A Guest Blogger –I’m Solo Poly and Life Is Good!

I have a new friend, named Jodi, who is discovering the wonderful world of solo polyamory.  I invited her to share her journey with all of you.  I’ve been doing this so long that sometimes I get a bit jaded. I love a fresh voice to the conversation.  I feel that we can learn so much from those who are just discovering the joys of polyamory.

Thanks Jodi!

I’m Solo Poly and Life Is Good!

“To live single is unusual in most cultures.  Most people look on their periods of singlehood as temporary, often accidental, and to be ended as quickly as possible…What would it be like to be intentionally single?…Your relationship with yourself is a lifelong commitment.  When you are single, you have unique opportunities to live out that relationship…to live single and in love with many is…an opportunity to get to know yourself intimately…” –The Ethical Slut

A few months ago I was visiting Brooklyn, NY for a friend’s wedding.  One rainy morning while I was there I walked through the drizzle to a little café.  As I was drinking my latte I alternated between people-watching and reading from The Ethical Slut.

Just before my trip to NYC, I had had an amazing first date, with an amazing poly guy, and he suggested that I read The Ethical Slut.  Maybe I should back up just a bit, from this cozy café in Brooklyn.

When I first came across E’s profile on OK Cupid, I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the concept of polyamory, but I knew it wasn’t for me.  I didn’t have any religious objections to it, having been raised in a secular household.  Despite their lack of religious faith and their general social liberalism, my family of origin is prudish.  Casual sex?-that’s just wrong!  Somehow, despite that, I have always been sex-positive and didn’t share their moral disapproval of sluttiness.  But what I did have, which made poly seem like it was ok for other people but not for me, was a lot of subconscious ideas about what “real love” means.  It was so clearly wrapped up with possessiveness and ideals of “The One” that I didn’t see how I could stand it if someone I loved was in love with someone else. The very thought of “sharing” someone I loved seemed almost physically painful to me.

I have had a fairly typical (I would guess) history of serial monogamy for the majority of my adult life.  I have been married and divorced twice, lived with a boyfriend for about a year after the second divorce, and then had such a terrible break-up from that relationship that I was forced to take some time and really do  self-reflection.  I intentionally took a year completely off dating (which is scary to do when you are in your late thirties and wondering if you will be doomed to be alone for the rest of your life) and committed to doing some emotional work.   I was able to see my history of co-dependence, of being a “fixer” of broken people, and I learned about boundaries, and communication, and self-care.  I focused on my close friendships and my relationship with my daughter, and I found myself living a really strong, successful, beautiful life as a single woman.

But damn, after a year, I missed having a boyfriend.  It wasn’t just sex I missed, but also physical intimacy.  I missed snuggling up with someone, I missed holding hands, I missed the little moments of closeness.  So I tried online dating for the first time, and I decided that I was going to “just date around.”  I thought that by keeping things casual I could get my physical needs for intimacy met without giving up the freedom and self-actualization I had come into while being single.  At that time I was still operating under the unconscious belief that “True Love” would mean monogamy and jumping onto the relationship escalator.  I was in emotional combat with myself.  I said I was “just having fun” and “keeping it casual” but I would find myself falling in love and getting hurt, or hurting others.  I think my assumption was that when I found “The One” I would be able to give all this nonsense up and move along to a blissful monogamous relationship, the way I was supposed to.  However, I also was realizing that I didn’t want to get on that relationship escalator again.  I would tell my friends “I don’t know that I ever want to get married or even live with someone again” they would say “well, when you find the right guy you will” and I thought that I should believe them.  I was constantly at war with myself, trying to decide between a healthy but lonely single life, or the intimacy and connection of love. I didn’t know of any way that I could have both.

The first time E messaged me on OK Cupid and asked me out, I turned him down.  I told him I wasn’t interested in polyamory, that I wanted a “real relationship.”  The second time, when he suggested that I just have some fun with him until I found my “real relationship,” I said yes.  Our first date was amazing, with the kind of instant chemistry, intense connection and conversation that amazing first dates are made of.  At some point that night we talked about poly, and I told him that there was no way it was for me.  It hurt to think of being in love with someone who was in love with someone else.  I was ok with dating multiple partners as long as it didn’t involve emotional commitment, and since what I was really craving was emotional connection, then poly was not going to work for me.  He didn’t try to convince me, just shared his own experiences.  He thought that maybe I should do a little more research about the subject, hence the suggestion of The Ethical Slut.

Being the avid reader that I am, as well as the sex-positive, “just dating around” kind of slut I was at the time, I thought that sounded like a good idea.  So here I was, sipping a latte in Brooklyn, when I came upon the chapter on “Single Sluthood” from which the quote at the beginning of this post is from.  Holy shit!  This was me!  This was the life I wanted; where I could have my freedom and independence as well as real emotional connection, intimacy and love, without the relationship escalator.  It was a while after that when I first learned the term solo poly and started to think of myself as a solo poly person.

Right now I’m a few months into my relationship with E, both of us still glowing with New Relationship Energy, very much in love.  I have had some moments of experience shock, like the first time I met E’s girlfriend M and got the gift of learning that jealousy isn’t fatal.  I realized that I have felt jealousy before, in my friendships, in my relationships with family, even with co-workers.  But in the context of those relationships, I never thought to myself “I’m feeling jealous, therefore this relationship is broken or wrong!”  Instead, I worked through my feelings, communicated if appropriate, and moved on.  It’s amazing how well that works in romantic relationships too, if you are open to owning your own shit and doing the work of open communication.

Another epiphany: the first time I felt compersion.  I was basking in glowing feelings for my other partner, C, and it hit me that my feelings for C didn’t diminish my glowing feelings for E at all.  From there, I made the connection that E’s love for M felt just as good to him, and in fact, was good for him, and didn’t take anything away from me.  I was overcome with a visceral feeling of gratitude that E had something so beautiful with M, because I could see how that relationship brings him joy.

Another weird and wonderful moment: when C texted me that he had run into E at Whole Foods, and that they had chatted a bit by the salad bar.  (They had only very briefly met once before, with me present.)  “That guy’s pretty cool to talk to” he tells me.  My reply: “I know! That’s why I’m dating him!”

Being poly has helped me to be so much braver in my communication with my loves.  In the case of C, he is someone that I had an instant and strong connection to when I was “dating around” a couple years ago.  But my confusion about what I really wanted in a relationship, coupled with his self-described “perpetual bachelor” nature, caused us to avoid getting too emotionally intimate.  Since discovering solo poly, I have reconnected with C, and this time around we are talking about what it is that we both want from our relationship.  I am able to relax into the space that we have, without feeling any impulse to grasp for more than he is able to give.

That bravery in communication has spread to my non-romantic relationships as well.  I find myself being more authentic, more open and vulnerable, with my friends, and my family, and engaging more with the world in general.  I really feel, as cliché as it may sound, that I’ve gone through a lot of personal growth in the last few months.

I’m still very new to all of this, and I continue to see new insights into myself.  I expect there may be some more moments of jealousy (that won’t kill me) and more opportunities for personal growth.  I just finished reading More Than Two and I’ve joined the Solo Polyamory Facebook page.  I am heartened to learn from and interact with other people who are also living their lives authentically, creating the relationships that really nurture and fulfill them.  I love my life.

Gratitude

With the craziness of the election, the fighting around the world and numerous people  passing; there doesn’t seem to be a lot to be grateful for in the last year — except maybe that 2016 is over.  However, when I look closely, I find many things to be grateful for.  Here’s my partial gratitude list for 2016 (a full one would take days to write).

I’m grateful that my mother is kicking bladder cancer’s ass and surviving all the other numerous health issues she’s dealt with this past year.

I’m grateful that my stepdad has kicked stomach cancer in the stomach.  I’m grateful that he is there for my mother and loves her so much.

I’m grateful that I passed my five year cancer free anniversary.   In fact, I’m grateful my health, while at time precarious continues to allow me to do almost everything I want to do.

I’m grateful that my family had a reunion this summer and I got to spend time with cousins and aunts and an uncle who some I haven’t seen in over 30 years.

I’m grateful for my partners, who really are able to thrive on benign neglect.  I’m not always the most available and I do love them all.  Polyamory makes it possible for me to be who I am and not try to fit someone’s ideal of what a partner should be.

I’m grateful for my silly, weird, amazing roommate, Trick, who constantly reminds me to stay mindful and not sweat the little things.  And who makes me laugh at the weirdest stuff.

I’m grateful that Trick and I found a wonderful little apartment to call home this summer.

I’m grateful that I have so many incredible friends that I have a hard time finding time to spend with them.  I’m grateful I live in such abundance.  I’m especially grateful for Robyn, Julie and Phyllis; three women who change my world by just being in it.

I’m grateful for Old Man Brunch.  Spending time with Leathermen who I adore and respect so much has given me a new appreciation of my Leather Family.  And I’m especially grateful that Sheldon, the 88 year old man we take to brunch is still with us.

I’m grateful that I got to travel all over the country this year spreading sex positive messages.  I started in January as a judge at the SW Leather Conference Master/slave contest in Phoenix.  In early March I got to teach classes in Anchorage for their amazing community and I got to see a small part of the Iditarod.  July was especially busy with a trip to New Orleans for Desiree, the Sex Worker’s Conference and then a few weeks later to Dallas for  PolyDallas Millennium polyamory conference.   Then in November I went to Victoria for their Conception Conference.  Then, finally in December I traveled to Mt. Vernon, Iowa’s Cornell College to present “A Kink in the Cure” with my good friend Tim Murry who created this amazing performance piece.  I’m so grateful that I was able to do all of this last year.

I’m grateful that I got to speak locally at numerous colleges and conferences and that by doing so I make a difference in the world.

I’m grateful that I’ve worked almost 18 years for The Center for Sex Positive Culture and that I’m partially responsible for it existing, as well as the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, The Seattle Erotic Art Festival and our other various programs.  I’m also grateful that I no longer work full-time as the Executive Directors of the two organizations and that two incredible leaders have stepped up and taken charge of the two organizations.

I’m grateful that the Center has found a new space (and I’m really grateful it wasn’t  my job to find the building nor  do the build-out and other work involved in getting us back up and running.  Been there, done that)

I’m grateful that I’m the Development Director for the Center and I get to put on fundraisers, do outreach and help keep our doors open.

I’m grateful that a sweet guy from Australia contacted me to see if I would help him write a book on Sex Postivity.  What an honor to be asked.

I’m grateful I am finally getting off my ass and writing a book on Relationship Principles.

I’m grateful for all of you who are reading this and who support me in all that I do.

So, my question to all of you.  What are you grateful for?

Some musings on writing

It’s been a hard month for many of us.  I’m not just talking about the election, I’m talking about life in general.  Many people I know and love have been sicker this winter than normal.  Yours truly included.  People have lost loved ones; lost their homes; lost their jobs.  It is really easy to fall into a wallowing in my self-pity mode (where I seldom go) or my distract myself by never stopping to think mode (where I go a lot).  When I’m in either of these modes I find I don’t do a lot of writing or constructive work that isn’t absolutely required of me.

Thankfully the universe does provide.  One thing that got me out of my funk was an awesome guy from Australia contacted me about co-authoring a book with him tentatively entitled Sex Positive Now.  And while it’s been slow, we are making headway and working on the book.  I want to share our mission and  vision with you all as I love it.

Sex Positive Now Mission and Vision:

Our mission is to create a book and other resources to assist us in accomplishing our vision. Which is to create a new sex positive world: to support the change of cultural norms around sexuality and relationships.  In the world of Sex Positive Now people have the freedom and permission to be the sexual beings they already are.  Pleasure and joy are vital to our wellbeing. Sexual shame is a thing of the past. People are celebrated for their sexuality, gender, who or how they love. Consensual sexuality in all of its forms is healthy and life affirming.  

In the world of Sex Positive Now people can make conscious choices about their sexuality and relationships. This includes celibacy, asexuality, kink, polyamory, fetish and other forms of sexual and relationship expression. We are frolicking playfully with ourselves and each other.

Well working on this book has gotten of my ass (so to speak, since I can’t write standing up, no matter if it’s healthier for me.  LOL ) and I actually worked yesterday on my Principles book.  If you don’t remember I’m writing a book based on the 20 Principles to Try to Live and Relate By  that I wrote with my former husband Steve.

The title will probably be Conscious Relationships — 20 Principles to Try to Live and Relate By and other Tips for Healthy Relationships.

I’ve written about a lot of the book already, especially the Principles.  There will also be chapters on Conscious Polyamory & Monogamy, Happy Endings (ending a relationship and staying friends) and Difficult Conversations.   Today I am going to share a small piece about Difficult Conversations that I worked on yesterday.  Hopefully you’ll get some ideas to assist you in getting ready to have “that” conversation with a loved one.

Difficult Conversations

Sometimes we have to have difficult conversations with those we love.  If you take the time to prepare and go into the difficult conversation consciously you’ll find that solutions to whatever the problem may be will come easier than you think.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

  1. Purpose for the conversation

Ask yourself these questions.  Why are you having this conversation?  What is the problem?   What is its impact on you?  What do you think is the impact on the other person?  What would be your IDEAL outcome?  What is non-negotiable? What support are you committed to providing?  What do both of you agree to?    Is this about support or do you want to punish the other person for some reason?

Be aware of any hidden purposes for the conversation.  Look deeply at yourself so that you enter the conversation with support and good intent.

  1. Assumptions being made

Think about any preconceived notions you may feel.  You may feel intimidate, ignored, disrespected or marginalized by the other person.  It’s important not to assume that this is their intention.  This may simply be your reaction to the difficult conversation.  If you are going to make an assumption, assume that they are just as nervous and uncomfortable as you are and they also have good intentions.   Remember, impact does not necessarily equal intent.

  1. Buttons being pushed

Emotions are normal and they arise sometime without warning.  While we can’t control the emotions we can control our actions.  Are you emotions getting the best of you?  There may be a “backstory” that has nothing to do with the person and/or the conversation you are preparing for.   What personal history is being triggered?  We can avoid being overly triggered by being mindful of preserving the person’s dignity—and treating them with respect—even if we totally disagree with them.

  1. Attitude toward the conversation

If you tell yourself that it’s going to be a horrible difficult conversation, it probably will be.  And on the other hand, if you believe that whatever happens, that the end results will be good, then that will most likely be true.

  1. Who is the person?

Do they even know that there is an issue or concern?  What might they be thinking about what is going on?  How do you feel that they perceive the problem?  What might be their needs?  Their fears?  Do you have an idea what solution they might suggest?  Do not forget they are your partner, not your opponent,

  1. Your needs and fears and their needs and fears

Think carefully about what your needs are (write them down in fact) and what your fears are.  Consider what their needs and fears may be.  Remember this is not a battle or a contest with winner and losers. Look closely at any common concerns you may share.

  1. Your contribution to the problem

This one is the hardest for many of us.  Self-reflection.  What have we contributed to the problem?  We can probably make a long list of how they contributed to the problem.  That’s the easy part.  It’s what our contributions are to the problem that is harder and very important as we prepare for the conversation.

Have a great day and a Happy Ho Ho or whatever you celebrate (I try to celebrate everything, to cover all my bases.)  I’ll talk to you next year.

Our Future

I’ve been pondering what I wanted to write about following the election and what I want to talk about is our future.

First I want to acknowledge the initial anger and fear I felt at the results of the election.  Anger and fear that was quickly replaced by sadness.  Sadness has been my prevailing emotion this past week.  I’m sad that our world quickly spiraled out of control.  I’m sad that many found that electing Trump was a mandate to be able to vent their fear and hatred of people of color, the LGBT community, women, immigrants and others in violent and destructive ways.  I’m sad that many of those I love now live in fear.  I’m sad that some are even talking about leaving our country.  I am filled with sadness.

We are not born racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic or with whatever other hatreds fills our souls.  Most of us though are born into racism, homophobia, sexism and misogyny.  We are products of this messy thing we call life and because of that none of us are perfect or without flaws.  What causes us to go from being a babe in arms to arming ourselves against our neighbors? Where does this hatred come from?  A friend of mine once said that anger and fear ferment into hatred.   She is so right.  And when our politicians and leaders (not just Trump) speak that anger and fear and it is allowed it to ferment we get what we currently have.  A sad state of affairs and a country that I wish I could say I didn’t recognize, but it really hasn’t changed much from when I was young.  In fact, it feels that we’ve gone back to a time when speaking our hate was okay and again, I’m sad.

So, our future?  What do we do?  I can’t speak for any of you and I will never tell you what to do.  I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I’m going to continue being the best person I can be.  I am going to speak out when I hear someone voice hatred; in whatever form it may take (liberal and conservative).  I’m going to be there for my friends who are marginalized and mistreated.  I’m going to keep the conversation going, even amongst those who do not agree with me and even with those who wish I didn’t exist.  I’m going to keep being a sexual subversive and keep teaching and advocating for healthy sexuality.  I will not allow my anger and fear (which I do have) to ferment into hatred.   Most importantly I am going to Love.  That is my future.  What is yours?

More On Gifts

I am a believer that life is constantly giving me gifts.  Even when I least expect it “poof” there they are.  My favorite gifts are meeting new people that reach my heart and make my life better by just existing. I want to share some of those gifts that I recently received.

I had cellulitis in my leg for over 2 weeks in early October. It was truly one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life.  And yet, I got gifts.

One gift was that I got closer to an old friend who kindly became my chauffeur for most of my doctor visits.  I could not have gotten through all of this without her.  And she was only one of many friends who stepped up to help.

Another gift was I got to meet a man who changed the lives of many.  My Infectious Disease Doctor turned out to be the doctor who took care of the first HIV patient in Seattle in the early 80’s.  He and his cohorts were responsible for making sure that all patients were cared for and none were turned away (which sadly was the norm during the early days of HIV).  I was honored to meet him and to actually have a conversation with him about his incredible journey.

This past weekend I was a presenter in Victoria BC at a kinky conference.  I always get gifts at conferences.  Meeting new people, exploring new places and having conversations that change lives.  I want to make a difference in this world and one of the gifts I got this past weekend was watching the faces of attendees to my workshops really get what I was talking about when it came to polyamory and jealousy.  Twice I had people tear up and tell me later that what I said changed their lives.  That is why I teach.  I also connected with an amazing couple who I hope to deepen the connection even more.

However, the biggest gift was on the ride home on the Clipper ferry.  I sat at table with 5 other people.  Three of them were a family from California.  In the almost three hour trip we talked about a lot of things.   When we got to politics was when the conversation got deep. We talked about our fears of a Trump presidency and what it could mean to us.  That was when they shared their stories of how they came to America.

He had come to the US in 1975 from Vietnam at the age of 9.  His family was fleeing the country and they ended up in Fresno of all places.  His father was a business man and his mother was a school teacher and yet in 1975 the assumption was that they were uneducated refugees.  His father became a janitor and his mother worked at a factory in assembly.  And their hard work made it possible for their children to go to college and have a good life in the US.

The wife came to the US from Vietnam at 17 in the early 80’s  She was one of the boat people.  Her family put her on a boat filled with other refugees and she sailed away, not knowing if she’d ever see any of them again.  Many of the boat people never reached US soil.  Many of the women were kidnapped and raped and killed by Thai pirates and others.  She was a lucky one.

This couple and their daughter were so full of life and love and happiness.  It was amazing and I was privileged to be able to spend time talking to them.

They touched my heart and made a difference by just being who they were.

I love the gifts that come out of nowhere.

Healing The Past

I don’t generally do trigger warnings because I feel that we need to face those things that trigger us and not shelter ourselves from the truth.  That said, I do want to say that if you are one of my family members what I’m going to write about may be hard to read and you may not appreciate what I’m going to say about our family.  This is from my experience and from conversations I’ve had with cousins over the last several years.

Let me start by saying that the bulk of my family members are fundamentalist Christians.  I was raised by my Assembly of God Father and a more liberal Christian Stepmother (First Baptist) so I got some strange mixed messages from my journey through Christianity (and that journey is for another time).  My family preaches love and forgiveness for the most part, with a good amount of judgement simmering in the background.

Now to the painful part:  my family is built on incest and sexual molestation.  One of my dear cousins and her sister were continually abused by their father.   He also beat his wife, because the Bible gave him permission (something about how the wife and children are to submit to the husband as he submits to God – it’s in Ephesians)   Another cousin was molested at the age of 8 by his teenage uncle, who now, since he’s been saved, is urging all of us to come to Jesus and from what I know he has never acknowledged the pain and suffering he caused to my cousin.  And I just found out that uncle was molested at the age of 12 by his oldest brother’s brother-in-law.   I’ve heard stories about how one of my aunts left home early to get away from my Grandfather and some of her brothers (one of them was my Father).  One of my uncles had a step-daughter that our family used to jokingly call “wife number 2”.   And that’s just some of the stories.  My family is many shades of fucked up.

I was a lucky one.  My Father didn’t molest me.  However, he did beat me.  And when I look back at how he punished me I realize that there were sexual overtones in those beatings.  I had to remove my underwear, bend over bare-assed and grab my ankles so he could beat me with his belt.  He didn’t beat my half-sister or half-brother.  He beat me.  I remember when I was 11, him saying as he was beating me that he would “beat the wild seed of your mother out of you if it’s the last thing I do”.  That was the day I realized that his anger at me was because I reminded him of my mother.  The young woman who he married at the age of 14 (he was 21) and who he told on their wedding night that he was going to raise her like she needed to be raised.   Who, when she tried to leave with me, he forced her to give me up to him (in the 50’s teenage girls had no agency) and who I didn’t meet until I was 19.

Why am I writing this?  Because I realize that when we look at family trauma and want to heal we have to confront the past.  We have to start the healing with acknowledging what truly happened.  I can’t change the past.  I can’t make it go away.  I can heal though.  I also can acknowledge that I love my Dad in spite of his horrendous treatment of me and that he was a victim of his past as was his parents as was theirs, etc. etc. etc.   We can stop the cycles and refuse to let them control us.

The first step is acknowledgement.  Acknowledging what happened.  Not burying it or downplaying it, simply acknowledging it.

The second step is forgiveness.  Forgiveness does not mean acceptance of what happened.  It simply means we forgive them for what they did to us.  Forgiveness is not just for Christians by the way.

The third step is forgiving you.  Many times when we have been harmed we feel that we deserved it or brought it on ourselves.   Forgiving ourselves is a step toward acknowledging that we are not responsible for what our past trauma.

The fourth step is letting go of the past.  If we continually live in the past we will never heal.  We need to live in the now.  Being present and conscious and let the past live where it belongs in the past.  Not in the present or in the future where we tend to put it.

Finally, we need to break the patterns and not repeat what was done to us.  We need to be conscious enough about our past trauma that we do not inflict it on those we love.  We need to ensure that our children and those around us are safe and secure and know that they are loved and safe.  If, like me, you were beaten and physically punished as a child, your first impulse may be to do the same to your child.  If you are unconscious in your way of being and not present and aware of yourself you may repeat the pattern.  That is why we need to address and heal our past so it doesn’t become part of our future.

 

Gifts

Earlier this month I got to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of one of my amazing partners.  I was talking to someone about this and joked, “always a bride never a bridesmaid”, since I’d been married four times and this was the first time I was officially a bridesmaid with the dress and everything.  This got us talking about my marriages.  They asked if I regretted my four marriages and as someone fairly intelligent and together was I disappointed in myself for making four mistakes (I don’t remember the exact wording, but this was the gist of it). My immediate response was no way did I regret any of the marriages.  In fact, all four of them gave me amazing gifts.

Michael, husband number 1, was my hippy dippy guy who was responsible for many fun adventures in my life.  Most importantly, I would never have ended up in Seattle if it wasn’t for him.

Gary, husband number 2, was my shortest marriage (10 months).  He was probably the dickiest of my husbands and yet he also gave me many gifts.   The biggest gift was when we split up, he moved in with my best friend and they had an amazing daughter (their marriage was also short-lived.  He was not a great husband and he is an awesome father).  Their daughter, my goddaughter, is one of the most capable, smart and funny women I know.  She is the closest thing I’ll ever have to a daughter of my own.

Fred, husband number 3, was the first person who bonked my over the head with New Relationship Energy.  I never had before or after anyone wow me like that.  And that wasn’t the gift he gave me. The gift he gave me was Tony, my stepson.  I never planned on being a parent and having Tony in my life changed me forever.  And an added and even more wonderful gift was after being out of my life for over twenty years,  Tony came back into it bringing with him a beautiful wife, Mandy and my incredible, delightful, intelligent, artistic, amazing (I’ve got hundreds of other adjectives by the way) granddaughter, Jocelyne.

And finely, Steve, husband number 4.  Without him I would never have really discovered my kinky poly self.  I would never have found the communities I belong to.  I would never have had Beyond The Edge Café.   There’s a good chance that the Center for Sex Positive Culture would not have existed.  And I could go on and on.

After talking about them with my friend it was only a short jump to talk about how people come into our lives for a reason and all of our encounters and experiences have the potential of giving us gifts.  Sometimes they don’t feel like gifts.   Bad things happened to me as a child and as an adult and many of those things didn’t feel like gifts at the time.  Now that I’m older I realize that among other things,  I got the gift of resilience and strength from those bad things.

Being diagnosed with cancer in 2011 didn’t seem like a gift; however I got amazing gifts from my journey with the big C.  I met people I would never have met.  I found out how amazing my polycule is, as I never had to be alone during the experience. I was able to be a resource for others that were going through the same journey.  And that’s just a small portion of the gifts cancer gave me.

I can truly say I have no regrets about anyone or anything that has happened to me on my 63+ years.  I am full of gratitude for these gifts.

I urge you to look at the people in your lives, even those who caused you pain and suffering, and see what gifts they’ve given you.  Those times when the world was crashing in on you and you survived; what gifts did you get from those experiences?  By examining these gifts it may give you a different perspective of the world around you.  It may even lighten your heart and free your soul. I sure did mine.