Announcement: Self-Publishing My Poetry

I’m proud to announce I’m self-publishing a poetry collection this November!

COMPASSES AND OTHER ORNAMENTS OF DIRECTION is a 4-part journey that starts in the bliss of toxic love and finishes with lost and forward-thinking freedom after an abusive relationship.

This is a collection of poems I’ve been working on since 2013, when I first started trying to break free from an abusive online relationship. The majority of the poems were completed years ago, but only now have I processed them and the events they percolated from. I added more poems recently, bringing the collection to 4 parts instead of 3.

I’ve also started to realise how fucked up the origin of all these words and pains really is. I’m only now telling it with an appropriate amount of clarity, rather than disillusionment.

When I was a teenager, first new to the Internet and chat rooms and messaging programs, I met lots of people. People who were nice, people who weren’t. People who were catfishes and people who were random weirdos like me just chatting to others for the fun of it. And when I say “teenager”, I mean I was a 13-year-old who was relatively unsupervised and interacted with some creepy men.

I tend to romanticise the man and the relationship I had with him. I want so badly right now to speak well of him—a sentiment echoed in the poem “reincarnate” in the 4th part of the collection—but I know I shouldn’t. There are equal parts shame and protection when I think about him. I’m ashamed, in my 20s, to have been involved with a man in his 20s when I was 13 to 18.

I don’t talk to him now. I haven’t met him in person, I haven’t spoken to him in years, and I have no intention of reconnecting with him or revealing his full name. We weren’t exactly “involved” or dating, but I spent every waking moment talking to him or wanting to talk to him.

This is a hard story to tell when it’s one framed by shame and hurt, instead of the superiority or nonchalance with which I used to tell it. I hate being wrong. And I hate feeling like I’ve done something wrong. I was a child and he was an adult. No matter what anyone says, I’m not at fault.

And I guess this poetry collection is me trying to express the blame and pain I’ve held onto all these years, all the time I was brainwashed into dependency, all the parts of myself I molded to fit his desires.

So please buy the poetry collection. It releases on November 18 exclusively on Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms.

November 18 is significant to him. Maybe if I reclaim it some way, mark it as the day I slung my poems into the world, I’ll associate that day less with him and more with myself.

I’ll be posting small excerpts on my Twitter and my Instagram leading up to the release, as well as the preorder link when I get it! Follow to keep in touch. Cover reveal will be coming soon, too!

Questioning, Part 2

An earlier post of mine mentioned that I was in that questioning phase again. I’m still there, and it hasn’t been very fun.

What I’m questioning in my identity is something that would affect my relationships with everyone. Not just my intimate partnership right now, but also my friendships. It would also change the way I see relationships in cultural norms and current society.

The gist of it? I literally don’t know what romantic love feels like. All of the examples of romantic love that I see have definitions that hinge on monogamy.

Soul mate. Partner. Life partner. Who you want to spend your life with. The one. Other half.

This type of love is seen as different to other types of love. It’s been very hard for me to find resources to help me question this part of my sexuality, because romance is always, always presented hand-in-hand with either sexual relationships or asexuality—and I’m not asexual.

I’ve felt incredibly outcast, because I don’t fit in with society’s expectations of relationships; and I don’t fit into the asexual community.

In seeing my friends grow up, go through relationships, get married, discuss their future hopes and dreams… I feel like an outlier. Marriage? A spouse? A family? I frown at the idea of having them for myself. I don’t want those things in any large capacity. Maybe one day, but right now—and how it’s predominantly been since I hit puberty over a decade ago—I don’t want a spouse and a child, a shared master bedroom and ensuite, a joint bank account, half a mattress.

That’s the social norms that I don’t feel connected to. This nuclear family ideal that starts with a locked pair of molecules. It doesn’t feel right for me, and I don’t know why.

There’s also this thing called the split attraction model that separates attraction into “romantic” and “sexual”—that’s why you can have labels like “homoromantic demisexual”—and I really struggle with it. I feel like I don’t fit into it, because who I have sexual attraction to isn’t dependent on their gender (hence the “pansexual” label I use and am very comfortable with!) and my romantic attraction isn’t based on gender at all.

My romantic attraction is just… I guess it’s all platonic? But it isn’t all platonic, because my love for some people is shown in different actions that aren’t strictly platonic. My love for my boyfriend, for instance, gets sexual. But I haven’t reserved sexual love for certain relationships (this is me trying to say that I’m fine with casual sex, ok, let’s just put that out there). Hand holding, hugging, kisses, mouth kisses—the more I question myself, the more I question the split attraction model.

Just, what is romance? What is it?

I don’t know. It’s confusing. Hence the “questioning” thing.

I feel like an outcast because I don’t relate to so many people when it comes to intimate relationships. We can all agree on what “intimate” is—it’s varying degrees of close interactions with people. Handshaking, high fiving, hugging, hand holding, kissing (which also has more variations based on where on the body those kisses go), cuddling, fondling, caressing, making out—getting more intensely sexual.

And all of that is stuff that I don’t feel the need to reserve for one person or one type of relationship. Those interactions depend on the person I’d theoretically be doing it with. I’d kiss a pal without wanting to date them. Heck, I’ve had sex with people I had no intention of getting any emotional connection with, and that was fine by me (that casual sex thing, okay? chill). The limitations of what intimate interactions I do with people are set by the relationships I have—both with the person, and with other people. My current relationship requires boundaries in my behaviour, as well as exclusivity.

But I have friends I won’t hug, because I know they don’t like it. I have friends I only hug. I have friends who hug me and pick me up when they do it (and vice versa). I have friends I’d kiss on the cheek or the top of the head or the forehead. I have friends who will put their head on my shoulder. I have friends who would put their head in my lap so I can play with their hair. I have friends I’ve done sexual things with, and we’re only friends. They’re all my friends. They’re all platonic, in that sense. But we’ve done romantic, intimate, and/or sexual things.

Where does “platonic” come up? I don’t understand how it fits into “attraction” when it’s really just… the nature of a relationship.

I don’t know. I’m confused. I’m questioning still. And my worldviews are shattering because of it, and I’m fucking terrified of the implications of this. I want to cry. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if people will get hurt. I don’t know if I’ll come out of this unscathed or without guilt.

Writing Wednesday: “Sentimental Scenic Sin”

Writing Wednesday Poem Sentimental Scenic Sin

Sentimental Scenic Sin

I am a desert cactus and you are an aloe branch
sitting on the grocer’s stand
somewhere in Bangladesh. The vacuum-sealed
bell peppers eyeing me across the aisle
shine for moister air. You are a riverbed
to the Atlantic, where a ship sunk,
four murderers destroyed their innocence, and a ravished
corpse drowned; and I
cook vegetarian curry in an apartment building
with flat-packed cans of tomatoes.

I mailed you
a book covered in ships and a hardbound cover; you will find
the blazon’d trail of dusty graves and
sediment layers which lead to me.
I shoved the map in a mailbox and
you peeled back the tongue-moist glue
too late—I have written a love letter on
the fibres from yesterday’s Amazon. She is a musician and
you are a computer technician in Buenos Aires.
I am a cactus tended beside the balcony door, and you
are aloe consumed by the neighbour’s
blender, for the spouse’s
newest trend in
health food smoothies.

I am a driftwood pipe and you are an ivory tusk
on display in India next to the English colonial
tradition. I sigh against lips of a skilled
flute player who moved in down the street, from
neon-lit streets in Japan; she
studies political science and I will not marry her.
You smack glass windows, angry-fisted,
because the sky cried on your laundry and you have no socks
for your corporate meeting.
You bring in eighty thousand a year and remember me
through the glare as you gaze to a Catholic city, and
I would have married you if you lived on an elephant
because they can swim
better than I.