Cheers Sexy People!
I am writing you from the “other side” of giving my first presentation at my first polyamorous conference. What a ride that was! WOW! SOOO glad that I did it! There were moments full of fear where I thought, “What am I, crazy? Who gives me the right to speak publicly about my odd life… at Berkeley, CA of all places!” Then I kept remembering that I was INVITED to speak, partly because of creating this blog, and this community with you awesome people. Who am I NOT to give this talk?! Afterall, how many of us out there are willing to do it? Have the experience to do it? Have the drive and the passion to do it? Have the time and resources to do it? Ironically, a saying comes to mind from a nun who was one of my teachers at Catholic grade school so many moons ago:
If not me, who? If not now, when?
Thank you, Sister Mary Josephine! I bet she would be turning over in her grave today if she knew I was telling that to my ethically non-monogamous and poly-friendly community. Afterall, we’re just a bunch of sex-crazed maniacs who have sex out of wedlock, or within wedlock with other people, and often without the intent of creating a human who we are going to convert to Catholicism, right? Oh, the scandal, Sister! 🙂 But there it is. And I ain’t taking it back.
For the levity of it all, I thought I would share some of the funny things that happened on my way to rocking this presentation:
- After booking the flights months ago, Thursday night, FIVE minutes before we were supposed to be boarding our plane, they canceled the entire flight due to “maintenance”. If I was standing there, I might have noticed that there was NO PLANE by the gate to give me at least an extra half hour heads up (but what would that have helped?). Instead, I got alerted via an email about a delay while I was just about to enjoy a glass of wine and a snack with my husband. So I jolted from my seat and ran to the gate only to wait in line as well as on hold simultaneously for almost an hour. I was fit to be tied (and not in a fun way).
- To try to make good use of the time, we scurried home (that airport is almost an hour from my house, so it was rather inconvenient), and I practiced my presentation in front of my husband and my boyfriend, with the slide clicker to try to get my timing, including comic timing down. By one and a half times through my presentation, I was flat out drunk from wine, and was tripping over all of my words, so we stopped. Haha!
- We had to get up at 4am to make the second attempt at flying, and in the hurry, I left without any of my wedding rings or anniversary rings from my husband or boyfriend. I thought this ironic given that it was Valentine’s weekend, and I was about to speak at a poly conference. Oh well! That’s less items to lose I guess.
- The first plane was fine and got us to Philadelphia (ironically, my hometown). But the second plane was delayed… due to… maintenance! First, it was delayed one… and then two hours. We boarded the plane. Then it was delayed another hour on the runway for maintenance issues again. Wow! I thought I was missing the conference that day, but it turns out the conference was only in the evening. Whew!
- Post landing etc, the hubs and I make our way to the conference and enjoy the first few presentations. Halfway through during a break, I introduce myself to the coordinator. I inquired about hooking my Mac laptop to the old school projector. It turned out that even though we had talked about the technical side over email prior, they did not have the adapter I would need to hook my laptop up to the projector. Yikes! This was at about 8pm. The hubs and I ran outside, got an “Uber” cab, and hightailed it to an Apple store to get the adapter. Got it!
- The morning of the conference, we got there early to the presentation room. No one was there, so I proceeded to practice again behind the podium getting my notes all set up just the way I wanted them, and we tested the equipment. Worked great! The coordinator then came in to tell me that… um… that was NOT the room that I was going to be presenting in, but another one downstairs. When we checked that room out, there was no podium (for me to hide behind) and no projector. Yikes!
- Then I noticed on the sheet announcing my talk, the “working-but-not-real title” was still listed instead of the actual name of my talk, “Polyamory vs. Cheating: Lessons from a Former Serial Monogamist.” Oh well! Nothing I could do about it now. I hope the audience doesn’t mind.
- By fifteen minutes before “go live”, we got a projector, but no cords reached the plug. We had the meager staff run around and find extension cords. Finally, we got it to work. But then my monitor was not cooperating as something goofy was going on with the settings, thus I could not see the slides while I was clicking. The hubs kept clicking buttons until he figured it out. Another crisis averted!
- Unfortunately, the slides that I had spent over 30 hours of time creating were showing up very dark in that room with that projector. Even with closing every conceivable blind, and playing with the settings, they were still dark. C’est la vie! I would have to talk through several of the slides because I didn’t think the audience would be able to tell what they were. Stooopid old projector.
Finally, it was “Go Live!” time. About 40 people showed up for my talk. My room was one of four different rooms that the audience members could choose from to attend the talk of their choice. The crowd looked nice enough. I was psyched because two friends that I have had for years who have also been interviewed for this blog showed up to hear me speak, and were in the audience. How cool to finally meet them, and put a face and actual personality with the name! All right! Showtime!
I launched into my talk, with my iPad in hand with my notes (because… no podium) and the slide clicker in the other. For the most part, the audience laughed when they were supposed to laugh, and we all got along quite nicely! The hubs was in the front telling me to slow down when I needed to. I was also quite happy that I did not fall down, drop anything or stutter. Haha! The “Questions and Answers” part at the end was really fun. The questions were smart and candid, and I think we all wished that we could talk some more. So we did throughout the day at the rest of the conference.
Overall, the conference was enlightening, fun, exhilarating and very educational. I met quite a few amazing people, both in the form of other presenters, as well as the audience itself. One gentleman there proudly wore a T-shirt that said “Kiss Me, I’m Bi” which I thought was really excellent and brave. Here I am speaking under a pen name, and he’s walking around with his orientation right on his chest (and even repeated on the back). How cool!
The experience rocked! And then we went to a kink party that night with our two new friends. How freaking fun! Thank you all for cheering me on, and also giving me great feedback on the “Why We Cheat” blog post. I reviewed all of your answers and incorporated them into my talk. Happy to share in a future post.
Also, for anyone interested, I was invited to be a special guest on an Internet Radio Talk Show on Tuesday, February 24th, 8pm CST! Please feel free to listen in or to call in and speak with myself and anyone else on the panel there! I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to participate.
Here is a link to the details!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too)