On Nalbinding, Net Making, and Novels

Back in January, I shared some stuff on Mastodon about yarn crafting and my Building Family wip.

The short version is that for REASONS, I needed to figure out if nalbinding (a precursor to knitting, for my non-crafty friends) could have been invented off of net making.

Since research failed me, I decided to do an experiment.

First, Net Making

I pulled up some net making videos on YouTube, and tried following them. BUT I didn’t use a spacer. In net making, a spacer is used to determine how wide the holes in the net are. Without a spacer, the knots would be right next to each other.

This is the first video I looked at:

But when I ended up trying my experiment last week, I used this video:

I went with the crab making video because it used fingers for the spacer initially (I really like his net making gizmo he pulls out halfway through though!) and because it is worked in the round. Those two similarities to nalbinding just made it easier for my brain to grok.

Then, Experimenting

I initially tried to copy it using just my thumb for a spacer, instead of multiple fingers (as shown in the video). Instead of the metal ring, I started with a magic-ring type yarn loop from crochet as the center of my work.

There were definitely parts that felt very similar to nalbinding, places I needed to pinch the yarn to keep it in place or run the needle until a loop that was around my thumb. But the result was essentially a very tiny net, not fabric.

(I wish I thought to take a picture of it.)

Now, I’m pretty sure, if I had the spoons/matches, a good knot dictionary, and time, I could put the net making video (which essentially uses repeated half-hitches) next to a good nalbinding tutorial (the oslo stitch starts with paired half hitches), and figure out a way one could have evolved into the other.

I didn’t have the matches, and for my purposes I didn’t specifically need to make nalbinding. I just needed to use net making to create fabric.

Finally, Results

So I took the simple solution and just stopped using any spacer at all. This is the result:

nalbinding netmaking

The holes where initially the result of my keeping the stitches loose so I could recognize where I needed to put the needle. As I got more comfortable the holes got smaller, as you may be able to see. Unfortunately, the needle I have (as you can see in that picture) is very wide at the eye, and there are several places where the eye forced those holes wider than they would otherwise have been.

In any case, the end result looks a lot like a miniature granny square from crochet.

Fin

At this point, I have what I need. I can see how someone could do the same thing I did and not have holes or gaps. So someone starting with net making could end up with a fabric that would have different properties, and therefore different appeal, from weaving.

I am curious how far I could take this. Could I really figure out how to get to nalbinding from net making? Could I develop a new and different type of yarncraft? Where could this go?

Unfortunately, I don’t have matches or time for that kind of experimentation. I’ll go back to working on my crochet and learning new-to-me nalbinding stitches that other people already figured out how to do. And the characters in my next novel will invent a new kind of yarncrafting for their world.

But if any of my yarncrafting friends decides to pick this up where I left off… let me know what happens, ‘kay?

Learn more about my original world (and other projects) by joining Jess’ Pack.

Autistic ACCEPTANCE Month

This is a place for folks from the Autistics Coming Together group and other autistic folks to share links to their Autistic Acceptance posts, memes, and compilations about autism during the month of April.

Comments by group members should include links and a title and/or brief descriptions. Any other comments will get deleted. Any comments with cure language or promoting Autism Speaks will get the poster banned. (Don’t ask why, read the links.) Comments will close May 1.

Scroll down to learn more about the REALITY of autism.

I am at war with myself

In the Venn diagram which makes up ME I know three parts.

One is the traumatized betrayed child who huddles within my psyche. I—the part of I that dominates my existence—cannot reach child-me. Nor can child-me reach I. Child-me hears my thoughts when I try to reach that part of me, but rarely responds.

One is unknown to me. Unkown-me lurks in the shadows of my mind, whispering horror and hate. It is the part of me that is driven by a despair and seeks self immolation and dissolution.

And the last is I, the part that is the dominant part of myself, my psyche, the part that I think of as me.

These three and perhaps others I have not yet recognized create the ego-system which is Jessica. (Will I ever really think of myself as Jess? It is the name I have taken on, intend to make mine legally as well as practically. But Jessica is still name that comes to me in moments like these.) I am multitudes within my solitude.

The part of me which dominates this ego-system is the part that is driven to live and heal—though for a long time I did not believe life and healing were possible. For years I would only say that I could not give up. And so I fought on, even when I believed no success was possible.

Though I didn’t realize it, for a long time my greatest fight was with myself. The unknown that seeks destruction and dissolution warred with this part of myself that sought life and healing. It is, I believe, no virtue within me that tipped the scales in favor of I, only luck and chance that put the people who made healing possible in my path. If I possess a virtue that contributed to my survival it is only this:

I am stubborn. And shown a possible path out of utter defeat I walked it even if I had to walk at a crawl.

But the unknown I was (is) stubborn too, and very often I found that I had unknowingly sabotaged myself as my two parts warred inside me.

Sometime in the last decade—I could not clearly point to when, this part of me firmly gained the upper hand. The unknown within me is not defeated—unknown-me fights on. But unknown-me no longer has power. Unknown-me fights a losing battle.

Perhaps, unknown to I, I have had an ally in this battle. Today, unknown-me managed to win a small victory of sorts, undercutting my ability to function until I gave up on getting anything done today. I still often have days when I can’t get anything done, but they are most often do to autistic overload, or (until I started getting treated for B12 deficiency a few weeks ago) physical exhaustion. It is rare today that I am unable to function due to self-sabotague.

I went for a walk and spent some time examining what went on within my mind. I fought with unknown-me while I (A fourth I?) watched and analyzed. And at some point I stepped back from warring with myself and asked myself “where is the child?”

It has been… to long since I sought out my child self. Years ago, realizing I could not reach that part of myself, I stopped trying, instead focusing on those areas where I could make progress.

But today I sought my childself. Child me remained as I remembered me, unreachable, endlessly crying. But today, when I talked to child-me, when I asked myself what I might do that would help, that would heal, that would free myself, for the first time, child-me had an answer.

Don’t stop, I told myself. Whispered through my tears and pain and grief. Don’t stop.

Myself couldn’t touch my childself. I could not hold me or comfort or aid.

But if I can claim one virtue, it is stubbornness.

No, I promised myself, I won’t.

One day, I will find a way to free my child-self, heal my unknown broken self, perhaps (dare I hope?) to reintegrate my ego-system into one self again.

But until that day, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Don’t stop.

 

Polyamory on Purpose Guides Sale

Almost exactly 5 years ago I released my first book, Polyamory and Pregnancy.

The last five years haven’t gone anything like I expected, but I did get another polyamory book out and got a lot of good shit done. Today I want to celebrate those 5 years. So for the next few weeks, Polyamory and Pregnancy and The Polyamorous Home are on sale for 40-50% off in both ebook and paperback.

If You’ve Been Waiting to Get Your Copy, Now Is the Time

As one of my Amazon reviews says, both books are “What is says on the tin.” Polyamory and pregnancy is all about, well, polyamory and pregnancy. The Polyamorous Home, ditto, all types of polyamorous homes including (yes) a section on solo-poly. They’ve been described as polyamory 101 books, but they are written FOR polyamorous people, so if you aren’t familiar with polyamory or are looking for an intro to polyamory book, look elsewhere first, then come back to learn more.

Polyamory and Pregnancy on Amazon

And from other retailers

The Polyamorous Home on Amazon

And from other retailers

Please remember to leave a review!

Discounting the books by this much means for some of these sales I’ll be getting paid pennies. Please help me out by leaving a review so other folks can find my books.

Many people don’t realize how critical reviews are to authors. For one example, Amazon will begin promoting a book in the “If you like this, you might like that” section of the website only after the book gets a certain number of reviews. Please leave reviews for authors whenever your spoons/time allows!

Don’t miss my fiction

I’ve got a fantasy novel and a few short stories out as well.

I’m a Quora Top Writer?

I’ve been answering questions on Quora (and much more rarely asking them) for about five years now. Quora has been one of my go-to sites for research (one of the reasons I rarely ask questions is most of the time someone else already did!) as well as a fun place to share my thoughts and opinions on things that I have experience in. But I’m was rather surprised to log into Quora last week and find a message telling me I’d been named a Quora Top Writer for 2018.

I never wanted to be a Quora Top Writer

When I first learned about Quora’s Top Writer’s program I spent maybe 5 minutes wondering if I should try to become one. And quickly decided no. The topics I was interested in answering questions for were too niche and I wasn’t interested in answering tons and tons of questions. In fact, after five years on Quora, I’ve answered 631 questions. A respectable number, it averages to about one question every three days. But nowhere near the thousands of answers some folks have.

I didn’t see any real benefit to being a Top Writer, I wasn’t interested in making Quora a major time sink, and while I have a competitive streak and like taking on challenges for the sake of challenges, I’m not one of those people who can’t pass up a dare.

So I’m still surprised and kind of bemused that the feather in my cap (or quill on my profile) I was never interested in getting is now mine.

So What Have I Been Doing on Quora?

Unsurprisingly, given my focus the past several years, most of my answers (over 100) have been in the topic of Polyamory.

I’ve also done a lot of writing on Religion, LGBTQ+ and various related topics  and various topics related to mental illness.

In the past few months, I’ve been very active on the Autism topic.

Like with Polyamory on Purpose, some of my answers from years ago don’t necessarily reflect my opinions now. But if you are interested you can check out the topics I’ve been following on Quora here.

I Really Like Quora

I think the reason I ended up a Quora Top Writer is that I like the site so I spend a lot of time there. And when I’m on there reading what other people have to say, I almost always find one or two questions I’d like to answer too.

One thing I love about Quora is it is a place I can give free rein to my long-windedness. Folks on quora not only accept but often appreciate long, in-depth answers. Especially on complex topics. Which isn’t to say all my answers go on forever. One of my early answers on Quora was to a question about if someone should shave their girlfriend’s eyebrows while she was sleeping. My answer was a single sentence:

Only if you don’t want to have a girlfriend when she wakes up.

Quora is also one of the few places on the intenet that you actually should read the comments. Quora’s Be Nice Be Respectful policy has a lot of problems. (I mean a LOT of problems.) But it has done a good job of keeping trolls, harassment, and ad hominem attacks to a minimum. So MOST comments are either a useful discussion of the answer or adding additional information to a good answer.

A VERY Different Kind of Family

This started as a kind of stream of conscious riffing on family and society. It ended up being a long-ass essay about how a society could develop around multi-generational households and group marriages. If you like anthropology, fictional societies or “how stuff works”, read on!

A while back on Quora I was asked to answer “They say that polyamorous families (group marriages) are happier and provide more role models for children than traditional nuclear families, what do you think about it?”

(Un)fortunately, because of Quora’s “Be nice, be respectful” policy, I couldn’t say what I REALLY think about it.

The same day, I also realized that all my old posts about my current WIP (working title: Building Family) are gone now. So I should maybe start talking about it again so folks know what I’m doing!

And I ALSO did some work on the conlang for Building Family, creating the words for different family relationships.

So let’s talk family.

Every society has their own idea of an ideal family. And whatever that “ideal” is, it’s going to have benefits that support that society’s values and beliefs. In modern America the ideal is the so-called “nuclear family” — two parents and their kids living together. While it isn’t usually part of the definition of a nuclear family, I’d argue that the ideal also includes extended family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — who maintain a connect with the nuclear family through family holiday celebrations, reunions and other occasional interactions.

In Building Family, there are several closely related societies who all share similar ideas about what the “ideal” family looks like. Specifically, they all favor multi-generational households built around group marriages.

Some Family History

The groups who are known as “far-walkers” and the fisherfolk created the family culture in Building Family. The fisherfolk are the cultural descendants of the people who first came to this small continent. They were family groups who lived on their boats and traveled together. The far-walkers are hunter-gatherers who also travel in family groups, coming together for larger gatherings once a year.

Unlike in our world, people in the world of Building Family have a serious incentive to build secure, permanent shelters. Without giving away too much I’ll say in tropical and semi-tropical regions, being out in the sun on a bright summer day, even for a minute or two, can be a REALLY bad idea.

So far-walkers and fisherfolk started building homes where they would spend the summer under roofs. But it never occurred to them to build multiple buildings for a family group. One big building for everyone in the family. Children, parents, grandparents, the occasional great-grandparent all living together.

Overtime, some of these families developed a more sedentary lifestyle. Only the young adults go on the long boat trips and season-long hunting/gathering journeys. The older adults (grandparents and great-grandparents) and children stay in the family home all year. And eventually some become fully sedentary. The boats come into dock every night, or a far-walker family decides to specialize in leatherwork They stay in one place and far-walking families pay them to turn skins and furs into well-tanned leathers. Of course, there are advantages to setting up your permanent residence near other people. And if this goes on long enough, eventually you have a village, a town, or even a city.

And you have a culture that idealizes a family where multiple generations live together under one roof.

But what about marriage? How does that work? Does it work even?

Well, with all property belonging to the family, there’s little incentive for many of the patriarchal practices and attitudes that developed in many real world bronze age cultures. Controlling “your” woman to ensure that you have children to leave your property to is much less of an issue when you don’t have any property. And women needing to stay home and take care of the kids is less of a thing when the grandparents are living right there and expected to take care of the kids while the parents work.

So I decided what the hell. To the best of our knowledge it never happened in the real world, but I’m going to go ahead and make a culture where gender roles don’t exist.

Of course, families still needed to ensure they would have kids to pass their property on to. The continuity of property ownership is kinda a critical thing to any and all societies that have significant property ownership. This right away interferes with “no concept of gender” because families need to be sure that they have a het pairing to have kids, right?

Well, not if group marriage is the norm. And this goes back to those far-walkers and fisherfolk.

Let’s Not Ration Sex

In at least some real world hunter-gather societies, sex was pretty much an open thing between members of the same band. In Building Family, there is no reason for that to change once they started spending time in houses.

With no concern about tracing paternity for the sake of inheritance, there was nothing stopping these folks from developing a custom of group marriages.

Okay, so that’s the structure of the families in this society: multi-generational households and group marriages.

How Do Multi-Generational Households and Group Marriages WORK

We all know the logistics of a nuclear family —

Kids grow up in their parent’s home. The move out, meet someone, fall in love, and start a new home where they raise their own kids. Rinse and repeat.

In a society with a multi-generational household set up, kids don’t automatically leave the family home when they grow up. Some leave, to marry into other families, and some remain in  family home. Adding group marriages to the set up complicates things a bit, but not too badly

The Birds and the Bees

First off, several children will need to remain with the family as part of the new generation. However, this means that children born to the same family will be part of the same marriage group. While incest as a cultural issue is defined differently around the world, the biological issues of close relatives marrying remain an issue.

We have evidence that even paleolithic societies were aware of the danger of inbreeding. So these societies are probably aware of them as well and have adopted customs to address them. The simplest would be a taboo against children of the same mother having sexual relationships.

However biology will also help keep the problems to a minimum. As a general rule sexual attraction decreases as familiarity increases. Since people you grow up with tend to be VERY familiar, I doubt inbreeding is a serious issue. Finally, with a large enough group of parents, chances of children who remain with the family being close biological relatives is pretty low.

May and December

The next problem is age span within generations. Even in monogamous marriages, children can be born over a span of up to twenty years. An aunt or uncle can be the same age as or even younger than their niece or nephew. This will be even more true of group marriages.

Not only will this hugely complicate any society set up along generational lines, but it really complicates the issue of how long people will be joining a group marriage. Any society that doesn’t have modern technology is living one disaster away from starvation. And that means stability is the holy grail of family life. As any person whose been in a polyamorous relationship can tell you, when someone new joins the network, everything shifts and adjusts a bit. At some point, most marriage groups in a bronze age society are going to want to say “Enough, we’re done.”

So the oldest and youngest members of a generation are encouraged to marry-out into other families, keeping the members of a given marriage group all around the same age. And each marriage group decides how many people they want in their group. Has the family grown a bit to big to support? Smaller marriage group this generation. Is the family doing well and ready to expand a bit? Bigger marriage group this generation.

The average is probably around 10 people to a marriage group. Thirty people would be a good sized group for a boat-based family or a hunter-gather band, and that’s the template these societies was built on.

Let’s Follow One Generation And See How It Works

Every Generation Starts as Children

Kids are mostly raised by grandparents while the parents focus on working to support the family, be it on a farm, on a fishing boat, or at a trade.

When the kids are old enough to run around without direct adult supervision, their families encourage them to spend time with kids from other families. The oldest and youngest kids try to find another family they would like to marry-out to. Kids in the middle of the age range try to find kids from other families they’d like to marry-in to their family.

During this time they also start learning trades, either from their birth family or from the families they are interested in marrying-out to.

Children, of course, Grow Up

If all goes well, the oldest and youngest kids (now young adults) find other families to marry-out to. Ideally families where they feel comfortable with their spouses, with the family traditions/culture, and are able to contribute to the family trade. In reality, a prospective spouse’s skill at the family trade is often the deciding factor. More than one family has had some frowned-upon age discrepancies in their marriage groups when the kids with the most skill in the family trade were the oldest and youngest, so the middle kids ended up marrying-out!

While their older and younger siblings are looking for a place to belong, the middle kids are finding kids from other families they want as part of their marriage-group-to-be.

From the time a marriage group starts forming until the first child is born, the marriage group settles. Different members will take roles within the family, usually unofficial but still very real. This roles can be based in specializing in a certain area of the family trade (ie, a fisherfolk family might have one person who focuses on learning navigation and another who specializes in keeping the boat in good repair). Or they can be based in social roles (leader, in charge of dealings with other families, etc). Or any other set up that works for the given family.

At the same time the prospective marriage group is settling into their relationships, they continue learning the family trade from their parents. This is usually the most profitable time for a family. Two generations are working the trade at the same time with no young children to care for. Many families use this time to stockpile resources against the possibly-lean years ahead.

And Become Parents (Hail the New Generation!)

Ideally (there’s that word again) the first child of the new marriage group is born only after the marriage group is complete. With the birth of the first child, the parents of the new marriage group, now grandparents, retire. They are now responsible for the children and home.

The group marriage practice addresses one reason many pre-industrial societies expected large numbers of children: to work the farm. Whether a literal farm or a smithy, one adult simply couldn’t do all the work to ensure survival. So people had kids to help with the work. With multiple adults available to do the work, the family doesn’t need to rely on child labor. As a result adults who are able to become pregnant do not face the same pressure to have a child as often as possible that was common in many pre-modern societies.

However infant and child mortality is still an issue. The family will need an average of 4-6 children from each parent who can give birth. Death in child birth is also a frequent occurrence, though not AS frequent as many people might assume. (Childbed fever is much less of a factor when the “midwife” is a family member who only attends one birth at a time and not a doctor who goes from birth to birth, not bothering to wash his hands in between.)

The lower expectations re: pregnancies allows pregnancies to be spaced further apart. The result is health benefits for parents and children. And all parents can remain active in the family trade (to varying extents).

Some marriage groups set a specific goal for how many children they want to have. When the family has enough children over the age of five, they stop trying to have more kids. This is considered a somewhat risky choice–plagues and disasters happen. But it frees the entire marriage group to focus on trade and increasing the families resources, ensuring the survival of the family in a different way. As a bonus, it keeps the age range for the next generation down to a more manageable level.

Parents Become Grandparents

Eventually, the marriage group’s children form a new marriage group. Then the marriage group “retires” to become the stay-at-home grandparents and caretakers for the family home. They keep the equivalent of “kitchen gardens”, teach the children the basics of the family trade, and represent the family in whatever the local political set up is.

And Great-Grandparents

You get the idea by now. Any of a marriage group that survive to become great-grandparents are revered elders. They are cared for by the younger generations and valued for the wisdom they have learned over their long lives.

If you are interested in unusual families and fictional societies, check out my fantasy novel The Bargain.

To get exclusive info on this world and some excerpts from the work in progress, join Jess’ Pack

#BuJo Update

I’ve made the my first major bujo update of the year. For all I know it may be my last major update of the year (I only made one major update last year, adding a goal tracker).

Here is it:

Yup, I added that pocket on the front cover of my bujo.

Why a BuJo Pocket?

I’ve seen other bujo setups that add a similar pocket and always kind of wondered why. Until I walked out of my doctor’s office a couple weeks ago with five different papers and no good place to put them. (My purse is the smallest purse I’ve ever used and STILL turns into a bottomless pit where things get lost forever and a day.)

So I grabbed a regular sheet of printer paper, folded it in half, then folded the sides in. I taped it down from the inside (which was tricky, but not as tricky as it sounds). Because of the folded sides it’s got a bit of “stretch” to hold several things at once, which has already been helpful.

How’s It Work?

So far I’ve stuck a business card, an appointment reminder, a self care check list, and a few other things in there. Each day I go through what’s in there when I do my bujo review. The appointment reminders get the appointment written down and the cards tossed. Stuff that I need to do something with and can be done immediately gets done at the same time. Other stuff gets added to the to-do list and tucked back in.

I admit I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the self care check list. I’ve thought of copying it over into the bujo, but at this point it’ll be far enough into the bujo that it will be a pain to find when I need it. I suppose I could copy it onto the back page of the bujo. I don’t like using pages out of order, but it’s something I can live with as an occasional thing. And this would definitely be a good cause.

Something to think about.

For now, that checklist is staying in that pocket where I can pull it out quickly whenever I need it.

Anyway, there it is.

Honestly I hope it’s the last major update for the year. I don’t like changing stuff. Doesn’t mean I won’t change it if I have a good reason too, but I really prefer to find something that works and stick with it. And so far, the current set up is working pretty well.

(So it’s apparently V-Day again? I mean, if you’re like me and not big on romance, maybe kick back with a new book instead?)

What’s Going on With This Blog

Updates have been really irregular and erratic lately, and I’m afraid it’s going to stay that way. After thinking about it, I’ve decided that updating the blog is going to be the lowest priority on my work list.

Building Family

My top priority is getting the next book ready. Right now the “next” book is a novel with the working title “Building Family” (yea, I suck at titles). It’s set in a bronze age society where group marriages and generational families are the norm. The story follows a group of people who come together to create a new family. It’s debatably fantasy–it’s an original world that has magic, but no one has figured out how to control the magic yet. So magic this weird natural phenomenon that people mostly try to avoid bc random uncontrolled bursts of magic tend to end badly. Future books in the series, if I get around to writing them, will be more stereotypically fantasy with all the magic users and such.

No matter what else, I try to put half an hour / 450 words into the book first thing in the morning.

Cuil Press

My next priority is my Cuil Press work. After I’ve done my writing for the morning, I pull out the business stuff. We’re in a downtime at the Press right now. (‘Downtime’ is code for ‘not under deadline crunch’, not ‘we don’t have much work to do’.) Our next book, Granny Chosen One and Other Twisted Fantasy Tales, isn’t scheduled for release until May. So I have time to deal with stuff like sorting out the budget for the year (which I should have done LAST year, but then we WERE in a deadline crunch. Plus we have very few expenses yet, so one month doesn’t make much difference). Also filing various legal stuff with the state and feds and generally getting all the admin shit I let slide during deadline crunch sorted out.

It’s work that I enjoy. I know that sounds a bit strange, but I like getting stuff organized and everything in its place. Which is a large chunk of what administration is. So I got that going. I generally try to put 2 hrs into Cuil Press each day.

Life Shit

Mixed in with these two is personal life stuff–making sure everyone has food, that the kids have clean clothes, various appointments, school stuff, etc. If nothing else gets done, this gets done. But if I have energy to do more stuff, writing gets done first, then this and Press work get done.

Everything Else

If I have any energy left when I’m done with all that (and I usually don’t), that’s when I work on blog posts, or the next installment in the web serial, How NOT to Save the World, or my short stories, or all the other “little” projects that are getting perpetually back burnered.

Right now, this is where Polyamory on Purpose is going to fit in (I think). Since I’m still getting over the burnout, PoP is definitely gong to be a “when I feel like it” deal for a while. We’ll see what happens when I’m fully past the burnout.

Summing Up

So that’s where I’m at right now and why this blog is updating so erratically.

The good news is my doc thinks I may have a b12 deficiency. This is GOOD news because if he’s right, then part of my constant exhaust has a cause that is treatable. Which will help with having the energy to do ALL THE THINGS. Planning to get relevant blood work done today (the day I’m writing this post). Fingers crossed!

 

Looking for something to read while waiting for the next blog post? Don’t forget my fantasy novel The Bargain is now available!

Polyamory on Purpose: Getting Over Burnout

It took a while, and for a while, I wasn’t sure it would happen, but I’m starting to want to work on my Polyamory on Purpose stuff again.

I’m NOT going back to the old set up, where PoP was my main focus and I spent two hours a day on it between blog and books. My fiction and other writing were afterthoughts. That’s HOW I got burnt out in the first place.

So What Am I Doing?

I’m not sure what exactly I am going to do, whether I’m going to figure out a schedule for what projects I work on when, including Polyamory on Purpose, just work on what I feel like when I feel like it except when I have a deadline, whether I’m going to start blogging PoP regularly again or just blog occasionally or not blog PoP at all and just stick with writing the books.

Right now I’m leaning towards only updating the old blogs and working on Polyamory on Purpose books*, not writing any new blogs. It rubs me the wrong way to leave several blog series unfinished, but it was the blog, more than anything, that burnt me out. But beyond that, I don’t know what I’ll be doing.

One thing I WON’T be doing is pushing myself. That’ll send me right back into burn out territory and create even more delay.

So the good news is: More Polyamory on Purpose!

The bad news is: It’s Coming (Unknown)!

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through all the change and upheavals the last few months. The changes aren’t going away, but it turns out, neither is Polyamory on Purpose.

I’ll keep you updated as I figure out what’s going on. Until next time!

*If you’re curious what I’ve got coming in PoP books, I have Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous drafted but needing major revision. I have Polyamory and Kink outlined.

Get exclusive access to draft sections of Safer Sex by joining Jess’ Pack on Mighty Networks.

I’m Not a Femdom (Anymore?)

I can’t call myself a femdom anymore.

I’ve been slowly coming to (and fighting) this realization for over a year now.

I’m not a woman, I’m ay’lonit, enby, non-binary. And it wasn’t long after I first came out about my gender that I started feeling uncomfortable calling myself a femdom. But I continued to do so because… well, because what else was there?

Femdom has been a part of my identity–a pretty big part of my identity–for nearly 10 years now. I’ve learned about kink and my own sexual and relationship needs and preferences through the lens of that identity. My closest friendships and connections with other kinky people are based on that identity (either as a shared identity or subs who prefer to serve femdoms).

Separate from the label “femdom,” I don’t “fit” in kink. My experiences, from harassing CollarSpace messages to no-show subs to fighting against the stereotype of the leather clad dominatrix to learning to recognize and accept my preference for being on the left side of the slash have all mirrored those of so many femdoms I have spoken with.

I could simply call myself a “dom” as I did when I first entered the scene. In fact, for a while I was pretty fierce in my insistence that I shouldn’t need to hang “fem” on the front, I’m a dom, period.

But I found that doing so brought it’s own set of assumptions. A dom is assumed to be a man in the scene. And a woman is assumed to be a submissive. And so I gradually started using femdom, which connected me with others like me and made it easier to find subs who were interested in me.

In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be divisions based on gender. It would just be “dom” and “sub” and none of the bullshit stereotypes.

Years ago, in order to find the section of the kink community that I fit in, I had to accept and eventually own and learn to take pride in “femdom.”

Now, for the same reason, I need to walk away from that same label.

I am not femme, not a woman, not a femdom.

But in walking away from the label I am walking away from so much more than just a label.

All the femdom representations that I lovingly collected over the years, they don’t represent me. I thought they did, and I still love them for their better-than-average portrayal of a kink dynamic that is far too stereotyped. But they don’t reflect me.

Nothing does. Even my own book, which I wrote in large part because at the time I couldn’t find any good femdom rep in the novels I read. It’s still a good femdom rep. I’m damn proud of the work I did on it.

But it isn’t the rep for me and my identity that I had intended it to be.

So many communities I have been part of, from Fetlife groups to CS chatrooms to a few Discord chats, they aren’t made for me. I thought they were, because I thought I was a femdom. And maybe I was before I came to terms with the reality of my gender. But I don’t belong there now.

If I simply call myself a dom, a dominant, then I go back to the communities that are dominated by maledoms and femsubs. But the assumption that anyone who presents as or is read as a woman is submissive. I don’t want to wade through that bullshit again. I don’t want to read more kink “representation” that paints women as inherenty submissive and in need a big strong man to take care of them. Leaving aside any philosophical issues, I spent most of my life identifying as and thinking of myself as a woman. I am STILL closer to being a woman than a man. I don’t the mental stress that wading through that bullshit puts on me.

So what am I? Where do I fit in kink? Or, better, how can I make kink fit me?

I’m an enbydom. A non-binary dominant. For all I know it’s a term I made up. I’ve never seen it before, and Google thinks I’m looking up a word in Welsh.

But it fits. It’s me.

And if I need to create communities and representation and place in kink for enbies (dom and sub) with my own two hands, I’ll do it. Maybe only in a small way. But someway.

I’m stubborn like that.