Newsletter Poetry

celebrate with me

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — AA Milne

won’t you celebrate with me
By Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

I love this poem … thought I might share it with you as part of our month exploring the theme of resilience.
Don’t we all have that thing that we were born which makes us different? I didn’t have models for queerness, for butchness, for non-binary expressions, for sacred intimacy, for kinky topping and play. I too had no model. And I love this question: “What did I see to be except myself?” Would that I could have that kind of resilience.
I love the idea of celebrating this survival. Celebrating our resilience. Things do come after us, daily — the microagressions, the racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, prejudice — and we don’t have to survive it. Not all of us do. But hey, I’m writing to you here today, and we have. You and I have both survived it. Not only that, but here we are, ourselves.
Celebrations all around!


I’ll bury my nut my own way.

November’s theme is all about resilience. Think of those squirrels burying their nuts in the ground in preparation for the coming winter*.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking of resilience not in the sense of planning ahead or bouncing back, all in an effort to avoid or get out of discomfort. Instead, I’ve been thinking about resilience as the capacity to stay in discomfort and to find inspiration in that friction.
Alex and I had long conversations about this very topic during the Wonder Body Connection Tour. Perhaps this comes from my New England Puritanical roots but, as we discussed the “healing power of pleasure,” some part of me resisted that concept, hearing in “pleasure” the concept of hedonism, at worst, or pacification, at best.
When I think of resilience, I want to push towards something else. I want to, at worst, develop the capacity to stand in the discomfort and, at best, have the courage take action even when discomfort still exists.
Many years ago, I remember standing on a high log element of a ropes course (yes, a real log stretched between two trees, 40′ up in the air, but me on belay with rope and harness—in other words, real fear but not real danger). My legs were shaking so much I could hardly move. I waited, thinking eventually they would stop and then I could dance with grace across the log. But they didn’t stop. They continued to vibrate like a sewing machine. Finally I realized that I would have to find a way to move *with* the shaking, instead of waiting (hoping?) for it to stop. And so I took that first step—awkwardly and without grace—and then another, until I found myself mid-log, suddenly clear that comfort is not a prerequisite to action.
This concept was re-inspired for me recently at the National Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta where an amazing experiential exhibit allowed me to viscerally imagine what it might have been like to sit poised and determined at the lunch counter protests, even in the midst of screams and threats. Would I have had that type of courage?
And so I wonder, how do we cultivate the capacity to stay embodied, aware, grounded, and focused, even as our legs are shaking? What’s your relationship to resilience, pleasure, and fortitude?
— Amy
* Just in case, I searched for youtube videos on the subject and found this silly one.


What’s the point of coloring?

“What’s the Point of All This?”

In the last chapter of the Wonder Body coloring book, we tried to articulate why something as seemingly frivolous as coloring might actually be important, critical even, in these challenging political times. With all that has happened this past week, this question seems as important than ever.
Here is what we spoke in the coloring book. See if has resonance for you now.

The body as a tool of connection

The mass of cells, science, and spiritual principles that we call our body is alive. We are complex super generators of sensation, energy, emotion, cognition, and intelligence. Bodies are mechanisms of engagement, the vehicles in which we participate in living. Our alive individual self only exists in connection; living is a process of engagement and exchange, whether we are aware of it or not.

Individuated and interdependent

Resilience—the ability to spring back into shape after impact, loss, and severing—keeps us alive. It is through awareness of interconnection that resilience thrives. Awareness and tuning of your whole body fully primes your engagement with the world. Yes, bodies are amazing resources for pleasure.
This pleasure is important—essential even. And bodies are also hypersensitive tools of connection. Part of the joy of living in a body is not just knowing our own individual experience but also in having the capacity to be in resonance with others, to sense—through our bodies—their pain, love, and hope and how it mirrors our own. Our embodied intelligence and attunement can heal wounds.
By coloring these pages you have fine-tuned your awareness, including the awareness of your body and the priming of its capacity. Treat it like the gift that it is and share it, ensuring this magical potency continues to grow.
We encourage you to feel into the web of connections. Be generous with yourself and others. Be a place of refuge of safety and compassion because…
…you’ve got superpowers now!
— Alex & Amy


Amy & Zed on expansion, resilience, and power — Pleasure Lab season 2 episode 3

Show notes:
Episode 3 of season 2 includes an interview between Amy Butcher and Zed Meade. Books and inspiration mentioned in this episode are:
The Queer Body Love Series with Elizabeth Cooper
The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care, edited by Zena Sharman
Tara Hardy‘s work — My, My, My, My, My and Bring Down the Chandeliers
Cheri Huber — The Depression Book and There Is Nothing Wrong With You
Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren
Sex & Germs: The Politics of AIDS by Cindy Patton
Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
Map of women-centric, queer-positive sex toy shops
Music: Grateful to Little Dog Big Ears for their Creative Commons licensed music She Sees Mice (intro and outro) and New Ages I (try this at home section). Also to Orquesta Arrecife for their snippet LA MORDAZA (whimsey section).