Summer 18: Just Pleasure

Please feel free to share any reflections, ideas, or resources based on our dialogue this season. This is also a site for sharing relevant dreams, visions, observations, etc.

11 thoughts on “Summer 18: Just Pleasure

  1. Leah says:

    Hello all, I still plan to introduce myself, as I unfortunately could not make the first class, and will do so shortly – but just an offering… some language I use instead of “triggered” (completely agreeing with the problematization offered by Anjali) is “activated,” as in “my nervous system is feeling activated in some way.” Feels like a more neutral descriptor. Again, this may not be everyone’s preferred language, but is something that I offer in trauma-informed trainings that I do, and many folks seem to resonate with it.

  2. Leah says:

    Hello, all — I felt moved to share a video, rather than written, introduction here, which I uploaded to Google Drive. Here is the link:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FKsn9aaECvTuxT3qwA7Oe3180zvZXVdq/view?usp=sharing

    I hope this way of sharing will be accessible to all who wish to watch, and if it is not, please do feel free to let me know and I will find another way to send it to you. Beyond honored to have witnessed the first class and all of your heartfelt sharing and willingness to be vulnerable and open with your thoughts and experiences.

    Look forward to joining you all very soon and honored to be a part of this circle. Many thanks to Anjali for creating this course!

  3. Becca Holtz says:

    Hi all,

    My name is Becca, I use she/her pronouns, and I identify as White, Ashkenazi Jewish, cis female, straight, middle class and able bodied person who is in a place of inquiry around gender and sexuality. I am feeling a mix of curiosity, excitement, and nervousness in starting this class and also in sharing this post. It feels vulnerable to send out some still-evolving emotional content into internet land without the grounding of seeing your faces and knowing the humans who are holding and reading; so I suppose I’ll share what feels right now and know that more to come later.

    Why I’m interested in this class: A few months ago I started slowly slowly doing some inquiry around what sexuality means to me in my life, and have encountered a lot more shame than I’d have hoped for. Many layers of it. It feels wrapped up not just in the physical aspects of sexuality, but also in energetic, relational, emotional aspects. I want to work to transform shame into connection; I think that taking a critical look at my socialization, and engaging with radical writers and thinkers about more liberatory ways to do sexuality, could be really supportive in understanding and transforming shame. That’s the biggest thing. The next biggest thing is that I’m starting to interrogate how deep, deep layers of patriarchy’s socialization have constrained my self-expression, self-knowing, and sexual attractions/relationships with others, and the content of this class seems likely to be supportive in my process of looking in a more honest mirror.

    The main response I have to the podcast is somatic and difficult to put into words. I responded strongly to the discussion of infusing all interactions with consent, whether with lovers, colleagues, the land we walk on–not forcing anyone to say yes to something they don’t really have a yes to, in general. I felt something melt in my chest and stomach and expand out at picturing this, a softening and also an enlivening, a coming back to myself in a way. This feels in contrast to the tightening, frustration, the somatic experience of scarcity and urgency and anxiety I feel throughout most of my day, mostly at work but in many other interactions too–including, and maybe especially, moments of confronting or pushing back against rape culture in its many manifestations. So I’m holding more questions about what it would feel like to experience consent culture from within the body in lots of different situations. Overall, I really appreciated grounding my thinking about rape culture within the larger context of colonialism, systems of racism, forced disconnection from self, spirit, earth. It felt helpful to zoom out and see rape culture as rooted in and at the root of these other types of state sponsored and colonial violence–that it’s literally the air we’re breathing on colonized land and in colonized ways of relating to ourselves and one another.

    I also want to take a moment to acknowledge my absence last week AND this week too! I had two big commitments last week and this week that I made many months before finding out about this course–I’d be happy to share more about them if more context would be useful. And I imagine that having someone come in two weeks in, in the midst of a community being formed around sharing very vulnerable content, might be hard in lots of different ways. I’m open to hearing about the impact this has, and curious about how I can fold in while minimizing disruption.

  4. aeow says:

    Hello Everyone . I also missed last weeks class . Here is a little bit about me . I’m really excited and curious to take this journey of understanding colonizer sexuality and how it has conditioned relationships with myself, my family and my community. I am curious how understanding this structure will shift and change my relationships . I am curious to discover insight into my personal inner voice and outward and inward sexuality identity . I am a mother to a daughter and two sons . I am hopeful that this work will help me be a more helpful example and resource for their developmental journeys . I’m a mixed indigenous / white human partnered with a cis white male and I’m curious to understand what this means within the context of decolonizing sexuality within my partnership. Thank you !!! I’m here .

  5. Lisa says:

    Dear Anjali and all,

    I am listening to Audre Lorde. Her actual voice. A third of the way in, two things stand out: 1. that “the erotic is firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling.” This makes me think about my family as a microcosm of the dominant culture — a place where I was trained to smile and “be sunshine” and not cry or get mad. It’s exciting to take in Lorde’s wisdom, her explicit validation of feeling. This reinforces my idea that learning to feel and express is foundational work for me.

    2. Lorde’s take on work: “The aim of each thing which we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible. Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision—a longed for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered.” These two sentences….. I have been trying for 14 years since I quit my day job as a secretary to approach my work as a conscious decision while supporting myself. And I see myself entering a new phase of this “conscious work” process this season. I don’t want to go on and on about my situation, but I wonder if others are interested in talking about work and income and energy flow. And I have learned that I need to position myself. A big lesson, especially in this context of taking a risk to do work I love. The fact is I am not risking that much. If I, as a white, advance-degreed woman, were to fail to earn enough to pay my rent or buy food, I have friends and family members who would lend or give me money. It’s important to me to be financially independent, and I am. But I can take a relatively free approach to work and income production because of the socio-economic structures that gave my parents a leg up in the 1940s in terms of education and real estate and more.

    NOTE about next class: I might change my mind again, but at the moment, I anticipate that I will miss class again this week (7/17). I am sorry. To echo what Becca said above, I imagine that my absences and limited participation (so far) could be hard given all that’s being looked at and shared here. I feel torn. A writer/story-teller I have been working with as a coach is presenting the piece we worked on in one performance. I want to go and support her and also see her words brought to life. This will be my last miss, barring any emergencies. And, like Becca said, I am open to hearing about the impact of my not showing up 100 percent and ways to re-enter on 7/24, beyond listening to the tapes. Thank you.

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