What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to move towards? How do you get the things you want to let go of out of your mind? 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: I believe that we have a limitless amount of love, so it's not that I'm letting go of the love of, for somebody friends, acquaintances, otherwise, but just letting go of the need for that relationship. Not working anymore. That's what Melisa: it was sounding like you were saying, like letting go of, what's not working.. Well, Keely: Hey everyone. We are back again. Hello everyone, to season two of Queer Relationships, Queer Joy. I'm one of your hosts, Keely, C Helmick. Melisa: And I'm your other host, Melissa DeSegiurant Keely: and we are here to ring in the new year and talk about some. Some a different spin on new year's goals. Melisa: Not so much goals, resolutions, but we are thinking about what are we wanting to leave behind? What are we wanting to embrace and move toward? Keely: So Melissa let's catch everyone up first. Well introductions. I'm so good at forgetting introductions. I am a white uh, gender fluid non-binary queer person. And I am the owner of Connective Therapy, Collective and queer sex therapist. Melisa: And um, Melissa, again, here I am. What am I? Am so many things. I'm also a therapist at Connective Therapy. Collective. I am a white gender queer bisexual polyamorous person, and really excited to join you all for season two. Keely: Yay. Oh yeah. I forgot to say solo for sure solo. Still solo. Yeah. So. What's been going on for you? What do you want to catch the listeners up on before we dive into our topic? Well, Melisa: I guess really in theme with this relationship first with self that we proposed for this new season I've been doing the solo thing. I don't think that I had named it in our previous season, but my holiday plans were all canceled. So as much as we did a lot to talk about. You know, queer kind of boundaries and family and all that. During the holidays, I ended up spending the holidays, deliciously alone with my cat, and it was awesome. I had such a wonderful time. So that's what I've been doing. I've really been doing a lot of self care. And a lot of different ways. And I think it's the most active I've been with self care in a while. So it it's showing I can tell the difference energetically. Keely: Yeah, I am still solo too. And I totally, I think I'd mentioned that I. I had spent, I spent most of the Christmas weekend and new years I spent with my kiddos. So, but I, so I wasn't fully solo but I was with kids. I'm still, solo as far as a relationship status. Got some interesting news. I don't know if anybody has ever gotten the news being on a dating app. Oh, I tested the waters this weekend and found out my ex from three months ago. Just got married, Melisa: just such big news to get in any way, but then especially like through a dating app Keely: on a dating app, like only in the queer community, could somebody, would someone connect with me specifically? Well, they're connecting with me to actually apologize for something that happened like six months ago through this person. So that was, Melisa: Does that also just happen on dating apps? People just like, let me find you and apologize. I love, I love the, you know, the intention there. Keely: Yeah. Well, and so, yeah, so I found this out, this news out the, we broke up like three months ago and the person they're now with married, so had to kind of let that soak in. And yeah, this apology and what it really signifies is how small the community is. And how we act and who we are in relation to others is very out there. Yeah. I mean, after I got over the shock and was thinking how I'm like, wow, the universe just kind of dropped that in my lap. Melisa: Like what, why is that your welcome back gift to like the dating apps? Keely: What is this telling me?What is the bigger lesson here? What is the bigger-Hey, please. Somebody write in. Please somebody message us. And like give some analytical view of what's this, this means, because I, I know I need to proceed with caution. Like this is proceed with caution, but what it also, of course, then I was thinking, once I got over the shock, thinking about the podcast. In preparation for relationships or new relationships building further building relationship with self is how do we let go? How do we move on? And especially, so that's kind of the theme also with the new year is how do we decide what to leave behind? How do we actually let go and leave things behind? And then how do we progress to what we want to bring forward. What do we want to bring into the new year? What do we want to bring into new relationships? Again, not just romantic relationships, but leaving space in letting go of things, leaving space then for these new relationships. Melisa: Yeah. You know, and as you talk about letting go. I think my mind immediately jumps to what relationships do you need to let go of. But I also want to propose this idea that it may be narratives that we need to let go of Narratives we see about ourselves in relationship. I'm the kind of person who... I need to be in a relationship that... let's reevaluate those narratives. Keely: That seems like a really good starting point. Of like writing out. I can imagine. I know we're talking about journaling, sorry, everyone. But, Melisa: but that's part of the self care I've been doing. So I am unapologetically. Yes. That is a really great reflection tool. Keely: Yeah. So the narrative, so we, we write down what's happened in the past, reflection. Let's start with reflecting. What's what has happened? What really looking at these relationships? I mean, I think sometimes people do this in the way of with technology and social media. They'll do a review, like go through their, who their Facebook friends are. Go through. Who's who they're connecting with on Instagram and really filter down if it's a personal page. I mean, for those. Do it for business. That's a whole nother topic, but you know, speaking of different ways that can look through our connections and what are those connections? How are those connections serving us? Melisa: And if they're not, how do you want to let go? Keely: Yeah. So first. You decide What ones to keep one, what ones to let go of and narrative? How is it serving you then? Yeah. How do you let go of it? Melisa: How do you let go? Gosh, I mean, you, you said the journaling piece and like, quite literally, that was part of, not planned, but part of my, sort of new year celebration. And I sort of started celebrating the new year back in fall, like I'm on a little bit of a different calendar than what our traditional new year is. But that said I started with a letter. I wrote a letter to 2021. And the letter that I wrote, I was very, I didn't have a plan, like I said beforehand, and I try and do that with anything that's expressive, like arts nature. Just let it go where it wants to go. I thought this was going to be the biggest F U letter that I had ever written. Quite frankly, 2021 was really difficult for me. It was like the most painful year of my, you know, relationship trauma for me and my marriage ending happened at the end of 2020. And I pretty much was in freeze mode until 2021. So that's when all my grief really came so much that I had to process through. But what came out was a gratitude letter, quite frankly, and a letter all about what I've gained. Because of having to let go of that relationship and having to rebuild. So starting with like being clear, if you're not going to write it out, do something that's, you know, we, we, we often talk about these things and I'll have clients like talk about all of these things they want to do in session. But like when are you doing the practice? Yeah. Yeah. What are you actually doing it? And if you're not a journaler, do you have a therapist? Do you have a space where you can sit down and say, okay, I want to talk about what I want to let go of. Keely: Yeah. And I think when I, as you're saying this too, I think about rituals. If you're, if you're asking, what time are you letting it go? It's really bringing it all together. Again, whether it's through a letter, whether it's through a specific writing, down stories, some kind of timeline. I imagine bringing like reminders, bringing things in and having a ritual. Really going through it and then letting it go. Yeah. I mean, fires are great. Fires are great for that. Anyone likes to burn outside and Hey, at least this time of year, we can actually burn outside. So in a safe way, in a safe way. Melisa: Yeah, no, that's a big one. And you know, if you're, if you're not going to light it on, you know, a fire, rip it up. I used to do this with the students I work with at the high school, like rip it into shreds and then throw it in the air and dance underneath it. Like. Damnnnn I love it. You got to do the embodied piece. We got to get in our systems too. I Keely: feel like that's a Tik TOK coming on. Oh yes. I love that. And like rip up, I got to find something for you to rip up and then they're like, you're going to like sprinkle the confetti of, I don't know what it is. Some letter that I wrote. Melisa: Yeah. You know, and for people who are like, I've actually had this conversation a few times in sessions, Maybe it's not verbal. Maybe it's not written. Maybe it's not words, but maybe it's a picture. Maybe you paint some thing. Maybe there's a song that you play that, you know, it may be more about the emotions in a not so cognitive way. And that's what I love. I mean, you know, you're going to hear me say it all year, but that's what I really love about the arts is that you can non-verbally process and then rip up the painting and burn it, you know, whatever it is. Keely: Yeah. And I think that, yeah, like you said anything and I'm thinking about how not to put pressure on ourselves of like, oh, it's like fully let go. It's a process. I mean, it is a type of grief. And so there's also the piece of just allowing whatever emotions to come up. But people still, even when we say these things, I have this voice in my mind, in the back of my mind where people are like, but how do I really let someone really let us go? Yeah. And you know, I'm going to say, it Melissa, it's practicing being present.After these things like the, these things that you and I just talked about of strategies, whether it's dancing in a confetti of ripped up paper or rewriting the narrative, having a letter saying goodbye. I mean, there's also that, you know, obviously we've mentioned it before, I always mentioned again, there's always the blocking getting off the social media, not, not being connected. Yep. But then it's like, how do you get them out of your mind? And it really is that present being present in the moment Melisa: I had someone say to me somewhat recently, like a year ago feels recent to me. I don't know what that says about my sense of time now. But last year somebody had said something to me and I'm, I'm gonna butcher the way that they framed it. It was so beautiful the way they said it. Thinking, not so much about the person, if you're talking about letting go of a relationship. But, but what you were in love with was how, how you felt in that relationship with that person. So taking a little bit of it off of that specific person and, and using that as a blueprint for how do I want to feel in connection with people? Keely: And if you think about that connection with people, then you can think about. You may already have that feeling of connection with other people. It may when the focus is so much just on one person, if you're letting go of one person and we're talking about one person right now, I guess we're using me as an example, but there's, you know, we also talking about all different types of relationships or all different things that we want to leave behind that we want to let go of. So, yeah, that's an interesting, I like that idea. And really thinking about. What it is that we're wanting in connection and losing connection with one person or even a couple people or a few people. Recognizing that connection and that feeling that we have with others already. Yeah. And let me tell you, when you're going through something, a big fat surprise at 9:00 PM at night. Wow. Like connecting, connecting with your, your friends and like being like I can't believe this just happened!!! You find, you get really awesome reminders of. Those connections real fast when you reach out for support or reached out for affirmations or just whatever, you know. Hey, Hey, it's Cardinal your non-binary pal. The first time I ever saw breast forms and binders was that as you like it in Eugene, they have more than sex toys. They also have gender affirming gear for all flavors of trans as well as books on gender and sexuality. Find them online as you email@example.com and use code CTC therapy, all one firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay. Back to the show, Keely: So anything else that you think about when we think about leaving behind? Do you have anything that you want to leave behind in 2021? Melisa: You know? Yes. It's more. I think it's just the theme of where I've been. It's not so much relationships that I've, I don't have many relationships right now and I don't want to leave behind. I mean, I guess technically I will leave behind my partner. I'm going to visit California and then I will, I will leave them physically behind, but not in terms of the relationship. More so, you know, I don't set resolutions, but I. Sort of themes or intentions for the new year. And sometimes that's not right on January 1st or whatever, but really what's come up for me is leaving behind self doubt and then really embracing self agency. Well, like doing, like, I can do things in my life. I can make things happen in my life. I can make the connections happen that I want to have, you know, whether they across life domains, whether that's relationships, whether that's professionally yeah. Embracing, you know, that agency. Keely: Hmm. That's great. Melisa: It's a little step away from the autonomy. So there's room for connection and I am still focusing on relationship with self. Keely: Well, my big intention for this year, both in, as far as Connective Therapy, Collective is as myself personally, I'm really wanting to build community and build connection more. And so I think when I think about what I'm leaving behind, I'm really looking at what relationships aren't serving me anymore. Yeah. And. I like this idea, you know, in some of the themes that we're talking about really are showing up in social media. And so it'll sound similar to what y'all have maybe heard already, but this idea of not begging for someone's attention or not begging for somebody being in your life. And so I think about. How to let those go. And that is not an easy thing for me. And then, but then looking at that, then leave space and not just like space in my brain. I believe that we have a limitless amount of love, so it's not that I'm letting go of the love of, for somebody friends, acquaintances, otherwise, but just letting go of the need for that relationship. Not working anymore. That's what Melisa: it was sounding like you were saying, like letting go of, what's not working.. You know what I've been telling clients recently? I, my brain works in analogy, so this is just my clients laugh at me sometimes because of the weird analogies that my brain comes up with in the middle of a session. And it helps though. But I, I, I really love this one. If any of you are familiar with Marie Kondo and the whole oh my gosh, I'm forgetting. Is it like the art of tidying? Yeah. Yeah. Right. I'm obsessed. But that idea there's this whole, when they're cleaning through things, right. You hold items up to yourself, to your chest and, and, you know, kind of feel, does this bring you joy? And that little, I can picture her doing it. Cause she's so sweet the way she does. But what if, what if we thought about relationships that way? Does it bring , joy ?If I held this picture right. Of this person up, or if I thought about this relationship, does it evoke that kind of a feeling. Keely: Yeah. How does your body react? Well, we've talked about that. Yes. So I'm even, that's a great analogy, Melissa thinking more of like, okay, you're holding this picture. What are you noticing in your body? So if you're not feeling joy, what are you feeling? And that allows you to Melisa: make some decisions, Discard pile. And she's very gentle about how she, you know, because if they can be very traumatic for people to like throw away things. Right. And so, yeah, she's very gentle about the way she does it, but it's just, and you know, I also want to say that a relationship is. Potentially be more complex than your relationship with a sweater. You know, so I, I don't want to propose Keely: a Melisa: whole nother day. Right. And it's got the right perfume in there still, or the right? No, but you know, it, it may be more complex, so it's not to say that relationships should bring you joy all the time, but if you're, if you're zooming out and the relationship is bringing suffering, maybe that's something to look at. Keely: And how our bodies react. How do we, you know, cause this is not just a foreshadow a little bit. This is also leading into like, when we do meet new people, how do we know if it's someone that we want to invest our time in again, whether it's a dating person or a new friend or a new. Colleague community members, someone to partner with in as your profession, how do you start noticing those things? And it's goes back to your body. How is your body reacting? Yeah. Very much so thoughts, but yeah. How does that feel? How does that feel for you? Yeah. Melisa: And that usually looks different than. Some of the like anxious attachment feelings. Like if you really do start to be present, tune into your body, your breath, you know, what's happening. They might feel similar in the beginning, but there's nuances here. You know, there is a difference between that excitement and joy of like a positive connection and that like anxiety, desperation of like, oh, I really need to be connected to this person. Like those are two different feelings. Keely: And that really makes a lot of sense. When you're thinking about when you're going through your, your list of friends, your, your list of relationships, how is that making you feel? And then again, this question we keep coming back to today is how do we let it go? And that's another strategy for even knowing if and when to let it go. So then moving forward. Is in doing these acts, we're going through some grief process. These enactments of getting rid of things of a ritual of writing things down, creating space for the new, and then now moving into the new year, moving into a new way of being, how do then, do we start connecting. With new people and having that space to do the connection, connections look like, and how are they different? How do they service more? How do they bring us more joy? How do we feel authentic connection in our bodies and with another human being. Melisa: And part of like how we have to do, we have to get out of the scarcity mindset. Yes. You have to get out of this idea that what we're actually looking for in connection doesn't exist, or that what we have is as good as it's going to get. Like, gosh, that's a limiting belief. You know, like if we don't believe we can have the kind of connection that we are looking for, then how are we ever going to make that happen? How are we ever going to manifest it? We have to know we're worth it. There there's the relationship to self too, if we don't believe we're worth it, there's another piece below all of this. It really needs to be addressed Keely: well, and that's why we're starting with this year around this idea of building relationship with self is because really reflecting on what are our values, what are we looking for in connection with others? What do we want? And that that's. Change because I, for me, I don't know about you, but I have to think about how much time do I have to give to someone. And I was just talking to someone else about dating and they were saying that they're contemplating not dating for a while because they're starting to have a feeling of Hmm. Would I rather spend an hour or two with you, or would I rather just hang out by myself story of my Melisa: life. I know there's so many, there's so many listeners who were like, how you do that? Like, I don't know. I'm just an alone person. I just, I don't know. It comes very naturally to me. Keely: Well, and I think when you say that, I can say for myself, I've always, I mean, I always people around me and I think having 11 days to myself in December, along with all these other transitions, it's something you just get used to. At least I feel for me, someone. Self-proclaimed extrovert, you know, always I have kiddos, I have a roommate. I, all of these things that are constantly around me is you get used to it and it's not always going to feel good because doing the right thing. Doesn't always feel good. Yes. Melisa: Self care does not like newsflash self care is not always the thing that feels great in the moment. Keely: When you pause and don't respond and you sit with the feelings in your body, it doesn't always feel good being alone for some people doesn't always feel good, but Melisa: that can feel very unsafe for many. Keely: But that doesn't mean. That there's not these, these other opportunities to just enjoy what you're doing, enjoying your activities, being in the moment, allowing I think the other thing I noticed, and I don't know if other people who tend to be more people like having things to do all the time going out. I mean, again, yes we know. It's COVID COVID take 2.03 point. Oh, I don't know, but that, you know, people again, wintertime isolation, not going out as much. But if you notice. What it's like to not plan everything, to not have to have something to do over the weekend to not have FOMO as uh, Marley puts it. She's. Coach like a life coach and she she's like, instead of FOMO, it's Jomo joy of missing out. Yes. I say that a lot, but even just not planning and having again, having the space and slowing down. I mean, yes, these are themes that we're talking about. We're going to continue to repeat, because it is something that doesn't like, you're saying Melissa, and not everybody comes to this naturally or just has this ability and it does. Often come from childhood. Yeah. And having, you know, the fear, the, not just the fear of missing out, but the scarcity or, or not. Being not wanting to look at what comes up. Right. Melisa: And it's gonna, it's going to impact the quality of your relationships. If you're only connecting with someone to avoid being with yourself, you're bringing something different to that. Even if it's like an interact one-off interaction, like you're bringing something different to that interaction than if you were spending time with this person to be with them. Keely: Oh, yeah, for sure. And I am looking down right now because I am going to find, I had just posted what you said was very similar to a bell hooks quote that I posted not that long ago. And I think it's really worth repeating from what you said. Thank you. Wonderful Bell Hooks. The quote is, but many of us seek community. Solely to escape. The fear of being alone, knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape. Melisa: So much more beautifully put, than I said it, Keely: of course. Yeah. And speaking of love, I mean, going back to her book around love and her definition, I'm sure I'll pull out her definition. Not today. We'll do another bill hooks quote later, but it is such a great way to look at things and to just be in that and think about it. I mean, really reflect on that. Like I'm not looking- what, what, what are we looking for in community? Not as a selfish act of needing to escape, but having connection and the ability to have authentic connection. When we have that relationship with self. Which is what we'll be talking about next week to be continued, continued. Well, this was quite a first episode. I feel Melisa: like we always start with our theme and then there's so much more that like neither of us were expecting that's like that too. Oh, and that is great. Yeah. I love that. That's what I love about this Keely: whole, this medium. Oh my gosh. So queer joy of the week. Melisa: You know, your queer. Keely: So for those that don't know, and I will post what ORSAGE stands for, I'm the president ORSAGE, and we do a monthly queer book club reading. And so my queer joy. Was to finish. I actually read a book, not just audio book. I actually read a book. Two, actually. And the one that we read in book club was called Sissy by Jacob Tobia, Jacob Tobia., if y'all don't know who that is, look them up. Awesome. And it was, it was such a joyful. Amazing. Yeah, loved it. Love it. And so now monthly, I am held accountable to finish a book and as a Virgo, I will get it done. Yay. Yeah. Well, I, I think Melisa: I have multiple, which is great. Cause sometimes I'm like, oh, do I have any joy? One, the, the one that's just forefront of my mind is I, because my holiday plans canceled, my plans are now happening. I guess by the time we're releasing, this are probably in progress, but I get to actually see my partner physically see and spend time with my partner who I have not seen now for over a year! Wow. It's been a long time. So I am, I am so excited and I've been waiting to get excited because I won't even go into the details, but there's been like one thing after another. Kept like almost making this trip canceled again. So I've been like, okay, until I'm on that plane, I'm not, I'm not trusting any of it. But I'm, I'm starting to actually feel excited, like it's really happening. So I'll be buzzing about that. I'm sure the next time we record afterwards but also just in the whole relationship with self I've, I've really enjoyed getting into cooking lately. It's not something I grew up doing because I was, I was a really busy kid. Yeah, 12 dance classes. Piano lessons, like the whole bit. So aside from baking, which I I've always loved, but I made myself the most bomb, like from scratch, pumpkin ravioli, like the whole everything from scratch and it took our, I mean, it was time, time consuming. Yeah. So good. So good. And like what a great way to show yourself some love. It was awesome. So that's, I've been doing a lot more cooking lately. That's been my queer joy. Keely: Great. Well, and I think we have a couple of things. We have some things in the works we already talked about. We have our, our workshops. We have a workshop on February 12th. We also have one on Thursday, March 24th, and we have some things percolating. And so we'll probably talk about that more next episode, but some more things for in preparation for summer, doing some more non-monogamous type things, workshops, maybe a group. So we'll see. All right, well, thanks everyone for joining us again today for the first episode of season two, and I hope you all have a queer and joyful week. 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