first times, false starts

This was supposed to be a lulzy recounting of my first time having sex, but then the examination of my sexuality took a turn elsewhere.

Word count: ~2,600.


1.

“And if they feared the power, would they try to cut her off from it by breaking her? A Virgin Night performed with malevolent skill could strip her of her power while leaving the rest intact.”

– Anne Bishop, Daughter of the Blood

It’s been years since I read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books, but here’s how I remember it going down: a witch’s first time having sex is a make or break experience. Men looking to destroy a witch’s power rape her. For the others, sex is a rite of passage to be navigated with a safe (cis male) partner to ensure her power continues growing.

There’re problematic parts of this of course. The absence of pleasure, the cis hetero normative narrative, sex as a universal, the absolutism of it. But I do think there’s some truth to it. Our first times matter in the same way first impressions do. Have a shitty first time, and it’s harder to recover from than an underwhelming one.

It’s a rite of passage to be born, not done in pleasure. And isn’t that what sex is right now anyway?

Which is why I’m glad I chose the circumstances of my sexual first time by placing an ad on Craigslist*.

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flaky, buttery, and delicious: me and my eczema

Thinking out loud about my relationship to others, myself, and my eczema. Snippets of this previously appeared on FB & IG.

Wordcount: ~3,000.
Content Note: Humiliation (?) and NSFW due to sex.


I don’t like the horror genre, because I don’t like being scared. But every now and then I press through it, like Annihilation for Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson, or Get Out to be culturally competent. I watched both with the lights on, in broad daylight, after reading the summary on Wikipedia.

I have a particular aversion to body horror though. I don’t fuck with that. I’d list some examples here, but you’ll just have to go to the Wikipedia article instead, because even thinking of listing them makes the back of my skull tingle in bad ways.

My body is already a horror, after all.


A selected list of monstrosities:

  • thickened skin, darkened skin, combine the two and you get dragon scales
  • a body full of open wounds, ready to ooze and weep and bleed at any moment
  • skin dappled with scabs in various states of repair
  • my hands, smelling of raw meat after I’ve scratched them raw
  • my fingers, stiff and brittle leaving me two options: 1) delicately applying lotion to my joints to bring movement back to them 2) clenching my hands into fists, snapping the skin open like a glow stick lit bright with my blood
  • my lips, my nipples, splitting open like overripe fruit

Does that satisfy your criteria? Do you know why my body is marked off with yellow caution tape? It’s not because of any of these, it’s because of the way you treat me.

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hungry (for your touch)

“Oh my love, my darling,
I’ve hungered for your touch,
a long, lonely time.”

–A. North & H. Zyat’s Unchained Melody

Wendy’s presence was larger than life. One of my favorite Aunt’s friends, her laughter filled the room, her smile buoyant. I still haven’t met a woman as charismatic and magnetic before, that I couldn’t help but draw close to. Towards the end of the night, we were on the couch together, and she took my hand in hers. Asked me to massage her hand.

“Isn’t touch so wonderful?” she asked me, watching the rest of the party continue.

I could only blink at her, dazzled, and kept pressing my thumbs into her palm.

I couldn’t have been more than ten. How had she seen the hunger in me so quickly, before I even knew the depth of it?

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truth telling

Inspired by one of Witchdoctorpoet‘s prompts in Decolonizing Our Voices. This touches on unhealthy parent-child relationships.


“You cannot succumb to the pressure of how somebody will misunderstand what you have to say.”

Amy Tan in conversation with Celeste Ng

I’m terrified if I tell the truth about my mother and I, it will be a wildfire I cannot control. That the people who read it will say, “Oh, a Chinese-American mother and daughter with issues, of course.” That they will only see a Tiger Mother. That my mother will be publicly crucified. That people will see my name and think, “Oh, Esther, that author. She just keeps writing about her mommy issues.”

The truth is a topic I skate around, eliding, smiling, deferring. If we are close, or you’ve known me long enough to read between the lines, you know my mother and I have history.

I hesitate to name it trauma or abuse, because those words have weight, responsibility, and assumptions.

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loving Ava’s A Wrinkle in Time

Content note: there is some discussion of passive suicide ideation (wanting to die, but having no plans to act upon those thoughts) and unhealthy parent-child relationships.


The thought of seeing A Wrinkle in Time, just like Black Panther two weeks earlier, got me through an abysmal work week. As my eczema left ruby constellations across my skin from stress, I agonized over whether I really meant it when I said to myself, Girl, it’s time to quit. So much work, a desk piled precariously high with paper, and so-busy-I-needed-a-Time-Turner, I didn’t even bother checking the movie reviews like I usually do. Come hell or high water, I was getting myself to this movie screening, 6:30pm Friday night, opening weekend.

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honestly

From Yrsa Daley-Ward’s IG prompt from 3/14/19. Also inspired by Abiola Abrams’ Spiritpreneur School podcast from 3/13/19 which asked, what do you want and how do you want to feel?

tell the truth about something you haven’t been honest about this week


Commitment comes naturally to me, but I’m not looking for it in a relationship.

What I want is to come home to someone. Build a life together. Get deep in our shit with each other. That Jada and Will kinda partnership. I dunno the exact details of it. Romantic and sexual? Monogamous? Not if it’s platonic. If platonic, with one person, or more? If more, I’d prefer a triad or more-ad.

How do I express I want intimacy – emotionally, physically. Sexual intimacy is a footnote.

Give me that life when I crawl into bed with you, settle against your side. And you kiss me. And kiss my hair and my forehead. I want your tenderness. When I say I want these things, I mean I want to feel

  • safe, physically & emotionally
  • cared for
  • relaxed
  • content
  • like I could purr
  • languid
  • loose
  • light
  • open/receptive
  • happy
  • full of warmth
  • present in my body
  • pleasure

Isn’t it strange, I say I’m not looking for a committed partnership, but isn’t it what I so easily described?


loving better

“loving you doesn’t hurt”

For Vanessa Mártir’s January 1st Writing Our Lives prompt, [1 of] 3 stories that haunt you.


Of the four years we spent together, there are many moments I look back at tenderly; and many more where I was vulnerable, broken apart, and you carefully held me. You’re a Cancer, so you were unafraid of swimming in the sea of tears my body exuded. But this moment, something about it remains clear to me, even if I don’t know exactly why.

It was in the dark warmth of my bedroom I was my most honest and confessed I loved you.

It wasn’t the first time I’d told you I loved you, but the flavor of this particular one, I knew it was something different, something I had to tell you.

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dream big

a declaration:

Regardless of genre or profitability, my words touch lives; providing representation and affirmation, solace and comfort.   People reach for my words the way they reach for red wine, chocolate, or their vibrator.

My words are a dreaming space. As we remake this cis hetero white ableist patriarchal world, my words help us imagine new and different ways of being in relation to the world and each other.

As grandmother Octavia E. Butler said, So be it, see to it!

So, let’s dream together.