I have more than a few conflicting feelings about this time of year. I love the fall with its harvest time vibes. I love the seasonal transition, the symbolic decay as we slip into the months of winter slumber where we can rest until the next metamorphosis.
And for Canadians, this weekend is a long weekend because it’s our Thanksgiving holiday.
Now, Thanksgiving might sound like a lovely, wholesome day where we gather, celebrating a bountiful harvest and spending time with loved ones. Which many of us do. But we mustn’t forget that it is, in fact, an atrocious “celebration” of Indigenous genocide that we insist of propagating even today thanks to the ongoing willful ignorance and casual (or totally overt) racism practiced by white people in Canada…
I am writing this post from Coast Salish territory and I don’t want to undermine the marginalized peoples in this land. But I also can’t help the way this part of my seasonal and spiritual cycle makes me every year. I can’t deny how this time of year makes my shadowy little heart burst with extra love and gratitude for all the beautiful humans I have in my life and I was up all night thinking about putting these words down.
So though this post is about giving some serious thanks, this is NOT a “traditional Thanksgiving” post.
Good, now that that’s out of the way.
This year in particular, I feel the very definition of blessed. I have endured some particularly gruelling trials and tribulations in my personal life from the suicide of one of my most cherished friends to the intense bouts of depression that I had been navigating prior to and certainly well after that schism. As such, I have found even more new ways to challenge and manage the limits of my mental fortitude.
But with every breakdown, every death, if you will, we make more room for the next form, the new birth. And there are few things in this world more gratifying and validating than coming back from the dead.
Along this journey, my professional life has undergone massive evolution. I have gone from the mere “person who manages the erotic fiction collection” at Bellesa to owning myself as a smutty writer, editor, cheerleader and overall Smut Queen extraordinaire. And it’s in no small thanks to each and every one of your reading this right now.
(I’ve already cried twice writing this damn thing, and we’re not done yet.)
I’m not going to bore you with the series of events that brought me to this moment today. Mostly because I’m on a bit of a time constraint. So have limited myself to highlighting five of the forces who made the biggest impacts on my heart this past year.
And I forgot what day it was until I finished writing, but I guess this little thank you note doubles as my first #SoSS roundup of sorts.
So, let’s get right into it, why don’t we? Without furterh ado, here are my “Filth Five” shoutouts ((I just made that up; maybe it’ll become a thing) for this weekend full of gratitude.
First and foremost, I have to shout out, cry from the rooftops, and jump up and down for the one that started it all. I discovered the initiative that would come to be known as Bellesa while it was still gestating in its digital womb. And thank goddess that fateful moment happened. Without the safe space, the Bellesa powers-that-be offered to me, and the magnitude of trust and appreciation my colleagues extend to me every single day, I wouldn’t be here right now.
They welcomed me into the family with open arms and I haven’t looked back since.
If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Bellesa yet, it’s a hub of sex positivity and feminist erotic entertainment that you should probably just make your preferred browser’s landing page.
Through Bellesa, I have also had the honour and privilege to build loving, supportive relationships particularly with Lauren Emily, Anne Stagg, and Eva Monroe who have been with me on this journey from very early on. Bellesa wouldn’t be the platform, the bastion of high-quality filth that it is right now without the enthusiastic involvement of these incredible women.
I wouldn’t have made it through this trying summer without my Sisters in Smut. Thank to their unwavering love, I have blossomed even further than I thought possible. Whether they like it or not (but I think they do), this powerhouse team of incredible, talented women are my sisters for life.
We champion each other through the rough times, we cheer on each others’ successes. Nothing brings me more joy than when I see them slaying so hard.
And they’re all crazy good writers. Word witches, every single one of them. I am humbled and inspired by the stuff each one of these women accomplish and share with the community on a daily basis.
If you’re not following them yet, get on it. Your timeline will shine a lot brighter with all of them in it. I know mine sure does.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Eroticon.
Eroticon is THE “annual conference for sex bloggers, erotic writers and other erotic creatives” that takes place in Camden, UK. Thanks to the monumental efforts of the superheroes among sex bloggers Molly, DomSigns, and Girl on the Net, Eroticon 2018 was another great success.
Writers tend to be solitary, anxious creatures. Those tendencies often translate to heightened observational capabilities and the innate stamina required to sit alone with your thoughts and words for prolonged amounts of time, making us perfectly constructed for the job. But it can make socializing in large groups of strangers a bit of a massive obstacle for many of us. I’ll go into more detail on my own experience at a later date, but right now I have to credit my attendance at Eroticon with so much of the successes that have evolved in the mere months since being there.
If you have the means and even the slightest bit of gumption to consider going, you absolutely must. The strength and support of this community is nothing short of incredible, and it is really something to feel it in such a concentrated way.
I love this woman. We WILL get our hug in at Eroticon 2019, because I will not leave the venue until it happens.
She is a beacon of what being a member of the sex blogging community is all about — supportive, involved, honest, inclusive, driven, vulnerable, diverse in her skills, disciplined, informative, hilarious, and she gave us “kinky fuckery” and “smutlancer” as terms we can carry with us always and forever into the future.
As I’m sure many of you can relate, Kayla was one of the first presences I discovered on my early forays of this world. Our conversations have grown more frequent in the past couple of months especially, and I can’t wait to see how her existence will continue to help me grow in the coming year.
Her Masturbation Monday meme has pulled me out of a rut more than once, and the opportunity to do a roundup for her this week was genuinely inspiring. You guys never cease to amaze me with your sexy words, but I fell behind on keeping up with them for a while there. I’m grateful to Kayla for helping me get back on track.
Another nod to Eroticon – during Kayla Lords’s talk, I ended up sitting next to a kind stranger. It wasn’t until he showed me his nametag that I recognized him by his Twitter handle.
Exhibit A is a stunning wordsmith and overall lovely human whose further kindness is truly awe-inspiring. (Seriously. When I sliced my big toe open in the middle of a hail storm — I still have the scare if you want proof — he didn’t hesitate to run out into the elements to fetch first aid supplies from the nearby store.) If there is such thing as Healthy Masculinity, I submit Exhibit A as a contender for being the poster boy.
He is a stalwart pillar of the sex writing community, bringing people from all corners of our virtual together with ease. (Especially us shy strays who have a hard time making the first move in a foreign environment.)
His invitation to break the ice brought me out of my shell and into a loving nook of his extended UK sex writer family. I had the privilege of partaking in Smutathon this summer, hosted by yet another blogger superhero Amy of Coffee and Kink, as a direct result of that moment. I know I wasn’t the first to benefit from his benevolence, and I love that as long as he is involved in this world, I won’t be the last.
Did I mention his erotica is sexy af? Also, his pun game is top notch, so basically we’re friends forever now.
I could go on forever, but I’ll save some for another rounds. I have so much love that if I try to put it all into one place, we might all explode. I know any of my future #SoSS posts will never be short of inspiration for love to spread.
Plus the family is telling me to get off the computer and come help prepare the massive feast we’re about to enjoy. It’s all about that love-love balance.
Much, much, much love to every one of you little pumpkins and all that you do to make this space better for all of us,