CatalystCon 2014, Day 1: Change is gonna come

CatalystCon 2014, Day 1: Change is gonna come

It seems appropriate that the first post I write here should be about attending CatalystCon for the first time, because I am a catalyst, and I am also ready to be catalyzed in just the way that a conference full of sex nerds and activists and educators and artists can do.

Chemical reaction creates nano heart

“NanoHeart” by Swee Chin Tang and Yun-Thai Li via Creative Commons License on Flickr

About being a catalyst: I have this thing where I feel like I should come with a warning label, one that says “Interaction with this product may cause unexpected results”. Time and time again, I’ve connected with a person or a group immediately before they undergo some kind of massive change, for better or worse, and in the past I often found myself in the position of midwife trying (often blindly and clumsily) to support them through it. I don’t delude myself that I *caused* the change; it’s more like I’m a harbinger. Like, “Oh, shit, the Diva card just showed up in your reading, that means your eggs about to get scrambled, son.”

But here I am at a conference for people who like their sex nerdy, and I’m looking the whisk in the face right at this moment.

I came here because my spirit animal and frequent partner in troublemaking, Del Tashlin, wrote to me and said, “I’m on the keynote for this and you’d love this event and we haven’t had an adventure together in a while so I hope you’ll do this with me,” and I took one look at it and said YUP. This is the first time in years that I’ve had the free time and resources to check out something new just because I wanted to, and gut, heart, and mind were all in agreement that this was a space I wanted, maybe needed, to explore.

So tonight everything was kicked off with a reception and dinner and opening remarks and the keynote plenary (and don’t think I’m not enjoying the feeling of a little starfucker-like privilege at being arm candy for one of the speakers), during which I live-tweeted the shit out of everything and for the first time I finally got why Twitter is fun. And here’s this amazing panel, and everyone is talking about social justice, and compassion, and accessibility, and encountering the opposition with love, and living your truth, and changing the world in small, constant, vital steps. All in the context of sex.

I knew this year was going to be a year of change for me; I cleared a huge swath of space in my life to make room for it. But I’ve been in this in-between state for a few months now, resting and recharging and giving myself some time to see what form that change was going to take– and feeling this nervous anticipation because I know, I *know*, that as soon as I set my next course, things are going to start rolling almost faster than I can process.

Beakers of colorful bubbling liquids

“Kaleidoscope Brewery” by Racineur via Creative Commons License on Flickr

And I’m listening to this panel, racking up new Twitter friends as quickly as I’m churning out tweets, and I feel this surge of desire. It’s a burning, hungry longing, a need fiercer than anything I’ve felt in a long time, to find a way to live my freak life full-time. To stop spending the workweek in my mild-mannered alter ego passing for normal, doing a job that is someone else’s dream job, and feeling like there’s a lot more I’m supposed to be doing in this world. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve had these thoughts, it’s just that tonight the urge to break free is so, so strong. I’m sitting there thinking, At this time next year, I want “this” (in a still-somewhat-vague hand-wavy sort of way) to be my job. I want to sit in next year’s keynote and know what I’m giving the world.

So even though I was mad at myself for not finishing this website’s setup before the con started and even though it’s all kind of a shambles here at the moment, screw it, I’m writing here. I’m putting this experience down to share with whoever ends up being part of my tribe. Let it unfold from here, this adventure into the wild unknown.

I planned out my schedule of stuff to attend and felt a tingle of anticipation like I’m on a plane about to take off.

My seat is upright and I’m watching out the window because I don’t want to miss a moment of this ride.

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