Hello from the Other Side

Hello … it’s me … I was wondering if after all these months you’d like to read …

Dear Readers, I’m sorry. I mostly gave up on writing in 2015 and I think I’m about ready to explain my absence to you. I certainly didn’t start the year thinking that I would walk away from writing, from this warm, sweet place where I’ve shared so much of myself over the many, many years. I grew up here. I found community here. I found a spotlight here. It was never an intentional decision, but every time I’d consider writing anymore than the few posts I did manage to cough up, it felt forced and fake, like I was trying to wear a costume from my past that no longer fit me.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I ever would feel the urge to write again. It used to be that my mind would often have a few blog post ideas floating around in the shadows; maybe a post about my love life as I attempted to figure out a new polyamory roadblock, or something more general about love and sex with a slight educational slant. As I finished my book in 2013, my writing skills had finally reached a place where I felt confident that I was, I guess you could say, pretty ok at it, and those posts didn’t float around in the shadows for too long before I would put my fingers to the keys.

Then suddenly after years of sharing my everything online, I retreated; defeated from a 2014 that made me question whether or not I knew anything really about dating, as I started and ended a few playlationships and was stood up by what was it, 7? 8 people?

It wasn’t just the dating. It wasn’t that I had gotten caught up as a victim of the latest fad and was getting ghosted left and right. It was about more than that. It was listening to an inner voice that no longer felt the urge to long-form share.

I questioned my voice

After years of being an active voice and advocate for non-monogamy I found myself in an interesting position that seemed to happen quite quickly. Where once upon a time my voice was one of the few, suddenly I was one of the many. That which I had wished for had come true; people were feeling more comfortable sharing their own poly tales, more and more advice was being offered by some truly wonderful and insightful people, and the community as a whole was expanding to include people that may not have identified as on the fringe before. Suddenly saying you were poly became (to some) as normal as saying you loved bacon.

It’s silly, really, to think that my voice no longer mattered. But when you couple it with newly discovered insecurities about dating, but more importantly GETTING OLD, it makes sense. I was believing the cliché that I was old and therefore irrelevant.

Even though my voice was becoming even more well known, thanks to numerous new side projects, I also felt like an outsider and at times, an imposter. There were people out there doing poly better than I could, even though I like to, in theory, not exist in worlds of comparison. My husband hasn’t dated anyone in years so I no longer felt like any sort of authority to help guide anyone through things, regardless of the fact that I had done so for years prior.

There were good sides to this. No longer so focused on being an educator, I was able to to be a fly on the wall and learn from the many others that were letting their voices be heard. More and more though as I heard their stories, mine felt less relevant to the modern world.

(Read about how I felt this a year ago here)

My health took a noise dive

I’ll get into the diagnostic specifics of what’s going on with this meat sack I lug around on the daily in another post, but for now I’ll touch on what an absolute and literal pain my health has become in 2015. It’s hard to want to write anything or spend more time in front of the computer when you have to take percocet to deal with migraines or flare-ups or IUD related internal dragons. I simply have not had the energy to devote to writing like I used to because I have had to get used to life with chronic pain as my symptoms have worsened and I’ve done my best to adjust to the growing list.

My health going downhill for a while has also done a number on my confidence as a loving and sexual being. It would be an understatement to say that it’s been challenging to try and feel sexy when I feel the weight piling on because of chronic fatigue or when I have to say “But I have a (really bad) headache” a zillion times and mean it with utter sadness 100% of the time. I feel disconnected from my body and when that happens it’s challenging to write about my heart because for me, they are so very connected that it became simply impossible to feel the motivation.

Thankfully, my mental health is starting to get into a better place as I am slowly but surely figuring out my new diagnosis and learning that I am feeling much better now that I know what’s up. I can still have bad days and need to sleep a lot and feel a lot of pain but I am entering into 2016 feeling happier, feeling so so glad that my new gym (that I love!) finally opened up in November, and feeling like I’ve finally learned to forgive both myself and fate for whatever the fuck is going on with me.

Projects, projects, projects!

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I sure do love taking on projects. This year was no exception as Sophie and I added the Tell Me Something Good podcast as the online partner to our monthly sexy storytelling events in Toronto. The podcast is a blast to produce and, while we took a long hiatus as Sophie had a stroke and began her recovery, we’re both excited to be getting back to it. I also went really big with Playground this year, knowing that it would most likely be the last conference iteration for a while (read more about that here), and it came on the heels of a work conference and right in the middle of a work event series.

None of this combined made it very easy to make time to write, nor left me with any desire, to be honest. I even lost my interest in writing reviews which is evident when I notice that my sex toy drawer has remained the same for at least a year now and I know I have quite a few books from gracious community members that I still have to look at. (Sorry!)

I didn’t want to exist under a microscope

More specifically, I didn’t want my new relationship with my boyfriend (Jory) of almost a year now, to be picked apart by myself online just for the sake of continuing a writing habit. This relationship at times has been tumultuous as he deals with his shit fresh off of a 10 year relationship and now with temporary unemployment, but it’s felt so much more real than others in the past that I’ve wanted to give it space to grow and manage itself without, well, my own interference. For quite some time now I’ve already been feeling some really solid future feelings about him and us all together, and my brain seemed to choose a different path than when faced with more (obviously) fleeting relationships of the past. (Obviously to others, of course, never obvious to me at the time. Though when I compare how solid I felt in those, it felt nothing like how solid I feel now, even when I want to murder him, which I promise you with a smile is often.)

It also has been a time of heartbreak and severe life shifts for a lot of people around me and frankly, the thought of having to deal with more thoughts on relationships, love, sex, communication or the lack of it, or pretty much anything related to the ins and outs of human connection became exhausting. Many months became dedicated to helping keep friends above water and my emotional energy quickly depleted. Who wants to write about relationships when your entire day is spent talking about everyone else’s? In addition to all of this, we had two sick cats that we had to put to sleep at different times this year, and that was more than emotionally draining, leaving me almost depleted.

So there you have it

I would be lying if I said that I missed this in 2015. Because when I miss something that I still have the ability to do, even if it’s more of a struggle, I usually do it. I like challenges and pushing myself when necessary, when possible, and when my self-care doesn’t dictate otherwise. So I honestly thought that maybe this was it. That maybe my writing voice had retired and I wasn’t going to say anything in this format anymore; but then some interesting things started to happen.

Some people in the sex-positive community have said some pretty nice things about me lately, especially after Playground wrapped, and I was reminded that maybe I do have more things to add, more value than I was telling myself, and that maybe my voice was actually missed by people. It caused me to take pause and snap out of it, to shake it off and remind my ego that it can inflate itself just a little and put myself out there again. There might even be people who are interested in hearing what I have to say.

I also started to get the ideas back a little bit. They’re definitely lurking in the shadows but there are a few things I want to say, a few updates I want to make, and I want to give those thoughts a chance to share themselves with you.

Also, having gotten to the one year mark with Jory, I’m no longer worried about being under the microscope and I’ve also recovered from being other people’s emotional support enough to really start figuring out my own emotional needs. I’m not completely sure, but I think one of the needs that I continue to have, that I put on hold for the vast majority of 2015, was an outlet where I could share my feels, my experiences, my fears, and my advice. I guess I’ve just survived without an outlet for a long time and forgot along the way that I needed one.

So for right now, that outlet is here. I’m not promising much. I’m not promising frequency, but I can guarantee that I will return and that now that I’m here again, it feels good to be back.