gender-neutral singular pronoun set “they/them/their/they’re.”  This was a personal choice i made over the weekend, because i feel like it fits my ever-shifting nature a bit better than staying with “male pronouns for the time being.”  However, this has created a bit of a conundrum for me…

If you use male or female pronouns, then there is a title of address that people can use when talking to you (“Sir” or “Ma’am”).  There isn’t to my knowledge any sort of gender-neutral form of address like that, which means that when i get “Sir’ed” (or possibly even “Ma’am’ed” someday in the future), there isn’t really a more authentic form that can be used.  Also, what would take the place of the Mr./Ms./Mrs. tag?

i honestly don’t know the answers to these questions…  Do any of my readers know of anything for this?

Posted in Gender, LGBT, Life, Philosophy, Quickies | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

In Need of Contact

[Author's Note: Well, this is another entry that has taken me days to actually write, and it's really not that long.  i have serious writer's block problems when it comes to talking about this sort of stuff, apparently...]

This is going to be another entry that’s kind of difficult for me to write.  i’m really not good at expressing needs or wants, because i always feel like i’m being unreasonable in some way.  It’s not necessarily a submissive thing.  i just don’t feel right about it, and i find it incredibly difficult–nigh impossible, even.  i’m fighting myself right now as i try to write it all out, because i just feel like it’s kind of stupid.  This problem seems so trivial from what i imagine to be an outside perspective, but it’s something that has just been kicking my ass lately.

i think i’ve mentioned before in another entry at some point on this blog (and if not, i probably hallucinated it, but this statement will take care of mentioning it for the first time, then), but i have a really high sex drive.  That being said, this post is not (entirely) about sex.  This is about something that i feel even more deep down than sex: my need for touch and physical contact, just in general.  i feel like i’ve been starving for physical contact lately, and it gets much worse when i am feeling more depressed.  The feeling is intense… it’s like a combination of loneliness and soreness–and yes, it does manifest physically as a sort of all-over ache of longing, a tenseness in the shoulders, and, at its most intense, a dull, empty feeling in the pit of the stomach.

i’m not sure that i entirely ascribe to the idea of the Five Love Languages; it seems a little bit simplistic to be perfectly accurate as a description, but it does seem to at least be fairly accurate.  In that particular system, my primary language tends toward Physical Touch, with Words of Affirmation and Quality Time tied for a relatively close second.  This might come as a surprise to some readers who know me in person, because i’m not a really outwardly touchy person (although any readers who have known me in more… intimate terms… will also know that i’m an incorrigible cuddle slut).  i think a lot of that has to do with internalized lessons learned from the stigmatization of non-masculine behaviors when i was younger along with respecting other people’s boundaries.  This is especially true when i’m not sure exactly what those boundaries are, and it is combined with my difficulty in asking questions about such topics out of fear of rejection or being perceived as weird or creepy.  As such, it has also become something i value incredibly highly, something to be shared with those who are special to me.

So it is understandably difficult for me to find help for this particular problem, and physical contact from another person isn’t exactly the sort of thing i can effectively self-sooth.  i have made some progress recently, though.  i was feeling really bad a week or so ago, and i posted a status about needing a hug.  The hugs i received in reply were mostly virtual “comment hugs,” which are a wonderfully nice sentiment and do make me smile for a second, but really don’t do much for the need for actual touch.  A few people did give me real hugs when next they saw me, though, and that was very nice, and i am very grateful for both real and virtual hugs.

At the risk of sounding a bit ungrateful, though, the simple fact is that i really need more than just a hug.  Hugs are nice in the couple of seconds they take to accomplish, and they take the edge off the intense desire for touch for a little while, but they are over as quickly as they began, and the feeling returns not long after.  As nice as hugs are, and as happy as i am to receive them from willing people, at this point i feel like i need something more than that.  i feel like i need to be held, just held close for an extended period of time… not necessarily doing anything else…  just feeling close to another human being, feeling wrapped up in that person’s arms, feeling the warmth of their body in contact with mine, feeling and hearing their heart beating in their chest… feeling safe.

Unfortunately, i realize that the nature of this particular need most likely requires that the person who helps me with it be a bit more than “just a friend.”  This doesn’t necessarily mean a significant other or sex partner, but just someone who is comfortable enough (and with whom i am comfortable enough) with having that sense of closeness with me and isn’t already in the sort of relationship that would negate the possibility.  But right now there really isn’t anyone inside of about a two hour drive who fits that description, and i really suck at broaching that sort of subject with people (for reasons stated above).

The one aspect of this that would probably require a significant other or sex partner to really fulfill is that i love the feeling of skin on skin.  Again, this is not necessarily being stated in a sexual sense.  i just really love the sensation of bare skin touching bare skin during cuddling and other contact.  This particular state of affairs does generally lead to arousal on my part, though, so there would be the potential for a desire for things to move past just being held and cuddled… which would be alright with me in the right circumstances, but the real need i’m having, as stated earlier, is much more basic physical contact.

Regardless, i’m just not really sure what to do at this point.  It almost seems like a silly problem to have… something i should just be able to get over.  But it’s a problem i appear to be stuck with, regardless.

Posted in Life, Psychology, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quickies: Should i Actually Change The Blog’s Title?

Well?

i mean, renaming it to “Coming Out Four Times” would probably be more technically accurate, and there’s a big part of me that feels like staying with “Three Times” is choosing to tacitly ignore this new aspect that is slowly blooming and blossoming into my sense of self.

On the other hand, i’ve been using “Coming Out Three Times” as my blog title for the past two or three years now, and it’s also what i use as my Twitter handle, and until recently, my Tumblr identity as well.  So if i change the blog, i’ll have to at least change the Twitter name, too (i can actually do that, right?  i don’t spend much time on the Twitter…).  To be fair, if and when i do finally go back to Tumblr, i was already intending to change it to “Four Times.”

What if i changed the title that displays on the blog itself but left the web address as “comingout3x”?  Maybe that’s the way to go.  It makes it so people can still find me by the old address, but the title is more technically accurate.  Internet?  You didn’t say much about my Bard/Sorcerer dilemma, but i’m going to try putting this question to you as well for input…

Thoughts?

Posted in Gender, LGBT, Life, Philosophy, Quickies, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Help Me, Internet!

As all of my readers should know by now, i am a gamer, especially in the sense of tabletop roleplaying games.  So, when i started reading early buzz about Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition, i really started to get excited, especially considering that the game practically invites players to create Transgender or even Genderqueer/Gender Fluid characters.  So when the new Player’s Handbook finally came out, i went out and bought it pretty quickly.  It was pretty much everything i was hoping it would be, fixing many of the things that were wrong with Fourth Edition, while simultaneously hearkening back to older editions and updating the setting for new socially-conscious attitudes emerging more and more from gamers.

That being said, my weekly gaming group is getting ready to start a Fifth Edition campaign this coming week, and in preparation i went on a bit of a character building binge, finishing out no less than seven first level characters.  As much fun as this process has been, it has left me with the unfortunate dilemma of now choosing which character to actually play in our campaign this week and going forward.  i’ve managed to narrow my choices down to two of the seven, but they are essentially two different builds of the same character, and i’m having a hell of a time deciding which one is the one i want to play.

So i’m turning to you, random internet denizens, to help me in this dilemma.  Any and all input is welcome!

(Also, i’ve intentionally left hir biological sex unstated, and i don’t even really know, or actually care, what it is myself…)

Build One: Sorcerer

Varisia Amastacia

Gender Fluid Half-Elf Sorcerer

+1 Strength

+3 Dexterity

+2 Constitution

+3 Intelligence

+1 Wisdom

+4 Charisma

AC 13

HP 8

Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Arcana, Deception, Perception, Performance, Persuasion

Weapons: Hand Crossbow, Dagger

Armor: None

Cantrips: Fire Bolt, Mage Hand, Mending, Prestidigitation

1st Level Spells: Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb

Appearance: Varisia has striking crystalline blue eyes.  Ze keeps hir blonde hair close cropped in a style that could lend itself well to either male or female identity.  Ze is slender of build, and hir features are generally androgynous in appearance, and ze takes liberties with gender expression, shifting at will between male and female dress, mannerisms, and appearance.  Most people who see hir are simply unable to tell which gender ze is, and any who have enjoyed hir performances wonder about hir biological sex regardless of the gender ze is presenting at any given time, but only a few have been afforded the opportunity to find out for themselves, as ze rebuffs any explicit questions with righteous indignation.  Ze wears a bright green feather, a gift from one of the few fans who found out hir sex in person, in hir hair on a regular basis.

Background: Varisia Amastacia was born to a Human mother and Elvish father.  Shortly after hir birth, hir father was slain by an Orcish raiding party.  After his death, hir mother moved them to a human city, where Varisia spent most of hir formative years.  As a result, hir Elvish heritage took a backseat to hir Human upbringing, and Varisia grew up among hir Human peers raised with Human customs.  Despite this, Varisia was painfully aware that ze was different from hir fellow children.

Ze began to be bullied by a group of older children shortly after ze turned 5.  Slurs like “half-blood,” “traitor,” “pointy ears,” and “crossbreed” became a part of hir daily existence, and many days ze ran home in tears, only to find hirself not quite comforted by a mother who didn’t know entirely how to relate to her child.  The result of all of this was a lonely childhood in which Varisia felt fundamentally unmoored by hir sense of identity.  Ze didn’t fit in with the Human children, and there was no real Elvish community in their town either.  What few Elves ze did meet always seemed to look down their noses at hir.

As ze matured into adolescence, this feeling of being adrift only intensified, and ze began to realize that it wasn’t just hir race that was engulfed in a roiling mass of confusion.  Ze also had begun to feel more and more as if ze was somehow a combination of both genders at once.  It was a strange sensation for hir, even more alienating than hir racial dilemma.  It was almost as if ze had discovered hirself sliding back and forth along a continuum between male and female, sometimes wanting to be more like one than the other, but usually finding hirself somewhere in between the two.

It was also about this time that ze discovered hir latent magical abilities, learning to cast a few basic cantrips before discovering the elemental nature of the Wild Magic that coursed through hir veins.  Ze began “playing around,” mostly experimenting with Prestidigitation and Mage Hand, and occasionally casting Fire Bolt, though it scared hir a bit at first.  It was during one such experiment that ze was “discovered” by Grigg Goldshine, a gnomish entertainer and leader of Goldshine’s Gambolers, a traveling band of performers.  Goldshine took note of Varisia’s natural charisma, talent with Prestidigitation and Mage Hand, and also hir ability to cast more offensively-focused spells.  He offered hir a spot in his performing company.  Varisia, feeling no real connection to hir mother or anyone else ze knew at the time, gladly accepted and began traveling the realm with Goldshine’s Gambolers.

During hir time with the troupe, Varisia learned many valuable entertainment techniques, such as tumbling, costuming, and music, and ze improved hir craft with acting and stage performance as well.  Ze also found that, once ze got clear of the small town in which ze had grown up, people were a bit more accepting of hir mixed nature.  Some actually found it alluring, and ze eventually became an outrageously popular member of Goldshine’s Gambolers, as audiences found themselves drawn to the combination of hir natural charisma, hir talent with magic, and the alluring mystery of hir androgynous aesthetic.

After traveling with the Gambolers for a number of years, Varisia finally decided to strike out on hir own.  Goldshine was sorry to see hir go, but understood hir desire to truly spread hir wings as a solo act.  With his blessing and encouragement, ze began traveling from town to town by hirself, finding financial and artistic success everywhere ze went… and often not actually sleeping in the accommodations provided by many of the inns in which ze performed…

Varisia continued traveling like this until ze reached the town of Neverwinter, where a Dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker happened to attend one of hir shows.  Impressed by hir display, Rockseeker and his two brothers approached hir afterward and asked about hir offensive magic skills.  After a brief demonstration, Rockseeker offered hir the opportunity to work in a “more adventurous field, at least for a little while.”  He informed Varisia that he was seeking adventurous types to help in his efforts to reopen the mines in Wave Echo Cave, and that Varisia’s magical skills could be quite useful for the task at hand.  Varisia quickly agreed.  It seemed like just the sort of thing that would break up what had become the somewhat monotonous lifestyle of show business that ze had been engaged in (while still providing opportunities to continue the more amorous pursuits that had been involved).

Entertainer: You thrive in front of an audience.  You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them.  Your poetics can stir the hearts of those who hear you, awakening grief or joy, laughter or anger.  Your music raises their spirits or captures their sorrow.  Your dance steps captivate; your humor cuts to the quick.  Whatever techniques you use, your art is your life.

Entertainer Routines: Instrumentalist, Actor, Magician

By Popular Demand: You can always find a place to perform, usually in an inn or tavern but possibly with a circus, at a theater, or even in a noble’s court.  At such a place, you receive free lodging and food of a modest or comfortable standard (depending on the quality of the establishment), as long as you perform each night.  In addition, your performance makes you something of a local figure.  When strangers recognize you in a town where you have performed, they typically take a liking to you.

Personality Traits: I’m a hopeless romantic, always searching for that “special someone.”  Nobody stays angry at me for long because of my inborn charisma.

Ideals: Freedom, equality and fairness, creativity…  The world is in need of new ideas and bold action.

Bonds: Nobody touches my staff!  I yearn to become a master of the elements.

Flaws: I’m a sucker for a pretty face, whether male, female, or otherwise.  I have trouble keeping my true feelings hidden; my sharp tongue lands me in trouble.

Sorcerer Features

Sorcerous Origin: Wild Magic – Your innate magic comes from the wild forces of chaos that underlie the order of creation.  You might have endured exposeure to some form of raw magic, perhaps through a planar portal leading to Limbo, the Elemental Planes, or the mysterious Far Realm.  Perhaps you were blessed by a powerful fey creature or marked by a demon.  Or your magic could be a fluke of your birth, with no apparent cause or reason.  However it came to be, this chaotic magic churns within you, waiting for any outlet.

Wild Magic Surge: Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, your spellcasting can unleash surges of untamed magic.  Immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher, the DM can have you roll a d20.  If you roll a 1, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table to create a random magical effect.

Tides of Chaos: Starting at 1st level, you can manipulate the forces of chance and chaos to gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.  Once you do so, you must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.  Any time before you regain the use of this feature, the DM can have you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher.  You then regain the use of this feature.

Build Two: Bard

Varisia Amastacia

Gender Fluid Half-Elf Bard

+1 Strength

+3 Dexterity

+2 Constitution

+3 Intelligence

+1 Wisdom

+4 Charisma

AC 16

HP 10

Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Deception, History, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand

Weapons: Rapier, Dagger

Armor: Leather Armor

Cantrips: Prestidigitation, Vicious Mockery

1st Level Spells: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Dissonant Whispers, Illusory Script

Appearance: Varisia has striking crystalline blue eyes.  Ze keeps hir blonde hair close cropped in a style that could lend itself well to either male or female identity.  Ze is slender of build, and hir features are generally androgynous in appearance, and ze takes liberties with gender expression, shifting at will between male and female dress, mannerisms, and appearance.  Most people who see hir are simply unable to tell which gender ze is, and any who have enjoyed hir performances wonder about hir biological sex regardless of the gender ze is presenting at any given time, but only a few have been afforded the opportunity to find out for themselves, as ze rebuffs any explicit questions with righteous indignation.  Ze wears a bright green feather, a gift from one of the few fans who found out hir sex in person, in hir hair on a regular basis.

Background: Varisia Amastacia was born to a Human mother and Elvish father.  Shortly after hir birth, hir father was slain by an Orcish raiding party.  After his death, hir mother moved them to a human city, where Varisia spent most of hir formative years.  As a result, hir Elvish heritage took a backseat to hir Human upbringing, and Varisia grew up among hir Human peers raised with Human customs.  Despite this, Varisia was painfully aware that ze was different from hir fellow children.

Ze began to be bullied by a group of older children shortly after ze turned 5.  Slurs like “half-blood,” “traitor,” “pointy ears,” and “crossbreed” became a part of hir daily existence, and many days ze ran home in tears, only to find hirself not quite comforted by a mother who didn’t know entirely how to relate to her child.  The result of all of this was a lonely childhood in which Varisia felt fundamentally unmoored by hir sense of identity.  Ze didn’t fit in with the Human children, and there was no real Elvish community in their town either.  What few Elves ze did meet always seemed to look down their noses at hir.

As ze matured into adolescence, this feeling of being adrift only intensified, and ze began to realize that it wasn’t just hir race that was engulfed in a roiling mass of confusion.  Ze also had begun to feel more and more as if ze was somehow a combination of both genders at once.  It was a strange sensation for hir, even more alienating than hir racial dilemma.  It was almost as if ze had discovered hirself sliding back and forth along a continuum between male and female, sometimes wanting to be more like one than the other, but usually finding hirself somewhere in between the two.

During this time, hir only real outlet was hir musical ability with the horn, lute, viol, and flute, which ze practiced as much as possible.  Ze also spent a good deal of time training hir voice to be able to sing in registers both masculine and feminine.  It was during one such training session that ze was “discovered” by Grigg Goldshine, a gnomish entertainer and leader of Goldshine’s Gambolers, a traveling band of performers.  Goldshine took note of Varisia’s natural charisma, talent with music, and also hir lightness on hir feet (which he could train into an acrobatic fighting style to help defend the troupe when necessary).  He offered hir a spot in his performing company.  Varisia, feeling no real connection to hir mother or anyone else ze knew at the time, gladly accepted and began traveling the realm with Goldshine’s Gambolers.

During hir time with the troupe, Varisia learned many valuable entertainment techniques, such as tumbling, costuming, and acting, and ze improved hir craft with music as well.  Ze also found that, once ze got clear of the small town in which ze had grown up, people were a bit more accepting of hir mixed nature.  Some actually found it alluring, and ze eventually became an outrageously popular member of Goldshine’s Gambolers, as audiences found themselves drawn to the combination of hir natural charisma, hir talent with magic, and the alluring mystery of hir androgynous aesthetic.

After traveling with the Gambolers for a number of years, Varisia finally decided to strike out on hir own.  Goldshine was sorry to see hir go, but understood hir desire to truly spread hir wings as a solo act.  With his blessing and encouragement, ze began traveling from town to town by hirself, finding financial and artistic success everywhere ze went… and often not actually sleeping in the accommodations provided by many of the inns in which ze performed…

Varisia continued traveling like this until ze reached the town of Neverwinter, where a Dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker happened to attend one of hir shows.  Impressed by hir display, Rockseeker and his two brothers approached hir afterward and asked about hir fighting skills.  After a brief demonstration, both of hir combat abilities and the more magical aspects of hir musical skills, Rockseeker offered hir the opportunity to work in a “more adventurous field, at least for a little while.”  He informed Varisia that he was seeking adventurous types to help in his efforts to reopen the mines in Wave Echo Cave, and that Varisia’s magical skills could be quite useful for the task at hand.  Varisia quickly agreed.  It seemed like just the sort of thing that would break up what had become the somewhat monotonous lifestyle of show business that ze had been engaged in (while still providing opportunities to continue the more amorous pursuits that had been involved).

Entertainer: You thrive in front of an audience.  You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them.  Your poetics can stir the hearts of those who hear you, awakening grief or joy, laughter or anger.  Your music raises their spirits or captures their sorrow.  Your dance steps captivate; your humor cuts to the quick.  Whatever techniques you use, your art is your life.

Entertainer Routines: Instrumentalist, Singer, Storyteller

By Popular Demand: You can always find a place to perform, usually in an inn or tavern but possibly with a circus, at a theater, or even in a noble’s court.  At such a place, you receive free lodging and food of a modest or comfortable standard (depending on the quality of the establishment), as long as you perform each night.  In addition, your performance makes you something of a local figure.  When strangers recognize you in a town where you have performed, they typically take a liking to you.

Personality Traits: I’m a hopeless romantic, always searching for that “special someone.”  Nobody stays angry at me for long because of my inborn charisma.

Ideals: Freedom, equality and fairness, creativity…  The world is in need of new ideas and bold action.

Bonds: My instruments are my most treasured possessions, and each one reminds me of someone I have loved.

Flaws: I’m a sucker for a pretty face, whether male, female, or otherwise.  I have trouble keeping my true feelings hidden; my sharp tongue lands me in trouble.

Bard Features

Spellcasting: You have learned to untangle and reshape the fabric of reality in harmony with your wishes and music.  Your spells are part of your vast repertoire, magic that you can tune to different situations.

Bardic Inspiration: You can inspire others through stirring words or music.  To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you.  That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6.

Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes.  The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails.  Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost.  A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once).  You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Your Bardic Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in this class.  The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.

 

Sorcerer Build Pros

More cantrips that can be used without burning spell slots.

The Elemental flavor really appeals to me, especially Chromatic Orb, which allows element selection.

The Wild Magic Surge table is absolutely awesome.  Basically, you roll percent dice on this massive table of side effects, that range from harmful to helpful to just plain funny.

Bard Build Pros

Higher AC and HP totals.

More skills.

Vicious Mockery and Dissonant Whispers look like really fun spells to play with.

Entertainer background fits a little better…?

 

i’m really at an impasse here.  As stated above, any and all input is more than welcome!

Posted in Fiction, Gaming, Gender, LGBT, Nerdy, Personality, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quickies: i had a Tumblr. i don’t anymore.

i deleted it.  It had become overrun with a bunch of content that really just wasn’t me or how i wanted to represent myself anymore.  i may start fresh later, but it probably won’t be for a while…

Posted in Life, Quickies | Leave a comment

Why i’ve Been So Quiet Lately, Part II – Maybe i Should Have Called the Blog “Coming Out Four Times…”

[Author's Note: Well, it's been almost three months since i posted that introduction, and i've been using a lot of that time working on composing this entry, first letting it spin in my head for a long time and then actually forcing myself to sit down and hash all of this out at the keyboard... ad even then it's been like trying to pour water through clogged pipes getting all of this to flow out through the keyboard.  The result of all of these months of thinking of, really, little aside from this (classes be damned) is the post below.  Hopefully it helps explain where my head has been for all these months of blog silence.  Content Warning: this post talks about my sexuality and anatomy.  Potential Trigger Warnings: Trans Fetishism, Depression]

It started out as a fetish.  i feel shitty for even saying it, much less leading with it, because i know about the problems the Trans community often faces with fetishists who see Trans people as nothing more than an object of arousal.  But as much as i’d like to ignore the fact, it remains true: my serious interest and exploration of my gender got its start as a fetish, though perhaps not in the way usually associated with Trans fetishism…

As a submissive in the BDSM lifestyle, i’ve sort of adopted the attitude that i’ll try almost anything once, and most things twice just to make sure.  It was this journey of personal discovery that eventually brought me to the idea of crossdressing and feminization play.  Before i ever had the chance to try out anything in this vein, i can remember feeling oddly drawn to it, as if from a deeper level.  It was a similar feeling to the one i recall when i first began my explorations into BDSM–curious, a little scared, but somehow feeling like it was the “right” direction for me to be going.  More and more i felt myself being pulled toward the idea of feminization in a BDSM context, but none of my play partners at the time were particularly interested in going down that road with me; in fact some of them, from the context of discussions had in passing, seemed to be downright against the idea.

But the idea persisted, and eventually i was able to borrow an old pair of panties from The Woman during the time that we were together.  The two of us never really played out the fantasy at all, but when i tried on the panties, i was instantly aroused.  After the break-up i kept the panties, but i didn’t get them out again for a number of months.  When i did, their association with her didn’t affect my response.  i was clearly into what i had tried so far, and i wanted–needed–to explore further.

i’m not sure exactly when the play turned serious.  i can’t pinpoint the exact moment my thinking shifted from a fun and enjoyable expression of my sexuality to serious considerations that i might be Trans in some way.  As close as i can figure it, it was close to the time that i started regularly shaving my legs and armpits.  There was just something about the act (and the result) that just felt… nice.  Not necessarily nice in just a “smooth legs feel good” or even an aroused sort of way… just… nice.  The feminine feeling and mindset it brought felt… right somehow.

The feeling of rightness persisted through further experimentation.  With the help of a few close friends at various occasions where the opportunity presented itself, i tried wearing more lingerie and learned the ins and outs of putting on makeup.  i even took my first halting steps in heels.  Each time i tried something new it felt like i was moving closer and closer to something… something big and inescapable, and more than anything, something true.  i wasn’t just acting out a fetish for the purposes of play anymore.  There was something deeper about my identity that was surfacing in this exploration.

The exact nature of what it is is still fuzzy and shrouded to me.  i’ve tried to piece together what i can based on present feelings i have had, along with memories of things from my past that have been recontextualized in hindsight.  Starting with the past, i remember early on that i had a tendency to socialize more easily with girls than with boys, and my play style during recess and other settings tended more toward cooperative play, most notably games of make-believe, than the more competitive, sport-oriented play of most young boys.  i can remember willingly playing games like “House” with playmates in grade school, as well as more elaborate story-based games well into the later grades of Elementary School, by which point most of my male friends were occupying themselves with football or basketball on the playground.  Even at that age, as young as first or second grade, i felt a measure of stigma to the way i played.  i was openly ostracized by the time i reached fourth through sixth grade, and it was “suggested” to me many times by my peers that i should join in the football or basketball games in order to be more accepted.

The stigmatization of behaviors that were not “masculine” was a steadily intensifying factor in my grade school years, and i learned the lessons of those years well, to the point that, while i didn’t necessarily go out of my way to be Super-Masculine Sports Guy, i definitely developed an avoidance, perhaps even a fear of doing anything that might be perceived as feminine.  One such thing that i struggled with was my emotional expression.  Like many children who were different in some way, i had to deal with a fair share of bullying, and my strong emotional reactions were often more than i could contain, leading to tears.  This, of course, only made things worse, and i remember taking a page out of Star Trek and basically turning myself into a Vulcan over the course of my eighth grade year.  The unfortunate side effect is that i am still very much an emotional bottler, and i do not deal with my negative emotions in a healthy manner.

i’ve now strayed a bit from my original course, but this still illustrates one particular example of the “locking away” i did of anything that could leave me open to ridicule.  To this day i have difficulty letting go and relaxing completely.  Self-preservation has taken control of many of the things that might have blossomed and developed at an earlier age if i had not feared so much to simply allow myself to be myself.  i’ve been a late bloomer for pretty much everything about myself that has been different… leaving my parents’ religion, having my first sexual experience, discovering my bisexuality, embracing my submissive BDSM proclivities… this new journey within my own gender is just another entry in a long line of things i have come to behind the curve.  i need only look to my early adolescent years to see examples of how i might have progressed in this direction much earlier if i had been less afraid of myself.

One of the earliest things i can remember as i began to become more sexually aware was a sense of discomfort with my own anatomy.  And, yes, i realize that this is a common trend for most people during puberty, but i remember actively wondering what it was like to have female parts and wanting to experience what it felt like to be a girl during this time.  This wasn’t just a passing thought; it was something i remember actively thinking about, to the point that i actually voiced these thoughts to someone who i thought was a friend at the time.  He turned right around and told one of my main bullies during that period, and i definitely heard about it later.

i can also remember exploring in my parents’ bedroom one evening when i had the house to myself.  i discovered a drawer of my mother’s more risque lingerie and tried some of it on, modeling it in front of a mirror in my parents’ room.  i remember really enjoying that… i hadn’t really thought of it in years until i started heading down this road, but now that i think back, the memory is vivid.  It wasn’t a one-time thing either, i repeated the play a few more times when i was home alone.

It could be that some of the things i’ve related from my past are things that i am reading too much into, but that doesn’t change the feelings i am having in the present.  Those feelings have been, first and foremost, intense cognitive dissonance.  Part of me feels like i have been pushing an important aspect of myself down for almost 20 years, to the point that i don’t even really know how to properly interact with it.  Another part of me wants to just keep things simple–i’ve made my life complicated enough with all these other non-standard orientations and belief systems, do i really need to continue making it even more difficult?  A third part of me wants to just completely immerse myself in every part of this exploration and find out exactly where this rabbit hole is leading me.  My instincts say that this third part is probably the closest to the healthiest outlook on this situation, but it doesn’t really negate the existence of the other two.

This push and pull extends to specific details as well.  At this point i’m reasonably confident that the eventual destination of this gender exploration is going to be some sort of non-binary orientation… genderfluid is the one i find myself most drawn to… because that’s honestly how i feel.  My gender identity feels like it’s in a state of near-constant flux, moving up and down the continuum between male and female from day to day… sometimes from minute to minute.  There are times that i desperately wish i could just swap my gender entirely and be a woman, and there are times when i just want to chuck this whole idea and keep being a man.  Most of the time, i’m somewhere in between.  i wish i could feel sexual arousal and orgasm from a female perspective, but i don’t especially want to lose the male experience that i currently have, either.  i want to feel free to express the feminine aspects of this fluctuation when they arise, but i often feel silly and artificial when i try–i see too much of the male me present in the reflection in the mirror.  i know i’ll never naturally fill out a bra, and i know that there are ways i can create the illusion of doing that without permanently altering my body… but there are times that i desperately wish i had a pair of beautiful breasts with real cleavage and a sexy feminine form.  There are times when i catch myself thinking “i wish i could just be a girl,” but there are also times when i truly need to continue to be a man (most often in professional settings).

The truth of the matter is that at this point i really don’t know what i am.

The only thing i think i know–and i’m really not even entirely sure of that–is that my gender falls in some sort of Trans identity.  i feel like dressing up in feminine clothes and presenting as female is too much of a performance at this point to be completely comfortable with it (and perhaps that will change as i get better at hiding the masculine features that still poke through when i do it), but i also feel like presenting myself as entirely masculine and male is just as much of a performance… just as artificial feeling.  i feel sort of trapped somewhere in between, and i want to be able to express either, or both, depending on how i’m feeling at any given time.  i really wish i had more androgynous features, just in general, because that might at least make some of this a tiny bit easier.

And now this has pretty much turned into a bit of a stream of consciousness rant.  That last paragraph wandered all over the board… some of it fit in a new paragraph, but that last sentence would have probably been more at home in the paragraph before.  And, truth be told, at this point i’m just letting it go on in this stream of consciousness fashion, because that’s how my stream of consciousness is right now… this incredibly tangled Gordian knot of thoughts and emotions that won’t seem to properly resolve or become less complicated.  Every time i make some kind of progress, the shifting sands of my mental state create more disharmony.

i’m a naturally depression-prone person as it is… i don’t think i can remember a time since maybe fourth grade where there hasn’t been at least some sort of lingering discontent hiding in the back of my mind.  Through the years it has ebbed and flowed, sometimes just being that slightly off-kilter feeling underlying an otherwise contented existence, sometimes blossoming into a fully-fledged major depressive episode like the one that landed me on academic probation twice in two years during my undergrad.  Most of the time it’s somewhere in between, and it really doesn’t matter what’s actually going on in my life.  Right now my fledgling career is really starting to gain momentum, i’m getting closer and closer to a more financially independent state of existence, i have multiple friends who i know love me and want me to be happy regardless of what that happiness means.  i have all of this stuff going for me in my favor, but it’s the most depressed i’ve felt in a long while.  i know that a lot of it has to do with the fact that i’m basically uprooting and inspecting my own existential core, but that understanding doesn’t really make it any better.  And despite the fact that i’m incredibly quick to provide a kind ear and support for friends when they need it, and the lip-service i give to the necessity of getting help from people, i still don’t really know how to properly ask other people for help… it feels like i’m being selfish and needy and troubling them with my problems in addition to their own when i try to do it.

The truth is i’m really kind of a mess right now.  i’ve really been kind of a mess for years, truth be told, i’ve just gotten better at being a more functional mess, mostly through the cultivation of an ability to laugh at my own pain and engage in dry gallows humor.  And even now, for the most part, i’m a very well-hidden, swept-under-the-rug mess about 90% of the time, especially in professional settings.

But the mess is still there, waiting for me to be alone with it.

Shit, that took a hard left turn.  Where the hell did that come from?  i think i really need to stop procrastinating that whole “getting back into regular therapy” idea i’ve been kicking down the road for the last year or so…

Update 8/19/14: i’ve scheduled a counseling appointment, so… progress?

Posted in Gender, LGBT, Life, Personality, Psychology, Relationships, Sexuality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment