Sacrilege

This post is entirely inappropriate for posting on a religious holiday…but at least the play wasn’t on a cross?

In general, public play has always tended to be more pain-centric for me. In Pittsburgh, I was so new to things, and public play was always focused on impact play. In DC, I got a bit more adventurous with play, and there are so many more venues for public play. Thing is, whenever people tried to use a vibrator or get more sexual in nature in public, I froze up.  I now realize that I just wasn’t comfortable with those people touching me that way for some myriad of reasons. They were poly and had a primary, or we hadn’t played together more than once before, there wasn’t a connection (feeling objectified by someone for real, not for show, isn’t hot to me), or I just plain wasn’t sexually attracted to them at all. Even if we’re not about to jump into bed, I need to want the other person to touch me, which requires some level of attraction and comfort. Basically, I can’t get off from playing with just anyone, and while I might agree to play or practice rope or something with someone, that doesn’t mean I’ll react well to them touching me sexually.

I also think another part of my inability to get sexual in public was because pure pain, while cathartic, doesn’t get me sopping wet or anything.  I can attain a physical release from intense pain, but it doesn’t get me “ready to go” like other forms of play. This is part of why I’ve kind of strayed away from intense pain scenes since I first started realizing this a few months ago. Rope more than anything, however, has always evoked a more sensual response from me. Very intense or restrictive bondage makes me far hotter than pain does. Strangely enough, though, while rope was my “gateway” into BDSM in the first place, in my kink exploration it hasn’t been the focus. Since the first event I attended in Pittsburgh last January, I was preoccupied with exploring my masochistic side with rare exceptions. In DC, I attended rope events, but they were educational and it wasn’t “play.” Basically, public play with rope in a non-educational way has been a new experience for me over the last several weeks.

Anyhow, I came in public last night for the first time. I didn’t know I could do that, and it surprised me. I actually got turned on enough and was in the moment enough that I was able to focus only on the two of us and what we were doing, not the people around us or anything else. Then, ta-da, climax. And, have to say, not just a climax, but a really intense one compared to my orgasmic history. Part of me was turned on enough that I probably could have orgasmed at least one more time, but simultaneously the first one left me shaking considerably and a second probably would’ve left me hanging by the ropes alone.

So, good to know that’s possible.

In other news, 3.5 weeks from tomorrow I’ll be done with grad school!! Guess I need to stop procrastinating and do my presentation for tomorrow, then all I will have left for that class is attendance.

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3/4

My capstone project has been the bane of my existence Friday and today. Group projects never really go smoothly all the time, but this one has been painful lately. Namely, I tried to raise a point that my other group members just dismissed, then today one of our advisors raised my exact point and now we’re switching paths.  It’s frustrating because it seems like people really have no faith that my concerns are legitimate and not just pulled out of my ass.

I do think, however, that I bring doubt on myself because of a lack of confidence in my own knowledge. I made my point clearly and repeatedly, and it was a logical argument (and apparently a correct one), but I was willing to back down from it. I didn’t trust that I was right and agreed that I could be wrong, whereas another more vocal member was more assertive and confident in his thought (even though he turned out to be off course). I think my own slight uncertainty encouraged the other members to dismiss my perspective.

This is a common female issue — women apologizing before asking a question or stating an opinion, or wrongful inflection making should-be statements into questions, etc. — but I need to get over it before I enter the professional world full time. This was an issue during important mock-interviews in undergrad, was raised again in speech class, and yet I still do it. I’m so afraid of appearing overconfident or being wrong that I lead others into not trusting my opinion. This is really not a good thing.

On the other hand, when I’m 100% sure of something, I can almost always convince others to go along with me. When I believe in something, I can pull out countless arguments and my passion alone tends to convince people. I just can’t claim that certainty when I don’t know that I have it; I’d need to go do all the research, line up all the evidence, and have rebuttals to counter-arguments first. This isn’t helpful during spur-of-the-moment debates or discussions, or when I have more knowledge than those around me even if I’m not an expert, as was the case here. I need to learn to accept that even though I may not be an expert in the subject, if my subject matter expertise is higher relative to those in the discussion, then I’m allowed to be “fully certain” when making my case.

I was reading up on this, and found this to be especially relevant and interesting:

Why it that some people, the Donald Trumps of the world, seem to believe only the best about themselves, while others—perhaps especially women, perhaps especially young women—seize on the most self-critical thoughts they can come up with? “It turns out there’s an area of your brain that’s assigned the task of negative thinking,” says Louann Brizendine, MD, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the author of The Female Brain. “It’s judgmental. It says ‘I’m too fat’ or ‘I’m too old.’ It’s a barometer of every social interaction you have. It goes on red alert when the feedback you’re getting from other people isn’t going well.” This worrywart part of the brain is the anterior cingulate cortex. In women, it’s actually larger and more influential, as is the brain circuitry for observing emotions in others. “The reason we think females have more emotional sensitivity,” says Brizendine, “is that we’ve been built to be immediately responsive to the needs of a nonverbal infant. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Why-Women-Have-Low-Self-Esteem-How-to-Feel-More-Confident#ixzz1oCxJTVMY

So, at least I’ll probably be a really good mom?

Other randoms:

  • My paper on nuclear reprocessing has reawakened my interest in international energy security and nonproliferation. I actually applied to grad school based on my interest in that topic, but chose to pursue a skills-based program instead of a research-centric one. I ended up stumbling into homeland security as a subject area, but I do still find energy security fascinating. I love reading up on it and talking about it, imaging a world with different policy decisions and altered political environments.
  • Dirty Things ranks as my second-favorite DC-area event, second only to Rapture (which is only first at this point because of my friendships with the people there). I had a fantastic time this weekend going to Baltimore for the event.  I really can’t imagine ever getting sick of rope, both watching and participating in play with it.*
  • I realized that while I see the world in a variety of gray – when presented with options, I always end up with some combination of the alternatives – when it comes to my participation in things I’m either all or nothing. I am fully engaged, or not engaged at all. I understand something or I don’t. I don’t do things halfway at all, even though I’m one of the biggest advocates for compromise and middle paths. Odd realization.

*It’s been a while since I’ve clarified on that, but whenever I talk about how much I love playing with rope, it’s really all contingent on who I’m playing with. Yes, playing with rope by itself can be fun (that’s why I own some), but there are certainly different levels of enjoyment depending on if it’s for practice, the connection I have with the other people involved, the surrounding environment, etc. and there are times when it isn’t enjoyable at all if one of those things is really off. I love rope and I’ll demo in a public learning environment for whoever needs a bottom, but real actual enjoyment (of the sensual sort or the relaxation sort) comes more from the “something more” that isn’t found with all and sundry.

2011 Recap and 2012 Vanilla Resolutions

Best parts of last year:

  • Going whitewater tubing and flatwater tubing at Harpers Ferry
  • Visiting Old Town Alexandria and Annapolis multiple times with some of my favorite DC folks
  • Getting my summer internship exactly where I want; winning the Friedman award and being able to accept the internship I wanted over the summer in DC
  • Placing in top 5 for the social analytix case competition this spring
  • Finalizing my apprenticeship and finding a job I absolutely love; more importantly, discovering what I’m good at and what things are essential to have present in my future career
  • Getting involved in the DC kink community, including attending my first play parties with special recognition for Rapture and DC Rope people
  • Rocking out at optimization, linear programming, and learning to master Excel; finding things I excel at
  • Spending spring break in Gulf Shores and New Orleans with wonderful people
  • All the time spent with family (Boston, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio)
  • Throwing myself into the real world and putting myself out there in terms of dating, relationships, and men; gaining confidence in my ability to attract men
  • Going to Harvard for a conference, attending the ARPA-E conference in DC, getting published (even if just as a co-writer of a conclusion)
  • Making amazing friends in the Pittsburgh Kink community and at CMU
  • Seeing capitol steps, my first opera, the Pittsburgh symphony, Les Mis, and other really fun art events
  • Getting my health on track – lost 40lbs from December ’10 to December ’11, and got in overall better shape
  • Discovering and exploring my masochism, becoming more comfortable with my kink, and learning more about where my boundaries are in terms of relational roles and power exchange

2012 Vanilla Resolutions:

  • Find a full-time, post-graduation job
  • Graduate with my Masters…this should be a no-brainer.
  • Line up recommendation letters/references from graduate school professors
  • Incorporate forecasting, simulations, or scoring models into our systems project (didn’t happen, but opportunity passed)
  • Join a profession organization and attend an event; alumni groups from undergrad/sorority do count
  • Learn how to do macros and refresh on pivot tables in Excel
  • Organize addresses/phone numbers/passwords
  • Write/call/email friends at least once per month
  • Practice my french to recapture proficiency
  • Travel to at least one new destination (hopefully more than one, and include an overseas location)
  • Exercise in some way at least three times a week
  • Continue to work on involving friends (or finding new ones to involve) in active things, such as hiking/long walks/kayaking/tennis/dancing. Concrete goal: Do an activity like this at least once per month until graduation, more frequently after.
  • Drink more water, 4+ glasses a day
  • Write at least two more short (erotic) stories
  • Learn more about photography and work on developing a photorama of DC


Life is a mystery

Finally recovered from strep throat (as in, done with the 10 days of antibiotics, yay!). Now my boss is out recovering from surgery from appendicitis… Basically, we’re all falling apart.

Work is going very, very well. I’m proving myself rather quickly due to my excel skills, which is nice. I enjoy it a lot, although some days (like today) it gets a bit tedious, there’s not enough data, and people are a tad to0 introverted for my liking. I do like the independence the job offers, though, and usually there are pretty frequent interactions within teams, which keeps it interesting. I also greatly appreciate that keeping up on news and trainings is part of my job.

I had a freak out about hours and payroll last week, but it’s all resolved and good to go now. 31 hours/week…but I get paid soon! It’s going to be the biggest paycheck I’ve ever had. Being a grown up is nice.

I also got to feel kind of bad-ass this weekend. We had the first years from our program in town for this networking event and several workshops. I moderated a panel, got to catch up with some Pittsburgh friends, and then got asked a bunch of Qs on my job by the newbies. It was fun, because everyone really respects the agency I work at, and because I fully support the mission and love the job (and our curriculum matches it SO well, plus the subject matter can vary as long as the skills are there) I basically sold a ton of people on trying to work there. I’m a good recruiter…I might have to volunteer to do that once I graduate.

I attended Rapture, which was also a really good experience. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t subject to uncomfortable scenes and a giant orgy. Sure, people had sexual interactions, but it was rather contained. The way the place is arranged it is easy to socialize without focusing on the kinky scenes, but if you want to participate or watch there is ample opportunity. I don’t know how the organizers managed to find such great balance, but I fully appreciated it.

I was suspended for the first time, which was surprisingly easy and really fun. It really only took one rope and some knots I know, a quick pull, and BAM up in the air. It can get a little painful depending on how the weight is distributed and where the tension is, but luckily I don’t mind a bit of that :). I’m not afraid of it anymore, so that was a good accomplishment.

On an entirely separate note, my college roommate’s mom died this past Thursday. I mentioned this summer we found out she had a brain tumor, but we thought she still had several months to a year (or longer, if a miracle occurred) left. I was caught by surprise. The worst part is not being able to manage tickets and time to attend the funeral. I hate being 10 hours away from my friend, I want to be by her side, giving her hugs, helping her cope. I’m hoping she’ll be ready to talk soon and I can be there for her in that way.

Things also just sort of picked up and started flying by at an incredible pace. I have one class just 3 more times, I have my schedule planned out more than a week in advance (wtf, right?), there’s too many things and people and not enough time. I’m loving things, so that’s great, I’m just going to need a crash day soon.

I’m not sure if it’s being busy, being nervous/sick, being increasingly active, or just my general efforts, but all of my clothes are too big, except the off piece that I manage to shrink in the wash. I need to go shopping soon. I also lack fetish and kink attire, and it’d be nice not to wonder for an hour about what to wear to one of these events. Plus, since fall is approaching, I – like every other female – really am craving a nice pair of boots.

I also am very, very curious if a few folks I know from the professional/vanilla world know about my “secret life.” It kind of seems they do, or at least suspect things…but I don’t want to bring it up if they don’t already know. I also really want to know their thoughts on the subject. We’ll see how this proceeds.

Yes, this post is made of randomness…but that’s kind of how my life is right now, and I’m lacking the time to really organize my thoughts.

Other things I’d like to research and learn more about: humiliation (which is still one of the most controversial D/s subjects to me, it’s a source of endless curiosity) and protocols. I’m still reading up on pain and monogamy/poly, as always, but they’re a little less at the forefront at the moment.

Moved and Settled-ish

I have officially moved to Silver Spring, and at this point all my stuff is unpacked/hung/decorated. It’s a weird feeling.

There are some great benefits to roommates. 1) There is always someone to share jokes, stories, happy, sad, etc. moments with. 2) I can sit down at a table for meals and TV with someone else. 3) If I need a hand to hang a photo, someone is there. 4) I have someone to kick my ass into going to the gym.

There are also downfalls…Namely, I miss being able to do whatever I want without worrying about anyone’s judgement or activities.

This isn’t helped by the friend sleeping on our couch for a week (he moves out Monday, thank God). Unfortunately, all summer there will be 4 of us living here, one more than the rest of the year. I love my friends, but this many folks is going to be a bit much. It saves money though, which is good.

I’m already missing Pittsburgh, most especially my kinky friends. I despise that I met a great person just before leaving. I hate that I have to start it all over again. Ugh.

There are tons of groups in the area, depending on how far I want to drive and what type of venue I wish for.

  • FREAK – Frederick, MD, but it’s a bit of a drive with traffic
  • Fairfax Munch – again a bit of a drive
  • Rockville Area Munch
  • Pirates Munch in SSpring
  • Black Rose
  • DC TNG
  • Baltimore TNG (again though, a bit of a drive)
  • Rope Bite Baltimore
  • Baltimore Bondage Club
  • The Crucible (which eventually will reopen)
  • Lucky Lounge club nights
  • FetFest Nights/Events at Tabu
  • Dark Odyssey (primarily for their big events)

It’s a TAD BIT overwhelming, more especially as someone new to the area, submissive, female, under-30, and generally not that experienced in all things “lifestyle” as it is. I need to find a non-creepy someone to go to an event with. I’m crossing my fingers that it happens.

Traveling and Randoms

DC –> Pittsburgh–> Columbus, OH –> Pittsburgh all in 4 days! Crazy!

In order:

1) DC: Our apartment is fabulous and has great views of the pool. Plus, we can walk to downtown silver spring, have lunch, and be back all in 70 minutes. This is amazing.

2) Pittsburgh: Deluca’s does not compare to Pamelas.

3) Columbus: Is still awful for driving. Family is good. The thought of not seeing my family until December was not good, but hopefully I’ll see them in August. I bought some great dresses though, which made me feel summer-y. Seeing two of my friends from high school was also really fun. Time flies/I’m getting old.

4) Pittsburgh: Apparently I’m way easier to read than I previously thought, at least it is if someone is trying. This is somewhat disconcerting to me; I’m not used to people paying super close attention to my reactions. I tend to be pretty good at shifting focus off of me, in part because I don’t know what to do when someone focuses entirely on me. In general, receiving is more difficult than giving for me. I didn’t really realize that I’m not used to this until now. Weird.

In other news, my grades went really well. I ended up with one B+, in what was arguably one of my easiest classes (but of course one that I didn’t focus on AT ALL, since I was so busy working on my other classes). AND now I’m done with year 1 of grad school!

ChugChug

Chugging along, slowly but surely. Just a few things on my mind today.

1) FINALS. Ick. I’m making progress with my studying, but it’s rough. I hate having to choose between doing what I want to do, and what I should do. At the end of the day, I’m paying big money to learn things from this program, and I have to prioritize my education. It sucks – I’m passing up play opportunities, parties, and other fun things in order to study. *bitchbitchbitch* I do acknowledge what is most important, though, and I can’t blow 7 weeks of work in one weekend. So, studying it is.

2) I leave Pittsburgh 2 weeks from tomorrow. Of those I know that are also leaving, I’m the only one who is actually attached to Pittsburgh. Other people are sentimental about the friends who will be in Pitt for their 2nd year, but I will actually miss the city itself. I love the ambiance, the attitudes, the attractions. I immersed myself in all that Pittsburgh has to offer, and so I’m sad to leave it. I would be happy living here long-term. It makes me sentimental about Indiana, even.

3) Maturity and age do not always correspond. Soap box of the week: you need to respect your body, yourself, and those you care about. It is better to be classy than to be crazy. You can let loose and still be classy, if you are aware of your surroundings. No matter what it seems like, when you’re interacting with peers who will someday be colleagues, you should maintain some semblance of sanity.

4) I used to test in the Myers-Briggs as an INTJ: Mastermind. I’ve retested twice lately, and both times have come out as ESTJ (w/ the “e” being just barely). The descriptors fit me so well it is kind of creepy. IE:

“ESTJs are joiners.”

“ESTJs are driven to give service to the community in such areas as government employee, military or police officer.”

“ESTJs are very good at making impersonal decisions quickly.” “They value competence and efficiency.” “Their logic and honesty sometimes make them insensitive to others’ emotions.” “They are easily engaged in various pursuits.”

“ESTJs value security and social order above all else, and feel obligated to do all that they can to enhance and promote these goals. They will mow the lawn, vote, join the PTA, attend home owners association meetings, and generally do anything that they can to promote personal and social security.”
5) Have I mentioned I love to dance? I love it! I can’t wait to get involved in the social dance scene in DC. Thank God for friends who like to try new things with me!