The Birthday Suit Selfie Party

So, I have this really entertaining birthday tradition, and it’s starting to get a bit of attention. And I should probably lay it out – for participants, for the curious, and for those who want to echo the meme in their own spheres. Therefore! Here it is. The official Birthday Suit Selfie Party Manifesto!

The Birthday Suit Selfie Party was concocted on a whim, because I was tired of being bored and lonely on my birthday. Most of my friends are scattered across the country, so actual parties aren’t an option. And we don’t really do gifts in my world because everyone’s poor. So aside from a snailmail card here and there, dozens and dozens of “Happy Birthday!” posts to my Timeline, and homemade confections with candles and singing children, nothing really eventful or magical happened. But, I wanted connection. I wanted interaction. I wanted the day to be as special for me as it seems to be for other folks. And I’m at least little bit in love with pretty much all of my friends, whether they know it or not. So, the BSSP was born.

In the beginning, it was totally unplanned. I posted the call early in the morning, before the parade of Timeline posts had begun, hoping to trade some of them in for something more original and interesting. I really only expected a few of my lovers and some of my flirtatious friends to participate, but I got a bigger turnout than I expected, and from some surprising sources. Which was, frankly, pretty fucking awesome. And I realized just what I had created – a fun, sex-positive, body-positive, birthday connection machine. Presents that costs nothing. Personal interaction. Closeness. Excitement. Liberation.

That first year, once I understood what I had created, I had tentatively named the endeavor Operation Birthday Suit. For year two, it became the annual Birthday Suit Selfie Solicitation. But I think that was too starchy. We’re having fun here! It’s a celebration! So now, at least until I find something better, it’s the Birthday Suit Selfie Party – BSSP for short. Also for hashtags, I guess.

I know it’s not for everyone. Being “-positive” about anything, though, means accepting that some people aren’t comfortable with it. And that’s totally fine. The BSSP isn’t for them. If it’s not fun for someone, it won’t be fun for me either. The whole point is to get closer with my friends. I don’t want to alienate anybody. And, for those who’re going to adopt my tradition, this is very important: be prepared to meet people in their comfort zone, or don’t play this game at all. Be gracious and forgiving if people bow out. Be supportive of people who’re venturing out of their comfort zone to connect with you. Be appreciative of every entry, because it’s not just a picture – it represents the trust that person chose to extend to you. Don’t wreck this for the rest of us. It’s lighthearted, good-natured, no-pressure, flirtatious fun.

I’m not saying it’s not pervy. It totally is pervy. But I’ve turned it into a birthday tradition because it’s so much more than pervy. It helps me reinvigorate old connections, and forge new connections. It helps others find a way to reveal their bodies and/or their sexuality in a safe, fun context – it creates a positivity bubble that insulates itself pretty well against the negativity of the world, if only briefly. And if done right, it can enrich the lives of everyone involved, even those who decide not to play.

So that’s what the BSSP is all about. Feel free to run with it on your own. Just, be respectful. Be kind. Be open to the possibility that for some folks, just asking them is pulling them out of their zone. Be prepared to make a graceful and apologetic exit. Be accommodating of people’s need for privacy and security. Be ready for surprises, and hilarity, and yes, some high octane hotness. But perhaps most importantly? Celebrate your life, and the people in it for all the joy they bring you, naked or not.

(Also, set filters appropriately on your solicitation post. That’s probably pretty important too.)

P.S. – Special thanks to everyone who helped make my Third Annual Birthday Suit Selfie Party a wild success! Also, if you’re looking for the rewards Crista promised you, you can find them here.

The House That Silence Built

I’ve been silent for years. For just about everything that matters. At least, when it comes to you, la gente del mundo, the general public. I used to write for the world. Back when I felt like my pain and joy still mattered to anyone but me, before I let Them whittle away my self-worth. Before I let Them break me. Though I’m not sure I could have stopped Them even if I’d known then how to try. I know now that it’s not quite possible to do it alone.

But that’s what I’ve always been – alone. My life, it’s all about me being on the outside looking in. The sole child in a cluster of adults. A genius surrounded by the average. A goy among the jews, a whiteboy in the ghetto. The agnostic keeping grounds at church. A criminal in the cops’ employ. A dropout serving academics. A quasigenderless polyamorous omnisexual gynephile in Cishetmonoville. A technomancer for the hippies. French vanilla at the Baskin-Robbins of kink. I was very groucho about it all when I was a kid, claiming that I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member, but the truth of it was, I’ve always desperately wanted to belong somewhere, just like anyone. I just grew to accept where I belonged was “outside”.

That unfulfilled drive, though. It led me to some strange places. While eventually I did find several niches for myself as an accepted outsider, because that’s what’s familiar to me, I’ve longed to know how the rest of you live. Early on, all anyone had to do to get my attention was include me. So I developed this fantasy of absolute inclusion, in a world that couldn’t reject me without collapsing in on itself – many of you will recognize this concept as “a family”.

Okay. There it was. Right there. I started to uncover the details of my past, only to realize that I can’t tell the whole story yet – some things still remain unresolved and precarious. And I started to put this post on ice, like I’ve done with so many others, but no. Breaking my silence was the whole point. So, even without the context of my history, know that chasing this fantasy brought me a decade of strife and turmoil. I’ve had my children used against me, and ripped away from me, both in more ways than one. I’ve endured years of physical and emotional abuse, just to stay with them. And that changed me. Bound me. Frankly, broke me a little more than I thought I could have been broken before.

However… Crista Anne appeared during the worst part of that still-undisclosed storm, and she’s stayed with me ever since. I’m not alone anymore. My dream of absolute inclusion is now a reality, thanks mostly to her. And now that enough time has passed, I’m actually free to run diagnostics and take inventory – and what I’ve found is that I never dealt with my feelings about the decade-long gauntlet I ran. I didn’t put it all in neat little boxes first, either, I just crammed it all into the backrooms of my mind. I still have no idea how to process it all. But if I leave it where it is, I’ll never have room for all the rewards I know this new life has to offer. Therefore, out with the old, and in with the new – no matter how hard it is, I know it’ll be worthwhile.

So there you go. Not a blank canvas anymore. This is me, for better or worse. Hi, everybody. I’m Val, and this is my voice. I’m going to work on using it more often.

Why This Blog Is Still Empty

This tree has yet to bear any fruit. Occasionally, my thoughts will return to its baren branches, and I’ll hang some tinsel.

So what’s the issue?

The issue is, everything’s a soundbyte, a meme, a boosted peak. The same prechewed morsels, foisted upon anyone in range, all the savory goodness of the thing sucked out. A copy of a copy of a copy. The irony being, of course, that I’m not the only one sharing this sentiment either.

The issue is, it’s all just sandcastles, waiting for the tide. But on the off chance that mine might stand forever, what should it be a monument to? What is the form of my lasting contribution to humanity? Am I the future’s forgotten ancestor, just another name and some dates on a family tree? Will my genes survive the evolutionary process? Will my thoughts? Does it matter?

The issue is, I have a gift, but I can’t find the hat full of names to draw from for Secret Santa, and I don’t know what’s inside unless somebody asks me.

I will pick an audience, and gather my thoughts into coherent form. Shortly. Maybe.