My name is Sue, and I am fascinated by sexuality, gender, consent, and relationships.
I live and work by the motto’ Permission to feel what you are feeling’, and I’m passionate about counteracting stigma and shame, particularly around our bodies, our thoughts, and desires.
I have been examining shame, judgement, power dynamics and trauma both personally and professionally for decades. It was rife in the corporate world, and now I recognise it everywhere.
It’s taken me a long time to land on my purpose.
I see life as having phases with core themes running through them.
Each decade, chapter, volume revealing more of who I am, what’s next
Four engrained, consistent identities I can be sure of are:
These are the pillars and foundation of my work.
Lived experiences can help
There are informative experiences from my childhood, teenage years, 20’s, 30’s and 40s which have shaped my view of the world. While my experiences don’t define me, they give me a level of understanding, compassion, and empathy.
When I think back to why I gave up my corporate life, which, on paper, had value, and in reality felt dreadful, it was a growing and burning desire to work with, educate and support people.
People who, like me, who, amongst the many memorable, privileged, abundant moments, also had dreadful, sad, scary, painful experiences which held them back from being who they wanted to be for too long.
I have debated about sharing some of my first-hand experiences so openly. Some people may frown upon it.
In my search for meaning, having someone who has a felt sense inkling as to parts of my experience, has helped me get out of the explaining mode and into the feeling mode.
Revealing a shared experience and identity is one of the reasons why #metoo was so important.
Trust, Permission and Safety
In workshops, both as attendee and facilitator, the consistent feedback I receive is by sharing elements of my personal experience relating to the topic we are exploring develops trust, gives Permission and can help people find safety.
So here we go. Some of my first-hand experiences include:
- Gender confusion
- Domestic violence
- Drugs and alcohol abuse
- Sexual assaults and rape
- STD stigma
- Chronic arthritic pain in both feet since my mid 20’s
- False belonging
- Not fitting in
- Trying to and failing to conform
- Wanting to be sexual, to experiment and explore
- And more. There is always more.
Through education, therapy, being creative, dancing, movement, embodiment, breath, finding community, being brave, fucking up, making mistakes, and trying again I discovered that these things don’t have to define who I am in a negative or victim way.
A healthy, nourishing life is possible despite trauma, stigma, oppression, conflict, and pain.
I know this because I have been there.
What I learnt
Working with my experiences and personal trauma, making lots of mistakes, falling and getting up again, together with a thirst for knowledge allowed me to find a wide range of ways to heal, build resilience and get braver.
Education played a significant part in this. The more I knew, the more I understood. Being a geek with a passion for patterns and processes, with an eye for visual changes helped me here. I was trying something new, refining it, trying again and always looking for ways to make it better fuelled my creativity.
The notion that there is only one way to get things right, that there is even a right and a wrong, doesn’t ring true for me.