I’m a country girl – by nature, nurture, and choice. I enjoy wild open spaces; they remind me of the hay fields outside my bedroom window when I was a girl. I’ve lived and worked in the Everglades, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon.
I’m more comfortable with alligators, bison, and bears than with being in a big city. I live only a couple of hours from New York City, but I’ve been there only a handful of times. There was a school trip, and two with my family. In my twenties, I drove with a friend to see Simon and Garfunkel at Madison Square Garden. That terrified me – driving in NYC is not for the faint-hearted – or this country girl, even though I’ve driven cross-country three times, once with a nursing newborn!
This past summer, I learned that my online friend, August McLaughlin, was going to be the presenter at the 2014 World Sexual Health Day celebration. August has been on my People I Really Want to Meet list for a while, and the timing was perfect – during my Accomplice’s Labor Day break, so I could take a day away, and the kids could enjoy Daddy time.
I decided to brave the Big Scary City, because the opportunity was too good to pass up – August is based in Los Angeles, after all, and that’s not exactly a quick trip from here. But I was scared and more intimidated than I’d ever been on the rim of the Canyon, or hiking in bear country. When my local friend, Elizabeth Mitchell, offered to come along and help me navigate. I was delighted.
So plans were made – and then there was the announcement of the WSHD Writing Contest. At first, I wasn’t sure I had anything to say, or that anything I would say would be good enough…
But I’ve learned to stifle those thoughts, and take flying leaps of faith. And so I leaped…and won an honorable mention.
And that wasn’t the best part of the adventure.
Elizabeth and I chatted all during our ride to the train station, and home again afterward. I got to know this fascinating person much better, and that’s a treat in itself. The train ride was on a familiar route, one that I’ve driven many times – but the train offered me views I’d never seen before.
We arrived at Grand Central Station amid the wonderful diversity of humanity that gathered there. And then, there was August, in real life, lovely, and with a huge warm grin.
It was a whirlwind day – lunch, and a little walk with Elizabeth, then to the salon where August was getting her hair and makeup done, and where we were treated like VIPs while we waited for her. After that, we hailed a cab – yup, I rode in a NYC cab! – and were off to The Cutting Room, where the event was held…
And then –
Then, things got sexy. In a very good way. From the Petals display to being interviewed on camera by August, to Houses on the Moon, speakers, and acroyoga. The food was superb, and there was so much warmth, humor, and learning. My horizons were expanded, my perspectives shifted. I felt myself growing braver and stronger with every moment, filling up on the amazing energy of the atmosphere and the people I was celebrating with.
Once the event was over, we headed across the street for dessert at a French restaurant: August, her brother and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, and I. We lingered over our scrumptious treats and the warm glow of the evening, laughed about the blacklit cheese room with its one table and eerie cooler cases of cheese. When it was time to go, Elizabeth and I walked back to the station along the nighttime Manhattan streets – something else I never thoughtI would do!
The effects of that magical day lingered. This year, I’ll be posting some erotica to fan fiction sites, and I’ll continue to delve into sexual and sensual topics – here, and in my other writing. I’ve been writing erotica for a long time – but, for decades, those stories were tucked away into my cupboard, behind closed doors, scrawled into spiral-bound notebooks. I didn’t bring them into the light of day, or share then publicly.
Honestly, I was a little ashamed of them, and of myself, for writing them….
That evening changed something for me. I was surrounded by people who accepted their sexuality honestly and openly. There was no shame. We were humans, and humans are sexual beings. I am a sexual being, and there’s no shame in claiming that as my birthright.
Because of that night, and because of August, I have been able to write sex posts these several last days. Because of my decision to attend, and my bravery in following through with that plan, I’ve become braver about sharing these parts of myself. I’m stretching and expanding – into myself, and into the world.
How about you? Have you ever made a brave decision, and found that it reached a lot further than you’d ever imagined? Will you be brave again, and share?