So my work on the Big Little Podcast, occasional event wrangling, teaching at kink events, and online advocacy make me something of a very minor media personality. As I joked with a friend the other day, I'm maybe a slightly larger fish in a very tiny pond.
Over the years, I've developed some very strong opinions about all sorts of things related to being kinky, an age player, or just even a human being. (All of which I happen to be!)
Among these things I beleive are the following:
- Self-acceptance and love matter When you're alternative in any way, it's super easy to fall prey to the trap that you need someone else to tell you that those alternative things are okay. It's a damnable lie. You don't require anyone else to approve of you.
- Labels are mostly meaningless. They're the placeholders for a conversation you can have with someone else. They're useful for those conversations, but that's about it. What one person calls being an "inner kid" another might call being "regressive", still yet someone else might call that "Just how Uncle Dave is, don't mind him."
- Compassion begins with oneself You have to love and embrace who you are, before you can love and embrace who anyone else is.
- Communities don't exist They're social cohorts, groupings of people with something in common. But they're not collectives with a life, culture, and ethics held in common. Each member within them is responsible for themselves, to themselves. Each member within them can (and does) live as they choose, for the most part. There's no such thing as "harming the entire community" or "doing something for the good of the community", or "rousing the community to action to do thing x". Just because I like age play and you do too, doesn't mean we owe each other anything, or are guaranteed to be alike, or even get along.
- If you want acceptance and tolerance, give it. Waiting around for the other guy to be good, kind and true isn't going to do you any favors. You shape the world you live in.
There's plenty more, but that's a fine cross-section of the ideas I hold. The problem is, many of these ideas just rile people up, and piss them off. It's not a problem, really. I don't mind people disagreeing with me. Actually, I welcome it. I'm always willing to engage in polite discourse with others, and to refine my opinions, too.
I recognise the essential truth that opinions are much like the anus - everyone's got one.
Sometimes the people who disagree with me get a little unhinged. They rant and rave, type WALLS OF TEXT against what I have to say, sometimes call me names, all sorts of unpleasant things.
I'll admit, sometimes it can be irritating and often exhausting.
But I realized a while back that my purpose isn't to be "right." (I actually don't think I am right. There is no right. Here's a great zen story about how that is possible.) My purpose is to help people to help themselves. I don't have the answers to all the questions. I just have some questions. I ask myself these questions all the time. And, for those who want to join me in that self-questioning, I have questions for them.
It makes me feel great when, at my urging, someone else does the same sort of soul-searching I myself do, and comes to a better place for it. It doesn't have to be the same place I'm at. (In fact, I think that's kind of impossible.) I get so much out of the thoughtful discussions I have with others about all sorts of things.
Here's where the gratitude comes in though. Even when someone not only disagrees with me, but wants to sort of publicly wipe their ass with me, good still comes of it.
For one thing, people who do this sort of thing self-select themselves as members of an elite group, "people I am not going to emotionally invest in, or invite to my house for sugar cookies."
For another, often when this happens, those enlightened folks who DO get what it is I'm doing will jump in the fray, and do their level best to bring the discussion to a healthier, more balanced place. In a way, these jerks who foment such unrest are almost an unwitting aide to the very work I'm doing, teaching others mindful tolerance and self-love. They do their best to not lose their cool as they cope with these argumenative folks.
That makes me glad I know them, and shows me that what I'm trying to put out in the universe is making some difference. I don't care to try to help every person, because I don't think it's possible and smacks of hubris. But I do care about helping each person I can.
When I see people treating themselves and others with compassion, practicing tolerance, being open-minded, and sex-positive, it warms my heart.
I'm glad that whether they like it or not, people who treat me poorly help me to do what's important to me.