persephone descends, spirals, emerges

It started at the end of April, at Maya’s birthday weekend at Harbin Hot Springs. Harbin is now gone. I cried that weekend, I was so full of pain and rage and I had no idea why. Helo seemed bewildered, maybe frightened and frustrated. Maya and my other friends were supportive but also confused.

I continued to rage, spiral, weep, for months. I took time off from work. I saw my psychiatrist frequently, went to support groups, started meds, got an emergency therapist, tried meditation and yoga, and still, I couldn’t breathe. I was having panic attacks almost every day. I felt overwhelmed by anxiety, this buzzing, humming, too-much-feeling crawling under my skin. I went up on medications while titrating down on others. I exercised. I tried to work. I saw my friends a lot. My family was incredibly supportive, my mother and sister taking turns visiting me. Helo was loving, and so, so patient, and (I think) had no idea what to do.

I woke up depressed, or I woke up anxious, I took benzodiazapines, I experienced suicidal ideation, I couldn’t sleep, I quit my job. My relationship with Helo was a wreck, our connection lost. I upped one of my medications myself, going on a hunch, and things started to get a little smoother. I no longer felt like I was drowning. I am letting go of the enormous feeling of guilt I have over breaking up with Gaius and Chief. I am settling into my new home in SF. I have such amazing friends. My pack. I’d go to TNG and just let people hug and cuddle me.

I realized a lot of things, sequentially building up til I reached something resembling insight. I’ve been running away from my feelings for so long. Projecting onto others (mainly Helo) the pain and guilt inside myself. I’ve used others to fill up the cracks in me, but people aren’t glue. I haven’t really been taking care of myself. I haven’t been paying attention to what I need or how I feel. It was too painful for a while.

Helo and I got into a real fight, unusual for us, about two weeks ago. Things somehow fell into place when I realized that even when I felt unspeakable anguish, I am still able to take care of myself. Something clicked. I stopped taking my birth control a week ago. My depression disappeared almost instantly. I still feel anxious, but it’s usually manageable. I have two internships and should have enough hours to take the MFT exam by next fall. I know that the most important thing I need to do is stop running from how I feel, stop lying to myself, hiding behind denial, and just let myself feel any pain instead of trying to pretend its not there. Mindfulness in the form of being emotionally self-aware.

I feel better than I have in over 6 months. i don’t know for sure if it will last, but I’m grateful and hopeful enough that I feel like I can write again, instead of avoiding this blog, avoiding any kind of writing for fear it will reveal things I am not ready to face. I want to write something specifically thanking everyone…. everyone has been so kind, so loving. I had no idea what amazing, supportive friends I have, until this. I have no words.

for now,

Athena out.

“the best beating of 2013”

Pallas and I finally have our play date in December. I feel “toppy” towards him, but am terribly shy about it. Not exactly the headspace a hot domme is supposed to be in.

The Citadel is actually located in a terrible part of SF – the Tenderloin. Pallas and I sneak out onto the fire escape and find ourselves overlooking a… well, a big pit of trash and junk. Seriously. I could see rats scurrying around below us. it’s the refuse of a metropolis and vaguely, gothically romantic.

Pallas lights my cigarette for me and sits below me on the fire escape. I take my time, savoring. Every few minutes I gently tap the ashes into Pallas’ open, willing mouth. He swallows obediently. It’s incredibly sexy. I am touching his face, my fingers wandering the edges of his cheekbones, the curve of his jaw, the back of his skull. Blue smoke curls around us.

i slowly, carefully, roll the red cherry ember of my cigarette out against Pallas’ tongue. A puff of air escapes me – I did not realize I’d been holding my breath.

Later, inside the dungeon, Pallas teaches me how to hurt him. He is helpful, instructive, gentle, and doesn’t trample on my budding top side. Rather, he coaxes it out, using himself as the bait.

Master’s Den

Last December, Helo and I went to Master’s Den, a play party at the Citadel. It’s a specific party designed to celebrate the male Dom/female sub dynamic. Neither Helo nor or I are entirely comfortable with those terms, (Helo will jokingly refer to me as his “property,” and lovingly call me his kitty. I never refer to myself as “submissive” and Helo doesn’t think identity is useful, he often says, “I’m a Helo!” whenever people ask him “what” he is), however we generally fit the bill, even though our D/s dynamic is less-than-traditional (though deliciously traditional in other ways).

Anyway, despite our vague discomfort, there we were. A man I’d been on a date with that summer was also there. We’d talked about doing a schoolgirl scene a number of times but I was never quite able to commit (I hadn’t quite developed the skill to say no, directly). He waits until Helo steps away to get us some water, then swoops in and starts making out with me and touching me. It’s a little awkward, especially as this event is all about the D/s relationship between a couple. A definite case of Athena needing to develop better boundaries, and get better at expressing them, too. This has actually been a running theme since I debuted in the kink scene, will write more on that topic later.

I am wearing a white collared shirt and little red plaid skirt, Helo is wearing all black (sexy! but I think he’s sexy in everything). I feel like our “colors” are muted, somehow, maybe the energy of the venue, or the subdued nature of many of the attendees or the confinement of the role/gender structures. I straddle Helo’s lap and we cuddle and make out, which I like. Eventually, we end up doing a ridiculous(ly hot) yoga scene, much like the one we did here. It was fun, and I remember feeling very exposed, and feeling bad that I couldn’t take more. Helo tells me I did a fine job. I can never take as much in public as I can at home. Oh well. That’s what the Stick is for.

I guess the reason I was thinking about this is because it strikes me as a time that Helo and I (usually comfortable in almost any environment) felt out of place, most likely because we were forced into more rigid roles than we typically like. This has been a running theme and an idea that has continued to be present in my life… one that I think I’d like to deliberately play with.


Athena, Helo, and the Stick.

Helo has the uncanny ability to make just about anything sexy. He tolerates my jealousy of his spanking/discipline sessions with other women with the air of a confused parent.

I hate my jealousy. i struggle to get past it. I know it’s irrational but I so strongly equate my whippings with our ritual that it feels like a breach for him to share that with others. Of course, Helo’s intrigued by my intense dislike of his (admittedly rare) play dates with other women. Like any sadist worth his salt, Helo wants to play with my discomfort. For every beating he gives to someone else, I get one after her. And sometimes one before, too. “Harder, more,” I request. He tells me he expects “his wife” to take more. See? Hot.

The landlady has requested that our amorous adventures be quieter, which means, sadly, no more leather strop – but fortunately the vicious wooden paddle must go, too. It leaves us with very few options and Helo, as he is wont to do… gets creative. What this does leave us with are the quiet, stingy canes.

Very early on in our relationship, my ass (or Helo’s swing) broke the normal rattan cane we’d been using. Helo produces a much thicker and stricter looking implement – a “dragon cane.” I could take a lot of the previous cane – this one has me crying after the third stroke. Three of twenty, mind you. It’s very heavy. Helo corrects me… it is “persuasive.” This cane quickly becomes the household stick.


(Written in December 2013)

After fetfest, I want to expand beyond TNG – it will always be my homebase but I want some variety in my life. I go to the monthly DO happy hour in Albany and meet Pallas. There is something timeless about Pallas and I leave feeling like I only saw the tip of the iceberg. A man dark with secrets but bright with life and charisma.

If my life weren’t full to the brim I think Pallas could be a significant chapter of it. Even so, I am drawn to him. the curse of my life – I don’t have time.

A few days later he texts me, “I have a proposition for you.” He asks me to MOD at his upcoming convention in November. he is sure of me when I am not. I tell him I’ll think about it. “You’ll say yes,” he says. I love confident men. I say yes.

I see Pallas once more before the convention. I bum a cigarette from somebody and smoke it slowly, like candy. Pallas joins me outside. I have another friend with me and we talk about kink, poly, relationships. Pallas is fascinated by my smoking and reveals a fantasy around it. I’m instantly intrigued and aroused, though we don’t get to play it out for a few months after.

More about Pallas soon.

Poly (un)Perfect

Sometimes polyamory is wonderful. Sometimes it is about love and sex and hot tubs and meeting your metamours. Sometimes it’s about kissing people when you feel like it, and that not only being okay, but hot.

I talk a lot about the great parts of polyamory, and kink. You see it all over my blog. But the truth is that life is life, and sometimes people make mistakes, and sometimes the timing doesn’t work out, and sometimes people change. And sometimes that shit hurts.

Sometimes polyamory is about not being able to reconcile schedules. Sometimes it’s about drifting away from some people and closer to others. Sometimes time management just fucking fails. Sometimes I am afraid to kiss someone because I don’t want to make a partner jealous or uncomfortable, and instead of talking that out, I just avoid it altogether. Sometimes I run when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I don’t speak up when I should. Sometimes I feel rejected. Sometimes I feel jealous. Sometimes I feel alone.

I actually feel alone a lot more than you’d probably think.

Sometimes polyamory means I pressure myself to look perfect. For my relationships to look perfect, from the outside and inside. There’s no room for mistakes for Athena, because that means the vanilla world might see polyamory as problematic. I’ve spent the past ten years of my life being a social advocate for ethical non-monogamy. I deeply, truly, believe that it is a viable relationship structure.

But I gotta tell you, I’m only feeling marginally polyamorous at the moment. I am probably polyfidelitous as I’ve suspected all along, but even that I sometimes doubt. Yes. I doubt. It hurts to admit that. I’m scared to admit that. There are times when I question what the fuck I’m doing.

But this is real. these are real people, real lives. just like any monogamous relationship, polyamorous relationships have their fluctuations. I need to let myself accept that. I suspect that the only person expecting perfection from me…is me.




I visit my family. They ask my sister how her boyfriend is. No one asks about my partners.

I go to see my cousin play at a bar in the Haight. Helo accompanies me, he dances with another woman in front of the stage. I am holding my drink, smiling. My uncle leans over and says, “So is this what polyamory is all about?” I can’t tell if he’s being snide or sincere. Either way, my answer is, “yes, definitely.”

Sharon buys a small leather strap to hurt me with. I shiver in delight, I love leather. The next day she emails me a photo – the tables have turned!

Chief and I kiss in the kitchen. And then again. I mouth his shirt. “You smell different.” He shrugs. “New detergent?” “Ah.”

Gaius goes to a wedding with Cally, her mother’s second marriage. Gets a call that makes him think a funeral is not far away for his family.

I go to a wedding with Helo. I don’t know hardly anyone and his ex (my semi-metamour) doesn’t want me meeting all their friends. Helo and I dance, drink, laugh, and chase toddlers. During the reception we sneak away and skinny dip in the resort’s hot tub. We miss the cake. No one catches us.

I pull together a bar crawl with some kink-friends, days after returning from vacationing with Samuel. I am grateful when so many people make it out. I feel a sense of joy, something clicking into place, as we troll the Mission looking for a new venue (and find a great place).

Maya and I have sushi for lunch. I watch her pack for her move. I drag Maya to sushi again next week. She is one of the strongest people I have ever met. 

Gaius and Chief go to bed at 1:30; Athena’s bedtime is hours before that. I get tired of falling asleep alone, so I cross the bridge. Helo falls asleep before I get to his apartment. I ring the bell & the phone, and finally text his sister. She somehow hears her phone and lets me in. The next morning I hear noise from her bedroom, I text her, “You ok? Can’t tell if laughing or crying thru walls.” She catches me in the living room, “Definitely laughing!”

What is family?