There is a beautiful saying among the Xhosa tribe in Africa, Ubuntu, that says, “I am, because we are.” Our sense of self is directly related to the depth of our being known, being an integral part of the whole. This philosophy guides my work and my art.
This concept was brought to life for me during my years as an event producer and erotic hostess for The Impropriety Society™.
At the beginning of 2008 I leapt into an emotional adventure by agreeing to co-lead an all volunteer sex positive organization that produced erotic parties and educational events. That seemingly little “yes” turned my world upside down in all the of the best ways.
When we started The Impropriety Society™, my two partners and I really had no idea what we were getting into. As one of my partners would repeatedly lament, we just wanted to throw fun sexy parties. But because there is so much shame in sexuality, we were called to do more. Deep questions around inclusion and belonging came to the surface regularly. Early on, as we faced complex emotional issues around identity and acceptance with both guests and volunteers, we chose to operate from a set of core values that included love, transparency, holding safe and brave space, and most importantly – radical inclusion.
We practiced radical inclusion with people of different body types; with disabilities, chronic illnesses, behavioral issues and mental health challenges; people with unusual and taboo interests; single men who were perceived as “creepy” (which usually translates to someone who is socially awkward and/or insecure); and even people who publicly attacked us (it’s amazing how you can disarm people through love and transparency).
We were told over and over again that people were transformed by our events and our community. We had women who are fat find their fierce sexiness. We had people who are genderqueer feel comfortable expressing themselves in public for the first time. We had people who felt incredibly alone in their kinky interests find not only acceptance, but celebration of their authenticity (everyone loves the Furries on the dance floor!). We had people with deep wounds around sexuality who were healed through consensual interactions. We even had people attend who weren’t interested in sex, but simply wanted to be in an environment where everyone felt free and connected. People became whole because they were known for their truth and beauty.
There was no Other. When the community gathered, everyone was part of the tribe.
Now that I’ve witnessed and experienced the power of a culture of radical inclusion, I am passionate about taking this work into the greater world. This is the work of my heart.
Radical inclusion is my spiritual practice. It took me 20 years to see that everything I’ve done in my life is based in trying find my belonging and create belonging for others. I often created what I was longing for and now it’s time to do so again.
I am an artist, writer, and community tender that lives on the margins both by choice and cultural imperative. I delight in living out on the edges of culture where things are weird and intense and fucking beautiful. I believe this is where the future resides, with people who envision and experiment with new possibilities, with people who embed transformation in themselves and in our communities through radical action. I learn and grow by walking out on the edges where humans are exploring everything that is possible, especially in the realms of human connection and relationship.
I play in the Dark as much as I dance in the Light. I hunger to see, hear, know, and most of all FEEL what it is to be human in all of our Glory and all of our Wickedness and everything in between. I crave what is real, right down to the blood, bone, and marrow of life. We are made of stardust and we are made of dirt.
I want you to be real, too.
I don’t give a fuck about pretty packages. I’ve warred with the idea of wearing a mask and only showing parts of myself to others and “playing the game” since I was 14 years old and I just can’t do it. I am hard wired for vulnerability and authenticity. I don’t know how to be anyone other than myself. I can’t play pretend. I can’t act. I couldn’t write fiction to save my life. What you see (read) is what you get. Even when it’s awkward. Especially when it’s hard.
I am fat and body neutral. Feminist. Sex positive. Queer and married to a queer man. Sometimes polyamorous. Always some sort of kinky. I’m learning how to live as a birth mother in an open adoption while simultaneously learning how to be an empty-nester. I am managing chronic illness (Fibromyalgia & PCOS).
I have been a successful sculptor and painter of vulvas; co-chair of a Pride organization; local newspaper columnist; blogger in six iterations; published poet and lyricist; co-founder of a home for teen mothers; director of a welfare-to-work job training center; non-profit operations and HR manager for organizations working with people who are poor, disabled, addicted, and otherwise marginalized; minister in training, priestess, touch healer, kitchen witch, and Tarot reader; and through it all a kickass (mostly) single mom to two queer children of color who are now young adults following their dreams.
I was also a daughter of addiction and mental illness, a survivor of molestation, a teen welfare mom, a survivor of rape and domestic violence, a mother of a daughter conceived through rape, a physical and emotional masochist, and a passive-aggressive martyr. I have an ACES score of 7. I have spent a good part of my life healing Complex PTSD (without traditional therapy) due to repeated emotional abuse and other trauma as a child and adult.
I know what it is to live with complexity of being human and I’m devoted to being real about it all. I know what it is to live in the crucible of transformation and I have made it my temple. I no longer seek happiness or to be problem free because perfection is impossible. Instead I seek the Rapture of Aliveness. I find a deep, quiet, abiding joy underlies my experience of life because I accept what is real – the love and the grief, the fun and the misery. I engage with Life fiercely and purposefully in order to learn and grow and discover ways to bring more beauty, love, and belonging into the world. I’d like support others in doing the same.
You can also see my Body of Work in resume style.