Inside Out

Like a lot of preconceptions, prison was completely different in reality. There were no steel bars and the view was beautiful from the manicured gardens.

The most visible differences from the world on the outside was the fact that these men all looked at their physical peak. Their exteriors were so well turned out.

Many of the men had girlfriends visiting but where were their dads, brothers and mates?  Is that the reason these men are here inside, there are no male role models for them? It seemed that could be the case.

Apparently the majority of prisoners do not even get visits so perhaps the gender of the visitor is in fact irrelevant, just knowing that someone cares should be enough? We all need a hand to hold no matter how strong we appear to be on the outside.

The correction centre had the disciplinary air of a school and yet these were grown men. You knew who was in charge and you certainly didn’t want to step out of line. There was also the obvious hierarchy amongst the prisoners which kept fear alive and eyes twitching.

For some this is just ‘fattening up for the next run’. There is no other way of life, no one to help them, no one that has penetrated their mental walls, nobody that has shown connection whilst they are on the inside.

What struck me most and I guess what we observe in everyday life is how lonely prison must be. But then so many of us choose to be lonely even when we are on the outside.

What I experienced was a tiny example of this walled society. A taste of the outside in or inside out!

Polyamory

Disney has a lot to answer for in strengthening monogamous relationship ideals. Oh sure I’m lucky enough to have had a few princes that have swept me off my feet but now that I’m holding the reigns I’ve realised I do and have always seen relationships from rose tinted Disney glasses. Polyamory if I had ever thought of the word would mean infidelity and infidelity would generally be a man having an affair. How Unfair some of life’s old beliefs appear after a year at Sexpo!

I’ve always known what polygamy was but polyamory seems like a new and perhaps a more inclusive way to have more than one partner, i.e we’re not just talking about a man having more than one wife!

It’s certainly no new thing and I hate to wobble your halo but most of us have probably been a part of a polyamorous relationship even if we weren’t aware at the time! Many of us have loved more than one person at the same time and that by definition is polyamory. It actually isn’t about a hierarchy of love but simply loving more than one. You can also be single and polyamorous which perhaps is a more socially accepted norm.

Because of the new dating generation being so much more accessible by the click of a button or should I say swipe of a finger! Choice and abundance is open to all not just the gutsy guy who has the balls to ask for the first dance. Will my children enter into monogamous relationships? Should I even actually promote them as ‘normal’?

Do women inherently want to ‘settle down’ and become Cinderella? Or are the next generation more likely to be Snow White enjoying her seven dwarfs!

For a lot of polyamorous people the lifestyle is about independence, could this be the end to the rescuer, to the knight in shining white armour? My heart through those rose tinted glasses shouts ‘Noooooooo!’

My head heaves a sigh of relief ‘Phew!’ I can ride my own bloody horse, thank you very much!

A Weekend with Australia’s Hottest Pornstar

I had the pleasure of spending last weekend with Madison Missina, we created a writing retreat at my house and with the rain pouring down outside she told her story, writing 54,000 words in just three days! We were both amazed at how easily it flowed. It was fantastic to spend time with this wonderful woman, to relax in each other’s company, to spill our fears and our fantasies.

When I first met Madison Missina it was November 2016, she was walking through Sexpo as the tour guide dressed like a mini Snow White (above) or that was my impression. (I believe the costume in question is actually something completely different I’ll have to ask her) But hey as a writer surely it’s all about perception? There was no denying her Beauty and charisma as she laughed, joked and informed the public about what Sexpo is all about.

Something pulls you in with Maddy and it’s not just her beauty, there is something in that soft questioning voice that makes you listen a little harder.

A lot of people don’t realise that Maddy is a qualified counsellor and her quest to unravel the human psyche was obvious as over the weekend she revealed the colourful knitted and knotted tapestry that is her life. Talking freely about the pain she has suffered, turning blame into lessons and lessons into laughter, her smile illuminated some of the darkest places imaginable.

On the last day her frown appeared and then the tears and yet the questioning voice still remained. Even more charismatic minus the makeup with not an ounce of vanity in sight Maddy was so willing to take up the challenge of vulnerability without having to prove a thing.

Even through the adversity Maddy remains able to question motive and mind with an honest smile, an admirable quality. I don’t think I will ever forget that weekend I fell in love with writing all over again and I just know there are many more projects for us to collaborate on Thanks MM!

And so now to the editing…

The Black Shape

The breeze came in from Western Port over the Moorooduc Plains and in through the fly screen to a warm kitchen where dinner was being prepared by my friend, our guest.  He had been here to convalesce from a stay in hospital which had shocked and exhausted us both into such vulnerable states that we now saw each other through softer yet clearer eyes.

The black shape had been above the cooker for a few days now but with such high ceilings it seemed far enough from us to just let it be and not question its motive.  I had dare not mention it to the children in case it had brought fright to a house that had seen so much change in the last few weeks, I also hoped that it wasn’t what it appeared to be (a gigantic cockroach).

The mood in the house tonight was content and I sat relaxing with a new perspective of my place in life, a different view from the kitchen table and so the black shape caught my eye once again.

‘What do you think that is?’ I asked my friend

‘Oh that’s a bat’ he said nonchalantly in his soothing Aussie drawl

‘A bat!’ exclaimed my daughter sitting at the table doing her homework, ‘Oh Awesome!’ Immediately getting up and calling her brothers name in excitement as if Father Christmas himself had just appeared!

As the gas stove was lit and the heat rose the black shape came to life unfolding its wings, slowly moving, then suddenly flying around the kitchen causing us all to whoop, giggle and duck our heads. Silence then hit us and with wide eyes we watched the magnificence of its sonar moving quickly and quietly until it found its way through to the large front room where it could glide about with ease up and down, round and round, fast and slow.  Finally after a while settling back in the kitchen in a different home the black shape watched over us while we ate our dinner.

‘We need to get him out, there’s no food in here!’ exclaimed my son

‘He’ll find a way, we’ll leave the door and windows open for him’ letting all his usual food or friends in! I thought but did not say.

I got up in the middle of the night to find my son sitting on the sofa.

‘Careful Mum!’ he whispered as he pointed to the bat, watching as it flew around and around. ‘Isn’t it amazing?’

‘It is!’ I said and we sat for an hour cuddling on the sofa watching this creature entertain us so easily in this surreal situation, eventually surrendering to slumber as our eyes grew weary.

And so the black shape wasn’t what it appeared at first and brought no fright to our household that night or that week, only hours of excitement, wonder and awe.

Confessions of Sexpo Melbourne 2017

Sexpo The Truth

After every Sexpo I have written a confessions blog, this is not meant to shock but rather to normalise the subject of sex.  After all ignorance is definitely not bliss and knowledge is power, something that I have personally had to realise this year!

The first confession of Melbourne 2017 Sexpo was one of my own, to my children.  They had seen the build up to this amazing event, the flyers, the marketing and had started to ask questions, so I needed to be open and honest with them.  I explained that Sexpo is an exhibition surrounding the education of intimacy, relationships and our bodies.  I also explained that although I go to sell my book, for the most part I am talking and reassuring people that they are ‘normal’ whatever that is!  I told them both that their bodies and every function that they perform emotionally and physically is natural and wonderful. When I meet the wonderful patrons of Sexpo and we chat about our experiences, I have only ever been shocked about the amount of shame that we all carry around with us. I don’t want my children to feel shame, it’s such a useless waste of time almost as ridiculous as worry.

The first at my stand was Sam a wonderful Italian who although has lived in Aus for a very long time still had the nuances of a European.  He openly shared his experiences as a single man and his continued safety around women and couples that wanted to experiment with him. He was a joy, full of boyish charm and excitement at being so free to demonstrate his curiosity.

A wonderful Mexican guy came to talk to me with the most beautiful accent and looks similar to that of Rafael Nadal he explained how the girls he knew back home could never wear a skirt or dress in public as they would be harassed and maybe even assaulted. ‘It’s very safe here in Aus’ he said.

A man with Tourette’s syndrome was the next to chat, he was interested in the psychological stance I had used in Sharks & Lovers to discover different sides of me and similarly the characters.  He recommended some more pysch books for me to read which was awesome, I’m always looking for more inspiration.

The next guy resembled a character I always come across; his wife had recently died and ‘she was very proper’.  He explained that he wasn’t very experienced and he bought my book in hope of some insights into another life. I do hope it delivers and I look forward to his response.

I can’t write this without mentioning the wonderful woman from my previous blog who came to me with such a warm smile.  She bought her first vibrators this weekend after my encouragement!  Having lost her husband a few years previously and before that having suffered an assault she withdrew from intimacy. We talked for a long time about control and abuse but mainly our shared philosophy that we are all in charge of our own happiness, by the end we embraced having shared our stories so honestly and openly.

These are the moments you just cannot replicate outside of Sexpo.

A great girl came up and grabbed Sharks & Lovers and gave it to her sister, ‘You’re reading this!’ she said.  Her sister was off to London for Christmas and I’m sure she will enjoy some of the places that I explain in the book and hopefully she will get to visit them too!

The exhibitors were a delight as always and the wonderful Pricasso painted my portrait in exchange for my book, promising me we will start his memoir next year, I will keep him to that!

I can’t list everyone I talk to but I do know that all the conversations at Sexpo are creating intimate and inspiring connections.

So until Sydney mid ’18 or maybe closer depending on dates for the U.K and U.S, it will be an exciting year that’s for definite!

Stay tooned folks!!!

Xx

Sexual Liberation

This beautiful woman having suffered an awful sexual assault and then depriving her husband of sex because of her trauma has just bought two vibrators in a bid to learn to love herself.

‘Vibrators are too expensive!’ She said

‘$10’ I said

‘What if I die and my children find it?’

‘They will think ‘good on you mum!’

Ten minutes later she came back with the bag, ‘I got two!’

There is nothing wrong with self love, in fact that is where it needs to start!

I love empowering women.

Unnecessary Humiliation 


Whilst revisiting Jung’s book Dreams, Memories, Reflections on holiday by the Murray River I stumbled across his remark of ‘unnecessary humiliation’ as Jung explored his anima and listened to a new voice. 

‘It is perfectly true that I have thought or felt this way at some time or other, but I don’t have to think or feel that way now. I need not accept this banality of mine in perpetuity; that is an unnecessary humiliation’

Reading this passage made me realise how many times I have unnecessary humiliated myself in my head. How many times do we revisit an experience with old emotions and not the new self that have grown to become? 

Jung has always been my hero because he documented his open heart and soul as well as his psyche and encourages us to do the same. You might not agree with some of his theories and philosophies but surely his open and honest attitude to life bares no greater guidance. 

Brisbane Sexpo Confessions

A beautiful sunny Brisbane meant that Sexpo was Hot!….Living in Melbourne I had mainly taken completely the wrong kind of clothing, winter dresses just don’t work in 25 degrees.

However as usual my writing comes after the fact and so as I reflect on my wonderful weekend in August at Sexpo I wanted to share some stories.

My eyes wide open this time and not on stalks I listened to the tales of swingers who  just wanted to try something new, in my experience a lot of these couples have been in a relationship together for a long time and want to spice things up a bit. What’s wrong with that? I’m always asked if I have tried it and my reply is like many questions I’m asked at Sexpo…’not yet!’

Then there are the older men whose sex drive is still high but are widowed, divorced or single through choice. These beautiful curious creatures suffer from the age old complaint of loneliness and are not looking for love but just a companion. ‘I’ve even tried a bloke for the first time’ said one guy to me ‘it’s not bad you know, I’d do it again!’ As I listened I knew I was the first person he’d told this to and I felt privileged to hear of his bravery to experience the new, the different, to change his perspective later on in life when so many have already written their rigid path full of rules and regulations.

I found once again that it is the Sexpo consumers who are the preachers and teachers, the inspiration and us humble stall holders are merely the listeners, protectors of secrets and hand holders of a new way of life for many. 

It Must Be Hard For The Kids…

Divorce

Well yeah explaining to your kids that Mummy and Daddy are not going to be living together anymore is difficult and there are tears but what I hadn’t banked on was the happiness that would follow. The children look forward to seeing their Dad and equally look forward to seeing Mum. 

Sharing the childcare occasionally works and occasionally is confusing.  Sometimes at the weekend when the kids return you don’t know if you are coming or going, this is a new life for us all a ‘split life’.  For two weekends in four I feel single again which takes the weight of responsibility from my shoulders, I’m still finding out who that girl is.  Then returning to the role of Mum envelopes me into a place of unconditional love where even when I get it wrong (everyday, especially the cooking!) my children laugh and encourage me as I do to them. Is this possibly the best of both worlds? I feel very selfish to say that yes it probably is!

There is the gloom of the D word that hangs around like a bad smell sometimes, mainly when I’m alone. The what if’s and if only’s but in my heart I know I have set my children free from trying to live up to two peoples very different views, standards, ethics and values under the same roof.  The very reason I tried to stay married has now been the greatest gift of seperation, my children’s happiness.

Mummy and Daddy are HAPPY!  This is new, it shouldn’t be but it is and guess what it makes the children happy too.  We all have good days and bad days but I can honestly say that my kids are happier now that we are too, surely that’s what us parents all strive for!