Reasons to join my Patreon: when I get super busy and forget to make the review/preview posts public until 2/3 of the way through the month, you’ll have already read it, so it won’t matter! And you’ll get access to the behind-the-scenes review/preview content that gets edited out of the public posts.
Alright! This post is way late, but better late than never! Want the recap on September, and what I thought October would look like? Here it is! (October has turned out quite a bit busier than this anticipated, but that’s a story for a different post.)
21 days ago, when this was first written, it was October 1.
On September 30, the Tender Year ended. This is a huge thing – the Tender Year has been a full year-long project, and I feel… I feel a lot of things at this ending! But I also feel like this project ended at a moment when I am mid-marathon, and so it has just dropped out of my life but I don’t have time to pause and honour that. I can’t take a couple days to process, sit with what I’ve learned and how this project has changed me. So, my goal is that I will take this time… eventually. I’m not sure when.
But that’s forward to the preview, so let’s start with the review.
Early in September, I spent a whole day with Michelle Robinson and her family. I didn’t write a post about this, but this was an incredible experience. I had reached out to Michelle because I have been exploring my own spiritual practices, and had a question:
If it is true that my spirituality is connected to being present in the physical world, connected to nature in some way (which I have learned that it is),
And it is true that I am a settler on this land that I am connected to,
And it is true that plants are part of my spirituality,
And it is true that some plants are part of Indigenous spirituality, which I have no right to,
And bringing in non-indigenous plant species is tied to colonialism and could be further violence against the land,
Then how do I practice my spirituality respectfully – honouring the plants that are here on this land where I am a settler, without appropriating in ways that perpetuate ongoing colonial violence.
This is an ongoing process of exploration, and I am thankful to Michelle for her part in helping me figure this out. You can read more about this in the Patreon post, but it doesn’t feel right to share it more publicly at this time.
I also spent a lot of time working on my practice innovation project for the Masters program. I hadn’t narrowed down my focus between “using narrative practices to navigate ‘too much of a good thing’ experiences” and “using narrative practices with polyamorous communities” even last month, but in September I realized that I really did have to make a decision so that I could start writing the final paper.
I picked polyamory, for a few reasons:
First, I’ll continue the other project regardless, just a bit slower. So it didn’t feel like a very high-stakes decision, since I know that I will end up doing both.
Second, I am helping coordinate the Horizons: Conference on Polyamory and Non-monogamies in November, so it made sense to get two uses out of one project – the oral presentation that I’ll give in Adelaide at the end of this month, I will also give (though slightly expanded) in Calgary in November.
And third, I am really keen to expand the pool of resources for therapists working with the polyamorous community, because right now it is deeply lacking and this has real and tangible impacts on polyamorous folks who are looking for support.
So, to this end, I conducted both interviews and narrative therapy sessions on the topic of polyamory. I wish that I’d had more narrative therapy sessions, but that’s just not how it worked out. I really do need to figure out my marketing – I posted the call for participants once, and then never re-shared it. *facepalm*
I did 38 hours of narrative therapy this month, which is still shy of my goal, but getting there.
For those of you who are curious or interested, I do still have some of the “37 for $37” narrative sessions available (this was a promotion I ran for my birthday – charging $37 for a session in honour of my 37th birthday).
(Mid-October update: I did not write my paper on polyamory at all. I wrote it on using narrative practices to respond to the current political situation, and that is also what I’ll be presenting on at the teaching block.)
Events and Groups
September was full of events.
I planned to run the Resilience self-care salon with my sister on Sept 9, though nobody showed up, so we just chatted. I’m really looking forward to collaborations with Domini, so keep an eye for those coming in the future.
I ran the Possibilities discussion event, with the topic of “how we got through,” on Sept 18 and it was phenomenal. I am still working on pulling the resource based on our discussion together (and am leaning to a simple blog post rather than a full PDF, just because these projects accumulate faster than I can finish them!). I really loved this conversation, and some parts of it have stuck with me all month. You can read one of my reflections on this conversation in this long Facebook post. (I feel like I should be pulling more of those posts into blog posts, but I haven’t figured out a flow for that yet.)
I also ran the Bi+ Visibility Event on September 23, and it was amazing. We had a panel discussion that I was really proud of, lots of people attended and seemed to have a great time, the informational postcards turned out great, and the poetry event was small but lovely. I would like to write up a blog post about this, but haven’t had time because…
I woke up September 24, looked at the news, and realized that the following week was going to be horrific. So I threw together an impromptu self-care support group for anyone who wanted to join (we ended up with 10 participants). All week, from the 24th to the 30th, I sent out two emails each day checking in. We also had two online group chats, and one in-person tea-and-pastries chat yesterday morning. This was a really successful experience, in my opinion (and based on the feedback I’ve gotten), and at the conversation yesterday we talked about how to extend this work into the coming year, since with all of the elections coming up, it is likely to be stressful AF. I have ideas about how to do that, and I’ll write about those when we talk about October. I am also considering taking the emails and turning them into a little downloadable PDF that could be used as a “do-it-yourself” one-week self-care support. (Mid-October update: this group is what developed into the project I wrote my paper on, which Patreon supporters have access to!)
The last event of the month was the coffee chat for the Very Professional: Marginalized Professionals group. This happened on Sept 29, and I’m planning on these to be monthly. There is also a secret Facebook group (to maintain people’s privacy), so if you’d like to be added to that, let me know! I am still working out the logistics of how this group will run, but the original idea was that it would be a subscription-based support group for professionals (meaning people in “professional” careers, where the heavy expectations of gendered/abled/educated/classed/raced professionalism come into play).
I wrote one paper for the Masters program (which hasn’t been graded yet), and most definitely did not keep up with my other writing goals. At all.
Onward to October!
I did honour the ending of the Tender Year in one small way – I started a new planner today.
(A planner, open to this week, with a task-pad on it.)
Here’s what’s coming up:
October 5, 8 am: The Art of Narrative Practice essay is due. This is meant to describe, using one exemplary practice story, how I am adapting narrative practice to my specific context. I have gone through at least a dozen different outlines of this, and have no idea how to do this effectively or well. This is worth a significant percentage of my grade, and I am a ball of anxiety. One of my classmates participated in the one-week self-care group and suggested that I should write the essay on that, but since I have to demonstrate how my narrative work shifted a community member’s experience of their problem, or resulted in their feeling more connected to a preferred story of themselves or their lives or their agency within their lives, and I didn’t really do “how is this group impacting you” interviews, I don’t know how to do this. So, I don’t think I will. But it was a big confidence boost to see that a colleague sees me using narrative in innovative and effective ways!
October 8, 8 am: The draft of my Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis paper is due. This is the draft version of my final paper, and although it will not be graded, it is a big deal. And I am definitely not ready. At all. *gulp*
October 14, 1:30-3:30: I’ll be hosting the No spoons left, only knives: Honouring our anger narrative workshop. This is in response to what has been happening in the news in the last couple weeks.
October 15: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I will be resharing the collective document that I generated last year. You can find it here – it is a queer and trans-inclusive resource, and this is still a significant gap in the available resources for families and individuals who have experienced this kind of loss. If you do have a chance to read over it and you would either like to share your story, or make suggestions for content that should be included, let me know. I have set aside 5 hours on the 12th to work on this document.
October 16, 6:30-8:30: I’ll be hosting the Possibilities October discussion, and I have not set a topic yet. Ideas? Things you’d really like to discuss or see a resource (eventually) created about? Let me know. I’m setting up the event tomorrow.
October 17, 9 pm: Get on a plane and fly to Australia. (!!!!!!!)
Sometime during the week of October 29-November 2: 30 minute oral presentation on my practice innovation project
October 29: Submit research poster on the topic of my practice innovation project
October 31: Dinner with the team heading up with trans and queer youth clinic at the family therapy clinic in Adelaide, because Rosie and I have been staying in touch about their work getting this up and running, and the Dulwich Centre has authorized Rosie to hire me as a peer consultant for her work. (I have started to do some of this – there are now two therapists who consult me on topics related to transgender, queer, or polyamorous folks. That’s kind of exciting, hey?!)
So, between now and VERY SOON, I have to get a lot of writing done, come up with both my oral presentation and my poster, host a couple events, and keep up with my narrative therapy sessions (and hopefully book more of those!)
I am also working on another event, which I’d like to run before I leave.
When everything was happening with the Kavanaugh hearings, I wrote to David Denborough and Cheryl White at the Dulwich and said:
I wondered if you have any thoughts about how to pull together some kind of narrative response or project re: what’s happening with yesterday’s hearing and today’s news that Kavanaugh will most likely be confirmed.
I wondered, particularly, if there were any narrative projects or responses to what happened with Anita Hill and how that impacted people? Or other narrative responses to situations where a great injustice has been carried out in very public ways like this. The George Zimmerman trial, similar. It feels like this happens pretty often.
I don’t really know what to look up, in terms of how to find maps, or ideas for projects, or what to do. And I know lots of people are responding – the responses are both crushing and heartening – but I also see that a lot of folks are talking about feeling helpless, unable to act, disconnected from a sense of agency. There is so much hurt this week. (I mean, always. But this week has been particularly hard, as we see the rape apologists just crawling out of the woodwork.)
We are all bystanders, but we are watching something that symbolizes and crystalizes lived experiences. I don’t know how to support myself or my communities in response to this. Particularly after the news of Jeff Flake’s decision to support the nomination this morning. Calling our politicians hasn’t done anything, it seems. I don’t want to individualize responses into simple “self-care” but also… I don’t know what else to do.
And it’s just, my communities are experiencing such intense retraumatizing this week. Yesterday and today especially. And I think, there must be something? I know there are ways to respond. I just don’t know what they are or how to do them. I wondered if you might have an idea, or even just some papers I could read to start thinking about what I could do.
I put together a little “emergency survival” group on Monday and we’ve been doing daily check-ins, but I feel like I want to do something more? I don’t know. I want to do something with my hands other than hold all this grief and fear.
You both have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to putting together responses to crisis and tragedy and so I thought I’d ask about whether you have ideas, or if you know other folks who are working on this that I could support or contribute to their work, or anything like that.
Thank you. Even if there’s nothing, I really appreciate that narrative therapy has given me new ways to think through problems. Your work makes such a difference.
David wrote back and had some really great suggestions for a letter writing event, and some other potential directions for using narrative practice to respond.
I love these suggestions, so I will be putting together an event for folks to collectively view both Dr. Ford’s testimony and also the video of Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher confronting Flake in the elevator, and then facilitate a narrative conversation about this and generate letters that can be shared with Dr. Ford and Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, and also perhaps posted as open letters available to other survivors.
I am still working on the details of this, but I feel strongly that I want to pull this together and that it’s important. And then, going forward, I want to figure out how to create some kind of narrative project that does the work David outlines, of challenging, and making visible, and making visible the resistances to, and that can “problematize dominant gendered discourses of ‘pliability, friendliness, flirtatiousness, sexual availability, forgiveness’.” But that will wait until after I get back from Adelaide.
(Mid-October update: I did run this event, it was fantastic, and I will be writing it up for the next preview/review post!)
A big month past, and a big month ahead.
I do want to say, there are some new Patreon supporters this month and that means so much to me!!!
Friends! Where did May even go?! Wherever it went, it’s gone. Here we are in June! And here’s my review/preview post, which was posted for Patreon patrons on the first. It’s a miracle.
Okay, let’s start with May:
The new Patreon rewards have launched, and the first hand-drawn art cards have gone out! I’ve gotten really great feedback on them, and I had a lot of fun designing and drawing them. (If you’ve received your card and feel like sending me some feedback, I’d love to hear it!) The next batch of art cards will be going out in August to all patrons at $10 and up.
I’ve also created my first zine! It’s a tarot-themed zine, not in line with most of what I post here, but I’m really happy with it. I sold it at my first-ever “reading tarot at a fair” event. I think I was the only tarot reader there who wasn’t doing any kind of mediumship or divination – not telling the future, just using the cards to invite the person in front of me to think about their narrative in new ways. I am actually really interested in how tarot and narrative work can work together – I find the metaphors and symbolism in tarot so rich and inviting. Even though I was reading tarot differently than most folks, it worked for me and I got some good feedback, and it’s the only way I can feel ethical about using this tool. And it was a lot of fun! If you’re interested in that zine, it’s available for $5 in either digital or physical form. Send me an email and I’ll send you the zine!
The next zines will be more clearly in line with my narrative work – check the bottom of this post for the call for contribution links! These zines are both open to contributors, and will also feature my original content. All of the zines I’m creating (I am aiming monthly-ish) are sent out to anyone who supports my Patreon at $20 and up, and they will also be available for sale on my website.
My first blog post for the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services went up. You can read it here! It’s about how to support your partner if they have experienced sexual violence.
In the Masters program, I got a ton of work done. There were five assignments due in May:
– A 15-minute segment from a narrative therapy session
– Transcription of that segment
– A 1000-word analysis of the segment (these three not posted for reasons of confidentiality)
– A 1000-word reflection paper on the topic of re-membering conversations (posted for $5 and up patrons here)
– A 1000-word reflection paper on the topic of ethics and partnerships (posted for $5 and up patrons here)
The May Possibilities meeting was fantastic. We talked about media representation, and I’ll have the shareable resource completed and posted next week.
I did not get any blog posts written, but I did get the Feminism from the Margins May contribution up, and that was quite a bit more effort than usual since Mel Vee wrote four pieces rather than one. Those pieces of writing are powerful and deeply personal reflections on living as a queer Black woman. You can read them here, here, here, and here.
I did make progress on the Possibilities Youth project. I had two meetings with folks to talk about the logistics of running a youth group, and I have a space booked for a six-week pilot group. I’ll be announcing more details within the next month.
And I facilitated a lunch-and-learn at Chevron on the topic of “Pride 101: LGBTQIA2S+ Terminology” (the handout for that has been posted for $5 and up patrons here), and the feedback was fantastic! (One person wrote, “Thank you so much for organizing this incredibly interesting and very meaningful event. Tiffany was amazing! I learned a great deal and plan to work hard at being a good ally.”)
Sadly, I did not get the grant that I applied for. I’m going to keep trying, though. I just need to find some other ones to apply for!
And now, what’s coming up in June:
The first, and most exciting/terrifying thing for me, is that I’m finally taking this “figure out the marketing” thing seriously. I’m going to get the shop set up on this site, update my page to reflect all of the new services I’m offering, and revise my social media strategy. This won’t happen quickly, but it’s ramping up.
Figuring out my marketing honestly should have been at the top of my priority list a long time ago, but sometimes we don’t make progress until we’re forced to, and that’s okay. It’s not like I’ve been slacking, I just haven’t been focusing on marketing (because marketing is not a natural fit for me, and gives me the Bad Capitalism Feels).
What does that mean for what’s coming up?
I’m going to be posting more often on the Facebook page, here my blog, and on the Patreon (mostly cross-posting, but I’m curious about whether folks have a preference in that regard!). Since I’m going to be posting more often, I’m going to start writing my posts in advance, sharing them on the Patreon early, and then posting them on the blog and the Facebook page. I’m working on getting a little stash of posts written so that I can get that ball rolling. I’m hopeful that this will build interest in the Patreon, and also allow me to engage with my social media audience more effectively.
I’m also going to figure out how to actually be present on Instagram in a more meaningful and effective fashion. And on LinkedIn. And maybe Medium? This is literally me:
Image description: A five panel comic. In the first panel, a person with a beard says, “keep going! you’re almost there!” In the second, a person with a ponytail is running towards a ball labeled “goal”. In the third, the ponytailed person is still running towards the goal and, a shiny golden ball labelled “new goal!” rolls past. In the fourth, the ponytailed person looks after the shiny new goal. In the fifth, the ponytailed person is running after the new goal, and the bearded person says off-screen, “noo, finish the other one first!” This comic is by Catana Comics, and they are so cute!!
And I’m going to figure out this networking thing. I have a coffee date in June with the person who brought me in at Chevron, and she’s going to give me some advice on networking into more lunch-and-learn opportunities.
I’ve also sent a message to a friend of a friend, who has reached out to a few of her connections in HR positions, to see about bringing me in for lunch-and-learns. I still need to figure out how to start networking into more narrative therapy work, but… I’ll get there.
The two blog posts I had hoped to write in May, I will be writing in June. So you can look forward to a post on Self-Care and Caring What Other People Think About Us, and an interview post about major life transitions. I’m also going to be writing a post on re-membering conversations, similar to the post about connecting to our skills that I wrote in April. I’m aiming for once-a-month-ish “intro to a narrative practice” posts.
I’ll be recording and sharing a short series of videos answering questions about narrative therapy. If you want to submit a question, send it to me this week! I’m working on this video series now, and am using it as an opportunity to learn some editing skillz.
The questions I have so far are:
– How do I explain narrative therapy to someone?
– Is it counselling or writing your life story?
– Why would I pick narrative over cognitive behavioural therapy?
– How do I know if narrative therapy is right for me?
– What are the risks, if any, of narrative therapy?
– Isn’t it just pretending that things are different? Isn’t that just avoidance or delusion?
– Do I need to be a writer / creative type person to benefit from narrative therapy?
– How would someone with dissociative tendencies be able to use narrative therapy around periods of time when they weren’t present?
– Can I use narrative therapy to get dates? (This was submitted as a joke, but I’m legit considering answering it because we could certainly talk about what it is you are valuing in the desire to “get dates” and what your previous experiences has been in this regard, and why you are looking for therapeutic help in this way. It’ll be a funny but informative answer, is what I’m hoping.)
Do you have questions about narrative therapy? Send them to me, and I’ll answer them in a video!
I have two assignments due in the Masters program, both 1000-word reflections that I’ll post on the Patreon after they’re written. (Update since this was posted – the first of these is up! If you want to read my Masters program papers, you can get access to those exciting pieces of work for just $5/month.)
And! Very exciting news! Back in April, Cheryl White (one of the directors and founders of the Dulwich Centre) sent me an article that was going to be published and asked for my thoughts. I sent her my thoughts, including some critique. She appreciated the critique and….
*pause for dramatic effect*
… the Dulwich Centre is sending me and another narrative practitioner to Sacramento on a two-day trip to meet the author of the article, David Nylund, and tour the Gender Health Centre and do some narrative sessions with the therapists there, so that I can then share my learning with the Dulwich Centre and help support their increased trans-inclusivity and awareness, and also co-author a paper that will be included in next year’s course readings.
Let’s just pause for a second before freaking out about this, and then freak out about this, because this is amazing. This is exactly what I want to do with my life – travel, meet and interview people, create content that will increase justice and decrease marginalization in the world. This is what I want for my life! (Just imagine if this Patreon grew and I could do this kind of work with crowdfunding. *wistful sigh*)
Because May was so challenging in my personal life, I am going to head down to Sacramento a few days early and take a few days to write, read, and recover.
I will definitely post the paper that I write, and any other documents generated as a result of this trip, on the Patreon and probably also on the blog.
I am pretty excited.
And, I’ve also got a couple events coming up in June:
On Sunday, the Self-Care Salon will be running, this month with a focus on Justice and Access to Support. I am very excited about this discussion and the resulting collective document. (Update: This event was fantastic and I will be generating the collective document following the conversation within the next couple weeks.)
On June 19, Possibilities will be talking about Queerness and Parental Relationships (both relationships with our parents, and as parents ourselves).
Now, the zines! (You can also find all of the open calls for contributions in a new album on the Facebook page.)
Image description: A rusty lock and chain on a wooden door. Text reads “Restraint: A zine about small, silent, and subversive methods of responding to injustice. Send submissions or questions to email@example.com. Submission deadline July 31, 2018.”
1. a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.
How do we experience restraint?
How do we resist injustice?
How do we break free, break open, break stigma, break barriers?
How do we speak?
Many of us are resisting injustice from a place of external or internal restraint. Either being controlled or controlling ourselves, or both.
We may not “come out” because it wouldn’t be safe, or because it isn’t the way we want to move through our world, or because it would jeopardize our relationships or our work.
We may not “speak up” to bullying, abuse, or injustice because it would put our career in danger, or it would put people we love in harm’s way, or because other people have power over us and we can’t afford to antagonize them, or because we have other ways of resisting those injustices.
(Disabled folks who can’t speak up to injustices committed by their carers because of the power differential, racialized folks who can’t speak up to injustices in the office because they’ll be labelled “angry”, trans folks who can’t speak up to injustices in the medical community because it would put their access to transition support in jeopardy – there are so many of these situations!)
But despite these restraints, people are never passive recipients of trauma or injustice. As David Denborough says in the Charter of Storytelling Rights, “Everyone has the right for their responses to trauma to be acknowledged. No one is a passive recipient of trauma. People always respond. People always protest injustice.” (https://dulwichcentre.com.au/narrative-justice-and-human-rights/)
There are many ways to resist, challenge, and respond to injustice.
This zine celebrates and recognizes the small, silent, and subversive responses to injustice.
It is inspired by the April Possibilities bi+ community discussion of “the closet”, and by the March Self-Care Salon discussion about being a professional on the margins, as well as other conversations and experiences of restraint (both restraint that is painful and externally imposed, and restraint that is joyful and internally chosen).
Do you have a story of restraint?
Send your submissions of art, comics, short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or essay to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 31, 2018. You can also send your questions.
(Depending on the number, size, and content of submissions, some may be edited. Nothing will be put into the final zine altered without the author’s consent.)
Image description: Cut daisies are scattered on pavement. Text reads, “Everything happens for a reason? a zine about making our own meanings. send submissions and questions to email@example.com by June 14, 2018”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“The universe must have a lesson for you.”
As a response to grief, to loss, to pain, to injustice, these phrases that are meant to be comforting can end up being incredibly hurtful.
Although people do always respond to the traumas, injustices, and hardships in their lives, and these responses often leave us with valuable skills and insider knowledges, the idea that we experience trauma, injustice, and hardship because we’re meant to, or because it’s “good for us”, or we have somehow attracted it, or we need to experience it, is often a bitter pill to swallow.
So spit that pill out!
Let’s write, draw, poem, collage, photograph, paint, and talk about the meaning we make from our hard times (the lessons we learn, skills we develop, knowledges we gain), and the nonsense of our hard times (the *lack* of lesson, the pain that we just feel and do not ever appreciate), and let’s resist the idea that these hard times are somehow necessary, or “good for us.”
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 14, 2018!
And if you have thoughts but aren’t comfortable writing them out, let me know and we can do an interview!
My big collective document projects – extroversion, self-care for queer geeks, financial self-care on the margins, and bad gender feels project, as well as my on-the-to-do-list smaller documents – self-care and the closet, the write-up of the first professionals on the margins meeting, are all in limbo. I hope I’ll have time to get to them in June, but I’m trying to keep my goals reasonable. They will happen eventually, but I’m not entirely sure when!
I really need to book more narrative therapy clients, too. So, if you know anyone, or if you’re interested in working with me, let me know!
Anyway! That’s the review/preview!
Thank you so much to each of my patrons and supporters. The vast majority of what I do is not funded and I don’t charge for the work, and without your support, I don’t know if I could keep going. You make this work possible. <3
Good morning, friends and supporters and new acquaintances!
This is our monthly review/preview post. These posts are one way that I keep myself accountable to my patrons (and my own goals), and they also offer people who might want to participate in my ongoing collective projects an opportunity to see what’s going on.
March was a busy and rewarding month – I spent three weeks in Australia, attending the Advanced Narrative Practices teaching block for my Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. It was an incredible experience. I really felt like I was at home with my colleagues – I felt like I fit in, and that what I had to contribute was welcome in the space. There are a bunch of collaborations simmering, and I feel like the choice to do this Masters program, even with the cost and stress, was the right one.
Now, the projects! I’m going to try a new format for this post, with the goal of prioritizing my collaborative projects and welcoming new contributors.
So, first, open calls for contributors and participants! These are the projects that are currently in process and open to participation. If you want to get involved, get in touch with me! You can email me, find me on Facebook, or be involved by supporting the Patreon. I do most of this work without any funding or financial gain, and my patrons make that possible.
Extroversion and Mental Health – This project has been percolating for a while, and the initial interviews have been really exciting. My goal for this project is a multi-media resource with validation and support for people who experience themselves as extroverts and struggle with doing self-care and managing challenges like depression, anxiety, or suicidality. The reason this project feels important is because so much mental health content seems to assume introversion, and so many cultural norms equate extroversion with resilience and strength. The multi-media piece is because the extroverts I’ve spoken with so far have consistently commented on video and audio being easier to engage with than pure text, so I’m branching out my resource generation skills and I’m going to learn how to do video! And audio! It’s going to be exciting. Do you want to get involved? I am interested in talking with folks who identify themselves as extroverted (sometimes or all the time), and particularly folks whose extroversion intersects with marginalized identities or neurodivergences – autistic extroverts, fat extroverts, depressed and anxious extroverts, BIPOC extroverts, and all those other folks whose bodies and selves are excluded, dismissed, or expected to be quiet. (This project will overlap with the Quiet Crew collaboration, which you can read about further on!) You can participate online via a skype or text interview, in person in either one-on-one or (if there’s interest) group interviews/conversations, remotely by sending me your thoughts on the topic freeform, or by answering a questionnaire (which isn’t designed yet, so if that’s your pick, just let me know and I’ll get that put together!) I will also be looking for folks who want to do audio or video interviews or segments.
Financial Self-Care Under Capitalism – This project is well underway now, and I’m in the process of arranging interviews, collecting questionnaire responses, and figuring out what this project might look like in its final form. What I am picturing right now is a multi-part project – a downloadable PDF resource (my specialty!) and an ongoing Tumblr project, Nopenomics, that you can read about further on. If you want to participate in this project, we can chat online or in-person, you can send me your thoughts freeform, or you can answer a questionnaire (which has been created, so it can be in your inbox today!). I am particularly interested in hearing from people who are struggling financially, and I am not going to be creating a “stop eating avocado toast” resource – this is meant to be an exploration of how we survive under the abuses of capitalism, and how we resist the harmful individualizing narratives around money that often ignore the structural issues and injustices that so many of us our dealing with. Issues of intergenerational poverty and financial disadvantage, which are so real for Black and Indigenous folks, and also issues of chronic underemployment and housing insecurity, which are so prevalent for many trans and queer folks, will all be acknowledged. This resource is meant to be an honouring of the ways in which we on the margins weave our thin threads into safety nets to keep ourselves and each other alive, and the ways in which we use our money in ways that may not make sense within neoliberal middle-class economics, but do help us keep our heads above water enough to get a gasp of air.
Self-Care for Queer Geeks – This is the resource that accompanies the March Possibilities event. Since I wasn’t at that event, and it was a small event (it was actually only Scott!), I’m collecting interviews and insight from a wider audience. If you identify as queer, and as a geek, I want to talk with you! I’m interested in how we navigate geek spaces – fandoms, video games, groups, etc. – and in how we find and support and create and engage with queer-inclusive content. How do we take care of ourselves, how do we take care of each other, and how do we subvert the heteronormative, trans antagonistic, and misogynist toxicity of many geek spaces. (I have also reached out to Avery Alder to ask if she’d be willing to do an interview for this resource, but she is a busy person so I don’t know if it will work out! If there are other creators you think I should reach out to, or that you can connect me with, let me know!) Opportunities to contribute are pretty standard – in person, online, freeform, or answering a questionnaire (which is in process now and will be ready to send out by Monday).
Feminism from the Margins – This is the project launched last month with my amazing friend Dulcinea Lapis. We’re looking for contributors who want to speak back to the cis white feminism that was so glaringly on display in many International Women’s Day events. This is a year-long project, and we’ll be posting each month, on the 8th, as a way to extend the IWD conversation both in scope (including more marginalized voices, such as trans women, women of colour, non-binary folks, sex workers, and others) and in duration (lasting a whole year rather than contained to one day). I put up the April contribution on the 8th – it’s an open letter to marginalized feminists by Michelle Dang, and it is fantastic. We are still looking for contributors, so if you’re interested, get in touch!
Getting Through the Bad Gender Feels – This is another project that is just starting to gain some momentum. I am interested in speaking with anyone who is trans, non-binary, two-spirit, or otherwise not cisgender (though I do also wonder about including some of the bad gender feels that can happen even to cis folks – am on the fence, and open to your thoughts). If you’d like to contribute or participate in this project, let me know! I’m still working on what format it will take, but I’m starting to collect ideas, interviews, and information.
And then, upcoming events! Here’s where you can find me, online and in-person.
April 8. Sunday morning is the Self-Care Salon! This month we’re talking about self-care for professionals on the margins, and my guest presenter will be Jonathan Griffith, a queer lawyer specializing in family law. We’ll be meeting at Loft 112, from 10:30-12:30, and this will be a special brunch event. (Keep an eye open for the May salon on May 6, it will be part-two in the 3-part series I’m presenting with Pedrom Nasiri, and next month we’ll be talking about polyamory for marginalized folks.)
April 17. Our monthly Possibilities meeting. This month, we’ll be talking about Self-Care and The Closet. We’ll be talking about dominant narratives about the closet, and all the ways in which the closet is complex – it can be oppressive but it can also be freeing, and there are many ways to approach the idea of closets and coming out. At the narrative therapy teaching block, I had the honour of meeting and learning from Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett, whose paper “Azima ila Hayati – an invitation in to my life : narrative conversations about sexual identity” introduces the idea of “inviting in” rather than “coming out,” which can be more culturally resonant for the Muslim youth that she works with. If anyone wants to read this paper ahead of the event, let me know! And as always, I’ll be generating a resource following this conversation and you are welcome to participate in that conversation whether you attend the event or not.
April 23. Trust and Attachment is the latest online course offering, and I am SUPER EXCITED about this course! You can read all about it at the link, but the deets are these: starts April 23, runs for 6 weeks, costs $150 (with sliding scale available and a discount for Patreon supporters). This course grew out of the Bridges and Boundaries course that ran earlier this year, but you do not need to have taken that course to take this one. Register by letting me know that you’re interested!
And now, here are the collaborations and projects that are either theoretical, in the planning stages right now, or coming up in the next month. Many of these ideas were hatched at the teaching block!
I’ll have three assignments due in the Masters program in April – two reflections on readings, and one project outline for my year-long practice innovation project. I have no idea what that project is going to be, but I have many ideas about what it might be. As always, I’ll post my papers for patrons to read.
I’m organizing a sustainability for narrative practitioners group on Slack.
I am coordinating a Dictionary of Delicious Failures collective document. This will involve a bunch of folks (and I’ll be organizing an event in Calgary in May, so keep your peepers peeled for that). Julia, one of my classmates, will be coordinating a similar event in Nepal, and Trina, another narrative practioner, will be coordinating an event in Denmark. Other folks might also join us, but those are the three that are planned.
The Quiet Crew is a group working on bringing together stories of quiet resistance and activism, and challenging the perception of quietness with social anxiety. I met up with one of their members while I was in Adelaide, and we are excited about potential collaborations (particularly when it comes to this project and the extroversion project being two sides of a similar coin – assumptions made about identity based on behaviour).
The Nopenomics Tumblr. This doesn’t exist yet, but it will. A Tumblr open to submissions about all the ways in which we resist, challenge, subvert, fail, and struggle under capitalism. I’m hoping to have a Tumblr + a quarterly zine!
Another classmate would like me to send her 20-ish words that are particularly relevant to the LGBTQIA2S+ communities and she’s going to work with her communities in Mumbai to translate them into three Indian languages. This is part of a project exploring culturally specific experiences of queerness, and it grew out of a conversation she and I had after I collaborated with four of my classmates (all amazing people) to host a presentation and conversation on Judith Butler and gender. You can see the influence of these conversations in the upcoming Possibilities event, and I’m excited to expand my practice to include more awareness of these culturally-specific experiences.
Julia, a classmate and new friend, and I are going to keep in touch regarding mistakes and harm in narrative practice, since we’re both interested in learning how to avoid them (and we’ve both experienced fucking up, haha). Julia, for the record, is just lovely. I am so glad to have met her. She’s also the person who drew the picture of my London Fog octopus, which I shared with patrons in March!
Rosie, another classmate and new friend, and I are … I don’t even know, there are at least ten different potential collaborations. We’re going to keep in touch. They’re going to contribute to the Bad Gender Feels project, for sure, and we’re also considering some kind of trans-continental gender project, bringing their group into conversation with Possibilities and the queer community in Calgary. (Get it? TRANS-continental? Oh my god, I’m hilarious.)
Cheryl White is working on a project about finances, and we’re going to talk about whether her project and my financial self-care under capitalism project might have some collaborative potential. (Cheryl White is one of the core thinkers within narrative therapy, and is the director of the Dulwich Centre and just all around an incredible badass. I really hope this collaboration happens!
Gipsy (the daughter one of the faculty) and I are going to talk about a potential collaboration between the crip crew in Calgary and her Invisible Disability Warriors here in Adelaide. This was a result of me mentioning that I have a few clients dealing with chronic pain or long-term illness, and wanting to find a way to support them better, and Rosie getting super excited and connecting me with Gipsy. We’ve been in touch, and the first stage of this collaboration will be her sending me the video and booklet that her group of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia folks have created, and then myself and some other folks in Calgary will create an “outsider witness response” document. This is a narrative practice that I learned in Adelaide at the teaching block, and I’m excited to try it out. The second stage of this collaboration might be the Calgary group creating our own booklet and video, and sending it back to Gipsy and her community.
Two of my classmates have trans clients that they’d like help supporting, so both of them will be getting some extra support from me on that – mostly I’m going to send them articles and books to read, but they also wondered if I’d be willing to chat with clients and I said yes. (So, my patrons are supporting me in helping create trans-inclusive therapy settings around the world! I would really love to get involved in more of this kind of work, so I’m hoping that these first two efforts go well.)
And last, but absolutely not least, I’m applying for a Student Engagement Grant from the University of Melbourne, and the project that I’m applying with is the Well, This Sucks project with my sister! (I bet you were wondering where that project would show up in this post. Or maybe you weren’t. But I saved it for last because I am so excited about this!!!!!) The grant application is due April 15, and I’ll be posting my drafts for patrons. 😀
Curious about that project? Check it out:
From the email I sent to David Denborough, when first floating the idea of applying for the grant –
Well, This Sucks. This is a project that I’m collaborating with my sister, Domini, to coordinate. It’s meant to be, in its final form, a collection of “pods” of information for various demographic groups with information on responding to sexual trauma. It was born out of our experience of responding to an assault, and then over the year that followed, tripping over all these gaps in available information and represented voices. We saw a lack of resources for the men who are partnered with people who have been through a sexual trauma, particularly straight cisgender men who are often excluded from most conversations about how to do the emotional work of support. We also saw a lack of resources for more conservative parents who don’t know how to respond or what to say, and end up either saying nothing or falling back on victim blaming narratives. And a lack of resources for supporters who are survivors themselves, navigating the complexity of that. (And that was just in our very immediate circle.)
Then we started looking a bit outside our circle, once we were through the very immediate experience, and realizing how many other voices are missing from so many conversations about this.
What we’re picturing is a web portal that guides people through a series of questions and lands them in a pod of information and resources that is generated collectively by people who share some of their identities or experiences (so, video content and stories from straight cisgender men to welcome other straight cisgender men into a supportive role, and stories and video from men who have experienced assault to create space for other men who are going through the same thing, each in their own pod of information, and so on). The reason we decided on pods was because Domini and I have very different communities – Domini is doing her feminism within more rural conservative communities where issues of queerness, gender, and justice require different language (much more “inviting in” than “coming out” in those spaces!), and I do mine within urban, political queer, trans, and feminist communities that have very different languages and cultural norms. We decided not to try and meet in an uncomfortable middle, but rather honour the diversity of these two very different spaces, and create content that shares a goal of supporting communities following an assault, but doesn’t demand that everyone use the same language or approach the issue in the same way. This was especially important because often the language and norms from my communities is framed as being “better” or “more progressive” than the language and norms from Domini’s communities, but in lived experience this is not always the case. Social justice groups may have all the “right” language, but sometimes they are deeply lacking in compassionate support. Our worry was that if we tried to use language that would feel inclusive of my communities, it would end up feeling alienating for Domini’s communities, and we would lose all the rich insight and experience of folks who can’t speak the Social Justice Warrior dialect and are more “rough around the edges”. (And we also just wouldn’t be able to help them.) So, multiple languages!
Anyway, what I thought for the grant was maybe creating one of the pods! I know that Domini would be keen on the one for straight cis men who are supporters, and that might have some interesting overlap with the masculinities project, too. (I’m partway through reading Michelle Dang’s paper on community responses to sexual assault and she and I will be talking about this project, too!)
I am most excited about this project because my sister is amazing, we’ve been in the planning process for almost a year now, and I think that when this project gets going it is going to be really great. But I’m also somewhat hesitant about it, because it’s huge and it will require a lot of skill, intentionality, and strong supportive partnerships willing to keep us on track and call us in when we fuck up. It’s like… 73% excitement, 21% apprehension, 6% terror.
Reading this again, I realize that I use a lot of exclamation points. Ha.
DD wrote back and said that he thought this project would be a good fit, so we’re going ahead with the application, and we’ll be generating the content for the pod focused on cis straight men who are supporters/partners of assault survivors. So there will be a call for contributors going out once this is underway!
And that’s that! These posts go up early for patrons (and sometimes never make it onto the blog – sorry, February/March!). There’s a lot happening, even more than is listed here, and I’m excited about it!