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Orange Utans. #BloggersToBorneo

by Lori Dwyer on November 16, 2012 · 2 comments

I’m going to annoy a lot of you right now by continuing to cause you to seethe with jealousy. Listen as I tell you… I really don’t know a lot about orangutans.

In fact, in my head, I call them ’orange utans’. You know those weird things that stick with you from when you’re a kid? ‘Orange utans’ is one of mine. I remember being young– maybe eight or nine, I’m not sure– and in the car with my mum and my brother, living in Paradise but making the hour and a half round trip to the BigCityTown at least once a week. We played games in the car– long before in–car DVD players, I’m not even sure we had a cassette player. So we played guessing games and number plate games and Eye Spy and a more modified version of Eye Spy that was more along the lines of ‘I Think…’

“I’m thinking of something that is the colour orange, and it’s an animal” says eight or nine year old Lori on one particular drive. And, as is the fashion, my mum and brother put forward as many guesses as they can think of (”Tiger? Butterfly? Cat? Giraffe?”) while I sit, smugly, shaking my head ‘no’ to every guess they make.

“OK” says my mum after what felt like a very long time, “we give up– you’ll have to tell us the answer.”

“It’s an orange utan!!”

My mum laughed so hard she nearly couldn’t breathe and had to pull the car over to the shoulder while she recovered.

The whole ‘orange utan’ thing followed me around for the next couple of years, one of stories parents tell when they’re demonstrating how gorgeous and cute and potentially stupid their offspring can be.

And that’s, really, about as far as my knowledge of orange orangutans stretches.

Which meant it was time to do some research. And here’s what I dug up…

Nine Things You Really Should Know About ‘Orange Utans’ (especially of you happen to be trekking into the wilds of Borneo in just a few (eep!!) short months time).

  • Orangutans are, like chimpanzees and us humans, classified as a Great Ape (remind me to put that on my Internet dating profile). The easiest way to tell the difference between monkey and ape…? The tail. Or lack thereof.
  • Orangs are considered ‘solitary but social’ creatures. They live mainly alone, especially males. Females raise their offspring for six years before the wean and become independent, learning how to survive in the forest. But, while loners, orangs hang out in casual social groups, often connected by one dominant (big daddy) male, and have been known to interact and play when they encounter one another, especially if food is not scarce and there’s no need to biff on for it.
  • Orangutans are one of the few primate species not to engage in infanticide (killing babies). Why? Well. It’s partly due to the inherent promiscuity of female orangs, who are, reportedly, flirts even into the first months of pregnancy– designed to confuse the daddy orangs as to who’s baby is who’s.
    Other than that, orangs don’t kill babies because they’re just too cool for that.

  • Orangs are arboreal- (is that not the up there with the most awesome words you’ve ever come across?) meaning they live in trees. They also build themselves intricate sleeping nests– with mattresses, pillows, the works– specifically designed to hold their weight, every single night.
  • They not only have opposable thumbs… they have opposable toes as well. Not to mention a 360 degree rotating hip joint.
  • Despite the rumors, make orang utans generally don’t get the hots for– or try to rape and pillage– female humans. Even if they are Julia Roberts. (It only occurred to me, writing that, the inherent redhead stigma that comes with that particular piece of tripe. Good grief… people are weird.)
  • Orangs have been known to blow raspberries.
  • Orangutans are chronically endangered, with less than 30 000 estimated to be left in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra.
  • It costs the disturbing, disgusting amount of just forty five dollars to buy a baby orang to keep as a pet in Indonesia. I can’t even tell you how sad that makes me. Especially when it costs just $55 a year through Orangutan Odysseys, to have that tiny orang utan cared for in a nursery, then hopefully rereleased back into the wild.

And that, ladies and jellybeans, is the facts on orangutans. In case you missed it (where have you been…?)
us bloggers are going to Borneo
. You can come too.

If that’s waaaay too much of a stretch, I totally understand. So I’d love for you to donate just one dollar to help cover the cost of my trip, to ensure the awareness we’re raising for Orangutan Odyssey and the orangutans of Borneo comes to them for nix.

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Learning To Say ‘No’

by Lori Dwyer on November 2, 2012 · 6 comments

I am– so very, very gradually– learning to use the word ‘no’, and apply it where necessary.

It’s not about saying ‘no’ to my kids– I’m quite well practiced at doing that. And they are equally well practiced at hearing it (even if not actually listening to it). Some days I feel as though all I say is “No, no, no, no, no!!” And I get sick of hearing it myself. So I can only imagine how my four year old must feel about it. And exactly why he gets that sour look on his face when he Spidey-senses I’m about to say it again.

It’s more about learning to say ‘no’ to pretty much everything else in my life. For my own health and sanity.

I’m such a ‘yes’ person, and I’m ridiculously suggestible. It’s taken me a long time to even begin to understand the notion that just because someone asks you a question, that doesn’t mean the answer has to be ‘yes’. And just because someone suggests something, that doesn’t neccessarily make it a good idea.

Ironically, putting myself into the situation where that created a huge weakness helped. You just can’t be a ‘yes’ person, dating in the modern world… you will only sleep with people for all the wrong reasons and get hurt. (And I can tell you that from sordid experience, too.)

But in most situations, I really can’t seem to help myself, and I don’t remember really being any other way. I dislike saying ‘no, and it takes a lot to squeeze a refusal from me.

I hate saying no to more writing work, even if the money’s not worth the time involved. I hate saying no to requests of time and space on my blog, especially from charities, even when I really can’t squeeze it in. I hate saying no to invitations to events I know my kidlets would enjoy, even if they fall on one of those holy sacred ‘Mummy’s Days Off From The Screaming Children‘, otherwise known as the blessed institution of daycare. I really hate saying to my friends, to requests to join them sin some way, do something with them. Especially if it’s something fun. And especially if the reason I’m saying no is I am just too damn exhausted to say ‘yes’.

For as long as I can remember, in most every area and aspect of my life,I’ve prodded and pushed and flagellated myself, saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’. Bending to the will of the wind, rather than breaking against it. And, to be honest, I like that character trait in myself as I do in the people around me. It makes me happy, contented, knowing for sure that generosity, kindness and a willing to offer whatever I’ve got to assist others is so ingrained in my personality that I have to fight against it. And I’m certainly not planning to shut that off, stunt it, let that creeping bitterness seep foggy fingers under the doors of my mind again.

I’m juts going to stop running around like a goose, trying to do everything at once, when half the things I’m doing no one notices but me, and no one- including me- is any better off for them.

It hasn’t so much been a conscience decision as a simple unavoidable, catalyzed by that massive meltdown following my return from Melbourne. In the wake and comedown, the day after that one of my mates stayed and patted my back as I cried myself to sleep like a tiny child missing someone they love dearly; I look back on the last few months and take stock of what I’ve been trying to do– everything, all at once. Trying not just mum and a bit of dad as well, but also a handful of other randoms with long to-do lists and multiple anxieties . And I realize, in the calm following that storm, that there’s none of us who are any better for what I’ve been doing. As I said, I’m not sure anyone noticed but me. And the only person really paying any price for it is me, too.

Of course, as usual, I’m exhausted.

So I’ve begin the practice, the ritual, of saying ‘no’. I’ve discovered, of course, that’s it not saying ‘no’ that’s difficult. It’s dealing with that self-flagellating, arse-kicking guilt in the aftermath. But that guilt always passes, and the people who love me understand.

So I’m saying ‘no’ more often. And once again, the only person who’s really noticed is me. I’m still exhausted, but somehow, it’s an easier exhaustion.

Maybe it’s because at least this way, that exhaustion is negotiable. I can trade off big hunks of time for things I was going to do, but have said ‘no’ to. The relief is… awesome. This saying ‘no’ thing, I’d highly recommend.

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by Lori Dwyer on September 17, 2012 · 7 comments

“Hey boy take a look at me… let me dirty up your mind.
I’ll strip away your heart from here, let’s see what I can find…”
Queer, Garbage.
“People always afraid of what’s different.”
Cool Runnings.

A few weeks ago now I blogged about the somewhat disturbing trend I’d noticed whilst Internet dating. It’s actually quite logical. Police officers tend to be the alpha male type. And the alpha male types tend to be into a little bit of hardcore bondage.

To offset how very uncomfortable and vulnerable it made me feel, offers of coppers tying me up with rope; I reacted with depreciating humor. Not self depreciating humor… just depreciating.Cause that’s what we do.

Now, it’s coming to my attention more and more that the people who read this blog are very, very cool. I’ve always thought that– how could I not, when every comment and email I receive speaks to that being true? But the results of this survey are making me realize what a liberal, open minded, honest bunch of people you lot really are. And that is fucking awesome. (Surveys still open, by the way).

Every now and then, someone will leave me a comment that ruffles my feathers and challenges me slightly. I always fight the urge to dismiss them as ‘trolling’, or call them a dickhead just because they don’t agree with me. If something’s making me feel bitchy, there’s probably an issue there I need to take a look at. And this comment, left on that post about coppers and bondage, was no different…

“Not that you have a judgmental attitude to go along with your complete lack of knowledge of BDSM. Oh no, not at all. Can you feel the sarcasm? I do hope so.

I have no issue with your not being kinky, to each their own, but just because it’s not your thing doesn’t make these people creepy or irresponsible or disturbed. That’s your own internal prejudice, and this post is exceptionally narrow minded. Go and do some research before applying such labels to anyone who doesn’t want to fuck the same way you do.” (Edited to correct spelling).

I freaking hate it when people are right.

And this commenter couldn’t have been more correct. I knew nothing about BDSM. That much was evident in my surprise at the new knowledge that this was actually a ‘culture’… there was more to this than sex.

I despise willful ignorance. And with an Internet connection, in the year 2012, there’s very little excuse for it. This was so terrifying because I knew nothing at all about it… and that’s the kind of attitude in the human race that is, in the long run, responsible for starting wars and spilling blood.

So I did a little bit of research. And, as one usually finds when they delve into the human psyche, what I found was nothing short of fascinating.

Forget sex. This has nothing to do with sex. What I mistook for role playing is a lifestyle for some people– and here is where I am going to apologize for not acknowledging that in the first place.

The Doc likes to say that everything is about sex except sex, which is about power. That’s a basic human truth. People feed on power, and it tends to bring out the worst in us. I guess that’s why the appeal of dominating someone seems to easy to understand. Even if it’s not something that gets you off, there are a million examples of it, and it’s a base truth is pop psychology– power is sexy. Power is heady and narcissistic and so easy to wield.

The talent would have to be in restraining it.

But while it’s easy to understand, in theory at least, the attraction of being the one who is dominant; it’s the role of the submissive that seems terrifying, difficult and almost impossible to understand. And yet, for someone in control of every aspect of every their life, with little direction from others, there is an appeal to it which I’ve written about before. The thrill of letting go. The wanton hedonism that comes with feeling like an object.

I read The Story of O, infamous long before 50 Shades of Grey, and fond myself marveling at the language used, the lack of vulgarity and crude nouns where synonyms can be used instead, exemplified by the slight lilt of the French–to–English translation of a book penned forty years ago. I find blogs, of course, ones that I could spend hours reading for the simple fact that the lives chronicled in them are so different to mine. I stumble across the online journals of women who are married, who have been with their Master for years and live a normal suburban life when they’re not naked and collared in the presence of their husband. I discover women who are single and have chosen submission, who are preparing and training themselves as they search for someone who would be compatible… a yin to their yang. A darkness to their light.

And again, I’m not talking about sex… this has nothing to do with sex. There is an admirable element of self improvement and self denial, of restraint and discipline. The practice of yoga is encouraged, as is the perfection of poses that streamline the body and can be assumed upon request or demand.

Somewhere deep in the shady underground of the interwebs where fluorescent mushrooms bloom in the darkness, I find a submissive prayer, a rosary to be said in meditation. A supplication to one’s master as if they were a God. The deliberate and careful use of language within BDsM fascinates me– I resonate with people who play intermiddley with the English language, who flirt with capital letters and double entrendes.

Don’t get me wrong– I saw plenty of kinky perversions too. And why yes, I did feel all kinds of weird and creepy “doing research on fetish sites”, even if it was legit. (It’s right up there with telling the salesman at Harvey Norman you want a high quality HD webcam and feeling as though you should add “it’s not
for that!”
. But the implicit kink that comes with wearing a dog collar somehow feels far more wholesome than the Christian Domestic Discipline fetish movement that involves God–fearing men spanking their middle aged wives into premenopausal submission.

Sarcasm (laced with fear) aside, I’ve discovered a subculture seething with base psychology. And, as we know– I love that kinda thing. Bizarrely and unexpectedly, I’ve found myself with a genuine respect for a lot of women who act as full time submissive slaves, in the same way I found myself startled at the admiration I had for women who are paid to strip. There’s nothing easy or simple about it– it appears to be a matter of dedication and hard work, of being as in control of one’s mind as completely as to let someone else control you, to trust someone complexity as to allow them that kind of power of your body, to believe they know you intuitively enough to make your decisions for you. It was difficult to find a great deal of information about the psychology of the practice and the way the inherent differences between makes and females serve to strengthen submissive relationships… But perhaps I just didn’t know where to look.

Before we all go taking massive leaps to sordid conclusions- I find myself so amazed by the trust required to actively practice as a submissive simply because I could never imagine having that kind of implicit faith in someone. I’d add ‘ever again’ to the end of that sentence, but truly I don’t recall if I had that intense of a souls agreement with my husband, or not. And neither the person I am now nor the one I was in the Before is capable of that level of selflessness or patience. I require too much time to myself, my temper burns far too hot when I feel my freedom is restricted.

Human nature never ceases to strike me as incredible. I’ve discovered a whole slice of humanity I never knew existed, a mindset that’s akin to a religion. I dislike it when I discover a flat spot of understanding in myself. A big raspberry-blowing kind-of thank you to those of you who kick my arse into line when you happen to see it, too.

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