I believe the most effective and radical act you can do to change the world is to be open and honest about your whole self. It’s hard to do to. It’s scary. It could be life threatening or cause you to lose everything you hold dear. And yet, I think many of us reach points in our lives where it becomes more painful to repress the truth about ourselves than to face our fears.
I recently had an opportunity to exchange emails with Kendra Holliday of www.thebeautifulkind.com. She is an amazing woman who has been blogging about her life for six years and has faced many challenges, but ultimately has been able to create the life she wants for herself and her family. Kendra is someone I admire because she is just such a radical activist. She is incredibly brave and she is educating people everywhere she goes.
Because I wanted to know how Kendra manages to be so open, I asked: You are the only person (besides myself) that I have seen blog honestly about their sex life while still being real about being a parent, AND you use your real name (I assume) and photos of yourself. What kind of consequences have you experienced since you “came out” and what have you gotten out of it? Is it more satisfying to be open?
I wonder where you are located? [Editorial note: near Seattle.] That makes a difference. I’m in the Bible Belt, St Louis MO, right in the middle of the U.S. It’s a conservative area, but not as bad as many think.
I do use my real name and pics of myself when blogging about parenting and my sexuality. I feel it’s important to demonstrate that people (particularly mothers!) are complex beings. It’s not healthy to deny or compartmentalize ourselves so much. It’s healthier to be fully integrated. Trouble is, that is very difficult to achieve in our society. People fear losing jobs, kids, families if people were to find out who they really are!
When I came out as a sex-positive mom in Oct 2010, I faced some serious persecution. Before I came out, I lost my job for having a sex blog. After I came out, I was ostracized, judged, and my ex-husband sued me for full custody of my daughter. I almost lost her and my house. I went into debt. It was very scary.
BUT I did not back down, I didn’t cave, I stood my ground. I walked through the fire and got out on the other side. And it was SO much better on the other side! It got better.
Now, I enjoy the respect of the community. The media contacts me for my opinion on issues that are near and dear to me. My relationships are stronger than ever. People who said terrible things about me and turned on me returned, sheepish and apologizing. I have a good job where my activism is a non-issue. I was able to keep my house. Best of all, my ex-husband dropped the suit against me right before it went to trial. He realized he could not prove I was an unfit mother. I’m a single mom working full-time and am raising an amazing, creative, knowing daughter. She is wiser than most adults I know!
I think everyone should explore their role in society on their own terms. Obviously a pre-school teacher couldn’t do what I did. At least not right now. But I’ve seen more and more people successfully claiming their sexual rights, and it’s extremely heartening. I’m proud to be an example. I hope my story inspires, and I’m very excited for my 12 year old daughter’s future – I think we’ll see a lot of progress by the time she’s 18!
Thank you for fighting the fight as well!