This is the second time I have facilitated a workshop at the conference, but the first time I have come up with the original idea and content/structure on my own. (The last time I filled in for someone who put a workshop on the schedule and then couldn’t make it at the last minute.)
I am feeling excited and empowered about standing up and talking about what I want to talk about and sharing what I know (although I’m not necessarily proclaiming myself as an expert; this is a cooperative learning model). Somehow this experience makes me feel much more free to imagine other kinds of workshops I’d like to see next year and imagine myself leading them.
There is a woman in our local community who offers workshops and is a leader and teacher in her own way, although I have never felt drawn to her (somewhat expensive) workshops. Personally, I prefer our skillshare model of sharing information, where it’s all free and everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn. Maybe it’s naive and idealistic, but we’re all learning, and it doesn’t make sense to me that some of us should be called the teachers and get paid for it while the rest of us have to pay.
Anyway, this woman has begun to open up a more vulnerable side of herself to me and allow me to see some areas she would like to learn from me. This makes me happy because I know that we’re all just learning from each other, whether we ask for money in exchange or not.
She says she pictures us speaking about it on Oprah. I like the way this girl thinks! We are going to meet to brainstorm in a few weeks. We’ll see where this goes.
Recently a friend came to me in tears, asking if we could talk. She has been miserably unhappy for months, she explained, and it all came to a head that morning… when her boyfriend proposed to her.
This is a friend who, only months ago, had been on an extended run of “I’m so in love I want to shout it from the mountaintops, and I don’t care who I annoy.” Apparently since then she and her beloved have been in conflict, not about whether or not they are perfect for each other and should get married, but about when, where and how he would propose.
While I could see that my friend was truly in pain and have compassion for her, this exchange also switched a little lightbulb for me, or more precisely brought up a lot of questions. About Valentine’s Day. About the expectations that even the most enlightened feminist women place on their male partners, and what the desire to act out this gendered role-play is about. About the perverse myopia that causes us to fret over lost two-dimensional stereotypes when real live, living breathing partners are standing there right in front of us, offering their love (each in his own unique way).
Women don’t like being forced into stereotypes of what it means to be a woman, dull and limiting roles when our true selves are so brilliantly diverse and multi-colored. We shouldn’t try to force men into limiting roles either! My partner does love me deeply, and occasionally it’s in a Hallmark way like with flowers sent to work. (On those days all the other women in my office can secretly measure their own femininity against mine, based on the frequency and degree of displays of stereotypically masculine romantic behavior by their partners. Ick!) But most of the time it’s some other way. And that doesn’t mean he loves me any less.
Hm, will mull this over and post more later.
I’m worried about all the details, but excited too. After receiving press releases about this event for the last four years, the mainstream press is finally starting to pay attention. Our event was prominently mentioned in several publications this week, and I expect we’ll have a huge turnout! I just hope it doesn’t get out of control.
I’ll spend a little time tonight setting some intentions for the way I want to feel this weekend; I want to remember why I am doing this and have fun! instead of being a perfectionist, or feeling anxious and responsible for every one of the participants.
My partner and I have declined the invitation to present another kissing workshop at our sexuality skillshare/conference this summer. I wanted to present a workshop about setting boundaries, too, since that was such a hard journey for me and I see others in our community who struggle with this. But Sweetie and I are doing so much this summer already with our counselling, getting our home and our finances in shape, my health concerns, etc. Maybe next year we’ll do more.
I am staying involved by being in charge of “safer space” and training volunteer “vibes watchers” to make sure we provide a learning environment that is as safe and comfortable as possible.
We had an exploratory meeting last week and have decided to move forward with organizing. Exciting!
It always makes me sad when I think about the scars and pain and good-intentioned misunderstandings that occur between genders.
Recently in my own life, I turned an online acquaintence down for a date (not someone from this site). He would not take no for an answer—he said he was just what I am looking for, and wanted to know why not. I told him, in as honest but gentle a way as I could. He responded with such a volume of rage that I knew it couldn’t be about me. I am experimenting with feeling compassion for this person and wondering how he got so wounded.
It makes me so sad that we, men and women, are doing this to one another. I know we’re all doing our best, but there’s got to be a better way. I would love to raise the bar a little—to work to create a dating culture that is a little kinder, more honest, easier for everyone, and less about status/money/appearance.
Dating is hard, and people struggle so much with self worth, and with rejection. I would really love it if I never met another woman who doesn’t trust men, or another man who doesn’t trust women. And everyone I dated could form their own opinions of me based on me alone, not every woman they’ve ever interacted with!
OK, maybe we’re veering into fantasy now. But over dinner tonight it was sounding like a fantastic idea for a different kind of online dating site, or perhaps a real-world dating community.
about volunteering. I can’t do it all, so we’ll see who gets back to me first.
After all, those issues mesh nicely. But I don’t know her well, so getting to know her and where she’s coming from will be the first step.