Saturday, February 2, 2013

Becoming Lady Angela / Staying PlaySmart

I wrote this for friends on FetLife. It contains information bombs for blog readers:

1. My first name is Angela.

2. My username for my personal profile on FetLife is PlaySmart.

When I was first starting phone sex, around my 40th birthday, I wrote about choosing the name Galiana, and whether or not Galiana is my real name in some sense.

Along the way, I told a few callers my legal name, for various reasons. The guy I met real-time with sugar daddy tendencies. The first caller I told that I loved him, and from the same blog entry, the man who fell asleep to my voice for a while. The one who helped me start accepting my Inner Whore. The guy in a wheelchair who has become a great friend. The one who fleshed out the non-flesh part of me.

But ironically, I had not yet told the man who is secretly the real reason I'm still writing blog entries - according to him, anyway - the one who helped me know I could do the job of phone sex. He would have gotten my name from me sooner or later. He has his ways.

Now I'm wondering who's gonna get pissed that I never told them, or that I told them and then left them off the list. In my defense, my memory has been well-documented as terrible. But no, I'll leave the list there, with all its almost-certain-to-result-in-a-complaint awkwardness, because it's interesting to me to get lost a little in those memories.

When I told someone the name Angela, it was always a matter of trust, that they didn't wish me harm. It was always a matter of respect, especially respect for my marriage and my life situation. It was always a moment of intimacy, when I believed that they would feel something in their gut in a deeper way if I told them.

But these days, it's only complicating to have such bold lines drawn between Angela and Galiana. The truth is, I would welcome any of my old callers as FetLife friends, and I am secure enough in my guard dogs, my marriage, my kinky community which includes a policeman, and my crazy home where people irregularly come and go (anybody trying to case our house would be quite frustrated) to trust that I am at least as safe as other public-facing kinksters who give away equal amounts of information. Plus, I don't have kids to protect, so my stakes are lower. Much lower.

Besides, I'm not producing things as Galiana anymore. I never log in to FetLife as Galiana, and the thought of keeping both FetLife profiles maintained is overwhelming right now. So this blog, and my FetLife handle of PlaySmart are the best ways to keep in touch with me. I've been wanting to open that up for months. I haven't talked myself out of it. This blog post is a good excuse to open that up.

So, anyway, I wrote this for some friends on FetLife. I thought a few of you might enjoy it.


It started as a joke of sorts. Our domo house servant for the Formal Dinner asked what I wanted as my place setting name (calligraphy done by hand, of course), and since I was playing the role of "Lady of the House" for the evening, being served by literally a dozen willing servants, I answered "Lady Angela". We giggled a lot about the name. So everyone called me Lady Angela for the evening, even though I left a trail of accidental sequins from my clearly-not-well-made dress wherever I went.

At Spanksgiving the weekend before, someone had called me elegant. I believe my response was to guffaw. Maybe I snorted. Me? What? No.

I see myself as dorky, goofy, geeky, and klutzy. Oh sure, I can be fun and smart and sexy, too, but in a cute dorky way. At best, I'm the eccentric, nutty professor; at worst, one of those coltish young women in the Girls Gone Wild video commercials falling over and crashing into things (and why is there always at least one of those?!? what is the appeal?).

But the name stuck, even after the party. I assumed it was kind of a loving teasing thing, like my childhood experience of being a tomboy who fell out of trees a lot - new bruises and scrapes were usually greeted with a grinning, "Way to go, Grace" from my dad. The phrase "Way to go, Grace" still makes me roll my eyes.

Shortly after the Formal Dinner, I had a couple of new offers to provide service to me. Like fetish service. To me. I mean, yes, sure, I already have a cross-dressing fetish servant, but I consider him an anomalous reminder of my abnormal life, and a practical bit of help, not a sign that I am overall deserving of Service in some way. Because I honestly don't think I am. I mean, I'm able to receive Service and understand why it feeds someone and appreciate it as a gift, but I don't deserve it.

So then people who know me and love me started seriously suggesting I change my Fet name. Really know me. Really love me. And... they weren't making fun of me. They were honestly seeing some good fit between me - bumbling clumsy me - and the term "Lady".

Lady? Really? A college roommate had a publicly stated goal to "turn me into a lady" our senior year, because I was such a goofy tomboy. She has since often declared me one of her greatest failures, because I still curse, and knock things over, and cross my legs wrong, and prefer to wear comfy pants, and turn and start walking and run into walls (even before the vertigo!). I literally publicly failed at being ladylike in any way in my formative years. That's how much not "Lady Angela" I am.

So I started asking my loved ones why they liked the name for me. They pointed out ways I graciously allowed others to assist me (which caused me to ask for more assistance, which further reinforced the idea). They pointed out ways other people irrationally went along with my narcissistic suggestions (like me hijacking someone else's New Year's Eve party so I could get smooches an hour early). They pointed out strengths I took for granted ("you always seem to have a plan, even if you're making it up" and "you almost always stay calm even when others are freaking out" and "you don't get flustered when people say no, so it makes people want to say yes to you" and "you're good at being grateful and saying thanks, so people want to help you" and "you give a lot, so people want to give back to you").

I would never go so far as to call myself elegant, because that implies I wouldn't burp out loud (I totally do), or get my hands dirty when there's work to be done (I totally do), or enjoy lowbrow things like velveeta-based queso (I totally do) or eating spoonfuls of peanut butter straight out of the jar (I totally do, all the time).

But I guess I can see that I'm gracious sometimes, that I tend to expect the best from the people around me, and that expectation of goodness frequently ends up bringing out the best in people. It's amazing to me how that works.

So although I have been uncomfortable with being called Lady Angela because it feels pretentious or demanding, I hate rejecting an idea purely out of insecurity. I try to treat insecurity was a sign, pointing to something I probably need to ponder.

I think maybe the name "Lady Angela" reflects parts of me that I love, that I strive to be, but that I often dismiss or undervalue. And yet, the reality is, in this kinkster world, I've tried to give people spaces to get questions answered, to encourage people to explore their desires, to give gentle nudges and mischievous grins to bolster courage, to set an example of seeing myself as sexy eye candy (even with a heavier-than-average body shape), and to encourage others to embrace their sexy, too.

It started as kind of "well, since I can't play very often because of my physical limitations, at least I can help others have fun." And that focus has reinforced my compersion, my ability to enjoy the joy radiating off others. And the more transitive joy I develop, the more I want to encourage others' joy... I can see how my compersion is a little Lady-Angela-ish.

I have opened my home, and I have opened my heart, as wide as I can without overextending myself (well, okay, sometimes I overextend, but I try not to). I can see how that's a little Lady-Angela-ish.

And before my December party, I found myself saying things like, "I told guests that if they arrive early for the party they'd be put to work, so don't worry about the disassembled Christmas tree in the living room - the minions will take care of it" ... and realizing that I honestly do have willing minions to help me set up my home. I mean, not full-time, but certainly for community events I'm organizing. So yeah, okay, that's definitely Lady-Angela-ish.

But then there are utterly practical considerations: I intend to re-activate my professional life as Galiana Chance when I can. One profile will stay my personal one, and Galiana will be my professional one, but I have decided to link the two, and explain the differences on each profile. My professional foray will be a podcast, I think, and right now, I want to call it "Play Smart with Galiana".

I love the idea of having my personal, community, real-life profile named PlaySmart, and my professional, link-to-all-my-podcasts-and-blog-posts profile named Galiana, because then in order to get the full picture of everything I'm doing, you'd have to have PlaySmart with Galiana. Get it?

See? Dorky. I told you.

But then there are introductions. How do I introduce myself if I'm a sex podcaster with two Fet names, neither or which are Angela? PlaySmart? Galiana? Angela? Lady Angela? The Girl With Too Many Frikkin Names? Thankfully, I think the scene is used to people having multiple personalities, so I think everyone will figure it out eventually.

Ultimately, at a gut level, I love it when people choose to call me Lady Angela. But I don't think I'll ever ask anyone to call me that. I love it as a pet name, a term of endearment, or even friendly kidding when I do something supremely unladylike.

But for those of you who have thought of me that way, thank you. You've held up an interesting mirror for me to look into, and I have enjoyed the view. And I look forward to continuing to discover parts of myself there. And I very much look forward to doing what I can to help my minions be the best they can be as well.

Galiana as Lady Angela
Galiana as Lady Angela

Then about a week after I wrote all that on FetLife, a local friend gave me this:

Lady Angela's peanut butter
Lady Angela's peanut butter
It's a jar of my favorite brand of peanut butter, labeled "Lady Angela", with a spoon taped to it. I'm saving it forever. I mean, not the peanut butter - I'm eating that! But the labeled jar with the spoon.

I have the bestest life ever.

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