Saturday, November 23, 2019

Barter and Sub

About a month ago, at a regional Burning Man event my friends had tragically convinced me to go to, I threw my drunk and Molly-addled self into my $25 tent, catching my hair on the zipper and wrestling with the mosquito screen before I began drool-sobbing (you know the kind) into my mildew-ey pillow for the next hour. The couple next to me fucking in their tent probably heard. But it was either this or start randomly punching people in the face.

A series of unfortunate but predictable happenings at said event had made the seething loneliness that I'd been shoving down my heart valves the last few months feel like a stinging loogie in my chest that I needed to hock forth from the depths.

The hocking helped … for maybe 12 hours. Then I emailed my submissive.

Fast-forward a week later: I sat in my kitchen watching a cute boy in panties delicately pour me precisely a quarter glass of Pinot Noir. A little too tannin-y. Not quite what I had asked for, but he'd hit the mark with his choice of heels.

As I ate, he started asking me questions about myself and listened attentively to the answers, his eyelinered eyes staring adoringly (and a touch fearfully) into mine. It was exactly what I needed - but that's because I had commanded it all in my detailed email the week before.

"How long do you want to keep bartering," my BFF asked me after I finished describing this latest session to her the other night.

She's so fucking perceptive it's annoying.

She was referring to this elaborate (*yet highly creative and resourceful) barter system I've come up with. In an attempt to assuage my loneliness, I continuously exchange what I really want for blips of affection, or orgasms, or help with moving, all from different humans who are willing to provide pieces, but never the whole package.

Sample bartering schedule:

Monday: my submissive gives me a massage and hangs my curtains while asking me how my day was.

Tuesday: sex date with fuck buddy who doesn't make out with me during it for fear of emotional attachment.

Wednesday: drunken make-out with rando Bumble date to fill the make-out void. 

Thursday: guy who always makes me feel good but "doesn't know what he wants" takes me to see a band and gives me multiple orgasms after. 

Friday: Netflix and wine and crying with my long-suffering BFF.

Saturday: getting instant validation on Instagram from number of "likes" on a pic of my ass.

Sunday: Ani DiFranco at the Orpheum with lady friends, because fuck men.

The bitch of this barter system is that it can turn on you real quick. Like when you bump into one guy you're sleeping with and he cheerfully introduces you to his hot new fling. Or when you get a flat tire on the bridge just trying to make it home from an exhausting day and you realize you can't call any of them to help you because it's not like that.

But at least it's something?

Most likely it's just a painful reminder that I don't yet have the ovaries to stop peicemealing a lovelife, let myself feel really fucking lonely, keep feeling lonely, and not stop until I GET WHAT I ACTUALLY WANT AND NEED.

There's no solution to loneliness, just a choice of how much you're going to barter your way through it or decide SIT IN IT, like a big girl, by yourself, and not budge until you get only the best. 

I'll likely be sitting somewhere in the middle for a while. And I'm not going to beat myself up for it. Just my heart, occasionally, and maybe a submissive's ample rear.

Any other barterers out there? How do you fill your lonely-hole?

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Who The Fuck Do I Think I Am

I sat in a plastic chair that looked like it came from the set of Stranger Things, trying to keep it together while my male law partner effortlessly told a cramped living room of 50 or so anxious immigrants what their rights are in the face of raids and racism. 


I had arranged this Know Your Rights presentation with the help of some community activists in New Orleans East. And now here I was, fully anticipating a loss of consciousness once I stood up to speak.

But the Universe must have decided that I needed to do this because by some work of magic, I got up there and made words, even answered questions. And people paid attention.

The biggest surprise of the first month of being my own boss has been how loud and obnoxious the "Who do you think you are?" 's have been.

The even bigger surprise is that the only one asking that question has been me.

All my life, I've loved nothing more than someone, especially an ambassador of the patriarchy, telling me that I can't, that I shouldn't, that I need a dick to be able to do that. Because that means I just tell them to fuck off and do exactly the thing they didn't want me to do.

But now that I'm finally standing on the edge of actually doing EVERYTHING in my life my way, all of those past "Shouldn't"'s and "Can't" s are coming out to party.

They're coming from a lifetime of the Distrcit Attorneys who repeatedly addressed me as "sweetheart" in the courtroom, the ex who told me I wouldn't be taken seriously as an attorney if I take my clothes off on stage, the grade-school teachers who said my Swiss accent was problematic, the hundreds of times I've been treated as a set of tits and an ass without a brain.

And the bitch of it is, I can't directly tell these echoes to shut the fuck up, because the people who created them are not in front of my face anymore.

It's just me now, asking myself who the fuck do I think I am expecting to be respected as equally in court at 8 a.m. as on stage wearing a strap-on at 9 p.m.?

Who do I think I am thinking I'll make enough money to consistently support myself without having to kiss the ass of a shitty but rich boss?

Who do I think I am believing that actually giving a shit about my clients and treating them like equals will speak louder than being old, white, rich and having a dick?

On the upside, I wouldn't be asking myself these questions if I hadn't made the decision to finally break free.

What most of us learned in Kindergarten is true: you can really be whoever you want to. What they don't teach you is that you're going to be inundated with so much shit as you grow up that when you decide to take the reigns of your goddman life once and for all, you're going to have to put up one hell of a fight against yourself first.

It sucks, it's tough, it's giving me debilitating panic attacks. But I'd rather the freedom of this crazy slog-fest than never feeling what it's like to do it my way.

Who am I? A woman who is creating her own world despite society telling her she can't.

That's who the fuck I am.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

I’m Not A BADASS, I Just Play One Onstage

 Hi. I’m Annika. I’m sitting in my favorite cafĂ© that used to be a church not wearing any panties trying to latte and positive-thought my way out of a spiral of “there’s something wrong with you” yipping at my heels days after I ended things with a romantic endeavor.

I’m wondering if my lack of enthusiasm about getting up in the morning is because I chose the wrong career or my micromanaging boss just sucks. The filler that I got injected into my face two weeks ago is doing this lopsided thing but I’m telling myself it’ll work for the mermaid banshee look in tonight’s show.

Onstage tonight, though, I’ll be playing a femme dome-y, super-humanly confident, possibly polyamorous, extrovert who grinds the patriarchy to sand with her stripper heels. My alter-ego, Lucerne: a caricature of a "BADASS.”

Lucerne came out of my birth canal when I was a shy, kind of insecure, 24-year-old who nonetheless managed to shake (and drink) herself onto a stage for a student showcase in NYC. Somewhere near the beginning of the act while I was dry-humping a boa, something clicked: like a stroke, but less numbness.

I realized that I could be whoever the fuck I wanted on that stage. Lucerne became all the things I wished I could be, or was told I should be: A BADASS.

Over the last few years of stage fuckery, Lucerne's helped to me amplify parts of me that I like and make fun of the parts I don't so I don't take myself so goddam seriously. 

But she’s also a problem.

Lucerne has shaped herself into the image of BADASS, a caricature birthed by well-meaning Beyonce-reared feminists. An idea that you too can rule the world if you slay all self-doubt, never take shit from anyone, kill it at a fulfilling career and have open or casual relationships without a trace of neediness or jealousy.

The cult of badass teaches us that this is what the self-actualized feminist should aspire to and if we fall short, we’re, well, just “still working it out.” Bless our hearts.

The problem happens when people, be they romantic interests or potential BFF's, first encounter me onstage while watching me, say, pull a rosary out of my pussy. Assumptions click in, stereotypes happen, fantasies are projected and I guess I can't really blame them.

Who wouldn’t want to meet that elusive BADASS unicorn who doesn’t care who you make out with in front of her, you don’t have to support emotionally because she has all her shit together and will dress in latex, tie you to a piano bench and make you atone for your sins every night (that part’s kind of real).  

For many people I've met, they have an easier time buying into the extreme caricature of Lucerne/BADASS than a real-life, nuanced, sometimes-contradictory, sometime-fragile Annika.

Lucerne, with her butt-plugs and face-humping sexuality is more digestible/ acceptable because she's consistent in what she presents every time she gets on the stage. You think you know what you’re gonna get when you meet her.

But, many times, Lucerne has made me feel like a disappointment to people when they really get to know me. Like, oh, you're not so super-hero-level secure and you talk about normal boring things sometimes ….  like your day job. Ugh.

I’m not a BADASS.

I’ll act like a glamorous snob when I first meet someone because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m not cool, I want to peg you, sure, but more so, I craves cuddles and holding your hand. I stand in front of my mirror every morning and tell myself over and over I’m enough for the world, maybe even for that elusive “someone”. (then burn shit-tons of Palo Santo) I have impostor syndrome every goddamn time I’m in a court room.

I’m still very much working on my shit. And it’s important for me to tell people that. I want women to stop drinking the BADASS poison fantasy and realize that IT DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST.  

What does exist is beautifully nuanced humans who, if you're smart, you’ll find you can connect to most deeply in their fragility and imperfection while still reveling in their sparks of occasional BADASS.

Lucerne is a tribute to those sparks.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

On Double-Dicks and Enlightened Pussy

Last year I had my first couple three ways. I avoided them until I was 35, partially because I have historically battled with unsexy levels of romantic jealousy. 

I learned jealousy from my mama, as one often does. But it's  carved such a deep pothole in my brain because society teaches women to compete so they don't do the opposite: support each other and overthrow the patriarchy. And instead of competing for leadership roles or innovation or President, they're taught to compete for something entirely useless: the approval of men.  

Because of this I have this groove carved into my brain that says: you can't be different and equal, somebody has to have the better under-boob, wit, eyeliner, taste in post-punk. 

After a month-long Dan Savage binge left me high on revolutionary sexuality, I convinced myself that a three-way might be the perfect exposure therapy. 

The thought of sex with a man and another woman made gave me premonitions of running naked from my bedroom with tears of defeat and worthlessness running down my face. So I decided I would go for the safer option: me and two guys -- and two guys who are also into each other.

You haven't lived until you've seen some man-on-man dick-sucking while you're sitting on one of their faces. Highly recommend. 

After happily bopping my way through three or four of these, the totally expected happened: the two guys got so into each other that I was mostly ignored. I had a HOW DARE YOU moment followed by my body image doing a swan dive into a dumpster. 

As predicted, I tearfully exited the room endowed with the ancient and painful truth: 


As I digested this experience, I realized that the Universe had just schooled me on a very basic concept in an embarrassingly 2+2=4 kind of way. The only reason dude #1 went for dude #2 instead of me was that he preferred dick over pussy. There was no advanced calculation of my worth or attractiveness against anyone else in the room. No score sheet, no bonus points for good hair. Dude #1 preferred dude #2's anatomy over mine. Not wonderful three-way etiquette, but also 0 commentary on my worth or attractiveness. 

What has this done for my dating life since? It used to be that if I told a man I get jealous or I let it slip through some clumsy fear explosion, yucky things would happen like having the Sartre novel I lent him hurled at my abdomen while I'm ugly crying in the middle of a New York City sidewalk. 

The irony in these reactions is that we're taught by the patriarchal establishment to compete for men but then, when jealousy oozes out as a natural byproduct of that education, the same men reject us and tell us we're crazy and broken. 

I still haven't had a three-way with another woman. But I did just start seeing/ hanging out with a pretty awesome woman. I broke down in tears the other night because I was having  familiar jealous rumblings and I thought if I dared to, you know, OPENLY COMMUNICATE to her about it, she would give me the run-o-the-mill "crazy bitch" treatment.

Instead she just said, duh, she understood, and also that I didn't even scare her. 

I'm not going to pave neatly over the jealousy groove in my mind any time soon, but I've been gifted two realizations to start: 1) a human different from me is not "better" and 2) I'm not broken. 

Thanks double-dicks and one special vagina.