Daily Musings Day 5: Nipple Guns

When I posted on Facebook, asking for suggestions for writing topics, my dear husband responded with this: 

"The benefits of the nipple gun craze that is sweeping the country."

What, you may ask, is "the nipple gun craze?" Well, it's this ridiculous thing that my husband does for the sole purpose of, well, being ridiculous. As evidenced by this photo:

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It consists of nothing more than making "guns" with one's fingers, then touching your nipples. It is silly and childish and made even more ridiculous by the fact that my husband is not, in fact, a young frat boy, but a 49-year-old husband and father with multiple college degrees. It drives me crazy, but he continues to do it all. the. time.  

He does nipple guns at Browns games.

He does nipple guns at Browns games.

And at the pool with the kids. 

And at the pool with the kids. 

And even during the ugly Christmas sweater competition at work. 

And even during the ugly Christmas sweater competition at work. 

Sometimes, other people encourage his absurd behavior by participating in it. Nothing gives my husband a greater thrill than a whole group of people doing nipple guns with him.

My husband with an entire graduating class at the media school where he used to be an administrator.

My husband with an entire graduating class at the media school where he used to be an administrator.

It makes me crazy, to levels that are probably just as ridiculous and inappropriate. Especially at times like yesterday afternoon, when he was supposed to be taking a picture of me with all of my children for my birthday and he told them all at the last minute to do nipple guns. 

Yes, the older ones all did it. Why? Because preteens and teenagers are assholes who take joy from annoying their mother. 

Yes, the older ones all did it. Why? Because preteens and teenagers are assholes who take joy from annoying their mother. 

After all of this, you may wonder if there are actually any benefits to nipple guns at all. For me, the answer is very definitely yes. There is one benefit to nipple guns: they bring my husband joy. He laughs and jokes and grins like an adolescent with his first crush, and it's adorable. Seeing my husband with that kind of joy is absolutely priceless.

Does your partner do anything that makes you crazy, but brings them so much joy that you can't even get upset? Let me know in the comments! 

Daily Musings Day 4: Sexuality

Today's musings request is a very interesting one for me. I was asked to discuss sexuality; specifically, the experience of being in a cis hetero marriage while being attracted to other genders. That's definitely something I have plenty experience with! I'm a cis woman who is married to a cis male, and I most closely identify as pansexual. I adore my husband; he's sexy, and intelligent, and keeps me laughing. 

Like I said, he's ridiculous.

Like I said, he's ridiculous.

Because I am a woman married to a man, people tend to assume that I am straight. That usually doesn't bother me, and I'm very aware of the privilege I am afforded by passing as straight. It does have the effect, however, of making me feel as though I don't quite "fit" anywhere. I don't really understand the heterosexual experience, as I've not only slept with but also fallen in love with people of multiple genders. I've never felt "queer enough" for the LGBTQIA+ community, because discrimination based on my sexual orientation isn't something I've really experienced. So many have fought so hard against such horrific abuse and bigotry because of their identities as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I often feel that I haven't earned the right to carry that designation.

Beyond the issues of where I fit in, there are some other struggles that I experience, and all of them revolve around assumptions that other people make once they know my sexual orientation. First, there's the assumption that my attraction to people of all genders means that I am incapable of monogamy, because I could never be physically satisfied with just one person. This idea is ridiculous. If I were a straight woman who found men with different shapes/sizes of penis appealing, it wouldn't be assumed that I would have to be with multiple men in order to be satisfied. My sexuality is no different. I am fully capable of monogamy, though my husband and I have chosen to have a non-monogamous marriage for other reasons.

Another assumption I am faced with frequently is the assumption that, because I am pansexual, my husband and I always want group sex. Now, don't get me wrong, I love group sex. It's something that I'm certain will always be part of my sexual repertoire. Most of the time, though, I prefer one-on-one sexual interactions. Just like anyone else, I crave the intimacy and connection of sexual exploration with a single, loving partner.

The final assumption that I encounter regularly is the idea that, because I am attracted to all kinds of people, I must be willing to sleep with anyone. That is definitely not the case! I'm actually quite choosy, despite my wide variety of attraction and somewhat promiscuous nature. The reality is that, while what is in your pants or how you define your gender does not determine whether I am interested, there are a whole lot of other things that do. I'm pretty outspoken with my interest; if I'm attracted to you, I've probably made sure you know it. If I haven't, just ask and I'll tell you honestly, and then you don't need to assume. 

Even with these few minor frustrations, I have found that navigating the world as a pansexual woman in a cis hetero relationship hasn't been terribly difficult for me. A lot of that ease stems from the comfort with and awareness of my sexuality that I possessed prior to marriage. That has really enabled me to communicate clearly and openly with my husband about my needs from the beginning. Still, our relationship has continuously evolved along our needs and growing awareness of the way we function together within our marriage. Growth and change keep passion alive, in relationships as with anything.

 

Are you a married, bisexual or pansexual person? How has your sexuality impacted your marriage? Feel free to tell us in the comments! And as always, if you have questions or just want to talk more about this topic privately, you can email me at kinseyquake@gmail.com

Daily Musings Day 3: A Good Childhood Memory

Yesterday my laptop spent 6 hours installing updates, which it decided to start as I was typing. By the time it finished, it was time for Game of Thrones - ohmygoodnessIcannotwaitforthenextseasonwhyisittakingSOLONG?! - so writing had to wait for today. Yesterday's topic was, "a good childhood memory," so I spent some time going through old pictures and reminiscing before I settled on my memory of choice. It's not a specific event so much as a series of things. Before we start, though, let's take a moment to appreciate how perfectly adorable I was:

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Pretty darn cute, right? I know!

Anyway, moving on. So, after giving it a lot of thought, I realized which positive childhood memory I'd like to share. I've got a lot of stories, good and bad and in between, because I've lived an awful lot of life. For this, though, I want to tell you a bit about my mother. She grew up in a big family, one of seven children with a mother who believed in making things yourself. In this home,  my mother learned to sew, and she is very good. When I was a little girl, she was constantly making things for me. Beautiful, elaborate Easter dresses, Halloween costumes, play clothes, picture day outfits, and even flower girl dresses for my aunts' weddings.  

Momma actually made all of the dresses in this picture. Like I said, she is incredibly talented. 

Momma actually made all of the dresses in this picture. Like I said, she is incredibly talented. 

It was always exciting when Momma decided it was time to make me something. We'd spend what felt like hours flipping through the pattern books to find just the right one. Then we'd look through all the fabrics until we found something just right. I would always ask for incredibly expensive, formal fabrics, and she would always tell me that they weren't the right weight or fabric type for the pattern and steer me toward something less expensive and more child-friendly. I'd be a bit disappointed, until we found one that was just right, and then I'd forget all about anything else I had seen. 

Everyone thought my brother looked  so cool  as a zombie punk rocker, but my clown costume had  a hula hoop  sewn into the waist! It changed the whole shape of my body! You couldn't even tell it was me!

Everyone thought my brother looked so cool as a zombie punk rocker, but my clown costume had a hula hoop sewn into the waist! It changed the whole shape of my body! You couldn't even tell it was me!

The waiting for a new project to be done was agony. All of the fitting and pinning and waiting for Momma to take breaks for things like sleep or cooking meals felt very unreasonable. Then, when it was finally done, I usually had to wait for whatever special day it had been made for! It was terrible! But then the special day would come, I would get all dressed up, and I'd be certain that my dress or costume was absolutely the best around. It would be one-of-a-kind - no Walmart costumes and holiday dresses for me! - and I just knew that everyone else just wished they could have what I had. I was the luckiest kid around.

Cultural appropriation wasn't really on the radar in small-town Missouri in the early 90's. We'd gone to a native powwow not long before, and I'd been very interested in all things native ever since. 

Cultural appropriation wasn't really on the radar in small-town Missouri in the early 90's. We'd gone to a native powwow not long before, and I'd been very interested in all things native ever since. 

Everything changed in my later elementary school years. I started to become aware of how the other kids really felt about all of my handmade things. It became very clear that being "cool" meant having the same things as everyone else, and only the "poor kids" had to have their parents make their clothes. I stopped appreciating the things my mother did, and she stopped sewing. I never forgot, though. I still remember how much I cherished those times, and I still get that same feeling of excitement and endless possibility when I walk into a craft store. I didn't finally learn to sew until my husband bought me my first sewing machine for my 32nd birthday, just 2 years ago tomorrow. Imagine my excitement when, just a few weeks later, my daughter asked me to make her a dress for her very first Homecoming dance in high school. 

It wasn't perfect, but it meant so much.

It wasn't perfect, but it meant so much.

It took me a long time to get here, but I fully recognize and appreciate how special those handmade items and the memories that go along with them really are, and I'm so excited to pass that on to my children. My mother has begun sewing again since I had kids, and I am endlessly grateful for that. Thank you, Momma, for every single stitch.

Did you wear any handmade clothing as a child? Do your kids? What special things did your mother do for you when you were young?

Daily Musings Day 2: Zombies

Today is day two of my new daily musings recovery project, and I am starting on the list of topics that were suggested for me. Today's topic is zombies, which I have woefully little knowledge about beyond The Walking Dead. Speaking of which, why is it not October yet?

I know there are no zombies in this picture, but just look at all the beautiful badasses!

I know there are no zombies in this picture, but just look at all the beautiful badasses!

Anyway, my thoughts on zombies are pretty basic:

1. Man, a zombie apocalypse would really suck. I'm not sure I'd survive, though I survive all sorts of shit I'm not sure I can, so....

2. If there ever is a zombie apocalypse, I hope the zombies are slow Walking Dead types instead of freakishly fast World War Z zombies. If we ever get overrun by World War Z zombies, I give up. I'll just lay down for a nap, and wake up on the winning side. Sorry if I eat you. But not really, because zombies need food, too.

That's really the extent of my zombie thoughts. Thankfully, though, I am the mother of teenage boys, which means I have a whole clan of zombie survival experts at my beck and call. For this conversation, I chose to turn to my 13-year-old, Alek. You can hear what he has to say below.

Well, there you have it, folks. Find a secluded but not too popular place, get a crossbow and a survival knife, and avoid other humans that you don't already know and trust.

What are your top tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse? Leave them in the comments! 

Daily Musings 1: MRI Update

Recently I have experienced some serious medical issues that have impacted my brain in ways that we don't fully understand yet. Today I posted this on Facebook, as an activity to help in my recovery:

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The response I've gotten has been phenomenal, with a very wide range of ideas given to me on my performer page, my personal page, via text, and even via Sarahah.  I've compiled them all into one place, and intend to just move down the list in order every day. The first item on the list is, "zombies." I'm far from a zombie expert, and my experience is mostly limited to The Walking Dead, so it should be interesting. Alas, I've decided to save zombies for tomorrow.

Today, it's time for an update. We still don't really have hard and fast answers, but I can tell you what I know.

1. My MRI shows no signs of stroke or damage to my brain.

2. Several small nodules were seen at my neck, right where I've had some swelling and discomfort. They're assumed to be lymph nodes, but weren't visualized clearly.

3. Despite potentially enlarged lymph nodes, blood work shows no sign of infection.

4. There is a very large cyst in my left sphenoid sinus.

In case you don't know where the sphenoid sinus is, I'll show you:

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   That orange thing there? Mine is mostly filled with a cyst. A cyst that is very likely pressing on my brain and causing me all sorts of trouble. I won't see a specialist until 9/13, so I'm not entirely certain what is going to happen. It looks like it will probably require surgery, which is very risky because....well, because this area sits between my optic nerves and next to my internal carotid artery, with my brain settled right on top. And then there's the matter of how they access the area surgically, and all I can say to that is that none of the options are pleasant. I am obviously a little freaked out by the prospect, and also still not entirely certain that this is even the issue. At least it's a place to start, though, and one step closer to healing.

Do you have any ideas for me to write about that you haven't shared? Leave them in the comments for me!

Nevertheless, she persisted.

On Sunday, March 26, 2017 I drove from Cleveland, Ohio to Meadville, Pennsylvania. I drove alone, on country roads through small towns and farmland, with very little idea of what I would experience when I arrived. All I really knew is that Kiyomi - a woman I had met just once at a workshop I presented - had shared a photo of herself and was looking for a group of women to participate in a larger shoot of the same concept with the same photographer, the shoot would be nude, and it would involve some level of emotional rawness and vulnerability.

Model: Kiyomi Knox  Photographer: Richard Sayer, Richard Sayer Photography

Model: Kiyomi Knox

Photographer: Richard Sayer, Richard Sayer Photography

 

When I arrived at the shoot location - a studio space in a small-town newspaper building - parking was a bit confusing. As I drove down an alley in the rain looking for the proper parking area and entry door, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and ball cap, with somewhat long, slightly disheveled hair noticed and sent me in the right direction, and pointed out a door just inside the alley as the place that I was headed. I parked and entered the building to find exactly what I would expect from an artist's lair: a space that was at once ordered and disordered, clearly a work space that has somehow become a sort of living space by default, with art and supplies of various mediums everywhere my eyes would land. I found a group of women seated on the floor in the second room I entered, some familiar to me and some not. I also discovered that "slightly disheveled sweatshirt guy" was actually Richard Sayer, our photographer.

Kiyomi, Ashley, and Iris in discussion

Kiyomi, Ashley, and Iris in discussion

We all sat and chatted for a bit while we waited for our final model to arrive. I spent much of that time loving on Eleanor, the absolutely delightful infant daughter of Tyler, one of the models. When Hana arrived, we got started. Kiyomi had planned an exercise for us all to get comfortable with each other and process some difficult feelings. First, we listed, shared, and destroyed "I can't" statements, and then created and shared art (or, in my case, a list) based around positive "I am" statements. We finished up by setting a individual intentions for the shoot. I was unprepared for these exercises and their emotional effect, but it was exactly what we all needed to connect with each other for what came next.

I am Kinsey. I am enough.

I am Kinsey. I am enough.

Once we had finished, it was time to get naked. I had thought that this might be a bit awkward, but it felt very comfortable and natural. Each of the women present was gloriously different and so very beautiful, and Rich was professional and respectful, with the perfect blend of profound insight and humor to make the whole experience comfortable and relaxed. Well, as comfortable and relaxed as a powerful emotional experience can be, I suppose.

An artist and his Graces. Kiyomi Knox, Iris Morphosis, Kinsey Quake, Tyler Logan Brenton, Ashley Ramos of La Luna Artworks, Hana, and Richard Sayer. 

An artist and his Graces. Kiyomi Knox, Iris Morphosis, Kinsey Quake, Tyler Logan Brenton, Ashley Ramos of La Luna Artworks, Hana, and Richard Sayer. 

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent discussing and working. We talked about painful experiences, rape culture, misogyny, expectations surrounding female bodies and sexuality, and the absolute disaster that is our current political climate. We wrote and painted many of those phrases and experiences on each others bodies. We washed away those words as best we could,  scrubbing the hate and pain from each other and ourselves. The fact that, no matter how much we scrubbed, traces of those words remained was not lost on any of us. We then covered each other in messages of love, beauty, strength, and positivity, writing and painting right over the stains of negativity that had been left. We did all of it in front of the camera, of course. Isn't that how our lives are lived now?  

Masks on, Tyler and Kiyomi

Masks on, Tyler and Kiyomi

Through it all, we talked. We joked, and laughed, and supported, and bonded. We ate pizza, played with the baby, and we all saw first-hand the power of a mother nursing one of the nasty women of our future through it all. We recreated classic works with our own twist. We built relationships that I truly believe will last, because I don't believe it's possible to share such an experience without coming to love those you share it with.  

6 powerful, compassionate women.  Kiyomi, Iris, Hana, Tyler, Ashley, and Kinsey

6 powerful, compassionate women.

Kiyomi, Iris, Hana, Tyler, Ashley, and Kinsey

Today, I have just a few of those photos to share with you. The set is far from complete, but I just couldn't wait to share them with the world. As more photos are released, I'll update with links to a gallery on my site, as well as links to any of the other models and photographer as they become available to me.