When I thought of this prompt, I knew I had to write fiction for it. My girlfriend had a suggestion and a Camp Nano virtual write-in gave me the Point of View. Stimming- self-stimulation- is often a way to self-regulate anxiety and other emotions (I talked about some of my stimming last week here). And so, I give you, the scene...
Lady Audrey pulled Joelle to the edge of Shaman's and her bed as Onyx watched from the corner of the room, the soles of his feet pressed against the wall; his toes, shins, and knees pushed into the carpet. Although she wouldn't think of her as Lady.
“So my thought, I have here a variety of fidget toys. Let's see how long you can still use them while I go down on.” Audrey chuckled.
“That hardly seems fair.” Joelle traced Audrey's fingers where they rested on her thighs.
But you'll enjoy the challenge. Onyx licked the inside of his lips, sealing the inappropriate comment inside him.
Audrey passed a rag doll to Joelle.
“Starting with Audrey dolly?” Joelle's eyebrows both flew up.
“You know, half the time you use ASL grammar stuff you've mentioned even when you're not signing?” Audrey grinned. “Yeah, we're starting with your doll of me. She was one of your first serious stim objects.”
Bringing Audrey dolly up to her nose, Joelle gasped when Audrey pressed her lips to Joelle's mons. “Uh uh uh uh.”
“No uh uh,” Audrey challenged before tracing the seam of Joelle's labia with the tip of her tongue. “Unless that's not what your sounds meant.”
“Oh, so it's going to be a Joelle not speaking whole words or sentences?” With gentle thumbs and forefingers, slightly closer to a burnt sienna in color from tanning, Audrey spread Joelle open to nuzzle her vaginal opening and bound clitorophallus.
“I hardly... can talk–“ Joelle started only to be interrupted by Onyx.
“If she's the one initiating.” Onyx bit his bottom lip. “Sorry, my Lady.”
Traces of her dark gray lipstick gleamed in the blue lamplight as Joelle's lips parted without sound.
“You have to breathe, sweet.” Audrey leaned in close, obscuring Onyx's view.
Joelle loudly released the used air through her mouth. Her feet flexed so her toes stuck up in the air.
How will she handle stims that take two hands? This isn't even edging, but I feel it.
Audrey pushed her hands under Joelle's ass, preventing her from wriggling back and forth on the bed. “How sweet, you mouthing my doll's hair. No wonder if end up with more love bites from you than from my subs.”
“Onyx, fidget spinner,” Audrey ordered.
Struggling to his feet, Onyx moved to the bedside and gently took Audrey dolly from Joelle. With a sweet smile, he placed the baby pink fidget spinner in her right right. I practiced kneeling in a corner so my legs would not lose circulation as fast. As Audrey leaned in and started to hum, he said, “Just holding the spinner was not what she had in mind.”
“Know that,” Joelle cried. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the spinner. She breathed in with her nostrils flaring; her hands shook as she moved her toy from right hand to between her left thumb and index finger. Her head fell back on the bed as the spinner swirled just within Onyx's line of sight.
Black thumbs pressing into pale peach hips, Audrey continued between Joelle's legs. Her head lifted slightly, her voice almost muffled. “You have to keep it moving, little love.” She pulled one hand out from under Joelle and tucked it where Onyx couldn't see it.
“La la la na na na!” Joelle responded to whatever Audrey had just done.
“That's right. Come again for me.” Audrey lowered her head.
Joelle pushed her heels into Audrey's shoulders. She whimpered when the fidget spinner slowed before wobbling to a stop. In the midst of groans, she fought to restart the spinner's circling. Once the pink toy was spinning, her right hand came down onto the comforter. The fingers flexed and then curled in at the large knuckles. Her scream of release filled the room before the toy dropped to the bed.
“Didn't take long for that to happen,” Audrey teased.
“Yes, so good. Love you,” Joelle babbled.
“Well have to try this again later.” Audrey gripped the bed as she pulled herself to standing. “Let's cuddle Joelle, my boy.”
“Yes, my Lady.” Onyx climbed on the other side of the bed as Audrey led Joelle up by the pillows. He eased the weighted blanket over them. I can sleep with an erection.
While I have posts written ahead, scheduled even, through July, I wanted to get this post started while it was fresh in my head. I just saw my med manager, who questioned when I said, “I'm so messed up.” Her comments went to the notion of everything I've survived and I'm still here; I admit, my first thoughts about statements like “I'm so messed up” are usually of the dark sarcasm sort. As she was walking me back to the lobby, she commented about all sorts of people need help.
Now later and pondering the appointment, including telling my daughter and Master about it, I'm thinking wider about mental health, disability activism/culture, and reclaiming slurs.
After all, reclaiming slurs was the heart of my point about the people in my household- it feels like we're all in a place where “reclaiming slurs” related to the issues we have is okay. When my Master jokes that I'm crazy, I hear the affection meant in His joke, that He accepts me as I am, not as “society” or my mother might want me to be; I don't take it as unkind because He admits that He doesn't function in ways that are considered “good” or “mainstream” often enough.
Is the statement “I'm so messed up” inherently negative? I really don't know if it falls under the idea of “reclaimed slur,” but it doesn't feel inherently negative to me. While I can talk about how I've survived so much, when talking about my challenges, does saying “challenges” and using terms like “neurodivergent” really change my statement so much? Is “I'm so neurodivergent” merely pretty up the phrase so it isn't so uncomfortable for others to hear? Okay, typing “hear,” my mind's now going with, “I should ask my D/deaf friends if the words mean so much in ASL/written communication.
“I'm so messed up.” “I'm so neurodivergent.” Maybe it's a matter of register or situation. Although, now I look at what I typed, I'm not sure that “I'm so neurodivergent” makes sense in the way in the same way.
A situation out in public caused me to feel off-kilter; dressed up in my sunblock garb to take a tricycle ride, I was returning home when I had someone obviously taking my picture as I crossed in the pedestrian crosswalk and he jogged at me when I made it to the other side of the crosswalk. I peddled as hard as I could to get away; I didn't know if he wanted to talk or to attack me. I couldn't take the chance. That situation? It's just this week's situation; I could tell you quite a few stories of blatant discrimination. At least my characters can't physically hurt me.
One of several diagnoses I have is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); yup, I've experienced enough trauma in my life to have PTSD even though I've never seen combat. Sighs, I got through the first paragraph and the former sentence and my ability to focus on the topic evaporated. Of course, the rehearsal of writing this post before bedtime last night isn't coming back to me. Trying to pick up the threads- I said to a friend today, “While hypervigilance is listed as a symptom of PTSD, what if my hypervigilance is reasonable?” If I leave my house, I really don't have feel I have a guarantee of my personal safety; if I'm with my Master, who's a big man, I feel a bit more relaxed.
I tried to at-home therapy things and I'm wondering if any of my characters would be helped enough that I should include them in a story. Skin brushing and EMDR.
Skin brushing is also something called a brushing protocol. I've found a named one after Patricia Wilbarger. Since Sensory Processing Disorder isn't in the DSM yet (praying for that to change), there's no way to get insurance to cover occupational therapy. Thus I'm doing skin brushing on my own to work on tactile defensiveness; I don't want to hope that it might decrease my sun sensitivity- an anti-depressant that's helping other issues isn't helping with the sun. I bought a pet grooming glove and have been using it on myself (way more often than the recommended “every 2 hours awake,” but I'm hoping my use will encourage my cat to let me use it on her too).
Circling around specifically to the PTSD, I went looking early one day this week for treatments that could help PTSD. I eventually hope to get a service dog, although my family is too poor for one currently, and my med manager offensively called them “a crutch.” I'm already working on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with my therapist and it's slow going. The mass of behaviors, symptoms, and such that she found in my 39-year-old self was a lot; she and my daughter just got me through another nervous breakdown and I do hope CBT can get me somewhere. However, I wanted something to use alongside CBT; I really look at any and all possible tools to help me function better. The tool I found was EMDR.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. On YouTube, I started off searching “EMDR” and then found “EMDR self-administered”; I recommend you doing the same if you have had any traumas in your life. So I read on one page that an average session of EMDR with a therapist is 60-90 minutes; I'm not able to focus on most things that long- the 5 to 10 minute videos I've found are working great right now. I just spent some time with one video because my daughter wanted my attention and that distracted me too much to get back to writing; she's 19 and it's seldom life-or-death matters she's bringing to me. Before that, I tried a longer video to work on a core belief (Writing down 4 core beliefs was a CBT-related assignment from my therapist; I came up with 5 and they'll be the subject of a #TherapeuticThursday post in July). My mother did a good job planting the belief that I'm worthless; now 40-years-old, I'm still trying to uproot that false belief.
So what do you think- EMDR and skin brushing used by a character in a story? I have some ideas flitting in my head :D
I just don't write “easy romance.”
It seems fitting that I should start this hashtag in my therapist's waiting room. I decluttered one book shelf in the living room yesterday; my Master dropped an oil change appointment on me this morning. Not at all feeling okay.
Well that was before therapy. Doing better, although I realize now that as we were talking about a goal of doing something independently once a week, I didn't tell my therapist about these “hanging out in the mall food court while daughter is working out.” It does make me ponder this hashtag more- #TherapeuticThursday- “Well maybe sensory needs of partners, or a look at one of your characters disabilities and what technology, therapy etc that character uses?”- as my first girlfriend suggested when she read my pondering about blogging.
So her suggestion had both implications for my writing and my non-virtual life. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (known most by its acronym AAC) is an important thing for people with different issues, including those on the Autism Spectrum, like my character Happy and myself. I started off writing “Typing My Love,” my WIP in which Happy is one of four main characters, in part to consider what it would be like for romantic and/or queerplatonic relationship partners to use AAC with a partner who uses AAC. I didn't realize until a few weeks ago- my Master has always supported my use of AAC.
AAC in practice can mean any number of technologies, from the no-tech of using American Sign Language to an AAC device costing thousands of dollars that can be worked by the user's eye gaze. I have a laptop, a Neo (a portable word processor made by AlphaSmart), a white board with a few words related to shopping glued onto it with space for writing in dry erase marker, notebooks, and I'm also learning ASL. But as I said in the previous paragraph, my Master has always supported my use of AAC; I just need to remember His stance. One of my current writing projects is a sexual situation for my Master; I'll share the first line with you, but the contents of the whole scene is only for Him. -- “So I decided to give you two slightly related versions of something, Master.”
Now I want to share a snippet of Happy using AAC to communicate with one of joys loves. Quick explanation that I ended up having to give my therapist when she was confused by the snippet I shared with her: Happy is bigender and uses the noun-self pronouns joy/joys/joyself. Joys partners are named Ziba, Iovita, and Mairead; when my therapist asked if Ziba is a woman, I *amusingly to me* paused; I decided with Ziba and Iovita to write women who consider themselves cisgender even though they have intersex traits.
I decided to show you a snippet of a dinner in a restaurant later the in book (still “in progress”). In it, Happy's current service dog, Alfie, and service dog prospect, Vivien, are both mentioned.
Ziba held the cafe's door open for Alfie and Happy. Soon Vivien will be ready for public access training, even if we will put her to USA standards on that. She followed them inside.
Happy took out joys tablet and made it speak the prepared phrase, “Two for dinner. My partner called ahead so you were aware of my service dog.”
“Of course,” the hostess said. “This way. We set up a booth in the back corner so there would be more room for your dog.”
Ziba and Happy followed the hostess through the restaurant.
At the booth, Happy ordered Alfie to tuck under the table before joy and Ziba sat.
“Oh, oops,” the hostess said. “I didn't think to ask. Do either of you read German or should I get English menus?”
“We can understand enough German to order,” Ziba replied.
“Good. So here are your menus. Lina will be your waitress and she'll be over shortly.” The hostess hurried away.
Happy turned on joys tablet. After a bit, it said, “Thanks for calling ahead to let them know about Alfie. Although Austrians are as good about dogs as most Europeans.”
“You're welcome. It's good to be safe since we don't have anything like the US's ADA here.” She opened the plastic menu. “Well they are known for their pizza here. They make various kinds of vegan cheese in-house.”
“Hi, my name is Lina and I'll be your waitress tonight. Would you like to start with drinks?”
“I have a question about the smoothies.” At Lina's nod, Ziba continued, “Do they have ice in them?”
“No ice cubes because we use frozen fruit,” Lina said.
“I would like the mixed berry smoothie.”
Happy's tablet said, “I would like the strawberry kiwi smoothie.”
“Are you both ready to order your food or do you need time?” Lina asked.
Ziba nodded. “I would like the eighteen centimeter pizza with red onions and chef's choice of cheese.”
Happy's tablet made a weird squawking noise before saying, “Achtzehn Zentimeter Pizza mit Kase und vegetarische Wurst.” Joy snorted and voiced, “It thinks pizza is just English.”
“Bad tablet,” Ziba laughed. She turned to Lina and explained, “My partner uses text-to-speech software because speaking can be hard for them. It doesn't like what it perceives as mixed language sentences though.”
“Technology still has a long way to catch up on many things,” Lina agreed.
It's seldom that I need the same AAC support as Happy is shown using in the previous scene. Most commonly I need some written or visual way to communicate with my carer when I'm wearing my noise-canceling headphones. However, when I'm at my most distressed, sometimes having that level of communication support seems like a need to me. Of course, at 40 years old, I'm just a few years post-coming to terms with the fact that I'm on the Autism Spectrum and have unique sensory challenges; it seems that as an AFAB person, I have just learned social masking too well. Earlier in the book with Happy, I describe a childhood spent in an intentional community- in many ways, Happy got the support I also needed, but was denied. But you know, if someone sat down beside me in the food court where I'm sitting now and gestured that they wanted to type, like I've been daydreaming, I would be ecstatic.
I wanted to continue with a scene showing the use of AAC during a sexual situation, but I'm going to reserve that for next Thursday's #TherapeuticThursday.