How do you balance personal responsibility with social responsibility? How do you grow through relationship with self? 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. This week's guest is Robin Keesler.
Free self love workshop from Robin: https://mailchi.mp/7f7621ddcc32/self-love-worksheet
More Queer Joy on our website: connectivetherapycollective.com
Robin: So whether you get in a relationship or in a relationship, is irrelevant, but it's why, why am I in this relationship? Why am I alone? Am I alone? Am I being single or solo? Because I'm afraid of love because I'm afraid of intimacy. Am I being single because I'm telling myself a story why I'm better off on my own. I can do it. Like what's the narrative driving that behavior. Keely: Hello, everybody. Welcome to episode two of season two of Queer Relationships, Queer Joy. I'm one of your hosts, Keeley C Helmick. Melisa: And I'm your other host, Melissa DeSegiurant, Keely: we're very excited here today to be meeting with Robin. And one of the things we do Robin, to start off the episode is introduce ourselves. So we'll go ahead and introduce ourselves first and then we'll let you, you can kind of follow our format or do your own thing up to you and you can go from there. So I am Keely C Helmick. I am a queer sex therapist, owner of Connective Therapy collective .I am white, gender fluid. Non-binary queer. Ah, solo. Like, I guess I keep, I almost want to F- I almost want to skip over the relationship dynamic part, but I gotta keep saying it. I am SOLO! Melisa: And I'm Melissa DeSegiurant. I am a clinician with Connective Therapy Collective I am white gender fluid, bisexual polyamorous person, solo solo, poly. Robin: Wonderful. I love it. Well, I'm Robin Keesler and I am you, she, her pronouns. And I identify as lesbian and I am in this interesting place. Like we were just talking about of also being solo but for the first time in my life with intentionality. Which is so cool and crazy to experience. So like really solo by choice. And it's been such a phenomenal experience for me to really, as I was watching some of your previous episodes and interviews, so fun to really think about, I mean, just all the stuff you guys talk about have. It has been so cool for me. But yeah, really just after I got out of my last relationship, I was in this relationship for probably two or three years and engaged and had all of it, like right on this train, we're gonna have kids and do all the things and like super exciting. And then with, you know, then deciding not to do that, I'm like what a cool experience. So it was so neat for me to be able to go through that and be like, yeah, Like, like want that instead of not wanting that and to be like, and, and so awesome. As I, you know, talking about like being in the dating world again, and like, it has been so fun for me to be dating. And, but like not dating with the intention of getting a relationship. Right. And isn't that so different. Yeah. And I've never done that before and it's like talking, you know, it's like, as I talked to my therapist and my coaches, all my people, I'm like, this is crazy. I'm like, I have never felt like more wanted in my whole. Like all these, and talking about building connection and creating connection. And it's like, my world has opened up to all these amazing people that, you know, for me, giving myself the space to be. What are the things that I need to validate that. Right. And you hear all these stories from exes and parents and coworkers about how we're not enough, or like what's wrong with us or what we need to change. And it's like, oh, well you're too anxious or you're too walled off, or you're too, this, or you're too needy or all these messages. And so it's been such a cool thing for me to take a look at all of that stuff and decide. Who do I think I am what what's actually true about me, because there are ways that we sometimes present in the world. If, you know, especially when we talk about like trauma and stuff like that, which is what we're going to touch on today and like how those experiences can show up in our relationships, but we don't have to identify with them Keely: and we don't have to take what other people say. Yeah about us as fact, like that's not, I mean, I was just saying in the last episode that I actually had someone reach out to me in a dating app no less and apologize for something. They weren't trying to connect with me. They were apologizing for an event that happened like six months ago with a recent ex of mine. And it was so fascinating to have that person reach out and apologize because then I, what I realized is I was like, wow, all of that story. Given myself about the event that I felt bad that I was wrong, that I had done something bad because my ex had told me that. Robin: You can let it go, Keely: let it go. Let it go. Robin: I love it, Keely! Cause it is it's. So it's like in most people's experiences of us, when we talk about relationship with self, like I think it's like you know, Whatever your feelings are about Stephen Covey, but he wrote in this, in his book on seven habits, you know, he talks about I really think he introduces that book about talking about personal healing, because he's like, you don't experience the world as it is. We experience it through who we are. and so even in past relationships, when you have people that will come to you and tell you these stories about you. That's actually not who you are, that's their experience of what's happening as their experience of what's happening. And so it's so cool to be able to recognize that and be like, oh, like that's their own, their own shit. Right. They see it through that filter, but it's true for us too. We also then see ourselves through all these filters and whether or not we choose to take on those stories or not. And so it's been really a powerful experience to be able to go into these dating scenarios and be like, okay, this is who I am. The parts that I accept about myself. These are my. These are my challenges in the world and like that they're not a problem, but to be able to just hold space and like accept that part of you and be able to have that open conversation and to see that, like, it doesn't have to be a problem. And so all these same things about me in the way that I am just to show up as myself and it's been so powerful to have all these women just fucking surrounding me. They're like, that's amazing. But like, Like, I haven't even talked about like, not even to say it, but just to be like, oh yeah, I can see this is your protest behavior showing up. And like, what do you need right now? And I'm like, wait a second. You're not angry or, you know, and it's like, you're waiting Keely: for a certain reaction. Yeah. Yeah. Robin: That's a trauma. Isn't that trauma. Yeah. And so assuming that's how people are always going to respond, that's how it's always going to play out and how cool to see that, to just have them come with love and be like, how can I support you in this. And also like and sometimes not, not respond to it or not buy into it to just without, you know, just to like hold their own boundary. You figure out your shit, but then to still be there and like to have that actually create deeper levels of intimacy rather than being something that's actually destroying it, it's actually creating it Ahoy! Cardinal the Merman here. I know you're probably curious about how merfolk have sex seeing as we have the bottom half of a fish. Well, I'll tell you that the nipple clamps selection at, as you like it, sex toy shop definitely comes in handy. Plus a lot of their vibrators are waterproof. Find them online at as you like it shop.com and use code CTCTHERAPY, all one word at check out for ten percent off. That's CTCTHERAPY at as you like it shop.com. I mean, right now I. I'm so happy! I'm in a relationship with self I've been on that train for a bit now. And one of the reasons. I was talking about this to somebody because I'm like, what are your values and relationship like? And I really had to work through this a lot in past relationships, but especially over the last three or four years, I've really been more intentional about that. Like, why am I in this relationship when it's hard, what people would ask me? Why are you choosing to stay? I loved my reason for why I'm like. Stay because there's growth here so much for me that I was able to learn about, about conflict, about how to have a difficult conversation. How do I hold space for somebody else when they're having a different trauma response than mine? And like, what does that look like for us both to get our needs met, right? So like, this is what I need in this. Like I need space and you're like, I need connection. Like, those are in so many people are like, all those are just opposites. It won't work. And I'm like, but it can!. Yeah. That was a phenomenal learning to be able to just go through and see the capacity that I have for love, even when things are hard was so powerful and now in this space and I'm like, oh, but there's growth here too. So like I did that. Yeah. Now I want to do this and all, and it's so cool to like, have, you know, the world just it's like the universe is just bringing so much love and connection and support and opportunity. And it's like, oh, should we date? Should we be in a relationship? Like. No that's different for me. And it doesn't even have to mean never, but like right now to feel, I don't know, like that's so powerful to be like, wow, look how far I've come. Like I literally am like in total sufficiency. Keely: Melisa it's the joy of no! It's the joy of no again!, I love Robin: it. Well, and I love what you said about the intentionality. Like being solo intentionally, not just like by default Keely: or that it's something bad. I mean, that's why I use the word solo instead of single, because there's so many connotations of like, oh, you're single. Oh, you're single. We need to find somebody for you to match with you. It's like solo just as like that intentional. I am choosing. Robin: Well, and I think so many people jump into relationships because of it's again, it's like a trauma response. You're like, it's this, it's like, there's these deeply rooted beliefs that I'm not in that, like, what if I am broken through? What if, what if I really am never going to find love? What if this, you know, avoidant attachment style or this anxious attachment style or all this stuff, right. Are all these, what if it's true? All this shit they said about me or all those stories that are in my head. And so that fear. Of what, if, who I really am isn't enough. And so I think so often we jump, we go right back into relationship because it's like, oh, I can breathe that somebody see I'm not alone. I'm okay. I can have relationship. And so I think it's oftentimes this way of responding to this unconscious, even fear that we have, that we're not going to be good enough or, you know, we're going to be alone forever. And so we don't have our own power to just stand in that space. And just be with ourselves and to do, you know. And so I think I think that often can be like where it's coming from. So whether you get in a relationship or in a relationship, is irrelevant, but it's why, why am I in this relationship? Why am I alone? Am I alone? Am I being single or solo? Because I'm afraid of love because I'm afraid of intimacy. Am I being single because I'm telling myself a story why I'm better off on my own. I can do it. Like what's the narrative driving that behavior. And is it a powerful narrative of self-love and personal healing and empowerment and you know, whatever your values are, does it align with your values or is it a fear response? So the trauma response. Yeah. Keely: And looking at that fear response, I mean, when you said that idea. When you're choosing to be solo and not be in a romantic relationship, the opportunity for all those other relationships that then pop up, but there's still connection. Like it's not romantic relationship is not the only relationship. Right. And it takes Robin: away so much from. Yeah. And that was another huge thing is it's creating a space for me. It's been so cool to build community, to connect with friends. And also like that I have never, I've always been like serial monogamist and I'm like, Nope, this is what I want. I want to get married and have the babies and live in the house and do the thing. And like, it has really created a space for me to explore why. And it doesn't mean that I have to abandon that. If I want that that's okay. But like, is it what I want, like in, why do I want it, like, right. And so it really did create a space for me to be like, to consider something else. Right. And so am I wanting those things? Because that's what society and the church and the way I was raised. Right. That, that was the narrative. Like, that's what you're supposed to do. And that was, is there something about that? Or is it truly authentic to me? And so it's been kind of cool to explore you know, more polyamorous relationships and like what I would really, I've been really calling more circular dating. And so I've been in, you know, all these multiple relationships. Right. And I've never done that before. And it's been so fucking awesome. And I have just been loving it and, and not even because it's maybe how I live my whole life, but like for right now, there's so much personal growth to be found for me in this moment, this dynamic. And so it's just been really cool to have kind of that open heart to be like, what does this look like for me to, to date all these women? And, and to explore what that feel- and it's, and again, creating opportunity for growth around communication around getting my own needs met around, asking them. And like holding space for things to be hard. I think you guys were talking about over the last episodes, right? Like, it doesn't mean that it's just easy then. So as these women come and they're like, Hey, I'm having a hard time with the idea of you dating other people. Or I really like you like noticing in myself like how much growth I've had, because my response is no longer a codependent response of let me fix that for you. Like, Ooh, and like having to like. Having to fix it or having to like, make sure you're not hurting their feelings it's like, it's been so cool to be like, yeah, like hold space for that to be hard. And so talking about personal responsibility also as opposed to social responsibility. Cause I think another thing that can happen is people can be like, well, you're just in charge of your own emotions and that's on you to fix. And like, I'm going to do me. And so. Apathy is not the same, right? Like I don't have to disconnect from that. I can still have compassion. I can care about how they're feeling and still take care of myself. Right. I can, I can still know, like, this is what is right for me right now. This is where my growth path is. And I love you. And I care about you. Like let's what, how can we help? You know, we can ask those kinds of questions, like, right. What is it that you need right now? How can I help it's that both and right, again, same with like, I need space, I need connection. It's like, okay, how can we create space for me and also connection for you? Right? So how can we create emotional safety for you? And also maintain this container of growth for me. Keely: , I want to touch more, if it's okay around this idea, you were just talking about. Like settle into the idea of, okay. It's not just about somebody dealing with their own emotions, but what does that look like? I can just hear listeners or if I had a person in session right now, or people in session, they would be well, how, how does that look? How do I do that? How do I not try to help my partner or help the person I'm dating? But still have compassion for them that I don't just say, oh, you do your, you, you figure it out. That's not my responsibility, which there is truth in that, as you said, it's the both and, but what does that look like? Yeah. How to have compassion without taking ownership for their emotions. Robin: That's the hard thing. The world and life, and as it relates to relationships, but in all things I think is that there's paradox, right? So sometimes paradox can seem contradictory, but I actually don't think it's contradiction. I think it's contrast. And I think contradiction invalidates the other. Where contrast actually enhances it. And so there's these two things there's personal responsibility, which is, which is absolutely valid and true in the world. Like that is a thing that exists. And at the same time, their social responsibility. When you get into a relationship with someone you are responsible for them. When you have a child. Right. But, but this is what I love about it, which I also responsibility. So often I think we misunderstand it and we, we make it mean that like it's like personal responsibility, like taking personal responsibility for something hard in your life. Sometimes people will hear that as like, oh, it's my fault. You're telling me it's my fault. It's not the same or social responsibility. Like if I am responsible for my partner, It's like, they hear that as like, well, you are in charge of them. You have to make sure everything's okay. It's like your- but I love when the also Stephen Covey talks about this deconstructs, that word, and he's like, all it means is that you have the ability to respond responsibility, ability to respond. And so when I have somebody who is having is feeling hurt or feeling sad or feeling, you know, having emotions. Around something that I have said or done or circumstance in the world, I don't have to make it mean that it's my fault or that I have to fix it, but I can recognize that I have the ability to respond in a way in my, is my, is the response that I'm having? Is it helping or is it hurting? So I, because I have. Gone through this process of radical self-love personal healing, knowing who I am. And when it, when you are, when your cup is full, when you have your power, you have the bandwidth to then respond to another human. Yeah. Melisa: And not saying their emotions as somehow, like you said, your fault or an attack on you. Cause I think that's where, you know, gosh, it might be under this guise of like care-taking someone's feelings, but when I'm in that place, I'm really making it about me and my feelings and not responding to their feelings. Robin: Yeah, I don't want to feel, I don't want to feel, Ooh, you're having a negative emotion. That's making me feel icky or uncomfortable, so I better fix it. Well, Keely: you were saying, so I wonder how this ties in, or I want to hear more when you say this exploration, whether it's. Part of what you're going through as well as when you talk to people and you're coaching people around this, coming to this place of self love, because I think a lot of people, like you said, even in your example with yourself, I think it is really common that people are saying, oh, I've just been in relationships all my life, or I'm now at a place of where I want to work through my trauma. What does that look like to start the path of developing a better relationship with our. Robin: Hmm, that's such a phenomenal question. So like, I think the first step, which was what you're saying, people generally at that place have reached is like understanding why it's so important. Right? Because I think a lot of times when people have, you know, they want to work on a relationship or they have conflict in a relationship or whatever, it's like we so often talk about, okay, well, we need to work on communication and boundaries and all these things. You know, try to improve the relationship or like changing the other person essentially. Right. Well, if they would just be different or blah, blah, blah, but like recognizing first that it does begin with self because, you know, so, so often it's. All of it. So often conflict is a projection of, well, they're triggering my thing here, or, you know, whatever. And so I think that recognition is always a first step, but then when you get to that second part of realizing that that's that's, that is, is where the, the healing begins is with yourself. You know, I teach relationships a little bit differently. And sometimes I think it's, you know, it's, sometimes people are like, well, I don't know about that, Keely: but I'm okay with that. Yeah. Robin: Cause it's like, let's just look at things differently, just try it on. And if it works for you great. And if it doesn't and something else works better, that's fine too. But the way that I teach relationships is, is this. And I actually believe that. We don't, it's impossible to have a relationship with another person really, because your relationship is not with that person. It's with your thoughts about that person. So when people say like, oh, I just, this is such a phenomenal relationship. And I'm like, when I, if I was to go in and look at their brain, what is the narrative that you're telling yourself about that? Yeah, Then it would be overwhelmingly positive. Right? And that's actually the reason why you have an overwhelmingly positive . , same with a negative, right. A negative or a hard relationship. It's like the, the, the stories and the narrative, the thoughts that you have about when you think loving thoughts about a person, you feel the emotion of love. When you think condescending thoughts about a person. Right. Yeah. That's the emotion that you feel. And so when it comes to your relationship with yourself, it's the same, right? So a person can, you know be in a marriage and maybe uncover an affair that's happening or something painful. And that's just sort of the circumstance that's happening, but your emotion, your relationship to that person into that entire circumstance is not actually defined by their behavior. It's defined by the thoughts you have about it, because there are some people that could be in the exact same situation and be like, awesome. I've been wanting to open up our relationship. Let's talk about this. Right. And then there are other people who might feel devastated. And, and so for me, It's in the way Victor Frankel talks about it in his book, Man's Search For Meaning is he says between stimulus and response lies our freedom to choose. And so the stimulus is, you know, this thing that happened. But then what is your response to it? And there's always, everyone responds differently, right? And so it's not uniform because it's not actually about the thing. And so how do we choose to respond? And that comes with the thoughts that we think in the narrative that we're telling me what we're making it mean, all of that. And so when it comes to relationship with yourself, it's the same thing. What are the thoughts that you have about yourself? What are the beliefs? What is the belief system that you have about yourself? Is it I'm broken. I'm not good enough. No one will ever love me. You know, I have this binge eating disorder and so nobody's going to want to be with me. That makes me really fucked up. I don't make the decisions. I'm not good with money, whatever it might be. So there's these, this whole narrative in this, this, these beliefs that we have about ourselves and in my approach like that is what determines your relationship with yourself. I love that, you know, in tracking back to where do those beliefs get seeded?, you know, and we named trauma and that's, I think where my mind goes and where I think a lot of us go is like, okay, what are these, these places where. I have, I have felt harm and then constructed these beliefs to try and make sense of the harm I was experiencing. Yes. Keely: A good old CBT. Robin: Yeah, it is because that's what you, you take it on sometimes, and once it becomes about your identity, then you have to keep it, right? And so it's really that relationship with self and heal. It's really about identity. Where does your identity come from and what do you, and it's, what do you believe about yourself? Who am I really? And what am I believing about myself? And so when it comes to healing and so I do a workshop on radical self love and personal healing, and that's all, what that is about is really looking at all these emotional wounds, all these trauma wounds, all these things that have impacted us. So deeply, all this emotional pain that we're carrying. When we really sit down with someone and I ask them, okay, tell me about. And I just, and just let them go. What you're getting is not necessarily facts. There might be a couple in there, but generally it's belief, thoughts. This is what I'm thinking, this is what I'm believing. And it's that belief that you have about yourself that creates, that creates your relationship with yourself. So if you want to heal your relationship with yourself, you have to heal. What you believe about yourself and really take control of that. Melisa: And even as you're saying that, I'm thinking about what beliefs you have about your own capacity to grow and change and outgrow patterns and narratives. You know, we know neuroplasticity is a thing, but I don't know that at least from what I'm hearing from my clients, we don't always believe that we can create new patterns. Robin: Totally. I hear that from people all the time. And I asked them, tell me about that or whatever. And they're like, well, I have. And they have, and, and, and as they're talking, I'm hearing, this is what they believe about themselves. This is what they believe about themselves. This is what they're believing about themselves. And they'll say things like that. Well, I just, you know, I just attract toxic people in my life. Like, that's a belief when you believe that, like, that's what you manifest, that's what you you're cause you're living from that place. And so I have a whole model that shows how our. How our thoughts actually create our actions and results in the world, but it all comes from emotion. And so you know, behavior and emotion are tied together in the limbic system. And so that's where emotion is created. And so, and it's, and it's tied to consciousness as well. And so again, when you think of thought, so when you think a thought it creates an emotion and that emotion is what drives us to action. Right? So, and that was by design, right? Like if we feel fear. We ne- we sometimes need that right. To be like, okay, I'm going to get away from danger. I'm going to do this. And so but when we think loving thoughts, again, it creates loving emotion. And from that emotion of love, we take different actions. So when I'm feeling shame, I act differently in the world than when I'm feeling enthusiasm, when I'm feeling confused. Right. I act differently. That's when I, oh, I spin out or I hide or I procrastinate because I'm telling myself a story. I don't know how this is too much. I'm overwhelmed. And so those thoughts create those emotions and those emotions impact the way I behave and show up. Melisa: I would caution I'm listeners too, cause this, this comes up for me and humor is, it is a huge resource and it's one of my biggest ones for sure. But self-deprecating humor like, Ooh, check into that one. Y'all you know, because we might say it and I've heard this from clients, I've heard things like, oh, you know, my broken trauma. Wow. Wow. That's a belief. And if, you know, if we're trying to spin it off as kind of a comment, comment, comment for me, and I only speak for myself here, but oftentimes when I'm using self-deprecating humor, it's to reclaim something that I felt shame about, but that's like the, the intention of it, but I haven't actually done the work of unpacking that thing, Robin: I think because you're minimizing. And as I can minimize it, it doesn't hurt so much, but if I'm on, if I don't, humor's a way to do that. But if I, if I don't have that tool, then all of a sudden I have to like reckon with it and be like, wait, are you telling me that I have that this is actually a big deal and it's important then it's like, fuck. You know? Right, Keely: right. Yeah. So do you have assignments or exercises or things that you have clients specifically do or when you're in these workshops that you're doing. Robin: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We, I walk them through a process and so for me, radical self-love and personal healing, it's, there's two things again, you know, it's like that most people want and it's like, they want to stop feeling pain. Right. Yeah, that's good. And they want to start feeling positive emotion, right? So they want to stop feeling negative emotion, whatever that is. Shame, fear, anxiety, self-doubt all this stuff that we carry. That's again, tied to these belief systems like Melissa said, like, just so I help them to recognize first that like those emotions are being created in, in your mind. Right by the thoughts that you're thinking, the stories you're telling, that's why you're feeling that emotion is because this loop you have that, I'm not good enough. I don't know how to do it. I'm not good with technology, you know, whatever, and all those stories are creating this emotion. And so understanding that first and the first step is I help people figure out how to actually process that pain and the trauma and, and healing those emotional wounds. And so I think when you're able to have an, it takes some courage and some emotional bandwidth to sit down and be like, okay, I'm going to look at this thing. And so we talk about healing from shame or releasing resentment. And so we look at like the obstacle and the elephant in the room, because like, that's, what's keeping us from our joy. It's powerful to, and I also teach people how to create positive emotion. And so, because that's also something intentional, you can literally. Create that in your mind, like, I sit down with a piece of paper and maybe I'm feeling anxiety about coming on the zoom call. And when I sit down and I do what I call a thought download, okay. And I just dump out my brain onto this piece of paper, all the things I'm thinking. And then it's like, oh, what if, what if I don't fit in? What if I'm not good enough? I mean, these people are so much better than me or whatever. Right. And you get out all those thoughts that are in your brain because that's, what's creating the anxiety or whatever it might be. And I'm like, oh, okay. And then I can recognize, okay, what's really true. And then I can rewire my brain to focus on these other things, right? Like this is an amazing opportunity to connect with these two beautiful women that are doing something amazing in the world. You know, I have something different to say, maybe because I am different, maybe everybody doesn't look at the relationship the same way. And like, that's the beauty in it, right. Or whatever it might be, this is just an example, but you can kind of see, and then all of a sudden I can uncover the truth. And then one of my brain I'm like, oh, and then my brain starts thinking those thoughts. Like this is going to be fun. This is going to be phenomenal that these, you know, whatever. And then I start to feel excitement. And so it's the same with that relationship with yourself. So I, so when it comes to radical self love and personal healing I take people through a process of understanding, what is it that you're believing about yourself right now? Like what's in the way. And can we deconstruct that so that you can see it like, oh, okay. This is just something I picked up somewhere. Like, it's a choice, like so many people don't think it's a choice like that. And that keeps you stuck. Right? Because, well, I just, I was abused as a kid. I'm an alcoholic, I'm this. And it's like all the things that they're giving their power to. And when you can like, bring it back and be like hold on a second, like and recognize that like it's that there is, we do have the power to release that and to create a new story. And then and then I helped them to do that, to rewire their relationship with yourself. What do you want to believe about yourself? Yeah. Like and sometimes it's starting with that. Cause sometimes we can't go from, I hate my body to, I love my body. Like it's just too much, but we can go from, I hate my body to, I have a body and we can Keely: still be in connection with people while we're doing that process. That's another thing that comes up is this idea that, oh, we have to be completely. Quote unquote, fixed. We have to be in a certain space. I need to be in a certain space of my trauma healing in relationship to others. And I think that's the piece too, when you're thinking about this goal, like what is the goal of dating? There's such this, we'll say it again and again, and again, the relationship escalator, there are reasons for dating and connecting. If we think about dating as connecting. Whether it's romantic sexual w- what kind of intimacy it's like, I mean, because let's be real, sometimes we just connect, we date to have sex with another human, and that's okay. Sometimes we date to have emotional intimacy that. Is not sex. You know, there's all these different pieces of reasons, but we're, it is so ingrained in our culture. That dating is to be in a serious monogamous relationship. That's going to lead to. Be married and that's just not the case. Robin: And like, what do those? And like, recog-, like when I'm having those thoughts, they're just not there. That's a belief system. And that's exactly what I went through Keely, which is so cool. It's like for me to be like, oh, Keely: Robin we went through the same thing. You know this, you don't even know how, like you don't even know you and I are. It is the universe is. Yeah, Robin: it's just a beliefe and it's like, well, you know, and that was actually one of the things that was so powerful. My last relationship was like, I had this I'm like, I want to look like this and this and this. And she was like, but why it could also look like this and this and this. And it was, it was actually so cool for me to be able to get to the point of like, Hmm, okay. Like, am I open to considering that? And it doesn't mean, and I was, and I was like, yeah, actually, you're right. I could do that. And it doesn't mean that I have to, but like how powerful to know that I can. Mm there's options. There's choices, options. I have choices, and this is just another one of those to be out there in dating and in these kind of in these open relationships and dating multiple people and enjoying intimacy with all, you know, and like so cool to be like, wow, like this is an option too. And I think that's what I do also with the mindset working with the healing is that it's like, You don't have to put down this story, like, cause some people want to hang on to it, but like, just to recognize it as an option is powerful to be like, what could I think instead about, you know, that abuse that I suffered? Like I don't, you don't have to be like, oh, it was such a gift wholly. Don't have to, some people do it's an option, but you also don't have to be like I'm destroyed because of it. And so I, I sometimes challenge people to come up with. At least 20 options. And like, some of them can be shitty that you don't even want, like, you're like, this is ridiculous. This is delusional. But like, is it an option? Just gets your brain going, right. That's a space between like the person and the, and the thing, like, even if you're going to, like you said, choose the same narrative or the same perspective. You're, you're seeing it as a narrative, not as your self. Exactly. And there's and you have the power of choice. Keely: Awesome. Well, all and all of this is this connection with self is to create more joy, both with ourself and in relationship to others. And so. We always like to like wrap things up with what our queer joy is of the week. And we ask our guests as well as each other. But before we do that, I didn't want to forget you mentioned some awesome workshops that both that you've done in the past. And I would love for our listeners to know both how. Contact you and what your upcoming workshops are, and then we'll talk about your joy. Robin: Okay. Yeah. So I'm going to be doing a a live event workshop actually at the end of this month on what to do with emotional pain. I think taking that as the obstacle and dealing with that. And then the second piece is that I will do later is then how do we, after we clear that up, create the emotion and the joy that we want in our lives and the connection, whatever it is. So what to do with an emotional pain is going to happen on Sunday, the 30th, and people can email me or find me on Facebook if they want to participate that in that. And then that's always a lead into my six week workshop on radical self-love and personal healing. And we go in and we look at our trauma wounds and what, and how to heal those, like where the, where the actual pain is created, which of course is always in our minds with our narratives. And then how do we claim our power in rewriting that narrative so that we can be the person that we want to be in the. So that's what I have coming up. Yeah. Yeah, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org is my email or find me on Facebook, just I'll post the link to sign up for that free workshop on my Facebook page. So that's just facebook.com forward slash Robin Keesler, and I'll post it in there on my business page. Keely: So awesome. We can add it to our calendar as well. Well, who wants to start with queer joy? I have one, but I don't have to be the first one. what am I going to say? I forgot. I am super excited. Cause it was over like the holiday. It was back in December, but I met with the executive director of. Pride Northwest. And I am so pumped as the president or Sage, we are going to be doing a emotional wellbeing booth at pride this year. And to find out that pride is going to be in person back on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon. So excited. So that's, I mean, how more queer joy can we get then talking about pride. Hello? Yeah. Super Robin: pumped. Well, I can go next then. My queer joy for this week was actually I just have been, like I said, enjoying these relationships so fucking much and so fun and just, and I had an amazing new year's Eve with this girl that I've been dating and we stayed up until. Five o'clock in the morning, just like talking and we having champagne and playing games and we played a game called you're not strangers. You guys heard about this. Keely: It sounds like a good dating Robin: game!. So fun. Yeah. And so you pull cards and they have questions on the cards that you like, talk about the answer. Like haveyou ever called to your an exes' phonee or whatever, or what do you or whatever, and vulnerability stuff and getting to know each other in these. The intimate ways. And it was just so fun. And I think she was like, do you realize it took us like three, like three hours to go through like 10 cards? Cause we just like were talking and it was just such a cool and fun experience of connection. And like, you talked about Keely.And to be still going through my own work, but again, to be able to be like, I can have joy and connection in this process, like it's not cool and fun experience for new year's Eve to come into the new year that way. So that was my queer joy. Yay. Keely: I love it because I mean, how more gay can you be talking for three hours? And again, I love it. Robin: And it's like this whole week, I've been like, we have to go to sleep. I can't even say how many parts and then like last hour up till two 30, the more. I'm like, I'm not 24 anymore. but like, it was just so like, we can't stop talking, you know, and it's just like such amazing conversation and I just have loved every minute of it. So. Yay. I love it. I've I've this whole podcast. I'm like gleaning inspiration from other people, and I love it. It makes me happy to hear Keely: that this is happening in the world, but listen, I are really, really good at compersion, like, yes. Robin: Yeah, for sure. Well, I'm still, like I said, I'm rocking this solo thing. But my queer joy has been. Like really, I feel like 20, 21 was a big year of just healing from everything and the 2020 throughout me. And you know, I felt a difference in my energy levels. My like, yes, I am still solo and I'm like more actively as solo. Like I can do something besides just survive day to day now, which is like, wonderful. In of itself. But what has happened as a result is my creativity is like super come back online. And I've mentioned this before. I think some of that is seasonal. Winter is like, you go inward and you get to create, but the joy for me there is it's, it's not just in what I'm creating or whatever artistic process I'm engaged with. It literally changes how I carry myself throughout the day. Like I have a different energy when I'm making. Bed because I'm in flow. So I'm, and for me, my spirituality and creativity, like may as well be the same thing. They're very linked. So just to notice that I've been in flow and I continue to be in flow and that is such a gift, such a gift, and I'm really grateful. No, that's so cool. I love that. And Melisa, and actually, if it's okay, that just reminded me of something also, I would like to point out when, when we talk about like, you know, Keely's asking, how do you, what's the process for, for creating this radical self-love or what's the process for healing that relationship with yourself? And I think, you know, the process is understanding where, where the, where it comes from, like where do, how do we create relationships? Like where does the quality of that relationship? Yes, is it created? And I, and I think largely it is the way we talk to ourselves and the belief systems and stuff. But when I talk about personal healing and healing from trauma and stuff, one of the things that I I have experienced for myself and I believe to be true is like, and when you tie it, like when do you know when you're there? Right. Like in, do I have to drop myself in the middle? Of course you don't, but like one of the markers for those of you, if this is useful for anyone that I have always used for myself, And I, and I learned it through experience because something would happen I'm like, and just like with that person, like, oh, I'm having an emotional response about something and I'm like, awesome. And I can like turn towards that person and hold that space for them without fixing it. Bam. That was it. I was like, Like, right. And so it's like to meet. Yeah. And so I think one of the cool things that I like to think about is like, as you're assessing yourself, going through this journey of like recreating your relationship with yourself and your narrative and your belief systems, because that influences how you show up and how you feel. But also like, are you finding yourself? I think it's like, somebody told me that Robin they're like Robin, the universe is just going to keep giving you this. Until you learn to respond differently, right? Like you're going to keep having these same experiences. People are having this pattern and it's like, the universe is like, because baby, you haven't like figured it out yet. Robin's shifted it. And so it's like for me, one of the hugest markers of healing from your own personal traumas and really. Recreating a powerful relationship with yourself for me has been to go through the same experience and have a different response. And so when I would go through experiences with, with lovers that were hurtful or painful and I would have, you know, and then have the same thing happen again. And be like, but I was in my power and I'm like, right. To have someone say, oh, you're this and feed you a negative story about yourself or be little you or cut you down. And before, like Keely said, I would believe it. I'm like, oh, maybe it is my fault. And then how I knew I went through this process. Was when that same thing would happen and I'd be like, that's a lie Keely: patterns, breaking Robin: patterns, different thought. Right. And it's like, and I feeel powerful. And so I think, I don't know if that's useful for you, for your listeners or not, but I, I, I appreciated understanding that and then catching myself in the middle of a situation and see literally seeing myself respond. Differently. And so I think that's a huge marker of personal healing. It is huge. Those are the things that I like. Well, now that we're teletherapy, I've totally started doing the little, like, like you could do emojis, like, or reactions Literally clients are now laughing at me cause I'm like, I'm just bored with teletherapy. But those are the moments where I am literally like putting my hands up. I'm like, yay. Let's celebrate for a second here. And I use that little like celebration confetti. Because we do need to pause and it's sometimes small, but it's like a big deal to really notice like, Ooh, I responded to. Yeah. And like celebrating those wins, you know, and like what's working, like you talk about like, oh my God, this is working in like, you know, celebrating those little wins as you're going through the journey and allowing yourself to enjoy connection and creativity and just all the joy and the love that's in the process. Keely: Oh, and that's such a good, just, I am just imagining it as we wrap up just this idea of like, knowing when you've made a shift, having this self-love being in this great relationship with self Robin: and you're in your power, in your power and you're like, you got it, Robin. You got it, Keely! Like, yeah, fuck. Yeah. And just to be able to celebrate yourself. Yeah. Keely: Celebrate joy. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Robin, for joining us today and thanks everyone for listening. Y'all know how to contact us. Please message us. Tell us what you think of it. Tell us the ideas for this next season, what you want to hear. And again, I hope you all have a wonderful queer and joyful week. Robin: Yay, Thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer joy, a podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective hosted by Kelly C Helmick and Melissa DeSegiurant with audio edited and produced by me. Cardinal Marking intro music is by bad snacks. This week's guest was Robin Kessler. Find Robin email@example.com. That's R O B I N. K E E S L E r.com or find the link in our show notes. 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. Yep. You can now review podcast on the Spotify mobile app or send us an email at info at Connective Therapy. Collective. For more queer joy, visit our website at www dot Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. Love you. Bye.