How can you tailor your self care to get the most out of it during winter? What’s the difference between emotion dumping and intentional venting? What f**k is cuffing, and is it a good thing? Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Keely: if you're avoiding, just sitting with your energy; why? Yeah. If you're avoiding sitting with your thoughts... because this idea of slowing down and being with the season and being more with self/ inside/ hibernating, and however you wanna phrase it, this is a time of reflection. And if you're avoiding sitting with your own thoughts, avoiding being in your own energy, what do you not like about that energy or what's coming up for you Hello, everyone. Welcome back to Queer Relationships Queer Joy. Melisa: So happy to have you for our final episode of this season. Final episode of this season and final episode of 2021.Woohoo! We made it! Keely: Well, let's just slow down on that one.We have a couple of weeks left. I've been seeing this meme and it was like, okay everyone. Don't get too excited, just tread lightly 2022's coming. Should just be gently cautious. Melisa: Sneak into the new year with Keely: caution., so, oh, and introductions. I'm Keeley C Helmick. I am a licensed professional counselor, sex therapist, owner of Connective Therapy collective. White gender fluid. Non-binary queer femme, who is still hanging solo Melisa: and I'm Melissa DeSegiurant. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor at Connective Therapy. Collective I'm white bisexual polyamorous gender fluid person. I'm excited to have you all here for this episode.. Keely: Yay. So we were going to kick off today kind of reviewing, we were thinking about the different themes we've talked about this year, maybe some of the highlights and then talking about how to really be in season, like, or not be in season like how to be in rhythm with the natural season, Melisa: Slowing down for the winter. That's our big invitation today. Keely: Slow down and hibernate, whether it's by, you know, the whole cuffing thing, like, okay, I get it. That's like the thing. Podcasts are talking about Dyking Out. I saw you. I listened to you. You did a whole cuffing thing. I hear you. We're saying you can hibernate by yourself or with a partner or with partners. You don't have to frantically find somebody. It feels like a frantic almost like, oh, just like we're frantically trying to find these like Christmas presents or these holiday presents. Melisa: And I heard this even as soon as we were in fall, like I have to start dating and I have to find my person to like nestle down with, for the winter, which I guess makes sense. But for me, and I'm just so introverted and like solo and I'm like, oh gosh No, I don't want anyone invading my winter hibernation space. Keely: Well, if anyone has seen, so I mentioned Dyking Out and then there's this great new series on prime called Harlem. And they had this whole episode about. The two characters they're in theater together and they're looking for their cuffing partner and it's very specifically like a bigger body person with like a nice belly. And what I love about it, I think I mentioned this. I dunno if I mentioned it on air or not, but the piece is that. The man and woman, and we think the whole time the guy's gay, he comes out as bi! Bi representation. And so, but it's really cute. They're running around and trying to find like a person and then I guess they ended up together. So but it's very, yeah, it's in like popular media and really this idea. And I don't remember this always being a thing, so I don't know, but even like with Dyking Out, they like laid out this whole. Almost like a football game, like a whole plan of like, this is how fall is for cuffing season. This is what you do at this time around like Christmas. This is what you tend to do in the new years. And then by Valentine's day, it's like this whole plotted out thing??? Melisa: It's also cause stress. So can you define what is cuffing? What does that mean? Keely: I, I mean, the way this person defined it on the podcast was like cuffing as in like being Melisa: together, like linking yourself with another human yeah. Or humans. Keely: Yeah. I just imagine it as like cuddled up in bed, like totally. In a blanket like entwined. Melisa: That's a sweet picture. I guess this is probably more about me. And you've all learned something about me in the last several episodes, but. Handcuffs, but not in the sexy way. Like I am cuffed to somebody like, again, that says a little bit more about where I'm at in my life Keely: right now. Yeah. It makes me think of those awful jokes or like have like the old ball and chain and like, yeah, I hetero bachelorette, bachelor party. Melisa: Handcuffs can be fun in other ways, but that's not where my brain went. Keely: You're like, literally imagine like I'm being forced to be with this person, right. Melisa: Where every season there's something around oriented around this relationship that has to have my attention like, oh man, no, I am so much more in a relationship with self kind of place. Keely: Well, so when you say that and we're, we're joking about this whole cuffing season. And so our season in review, Gone toggled kind of the, I mean, we had our what, our second episode was interdependence and autonomy and the theme of like maintaining ourself while in connection with others and let's face it. I went from being in a long-term monogamous relationship to solo and Still working on connecting with others and they got to like listen to some really great like great interviews. So if you're listening to this episode for the first time and hearing our last episode of the season, go back and listen to all the wonderful interviews. Melisa: And there's so much great material. And when I've said this, in episodes like previous episodes, I've talked about how inspired I was. It's so genuine. I think hearing these stories is really, really helpful for me and I hope it's helpful for other listeners, so yes. Go back and check them out. Keely: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean the feedback I ha I wish I had some quotes in front of me to read. I don't, but I have gotten feedback from multiple folks. From people just randomly telling me sometimes from clients that listen. And I think one of the things that goes along with what you've said, Melissa, sometimes was someone commented about listening and saying that when they listened to our interviews, it gave them hope about relationships. And I think. At this point, that's probably, I would say that's the biggest gift to me as well. Not that I'm in a headspace where I'm like, oh, I need to like go find my next person or whatever, or next people in a romantic way. But that it does bring a lot of joy. Ha ha ha yes we know. But like there is the sense of. Wow, listen to this awesome work that people are doing and this beautiful connection. And I don't know, I think there's very few interviews where at least one, or maybe all of us are like tearing up with some kind of cry, but like happy cry Melisa: truly. And you know, when we did our very first episode, we talked about. As therapists hearing a lot of what's not working and I've noticed that's not just as a therapist, that's like out in the world and I've even thought about, are we conditioned to complain and to find the things that are wrong? I hear this every time and I do it myself. I'm not saying that I'm like not guilty of these things, but like work, As much as I love my job, it's very easy for me to complain about how draining it can be or this time of year, the weight that I'm holding for other folks. And I, but there's so much of the gratitude and the joy as well, you know? And so I, I appreciate how these interviews really focus on that in relationships specifically. And that's what I, I guess that mission for me, hasn't changed. I want to keep focusing on that even as we move into the new year. Cause there's so much. Offsetting the negativity that I, like I said, I think I can say for myself, I've definitely been conditioned towards complaining, not to say that, like my frustrations aren't valid, but there's also something else present, you know, the negative is not the only thing that is, Keely: is present well, and I even saw, like, it was interesting because I saw this post the other day from someone it was a random connection. It's not someone that's super close to me, but I know them from somewhere. And they were like, who wants to be my friend who I vent to or who I complain about my husband too. And I was so curious about it and I didn't want to like put them on the spot. I didn't respond, but I was really thinking about this idea of having a certain friendship or having a certain person we like vent to. And then of course that comes into play. Then I think about the difference between emotional dumping and venting. And we've talked about that. I think we have, but the idea of venting is purposeful or that we have this like time limit and emotional dumping is just like, like say. I think of it as like garbage, like having a garbage bag we have, or that we're holding it just like, just Melisa: endless, like venting, you're saying has some sort of parameters around it and consent. Keely: Yes. And not just hanging this garbage bag to our friend. Melisa: Okay. And maybe there's even a practice. I mean, here I am going with like agreements again, but like leave it to the poly person to be like agreements, communication. But after venting, wouldn't be great to like, okay, what's one thing that's going well in your life right now. What's one thing you're grateful for, you know, and again, it's not to minimize the frustration and those emotions that we do need to validate, but let's not get stuck in them. My God, it's exhausting. Keely: Well, yeah. And it's being aware and we're coming back into that intentionality. Talking about this will blend into, we want to talk about like slowing down and wintertime and hibernation. And so being really intentional and pausing before we start venting. And like, I just had something kind of upsetting happen, just like, I don't know, right before we came on and I called a friend. And the first thing I said to her was, Hey, Do you have a moment? Can I vent about this thing? That's upsetting me right now. That just happened. And so being aware of that, it's not to say that I shouldn't vent or I shouldn't have these emotions and I should, and whether I should, or shouldn't process with this person, but that I asked for per- I asked for consent. I was like, Hey, do you consent to participating in. Thing that I'm feeling emotional about. Yeah. Melisa: You made it very intentional and clear as to what you and gave room also for someone to say, oh, I'm not available. I'm not in that place right now. Or can we reschedule for Keely: later? You know? Yeah. And so that. With this idea of like negativity and positivity. This podcast is definitely not saying let's have toxic positivity. It's like, what is it like to be aware of our negative negativity? And then also then intentionally add. What what's going well, too, and what's positive or what feels, and I always think of, I think it's, Rumi, there's a poem, Joy And Sorrow and the same, you know, different sides of the same coin. And maybe I should, I should probably post it. I'll post it on the website or maybe I'll post it on Instagram or Facebook, but it, but the idea of. When we allow sorrow, then we can also see the joy. And in allowing the joy, we also can feel the sorrow. And what is it like to be in relationship with those emotions and talking about that, but also reflecting on ourselves with ourself and not just relying on another human to move through that emotion with. Melisa: Yeah. And being able to zoom out and feel the entirety of your emotional experience, not just one part or one fragment, because oftentimes it's, it's multiple things we're feeling at once. Keely: Yeah. And so then both Melissa and I are talking about the invitation along the side of noticing positivity, noticing positive things, experiencing joy. Is slowing down, maybe a hibernating a little bit, Melisa: Especially, you know, we're going into winter. And I was one of the groups I'm in. We were talking about how juxtaposed with the hustle and bustle that can come with holidays and travel and gifts and chores and all this stuff. That's so opposite of what nature is doing, where everything is dying off and going into a slumber state. And can we embrace that at all? You know, and it may even look like taking that break, we've talked about it in the holiday episode, right? Taking that break at the big holiday party to go to the bathroom and just breathe. That counts as helping yourself slow down. Keely: Yeah. And, and capitalism really drives... capitalism and productivity. This idea of productivity, or I like to use the term internalized capitalism did not coin that can't remember who did, but it's a great idea. We are literally feel like we're supposed to go exactly against the way nature is right now that we're being pushed to produce, produce, produce, purchase, purchase, purchase, do all this, you know, all of the work it takes to decorate and make all this food and get ready for all these things and just being pushed in a way. That is the exact opposite of what those little animals are doing in the, in the woods. They're like the trees, you know, the leaves have fallen and all these little animals and little bugs and insects are all like hibernating and moving in and slowing down. Melisa: It makes me think too, of along with this theme, self care and making that seasonal. Yeah. I've really realized not that I hadn't thought of it before, but maybe not. So intentionally. That my self care and the winter looks way different than self-care in the summer. Like completely different. And I guess. I don't know, it seems obvious in some ways, but having intentionality around that, like what is the plan for winter, you know, ask asking yourself that, and I know that's a conversation I've had clients talking about that for months, you know, kind of like anticipating the winter and going okay. And that's part of that. Maybe that goes back to the cuffing that you talked about earlier. I got to find my people to get through. And that's fair that that may be part of it for some folks. But how else, how else does your self care change during this season. Keely: Yeah, and I think about the idea that resting as self care or allowing oneself to rest is, is a form of self care. And then I'm thinking about, here's the word again? The B word boundaries, Is that, how do we boundary. Within these dynamics, if we want to slow down. And I, you know, I just spent the last almost two weeks by myself, recovering from being sick. And I noticed when I went out and started hanging out with people again, like I have this thing where I this may sound really stupid, but I set an alarm and I give myself a curfew because. I as a really extroverted person. I'll like, go, go, go, go, go. And then like when I do slow down it's oh, imagine that I got sick, huh. And finally slowed down. With certain with humans that I'm hanging out with all set my alarm on my phone to be like, I need to peace out by this time. It's a great strategy. It really is. I mean, I had an ex who like, was just be like, I hate when you do that. But I'm like, I reflect, I'm like, yeah, you didn't like that because I was setting a boundary and I was like, I didn't even realize there was a boundary I was setting. Now like, yay. I did know how to set boundaries, but I wonder, so even thinking about this idea of self care and slowing down and resting and like how that. It might look different for introverts and extroverts. It looks different if you're solo single or monogamously partnered, or poly and multiple partners or multiple people you're dating Melisa: notice, I would say. That's what comes up for me. And what I noticed comes up for a lot of my clients when we start to slow down is, oh, but I should, I should be doing this. I should be doing that. I did it to myself with socialization. I should be social. I should be seeing friends at least once a week. And then. Well, but why like, where did that shit? Maybe there's a good reason. Sometimes I'll ask that question. Why in session? And then we'll come to something and be like, well, because this and the, and it, it makes sense for them. And then fantastic. They've got a foundation for what they're doing, but for me, it's like, Because it sounds healthy. Like there's no, there's really no reason I'm not advocating here for like, don't see anyone ever. But for me personally, you know, again, my context, like, I mean, a year out from a ten-year relationship that was a very highly emotionally attached emeshed, you know, relationship. And I am introverted by nature. I grew up alone. I, I creative when I am alone. I need that protected time to be my full self. And I am really deeply connected. I've realized a few people, they don't live in this town, but like my friendships are so deep, their family friendships, you know, and of course my partner in California as well. So. My point in saying all this is that when I unpack the "should" there was no really good reason that I should be going out and seeing folks once a week, I'm getting, especially in my job, I'm getting plenty of socializaion!. My goodness. It is perfectly acceptable for me to go home and be introverted and create art for hours every night. That's wonderful. That's me thriving in the winter time. So yeah. Examine your "shoulds".. See if there's any reason for them to be there, you know, change them into "coulds". Keely: Well, and I think, you know, listening to you say that, I think about how important it is to create whatever it looks like individually, because it's going to look different for different people. Some people don't have the same drive to be alone in the same way. I mean, I think it's good for everybody to be alone. Sometimes. Obviously I need to be alone sometimes Melisa: it's not necessarily like the safety zone for everyone. Keely: Yeah. It's more like, okay, I just need to like recharge. I need to actually sleep. I need to actually, and you know, it's interesting too, and not to get too into this topic because it may be something we talk about more. The, the being alone is noticing if you feel resistant to being alone or feel pushed to really be in presence of another human, do you really want to be with that other person or is it that you're avoiding is sitting with yourself and. There was a way that someone phrased it. I wish I remember who it was. It was on TikTok but they, like, they talked about energy. It is in a form of energy and they're like, they were saying, are you okay with just being with your energy and your own energy and whose energy do you want to bring into it? And if you're avoiding, just sitting with your energy why? Yeah. If you're avoiding sitting with your thoughts, because this idea of slowing down and being with the season and being more with self/ inside/ hibernating, and however you wanna phrase it, this is a time of reflection. And if you're avoiding sitting with your own thoughts, avoiding being in your own energy, what do you not like about that energy or. What's coming up for you. And so that's the invitation, no matter if you're introverted or extroverted or are new to a city or have lots of friends or have multiple partners or whatever the case may be, no matter what we all need to have time to just sit with ourselves. Melisa: Yeah. And like you said, notice if you're avoiding, you know, there's a lot of um, trauma that may be coming up for folks and that's a theme. Well, I guess it makes sense. So that's a theme in sessions as a therapist. What am I saying? Imagine that trauma comes up When talking specifically about alone time. And I worked with several people who had, it feels very unsafe to be alone and it's triggering, you know, childhood abandonment stuff or attachments to all this stuff. And yeah. Unfortunately, we have to go through those feelings, you know, to resolve and heal them. So notice, notice if you're, if you're avoiding and think about the coping strategies that aren't just the band-aids that sort of make it feel better in the moment, but the ones that help really authentically feel the pain express the pain, move through the pain to something on the other side. Keely: Yeah. And the theme of being solo and what it means to build the focus of building the relationship with self, like that's, that's kind of where we're going for next season. Melisa: Yeah. And with this, this assumption that by connecting with ourselves and really fully investing in that relationship, any other relationships we have from there, whether they be romantic, platonic, familial, all of those could potentially improve. If we continue to prioritize a relationship with ourselves. Keely: Yeah, and I do, and I definitely don't ascribe to the idea. And you can debate this if you want Melissa with me. I don't ascribe to the, the idea that you have to be by yourself for a certain amount of time or single first for a certian amount of time. But I think. There is the opportunity to give yourself some space and not bring patterns into the new relationship. Yeah, yeah. And notice. And when you slow down and check yourself, like, am I ready to be in relationship with someone else? Am I ready to start connecting? Or am I still. Sorting through this last relationship or these last relationships. And I think then the invitation as an, if you're dating multiple people, the invitation is still the slowdown and navigate a breakup or navigate the disconnection from a certain relationship. Yeah. And notice what you're bringing into other relationships. And have time, but like scheduling time for ourselves. Melisa: And when we do that, like those, those self dates, like, do you dress up for yourself the same way you would dress up for like whoever you're trying to impress on the first date? You know? And if not, that's fine. Like if you want to be in sweat pants and enjoy that, I mean, shoot. Most nights for me, but also like why, why aren't we special enough to like dress up for ourselves? Sometimes or do whatever it is that might not be clothing, you know, do whatever it is that makes it extra special Keely: You're worth that time. Have fun with self. So that's, that's a little sneak peek into next season. And I think we have some fun. We already have some fun interviews lined up with we have a relationship coach, specifically, a queer relationship coach who's going to talk more about this theme of self-love and exploring that from a coach perspective. And we have like QPR queer platonic relationship and that intimacy. We also have a very adorable love story, which we're going to. Post before Valentine's day. I said it. Yes. And we have some workshops coming up. Melisa: Yes. So we have in February, on Saturday, the 12th, we'll be doing a queer relationship workshop from 12 to two. And then later in March Thursday, the 24th of March in the evening, we'll do a non-monogamy workshop. I think that's going to be geared towards providers. We'll talk more about that as the new season unfolds. Keely: Awesome. So that's a wrap for this year and I'm so I will say my favorite holiday is new year's Eve and new year's day. Kind of like, I didn't realize it was kind of like two, but. I love new year's Eve. I love new year's day. Super pumped for those holidays. What's your queer joy. Yeah, wrapping up Melisa: this isn't what I was going to plan to say. So I'll say my queer joy that I planned in a minute, but I also want to, as we're doing this last episode, like this podcast has been such a queer joy for me. Like it's been amazing. It's been so much fun to step out of the clinical seat for a minute and share these stories. I, you know, I love the conversations. We have Keely, but. Both you and I have said that the interviews are just, they feel like the best part. I leave those recordings like just uplifted for hours, and its- it is, it's like food for me. It's so wonderful. So I'm grateful for all of our listeners who make it make sense to keep doing this. Thank you. And please share, you know, the episodes and certainly thank you to all the, all the people that we've been able to meet with Um, You have been so inspirational. So that's part of my queer joy. I will also say in keeping with our theme, I have gone very internal. My winter has already begun. And my creativity is really coming back online, which I've realized is kind of a seasonal thing. So embracing that this year with a lot of intentionality, it feels great. And I got to go and I did the, I think it's called beyond van Gogh, the like immersive VanGough. Fantastic. I do recommend it to anybody. It was really, really wonderful. And tonight I'm doing a solo date and taking myself to see west side story. I'm seeing it on an IMAX, like all out. I'm going big. Yeah. And you bet I will be buying myself popcorn and sit there and having a grand old time and probably trying not to sing along too much. Keely: Oh, my God. That's my Melisa: That's my queer joy. I am pumped. Keely: That's so awesome. I love it. Well, and I'm sitting here as you were talking, I was like, oh, what are like, the highlights are like queer joys from, and maybe we'll do that as like an intro for next year. Like, oh, what was there we could even posted? I don't know. I don't know if we need to verbally list off all the great things of the previous year, all the queer joy, but I will say I was reflecting and thinking about. Like positive. Like once we got fully vaccinated, I actually had a couple of travels that I did. And one of them was actually with a friend, even though I was in a monogamous relationship, I went and had a friend trip. And that was awesome. And then I had a couple of trips by myself and just, you know, it is the time of year reflection and I am so pumped, you know, for people to get, to hear these interviews, if you haven't already. And I will say in reflection, I'm just going to name it. One of my queer joys from this weekend was getting to see the new episode of sex in the city. Okay. Y'all I realized spoiler alert, all the things I know I was Melisa: telling Keely I'm so mad cause I didn't get to see it. And you didn't spoil it for me but like, the internet did. Keely: And so, but I will say like I was so excited. Because Sarah Ramirez, the actor they were on for those that know like back in the day, Grey's anatomy, not like, like the newer episodes, but I mean, it must've been 16 years ago. I had no kids and I literally had to sit and wait for Thursday night when it aired on regular TV with my little puppy and. The like Sarah I can't remember the character, but that couple on Grey's anatomy was the first, , the very first lesbian relationship that I've ever seen on TV. And I had a crush on Sarah Ramirez. I was just like, oh my goodness, this human! Such a crush. Maybe still do. I don't know, probably, I mean their outfits, the way they look in the episodes. Oh my goodness. So having that representation and seeing that and the way they're just the, so this character is, you know, non-binary and Mexican American and the intersectionality, and then the generational, like they vibe very differently with Carrie and are just like out there and. So cool. I cannot wait to watch, so yay. Representation. More representation on television or on shows, television, whatever. Wow. That's it for us? I'm just so excited looking forward to the new year. Thank you everyone. I hope you have a wonderful queer and joyful next couple of weeks. And we will be chatting with you in the new year. Thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer joy. A podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Kelly C Helmick and Melissa DeSegiurant. With the audio edited and produced by me, Cardinal Marking. Intro music is by Bad Snacks. Outro music by Victoria Instrumental. If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it, tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify. Yes, you can review on Spotify now. Or send us an email at info at Connective Therapy Collective dot com. For information on our workshops and for more queer joy, visit our website at Connective Therapy Collective dot com. Love ya. Bye