Functionalist at Heart

I am a functionalist at heart. When I read a book it is because I perceive it will be useful or necessary to me in some way, not because I anticipate enjoyment from the act of reading. This is also the reason the I read 90% non-fiction. Keep reading and maybe I’ll tell you what the other 10% is.
Most of the time, the reason I stop reading a book is not because I don’t enjoy it but because I am paralyzed by my inaction after reading a particular section. This is most severe when reading entrepreneur-ish, business-y, and other possible self help books. The books that should be the most life changing and action inducing tend to be the ones I am forced to quit prematurely because I feel unprepared, unwilling, or unmotivated to take the action they suggest despite how fired I become while reading.
Two examples come to mind. I was gifted a book by a close friend and sort of business mentor, also an ex, but that’s another story. It was a random gift. There was no occasion. No birthday. No holiday. No thanks to be given for. No reason at all. It was purely and completely an act of altruism. It shook me. To receive it. I was genuinely surprised in his desire to give me a present for no reason. And this I find very sad. Perhaps the saddest thing ever. Perhaps.
The book is called Designing Your Life and it’s intended to do just that. The friend that gifted it said he had recently taken an online course from the authors and found it really useful and profound, although he had not actually read their book. He assumed it would be a similar experience. Apparently I had complained at him enough about not knowing what direction to take my life, my business, how to grow, should I grow, etc. Yes. Even Faye Fearless is not immune to self doubt, quite the opposite actually. I like to think of Faye as me, but also as standard to rise to, something to reach towards.
This book recommended a number of life assessment exercises and writing assignments and actually said at one point, as many self help books do, to stop and read no further until you complete the exercise, advice I ignored.
Take action when the thought comes to you, always, if possible. If possible, as in if there is any way you can, DO IT. Not if you want to. Not if it is convenient to. If it is POSSIBLE. Think about the meaning of the word for a minute before proceeding.
Write when you have an idea. Then. Do it then. Even if you write the idea down, it will not be the same to write on it at a later date. The muse is fleeting. And she will have gone long before you put touch to keys. Do not wait. I have struggled with this a lot. I get ideas when I read. It’s one of the reasons I do it at all. Because there are few other places I can almost guarantee inspiration. An environment for think tanking.
I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas lately, at least I presume them to be. Books I’ve been reading include a lifestyle design book, a book about internet marketing, and a book linking  and relating the figures of the witch, slut, and feminist, fascinating. Very different ideas have been spurned.
From the witches book I have come up with articles about consent, slut shaming, sexual assault/predator shaming (can you ever be forgiven for these kinds of mistakes?), gray areas, and first impressions. I have had ideas for articles, workshops, and discussion panels. I wrote these ideas down as I do. And I had a lot to write at the time. I was very excited about all the neurons I was firing, then I stopped reading, I never wrote about any of it, and that was it. Another muse lost to neverland.
My partner could tell you I have said “I really think I should write more” at least once a week for the last 2 years. My whole brand, the whole concept and character of Faye Fearless started, as very few know, with a flirting workshop for women who want to learn how to flirt with other women, because as one friend told me, “I got game”. An idea that never came to fruition <<what up with that word. From the flirting workshop, Faye Fearless was to be a strong female figure, unafraid, unashamed to talk about herself, sexuality, anything and everything uncomfortably interesting. From this concept sprouted the blog, a female empowerment space for me to write about subjects that interested me, inspired me, or that I found important and relevant. I failed at consistency. And SEO.
I’m currently blogging in the style my brain works, constantly interrupting itself with commentary, meta-analysis, and critiquing what I am doing in real time. What you’re experiencing right now is my thoughts as they arrive, unfiltered, and mostly unedited.
I’m sorry.

I dated a psychopath! – Recognizing unhealthy relationships & How to guard yourself

Learn how to recognize a psychopath, their characteristics and actions. See if you are at risk for being targeted and how to guard yourself against becoming a victim. Learn what happens when you are in a relationship with a psychopath, what it looks and feels like from the inside and outside. Notes from an interview with mental health professional and psychopath victim, Sara Elizabeth Brown. 

Characteristics of Psychopaths

  • they have a lot more energy than other people
  • they speak in monologue, interesting stories about themselves, people feel intrigued by them, they seem very interesting
  • they are addictive
  • smart
  • charming
  • charismatic
  • love predators
  • attack emotions, they start to manufacture emotions in you
  • they are excellent at reading people and will morph into exactly what they perceive you need and want, they will appear to be your perfect soul mate
  • progressing the relationship very quickly
  • jealous
  • extroverted
  • dominant
  • strong
  • status oriented
  • manipulative
  • doctors/lawyers

 

Are you at risk for being targeted by a psychopath? Characteristics of victims/targets.

  • they target people who could easily morph into what the psychopath wants them to be, people who are not strongly attached to their own identity, people who are unguarded
  • open, generous people
  • have a high moral standard, would not do to others what was done to them
  • someone who would not retaliate
  • nice, sweet
  • tend to take responsibility or take blame for things that happen even if its not their fault
  • highly empathic
  • disorganized
  • extroverted, strong
  • adventure seeking
  • did not necessarily come from an abused background, they’re are not re-enacting trauma
 Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra Brown

I felt like he was the one person who believed in me” -Sara Elizabeth Brown

 

On describing/depicting relationships with psychopaths

  • His Girl Friday (1940) really depicts what a relationship with a psychopath is really like
  • its not co-dependence and its not sex addiction
  • it actually looks like 2 strong people together, it doesn’t look like someone is a doormat
  • you will experience longing and obsession
  • you will feel repulsed and excited the entire time
  • the psychopath will positively reinforce your submission

 

Actions of Psychopaths in a relationship

  • The beginning (Idealization Stage)
    • love bombing
    • constant communication
    • they want to be with you all the time
    • constant and abundant affection, love, and sex
    • usually you feel like you’ve met the love of your life
    • mirroring (everything you are into they appear to be into as well)
    • everything about you is right, you feel like its too good to be true
    • you feel addicted to them, if you feel high around them, or feel like you’re on drugs around them
    • gets very sexual very fast
    • the will test and push your boundaries to see how far you will allow it, they are testing you to see if you’ll play
  • Middle (Devalue Stage)
    • their mask starts to fade
    • the psychopath will start making devaluing comments, that you will laugh off at first
    • after a while they disappear, silent treatment (the beginning of the devalue)
    • on the psychological abuse you endure whine a relationship with a psychopath
      “You don’t realize it’s happening, you don’t take it seriously”
    • you start to blame yourself for everything, you take responsibility for everything
    • negative conditioning, “they hook you into always wanting to please them, you get addicted to pleasing them”
    • they make you feel like you’re the crazy one
    • they want you to merge with them and lose your identity “That is the risk we are talking about, is you losing yourself. Its a serious risk, its a very serious risk.”
    • verbal abuse
      • ignoring you
      • gas lighting- “I think you’re imagining things, you’re blowing it up, you’re exaggerating”, it causes the victim to feel crazy, “you start to doubt your reality…which makes you more dependent on their reality”
      • triangulation- psychopath will compare you to the other women in your life
      • over talking- psychopath will wear you down by exhausting your attention, until you give up
      • they do something to provoke a reaction and then when you react they act like you’re crazy and tell you you’re being jealous, crazy, possessive
    • silent treatment
    • psychological torture
  • Final (Discard Stage)
    • the relationship ends

The stages of the psychopath relationship: Idealization, Devalue, Discard

 

How to guard yourself against psychopaths

  • don’t change your routine for them, anyone who tries to push you off your routine
  • your routine is your guard
  • don’t change your values
  • don’t give up on relationships with others (family and friends)
  • if someone makes funny degrading comments
  • if someone starts to make you feel crazy, they’re out
  • if someone starts giving you the silent treatment or disappears for periods of time
  • if its a maybe, its a no
  • if someone is oversharing too much
  • they’ll try to isolate you from friends and family “they’re not good enough for you, you’re so much better than them”
  • they’ll try to isolate you from everything that’s important to you
  • have a more fixed or guarded personality
  • know who you are
  • have hard rules for yourself, things you are unchanging on, “You don’t mess with my money and you don’t mess with my creative work.”
They can’t keep the mask up very long”- Sara Elizabeth Brown
Most people think of serial killers when you mention the word psychopath. It is true that most serial killers are psychopaths, but most psychopaths are not serial killers. Many are highly successful in life and business with no criminal record.

Why you should cuddle with strangers… For your health

I have been hosting Cuddle Up! events in Austin since February 2016. These events bring a group of people together for a consent, boundaries, and empowerment workshop followed by a guided, freestyle cuddling session.

I learned you can say ‘no’ to someone for no reason, you don’t owe anyone anything” – Sara Elizabeth Brown

It’s as much a process of self discovery as it is self care. You will get rejected by someone or many someones at Cuddle Up! because we actively encourage it in this space. It is meant to be a safe space to experience rejection. A space where you are not the only one experiencing it.

I strongly believe the longer and more frequently you expose yourself to something, the less painful or scary it is. This is my view on rejection and other uncomfortable situations. What makes them uncomfortable is that we don’t know how to deal with them and we take them to mean something personal about ourselves. Any rejection we experience is a personal failure. This is almost never true of rejection at a cuddling event.

I sat down with varsity cuddler Sara Elizabeth Brown, who has attended more than 100 cuddling events. Here’s what she had to say about the cuddle party atmosphere: “It can feel like a popularity contest sometimes but there might be real reasons why someone might not feel comfortable with you.” You cannot know the reasons someone has for rejecting you. And at Cuddle Up! no one can ask you “why” you rejected them, its part of the experience and makes saying “no” easier.

Here’s what I teach at Cuddle Up!
  • how to say and feel comfortable saying “no” to what you don’t want
  • empowering yourself to ask for what you want
  • how to approach and talk to strangers
  • how to feel comfortable around people you don’t know
  • how to be fearless and brave
  • feeling more comfortable with rejection
  • dealing with uncomfortable situations
  • how to effectively give consent
  • understanding what consent is and what it sounds like
  • the difference between “no”, “yes”, and “maybe”, and why you should always say “no” if you’re a “maybe”
  • getting used and respecting “no”
  • how to respect the boundaries of others

Men and women experience this event differently depending on their past experience. Many women who come into this space struggle with saying “no.” They often feel the need to accommodate especially their lovers or partners.

You may come here and feel compelled to say “yes” to someone who asks you to cuddle maybe you feel bad for them or just want to be nice. You must say “no.” This is so important. At this event you will learn to put your needs and wants first. Your needs are important and just as important as someone else’s.

Sara comments on the experience for men at cuddle events, “I feel like there’s a lot of learning and growth for particularly women in that environment and men too its just different. Men have to give up their entitlement… a lot of men get in touch with how great it is just to hold someone and not have take it to a sexual place, a lot of times they’re really trained through the culture to get their touch needs through sex.”

What actually happens at Faye Fearless’s Cuddle Up! events:

  • workshop on consent, boundaries, and how to empower yourself to say “no”
  • cuddle positions 101, yes there are different ways to cuddle!
  • freestyle cuddling session, cuddlers move around freely, cuddle with whom they choose for however long they like (multiple partners encouraged)
  • cuddling, massage, hair petting, and hugs

Cuddle Up! events are fully clothed, non-sexual events. Cuddle Up! is for everyone, all ages, all professions, all backgrounds, all relationships! I’ve had married couples attend together or one member of a couple come alone. I’ve had groups of friends, poly people, singles, asexuals, and kinksters. This is an inclusive and welcoming space.

If you don’t feel comfortable in a co-ed space I also host women’s only events (anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.)

“What actually happens after all that boundary stuff, what actually happens at cuddle parties normally, is it becomes this blissful, oxytocin filed, mellow event, where people just meld into each other and they get very high from this oxytocin high. It is a high. Your body releases this love hormone.”

Live your life having only what you want ever, and know you can change your mind at any time, just because you start something doesn’t mean you have to finish it.

Come for a hug and a cuddle, and leave with an empowered sense of self.

You are in full control of your life, you just need to take charge and tap in to your power.

You will learn to recognize your needs and wants and you will leave feeling more comfortable, more brave, and more loved.

How to clearly communicate your needs and wants (breaking the submissive mold)

No one can read your mind.

From passive to active, changing the way we speak to clearly communicate our needs and wants.

How to get what you want:

1. Speak clearly and directly, always.

“You should have known how that would make me feel.”

“You hurt me. I did not want you to go out and I should have expressed that directly to you. I should not have just said ‘do what you want, I don’t care’ because that was not true.”

2. Never make your audience deduce meaning or solve for x (feelings, wants, needs).

“Do you want to get lunch?”

“I’m hungry and ready for lunch. Are you ready for lunch and would you like to get lunch with me in 10 minutes? I want indian food.”

3. Be overly specific in your expression of needs and wants.

“I want an orange.”

“I want to go to the farmer’s market this Saturday morning with you and buy some organic, naval oranges.”

4. Don’t wait. Do it right now.

You should express yourself when…

  • the feeling is strongest
  • the need or want comes first comes to you
  • when you can clearly state what you mean

5. Your feelings are important and worthy of being expressed.

If there is anyone in your life that does not agree with this statement eliminate them. Not in the strictest sense though. They do not respect you and decrease your self respect, confidence, and independence.

6. Your needs and wants have great value.

You deserve to have your needs met and your wants considered. There is a difference between a need and a want. Make sure you know clearly if what you are asking for is a need or a want.

7. The needs and wants of others have great value.

Others deserve to have their needs met and their wants considered just as much as you do. Listen to others. Let them finish their thoughts without interruption of flow. Breakdown what they are saying and try to understand what they are expressing. Is it a feeling, need, or want? What are they asking from you? Mutual respect is the only way to get your needs met and your wants considered.


Still unsure how to clearly communicate what you want to? Sit down with someone you want to communicate better with. A partner, friend, or close family member. It should be someone you feel comfortable around to start. Each of you should answer the following questions. Answer each question one by one and discuss your answers to each after you have both answered.

Expressing how you feel:

  • How are you feeling today? ex. content, bothered, annoyed, happy, peaceful, loved, neglected, embarrassed, isolated, rejected, etc
  • How did you feel when you woke up?
  • What events throughout the day affected how you felt? What were the changes you perceived?
    Expressing what you need:
  • What is the most important need you have right now that is not being met?
  • Is this need dependent on other people?
  • Why do you think it is not being met?
  • Have you previously expressed this need?
  • How long has this need not been met, and how is this affecting your daily mood
  • What actionable steps can we take together to meet this need today? Break it down into 5 mini steps.
  • List 3 needs you have daily, is each being met? Why or why not?
    Expressing what you want:
  • Name 3 things you want at this point in your life. One should be immediately achievable in the next 2 days. One should be achievable within 1 week. And the other should be achievable in 1 month.
  • For each of the 3 wants listed above rate each on a scale of 1-10 how much you feel you deserve each. (1 being not at all, 10 being you really feel you deserve to have this)
  • Why do you think you rated your wants in this way?
  • Repeat this exercise at least once per month.

* If you regularly rate your wants at a 4 or below you may be undervaluing yourself and may be struggling with expressing yourself because you feel your needs and wants are unworthy.

 

 

Whatever your past looks like. Whoever you are right now whether naturally submissive or dominant I hope you will feel empowered to take control of your circumstances. You are in control. Even though you may not feel that power you have it. It just needs to be recognized and seized. Submissiveness is circumstantial and situational.It is not a defect. A personality. Or a state of being.It is not permanent. It is not a diagnosis. It is not who you are or who you must be.
Every day is an opportunity to practice.
Every situation is an opportunity for change.
Every circumstance you encounter gives you an experience for your book.
Each person you interact with can influence how submissive you act based on social roles or your mutual history.

Recognizing unhealthy submissive behavior

Do you submit to the will of others without realizing it?

Do you struggle to ask for what you want?

What does submissiveness really look like?

I don’t explicitly say how I feel. I want tacos. He wants subs. We eat subs. I say I’m fine, but I really want someone to ask me what’s wrong. I’m not interested in someone who is interested in me. But, to avoid awkwardness, I haven’t told them directly. I expect them to read the signs, which to me seem clear. My friend wants to date my ex. This makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I can’t say “no.”

What you want is just as valid as what someone else wants.

I struggle to say “no”, especially around certain people including my family, friends, and authority figures. I make decisions based on what is expected of me, because I feel pressured to do so.

Sometimes these decisions go against what I want for myself…

  • My parents want me to study law or medicine. I want to be an artist.
  • I feel pressured into starting a family even if I am not ready.
  • I got engaged after 2 years and married after 3, but ceremony was never important to me.
  • I dated boys, even though I was secretly crushing on Sara.
  • I performed sex acts I did not want because I felt pressured to please my partner.
  • I took ballet, instead of karate.
  • I went to graduate school instead of pursuing my own business.
  • I work in corporate America and I hate it.
  • I stayed near my hometown instead of moving away.
  • I married a good man with a stable income. But I am not in love.
  • I did drugs at a party because it was cool.
  • I was being polite and didn’t want to say “no”.
  • I have lived someone else’s life.

 

Submissiveness in the bedroom. Can you relate to these experiences?

  • My partner is not interested in learning how to satisfy me.
  • My partner thinks they satisfy me, but I never have an orgasm.
  • I’m afraid to tell my partner that I am unsatisfied. I don’t want to hurt them.
  • We don’t talk openly about what we like sexually.
  • My partner is always on top or directing me what to do.
  • I want to try new kinds of play (BDSM, Kink, Toys) but I’m afraid to bring it up. Will I be judged?
  • I don’t feel comfortable directing my partner in how to give me pleasure.
  • I want to have multiple orgasms but my partner always stops after one.
  • My male partner finishes first.

How people think they should network vs What really works

I went to a networking event recently. It was basically a group of queer entrepreneurs and techies at a mixer promoting an upcoming SXSW panel.

I was not on my networking game this night. I was feeling pretty shy and unsure how to start a conversation with any one of the clique groups I saw standing about. Did they all know each other? Probably not, but that’s what I thought at the time.

Eventually I found some people I knew. I hovered around them awkwardly for a bit. A lady came over who knew the people I was hanging around and she started talking to me. She asked me what I do, but I could tell she was not invested in what I had to say. As soon as she could, she told me: what she did, what she could do to further my business and brand, she told me her name and asked me to connect with her on social media. She said she’d love to help me and loves helping small businesses.

She talked about her. She was trying to meet and greet in the most efficient way possible, by numbers. I didn’t remember her. I didn’t remember her name, until she found and friended me on Facebook a few days later.

I accepted.

Why? Because I also have something to sell to her. But we will probably never do business.

So what did she do wrong? Why was I not sold on her value proposition?

I don’t trust her. I don’t know her. She was not interested in me and she was not interesting or passionate enough for me to be interested in her and the products or services she is selling.

Here’s what she should have done:

  • Been engaged in what I was saying to her
  • Ask questions or for more information
  • Demonstrate other ways she could offer value to me other than selling her service
    • for example offering to promote my brand to her friends
    • sharing my events
    • liking my page right then and there
    • offer something unique
      • you are selling a service that others sell
      • what is different about the service you are offering?
      • is it cheaper? better quality? faster? innovative? more effective?
    • Talk about something other than work
      • asking what you do and what someone else does is not a good way to network
      • ask instead what they like to do
      • then you will hear about their passions instead of their responsibilities
      • if what they like to do involves what they do for work, you have a winner, a real passion chaser, these are the ones you want to connect with
    • Share personal stories, create trust where there is none, and establish that you trust them
      • trust builds trust
      • no one trusts someone who does not trust them
      • say something personal about yourself, make yourself vulnerable
      • it immediately establishes that you trust them, that you are putting faith in them to protect you in some way, whether it is to protect a secret, an embarrassment, or comforting you in a hardship, you are placing value in them by entrusting them with this personal story