LJ Idol 10.8 - No Comment
"Hey, how you doing?" I'm greeted as I walk into a comic book store in downtown Oakland.

I take an earphone out of my ear, smile, and say, "Hey," then immediately head to browse the graphic novels. Today, the store has 20% off all Image titles, in celebration of Image Comics' anniversary. I wouldn't be here today, if not for the sale. I was here only a week ago, picking up the latest issues of Saga and Jessica Jones, which are the only comics I buy issue-to-issue.

The sale affords me an excuse to pick up the first six volumes of Saga, though. Initially, I had read them from the library, before I visited the store on their anniversary in mid-November, where I decided I may as well start picking up the single issues. I didn't need to buy the books, but I told myself it'd be good to go back and re-read them whenever I wanted, without having to get them from the library again.

In reality, I am there because I have developed a crush on the man who greeted me as I walked in. I don't know if he's the owner, a manager, or just an employee. I don't even know his name.* I just know that he's taken to recognising me after several trips to the store. He knows what I buy, and he reads the same comics I do, because we've briefly discussed them.

On top of picking out the six volumes of Saga, I browse the shelves of Image books, picking out new titles to try. A few of them are written by writers I'm familiar with because of their work with Marvel. Namely Ed Brubaker, who wrote the only Captain America stuff I've read and enjoyed, and Rick Remender, whose Uncanny Avengers work I've recently been reading.

After selecting the Image books I want to buy, I wander through the rest of the store, checking to see if the next issue of Jessica Jones is already out. It's not. I turn around and see the hardcover book of Marvel's Civil War II, and snap it up in my hands immediately, because I was fairly certain it wasn't meant to be released yet (upon later checking Amazon, I discovered it was there two weeks early).

When I notice the store is empty, I take my pile of books to the counter, hoping for an opportunity for more conversation with this man I've developed a crush on. I spend more time than I had previously simply looking at his face, discerning that I am, indeed, also physically attracted to him. See, I have a bad habit of not really making eye contact with people when conversing with them. I pay little attention even to their faces. This man had probably recognised me on several visits, but I only started paying attention to him when he commented on the fact I had returned in early January, a week after I had left the store empty-handed as they had neither the latest issue of Saga (the publisher had requested it be returned), nor Vision volume 2, which had been sold out from the Christmas rush. He remembered, and commented on having both, as I was purchasing them. I posted on Facebook later that day that I liked being recognised in that situation.

Logic tells me, this is simply the positive side of shopping at a small local business. Having a friendly face who knows their regular customers. Someone who'll happily answer any questions one has about release dates, upcoming issues, and back catalogues, for people like me who are too lazy to find them online.

But I can't help myself. I often find myself developing an attraction to people who pay attention to me. Who I find it easy to talk to without getting flustered.

Earlier this morning, prior to my trip to the store, I had queried my husband over breakfast on the appropriateness of trying to get to know a store clerk outside of seeing them at the store. Is it okay to tell them you would like to do that? Our breakfast debate ended with no clear conclusion. My husband's opinion was simply that he was just being friendly, and it could be awkward for him if I approached him in that way, if he wasn't interested, and I wanted to continue to shop there.

I don't want to force anything, so when I drop my pile of books on the counter to purchase, I simply say, "I figured with this sale today, I'd buy the Saga books to re-read, and try out some other titles I may or may not have heard of."

Another customer walks in, and I lose any chance of privacy, to converse with him alone, as he replies. "I read them every issue, and then again when the books come out. Saga is too good not to read at least once a year."

Buying as many books as I am affords me with a little more time with him, as he marks off my loyalty card, calculates which book I'll get for free, and marks up the new card.

After I make my payment, and he packs my books in the cloth bag I fortunately brought, I reach one last time, trying to stay there a little longer. "When does the next issue of Jessica Jones come out? Next week?"

"Issue four?" he asks, as he starts looking it up on the computer.

"No, I'm pretty sure I already have that one," I say.

"Oh, yes," he says, "I think you're right."

I smile to myself, enjoying the thought of him remembering my purchases.

"Yes, next week," he says, finding the answer. "Wednesday."

"Thanks," I say, and head for the door.

Part of me wants to think I left with him being happy to know when, approximately, he'd see me again. But a man as friendly and good looking as he is probably isn't single, or polyamorous. These days, with the popularity of comic book films, it's probably a lot easier for comic book nerds to date, and find partners.

And so I'll likely continue to shop there, without ever commenting on my attraction to him. It's not important. Sometimes it's worth just enjoying those friendly interactions without ever asking for more.


* When I wrote this, this was true. Upon completing this entry, I went to the store's website and watched a video where I learned his name and that he is, indeed, the store owner. But that doesn't negate the fact that I didn't know this information when this event took place.

This event took place last Wednesday, February 1st. I'll be back at the store again before the LJ Idol poll opens, collecting the next Jessica Jones comic. It's hard to say yet if there'll be any update to this story by then.

LJ Idol 10.7 - Where I'm From
At the age of 3, I was granted US citizenship through my parents. They were born in Wyoming and Indiana. Though I've only lived in the USA since June 2014, my roots are with this country.

But with the events of this past weekend, with the uncertainty of the future, and who could potentially have their green cards revoked, I worry not just for the Muslims and Middle-Eastern and African Americans those decisions currently affect. I worry about my family, too. I've supported equality among those who are different races and religion than my own, never thinking that with my white privilege, the government would ever come after me or my family.

But my husband and children are in the US on green cards. They are still 100% Australian citizens. As a dual-national Australian/American, I could have my citizenship revoked by this administration.

California's governor Jerry Brown has declared that we will continue to protect our sanctuary cities, our refugees, our undocumented immigrants, regardless of what Trump does, and yet people were still detained at San Francisco airport.

I don't want to stand by and watch history repeat itself. I don't want to watch the government come for everyone else, until they eventually come for me and my family. Some people may think this is simply hyperbole, but right now I don't think it's out of the question. Trump has already done far more damage in his first week in office than I thought could be possible in such a short period.

My family may have white privilege, but we don't support this administration. My ten year old talks about how awful Trump is regularly, because his friends are predominantly Latino, and his empathy is strong for them. My husband works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has a lot of work ahead of them fighting for user rights to privacy on the Internet, in an age where digital privacy seems to be at an all time low and social manipulation online seems to be at an all time high. It's an organisation that's ripe to be targeted by this government. If they go down, we're at risk of losing everything.

And with me being publicly bisexual, and my husband and I being publicly polyamorous, both of which are easily discovered by looking over our personal websites, yes, we could be at risk of being targeted for not having "family values." We could be sent back to Australia, or if the US ends up building death camps like Nazi Germany, we're just the type of people who could be sent there. For speaking out. For being different. Our voices will need to be silenced.

I don't know what else I can do to change the tide. The only reason I was able to get out of my white, middle-class privilege bubble was because I lived in Malaysia for so long. I met people of different races. I met Muslims. I became friends with them. I listened to their perspectives, and their points of view. I empathised with them because I thought about what it would be like if I was in their position. I gave up my beliefs on poor people just staying poor because they didn't want to help themselves when I became friends with someone who grew up poor. I learned from her perspective. I encourage people to take in as much media as they can that is produced by people from so many different backgrounds than their own, to encourage that greater understanding, but it just feels like too few people are receptive to the idea of that. They only want to consume the media that directly relates to their personal experiences. They want to continue to live in their own little bubbles.

And now, with the US the way it is, I feel like it doesn't matter where I'm from. It doesn't matter that I'm white, that I grew up in a place that was predominantly white, that never noticed race, or if someone had a different skin tone from me, because I learned better. I'm now part of the "coastal elite." I'm educated enough to be looked upon with scorn by those who haven't been able to afford the same education. I support free college education for the sheer fact that the current system has allowed this to happen, but it feels too late to do anything else about it now.

I don't want to give up, but at what point can I accept that the world as I knew it is over? If we're all going to die in concentration camps and/or a nuclear war sometime in the next couple of years, maybe it would just be better to spend the next few months living the way I want to live, doing the things I enjoy, consequences be damned.

LJ Idol 10.6 - Heel Turn
In my slumbered state, I saw him lean closer to me and slowly, affectionately kiss my lips. I kissed him back, briefly, until he pulled away in apology.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that."

"No, it's okay, I want this," I said, but that's where the dream ended.


I've known Adrian for over two years now, and we've been performing together just shy of two years. A few months ago I finally confessed some things to him, finding ease in the admission because my mind was no longer in the same head space it was when I felt the things I was confessing to.

I told him, when I first saw him perform, back in July 2014--the first improv show I saw in San Francisco after I moved here--I found him attractive. I met him about 3 months after that, at a Halloween party I was invited to, and introduced myself in a rather fangirly way. I didn't know then that the first show I saw him in was his first ever improv show. When I told him I'd been attracted to him back then, he was flattered, but certainly didn't take it to mean that I still felt the same way.

I also brought up a conversation from back in the early days, when I first joined the troupe I admired on stage that day, and we hung out at a bar after rehearsal. He confessed that he was rather attracted to Australian accents, which I have, and I was so confused by that because I knew he had a girlfriend at the time, but why would you tell someone you're attracted to their accent if you're not specifically attracted to them? He admitted he didn't mean anything by it, but it was nice to be able to discuss how differently we interpret conversations like that.

Then there was the big one. A little under six months into my time with YUM!, we ran an exercise in rehearsal where his character proposed to me. That wasn't the surprise, because he often plays characters who propose marriage. Toward the end of that scene, that time around, however, we had both felt the pull that the most logical, emotional reaction to go with would've been to kiss. But we both held back. We hadn't previously discussed what we should do in moments like that because it hadn't come up in a scene before. We talked about it afterwards, though, on Facebook, because I wanted to clear the air and make it less awkward. At the time, I told him I held back because he had a girlfriend and I wasn't sure if it was okay, and he told me pretty much the same thing, because he hadn't really had that conversation with her before then. He did afterwards, though, and it was decided within their relationship boundaries, it was fine for him to kiss male members in our troupe if the scene called for it, but not the female ones. I certainly respected the boundaries of their relationship.

But during this conversation from a few months ago, I admitted that wasn't the whole story on my end. I had still been attracted to him in that moment, and I was concerned about how kissing him might've affected me, and our relationship, and ability to work together. Because as much as I had been attracted to him, I didn't want to risk my membership in YUM!. I didn't want to ruin my chances to continue working with a team of improvisers I enjoyed so much. And I certainly didn't want to overthink it all.

I told him I didn't mind telling him this now because I didn't feel attracted to him that way any more. It was, after all, more than a year later. Plus, he was no longer with the girlfriend he had at the time, so I didn't feel like I was violating their connection by telling him. He took the news in his stride, and it was no big deal. We're a close troupe, and we try to be open about many of our feelings whenever we can. Having this conversation didn't affect our ability to work together, and I'm very grateful for that.

As of today, I still feel my connection with YUM! is more important than wanting a relationship with anyone, especially with any of the other members of our troupe. I value the friendships I have there, and I still see Adrian as just a friend. I don't think I'm attracted to him as anything more than that.

But if that's the case, why did I have that snippet of a dream last night, where he kissed me? Am I about to embark on a ninety degree turn, back the way I came, where I develop those kinds of feelings again? Or is it just a symptom of his growing affection within our friendship, where I've noticed he's now more inclined to randomly wrap an arm around my shoulder when we're in conversation?

We still haven't kissed in the real world. Not on stage, not in rehearsal, and certainly not out of the context of improvising together. Despite the fact that, roughly nine months ago, I had a conversation with the entire group about my feelings when improvising intimate scenes with them. I talked about how I often held back, especially with the straight members of the group, because I worried about them reading incorrectly between the lines that I was attracted to them in real life, and it wasn't just the character I was playing. But then I had my mind blown during a workshop with a top Chicago improviser, Susan Messing, when she stated "Who you are on stage is not reflective of who you are as a person." Talking about this with the group, I felt like I was able to give myself permission to play more intimately. They would understand that that's what I was doing.

And yet, in the last nine months, the only person I've kissed on stage is Casey. And yes, he's one of the gay members. I guess I still haven't managed to move too far past that fear, that comfort zone. Or maybe I'm just afraid that in kissing a straight improviser on stage, I'll be the one developing an attraction to them. Maybe I'm the one who can't separate acting from reality, unless there's a very clear boundary drawn by sexuality.

LJ Idol 10.5 - Fear is the Heart of Love
I still remember the exact moment I knew I was in love with my husband. He'd just come home from visiting his ex-girlfriend, who was so depressed and upset that she was no longer with him that she threatened to kill him. Confronted with this news, I thought, "How would I feel if she actually succeeded with that? How much would I care?"

It turned out I cared a whole lot. I didn't want to lose him. It was scary for me to discover this conclusion because we hadn't even been dating that long yet. And I sure as hell didn't want to admit it to him. I needed to hear those words from him first.

I was 21 back then. Nearly twelve years later, I feel a whole lot differently about how fear and love work together. There are few situations now where I could consider fear in a relationship as being healthy. I've been in a few relationships with other men whilst with my husband, because we're polyamorous, so that's where a lot of my perspective comes from.

My fear of losing my ex, Lee, is one of the major factors that drove him away. I could feel him distancing himself from me, so I talked to a mutual friend about us, and that was the nail in the coffin.

I've seen fear drive people to jealousy, wanting to claim ownership over their partner, ensure (or at least believe) that their partner only has eyes for them. So much so that they don't want to hear if that's not the truth. Inability to communicate those difficult feelings can drive a wedge in the middle of a relationship until the cracks begin to show, or not, but at least one person in that relationship is left miserable and trapped.

For a good portion of my marriage, as we've been polyamorous, I've trusted that my husband loved me, and would never leave me. Why would he leave me for someone else, when I'm as awesome as I tend to think I am, and I allow him to have relationships with other women? He doesn't have to feel trapped by me. I've seen other women come and go in his life, and always felt reassured that I was a stable partner that he'd stand by forever.

Polyamory had always been easy for me because of that. I didn't get jealous, because I believed all this to be true. The theoretical ideals of polyamory made a lot of sense to me. I dreamed of being in love with my husband, and someone else, and all of us living together happily ever after. Because I wanted this for myself, I thought, it's only fair to be open to allowing my husband that same freedom.

But living the reality is a lot harder than imagining the dream, when it feels lopsided. It's always been harder for me to find partners I'm attracted to than it's been for my husband, though once I do, I tend to fall in love pretty quickly. My husband's had a girlfriend living with us for over half a year now, and it's very clear to me that she brings him a lot of joy in his life. I don't want to take that away from him. They're very serious about each other, and they're in it for the long haul.

For my end of it, I like the convenience of having someone else who can look after our children for us when my husband and I have other commitments -- he travels for work, and I have rehearsals, shows, and sometimes classes when the kids are out of school. Sometimes they overlap. The kids think she's great.

But the closest I've had to another "relationship" in that time was about a six-week hot and heavy sexual fling with a fellow improviser who ended things because we were in different places with what we were looking for. He was still stuck on his ex, and I'd well moved past mine.

I don't see myself finding someone else who can be that person to me that my husband has in his life, and the longer this goes on, the harder it is to live with. Seeing her every day is a reminder of what I don't have. A reminder of my former partners who I'd have loved to have live with us but didn't work out.

But if I let this fear that I won't have that consume me, I risk a lot more. I have to continue to trust in my husband, and trust that I'll find what I want in my life. That's how I love.

Because fear isn't the heart of love. Trust is.

LJ Idol 10.4 - I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be.
The tides of my passions ebb and flow. Obsessions come and go. Concentrating intensely, momentarily, until the next sparkly interest comes along. I don't want to just like what everyone else does. Once I see too many people in the middle, doing the same thing, liking the same things, I have a tendency to move on. It's why, after over a year of rainbow or galaxy-coloured hair, I went back to my natural brown. Too many people in the San Francisco Bay Area were dyeing their hair unnatural colours. I didn't feel unique any longer.

But this side of myself makes it easier for me to maintain a strong passion for things I haven't been able to expose to such a wide audience. I can continue to feel that special flavour.

About six and a half years ago, I discovered an improv rock group online. Granted, I was friends with one of the members first, but that doesn't guarantee that I'm necessarily going to be a fan. The thing that truly solidified my being a fan was shyly suggesting I could shoot a music video with them, and receiving a resounding, "YES, AND!" in response.

In November 2010, I booked a vacation to Macau, Hong Kong, and Hawaii for my birthday, with the timing specifically so I could see Robin Williams perform live. Once I realised I'd also be able to catch a live Oil in the Alley show, I couldn't help shooting off ideas to the member I wasn't already friends with.

I had so much fun with them on that first music video shoot that I planned to return a year later, using frequent flier points (because damn if it's not expensive to fly to Honolulu from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia otherwise), to shoot a second one. That trip got pushed back several months, to February 2011.

I had it all planned out. Be there for two weekends to allow for optimal time to shoot, and have a greater chance of being there when they have a show (booking with frequent flier points meant I had to book the trip before I knew when they'd be performing). It should've been perfect.

Only one problem. The Seattle Festival of Improvisational Theater just so happened to be on right when I was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu... and one of the performers was going to be out of town for that. I ended up salvaging that weekend by visiting friends in California and my then-boyfriend in Virginia instead, but it still sucks to realise you're not going to be where someone you intended to see is. Could I have flown to Seattle instead? Sure, but I still wouldn't have seen Oil in the Alley there, and I was more interested in the opportunity to see my then-boyfriend in Virginia again.

Besides, I still got to see Oil in the Alley perform, and I still got to shoot most of the music video myself.

Here's the final product, if you're curious:

I learned from that, though. I've never seen them live again--but for a surprise single song in Honolulu last September, when I happened to be in town for the Hawaii Festival of Improv. It certainly wasn't a scheduled appearance. I didn't want to risk missing out, and hey, without frequent flier points, it's a lot of money when you have no guarantee.

Perhaps my interest waned somewhat after that, with fewer show video clips posted online for me to follow them, and additions to the band that changed the sound I initially enjoyed, but I never stopped being a fan. I've held out hope I'd eventually get to see another live show from Oil in the Alley. I'd just have to plan smarter. Make sure I know where they were going to be before I book anything.

Fortunately for me, five years later, and halfway across the world, it's a whole lot more affordable for me to fly to Seattle from Oakland (only a two hour flight away! And less than half the cost of flying to Honolulu!) and this year, Oil in the Alley is performing at the Seattle Festival of Improvisational Theater. Not one, but two shows! I get to double the number of shows I've seen them perform live with just one flight. And they're back to their original duo.

It can really pay to be a longstanding, enthusiastic fan of some obscure group. In CDs. Of which I was sent copies of both of their releases. But I think, sometimes selfishly, maybe I prefer that I've struggled to get more people to watch their videos and become fans themselves. I wouldn't want my temperament to move me away from my ability to enjoy their work, and interact with two of the people who encouraged me to pursue improv myself.
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LJ Idol 10.3 - Brushback Pitch
Ugh. We've been stuck here for like 20 minutes. Do you think anyone's coming to help us? You pressed the emergency call button ages ago. Maybe there'd have been someone here by now if it wasn't a Saturday night.

I'm Kristy, by the way. I hope you don't mind me talking so much. I hate awkward silences. And it keeps me distracted from feeling claustrophobic. This is the third time I've been trapped in an elevator, but the first time it's been with someone I didn't already know.

How long have you lived in LA? I've been here 3 years. I moved here because I wanted to be an actor, but I didn't really get anywhere with it, so I thought I should probably start producing my own work to get some practice in, get noticed, that sort of thing. I wrote a screenplay so now I'm trying to shop it around to producers and directors, see if I can get funding for it. I was actually on my way to a party to try and network, meet some people who might be able to help me with that.

So, I'm thinking, we're trapped in an elevator anyway, do you mind if I give you my elevator pitch?

Okay, so... imagine a dystopian world, set sometime in the future, where humans have genetically modified animals in ways that they can be bred and used for improving our lives. For example, porcupines are less prickly, and are then bred, killed, and then stuffed by a taxidermist so we can brush our hair with their quills. Kangaroos are bred so we can turn their pouches into shopping bags. That kind of thing. This happened all to try and rid the world of plastic by using organic materials that wouldn't harm the environment when such items broke and needed to be thrown away.

Our lone hero, Janet--played by me, of course--is the only person in this era who considers things like animal cruelty. She sets off to change the world. She wants to stop the senseless killings, so she goes to law school to figure out how she can get the law changed. Think Legally Blonde meets, I dunno, something like Divergent or The Hunger Games, but without the factions.

I know what you're thinking. God, there's no way I'm going to succeed with a dystopian legal comedy film, because that's all the feedback I've heard so far, but I'm pretty sure people didn't think Legally Blonde would be as successful as it was either. And everyone loves dystopian movies these days. All I need to do is find the right person who believes in it.

You're not a producer, are you? Heh, I probably should've asked that first. It's probably good you're not. I feel like I'm making a fool of myself right now. But Hollywood isn't really made for women, you know? We don't get very many great leading roles. That's why I wanted to write a film with a female protagonist, and no love interest. Although maybe I'd consider putting one in if it means the movie would get made, but I don't want a man to be the one to save the day, you know? There are too many movies like that. Or maybe she can have two love interests and end up with both of them. Wouldn't that be something else? I'd love to see something like that.

Don't mind me, my mind's just racing now, I gotta write these ideas down so I can remember to start editing when I get back home. I'm probably not going to make the party tonight at this rate, anyway.

There, notes jotted. How are you feeling in your corner? Do you need anything to drink? I have some water in my bag, if you don't mind sharing my germs. Oh, well, more for me. Have you been in this building long? I feel like I've been talking too much, you should tell me something about you---Did you hear that? I think someone might finally be here to get us out.


Nice meeting you. Sorry I didn't catch your name. Hope to see you around.

LJ Idol 10.2 - That One Friend
We're friends. Good friends. Or I'd like us to be good friends. Or just friends. Or potentially lovers. I like you, is what I'm saying. How you can tell is by the effort I put in. What I do. The things I say.

You made a film? I'm there to watch it. In person, online, doesn't matter.

You're performing in a show? I'll go see it.

You're crowdfunding your latest project? Here's some money, I'll buy the product. Share the link on social media.

You wrote a book? Let me buy a copy. I'll probably even read it.

I like you. I like what you put out into the world. It's probably a big part of what attracted me to you in the first place. I want to support you and encourage your creativity.

Sent me a message? I won't ignore it. In fact, there's a high chance I'll reply to it as soon as I see it.

Maybe I sound like a dream friend. But sometimes I feel like my motivations are selfishly driven.

I don't expect my actions to be reciprocated, but I do hope they will be. I'd like my friends to support me by coming out to see me perform. Or watch my videos. Or read my writing, or buy my books. I want people to reply to my messages as soon as they see them, because I hate stewing about the reason why they might be taking so long to respond. It all stems from the value ingrained in me since childhood: treat others how you would like to be treated.

I forgive people for things others would commonly hold a grudge for. Said something offensive or hurtful? Sure, that sucks, but I've fucked up in that way. You apologised and learned from it? All is forgiven. I know what it's like to have someone hate me for a stupid mistake, and I don't want you to feel like that. I don't want other people to make me feel like that again.

My expectations for reciprocation are often so low that I'll get excited any time anyone shows any kind of effort. They'll surprise me. Because for once in my life my enthusiasm hasn't scared someone away, but rather brought someone closer.

I don't like false promises. Sure, maybe someone's heart is in the right place, and they're just too busy right now, but I believe we make time despite that if we really want to make something happen.

Don't keep telling me you're going to come see me do improv if you have no intention of ever doing so. I'll give up sharing my performance dates with you.

Don't tell me you'll read my book if it doesn't actually interest you. I don't want you to feel obligated, and read something you won't enjoy.

Don't keep saying we should get together if you're not willing to find a time to make it so. I'll stop suggesting opportunities.

I value honesty and genuineness over politeness.

Because I am way more honest than polite, and I like to know where I stand with people.

But I'm not always as selfishly motivated, in the sense that I don't hope they'll reciprocate my actions. Sometimes I'll make grander gestures than what I listed above. I'll travel across the world to visit a select few people. I rarely consider them having the ability or interest to do the same in return, often because I know those kinds of finances can be harder for people to come by.

Sometimes my husband will ask me why I'll travel to visit friends who won't do the same for me. He doesn't understand that it doesn't matter to me that they can't, or won't. Sometimes it's just nice to have the ability to hang out in person at all.

To see them.

Hear their voice.

Share a hug.

Have a conversation without a computer screen sitting between us.

LJ Idol 10.1 - I need the struggle to feel alive

Your body contradicts your words. Your heart fighting with your head. Emotion versus reason.

I look at you with lust in my eyes. My libido is alive for the first time in years, and I don't want to rein it in again. Not around you.

Your efforts for idle chit-chat go ignored. I can't concentrate on that. I don't care about the weather. Your words are a blur around my head while I try to figure out how to get what I want without you resenting me for it. I look at you like I'm paying attention, my upper arm resting on your lap while my hand supports my head. This is the closest we've been in years.

"I could just undo the strap around my neck right now, show you my boobs," I say, interrupting whatever conversation you're trying to have with me.

"You shouldn't do that," you say. With your mouth. Your eyes say something else. You're curious to see how far I'll try to push you.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to make you do anything you don't want to do."

"I should go," you say.

"Get up, then."

"I can't. You're laying on my lap."

"You're bigger than me. You can lift me off you."

"I don't want to hurt you."

I smirk. "I guess you'll just have to stay here then."

You check the clock on the wall, trying to calculate how much longer you can survive without me moving.

When you look back at me, I reach behind my neck and pull the string, releasing the knot that's keeping my dress in place. I pull down the left side that's covering my breast, all while sporting a mischievous grin. You look away, as if that excuses your part in my behaviour. But I'm not going to let you get away that easy.

I take your hand, and place it on my exposed breast. You could take your hand away, but you don't. You leave it there, and look at me, look at what you're doing. Squeeze your hand.

You've traded any power you thought you might've had over to me. I close my eyes and feel how turned on I'm becoming.

You pull your hand away. "I'm sorry," you say.

I shake my head.

"I should go," you say again.

My heart sinks, but I understand. I re-do my halter-top.

"You don't want to see my panties I told you about?" I ask, thinking about how hot I am down there.

"You really want to show me, don't you?"

I shrug, and take your hand again, putting it between my legs.

"It feels like netting," you say, avoiding commenting on how wet I am. Your fingers press against me as I lift up my skirt so you can see why it feels the way it does. "You really are horny right now, aren't you?"

I shrug again. "I did warn you. You had to have known when you came over that I'd try something like this."

"I was hoping to put a stop to it."

"So much for that idea."

You check the clock again. "I really should go though."

I sigh, feeling resigned, but accomplished. I got more than I expected. I pushed your buttons. I know you still want me.

I remove my arm from your lap, and as I get up, I straddle my legs either side of yours, and move my face within an inch of yours, enticing you to kiss me, because I won't make that move before you do.

"Okay," I say, and stand, giving you room to make your own choice.

You stand up, and back yourself toward the door. I close the distance between us and look up at you, expecting a goodbye hug. You rest your hands on my shoulders and start to massage them. You're not leaving. I've brought life to your dull world. You may never see me again after today.

What will you choose?

Sometimes I still think about past lovers. Fantasize. What might happen if I ever saw them again? Is it even a good idea to try and rekindle something that didn't work out? I can't answer that alone. But my memories of who they were with me remind me what it was like to feel anything at all.


This was written for therealljidol. If you would like to play along, sign ups are still open until the week 1 topic deadline on Wednesday November 23rd, 8pm EST.

LJ Idol 10.0 - Introduction
"Oh my goodness, it's late," Benji said as we left the Castro, walking toward his car in the Mission.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"Do you want me to give you the actual time, or lie and make it sound not as bad?"

I considered the question only momentarily. "The actual time."

Benji showed me his phone. It read 2:50am. Before I was able to say, "That's not so bad, I thought it was like an hour later," Cody jumped in.

"But daylight savings just changed."

Shit. Technically it was more like 3:50am.

That was this morning. It was not a typical night out for me, even after an improv show. Normally I'll make sure I can catch the last BART train back to Oakland, which leaves a little after midnight. But when I'd approached Benji at 11:45pm last night to find out if he'd taken BART, since we've tended to ride together after shows sometimes, he told me he drove and offered me a ride home instead. I jumped at the opportunity.

Once pretty much every other improvisor had left the bar, and we were getting ready to leave, Benji hadn't been so sure he was sober enough to drive. So we decided to walk to the Castro to a 24-hour diner to get some food and sober him up for the drive back to the East Bay.

I'd never been to Orphan Andy's before, but Cody described it as "One of the best 24-hour diners open in San Francisco." We waited in line for quite a while to get a seat in the small place, which suggested Cody's assertion was correct. There were at least 3 groups in front of us. And this was the Castro, the neighbourhood known for San Francisco's LGBTQ population. That was certainly seemed to be the majority of their customers, too. One of whom stood in line behind us and decided to joyously join our conversation. My over-tiredness led to my inability to contain my amusement looking at the reactions on the faces of the three other people in my company. Two of them clearly did not want him interrupting our conversation, and were frustrated that the third kept engaging him. Their reactions had nothing to do with his sexuality; but rather how they would feel if any stranger would have engaged us that way.

Though I was the only member of the group who is in some way queer-identified (I'm bisexual), I don't spend much time surrounded entirely by queer people, unless I'm rehearsing or performing with my LGBT improv troupe. I'm generally not the kind of person to befriend people just because we have a mutual understanding of sexuality or relationships. I need more than that to bond with a person.

My over-tired laughter came into play during our meal later in the night, too. Cody had misheard something I'd said, and I doubled over. I laughed so hard I was crying, and my stomach hurt from the exertion. Every time I tried to calm down and explain what I'd said wasn't anywhere near as funny, he'd ask me what it was I'd said, and I'd laugh harder.

Was the diner food as good as Cody suggested? I don't know. It was fine. I cared more about the company I was with. Hanging out with improvisors is pretty much the primary reason I even have a social life these days. They're the only reason I'll stay up well past my bedtime (which exists, because I have two kids in school, so my alarm goes off at 7am every weekday so I can make them breakfast and get them off to school on time).

I had a lot of late nights with improvisors in Hawaii about six weeks ago when I was there for their improv festival. One morning I didn't get to sleep until 4am because I was so buzzed. I came home with a festival flu because I'd pushed myself so hard. The main improv troupe I perform with, YUM, likes to have slumber party retreats roughly once a quarter, and I definitely stay up late for those. The first one I went to, three of us stayed up until 6am, which was a bad idea considering we had a photo shoot that afternoon, but we made it work. We've come a long way since then. This coming Friday we'll be driving down to Lancaster in Southern California for our very first performance at an improv festival (and we have two more festivals coming up in January). We're scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. It'll also be our first time staying out of town together. Our slumber parties had all been at each other's houses/apartments before.

Improv pretty much dominates my entire life right now, and has for the last two years. If I'm not doing something related to improv, I'm probably just watching TV, movies, or reading graphic novels. I don't talk about my kids much because I don't want motherhood to define me. I don't talk about my husband much because I don't want marriage to define me. Although sometimes I do talk about dating because I want to help normalise polyamory, or at least help open conversation in that area so it doesn't seem like such a weird thing for people to consider or encounter.

My life has changed so much since I last seriously competed in LJ Idol about five years ago. Back then, I was an Australian expat living in Malaysia with minimal "in person" friendships. I've faced many challenges in that time, but thanks to them, my life is infinitely better. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this season's prompts take me, whether I'm sharing more from my life experiences, or getting creative with fiction, screenwriting, videos, or other possibilities. I like changing things up and trying different formats.

Signing up for LJ Idol
Okay, I'm going to see if I actually have time to play therealljidol again this time around, now that I have fewer weekly commitments, and a desire to kick myself in the pants to write more again.


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