Yo, I’m Aries. I’m a very extra extrovert, a non-binary queer person, a Slytherin (primary), and the human embodiment of a labrador retriever. I live in Washington, DC with my chosen beloveds, who playfully call me Daddy.
As a massage therapist and a personal trainer, bodies are very literally my business. My own physical well-being is absolutely crucial to my ability to work safely. Yet it’s so challenging to see myself fully. In these photos, I see myself in this moment of maturation, of puberty, of change.
As a butch kid, a football-playing tomboy, I embodied such a limited understanding of masculinity. As a teen, I avoided puberty as much as possible; I did self-destructive things to stop the onset of secondary sex characteristics. Now as an adult, I feel capable of shaping myself as I want to be. I feel submerged in this warm bath, simmering, unclear of the type of dumpling I am, and what shape I will take in the coming months and years.
In this current mystery potsticker moment, my body-mind feels very fluid. My self-conception is wildly ambivalent: I am both entirely comfortable with myself, clothed and nude, and yet totally disconnected and unrecognizing of myself. The maturation feels like a positive event, a transformative shift in which I can embody and be more fully myself, acknowledging the flaws and charms of that person. How fraught it feels to be stepping into a more masculine identity, but yet, how joyful it feels to be caregiving and providing, and using my strength to protect and give. How good it feels to care for my beloveds. How good to feels to love others and myself.
Specifically, what I see, at present moment: I love the power in my body. I love the thickness of my legs and the juiciness of my ass. I love the shape of my shoulders; I love the strength in my back. I love the angles of my face, and how much I see of my parents (and my grandparents) in my features. I love seeing the changes in my body as I build muscle, and I love how good it feels to be in my body.
I experience desire physically; I sweat, my eyes narrow, my breath quickens. In these moments of heat, I feel like a great cat: a jaguar ready to pounce, ready to rip another cat apart. My strength and endurance pour out into intimacy; my deep focus on others bodies and my own enjoyment of embodiment puts me (perhaps us) into a swirling trance.
I first learned about sex, desire, intimacy, and all those “adult” topics from reading science fiction. There’s a whole lot of fucked-up sexist malarky in classic sci-fi, but modern writers often described functional, beautiful relationships with compassion and care (tho I notched pages for those kinky porn moments too). For me, sci-fi normalized and glorified relationships that I didn’t see represented well in other media: romantic friendships (often between spaceship-mates), relationships with power dynamics, and non-monogamous relationships. There were not-doomed queer relationships! Power femmes and tender butches on moto-scooters! Alien invasions slash robot uprisings and suddenly, characters had to talk about long-withheld feelings! Folks got trapped in wormholes and it was really hard to text!
I recently felt so appreciative for Becky Chambers, who described my sexuality in “A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.” In “Long Way,” Chamber’s imagines the Aandrisk, a species of sapient reptiles (with feather plumage), who have a very open relationship with sex, lots of intimate communication skills, and a way of building intergalactic family -- their feather family. Do read the book, and when you meet Sissix, the ship’s pilot, please think of me.
Here are some things about the Aandrisk that made me feel very seen:
- Very physically affectionate, use touch to signal care + intimacy
- Build family across the cosmos by giving tokens of themselves
- Sexually gregarious and emotionally communicative
- Very strong thighs
- Loyal, enduring love
I have been so lucky in love, and I feel more lucky every day. I am romantically attracted to caretakers and breadmakers, analytical highly-verbal types, wood nymphs and shy fauns, femmes and butches, meticulous people with sharp eyes and a salty mouth, introverts full of feelings and dreams. I love to share activities with my sweeties, I love to be able to run together, to hike together, to sing together, to dance together, to teach and learn together. I love to be their caring puppy, their fawning fan, their doting friend.
There is a very special love in my life, a love that has grown and endured for my whole adult existence. In our years together, we’ve both matured -- I’ve seen this beautiful boy grow into a deeply caring man. His love has nourished me and nurtured me to become the person I am now. Our love is another sun in my sky, a permanent, heating glow in my internal landscape. I have a thousand words for this love, for this relationship, but just know that I am a fusion (we are a fusion), and the fusion makes us stronger and yet more loving.
As lucky as I am in love, I struggle to be vulnerable. Adult Aries doesn’t let people in like they used to. Even when I’m speaking in front of a hundred people, I’m still hiding. I cram my feelings in tiny tupperwares, I hide some tuppers so far away that I’ll never find them. I become irate when things seep out of their plastic, and mess up my nice veneer, or when I jumble up the lids and nothing can fit and fucking hell why the fuck can’t I just put this one one stupid thing away. I’m trying to go through things gently, to let things go, and to give space to my emotions, even the ugly ones. I am trying.
I am so grateful to Braden, for his thoughtfulness and care. My hope is to follow up with you when I’ve been steaming a bit longer, and seeing where this dumpling has started to settle.