According to Cora

coryphee- (n) a leading dancer in a corps de ballet

An Imagined Future

There are days you come home from work angry.  I see the furrow in your brow and dampen immediately; you want to fuck me hard, or I happily volunteer to relieve some of your stress for you.  You need the catharsis, the release, the physical expression of your pent-up frustrations from the day.

There are days you come home bleary-eyed and exhausted.  I brew you a pot of steaming tea, rub your feet, and we lie in bed for hours.  I distract you with tales of my day, and eventually you tell me about yours or fall asleep in my arms.  Sometimes we make love slowly, languorously, as our bodies slow down from the day.

There are days that you come home angry again, and I think you want to fuck.  You stop me, and say, “I want to make love tonight.”  I can hear it in your voice; I am a refuge, a well of affection.  I am the antithesis of your boss, your annoying coworker, who belittle you as a bug beneath their feet.  I admire you, need you, adore you.  You need to be loved tonight.

And then there are the days that you come home blank faced.  You don’t know what you want or what you need, so we don’t make love.  We don’t fuck, we don’t discuss anything.  You sit on the couch or in bed, pretending your day went well so that you won’t have to talk about it, so I take your hand.

You are my rock, my protector, and I love you for the man that you are.  I need you, and you are strong for me when I fall apart.  But I am your protector as well.  You, too, have given me your heart, and I become a wall around you.  I cherish you, value you.  You are allowed to be vulnerable with me; I will not judge you, I will not think any less of you.  Your weakness makes your strength that much greater.  It magnifies what I already know to be true of you.

I take your hand and pull you to bed.  I fold myself around you, drawing your head to my breast.  You need to feel my heartbeat, and I whisper “that’s yours”.  My fingers twist in the locks of your hair, and they roam over you, ghosting whisper-soft along your arms, your back, your hands.  I twine my fingers with yours, and we lie silently together, waiting this out until sunrise.

Together.

Sex Ed in Kindergarten

As an educator-in-training, I encounter situations constantly where adults disrespect children’s bodily autonomy, especially in younger years.

“Say you’re sorry, then give him a hug…”
“High five! No, I said high five, you need to follow directions…”
“Hold my hand now…”

While I understand that the intent behind it isn’t negative, and holding hands while crossing the road is obviously a safety precaution, the end result is overwhelmingly disturbing to me. When children aren’t allowed to say “no”, they become adults who can’t say “no”. I know that was the case for me; it’s always hard for me to advocate for my own personal space in situations where people aren’t sensitive to it, because I was taught for so long to “follow directions” and “be polite”. It becomes ingrained in us as members of a culture that touching is a given, that pronouns are a given, that we must obey others’ demands of our space and our bodies, however innocuous. It becomes less innocuous when that mentality turns into assuming that “not saying no” is the same thing as a yes.

In a kindergarten classroom today, the teacher has a routine greeting where the kids go around the room and say to one another “hello hello hello [name], how are you?” and the designated response is “I’m fine, I’m fine, and I hope you are too.” Children’s genuine feelings and states of mind are ignored in favor of a mindless chant, and “I’m fine, how are you?” becomes the automatic response of adults when asked “How are you?”

That’s the precursor to not being able to say no. If we aren’t given space or opportunity to say whether we’re uncomfortable, nervous, upset, or otherwise “negatively”, then we lose authenticity. Authenticity is itself honest, and consent MUST be honest to truly be consent.

When I was working with a group of preschoolers as a student teacher, we practiced situations where we would want to say no. I asked the teacher to model with me a situation where someone asked me for a hug and I politely declined, then had to reiterate more forcefully with, “I said no.” We modeled turning down a high five, asking for a hug or high five and not being upset when someone declined, and other similar situations, and then the kindergarteners got to practice deciding whether they actually wanted a hug or not. Whenever I see students touching one another, however innocent, I check in to make sure they had explicit permission, encouraging students to advocate for each other and for themselves.

People say that anything younger than middle school or junior high is too young to begin sex ed. I laugh at them, because consent is the first and most important part of sex ed, and it’s appropriate for all age groups but is hardly ever explicitly addressed. I so hope that my generation and the next generation of teachers decide to change that. For now, I’m just starting wherever I can.

Taking the Plunge

So…. I did it. I’ve done it. I finally joined “the scene” in my area. The kinky and BDSM community are so, so welcoming and so, so wonderful. I don’t know what took me so long.

Actually, that’s a lie. I do know what took me so long. My acute fear of rejection, my awkwardness, my nerves, my reluctance to go public, my fear of losing my job…. I had lots of reasons for waiting so long to join the scene, but I’m glad I decided to finally just do it.

I joined fetlife about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been lurking in the groups for a while, messaging with people and reading article after article after article. I learned a lot about myself, like how some of my perceived interests were actually conditional limits, and some of my perceived limits were actually interests that I was embarrassed or scared of. It was boring online, though, and I wanted to really talk to people.

So I did. I went to a munch at a cafe one clear-weathered Sunday and was terrified to an insane degree. I didn’t know who the kinksters were, didn’t know where to go, was afraid to introduce myself to the wrong people… God, I was even afraid I was going to eat too weirdly for people to deal with me. I’m just a bundle of issues, sometimes…

ANYWAY, I overheard someone name the group we were a part of, so I meandered over and introduced myself. Well, introduced myself as Cora, that is, rather than my legal name, but still. That counts. Right?

I had some amazing conversations with some amazing people, and I made plans to get together in some other public locations later on, one-on-one. I ate delicious food and had a delicious vanilla steamer, and as I was playing with my cup, someone asked me if I had a “little” side. So I’ve been thinking about that. That’s not what this post is about, though, so I’ll move on for now. More later.

We talked about TV shows and movies, religion and creation, science and math (and video games). We talked about families and rejection and accepting friends, and yes, we talked about kink. In a public place. Discreetly, quietly, and with polite language, but we talked of shibari, kinbaku, and suspension bondage with the same ease that we talked about Mario Kart and the cafe’s sandwiches.

I’ve since met even more people, gone to more events, and hung out in private with some awesome folks. I’m making new friends and expanding my social circle, all while being able to be open about my kinks and my interests without shame or fear. It’s been liberating, and it’s been exhilarating.

It’s been beautiful.