The Warmth of Women

I am so glad we decided to make a workshop at Sh! This is a special environment where women may explore their sexuality in a totally welcoming space. It is much more than a specialist sex shop; it has an ethos to reach women where they have not been touched before! It is an intimate space downstairs where we created Spirited Bodies magic within this new setting. Surrounded by dildos, vibrators, whips, paddles and lubricants we eased into poses on the pink oval couch that had a fetish feel. One of our artists was very comfortable directing poses due to her frequenting of fetish clubs; I took full advantage. Not that I am shy, but when you can see someone flowing with inspiration for ideal use of props and the angle of each limb, it is a gift for all to let that unfold. Thelma and I just tweaked some of these poses according to our knowledge of modelling, and making allowances for the newness of these models who want to try a novel experience more in some cases than have a realistic experience of life modelling.

Here are some pictures from this unusual workshop which hopefully we will try some time again.

P1010185

P1010186

P1010187

P1010188

P1010189

P1010198

P1010199

I initiated proceedings with a 6 minute pose; the average pose was 5 minutes

I initiated proceedings with a 6 minute pose; the average pose was 5 minutes

P1010201

I made suggestions to models about levels and relative openness or closedness of the body, as well as direction of limbs, and as well they found their own postures to fit with the other model’s shape.

P1010202

P1010208

P1010204

dynamic and fun

dynamic and fun

P1010206

These fabulous felt-tip pen line drawings are by Lily Lemaire

These cartoonesque felt-tip pen line drawings are by Lily Lemaire

P1010210

P1010211

Most participants came primarily to try modelling, and a couple preferred drawing, but they too had a go at posing. They said that it helped them understand the models’ point of view.

P1010213

Collection of underwear models, or a ridiculous all girl band as one of them observed!

Collection of underwear models, or a ridiculous all girl band as one of them observed!

Colourful finale pose

Colourful finale pose

Artist Khadijah likes to use oil pastels I believe

Artist Khadijah likes to use oil pastels I believe, bringing out tone more than line

P1010217

a pink feather boa connected the models

a pink feather boa connected the models

P1010219

P1010221

The costumed model presents different considerations for the artist; clothes draw attention to other features and shapes which the nude does not.

P1010220

A light touch; it is so warming when participants get into the spirit of friendly posing with each other they have not met before

A light touch; it is so warming when participants get into the spirit of friendly posing with each other they have not met before

I thought afterwards, coming into this shop for a class, these women would not be likely to be phased!

P1010223

P1010224

Pleasing parallel lines and angles

Pleasing parallel lines and angles

P1010226

While life or clothed modelling is not necessarily sexy, it can be. Above all we want to promote women being comfortable and confident in their bodies – sexually and otherwise. Often being at ease with one’s form may enhance sexual confidence, in a truthful way that is not about doing what is expected of us, or what we think we ought to do, but by being ready to sense our own desire and act on it appropriately. Being able to appreciate ourselves allows us to appreciate others more, and be appreciated by others. While the body can be a very sacred place, we easily become disconnected from it in our mentally driven lives. But if we take time to tune into what is going on inside, and learn to move our bodies however we can to enjoy them, we begin to intuit more the language of the body.

As I move from pose to pose, especially but not exclusively the quick (and movement) ones, there is hardly any time in between poses when I am working, to recover the body to its natural equilibrium, to eliminate aches and cramps. My body tells me which limbs to work as I form a new shape; more than the alternation of muscle groups (though that is part of it) its language is subtle and beyond logical. It knows I am performing a sequence, that there is a climax mid-flow of muscular tension when I will pass through a pain barrier and I will surpass artists’ expectations of what I can hold. I push myself because I am like a gymnast aiming for gold, I take my modelling seriously because I love it. It is my gym, my yoga and sometimes my dance. It strengthens my core and warms my very being. It takes me to places of trance, of deep joy and wild amusement I cannot possibly describe to you because it is so in the moment, the way it lights my smile challenging the artists to catch it! Sometimes it is tantra too and it turns me on, and if I were a man I would have to master myself quite heroically not to offend people and risk not being booked and getting a tarnished name. As a woman I can hide it if I want though sometimes my sexuality is discerned – naturally I am being closely observed, and enjoying it. That is even turning me on too; part of a pleasure loop of enjoying myself, being enjoyed by others. But it is not deemed offensive; though it affects me physically this is subtle compared with a man. Instead I am likely to wear a translucent glow and my pheromones reach the artists subliminally (or not). I am sometimes booked because I am sexy, though not in an obvious way, because that is not my style. I mean, it is pleasing to artists consciously or otherwise that I am in tune with my sexuality and I know how to handle it. It makes me confident and that is attractive. It is about my physicality and my nature. I know that life modelling has enhanced this for me. It was always there, a big part of me, being very sexy; but after becoming closeted a few years for social and personal reasons, the liberation afforded by life modelling was strong and so welcome. Now I share that as best I can with others.

Working so closely with my body and my beauty daily, I am acutely in touch with my cycle. I bring different energies at different times to modelling, from the highly charged and emotional, to the light and easy going, to the blatantly desiring, and commanding. Through meditation with energy work (visualising the flow and store of energy within the body) I aim to master better the hormonal drives in me. I have become so aware of my enslavement to a feminine cycle of emotions and desires, that I look to overcome this through deeper analysis, to channel all that powerful energy to put it to best use. Not to move beyond sex, but rather reach a higher source of sexual power, which is ultimately more feminine, unbound by time or undue strain.

I will add that there are many different types of life model and I am just one. Our individuality is the beauty of our game.

One of the women who participated on Thursday evening wrote to us the next morning;

“Thank you for a wonderful evening last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the modelling and the theme was right up my street ūüôā I am absolutely interested in modelling again in the future, I think my preference would be all women groups at least for the first few sessions since I am a newbie! I am not so keen on the drawing side as my skills in drawing are so inadequate!”

Thelma responded, “Thank you ūüôā It was an absolute pleasure and to see you ‘warming up’ to the experience. That is why I like SB – there is an indescribable feeling of fluidity, freedom and togetherness – spirited bodies, like minded embracing ‘the nude’, our nude in a practical, loving, flowing into¬†unconscious way – if that makes sense! I fully understand about the drawing side – when I draw I try and do a ‘small bit’ or part of the pose or just try and get the positions to practice¬†perspective.”

Finally the young woman wrote, “I am exploring and learning so much about myself and the world through my body and its empowering and ¬†incredibly freeing. I have always been very comfortable with my body, but unfortunately have been surrounded by a lot of people who aren’t! That can really limit who you are when trying to be sensitive to other people’s hang ups.

I am delighted to have been in the space of women who love and appreciate their bodies as they are :)”

Beautiful

Advertisements

On Sexuality, Disability & Mental Health; or Sustainable Living

From when I was a child, I can remember wanting my Mum to be better, wanting to make her happy. It was perhaps the strongest emotional drive in me. Long before she was diagnosed with MS, I knew she was deeply unhappy, which was expressed mainly through her anger. I wanted her to be ok. It was what I wished for when I blew out the candles, or the tooth fairy visited.

So now I attract partners, sometimes friends that I would like to fix. Habit.

Mum did get better. Not physically, but emotionally she is the most reliably happy person in the family. Definitely not angry. To be fair Seroxat has a lot to do with that, but so does my Father’s unerring loving care towards her. Truly in my experience anti-depressants have never suited a person so well. I think knowing she will never move her body again by herself, gives her conscience clear reign at accepting the drugs. Inside she is very sad at what has become of her, but that is successfully suppressed, and she shows immense gratitude for all she does have, always professing sheer joy in her state of being. As well as the suppression of pain, there is the countering effect of transformation, and I do mean spiritual. Mum knows that in the height of her youth and health, she was unable to appreciate what she had, so dogged was she by anger and lack of confidence. Now that she has lost the use of limbs, sometimes eyes, sometimes mind; she knows more keenly what she had previously, but much more than the value of these physical aids, she is now open to love in her life in a way which she never was before. Most people I know on anti-depressants still get depressed, but not Mum. They really work with her, year after year.

from a recent Drawing Theatre session I did with Paul Kindersley

from a recent Drawing Theatre session I did with Paul Kindersley

On Wednesday 7th August, Mum will be modelling with Spirited Bodies, and this time (she took part before clothed for portrait with Dad) she will be nude. She is really excited about this, saying that although she doesn’t particularly think her body is beautiful, the idea that people will spend time drawing her is very incredible and uplifting. She says it feels like a gift, and she recognises she may be a role model for other disabled people to take part in future. She may not have a wide pose range, but my Goodness can she hold still.

I still have issues on occasion about being asked to look after her. Doesn’t happen very often. I am busy in my life, the other side of London, whizzing this way and that, my parents have their routine and I don’t see them a lot. My brother and sister are much closer to home. I would resent caring for my Mother as I felt I lost a number of years due to her earlier negativity, lack of love for me. On top of this, I have in recent years felt as if I have lost my Father for the enormous task of taking care of Mum. He is exhausted and needs every bit of free non-family time for himself. So I raised this point not long ago, and now we are in the process of reclaiming that forgotten Father/Daughter relationship which may be the precedent for some of the most crucial relationships I form.

IMAG1105

Spirited Bodies is a challenge to keep flourishing – sometimes I recognise in writing the familiar spiel in emails and documents, I have lost some of the necessary passion and zeal to lift this off the ground. Become normal, ordinary, I forget how magical it is! Others in the team get judged by family for putting so much time into life modelling and this project, when before they held high earning jobs, keeping their families in the trappings they are accustomed. This is a real test on relationships, for loved ones to see past the financial value, and appreciate what it is that makes them happy. In our case life modelling and taking that further to others.

model Kayleigh

model Kayleigh

This societal/monetary pressure is a most damaging force, an unfortunate reckoner, and in this respect I am grateful for my rebellious youth which long ago set a precedent for not being expected to achieve or earn in a certain way. And I surround myself with people who understand that and do not judge me for my nude activities. It can be a harsh shock when I find myself in less than usual territory in the company of ‘normals’! But I am getting better at it.

IMAG1107

Attracting a damaged mate has opened up a new vista as I retread the possibilities of more open relationship. I am a dynamic being full of expression and desire, so a physically weaker character with whom I fell in love, cannot hold permanently my capacity. I was getting desperate, thought of splitting up – but we didn’t really want that. I entertained the idea of becoming a surrogate – offering myself for the (sexual) healing of others and my financial gain, but it didn’t quite click. I thought of exercising after long, long pause the lesbian in me, and here I hit a note. I realised my experience of cunt has been so much more limited than mine of cock, and all related hormones. I thought how empowering to feel comfortable with cunt, to know others’ and their ways, not just my own. To know them intimately. Last time I investigated I would have been on drugs or pissed; there was room for so much more exploration. And breasts – if you do not have large ones yourself, how wonderful to feel another’s pendulous pair!

Kayleigh is not my lover, but I love these pictures and wanted to use them

Of all the possibilities this seemed least threatening to my boyfriend, or most reasonable. There is also a feminist argument for it. Men remain so tightly bonded by comparison, and we women must catch up if ever we are to match status. My boyfriend is appreciative of this sentiment.

And so I found myself another lover, and what a difference it makes. She has a delicate touch, so sensual; I feel new with her and myself opening with abandon. I feel such gratitude for this amazing opportunity to be intimate with two people, and I am much more thoughtful and peaceful with my boyfriend as a result. I want to cherish him more and show appreciation for his understanding. Before he felt burdened to try to keep up with my numerous social activities which of course he could not begin to; now this obligation is shared! Both my boyfriend and my girlfriend have varying degrees of social phobia, but spurred on by the prospect of keeping up each of their sides of the bargain, we find harmony. Finally I might not turn up almost everywhere alone (despite having someone at home for me), which sometimes created an awkward impression. Now I can really keep my friends guessing!

IMAG1110

On Mental Health: (because recent events have brought me closer to the realm of mental health concerning others)

I learnt young that falling into the system could be damaging. I saw my Grand-Mother drugged in a corner, barely present, except on wild occasion as she stopped her meds, and released the wacky conversations with ghosts in the room. Decades of drugs, Electric-Shock Treatment and institutionalisation took care of her (paranoid schizophrenic) but she looked so innocent to me. She had been the first woman in her town in Lancashire to get into Oxford University where she read English, and met her husband, a colonial type of the old boys network. She had once been very intelligent, not at all ‘mad’, but something had driven her to insanity. After my Grandparents died, old family friends revealed that Grandpa’s blatant affairs had been the trigger; whilst they were living out in Africa, far from her home, and her alone with the children.

As a child I considered; if I was mad and I probably am, I never wanted any authority to get hold of me. The world is mad obviously, so I’d rather take care of myself. I appreciate this doesn’t work for everyone, and that the system though far from perfect, has moved on from ’50s strategies.

I’ve never been attracted to men of a certain class either.

I just wanted to use these lovely pictures which have no direct relation to the post

I just wanted to use these lovely pictures which have no direct relation to the post

Spirited Bodies is proud to be part of The Sex Maniacs Ball in September, which is a fundraising event for The Outsiders Trust to enable disabled people to meet partners and celebrate their sexuality. There may be a life modelling workshop, as well as a nude disco along with various other nude activities and therapies.

1st & Second Skin with ‘Quills’

It was a thrill to see Andy and Nika as Marquis de Sade and his last love Madeleine during his dying days in a lunatic asylum. The Marquis can’t help his debauched imagination and the need to communicate his sordid tales to as wide an audience as possible. Upsetting the chief doctor and the priest who determine to silence him, he is relinquished of his clothes, his wine, bedsheets and finally he is separated from his hands, tongue and cock. You see they would discover his manuscripts which were exceedingly popular, and so they removed his quills and ink so that he might write no more.

Undeterred, even spurred on in his role to push limits, he used his own faeces and blood on the sheets, vestiments and walls. His fans – fellow inmates and the servant girl Madeleine, aided him in transmitting the obscene messages, but being mental, the chinese whispers passing of words caused more than a stir. One deliverer acted literally on the violent intent conveyed, and such was Madeleine’s sad demise. But in this tale some karma is realised in death as both Marquis and Madeleine return to haunt and taunt those who judged them, and of course to flirt as well! The nature of human desire is unpicked, and the tendency to judge where not we have ourselves inquired fully. The doctor and the priest are revealed as hypocrits, in particular the priest getting to know his inner sadist as the punishments advanced.

A sense of destiny is strong on several levels with this performance. Punishing the Marquis teaches the pain givers new lessons their censorship would otherwise lack. It is said more than once that this particular lunatic is running the asylum – and his genius has been misunderstood by those in authority. That artists’ and writers’ words of magnitude do live beyond the grave as the play certifies. That while the greatest imagination may conjure the realities of some powerful/elite/sorry few (i.e. e.g. paedophiles and their victims which are a theme in this show), it also resonates with widespread human desire/lust which although unrealised in many cases (depicted especially through the virginal Madeleine here and even with the Marquis himself) needs to be allowed expression, purely for its rightful place in the imagination. To limit the artist’s mind is a crime; the troubled feelings/ideas set alight in another’s head/heart are not the artist’s responsibility.

To see Andy perform this role felt so apt. Though stepping in at last minute, having to leave temporarily his position of director while sudden line learning was thrust upon him, it appeared from an old friend’s view point as a call of destiny. I cannot imagine another better suited to the role, knowing Andy as I do. For what he has always stood for and stood by, even before I i knew him as an actor, it fitted him perfectly and brought him to act opposite his real life love Nika for the first time in years.

Andy was literally stripped bare on the tiny stage before us, for daring to uphold the boldest most revolutionary ideas, and his character bore this apparent humiliation with amazing grace and charm, ennobling him further. In fact I found him gain in confidence and power as he strode and strutted nude before us, just a metre or so from the front row. Intoxicating lines well crafted by Doug Wright and uttered from the heart did mesmerise. I thought, ‘he could do anything now!’ and I believe he will. It is wonderful to watch friends flourish and bloom. I will add that the whole cast and production are spectacular; the passion is evident.

http://secondskintheatre.com/pages/

http://secondskintheatre.com/pages/?page_id=17

Female Orgasm & Orgasmic Meditation

TEDx SF 2011 Alive - Nicole Daedone ©Suzie Kat...

TEDx SF 2011 Alive РNicole Daedone ©Suzie Katz #4103 (Photo credit: TEDx SF)

This is about the art of stroking the clitoris, watching it, paying it 100% attention and talking and listening to our partners about how it feels. Or perhaps the art of having your clitoris stroked by someone else.

Last week my favourite club posted an event on Facebook about a talk on Female Orgasm. Basically if more women came more the world would be So Much better. If more women were turned on there would be more happiness. So a new movement spreads the message about a 15 minute daily practice which we share with a partner; a meditation that focuses on the clit and is mutually beneficial for giver and receiver . It is not something we can do to ourselves because the only way we can really let go is by entrusting another to enable us. Nicole Daedone (who came up with this ‘Orgasmic Meditation’) says it is nature’s way of pushing us to connect with others; if we could actually do everything alone we might not bother with each other. We Need to connect with others in order to feel our best.

Nicole says when women meet potential partners we are scanning and prodding for signs – we feel turned on when we receive a signal that they pay us the right sort of attention, that they take extremely good care of us. When we feel truly safe and that we are in the hands of someone who will take better care of us when we are at our most vulnerable than we would ourselves, then we may be turned on and even fall in love. At the time of orgasm a woman is technically vulnerable, she has let all her defenses down. For once she is relaxed and just enjoying being.

Someone asked “What do men get out of this practice?” Nicole asked the audience for the answer and a guy immediately responded: “They get to see someone unfold and open up in amazing ways, and just by being part of the process it affects them in a profound way too¬† – it takes both parties to a higher state from where everything is lighter.”
How does this relate to Spirited Bodies? There is the element of nudity or semi nudity involved in the practice, and the fact that it’s about loving ourselves as we are. That it may be performed with someone close to us or a stranger if we desire. It is not necessarily a prequel to sex, it can be just what it is, and that is the point. To focus just on that and on enhancing the way we are generally by a few simple techniques. It may be easier than life modelling in some ways, more difficult in others, but both can be liberating.

Before you get to try orgasmic meditation there may be several blocks. Like just being with someone, intimately. It could be that being nude with others and possibly touching in a minimal, non sexual way could open the path towards allowing orgasmic meditation into someone’s life.

The idea with Orgasmic Meditation is that it is not just for couples but for sharing with anyone you feel comfortable with. It may be between female friends or with male friends who are not lovers, just someone who will respect and appreciate the experience.

Night of the Senses

After I had been to the Erotic Awards I wasn’t sure if monogamy was such a good idea. Fuck For Forest and Rock Bitch both described to me how living in a sex commune was where it is at. Based in Berlin and Scotland respectively their invitations to sample their lifestyle did intrigue me, and I’ll admit, the incredibly stunning members of 90s feminist rock band Rockbitch known for performing live pagan sex rituals at their gigs and always naked, plus their fine tuning to the anti-feminine mores of society, felt tempting. Fuck For Forest seemed young by comparison, like very horny continental elves who looked like they might live in the woods! They said Berlin however is where they reside due to the leniency and opportunities for artists there (their public sexual antics have presented problems with authorities.)

I was invited by my friend Estelle Riviere to be one of her models for her Monsterlune fashion show. This was a great honour as her clothes are supremely unique, quirky and erotic; as well it is a big pleasure to hang out with her and all the other models.

me trying on my costume at Estelle’s

Fellow model and friend Lucy Castro

Backstage at Night of the Senses

Estelle’s clothes are characterized by what she calls hoods, or balaclavas! Most with tiny eye holes lend the wearer a minor disability which felt apt for the evening. I was not very confident about where the edge of the stage was, but the main emphasis was to revel in looking strange and sexy. She chose each costume for the 15 of us modelling individually, so they somehow expressed us all. My outfit was one of the least erotic while Lucy’s displayed Japanese art-porn, Jon had a long dangling cock, James wore pussy pants and various offered some nudity. Creating original clothes is Estelle’s passion and it was wonderful to share in her show experience and learn from her natural and relaxed direction. This was an art project as much as a fashion show and all the models are her friends, some who have modelled for her several times and traveled to do so. They are mostly fellow life models and artists who are part of the club scene she enjoys.

This was no ordinary fetish experience; The Night of the Senses raises money and awareness for disabled people to enjoy sex and relationships via the Outsiders charity. Wandering about the busy venue many differently abled people were enjoying the festivities so that a high level of accessibility felt normal. That alone was mindblowing and felt like a pretty awesome vision of the future. I mean I have worked in very accessible places before like the National Theatre, and I never saw such a high proportion of disability there. The atmosphere of inclusivity was like a warm embrace for even the rarest of fetish club attendees such as myself. I used to frequent those haunts back in the 90s but unfortunately never stumbled across this one until now (this was the 25th anniversary! It used to be called Sex Maniacs Ball.)

With free and open sexuality so high on the agenda it could have felt daunting if one is not looking to explore that. For myself it was a huge privilege to be among these people and witness their world, meeting new people with radical lifestyles. Unlike when I was younger I did not feel the need to experience so much at first hand; I could appreciate more as an observer. In any case there were plenty of shows designed especially for that.

I have wondered about the viability of open relationships and it was inspiring to meet groups of people who have made them work as what they call polyamorous relationships in communes over several years, in fact at least 20 years in the case of some of the members of Rockbitch. One of them described to me how it began by one woman falling in love with another and gradually more becoming involved in the romantic and sexual union of the group. There used to be men involved, but now there is only one who I also met. Others are welcome to join if they meet the criteria of the commune, though apparently men generally can’t hack it. I’m not surprised; both Alex and Suna who I met radiate immense power which could be quite intimidating if you don’t really know what you are about. No longer playing or performing as Rockbitch, they remain in commune pursuing individual projects and helping to host the Erotic Awards which has long been their supporter and friend.

Fuck For Forest have a site where punters pay to view erotic images and home-made porn with the proceeds going towards saving the environment. I thought I would do my bit and posed for their lens. In my usual life I am used to being more nude-friendly than others around. On this night I was surrounded by nudity as celebration and normality, nature.

There are so many awards categories, including for sex workers, writers, porn/film makers, activists. This is not the first time I have come into contact with the clash that is part of the firmament of contemporary feminism (anti-sex industry) and pro-sex worker activism, which is also differently feminist. I can appreciate elements of both argument. The sex industry as it stands rarely honours women who are a large part of its currency as it ought to as the Goddesses they are. To vilify the industry however and demand its closure, does nothing for the women who gain a great deal from their jobs there. And I know from 1st hand experience how working in that industry can offer a sense of liberation. Laws need to change, but to empower the workers, not close it down.

There was an air of solidarity at this event that tantalized one’s expectation. As Grayson Perry has said of it “the good people in a gloriously murky industry”. Beautiful and natural people all around, being themselves as fabulously eccentric and relaxed as they are. Smiles and welcomes, introductions from strangers which it was perfectly fine to decline, but weren’t we all having a spectacular time! There is extensive description of the Erotic Awards philosophy on their website which I reccommend for appreciating immensely their joyful ethos, (eg http://www.erotic-awards.co.uk/nos_lbod.html). Sex-positive vibe rocks!!

My boyfriend has noted that I am somewhat impressionable. Every time I go away a few days or visit an unusual scene, it is as if I absorb my environment, for a while ready to take it on as my own! He says that like a method actor, I am a ‘method-lifer’. I like to think I keep the parts that are helpful and fun. It is true that I am ever curious about what other folk are really like. If I get a chance of an audience with some fabulous types I am most obliged.

Therapy Breakthrough

Typical. Just as I was about to discontinue seeing my psychotherapist, we get to the good stuff. Sex and my early sexual experiences; my relationship with my Mother.

The truth is I had put off discussing sex as my therapist is Muslim. Stupid I know, prejudiced too, but I felt weird bringing it up and opted to talk about everything else instead… until she brought it up.

I had been unhappy with my boyfriend’s living arrangement and my anger levels were disturbing. After a few weeks of probing this situation, she said, “But doesn’t it affect your sex life?”

I already liked her, little though she says – it makes what she does say all the more poignant – and from then I found a whole new level of appreciation for her. No one else had said that. If she had been Western I have no doubt that I would have been talking about sex with her from the off. But then, how to spot the breakthrough?

She was so right. Sex is very important to me, perhaps my strongest currency. It wasn’t that we weren’t having sex; I will always find a way! But that our truest intimacy was compromised. Our ability to get to know each other in every way that we would, without interference – that felt in question. No amount of communal aspirations could make up for that. It is a base that we needed and are establishing now for ourselves, and for which I am most grateful.

The pressing difficulties of the present out of the way, we were free (my therapist and I) to delve naturally into the past. That my Mother had resented my burgeoning sexuality when puberty struck, had given me many issues. It felt good to cry, and I knew we are only just beginning.

Image

Pictures of me by Sue from The Pastel Society, 18/2/12

Role Reversal

When I met you I was nervous, I mean I couldn’t ask you out.

You were like an angel, just appearing, offering to model and then when you did, showing me, explaining to me how to draw. I’d drawn before, from photos, and in a very technical way, and you showed me how to draw with feeling, expression, how to capture essence. In a very remarkable short time, you showed me this and it changed the way I worked. There was no looking back. It was a gift.

And there was a new and powerful connection – I trusted you and felt very open to you. That I moved you was even more amazing. I’d never have guessed yet it felt quite natural, that it was new for you too. That you had opened up because you wanted to share, to talk, and in me you had found an avenue, a channel for communication, which for some reason, you lacked everywhere else.

I hadn’t been with a woman for a while. I’d had setbacks, a health problem, and my confidence had been low. Medication made my sex drive weak, I wasn’t in a great place. Had the shit knocked out of me you might say. Fucked around by the hospital, doctors didn’t know what it was and I didn’t talk about it with friends… My habits had to change with the meds.

So when you had no idea about me, but were so open, so giving, so lovely, and I knew you thought I was part of some big cool group of friends, well I had to let you know, you know. That it wasn’t like that. I didn’t want to mislead you. What you may have known about me from years ago was no longer the case. Of course some of it still stood, but like most of us, I had changed. So it came out, and you too were telling me things about your past which concerned you, stuff that’s not so easy to bring up, and you knew because of the people I know, that I’d probably understand. We come from the same background. There’s an understanding.