Fear doesn’t have a volume control – any time you try something new it thinks you will wind up dead. Stop and think about the times fear has saved your life, and then think of the time where fear doesn’t have perspective or the big picture that you have in your consciousness. Fear and creativity will always be linked. Remember the opposite of depression is vitality. There is enough within me that I inspire myself, that my sense of adventure or curiosity can thank my fear for highlighting the risks and encourage myself to make a decisions that move me forward, even just slightly joyfully.
I’ve been wanting to write about this for quite a while. Becoming a photographer, calling myself an artist has almost literally come out of nowhere. In looking back on my life so far, I see all the experiences I’ve had that have taught me the background to what I know. I’m not here by accident, I’m not doing this work because I am unqualified. This is my passion purpose for now, and I will continue to evolve with it as it also evolves, as is the impermanent nature of life. This is my story of gratitude.
I was in the shower when the conceptual idea of creating my photographic Queer Tarot Cards. I’m not the only one who’s had this idea either but I’m excited that I have opportunity to express my iteration of this inspiration. So when my inspiration came to me, in a skin tingling moment of clarity it lit a fire under my butt like I hadn’t felt in ages. I feel calm and clear headed in the shower, a place where nothing else seems to matter past the warmth and water on my skin.
I believe in magickal spirit beings, and to me inspiration is the personification of exactly that. That mischievous sprite flys with the wind, getting carried with swirls and turns to the east and west. In all it’s travels it is looking for a way to become realised, to be transported from the spirit realm into the human realm, and I believe this is not just a one way journey. Sometimes we wake up in the morning and think “OOOOHhhhh I’ve had this marvelous idea, or oh what an amazing dream.” If we do not capture that, weather it be writing it down or taking action to realise that idea, it can and will leave, float away, drift off to another being to be realised. Have you ever heard stories about someone saying “Oh that was MY idea” or “I was going to write that book?” Do you think this is a coincidence. They did indeed have that idea, and maybe they didn’t give it their due diligence, love, attention or action it was looking for. I think an idea or inspiration can also be realised be several people. Maybe that wind of creativity blows through me, I feel it’s magick and bring that idea to life. But I have no ownership of it, I can’t keep it, or lock it up. In fact trying to do just that is a sure fire way of killing that inspiration.
So with that context – I have a contract with my creative work. I have a duty, and wonderful purpose to bring it to life. Right now it is my Queer Tarot project, in future it might be something new and different. My creativity inspires maintains and energises me, and will for the rest of my life. I will feel like a successful photographer, writer, creator and artist, before and after you guys call me a successful one. I am authentically honouring the gift of inspiration that has visited me, as well as expressing my soul through the creative process.
All my art is part of my journey taking me to the next level, and I don’t even know what that level is yet. There is nothing more successful than the person who is confident enough to be stupid, to take risks and put themselves out there. This is where the uncertainty of change comes in. I have been living in a life of constant change and uncertainty for the last 6 months, traveling, working for myself, and stripping my life of all the unnecessary fluff. Now I have just started a job here in Vancouver. My fear has wonderfully piped up and warned me of getting stuck, observing that I now have an hour and a half commute that is “wasted time, scaring me with the idea of losing my vitality and creative energy. I’m writing this letter in part to you, but predominantly to myself, to thank my fear, to hold space it for highlighting to me the things I now can be aware of taking action and making change in those areas. Yes, a 3 hour round trip commute feels like an absolute drag, but I’ve found podcasts I can listen to which light me up, I have laughed, smiled, and almost cried with the joy of listening, learning and exciting my mind. One of the podcasts Elizabeth Gilbert talked to a girl who described herself as having the most boring job in the world. Yes she did exactly the same thing every day, and I am grateful I am not in that position. I have creativity and variety in what I do, that I really enjoy. The thing I really took away is the highlight that nothing is ever static, there is energy all around, and especially in frustration there is much power to create the inertia for change or creativity.
My contract with my creative inspiration currently means I have to make my Queer Tarot project happen, to give up myself, or to give myself over to the call to create. Right now I am choosing the trade off of working and creating simultaneously so I can travel to meet and work with more people globally and create magick with them in 6 month time. What happens after that I don’t know, and I am happy to let that just sit. And I know that my inspiration owes me nothing, following it doesn’t guarantee success, it just offers me the transcendence of working with it at all. The dance that doesn’t include my ego, just the pure gratitude of showing up and actively participating in my own experience.
I feel an entitlement at my inner heart level. The joy and arrogance of belonging, of calling myself and artist or a photographer and owning it. I am, I am here, I have desires, I have voice, I have a statement to make and oh so much pleasure to pursue. I’m here to celebrate this particular magick of creation in my life. This is my curiosity, I am alive enough to see what that is. Today, this month, maybe this year, maybe even next year, Queer Tarot is my creative gift, my inspiration, the creative thing that consumes me. The only unique contribution we will make in the world is the gift of creativity. Creativity in whatever way I end up expressing it, is how I share my soul with the world.
As I write this, my fear crops up again. Am I sounding like a overly optimistic rose tinted dreamer writing all this. Then I think to the times when I’ve been told to “come back down to earth” or that my voice wasn’t worth hearing, or that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. These wounds I am healing in myself with a ruthless dedication to following my curiosity. Expressing my creativity. You know, it might not work every time, it won’t always see the light of day, I make and create far more than I share or I publish. But everything I do I am proud of, they contain a little of me, and little of that magickal gift of inspiration that I am so blessed and grateful to have been blessed with.
I am happy. I self generate my own happiness, and I am energised by following my creative curiosity. I wish sometimes to date, but getting past my fear of losing myself in a relationship is another story for another day. Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me, for allowing me to be heard. Pen-pals, please write back to me, I would love to hear about your journey with fear and curiosity / creativity. If you want more, the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is an amazing place to start.
I wanted to go, but $80 was too much. She was coming I thought it would be wonderful to see her again… I said
“I’ll be yours for the night if you have a plus one.” It was too late, I’d said it and she’d said yes. I was going and I was quite excited.
A bold move on my part, such bolshy confidence I hadn’t felt in such a long time, metered with the overthinking after thought of “was that rude, what if she says yes, what does that involve, what have I signed up for?!” It was too late, I’d said it and she’d said yes. I was going and I was quite excited. I knew one of my best friends would be there if I needed so I knew I’d be safe, but the adventure of the unknown was intoxicating. I’d not been out on a wild unknown limb in a while, and certainly hadn’t let anyone any near my body. The day grew closer and she sent me a picture of a pony bridle and bit, and asked if I was into pony play. My mind raced, I didn’t know what that would entail for her.. I’d participated in a few other play scenarios before mind you, with less industrial equipment shall we say. Unicorns are ponies I thought, I love those rainbow tails you can get, I jumped online and put one on a wishlist, thinking the always come with such wee plugs, maybe that’s so it’s more comfortable to wear over a longer period of time.
Anyway back to the story. The day arrived and I’d cried three times before it was near time to get there. I’d woken up feeling low, tired and lonely… tears flowed in the shower as I pulled myself together to face the day, dance practice was next. I was looking forward to this, a blat of exercise to shake up the adrenaline and shift the mood so I’d be bouncy and ready to dance later. Queue a wonderful lesson, on preparing for dance competitions by being kind to your inner child – and tears. I love this work and have much to say to my inner child and much to re-write. Shaking that off I was on to the next thing. I don’t do busy days by halves I thought, and at least it was a comedy show, laughs and light heartedness that I love to shift the mood so I’d be bounce and ready to dance later. The universe really had other plans for my day. Hannah Gadsby was doing her retirement show “Nannette”. She’s an amazing woman, and boy did she share her story and the ringer she’s been put through. Powerfully she announced she’s retiring. Boldly exposing how so much comedy is based around self deprecating, self humiliating and reinforces one’s own attachment to emotional repression, an inability to communicate or ask for help when hurt, frustrated or angry.
That much “humour” is mocking someone, something or calling oneself terrible things in order to garner a laugh from an audience. She was standing up for herself, her self worth and refusing make herself the brunt of the joke anymore.
Humour is amazing but boy does it conceal or shut down emotional openness and deflect from a world of hurt or acute fear of vulnerability. Queue more tears, me and the rest of the entire theatre.
This isn’t the sexy story you thought you’d be reading but it has a happy ending I promise.
I was shaken, the universe had wanted to get a point across to me, and I was listening. I was fragile but being kind to myself again. Sitting in my vulnerability, I thought “I guess I’m ready for a dance now”. This was not the mood shift or energy I had been expecting. The club was dark, mirror ball covered dangly light installations decorated the ceiling and rainbow flashes danced about the walls and across the faces of all the shadowy people in the venue. I was late, they’d all been there for a few hours, but I crept in ready to be swallowed by a crowd of faceless bodies, rolling to the waves of the bass as it thumped from the speakers. I wiggled my way to the midst of the madness, my skin taking in the temperature difference from outside to the damp warmth inside. And there she was.
Legs crossed in lotus position, arms out beside her, oosing the power of the goddess to the very tips of her long tallon’d fingers. She was floating a good metre off the floor, a spider web of ropes woven all around her in a beautifully symmetrical arch that made her look like she was floating on a throne.
She didn’t move, her limbs hugged tight by beautiful purple bonds, “it is her favourite colour”, I thought. Her head masked in glossy black latex, like a bald cap that came all the way over to mysteriously hide her eyes, ending elegantly just above her nose, highlighting her cheekbones. The mask sported a glossy black latex halo, a solid dark shiny disk that framed her head, with silken tassels hanging down past each ear. This was a powerful goddess of the night.
I was barely clothed, covered mostly in golden bronze metallic paint. Feeling freer without clothes trying to force me into a certain shape or cover up the beautiful ink that I’ve etched into my skin over the years. My hair was high, and filled with colourful flowers, my neck draped with a heavy necklace of tiny cocaine spoons. My body strapped into a beautiful pink harness that glowed like magick under the lights. My boobs sported matching weighted twirling tassels that I knew I’d show off later. The music was hypnotic, wooing me into it’s dark rhythms, most of the humans that surrounded me, naked or equally dressed in little clothing. I’d brought my flogger with me, feeling proud it was a well made piece and beautifully colour coordinated with the other harness pieces I was wearing. My mind had started to wander, so I asked a person dancing close to me if they’d want a gentle flogging or if they wanted to flog me. My offer was quickly accepted and we moved to part of the club there was room to swing.
My body warm, my skin warming up too as the sensation of tickling, teasing, and soft leather smacking into me repeatedly building up to an intoxicating sting.
My shoulders leaning into the pleasure of this pain, the thud then the tickle of the ends of the straps as it brushed up my bare back. The sting and tingle as it flicked around to the soft sensitive skin of my inner thighs. My butt cheeks framed by a little delicate black hassling and hanging sequins were bare and flushed pink with the blood flow of excited skin. My body didn’t wince, or jump, it leaned into the intoxicating sensations all over my skin. My mind ceased to be in my body, it felt like it was simply consumed by sensation. A gentle hand runs over the raised skin checking in to see that I am okay, and if I wish to continue. Hips press onto my ass, my body leans closer into the brick wall in front of me as I feel skin against skin, and breath whispering into my ear. I haven’t had another person’s skin against mine in what feels like an eternity. I return to my body, suddenly feeling very raw and vulnerable. The music floods back into my brain as I come back down to the environment around me, and we slink back to the dance floor to be enveloped again into the safety of the crowds, suddenly aware of the audience behind us hiding in the shadows enjoying the play we were having, sensing the energy of wild abandon and tactile pleasure.
She was there in the crowd, released from her suspended throne of purple ropes. She kissed me on the cheek and I blush. I feel like a kid around someone they admire and look up to. Suddenly all my experiences of kink and all things of the underworld melt away and I feel like an innocent creature next to her.
She is covered in beautiful tattoos, the long silken tassels from her latex halo frame her as she looks around then back to smile at me. I tingle with excitement and uncertainty. These things are never rushed, or non consensual but still I was still feeling very vulnerable. Where was the sassy creature that wanted to be hers? I didn’t know but I was enjoying myself regardless. My energy open with a “wise” innocence calmly just letting what ever was going to happen unfold around me. I sighed, this was beautiful, I was safe, cared for and surrounded by wonderful humans who knew what they were doing and had warm sexual energy and love. Flash forward through my body moving and getting lost in the hypnotic rhythm and thump of the music, I was warm sweaty and happy, some how letting go over the tension that had built up and the emotional overwhelm of the day. This was the energy and and mood I’d hoped for… the universe had rewarded me for my patience through the lessons I’d needed to learn that day.
There was a small room off the side of the dance floor, it’s roof a web of shibari rope she and I had woven for hours the day before. Suspended in the middle was a giant tire, as if it were her prey and she were the Queen of her web and it was caught in her clutches. The master behind the rope works of art lurked in the shadows, as we pressed our bodies together. A few moments later we are lashed together, a happy sweaty pile, teasing, scratching and writhing around. It’s curious, I thought, this is not quite what I expected tonight. Later I sit on a little crate as she is pleasured by the master, and the other person I’d played with earlier with the flogger. The exhibitionist in me is excited, I am not yet ready to participate, but I love being a voyeur. My body is excited by the unfamiliarity of it, yet not surprised that this beautiful collision of sexual energy has culminated in a beautiful puddle of wonderful people. We all writhe around in pleasure, me on my wee crate and them on and around the suspended tire ropes, with plenty to grip as our legs turn to jelly. Someone, maybe the rope master, I don’t remember – grips, pinches and roughly twists and squeezes my nipples as the tassels had come unstuck from my sweaty skin.
Fingernails scratch my skin. The tattoos on my back are dancing with sensations raised above my skin like icing on a cake.
I remember how much I love roughness, that fine line between pleasure /pain and being thrown around, and my body sighs in pleasure. Willing to take risks, willing to adventure to push my boundaries and grow. Learning my limits by testing them. Taking my philosophy on emotional intimacy and connection and put it to the practical test. Living life to the fullest, putting intellectual beliefs to the front of my lived experience and holding space for myself and where my mental headspace was at. My body, glowing, glistening with dampness, the taste of my pleasure on my lips. My limbs shaking, overwhelmed and on sensation overload – torn between wanting more and not being comfortable all at the same time, outside of the four walls of my temple boudoir.
I was in my power, open and vulnerable, willing to share intimacy and connection.
Rewriting rejection with scratch marks, practicing self love with welts across my skin and positively reframing ‘neediness’ with raised red lines over my body. That desire for affection, craving intimacy and wanting the comfort of physical touch are not weaknesses, and nor should I be ashamed of my desires and emotive affections.
I am not broken, I am just rediscovering my sparkle – she is wonderful, but tonight I reclaimed that devilish part of me and fell in love with myself again.