Cheers Sexy People!Hello peeps! I am writing you on the other side of attending and presenting at this year’s Beyond The Love conference in Columbus, Ohio. Wow! Last year I was absolutely blown away by all of the awesome, and this year did not disappoint at all! Seriously, this polyamory conference is now solidly on my rotation of “must-attend” events that I fly around the country to attend and soak in all of the awesome. There is absolutely nothing like being surrounded by 250 like-minded people who “get” you and what you are all about as well as what you struggle with. The amount of love, compassion, acceptance, and desire to understand was just bubbling over at virtually every moment of this past weekend. I found it very healing post-election, and I know many others at the conference did as well.
This year there were two majorly important differences than last year from my end: 1) I created from scratch and presented two poly-related workshops! 2) I brought a partner with me – and a relatively new partner at that (in comparison with my husband whom I’ve been with for over thirteen years).
The Effects of Poly-Breakups & The Poly Closet Workshops
Let’s start with background on the workshops. I find sharing what goes on “behind the scenes” of a presentation or performance super interesting and often hilarious! So allow me to share. As I dive deeper into my mission here at Loving Without Boundaries, I find myself wanting to help others on their respective journeys through life and love anyway that I can – doing my part to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. So I applied (for the third year in a row) to present at this year’s BTL. The difference this year is I have more experience, more time, and truly valuable skills and wisdom to share – both due to my own adventures, and also because I am mid-way through a relationship coaching certification program. Yay!
Lo and behold, I was accepted. So in August, I turned my spidey senses on high gear, and took notes of my favorite techniques at workshops I attended at such epic events such as World Domination Summit and my IPEC Coaching training. From September through show-time, I worked on my two workshops – conceiving them, doing research, planning the welcome bag handouts, creating the complementary PowerPoint decks, and allowed time to practice. I wanted these workshops to have as high impact as I could make them and ROCK!
The week before the event, I had an emotionally stressful situation with poly life that de-railed me a day or two, and had me questioning the validity of what I was teaching. We got through it, I picked myself back up, and blew off social obligations to continue to prepare. Last Sunday, I presented the workshops at my home four times to practice in front of a small live audience. They gave me GREAT feedback and valuable insights. That night, I got violently ill from food poisoning. Ugh! Another day lost. Got through that and then got my mental and emotional faculties side-swiped by the damn election results. WTF, America!? Wednesday I once again put that aside to dig back in to the workshops – but had to stop as my boyfriend surprised me by coming home from work early to celebrate our one-year anniversary. We enjoyed and then I blew off workouts to continue to prepare and make time up.
Why do I tell you all this? Partly because I think it’s hilarious and interesting, but also because I think it proves a point that passion, integrity, a good cause, and the desire to help can propel us all to achieve more. Us poly people need to stick together and help each other. Nothing was going to stop me from rocking these workshops – I was as laser-focused as I could be. In the end, I was pleased with the results. Nothing beats someone telling you “your presentations were so helpful and right on point with a lot of the challenges we are going through right now.” YES!!!! Thank you, Matt B.! I’m SO GLAD! That makes it ALL worthwhile. Let’s do it again! Whoot!One-Year Anniversary, BTL Amoré, and ALL the AWESOME!
The Monday before last year’s BTL event, I had my first date with my boyfriend in downtown Washington, DC after I made him wait weeks to meet me. He was my Top Match in OKCupid after I answered over 150 questions about my likes and dislikes. Lo and behold, there was my soon-to-be-love at number one. Math! It works, bitches! Thank goodness a friend explained to me how modern day online date-match calculations work. (Alot has changed since I started in 1996!) Falling in love with my beau last fall, working through the kinks (giggity!), and then him moving in this past August has been a dream come true – a wonderful and much needed change and addition to my family that I highlighted in my Poly Breakups workshop. With change can come great reward and opportunity, my friends! I was so proud and happy to bring my “So-Hot-I’ll-Turn-You-Gay” boyfriend (his new nickname) as my honored guest to BTL. He made a fantastic “Vanna” (ala Wheel of Fortune) assistant to my workshops, helping me bring on the funny with his antics and cheerleading, and he also offered me valuable insights and feedback at every turn. We were a great team, and I absolutely loved having him there with me.
Not to be taken for granted, my husband has given over 500 presentations in his career – includng at The Pentagon, Library of Congress, and even The White House. My hubby was instrumental in keeping me on point, focused on the right strategies, and helping calm my nerves. There were at least two teary outbursts during this creative birthing process, and both of my beloveds hugged and kissed me through it all. One “special” moment, when I was expelling out both ends with food poisoning last week, my husband ran down the stairs in the middle of the night to help me, tripped and fell, and my boyfriend came tearing up the stairs to assist him (I’m sure quite naked as he likes to sleep in the buff). When I heard that later, my heart just BURST with love for these two caring, sensitive and compassionate men (as well as had me reeling in laughter thinking how funny that must have looked!). We really are a family, and I am so blessed. Thank you, you two awesome, sexy, handsome, big-hearted, and wicked smart men! I highly value your support!
Freaking Awesome Fellow Presenters & BTL Fun!
I want to give a shout out to all of the amazing, intelligent, generous and fantastic presenters! I went to as many workshops as I could, and every single one gave me much to ponder, enjoy, and take back home with me. Some highlights:
Poly Parenting by Susan Porter – LOVED this workshop where we explored various scenarios of poly famililes with children and discussed solutions, strategies and practiced empathy. In a follow up conversation with my new friend Susan: “I loved that you came to my class with your partner. I think it was an awesome conversation. I was heartened by how awesome everyone was to each other. Practicing tolerance, love, compassion, seeking to understand.” Yay! I’m so excited to have you be an honored guest on my podcast! Stay tuned, folks!
How To Fight Fairly by Ferrett Steinmetz – This was one of my boyfriend’s favorite classes of the weekend (me too). Ferrett is wise, self-depracating, generous with his knowledge, and has wicked cool fingernail polish to boot! I loved this workshop so much that I asked Ferrett if he would come back on my LWB podcast to discuss his ideas and concepts for my listeners to enjoy. Spoiler alert: He said YES! Yay! Stay tuned for this upcoming podcast as well! Ferrett, I LOVED our dinner conversation. Thanks for sharing your meal with us!
Therapeutic Comic Drawing by Tikva Wolf – OMG it was hard not to “fanboy” Tikva whose work I have been following and featuring in my blog posts for over three years. She is adorable, sweet, charming, and as one would suspect, very artist-like, which I thoroughy enjoy. LOVED her workshop where I walked out with my very first comic – which reminded me how much I like to draw! Illustrating a difficult moment in my poly life, showing it to a new friend, and having her easily recognize elements made me so happy! And it truly was therapeutic to work through a poly situation with Tikva guiding us to look to our “wiser” self. Also, another podcast guest I hope coming soon!
Building Better Events and Communities by Tim@PolyChicago – Great workshop helping me think how I can make a bigger impact in my local communities with my LWB mission. In the early days of this blog, I had read many entries at PolyChicago. It was an honor and so fun to meet in person! Yay! I’ll be in touch.
Exploring Polyamory with a Reluctant Partner by Clara Fang & Daniel Greenberg – This lovely couple came to my Poly Closet workshop and came up to me after to tell me how much they loved my class, my slides and how beautiful they were (Yay 25 years of graphic design experience! It’s paying off in my poly outreach life!). Well there discusson group on poly with a reluctant partner was fantastic too. GREAT conversation, great attendees, great insights and stories. Thanks, you guys! When I’m at my sister’s in Malvern, PA (where Clara used to live), I’ll think of you!
SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT: Relationship Equality Foundation with Billy Holder – I loved helping Billy ROCK the membership drive for REF, meeting lots of amazing people in the process. Now THAT is healing post-election! Yay! I am so honored to be an Outreach Rep for this powerful and impactful organization!
With this, I will leave with passing you all a love note to pencil in your calendar coming to BTL next November (I’m talking to YOU, Blair!). It is epicly rewarding, fun, awesome and such a blast (including the “totally rad” 80s party!)! Feel free to add your comments below on your experience of BTL this year, or any thoughts about what I shared here. See you next year I hope (if not before.)
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)