This is crossposted on Fetlife.
Sometimes, to really understand a thing, we must know what came before.
This is what came before.
I don’t believe in God. I haven’t in a long time. I do believe that there is sometimes something that moves things into place for outcomes to happen. Maybe that is God. Maybe that is the Universe (that’s what I call it). Maybe that is some collective human consciousness that fiddles with things for some reason that we can’t know consciously.
I just know that sometimes, in some cases, shit comes together in an unexpected way and I end up doing a thing I didn’t think I would be able to do, or having an opportunity that I had no idea I needed, or getting a message — over and over again — that I may think I understand in the moment, but that I discover later is much bigger and broader in scope that I ever realized.
The Universe has been bossing me around since last summer.
Submissive Journey Weekend was in August last year, which is a couple months later than its usual time. Unfortunately, I had a previously scheduled local teaching engagement that Saturday, so I was unable to go. And I really wanted to go. I hadn’t been in a few years and a good friend was teaching a class I wanted to attend. But it was not in the cards for me.
Until it was.
My teaching engagement was rescheduled (this was due in part to my actions, not the Universe’s), but by then, there was a waiting list. And, truth be told, I didn’t have the money to go without the cost off-set of presenting. But, of course, the presenters had long been established. So I resigned myself again to it not being in the cards for me.
Until it was.
I happen to share a brain with one of the SJW organizers. She and her hubby had come over to hang out one afternoon about four weeks before SJW. Over the course of our conversations that day, she said, “So, if we had a spot open up on our presenter roster at SJW, would you be interested in presenting?” And of course I said yes. She said there wasn’t one at that time, but she thought that one might open up and she would let me know.
Two weeks before SJW, I was going to SJW.
I was able to attend my friend’s class (although that was an unsure thing, because I was originally scheduled to teach at the same time; but again, the Universe fixed it) and the result was that I got various messages in that class and the subsequent conversations after which led me to restart my Year of Living Uncomfortably (I will be cross-posting the Fetwriting linked here soon).
The YoLU restart was about suffering, so it seemed much different than the previous YoLUs I’d done, which were, in great part, about facing and working on my body image issues, which have plagued me since… well, always.
The following month, at Dragon Con, the Universe started talking to me again. There were at least five different instances where I was getting the same message from different people in different ways and in mostly different wording. Mostly different wording.
Twice I heard, almost in these exact words, “Your body is more than a bag to carry your brain around in.” And the other messages were essentially the same thing in different words, often also including the idea that the brain and the body are intricately connected. It’s all connected.
I heard it over and over again in conversations I had with people and, in one instance, from a bestselling author who was on our stage, talking about how she had made some changes in her life in the past year and was taking better care of her body, because she realized that “my body is more than a bag to carry my brain around in.” This was the second time in two days I’d heard almost this exact phrasing.
Okay, Universe. Message received!
See, through my teens and twenties (and part of my thirties), the majority of attention I got for my body was negative. I wouldn’t even say that 10% of the attention paid to my body was positive. Some of the negative things were cruel — very cruel — comments; some were little comments; some were backhanded compliments (”You have such a pretty face…”).
But I was smart. And I was a fast thinker. And I was a good writer. So my body became my enemy and my brain became my shield.
My body has been my enemy for a very long time.
Sometime in 2008 or 2009 an old friend of mine came back from Southwest Leather Conference positively raving about it. She was especially excited about the Dance of Souls, a hook pull event, that she described as transcendent and deeply moving, paradigm-shifting even.
Since then, I’d wanted to go, though hadn’t for various reasons — sometimes financial, sometimes because of time, sometimes because of priority. Over the years though, more and more of my friends began attending and they all said, “You need to go to SWLC.” And I wanted to go more and more.
In late 2017, the person with whom I share a brain was awarded the SWLC scholarship for 2018, which is given to folks who serve their communities or the overall kink community in general. It was well-deserved. She is a badass 🙂 We both cheered but also both lamented that we couldn’t experience this together, because this shit was right up our alley.
I had a terrible financial year in 2017 and had very very little disposable income to attend an event across the country. I resigned myself to SWLC not being in the cards for me this year.
Until it was.
I don’t really do Facebook. As a matter of fact, I have the FB feed entirely blocked on all my desktop computer browsers. I go to FB to check my groups or if someone tags me in something, but I can’t see the things people share or their status updates. It’s just too much of a time suck. (I have enough trouble with Fet :p )
But my friend had the brain one day and she was on FB. A mutual friend had posted that she had a SWLC that was free to a good home as long as the person taking over the registration agreed to fulfill the volunteer shifts the original person had signed up for. Those happened to be the 12am to 2am DM shifts on both Friday and Saturday nights, along with dungeon breakdown both nights as well. Not my ideal choice for volunteer hours, but who the hell looks a gift horse in the mouth, right?
She linked me to the friend’s post and I distinctly remember feeling this glimmer of bright hope in my heart. But it was tempered with, “But there is still airfare and hotel to cover. You still may not be able to swing this.”
I should probably mention that this all happened exactly two weeks prior to the beginning of the event. So if I didn’t get it together enough to be able to buy my plane ticket that day, there would be no way to afford it, since airlines seem to think their planes are lined with gold if you buy your ticket 13 days before you want to fly.
To make a long story slightly less long, everything came together in one hour. An incredible donation of airline miles added to my own so I could get the plane ticket (and, omg, you would be so surprised at who this came from, if you didn’t know the person well — which you probably don’t — and if I were willing to tell you 😉 ). My friend vouched for me to a complete stranger who allowed me to share their room.
Two weeks before SWLC, I was going to SWLC.
This is what came before.
All of what will follow is connected.