Writing, Therapy, and Thriving

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Last night I got back to a writing project—okay, a novel—that I was hoping to finish by last December. I’ve never had so much trouble writing a novel before. Usually, I’m quite fast and can crank them out. First drafts, of course… But this particular one has been troubling me. I kept starting and stopping, hating what I wrote, and nothing felt right. I’ve been stuck in the first few chapters for a year.

Eventually, I figured out why and it’s because I was telling the wrong story. The story I was telling was only a small portion of the whole picture. An agent tried to tell me this and I knew she was onto something, but it’s taken until now for me to unfold what the story is. Because it’s my story. It’s still fiction, but I needed to get to a certain place before I understood what my main character was going through. Before I could see her path and understand her arc and where she’ll end up.

Now I know her arc. I know her journey and where she lands.

I’ve come to this conclusion after some recent growth and acceptance.

These past few weeks have been rough. Not just because of the loss of our dog, but also because I’ve been working through the tail end of some trauma dealings.

For years I’ve wanted to reach a place where my trauma wasn’t running the show. It’s hard for people to understand but when you have something like PTSD (or any condition like schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, even depression), that condition is often running the show. It’s writer, director, producer, special effects, sound, costuming, and critic. Even with therapy and treatment, mental illness and personality disorders are akin to living with a villain constantly in your head telling you that you’re worthless, that people are out to get you, that you’ll never be able to live the life you want to live because you’re just not good enough.

I haven’t wanted my PTSD to be in charge for a long time now, yet moving past it has involved so much work. It’s meant dropping my pride and allowing others to help me see my areas needing growth. Then it’s meant dealing with what stood in the way of that growth so that I could grow.

It’s not been an easy journey.

While my fictional character will not be me or take my exact path, since she is going through much of what I’ve been through, I needed to come out on the other side before I could do the story justice. Now that I have, I’m not only back to my novel but I’ve got a level of excitement that I haven’t had since I began writing nine years ago.

If this has taught me anything, it’s that there’s no need to give ourselves guilt trips over the things we haven’t accomplished yet. There’s no need for looking back. In fact, I’ve found the best way to deal with my trauma is not by revisiting it when it happened, but by pulling it into my ‘now’ and dealing with it here. This is the same with writing. I’m in the now, and I’m having fun getting back to this novel. I’ve pulled my struggles into the present moment, spun them around in my head until I got the full picture, then set the issues aside as they are no longer issues.

People always told me to write what I know and I couldn’t write this novel because I didn’t know the outcome yet. I didn’t know the possibilities. I didn’t even know that healing and overcoming the PTSD was possible.

But it is.

My journey has been painful but full of reward. With each tough thing I face, I’ve been certain that those around me will leave me. That they’ll finally see I’m too much work and be done.

They haven’t.

With each layer of vulnerability, my relationships with those I’m vulnerable with grow stronger. They are more powerful. I hope this is the same for my writing.

These things have been tied for me all along. I’ve been trying to heal through my writing and all I ended up doing was creating different aspects of my trauma. I’ve written characters that can’t feel emotions, that don’t respond how a normal person should. They’d have triggered responses and lack accountability of others. My characters made excuses and found things to love about abusers. There was always a change of heart on the part of the aggressor too. They always saw the error of their ways and changed.

While that is fine and a lovely fantasy, the reality is that this rarely happens in real life.

I’ve seen people grow and change, but they aren’t the kinds that did the worst abuse. The ones that change are the ones unaware that they’re hurting others because of their own trauma they haven’t addressed. It’s still abuse, but once they become aware, they take action and work to change it.

But this isn’t what my stories have been about. They’ve been about the evilest people turning out to be good. And everyone lives happily ever after.

This is a toxic expectation to have.

What I’ve learned over these last few years of healing is to accept that there is evil in this world and that these horrible things that happened weren’t done out of some twisted sense of love toward me. They were done because the people doing them were evil.

Love may hurt when we feel the pain our loved ones are going through, but that’s consensual. We choose to hurt for those we love when we are empathic. Love shouldn’t be about an expectation to endure pain. That’s not consensual. Love that comes with expectations for people to put up with abusive behavior isn’t love.

I’ve also learned that secrets destroy. They aren’t fun to have or keep. I do keep others’ secrets because it’s not my place to tell them. But my own, no. I don’t want them. They only cause me harm.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to blog them or tell even most people my secrets. But I have told. They are no longer secrets.

It was this telling just days ago that has finally freed me from the cloud raining on me all these years. The cloud has drifted away in the breeze and the sun is shining through, finally warming my skin and giving me a chance to see clearly.

I’ve always known that my writing was a huge part of my therapy. The same goes for my D/s relationship. And my relationships with friends as we learn and grow together. Life used to be about trauma and now it’s about an opportunity to heal and thrive at every turn.

Being present is vital in all of this. Living in the moment changes everything. Finding that quiet place inside myself where I can listen is so important. Then being open. Allowing others in. But only those that have earned that privilege.

I’m full of excitement moving forward. Not just for my writing but for my life in general. I’ve let go of so much negative and embraced the positive. I’ve found joy in being completely vulnerable.

My novel can now incorporate this joy. It can include my vulnerability and embrace the positive while also accepting there is evil in this world too. It gets to include the beauty of life in all its aspects, dark and light. Pain and pleasure. I’m no longer writing to heal but instead, sharing my journey of healing.

This hasn’t been an easy journey. But it has been full of reward and pleasure, two things that continue to increase in intensity and frequency the healthier I’ve become.

Now, I get to move forward with my plans for the future (while also remaining in the present). Plans that have shifted drastically as of recently but the new plans are much better and far more full of joy than the one I’ve left behind. All possibilities are before me, whether that be success at writing, schooling, a career as a therapist and coach, my physical health… Even having deeper and more fulfilling relationships, thriving rather than existing, all is possible for me to succeed at and enjoy.

Writing was my therapy. Then actual therapy along with submission to D. Through these things combined, I’ve reached a place where my PTSD is no longer in charge.

I own my life and my experiences. I own my body. I own my choices.

I’m in charge.

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Interview with Dirty Lola via fuck.com

My interview with the fabulous Dirty Lola! She was such a joy to meet at the Mystery Box Show. 🙂

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We’ve got the dirt on Dirty Lola. To be honest, it wasn’t hard; she’s so open about everything! Dirty Lola is a naughty storyteller, sex encourager, sex toy peddler, and the creator and host of Sex Ed A Go-Go; a live sex-positive Q&A go-go show and podcast. Fuck.com asked Sienna Saint-Cyr to pick her brain on sex positivity, polyamory, and all things kinky.

Read more here: fuck.com

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Norwescon Schedule 2017

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Thursday

Enthusiastic Consent

6:00pm – 7:00pm @ Cascade 11

Sheye Anne Blaze (M), Sienna Saint-Cyr, Sonia Orin Lyris, Wednesday Phoenix

 

Friday

Writing LGBT Characters in the Post-Patriarchy

5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Cascade 11

Dean Wells (M), Evan J. Peterson, Sienna Saint-Cyr, John (J.A.) Pitts

 

Sexing Up/Down Your Sex Scenes – Writing Workshop (This is by signup only. If you’d like to take part, see the Norwescon Workshop page.)

8:00pm – 9:00pm @ Cascade 12

Sienna Saint-Cyr (M)

 

Consensual Non-Monogamy

10:00pm – 11:00pm @ Cascade 5&6

Sar Surmick (M), Sienna Saint-Cyr, Wednesday Phoenix, Sheye Anne Blaze, Jen K

 

 

Saturday

Writers’ Workshop

11:00am – 12:00pm @ Rainier

Harold Gross (M), Sienna Saint-Cyr, Alex C. Renwick, John Lovett

 

How to Be an Author on the Internet

6:00pm – 7:00pm @ Cascade 9

Sienna Saint-Cyr (M), Stephanie Weippert, Caroline M. Yoachim, Lisa Mantchev, Shannon Page

 

Reading: Sienna Saint-Cyr

8:00pm – 8:30pm @ Cascade 2

Sienna Saint-Cyr (M)

 

Advanced BDSM

10:00pm – 11:00pm @ Cascade 10

Sienna Saint-Cyr (M), Mickey Schulz, Ogre Whiteside, Sar Surmick

 

 

Sunday

Getting it Wrong – A Panel for Allies

12:00pm – 1:00pm @ Cascade 5&6

Jason Vanhee (M), Sienna Saint-Cyr, Brenna Clarke Gray, Evan J. Peterson

 

The Art of Critique

2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Cascade 11

Sienna Saint-Cyr (M), Jak Koke, Randy Henderson, Nisi Shawl

 

Invisible Disabilities

3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Cascade 5&6

Sar Surmick (M), Sheye Anne Blaze, Sienna Saint-Cyr, Wednesday Phoenix

 

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Losing a Friend

Things were rough this last week. For one, I got sick. When I’m sick I get cranky and have a harder time seeing clearly. I also dealt with some trauma. Okay, some BIG trauma… So the last couple weeks have been a positive and negative roller coaster. The worst part was that we also lost the best dog we’ve ever had.

The loss of our dear Buster is still tugging at my heart. That is the hardest part of this bit of time. I still think he’s going to jump onto the bed and squeeze between the hubby and I. Or that he’s going to start barking at the door because I took 20 seconds longer than I should have to let him inside.

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Buster taught me so much. He taught my family so much. So many people feared him because he was a pit bull. And while his last hours were certainly questionable as to what actually killed him, I’d like to focus more on his amazing time with us.

I couldn’t write this when it happened. I didn’t want the comparisons of, “well when I lost my dog…” or something similar, so I kept quiet. But I’m ready to share now. Because Buster wasn’t just a dog to me. He was a dear friend. Family.

Buster was abandoned by his previous owner. So he literally found us. We’d called the humane society, we checked him for a chip, we put ads on Craig’s list and other online sources, but no one came for him. The humane society would have put him down after three days of not being claimed, so we made an agreement to foster him until he was free for adoption. By the end of the 30 days, we knew he was staying right here with us.

From the beginning, he was the sweetest, most well-behaved dog we’d ever had. And he was gentle. Despite being huge and strong, he was so gentle…

I used to play with all our dogs with my hand and Buster wouldn’t do it. He refused to put his mouth—teeth—on me. He also wouldn’t play rough with me. He would with the hubby and my oldest son, but not me or our youngest. He knew instinctively that we would get hurt and so he didn’t do it.

Every day, Buster went to get the kids with me. He sat in the front seat and watched until the kids were safely in the car or safely in school during drop-off. And if I was running late, he always knew! He’d put his head under my hand and flip my hand into the air to get my attention. Sometimes he’d whine at me. Grumble almost.

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He also tucked the kids in every night. And woke them in the morning. He waited at the window for my oldest to get off the bus.

He never snapped at the kids. Any of them. No matter how loud visiting children were. Or how hard they pulled his tail.

Buster was the gentle giant. No doubt.

Which is why it’s so hard to think about those people that refused to give him the time of day because of his breed. I even had a family member scream at me that my dog was going to eat my kids. And he said this in front of the kids!

When we’d take him to the park, people with dogs would walk far out of the way to avoid us. Even though it was our yappy little dogs that would have been the only issue.

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People feared him because of his breed and he didn’t deserve that.

Sometimes he’d give me the saddest look. It was like he got it. When we first began fostering pits, we were told they feed off of people’s emotions. So it makes sense that he would pick up on people’s fear.

I can’t even blame people really. Pits have a bad reputation and for no reason. They are not anywhere near the breed with the highest amount of dog bites. The issues come in when people don’t treat them well and train them to attack. Because they’re strong, they can do more damage. But I know far more kids that have lost eyesight due to a bite from a lab—the most popular family dog…

Buster taught me so much. He taught me never to judge based on appearance. To always look at behavior. Which seems like something I should have learned from people, but humans are so deceptive. They’re so passive aggressive. So judgmental…

Most importantly, so many humans lack the ability to be present.

Dogs are always present. They don’t care what happened yesterday. They only know the moment and whether you’re loving them or paying too much attention to the television.

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Buster taught me to pay attention to actions and behavior. He taught me to be open.

He taught me not to be afraid, no matter what propaganda I’ve been bombarded with.

These lessons are irreplaceable.

His love is irreplaceable.

It’s been hard to say goodbye to Buster. Especially because it happened so fast. The only plus was that both the hubby and I got to be present and love him as he passed.

I feel for people that are too afraid to know the love of a pit bull. When I look at it, it’s indicative of people that are afraid to live. Some that have been bitten by a dog or a pit are different, as they have trauma. But for people that just react out of fear based on propaganda, it’s no different than all the other stuff we buy into that’s complete and utter shit. We fear those different from us. We fear that which we don’t know or understand. We are a nation built on fear and fed fear constantly.

It’s sad that so many people will never wake from that nightmare.

Buster taught me to see what’s there and not place judgment without observing for myself. He taught me compassion through his gentleness. He taught me patience through his big eyes and giant pitty hugs. He taught me that friends aren’t just those that walk on two legs. I’d trade a great deal to have our friend back. I’ll never forget him.

~ You forever remain in my heart, Buster. I will love you always. ~

I’m so thankful that Patrick Stewart is being so public about his fostering of a pit. Not only is he public, but he’s fostering a pit that was used for dog fighting. She too is a gentle giant. His love for her already shows. I hope his public sharing will help bring awareness and shift people’s views on this amazing breed.

Please see Patrick and his amazing foster pit here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/hilarywardle/look-at-her-little-face?utm_term=.jkRr0MK6M#.dx7DVjq4j

 

 

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Girl Boner – Beauty in Sexuality #BOAW2017

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Last night, I watched a woman embrace her innermost desires and take ownership of her sexuality. I’m fortunate to have seen such a thing and experienced it myself. Most people never get to witness a sexual awakening and some never even experience one for themselves. It’s sad. No, tragic.

It’s impossible to be present and joyful when we are in denial of who we are.

When I was told that my own awakenings–because I’ve had more than one–were beautiful, I didn’t really know what people meant. They told me my appearance even changed. That I sat up straighter and looked softer, radiant.

The awakening I witnessed last night was the same. At first, she was stiff. Hard almost. Slowly, she opened herself up. Admitted things about herself and her sexuality that she’d been in denial about. And the more she came clean and accepted herself, the softer she became. The more she glowed.

It was beautiful.

It’s no secret why more people don’t own who they are. We are so insistent on shaming one another that too many of us never accept and embrace ourselves. Instead, we hide away and feel shame even over our most delicious fantasies.

We can blame religion. We can blame culture. We can blame sexism and misogyny. We can blame our own insecurities. But at the end of the day, there’s no denying that owning and embracing our sexuality holds a massive amount of power.

As a society, we don’t understand power.

Power scares us. Though mostly when it comes to our own. And in a male-dominated society, powerful women are terrifying. But we must own who we are. We can’t let society tell us we are shameful for embracing our most beautiful and genuine part of us.

Our sexuality is divine. It’s our source of raw, powerful, creation. It’s beautiful because it’s pure. Primal. 

Opening myself fully feels like igniting a fire in me. A fire that burns so hot, darkness cannot penetrate it. 

For the week of #BOAW2017, I plan to focus my writing on the beauty of owning our sexuality. On seeing the beauty in others when they own theirs. And on encouraging others to work toward being honest, owning who they are, and shining their gorgeous light into the world.

Owning our sexuality means we get to walk around full of joy. We get to be the match lighting up the darkest of rooms. We get to be powerful by being vulnerable.

This post is part of the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VI! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 11th.

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Open Call – Owning It

Open call for Owning It! – Embracing Our Bodies, Sexuality, and Power Edited by S.B. Roark and Sienna Saint-Cyr What are we looking for in this anthology? Stories that include loving our bodies, embracing our sexuality, and owning our power. We’re tired of men being shamed for the size of their penis or ability to […]

via Open Call for: Owning It! — SinCyr Publishing

Posted in My Journey

Sweatpants & Relationships | Joyous Sexuality via sweatpantsandcoffee.com

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-1-26-22-pmRight now, I feel it’s more important than ever to own who I am sexually. Things have shifted with our new administration and many people I know are pulling inward out of fear of being judged or harassed. But denial of who we are in our most sacred of spaces leads to unhappiness. It leads to anxiety and stress. It leads to killing our soul slowly as we allow the world to close us off from the beauty of who we are.

Read more here… www.sweatpantsandcoffee.com

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