In August of 2017, I was sitting on the couch. The house next door not yet torn down. To ignore the sounds of the creaking and the lingering smell of burnt wood. I was diving head first into the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit hashtag. Following workshops that my fellow bloggers were attending. Sharing quotes and drama with my housemates. I remember at one point someone saying ‘So you are going to go next year, right?‘. Even then, I wasn’t sure.
Fast forward to August 2018. On a rainy afternoon, I find myself at Union Station about to head over the river for my first Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. I didn’t know it but that whirlwind weekend was going to teach me so much, not only things to further my ability to educate on this blog. But personal lessons that I genuinely needed to get from the universe that weekend.
Having a Community is Amazing
Imposter syndrome is harsh. I find it to be even harsher when you are part of a very online community. But meeting people faces instead of avatars and text. From the moment I was even meeting people and using the name, I go by in these circles. I felt like I was right where I needed to be. I suddenly found myself in the Bloggers Lounge, meeting people who I had only liked and commented on their tweets. Every few moments I was greeting someone who I knew and it was like something I had been missing. Laughing and talking, listening to everyone go on about things they might be working on. Getting to meet bloggers that I have looked up to like Lilly. Then getting to go see the Dildo Forest that Luna had set up in her room. I also got to meet some amazing bloggers from the Summer 100 challenge from blogs such as Fairy Cakes Land, Pretty Pink Lotus Bud, and Dildo or Dildont.
It was like being home away from my own home. One of my favorite moments was just setting in a circle as everyone talked. The laughter felt real and right, the flirting and banter made me smile so much my face hurt. Though at the same time I know I didn’t get a chance to speak with. Some were just my own anxiety keeping me from speaking up because I was so overwhelmed. The other was just getting caught up in the whirlwind of the summit. Though I am hoping to reach out and get to know people even better next year.
Just The Tip of the Iceberg
One thing that Woodhull showed me was that I was a very small fish in a much larger pond. Though also that I had room to grow. I have only really started to dive head first into this greater realm of sex writing and sex education. So I am also realizing that I have a lot to learn. I found myself torn between workshops because there was just so much that I wanted to know. Being an inquisitive person by nature does have some downfalls. Though I was glad that I could follow some of the hashtags of people tweeting at the ones I did not attend. The only downside, not everyone had hashtags which made it hard to find others.
Workshops I Attended
The ones I did attend I took massive amounts of notes. The first dozen pages of my notebook for the conference filled with notes from my first workshop No Daddies, No Masters: D/s and Power Play as Anarchist and Access Intimacy That one workshop alone sparked what feels like a dozen other things I suddenly want to write about. I felt seen in how Kink works in my life. I won’t lie, I cried during it. It was a super powerful workshop.
Then there was Platinum Grade Sex Toy Myths: Material Safety Between the Sheets with Kenton of Funkit Toys and Lilly of Dangerous Lilly. This one I was lucky enough to live tweet rather than take notes. However, for the full thing, check out the wonderful video taken of the workshop! There is so much I will admit my tweeting missed. Kenton was giving out some fantastic facts that I know I missed.
After lunch and spending time with the bloggers in the Bloggers Lounge I went to Using Sex Toys as a Tool to Heal From Trauma run by Sarah B Holl from Formidable Femme. This workshop was another one that had me feeling some things. I had never really thought about how I was using my blog to heal until then. There was so much that I was feeling that I found myself skipping the last workshop of the day so that I could take some time to breathe.
On Saturday, I was up early for Living Out Loud: Sharing Personal Stories as Activism. This workshop was run by Bex Caputo, Kate Sloan, Dirty Lola, and Kevin Patterson. This workshop was another that left me feeling empowered and ready to write. Being vulnerable in my writing has allowed me a certain sense of freedom that I didn’t have in the past. This workshop just sealed it for me.
The last workshop that I found myself able to attend was Families of Choice. This workshop was about the struggles many communities face trying to protect their families without legal protection or social support. I wish that I had more notes from this workshop. However, there was a surprise group activity I was not prepared for. It sort of shot my anxiety through the roof. I ended up blanking out until the end of the workshop and then bolted for the blogger lounge.
There is part of me that wishes there was something that would have given us a heads up about things like that. I heard a few others who were not happy about other workshops that had group activities unannounced. While I do know I could have spoken up, I was too anxious to do so or to leave because I didn’t want to seem rude. So the rest of my time was spent hanging out with others or recharging in my room. Though I am glad that I was able to recharge enough to watch The Dildorks record their podcast live, I highly recommend giving it a listen.
Wrapping it Up
When it comes down to it, I did so much. Though there are a lot of things I wish I did. I am hoping that I can make this trip next year. I want to step more out of my shell, spend more time hanging out with people. Strech just a little more and attend a workshop or two that I might not otherwise. I want to continue to use this as an opportunity to expand my thoughts. Grow and thrive as a blogger, writer, and sex educator.