My Summer Reflection

Summer Reflection: Cheers!

This summer, has been one of risks, and buckling down and just doing the hard things. I wish that I could say that it was a season that brought conclusions or even certainty, but I’m not sure that’s a place I exist. So, let me share a few milestones that I have worked on, and basically put into my brain, that yes, I may deserve a pat on the back even though I am not quite there. And maybe some kind soul will read this and agree, and perhaps buy me a coffee or a beer via my BreakingAway Patreon page? Any who, let me share a few of the big things I’m working on.

First and foremost, I am now financially free from my ex. It was exhausting at times, and the final step of a years long process to untangle our lives from each other. We are both in better places apart, and I am grateful that we were able to achieve this goal with civility. With that chapter closed, I was able to put the money from my separation to great use, and have made real progress in my future finances. I have struggled with money for decades, and I am proud to say that I have turned the corner with a real end in sight. I am finally in control of my own future.

Now with that freedom, something else that I knew would happen, was an emotional release. And well, what that means for all you is that, I have been able to put the hard words on paper when it comes to the book I am working on. Yup, I am actively finishing my final edit, which, come hell or high water I will begin the pitching process and outside editing pain. I’m the closest I have ever been to finishing this, and with the fear comes this strange feeling of readiness. I am ready to let this project go out into the world, fear and all.

So, now, let me get to the summer of love summary. Well, I am no closer to an answer than when this summer started. Real connections have been made, and while I have no clue what the future will hold, I will say, I believe this was the summer of friendship. Clearly that is not where I want these stories to end, but, I am resting easy in the knowledge that none of this effort has been wasted. I have met and interacted with incredible people, and I feel rich in the knowledge that real friendships have been forged out of this. Yeah, there has been a lot of crap, and a heap of rough stuff to navigate, sorry to my nearest and dearest for having to listen to it all, but ultimately, there have been no regrets this summer. I took risks, shared real feelings, and had some intense conversations, and even better, I had some really fun moments, and a lot of laughter.

So, those are some of my summer reflections. Yes, I know the season isn’t over yet, and of course being me there is so much more to come, but… I wanted to take pause and give myself a reason to enjoy a few moments. I have worked hard, and even though the joy is by myself, I am patting myself on the back. The hard work will pay off. And the journey, well… it’s been an adventure!

The Rollercoaster of My Life

Yoga Calming the Rollercoaster

The past few days have been a shiny example of the rollercoaster of life, and true to form I am going to openly and honestly share a few of the highlights and my thoughts. My personal life is going through some pretty significant changes. I am questioning what I want from future relationships and openly exploring what that might look like for myself, and those around me.  My book has taken what I consider to be an incredible turn, and I am writing with more passion and purpose than I have in a long time.  Also, I have met a person who is treating me the way I had always hoped was possible but never dreamed I deserved. It’s new, fresh, and very exiting.  And while I am just trying to live in the moment, and take things that are really new day by day, it’s difficult not to look back on my past and wonder why I made certain decisions.

While all these pretty significant things are going on and bringing me beautiful little highs, I am getting slammed back into reality at what seems every fricken turn. Physically I am in a pain, but healing from a sprained wrist and body aches from an icy fall I had. Emotionally, I am at a place where I am trying to be vulnerable with one person, and putting up walls and boundaries with another. It is an exhausting struggle, that multiple times during the day I worry that I am just going to break, say the wrong thing, or cave all together. The balancing act is treacherous, and I look forward to the day when all this emotional regulating pays off. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight, and that makes my emotions difficult to anticipate. Which in turn, makes me a little volatile, and wanting to just run away to some safe haven, and hunker down until everything has stabilized.

So, while all the real world stuff is playing ping pong with my emotions, I spent yesterday reading the comment section from my last blog post. Not only, did I get to read fully unsubstantiated claims, I also found out that my troll is back. Normally I just smile, and calmly respond to haters (I’ve done it for years and am pretty adept at not taking things personally), but yesterday, it broke me. Call it bad timing, or whatever you want, but honestly, I just dropped my head down on my desk and started crying.

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Breaking Away from Monogamy is my blog. It is filled with my words, my experiences, and my truth. To have that questioned, and then my integrity called out within a few hours by multiple people just shook me. Yes, I recognize that by admitting that the troll got to me, I am opening myself to more trolling. When it comes to random internet attention seeking there is nothing I can do or say to make it stop aside from ignore it which I usually end up doing. Today however, I am choosing to be honest in saying that the so called “truth” seeker is a thorn in my side. And the timing of that person coming back into my life just plain sucks.

But, here I sit, writing about all these rollercoaster events happening, and thanks to an amazing nights sleep, I may finally be regulating on the side of that little thing called hope. There are great human beings out there. A few of you even reached out and supported me yesterday, which was beyond appreciated. And that is what I will try and focus on. Hope is healing me. And I wish the same for each and every one of you out there. Take a pause and focus on one tiny thing that glimmers with possibilities. Hold that in your mind, visualize it, materialize it before you, and let that be your 2021 ray of sunshine. I’ve got my hope written on my calendar beside me, and I read it every morning and smile. And I want all of you to have the same.

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Breaking Away with Jazz

Breaking away with Jazz

Late last year when things seemed pretty financially and emotionally hopeless for me, I set a goal; purchase my own piano when I paid off some debt. As I searched for the most budget friendly digital piano it dawned on me that I didn’t just want it to collect dust in the corner. I needed something to work towards, something truly meaningful to me. And that my friends was learning to play Jazz. The soul of the music, the delight I feel when it dips into minor tones and comes back again and the way it just sounds so effortless taking my mind on the most wondrous journeys. It truly is a genre with endless versatility: at one moment fuelling my creative soul, and at another calming my breathing so I can get the deepest possible stretches, then of course there are the songs that linger for days on end touching on emotions I hardly knew were there.

Jazz has been a part of my life pretty much from the moment I turned 18 onwards, when I bought my first Ella Fitzgerald CD and began researching her career and musical evolution. The obstacles she had to overcome just to share her gift was so beyond anything I could comprehend. I grew up in Canada, as a white girl, being told that I could do anything I put my mind to. And here was this woman, with more musical talent than I have in my whole being getting shut out of club, after club simply because of the colour of her skin. Being an 18 year old, idealist surrounded by people of all races, I thought proudly to myself, look how far we have come! Look at how equality has been achieved! 

I believed this right up until my half Jamaican niece was born nearly a decade later, and I saw firsthand something shocking, racism in my own backyard. Family members were worried that this little girl was going to have a tough time growing up due to the colour of her skin. They were concerned that life would be so much tougher for her, than for the rest of us. I fought this mentality, and debated with them, that it was their close-minded views projected on her, and that she would be absolutely fine. That this birth was amazing, and she would be given the exact same opportunities as everyone else. I even had heated debates saying that we as a society no longer see colour. I was so naïve.

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A few years after her birth, my cousin called me in a fit of rage, because she took her little girl to the public pool, and a lady asked her where she got her baby. Listening to her experience, I felt the most helpless pain. Then there was an incident a short time later, where a woman threatened to call the police on this amazing mother for apparently kidnapping a child that couldn’t possible be hers. I was horrified. Was this simply a small-town mindset or was something deeper going on? Again, I put these thoughts on the back burner, and proclaimed how proud I was that I didn’t see race. That I could look beyond everything and love this little girl with all my heart and soul.

Over the last few weeks, I have questioned this very painful thought, and am making progress to break away from it. I thought not seeing race was the ultimate goal, but my mind is changing. I don’t want to “not see race”. I am coming to the conclusion that we actually need to celebrate other races, and cultures and include all of these unique attributes into our society with open and loving arms. Embracing the diversity, and finding a way to integrate it as a complex system, rather than striving for us all to one day be the same colour (which I always in my head hoped would magically be purple). And that is when I got an idea, music is one of the most meaningful ways that I have learned about diversity, and the experiences of other people. Why? Because music brings people together. It is an expression beyond words, it is something you feel, and it is something I feel very deeply.

Personally I have a lot of work to do with breaking free of some of the naïve ideals I thought were important, and if you are willing, I will be sharing my journey every few posts. I do not feel that change will happen over night. I see racisms I didn’t even know existed and I want to do as much listening, and amplifying of amazing voices that I can, while at the same time staying true to myself and bringing positivity into the world. Uniting Jazz, into my sex positive blog is the best way I know how to do that. I hope you enjoy listening to the incredible music I am exploring, with my personal focus being artists who are black, and culturally diverse. And let us not forget, that once we are all free to be non-monogamous sexual beings again, that music plays an intrinsic role in sex, and just setting an atmosphere, which when the time is right we will explore together too.

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We Are in the Darkest Timeline…

And When We Need Empathy the Most, It Doesn’t Seem to be Working

Let us start at the beginning, what does empathy really mean?

It is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”

I have always thought of myself as an empathetic person.  Putting myself in other people’s shoes is something I do without thinking. Perspective is everything, and I love having the capacity to experience and understand more about the human experience through this skill-set. Using this mindset it feels valid for me to claim that I am an open-minded sex positive individual and in turn coach and help those who are struggling with various aspects of their non-monogamous relationships. It’s difficult to write this, without appearing like I am bragging, but the honest truth is developing empathy was how I survived a difficult childhood. As an only child, moving every 3 years, I had to efficiently learn skills to fit into new situations quickly and without any previous frame of reference.  And if you believe in such things, I am a libra, and I have been told this brings a natural balance to my perspective. 

Now, to the post at hand. There is a lot going on in the world. People are justifiably angry with, well, pretty much everything. From being forced to isolate, to the disgusting murder of a black man by people of authority, to the fact that it is supposed to be pride month, and quite frankly we have very little to celebrate. All in all 2020, has sucked so far. And being a person with a platform (no matter how small), I believe it is my duty to speak out and show support for all the people who are suffering. But there is a huge problem with this, empathy doesn’t seem to be working.

In all my years of blogging, and being active on social media, never have I felt this total chaos.  And by chaos, I mean this completely helpless feeling where everything I do is wrong. Empathy, up until now has always been a strength and has helped me be an ally to the people who truly need it. Now though, people are just so damn angry I am at a loss of how to help. Being silent is never OK, but when I am called out for being “obtuse” due to asking what black charities small businesses can donate to in my local community, it is obvious that anger is at the boiling point. Again, I want to make it clear, that I have complete empathy and want to learn, help, and ensure that racism is extinct from out future. But, I have to say again, I am at a loss of how to do this.

One theme I keep seeing is that activists are exhausted from providing lists, resources, and links to those among us who keep asking what we can do. The frustration seems to be that it is far more important for the white ally to just do some research to find the best charity etc. on their own, thereby taking a more active approach. But I hope you understand, there are many of us who just don’t want to make anymore mistakes or make things worse. I for one, have always been taught never to use race as a means of dividing people. So it goes against everything I know to do a specific Google search for black owned/run companies or charities. It feels, like I am doing something wrong. Why should it matter what race/orientation/ etc. a company is run by? That is the preconception I go into this with. And the confusion doesn’t end there.

When one person says that they don’t want to see any white person use #blacklivesmatter, and another says that “silence in white people is supporting white supremacy” or that unless you have experienced racism you should just shut up and let black people talk, it becomes less and less clear how not to mess this up. I am at a complete loss as to how to be an effective ally. Racism needs to end. All humans should have fair access to healthcare, education, and due process under the law. Equality for all needs to be fought tooth and nail to achieve. So I ask again, please, tell me how I can help?

I would love to boost black authors, sex positive educators, and support in anyway I can. However, I don’t want it to seem like I am just pandering for the here and now. I want desperately for these actions to be meaningful, insight real change, rather than a temporary increase of exposure, unless that’s all you want me to do. I’ve seen call outs for specific contributors, and I am going to be brutally honest, looking for one specific voice has always made me uncomfortable. Again, my bias has always been an open space where anyone should feel comfortable commenting, interacting, or even reading. And if this is not appropriate at this time, I need to know.

Empathy used to be enough. The complete willingness to learn, support, and stand up for what is right has always worked for me, as I said, until now. I’m not rich and famous. I don’t have a lot of resources at my disposal, but I do have my words.  I don’t want to remain passive, but I cannot constantly fight for a cause I very much believe in, if I keep getting told I am wrong by the very people I am trying to fight for. Help me learn, do better, and above all, be the ally you need. 

If you have a resource or book that you think would help me, and others, please link it in the comments or on social media.

That Tingly Feeling When the Numbness Leaves

A Little Update…

That tingly feeling

I cannot believe that it has been a year since I wrote my piece on Breaking Free From Gaslighting.  When I wrote it last June, I thought that I was in a situation where life was completely hopeless and perhaps writing about the past situation would grant me a little mental relief.  I was in a hopeless teeter-totter of emotions where the only thing I could do was control my own reactions, because there was nothing I could do solve the inherent problem.  It was actually a pretty interesting game of mental gymnastics on my part. 

First, I would cry, get angry, basically go through all the stages of grief. Then I would have this wave of motivation and just start creating new things like a person possessed.  Fueling my creativity with all the negative thoughts that were just there. I was locked in this back and forth, until suddenly, something completely outside of my control happened, depression.  My house became plagued with this treacherous beast and we were powerless to stop it. I will save the details for another time, but I will say time lost all meaning. I was no longer coping, I was in full survival mode, and not just for me, but my household too. And that was the moment I did the only I knew how to do, go numb.

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When I was a small child, I learn how to go numb as a defence mechanism when a bunch of horrible crap was occurring around me and I had no tools to deal with it. And well, that whole ice queen persona stuck with me well into my 20’s.  When I finally learned how to laugh, and be a sex positive person, I figured I would never fall back into that numb place, but last summer, I did.  What’s more, I have had to stay in a state of numbness up until this week.  Why? Because as the gaslighter continued to exert his control over me, I was powerless.  The only solution was out of my control, and all I could do was guide the process or stand idly by as best I could (which I am not good at!). 

Maybe you have felt this? Perhaps I am describing a situation that feels so foreign to you, you want to reach out and hug me, or worse, pity me.  Wherever you fall reading that purposefully vague statement (privacy is paramount here, as I don’t want to go from one legal battle directly into another one), I hope you understand one thing, I survived.  And now, I have that tingly feeling all over my body from where that numbness was.  It feels euphoric, brings me to tears with that release, and then just has me grinning.  I feel like I am waking up. 

Thank you all for participating and supporting the first week of the sex positive 30 day challenge because honestly, this gave me a purpose.  I chose a project that required skills far beyond my comfort zone (graphic design) and forced me to put myself out there, just as much as I was asking all of you to be.  And it has grounded me for an hour or so, every day, while I try and rectify my new reality and emotions.  Having the constant burden of fear no longer blocking my path to happiness is a pretty intense feeling. I thank you all for reading up to this point!  Your support has been pretty damn integral to focusing my tingly feeling on something tangible rather than just melting into a puddle of giggly goo.

So, that is the brief update on where this sex positive blogger is at with her life… the tingly road to freedom!  And now, back to the #sexpositive30days challenge!

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