In her acceptance speech for Places in the Heart, Sally Field says that she hadn’t felt the love from her community previously, but this time she did. She found herself overwhelmed that they liked her- they really did! I can relate this to my Eroticon experience!
Before going someplace new or meeting new people, I rarely worry if they’ll like me. I’m fortunate not to have heavy social anxiety. I am, however, almost always pleasantly surprised when people actually DO like me. I am surprised and pleased and frequently wonder, “What is it about me that appeals to this one or that one?”
I felt like Sally Fields a few weeks ago when attending Eroticon.
They Like Me! They Really Like Me!
It was so lovely to meet people who I could tell genuinely enjoyed my work and with whom I clicked when we met in person. It was thrilling to have people say things like:
- “Oh, I read your blog.”
- “OOH E.L. Byrne! YAY!”
- “I loved what you had to say about XYZ.”
- “The Sex Scientist stories are hot!”
There was a real feeling of validation, and dare I say- Pride- to hear people I admire in the sex blogging community telling me that they also admired ME! Say what?? That alone would have made Eroticon an experience worth repeating.
But there was so much more.
There was a real liberation and joy to be able to speak freely and never once worry about censoring my thoughts. I could speak openly about polyamory. I could say I had a one-night stand. I could talk about how much I love it when Benjamin spanks me. I could say the word Fisting without whispering or wondering if anyone knew what that was. I could say all of this knowing there was no judgment and there would be no repercussions. (Well- maybe someone would say- you HAVE to write about that next!) I wore a black unicorn headband and made jokes about “Truth in advertising!” and people knew what I was talking about, laughing with me! JOY!!
I went to a sex shop with a few of the other gals and I mentioned- in my out loud voice- how much I preferred the larger dildo to the smaller one. We discussed sex swings and rope safety like we were discussing living room furniture or something equally mundane. We compared polyamorous relationship constellations and discussed the intricacies of hierarchy and BDSM relationships. All normal and easy.
I never once worried about covering my screen when I was on Twitter, #BoobDay and all! Proud to be kinky, wearing a pin (or TWO) that said, “I love Anal” and “I am horny” without feeling embarrassed or worried about what someone would think of me!
I have found my people. I feel like I have been accepted into the tribe! I am Sally Fields, standing in my baby doll dress, fishnet stockings, tall boots, and a unicorn headband holding up my phone, screen open to “Twitter After Dark” and crying out…
THEY’RE LIKE ME! THEY’RE REALLY LIKE ME!!