Protected: The Threat of Folding In

January 22, 2014  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Fragments

December 10, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Hole Hunger

December 2, 2013  |  journal entries  |  4 Comments

Too much time away from you and I get hungry for your holes. There are so many metaphors for “fitting”—puzzle pieces and two halves, the children of the sun and moon from Hedwig—but that would be too trite and I’m too jaded to believe we’re “made for each other” or that it’s been you I’ve been searching for all along.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” a mentor of mine said just yesterday.

That doesn’t stop me from saying those things to you anyway. They are fictive truths, things I stretch to be more romantic, much like telling you you’re a filthy faggot slut or that you’re mine, all mine, and I don’t care what you want, I’m going to use you.

Of course the truth is, I do care.

Of course the truth is, we own ourselves the most.

Of course the truth is, well, you actually are a filthy faggot slut, so I have you on that one.

Of course the truth is, all relationships end, and who knows how long we’ll have for ours. What I do know is that I will do my best to love you well, and that for you, for us, that means the hole-hunger I get from not filling you recently enough.

When I fill you, it is the most singular act I can do. It is the only thing I am doing, this focus on how much your body gives, how strong your muscles are, which are holding you up, which are holding me up, and how sacredly redeemable all things are in that moment of sliding in. We start again, like every day every breath. We open deeper, and in that opening find more strength and more of ourselves to give.

I do not understand my craving for a tight fit, resistance to my entry, those moments of giving in and giving over. I only know the thing that drives me, still, after all these years, through all heartache and loss and grief and strife and insecure creative hustle, is the ever-present faith of loving, and being loved, just right.

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends

November 26, 2013  |  journal entries  |  23 Comments

As published on Facebook, where I could tag at least 20 of ‘em.

Dear family & friends,

Especially friends from my childhood and high school years who have found me for whatever reasons on Facebook, and family with whom I’m not particularly close, and coworkers from previous jobs who I have perhaps never had this chat with:

THE “GENDERQUEER COMING OUT” PART

I have something to tell you: I’m genderqueer. That means I live my day-to-day life somewhere between “man” and “woman,” often facing all sorts of daily interactions where the general public doesn’t “get” my gender, from kids in the grocery store asking, “are you a boy or a girl?” and their mom hushing them and turning away, to little old ladies in the women’s room staring wide-eyed and backing out of the restroom slowly, only to then return with a confused and self-protective look on their face, to service industry folks saying, “Can I help you, sir? Uh, ma’am? Uh … ?”

That confusion, that in-between state, is precisely it. That’s who I am. I’m neither, and both. I’m in-between.

You may already know this about me, just from following me on Facebook and doing whatever sleuthing you’ve done about my projects. You probably know I’m queer. But, if you want to know, I’m going to explain a few more things about my gender for a minute.

ON GENDER

If you want to delve a little deeper into my particular gender, I consider myself butch, I identify as masculine, and I consider genderqueer part of the “trans*” communities, using trans-asterisk as the umbrella term to encompass, well, anybody who feels in-between. I’ve been identifying as “butch” for a long time—perhaps you’ve heard me use this word, an identity I consider to mean a masculine-identified person who was assigned female at birth. I consider myself masculine, but as I delve further into gender politics and theory and communities, the boxes of “woman” and “man” feel too constricting and limiting for me to occupy them comfortably.

I have for years thought that it was extremely important for people like me—masculine people with a fluid sense of gender and personality traits, who don’t feel limited by gender roles or restricted by gender policing—should continue to identify as women as a political act, as a way to increase the possibilities of what “woman” can be. That’s really important. And I still believe that is true, and heavily support that category.

Problem is, “woman” has never fit me. I had bottomless depression as a teenager (perhaps some of you remember I was sent to the principal’s office once for “wearing too much black”), plagued often by the idea of “woman” and adult womanhood. I could not understand who I would be in that context. And honestly, I still can’t.

But—even though it is in some ways harder, living outside of the gender norms—this in-between makes so much sense to me.

ON PRONOUNS (This part is important.)

For a few years now, I’ve been stating, when asked, that I prefer the third-person pronouns they and them when referring to me. That means, if you’re speaking of me in a sentence, you’d say, “They are about to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail, it’s true,” or “Did you hear they just published another book?” or, “I really like spending time with them.”

See? Easy.

Lately, when people ask what my preferred pronoun is, I have been saying, “I prefer they and them, but all of them are fine and I don’t correct anybody.” I don’t mind the other pronouns. They don’t irk me. But when someone “gets” it, and honors the they/them request, it makes me feel seen and understood.

There are other options for third-person pronouns which are gender neutral—or rather, not he or she. “They” is the one that I think, as a writer, is the easiest for me to integrate into sentences. I completely believe in calling people what they want to be called (that has always been one of my mom’s great mom-isms), so I always do my best to respect pronouns, but I still struggle with the conjugations and the way those words fit in a sentence.

Some people—particularly those (ahem like me) who were English majors and for whom grammar rules are exciting—think the “singular they,” as it’s called, is grammatically incorrect. But it’s not. It’s actually been used in literature for hundreds of years. Here’s one particular article on the Singular They and the Many Reasons Why It Is Correct. Read up, if that intrigues you.

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

I haven’t sat any of my family—immediate or extended—down and said, Hi, I’d like you to use they/them pronouns for me. I don’t generally tell people that unless they ask. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I haven’t told you, what I’m afraid of, and what is keeping me from this conversation.

I’m not particularly afraid that you won’t “get it” or that you won’t honor it. If you don’t, that’s actually okay. I am part of some amazing trans* and genderqueer and gender-forward communities full of activism, respect, advocacy, and understanding, and I’m very lucky to feel whole and respected in that work.

And really, I believe that the very vast majority of you actually really wants to know, wants to honor my choices. I think you are probably curious about this. But for whatever reason, my (and probably your) west coast sensibilities are keeping us from having a direct conversation.

So, here ya go. It’s not particularly personal, but it’s the beginnings of something, and it’s my offering to you to talk about this, if you want to.

See the thing is, by not having this conversation with you, by not giving you the opportunity to respect my gender and pronouns (even if you think it’s weird-ass and strange and don’t get it), I’m limiting our intimacy. I’m not giving you all the chance to really know me. And maybe … you want to. Maybe this will open up something new between us.

Or maybe you’ll just go, “Huh. Okay. Whatever.” That’s fine too.

If you have questions, or want to talk about all this gender stuff, I am open to that. Ask away. (You don’t always get a free pass to ask weird questions, so you might want to utilize this opportunity.) But before you do, you might want to check out The Gender Book for some basic terminology, concepts, and ideas.

Sorry I haven’t told you yet. I’ve been telling myself that it “isn’t that important,” but actually it’s been a barrier between us, in some minor big ways.

Sincerely,

That kid who was in English class with you in high school,
Your former coworker,
Your cousin,
Your nibling (did you know that’s the gender neutral term for neice or nephew??),
Your grandkid,
The older sibling of your childhood friend,
Your best friend from 6th grade,
That queer who was crushed on you before they knew they were queer,

Sinclair

PS: Feel free to steal this idea for your own Facebook pages.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part 5: In which you recommend Stone Butch Blues & Fried Green Tomatoes, and give good advice

November 21, 2013  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

I started reading about two years ago when I really started coming out as gender non-conforming and exploring my queer identity. At the time I was in a poly relationship and so a lot of the material resonated with me. I really have always appreciated the open discussions about sex and gender presentation and some of the more utilitarian posts about clothes, etc.

—Alison, http://a1tg.tumblr.com

I stumbled upon Sugarbutch from a link in an Autostraddle post nearly 4 years ago and immediately spent every waking second that summer reading the entire archive. I felt like I had come home. Not only was someone writing about the sex I had always wanted to have (and that in and of itself had a huge impact on my sex drive and partners and play and whatnot) but they were doing it beautifully and well and consciously.

I still think some of my favorite posts are erotica, but I also know that the theoretical posts have changed my life in a completely literal sense and now that I am growing into my own versions of an alternative gender identity and kinky identity, they are more important to me. But mostly, it’s just the whole thing. Everything you do lets me know that somewhere in this world are people that think like me.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

That would be “Handprints on the Hotel Window.” My girlfriend emailed it to me shortly after we began dating. On out first trip to New York City together, she booked a room that had floor-to-ceiling windows so we could reenact the story. Tres hot. I’ve been a fan ever since!

—Dawn, http://southernfriedfemme.blogspot.com/

I started reading around 4 years ago? Right around when you started writing about Kristen. I was just starting to identify as a femme and was desperate for anything anyone was writing. I’d read your posts praising femmes over and over again, reassuring myself that this identity I was claiming was real and true and that someone, some day, would want me. And I mean your smut really helped me get through several stressful days during undergrad…

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

You’re allowed to want things, even if you feel like your partner doesn’t. That doesn’t make you bad or wrong or broken. There are other people who will like you and also enjoy those things. You don’t have to be perfect, and making mistakes can only lead to improvement and giggling. Gender is hard and exhausting, and you are never going to satisfy anyone but yourself. So have fun and try not to talk other people’s opinions too seriously.

—kaj, http://distractionsandproblems.tumblr.com/

Women appreciate authenticity. Don’t ever tone yourself down because you’re scared you’re too butch. Also, there is more than one femme in the world, even when it feels like the only one was the last one.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

The book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Something about that book grabbed me when I was in my early 20′s…I read it 5 times in one week after I bought it. It was the dynamic of Idgie and Ruth’s relationship. The people, place and setting of the book, drastically different from my life, but very similar in other ways. The way Idgie and Ruth lived, spoke to each other, the activities they participated in , the running of their cafe. I still read that book once a year (sometimes more) and it is always like visiting an old friend. In my mind I greatly embellished their relationship, which is left a bit ambiguous in the book, and maybe that is why I keep going back.

—April

Stone Butch Blues. I was sixteen, not out to my parents, and it was the first queer book I’d ever read. It changed everything in my life. I learned that “butch” wasn’t a dirty word, that (somewhere?) there were women who might like me, and, most importantly, that people like me had a history.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

Anything else to add?

I think you seriously underestimate the amount of people in this universe who have ridiculous crushes on you.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

I’m so excited to see where Sugarbutch is going to go in the next months and years. I’ve read this site for years and never commented-truly embodying “lurker syndrome.” But this website and your writing has meant a lot of important things to me at different times in my life, and I’m grateful to see a rededication to it from you. Thanks for all that you do and give. It does not go unappreciated-I promise.

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

Video: Sinclair reads Five Blow Jobs (And oh yeah, hi)

November 21, 2013  |  journal entries  |  No Comments

Hello I’m back!

I’ve returned from Seattle, after teaching a handful of classes and visiting friends and having a day-long meeting for a new exciting collaborative adventure (more news of that coming soon).

Rife came with me and we brainstormed all sorts of things for another new exciting thing that he and I are going to be running in January (if you’re signed up for my newsletter, you already know that I revealed the first inkling of what I’m planning there at the beginning of November. And I’ll be sending out an invitation via the newsletter before posting it here generally, so if you want to know, sign up!).

What these new exciting 2014 goals also mean is: my fall 2013 touring is OVER. I loved visiting everyone in so many places and having so many great conversations (Hi Lauren! Hi Aaron & Lila! Hi Taffy! Hi Stephanie! Hi Che! Hi Katie aka the girl that won the porn! Hi Adriana & Appy & Ebony! Hi Jing!). I’m traveling—for pleasure!—for winter solstice, but aside from that, I won’t be back on the road until the spring.

I have a love-hate relationship with traveling/touring. I know it looks all glamorous from the outside, and I know for years I’ve always heard musicians (especially, since we always had Rolling Stone in my house growing up) saying it isn’t all that great, you spend so much time alone on a bus. And that’s one of those things that I’ve always said, Ya know, I believe you, but I’d also kind of like to experience that for myself. Not that I expected them to be wrong, just that I still wanted to see what that was like.

It was easier to tour when I was based in New York. I wanted out of that city as often as possible. Now that I’m in a city where (I think) I actually want to be for a while, it’s harder to leave, harder to be far away. I want a routine at home, I want a workout schedule, I want a work schedule, I want the same thing for breakfast every day for a week because it’s easy and filling and good. I want to get up and have my morning routine all set and go for a run and shower and meditate and write something before I even look at Facebook.

So that’s some of my goals for the rest of November (which is only ten days! Ahh!) and December and January until I start traveling again. I want to write more. Hone my routine. (And hopefully fight off this cold that I can feel is brewing.) I have a pile of questions to answer and ideas to follow through with. I’m really looking forward to being at my desk and figuring some of this stuff out.

I’m going to try to get more videos up in general—more of my spoken word performances, more of my teachings, and more Ask Mr. Sexsmith questions answered by video. Amazing the quality that some little hand-held phone device can record these days, isn’t it? I just keep saying, “We live in the future.” The things we can do right now … I just think it’s really cool.

Rife took video of my performance at Good Vibrations for The Big Book of Orgasms release party last week (last week! Was that only last week? Feels like a month ago), so it’s here for your viewing pleasure. It’s me reading the rife story Five Blow Jobs, which as you may or may not remember is dirty story.

DailyCal wrote up a review of the reading and said this about me:

The signal of literary dominance in erotica, Sinclair Sexsmith (yes, that’s Sexsmith — as in someone who works in the medium of sex), swaggers to the front of the room and reads not from the book but rather from a newer first-person piece off an iPad. Sexsmith reads the most edgy story by far, delivering it in exactly the low and loaded tone of voice one uses on a lover in the act.

That would be this story. “The most edgy story by far”? I’m not so sure about that—many of them were awesome and intense. Though I guess not a lot of them were kinky, most of them were about straight-up sex, so maybe that’s why this writer said that about mine.

Okay that’s enough introduction, don’tcha think? Thanks rife for recording this. Hope y’all enjoy.

I want more.

October 20, 2013  |  journal entries  |  9 Comments

I want more.

Crave it. Seek it. For every inch you give, I want two. For every mile you run, I want five.

It’s not that I’m never satisfied. I am. Maybe the satisfaction comes in the wanting, the striving. The way I give you a new edge and you nod and work and sweat and labor and your best comes from you, just a little more than you expected. That’s when I relax, and ask for it again. Again. Until your best striving is normal and I ask you for more. Always more.

That’s the point, more than the individual acts. I don’t really care if my house is kept precisely or if my water glass has ice and lime. I care if you’re trying. I care if you’re working for it, paying attention.

It’s not that I’m proud of this, exactly. I don’t say this to brag. This tendency often makes things quite complicated, adding unnecessary layers of needs and request—unnecessary to our day-to-day immediacy, but more necessary to my long term satisfaction. It’s why I moved to New York City, remember—I wanted things to be less easy.

It’s not that the work is the point, either, but that striving is the best way for me to stay on the edge. The brink of something new. The cusp of growth. And that is the broader purpose. When I keep you carefully balanced there, I keep myself balanced there too, in that place of holding your safety ropes, not certain exactly how far to push, exactly when to force just a little more, try just a little harder, you can do it, you can take it for me, just a little more, just for me, just for me. And when you do, when I push through that last resistance to open you just a little further, it opens up something in me to meet you, and we swirl, double-helix vortex, touching the infinite, touching god.

Protected: Making Peace: in which I (attempt to) explain what happened over these last eighteen months

October 2, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Making Peace #19

September 20, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Two years with Rife

September 17, 2013  |  journal entries  |  8 Comments

When I think about the past two years, and trying to put some sort of something together to explain how it’s been, I think in photographs. That one where he’s picking raspberries with his bare hands, crouched in his brown tee shirt, raspberry juice running down his wrists, pink staining his tongue. The one where he and his dog are surveying the moonscape of northern Yukon right before we turned past the “Welcome to Alaska!” sign. The one he called “doing important boy work” where he was sitting in a jock strap and nothing else on the porch at the ranch writing in his leather boy journal, writing reflections on tasks for me or writing about feelings of service and submission or writing a book report, I don’t know what the task was, but I’m sure it was important. The one with his dimples in that orange-red light that I looked at over and over before I really knew him.

I’d put together a collage post, an essay in photographs, but that doesn’t feel good enough, because who knows what you’d see. Maybe you’d see what I see, all the sweet boy tasks and dimpled smiles and creating art, but you wouldn’t see so many of the other things: the quiet contemplation, the complexities, the intensity of inner landscape, the artistry, the precision, the majesty.

It’s not easy, this intimate loving. I don’t know how it could ever be easy. It’s a practice of stripping away blocks, stripping away defenses, reminding myself over and over to let in, take in, open up, drop that protective layer. What a horrible thing to do, and how beautiful. What else is there, really, than to let someone see who I am as true as I possibly can.

This is my best truth, I whisper to him over and over, with each breath, while I sleep, while my lips touch his fingertips, while my key fits his lock. Right now, I am ruined. Right now, I am running. Right now, I am ruminating. Right now, I am rubber bouncing away. Right now, I am rumbling. Right now, I am rushed. Right now, I am a ruby shining. Right now, I am rusted through and I fear one touch will crumble everything. Right now, I just need you to hold me, take your hand and put it there, hold me from inside.

I have loved enough to know not to make grand declarations while I fall. I know I have said the same things, again and again. Falling always feels like that: brand new, awakened, like nothing else ever before. And it’s true. This time, it’s green green in all her shades, babygreen and lime and chartreuse, fresh mown grass, pine and spruce, fern and jungle, tea and olive, so many options. Let’s spend the life of our relationship cataloguing all of the hues and saturations, all of the chroma and light, every kind of value there may be. Let’s memorize the hex and RGB codes and recite them in each other’s ears when we need to remember the secret language in which we speak. This green that is growth and renewal, from budding seed to moss covering the old growth. Every stage, none more valuable than the other. None needing to be hidden. No forest does their mourning in silence, hidden away in holes or caves. Trees fall out in the open, unapologetic. This is my direction. I will now lay down to rest. We heard that great snap on the outer point trail and both looked to the canopy: which one would it be? The clear sound of tree death echoed, but it took a moment before falling. Like a ball bouncing tall tall tall and then less and less until the sound waterfalls. The tree was a waterfall as it descended, mortal, unrooted.

This is what happens. Unrooted I descend, mortal, and no one to be worshipped. And yet he does it anyway. So devoted, he whispers, and I whisper it right back. My noblesse oblige, my responsibilities, the placement in his life I continue to earn daily as I am to be and act from my best self. The deepest of forest greens. Living with him seems small compared to owning him.

I don’t know why I crave the power I do, nor does he know why he craves the submission he does. We puzzle, we theorize, we study, we muse. And we give to each other in these ways that we have always craved. Something in me didn’t know what I wanted was to own, to master. The verb, the job title—not the honorific, not yet (maybe that will come later). But as I study this path, I realize I’ve always been on it. Always been trying to encourage something more, and making do with my own limitations.

I’ve been making offerings my whole life, holding up gifts, looking at paths and asking if they wanted to walk it with me. This is the boy who has taken my hand and said yes. This is the boy who showed me paths he’s discovered, too, but had not yet walked, knowing the essentiality of having another with him. This is the boy who has been offering, over and over, to take more if they wanted it. I want more. I want the edge. I seek the razor on which we can both balance. I seek the calling to be my own best self. I seek one who will stay at my feet not because it serves him, but because it serves me. That is a fine line of difference, but makes everything change.

Right now, I am shining in the oldest forest, crackling descent to the earth, digging up rubies. Doesn’t green shine brighter when there’s red around? Isn’t my heart just oh so ready to pour this blood into the earth? Isn’t there so much more to love than heartbreak? Isn’t there so much possibility, when puzzle pieces find each other? Aren’t we so ready, so prepared and ready, to live our way to the answers, live our way to the creations of our quiet, deepest callings?

I don’t know what happens next. But I know this is the beginning of year three, and I’m listening. I choose.