As usual, I ‘ve been too busy to write. Not too busy to write in general but too busy to write a blog. I didn’t want to let the second anniversary of my first Swingset post to pass without something. I’ve posted 300 word blogs before and since I wasn’t sure what to write I though keeping it simple would be better. I can come up with something a few hours before midnight PST, right?
Well, the universe has a strange way of working and now I find myself worrying I can keep under our word count maximum before I need to schedule this post. This past weekend was CatalystCon East and it has been an interesting yearly marking point. Twice a year I am challenged, validated, vexed, loved, overwhelmed, informed, hurt, and humbled. Not that much of the time in between doesn’t do those things too; it just does it in a highly concentrated four-day period.
CatalystCon was the weekend before my last anniversary post. I didn’t talk about Catalyst in that post because I was still processing it. I read that one and it was nice to see me celebrating, especially since the last Ccon East was somewhat of a challenge. Nothing like the challenge Ccon West would be six months later but it has done much to weaken the substructure of my already teetering self-esteem. Instead I recapped, first posts, first cons, first time working for Swingset, Sex Geekdom, Bawdy, all the wonderful things that came out of that first surprising chat conversation with Cooper.
The official anniversary of being asked to join Swingset turns out to be the same day as the Swingset podcast’s anniversary, Jan 26th. I spent that day podcasting with the Swingset crew. What has happened since the last anniversary post? “Lots” doesn’t even come close. Massive amounts of explosive life changing madness… that’s more like it.
I had to put bits and pieces of myself back together after returning home from Ccon last year. Stressful news met with even more stressful health issues. I spent most of April balancing site editing with doctor visits. I was struggling with my social anxiety but also with the fact that talking about it made me feel more flawed than ever. I worked hard to maintain my weight and my health; you do that after you find yourself the youngest person at the cardiologist’s office.
I worked hard at Swingset doing my best to keep things going while Cooper went dark to deal with his divorce. I also helped Bawdy Storytelling by coordinating volunteers every month, doing promo work and became the Bawdy Slam girl doing story incentives. Sex Geekdom LA started to get bigger every month as word spread then we had an emissary change while real life was pulling me away. The grand plans I had with a table full of sex geeks seemed to peter out as the helping hands found themselves busy with other things and life forced me to put much of my Sex Geekdom work on the back burner.
The long hard summer ended with the hope that we would recover from our financial hit we took in the spring and things would return to normal. I started prep for Ccon West by helping to put together a party, helping with Bawdy Storytelling, attend the Glory Hole party then started the weekend with Swingset presenting on Sat morning. Right before all this I’d be thrown off my game with word that Ronin had been laid off. Exhausted and feeling like the worst partner in the world, I left my grieving husband to go to the conference. This and other ordeals would taint the weekend, I felt disconnected, isolated, and overwhelmed. I missed many connections and conversations that weekend.
But all was not lost. I spent some wonderful time with Ophilia, Shira and the Transient. I had fun with the Swingset crew when we were able to hang out together and I connected with Kate about doing work for Sex Geekdom International with her. My chats with her made me feel confident and empowered, that I was capable of anything. They fueled my soul in the days after Ccon West where despite a great con I felt myself steadily losing faith in myself. I loved the work I was doing and proud I was keeping the Swingset site going but IRL things were tough.
So I open up online in a blog post on Thanksgiving. In it I point out how during all these issues I’ve had, the sex geeks in my life always lifted me up. Each trip to Bawdy, each SGLA meetup put me around people who were loving and supporting. I may not have felt sexy but the SGLA sex geeks always made me feel awesome. Financial distress would continue through to the New Year. At the same time I was writing four articles a month, continuing to work on SGLA and Bawdy Storytelling and would volunteer with the Center for Sex Positivity to speak at panels at colleges. My personal life seemed to fall apart the more my sex geek life got more awesome. I took extra work on a project that fell apart and nearly killed me as the depression and emotional eating saw some significant weight gain. I was really happy to end 2013.
2014 started with lots of optimism from friends but very little faith in being a better year. In January we took Swingset up to 11 by updating the website design and started work on getting sponsors and advertising. I’ve done a fair bit of early spring-cleaning on the site and was happy to do so. Things have started to get better, slowly…very slowly. There is work ahead for Ronin but it will take him out of town for a year. Scary to think I will do all this without him since he will only visit about once a month. I’m going to have to work hard to pay for additional babysitters so I can continue to work. I’m not having any sexual connections now and often feel like I’m Swinger in Name Only (Thanks, Gavin) but that seems to be replaced by so much work I’m really proud off.
I went into CatalystCon with the intention of not getting overwhelmed and eliminating the chance of failure. I had the best Con ever! I spent time with friends that are near and dear to me, made new connections, learned much and had an overall great time. I got to spend time with Dylan, Tonia, and Cooper, which is always awesome. I was surprisingly recognized by my voice thanks to recording more episodes of Swingset, and was treated like a peer by everyone I met. I came home happy but little things started to bug me. Insecurity took hold and I worried I would lose the things I've gain. I had an important conversation with someone once I returned where I confessed my struggles with connection. During the course of the convo I realized depression had been liar and had I just asked for what I wanted things would have gone differently. Not exactly the way I wanted but better than it was. It brought together everything about my experience this weekend. It made me look at the last year with different eyes. I realized that while I often didn’t win and didn’t get what I wanted, I still had some great experiences and connections. I needed to ask more, check in more, and be kind to myself more.
Thank you Swingset for giving me what I need, even back when I didn’t even know what that was. Thank you Dylan, Ginger, and Shira for taking in this newbie and letting me sit at the cool table. Thanks Swingset fans for all your support. Thanks to Dixie De La Tour and everyone at Bawdy for being my pervy family. Thanks to Kate McCombs who’s become my spirit animal and who makes me think we can take over the world with Sex Geekdom. Thanks to the Center for Sex Positivity for letting me join them in educating and open minds. Thanks to all my sex geek friends who lift me up when I’m down, brush me off and hug me until I’m ready to walk again. Thanks to my husband for being nearly infinitely patient, losing patience, then finding that patience again while always remaining supportive. And thank you most of all to Cooper, who changed my life with a single chat conversation. Our friendship means the world to me and I love working as a team making Swingset even greater than it already is.
So here’s to another year on the Swingset. How do I sum up this crazy year? You can’t always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you get what you need.