Jamila Reddy

On Having the Courage to Pursue 

Excellence Over Mediocrity

Jamila Reddy (she/they) is a writer, self-empowerment coach, and life-enthusiast on a mission to help people manifest their dreams. Jamila is the creator of Make It Happen, an online course for creative, compassionate people who want to be more powerful, purposeful, and spend more time doing what they love. Jamila's podcast, Deliberate and Doing it Afraid, features personal stories from the journey to their best life and the lessons that come from it. Jamila's work has appeared on TedX, Greatist, The Body is Not An Apology, and Shine. 

Learn more about Jamila at jamilareddy.me.

Listen and subscribe to their podcast Deliberate and Doing It Afraid.

"Fantasy for me is a way that I get really curious about what I need to feel good. You know, sex is a microcosm for how I want to show up in the world - which is being in touch with my desires, knowing what I need to feel amazing, and not just being okay or being content with, yeah, this is right. You know, I feel like for so long, mediocrity was the only thing I knew, and so it didn't occur to me to pursue excellence."

~ Jamila

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Transcription

 

Jamila: Fantasy for me is a way that I get really curious about what I need to feel good. You know, sex is a microcosm for how I want to show up in the world - which is being in touch with my desires, knowing what I need to feel amazing, and not just being okay or being content with, yeah, this is right. You know, I feel like for so long, mediocrity was the only thing I knew, and so it didn't occur to me to pursue excellence.

 

Lianne: I'm Lianne. Welcome to Strippers & Sages.

 

Hey everyone. My guest today is Jamila Reddy, a writer, self-empowerment coach, and life enthusiast on a mission to help people manifest their dreams. I met Jamila when we were both selected as up and coming theatre directors by the Drama League in New York. City. We lived together in upstate New York and Brooklyn, we traveled to Mexico and New Orleans and Burning Man together, always in pursuit of magic and adventure. And Jamila has since become a trailblazer in radical lifestyle design and personal empowerment. They are the creator of Make It Happen, an online course for creative, compassionate people who want to be more powerful, purposeful and spend more time doing what they love. I can attest that this course was really transformative and helped me kickstart multiple projects, including this podcast. So look out for the next one. Jamila has their own podcast Deliberate and Doing It Afraid, which features personal stories from their journey to their best life and the lessons that come from it. Their work has appeared on TEDx, Greatest, The Body Is Not An Apology and Shine. Jamila is one of the most inspiring, charismatic and thoughtful people I know. I highly encourage you to follow them on Instagram @JamilaReddy - wel'l link to their account. This conversation is filled with gems from Jamila's personal ethos, experience and explorations of gender, sex, polyamory, queerness, intimacy and pleasure, as well as their insights on grief and loss, which they gain from serving as their father's death doula when he was dying from cancer only months after the sudden death of their sister. They've been through a lot, they have a lot of wisdom to share. One of the takeaways of this conversation for me was not to settle for mediocrity - in sex or any area of your life - because you think you either don't deserve any better, or that better isn't possible. Jamila challenges us to have the imagination and the bravery to pursue genuine joy and fulfillment in our lives. And for that, I think some heads up - this is my first zoom recording, doing a remote interview during this pandemic. So there are a few audio hiccups in the beginning and throughout, bear with us. Jamila and I laugh a lot in this episode, I hope you'll laugh with us. Next week we'll be releasing a short bonus segment to this episode in which Jamila shares an amazing recap of a sexual encounter they had in the orgy dome at Burning Man. So if you've never been this will give you a little glimpse inside the dome. So look out for that. I'd also like to say that Strippers & Sages stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement, and we are continuing to educate ourselves through these conversations about the intersection of racial justice and erotic liberation. So thank you for learning with us. We will continue posting resources on our website, and our newly created Instagram account @strippersandsages. Because if you're not an Instagram, you don't exist. So now we exist. Follow us there. And please share this episode with your communities.

 

Jamila: I'm Jamila and I'm a writer and I'm a person who supports other people in knowing their power and living into their purpose. And I do that in lots of ways, mostly writing, sometimes teaching, recently, meditation, guiding folks in meditation, and... did I answer the question, is that it?

 

Lianne: Yes. Yes. I know you just started create. You just started your own podcast called, can you tell us the name of it?

 

Jamila: The name of my podcast is Deliberate and Doing it Afraid.

 

Lianne: And what inspired that? I know it's an Audre Lorde reference, which is resonant for me as well.

 

Jamila: Yes. So Audre Lorde, Black lesbian, poet, activist, said iconically, I am deliberate and afraid of nothing. And there's a part of me that wants that to be true, that I am afraid of nothing. And, the truth is that I'm afraid of a lot of things, and I feel like fear is... I want to reclaim fear a little bit. I think people are constantly asking me, how do I be less afraid? And my answer is always stop trying to be less afraid and just do it afraid. And so that's where that comes from. And I feel like doing it afraid informs so much of who I am and how I move through the world. And yeah, I even hesitated or, my ego hesitated. And I went back and forth about, you know, doing it afraid. Do I want to help people be fearless? Because that sounds so glamorous, and so valiant, and so cool. You know, like, I want to be fearless. But I'm not. And the truth is actually, I don't really need to be fearless. I don't really what I want more than fearlessness is courage, which is a willingness to do something unknown. 

 

Lianne: Do you remember, I'm remembering a very special New Years that we spent many years ago in DC, in which I'm pretty sure you scribbled on a wall? Not fearless, but brave.

 

Jamila: Yes, yes. That was the first year... gosh, what was that? 2014? 15? That was I think the first... wow that's like really probably the origin of that being such a, like, guiding philosophy. Like I wrote that intention to explore it, and then I've spent the last six years really understanding what that means.

 

Lianne: Do you remember what was going on for you at that time in your life that sparked... that catalyzed this as a such an intention for how to live in the world?

 

Jamila: Probably mediocrity, okay.

 

Lianne: Yes.

 

Jamila: With the exception of our encounters, I was kind of in the... oh man, it was so significant for me, because I really felt like I was in a sleeping state. And then I was like traveling to a place like another dimension where things were real and I was awake, and then going back to my real life, and being like - I can no longer stay in this experience knowing that this other reality is possible. And I feel like that was that year when I set that intention. To be brave instead of fearless. I was afraid I think of what I might lose if I pursued a life that I had no model for... I didn't know. I was walking into a lot of unknowns. I feel like I've been becoming myself my whole life. I think we all are. But that year felt really significant. I felt like I gave myself permission to see like, okay, what's real for me? Even if I've never seen it, or people don't understand it, or they don't like it, I just want to do it. I just want to do what I feel called to do and release attachment to other people's opinions about it. 

 

Lianne: Hmm. And then thus it spawns this podcast that you're a couple episodes into, that we'll definitely link to. And you had such beautiful wisdom to share there that I hope some of it makes its way on here. So, that's so appropriate that we have somehow honed in on that pivotal moment because you've become such a trailblazer in intentional living and lifestyle design and inspiring so many people to have a sense of agency and creativity in terms of how they view and craft their reality. And everything that you just said, I think is so relevant, especially in our most intimate relationships. And you know, when we think about sex and eroticism, that is where that is such a deep opportunity for authentic attunement and also such a place of so much damage and fracturing. And so I'm wondering if you can speak a little bit about how this idea of fearlessness has informed for you, or influenced, how you've navigated intimacy, and in your relationships, and you know, your own exploration of that realm.

 

Jamila: I may have to reflect on it for a second. So it's a good question. I mean, I think in my interpersonal relationships is where I'm 'doing it afraid' the most. And, what I believe to be true is that every single human being, no matter who you are, wants to be loved, seen, heard, understood. And so that, I think, is at the root of almost every other fear that if we aren't successful in our careers, then we might not have the the connections or the vibrancy to be connected with other people and I think it won't ever I feel it comes back down to connection, connection with yourself, like deeply being intimate with yourself, and your truest self, but then also living authentically with other people and being able to be connected to other people. Because things are beautiful objectively when I experienced them on my own, but the beauty is magnified when I get to experience them with someone else. And so I feel like my relationships are the places where I feel like I'm really doing things for the first time with people. 

 

Lianne: Hmm. 

 

Jamila: In so many ways, yeah, just in all the ways. I'm queer. And I don't have a lot of folks, elders, people who can tell me about queer relationships. I'm also polyamorous, ethically non-monogamous, and so I feel like I'm constantly wishing that I had this, you know, vast library of resources and realizing that I'm going to be creating the library. That I'm writing the books in the moment with these people. Which is scary and terrifying and uncomfortable because it's like uncharted territory. And so there's no way to guarantee my safety - it's very precarious because I'm like, 'where are we going? Are we doing this right?' Like I don't know. And so there's a lot of doing things for the first time and figuring things out which feels very vulnerable. But I find that the more willing I am to be vulnerable, and the more willing I am to the chart the new territory, the more I am rewarded. The more I benefit from like delicious, delicious real ass connections with people. 

 

Lianne: Mm hmm. What is a recent... what's like the juciest reward that you've gotten from a risk that you've taken recently, in this realm.

 

Jamila: So, so many come to mind.

 

Lianne: We have time!

 

Jamila: Okay, well, I... it's truly hard to land on one. Right now, I really feel like I am living in a scenario that I imagined, you know?  I'm in a polyamorous relationship right now with someone who has another partner, and it feels like the younger version of myself is looking at the current version and being like, it's pretty cool, you know? No, guess it's not that different, but okay! And the reward, I think is honestly feeling free. It's honestly feeling free. That's the feeling I feel. I feel free to pursue desire, free to pursue connections. I feel like I have permission to just not be ashamed. I think that shame is something that I carried a lot when I wasn't living in alignment with my truth. I was embarrassed and I felt like somehow, admitting that I wanted to be intimate with multiple people, and to have many lovers and to not cohabitate... I felt like there was something wrong with me for wanting those things that I didn't see other people wanting, and so it felt kind of deviant. And I feel like the juiciest reward is not having that feeling. It's being like no! Now that I'm in it, I see that there's nothing deviant about this at all. In fact, this is lovely, and challenging in many ways, but also, yeah, just like settling into how normal it feels when I'm inside of it. And how liberating that normalcy is. 

 

Lianne: Hmm, yeah, I mean, in the realm of sex and love is where we have such strong scripts created for us. And it's really exciting, I think, right now to kind of see on a planetary level, within certain subcultures of course, a real, like, busting out of certain narratives and scripts, and a subversion there. And that it is uncharted territory! And in that invitation, like there's an invitation to kind of fantasize and dream and check out, just as we can in any other area of our lives, right? Like, this is what I want my life to be. We talk about vision boarding, we talk about, you know, manifesting, and just going after your dreams in terms of a career, what do you want your life to look like and getting really specific about it. But to do that in terms of what do you want your love life to look like, and what you want your sex life to look like, you know, maybe people feel like there's these two options - like you can do this or you can do that. And that's it right? And it's been exciting to be as your friend in conversation with you and watch you rewriting and inventing your own narratives for that and empowering other people to do so. Even like you're saying, like, what does it mean to be in a partnership? And can you be in a long term partnership without having to live with someone? Like what are some of the other expectations, or assumptions that maybe the dominant culture has imposed on how we relate, that you've been questioning or subverting or playing with in your relations?

 

Jamila: I think a dominant narrative that's constantly questioned which I so appreciate because it's questioned in my relationships, but then it also reminds me to question the shit in my own life and relationship to myself and the universe at all times, which is abundance versus lack. I feel like the biggest one always, like there's not enough love, not enough time. There's not enough strength, there's not enough inner capacity to be able to have multiple partners. And I feel like the truth is that there's there is enough. It just reminds me to be sovereign in how I how I distribute my resources, and not just assume or agree that there is lack or limitation. I feel like it compels me constantly to question, is there lack here? Really? And of course, yes, it's challenging. I think polyamory is challenging in the same way that monogamy is challenging. And like queer relationships have their own complex dynamics. Black queer relationships also have their own dynamics. Black, queer polyamorous relationships... like there's a lot going on sometimes. But I feel like, yeah, it helps me. It just helps me see that so much of what I believed about relationships isn't true, and that someone can really be truly happy for me when I'm receiving pleasure, even if they're not the source, and that I can actually take as much time as I want for myself. And that doesn't make me selfish or self indulgent, but actually, that's a benefit to everybody who's in relation with me that I am in deep relation with myself. But yeah, I think the abundanc... I think the way that I move in relationships is really rooted in abundance. Like there's enough. There's enough of me, there's enough of you. There's enough love. There's enough time. And there's more than enough of the sources of my pleasure. I think, really, that's what it is. It's like actually, I don't need to rely solely upon this thing or this person or this relationship to have my needs met. I affirm and acknowledge and practice, you know, this truth, that my desires are met by all sources around me. And my pleasures are a bundle.

 

Lianne: That's really powerful. Because, I feel increasingly with every conversation I have on this show affirms for me how much the work that we do within this realm, like carries over to other areas of our lives, so to reframe, and this idea of scarcity versus abundance, it's circulating. That's a concept that we collectively are trying, you know, some of us, to lean into. But to have it come from your intimate relationships and then be able to spill over into other areas of your life as an ideology that you actually feel some sort of somatic connection to, and can, like, convince your being of, through experience with your partners. It's very powerful. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Um, so what does dating look like for you right now, or in the age of --

 

Jamila: COVID, it means -

 

Lianne: Love in the time of Corona!

 

Jamila: Dating looks like- I have a long distance lover-friend, and I use the word lover-friend, and sometimes I use the word partner. And I think both of those terms actually are in evolution for me right now. But yes, so I have a lover-friend/partner-

 

Lianne: What do they mean for you, those terms?

 

Jamila: I think, you know, partner to me means a collaborator, in that we collaborate on pleasure, joy, alignment, learning, and, like, wellness. These are the people that I consider my partners. The people who are invested in those elements for me, and that we support each other in advancing or enhancing those things with each other. And I realized that partnership to me doesn't necessarily involve sexual intimacy or romance. A lot of my friends, I feel like, I consider my partners, my life partners in a way that we're doing life together. And also just challenging the hierarchy of partner over other kinds of relationships. And kind of being radical and including non-romantic or non-sexual partnerships in my definition just reminds me to not always put romantic relationships on a pedestal.

 

Lianne: Right. 

 

Jamila: And lover-friendship to me, I've been I've been digging into what that means, and sometimes unsuccessfully. Lover-friends, that's another episode though. Tales of love or friendships 

 

Lianne: Okay, well I don't know, we got room for it! Tell us the tales. 

 

Jamila: The tale of the lover-friendship, the one that I'm that I'm not referencing, but referencing, is just trying to blur the line, or perhaps queer the line, between lover and friend, and really stems from my curiosity about expanding what I do with my friends. I mean friendships are so, so anchored in shared experiences. We do yoga classes together, and we travel together, and we learn together, and we, you know, play together. And it just seems a little silly to me that we wouldn't also facilitate each other's like sexual pleasure. I'm like, why not? And certainly, I think there's some... there's like chemistry. You know, I'm not saying, you know, balls to the wall, go fuck all your friends. It's nuanced, and there's got to be, you know, I think there's got to be some chemistry. But I feel like I have chemistry with so many of my friends, and I just don't want to block my blessings by saying, oh, well, these are my friends. Also, I'm queer so I feel like, you know, I mean, yeah, I think I'm constantly like, feeling like my friends are so dreamy, and they're also like beautiful, and hot, and smart, and fun, and I love to hang out with them. And our experiences are already very sensual, because what we do is like indulge together, and like we sleep in the same bed, and yeah. So basically, long story short, tried to blur the line between friend and lover with someone. And then what I think happened is that we wanted different things, but were also going through a lot of personal things, and we weren't really communicating. We weren't on the same page in terms of communication. We didn't communicate well. And so that ended up a little messy, to be honest. But I've also had a really beautiful and successful lover friendship with a friend that I've had for a long time, and a few years that we've always flirted, and a few years ago, now, I was like, you know, so, what's good? Like, you know, we've been flirting forever and like, are you trying to be intimate with me? Basically. And they were like, uh, yeah. And that was really sweet. And you know, it brought up some fears, and we talked about it, and we don't want it to compromise our relationship, and we trust each other, and we love each other, and we enjoy each other whether or not we're intimate in that way. And so that, I feel like is another, you know, another win, is that I dared to risk it all, and it actually turned out into, you know.. it's a really nice situation.  We're flirty with each other, but we also just have like, friend check ins, you know, we talk, and yeah, it feels very organic, and very natural, and very normal. That when I can not expect, but hope, if it's consensual, that there will be some like sexy play, but also no expectations, because most of our relationship hasn't been part of the dynamic and it's been great. So if we do, great, great if we don't,

 

Lianne: Do you feel like, are there friends who are off limits to you? Or is there a certain tier of a friend that, you know, in this kind of concentric circle, yes, too close in, no, those are my sisters or my brothers?

 

Jamila: Not really. I mean, let's think about that... No. I don't think so. I mean, I also think a core philosophy is to be open to - there's infinite possibilities. And so, I'm not the same person I was when we started this conversation on a cellular level. And so I can't assume that you know, the dynamics are never going to change. Certainly there's some friends were like, I don't really have-

 

Lianne: You don't feel the call -

 

Jamila: Yeah, I don't feel the call. But, if this friend was like, "Listen, I have a fantasy to have, you know, this kind of experience and you are a person that I would like to involve in my fantasy," I probably would be like, "it's an honor! How can I facilitate this pleasure with you? Um, but yeah, I don't think... I don't. I don't think there are any friends that I would say are off limits. I feel like all of my friends are people that would be open to exploring, if that was something that we wanted to do. Sexual exploration with friends hasn't come up with some friends because, I think, again, the chemistry, and like, yeah. I mean, I think there are some friends that do seem definitely more familial than others, for sure. But I think there's something also that is special about that. And that's something I want in my relationships. I want there to be a sort of foundational level of friendship, with everyone. And also, I think the familial vibe really just is, like, shared values. It's like intentional chosen family. We haven't come together under, because we have shared blood. But we've come together because we have shared visions, and we have shared values. So, yeah. 

 

Lianne: Yeah, I mean, there's like a real safety I think, to exploring with friends and having that be a foundation. I've been thinking about this a lot in my own, like, adventures where, when it doesn't start off that way, when it doesn't feel grounded and a friendship if it kind of like, initially starts as a flirtation. I'm very aware of my own... or increasingly trying to like keep a good antenna up for my own authenticity, right? Like, am I being fully in myself, and rooted and like... you know, there's always that element of whatever that is that's there when you're sort of in a courtship with someone or in a flirtation, that's just inevitable and part of the fun - like it's somewhat performative, or you're being a little bit selective about what comes out, and this and that, right? But then, also, I think there's something really beautiful, especially when you're talking about exploring sexuality about having that really safe container and foundation. Why not go there with people who you feel really intimate with? And like, I'm attracted to most of my friends. I have a very high like, beauty parameter. If I'm honest. No, but I also have a broad definition of beauty, so it's okay. Um, so when you talk about fantasies, I'm curious. Tell me about fantasy. Tell me about the role of fantasy. And as you're getting into these sexual explorations with people, you know, how has that started to play a role in your life?

 

Jamila: Fantasy, for me, is a way that I get really curious about what I need to feel good, man. Like, you know, I was just describing... this is a metaphor I use a lot when thinking about relationships, but also thinking about sex, because in many ways, I still feel very inexperienced sexually. I came into my queerness and... well, I've always been queer, but I started acting on my queer impulses, you know, in my early 20s, and still, I think, probably the majority of the sex that I've had has been, like, pretty heteronormative. So the metaphor that I use a lot is, like, going into a restaurant and being handed a blank menu, and someone being like, "What can I get for you?" And it's kind of like, "Ah, what do you have?" That's how I feel a lot of the times when thinking about fantasies, I noticed that my imagination feels a little limited, because I'm not sure. I'm not sure what's available. And the more that I learn and the more that I like, honestly watch porn and like, the more that I talk to other people about sex, the more I'm like, "Oh, I would have never thought of that. But that sounds great." You know, like, I want to feel that way. It makes me think of like your food concoctions that you used to make all the time. I'd be like, I don't think I would ever put that on there. But yes, now I know it's my favorite snack and feel that way about sex sometimes. And so I'm in the process of like, just exploring my fantasies and trying to think about like... really get in my body and be like, "What is the sensation that would just feel so good right now?" I feel like getting clarity on my fantasies requires me, like, pleasuring myself, and spending time with my body, and just like exploring, putting my hands on my body, and being like, does this feel good? Like, this is a thing that I feel like a lot of people do in sex, but like, actually I don't really love that. So like, you know, just getting getting familiar with what feels good, and what my body is kind of like, meh could do without it. But yeah, I think the role that fantasy plays is just compelling me to get curious about what feels really good. And also, I think it's sort of like... It kind of feels like it's a way to explore other parts of myself that are maybe dormant, or not as fully expressed in my day to day life. I find that in most of my fantasies, there's like a, there's the truth about me that I want to explore, or that I want to activate in some way so that my external reality is, kind of, more aligned with that inner knowing. I feel like fantasy is kind of a way to get closer and closer. And in a way that is playful. So it's like, yeah, I sometimes, like want to be bossy. And I want people to do what the fuck I say. That dynamic in my day to day life doesn't really fit, like I don't really want to do that, like, with my mom. You know what I mean? But there's a part of me that loves that feeling of, of just tapping into a sense of someone trusting me direct them. And that feels good. And that brings me pleasure and fantasy is the way I think to harness that in a playful, exploratory way, without there being the same kind of interpersonal dynamic. You know, there's a container for the thing. I think there's a lot to be gained from that container

 

Lianne: That's awesome. I mean, I think I have to give a good little shout out to, like, porn, for example, because I think it gets a bad rap. And I give it bad rap sometimes. And also, it's something like, where I want to be making some, because I think inherently like it's a really beautiful, like... imagery is what shapes our consciousness, right?

 

Jamila: Right.

 

Lianne: We are all you know, on the one hand, have an infinite source of imagination connected to some like primordial thing, and also, we are humans who influence and inspire each other. And especially when I would say, again, like, the default is a very narrow. Like we have a very narrow exposure to sexuality, I think, when we're growing up, and in our culture, and this and that. And so, in the way that as an artist, you like need inspiration, and you need to kind of expose yourself to a lot of things, it's really awesome to think about how to fill our well in terms of sexual fantasy. And like, inspire and see what we like and that's a really healthy way to do that within the realm of imagination. And within the realm of art, because it lets you, kind of, try things on for yourself. You know, we get to work shit out in the bedroom. We get to like, play with archetypes and aspects of ourselves that maybe we don't lean into, or want to lean into in our in our default lives. And there's so much growth there that I think is so empowering. How have you, in this exploration... you know, there's having your own fantasy and then there's communicating that fantasy. And that's its own art and skill. So what can you offer in terms of just your own evolution around that, and maybe perhaps some insights on how people can start to play in that space from a place of empowerment and integrity.

 

Jamila: I think, I am really fortunate right now to be in a relationship with somebody who is just so willing to be a learner with me, to learn about me and to learn alongside me. And so, I feel like there have been so many times where I've said, like, "I feel shy, I feel awkward, I feel uncomfortable, I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, I feel like I don't know what to say." And just getting really courageous about naming and being upfront about my discomfort actually. I think that, like, trying to be sexy, and cool, and experienced, and like hot all the time, and really direct and clear about my pleasures and my boundaries is just, like, not my truth sometimes. And so, pretending that I am like, you know totally sure of what I want and absolutely confident about getting it, kind of plays... I play myself if I do that. And so I've created a lot of opportunities to get closer to that being my truth by just being upfront and saying not there yet. I'm gonna need you to just, you know, be patient with me as I get there. And every time I do that, I have a relationship with someone who's just like, fuck yes, like, that's totally fine. And sometimes they share that sentiment, and I feel very encouraged to... I feel like I have a lot of permission to figure it out. And someone who is like, you know, it's like, I don't want to say forgiving... Well I mean, that is the word, forgiving, but, um, I don't feel pressure. I feel like our relationship is valuable with or without sex. And so that, I feel like, has given me some kind of spiritual wiggle-room to just not feel like I need to rush to be figuring something out, and that I can explore at a pace that feels that feels good for me. That being said, I think just like, normalizing communication about desires, and things that feel good, and things that don't feel good. I think that it can't just be about sex and intimate connection. It has to be a value, it has to be part of the culture of the relationship. So something that I learned from a previous relationship that didn't feel good for me, and that I just, you know, hindsight is 2020, is that constantly there were little, little things that I'd be like, "Ooh, something about that doesn't sit right in my body." But then being like, no big deal, because I don't really know, I don't have a solution. I don't really know how to process it. I know that maybe it's circumstantial, or that something's going on to inform why this person responded this way. And so I'm just gonna, you know, let that kind of float into the ether. And I realized that that actually did a disservice to myself and to our relationship. And so, in my current dynamic, I've gotten a lot more comfortable with just naming. As soon as I notice, hey, this didn't feel good for me. I don't really have much else to say, I just wanted to let you know. And getting into practice of just communicating what is going on in my experience... it's not even like filing complaints. But just like, this came up for me when you did this, or when we have this experience, or... Just constantly choosing to be transparent. Choosing to let someone into what is going on in my internal world as it relates to our connection, and normalizing that outside of the bedroom makes it so much easier to do when it comes to sex and intimacy.

Lianne: That's an amazing point. And vice versa, right. It's like a two way kind of street. But what I love about what you're saying, and it harkens back to where our conversation started, and your podcast is like, you know, not fearless, but brave. 

 

Jamila: Same thing.

 

Lianne: Like, not savvy, but showing up. Or, whatever the pithy thing is, right? Where you're like, I'm not saying I'm about to, like, lay down a fantasy and then act it out, and the way that I show up and perform it is going to like, you know, match the pristine vision of what that is. But just, yeah, I think maybe a lot of people might have the desire, the impulse... we have this way that we want to be just like in life and sex, right? Like there's a persona, where I want to be someone who is really direct. I want to be someone who's just, like, so comfortable and so able to, you know, this and that. And in naming, just like in the name of your podcast, like, I'm afraid I'm naming that as the first thing that I say, and then I'm doing it. And to be like, I'm, whatever it is, I'm embarrassed about this thing, I'm uncomfortable. I don't know what I want. But I'm showing up and I'm trying to do that. I think that's, again, also in terms of what are the images. Like, what's in our collective culture in terms of what indoctrinates us, sexually? I just started watching, my quarantine, like not even guilty pleasure, because it's, like, a very conflicted experience I'm having with it, but I started watching Sex in the City again, which I watched 20 years ago or whatever in high school, and had a very different relationship to it for many reasons. Because like a) I'm now in my 30s, which those women are too. And b) like, pretty radical and how I think about most things related to sex and gender and like feminism and all of that. And so to go back and watch that show now through the lens of this conversation, and many of the conversations that we're having, that I'm having in the show is like, okay, what does that show show us? It's just women are in the throes of pleasure all the time, right? Like, there's lots of awkward things that they show happen... or movies and Hollywood, it just all looks so polished, right? It looks so polished. There's never these awkward stumbling moments. There's never the pause to be like, yeah, I'm totally in love with you. And I'm super aroused. And also I just, like, got super triggered, and this is what's happening right now. And so when that then does happen for us, which is much more of a real human experience. It's hard not to feel like broken, or feel shame, or feel like it's not okay, or that even the fact that you're having that experience somehow undermines your sexuality or, you know, your ability to also manifest that fantasy version of yourself. And so yeah, I think it's a great tool that you're sharing, which is just that it's all part of it. Right? 

 

Jamila: Yes. For sure. And that I mean, again, the the way that it mirrors so many other aspects, the way that you know, our sexual lives mirrors so many other aspects of our lives is that, like, there's constantly going to be, any time we're going after anything we want, there's going to be some stumbling. And, we've got to be willing to endure the discomfort of the stumble or else we'll never get to where we're going. I feel like that is so many of us, and myself included, for so long, read, you know, discomfort or the lack of clarity as a sure sign that this wasn't intended for me, like, Oh, well, you're a beginner. So like, this isn't for me. And so I'm just going to drop it. And like, if I had held on to that, how many things, how many beautiful experiences I would have denied myself access to! If I wasn't willing to endure the discomfort of being a beginner or the discomfort of exploring something that you know, I'm not familiar with?

 

Lianne: Well, it's, it's extra challenging, I think in the realm of intimacy, because particularly maybe before you've developed a certain level of trust with someone. And even then, it's like, okay, and then the more you love them, the more you like, want them to love you. So there's like the desire to be attractive, right? And that's the thing that you bring into space. And so being vulnerable is being seen in your stumbling. And, um, I wonder if that has come up for you, or how you reframe or how you might suggest, like, gracefully navigating the stumble and overcoming that fear, which is like, uhhh, I'm showing up in this way that to me doesn't feel very sexy, or that fear of, you know, turning your partner off when you are in that moment.

 

Jamila: I think getting really clear about what is important to you, and why you're in relationship with people in the first place. And I feel like, you know, I'm in relationships with both for the reasons that I mentioned. I have collaborators in my wellness, and in my joy, and in my pleasure, and I feel like I have to remind myself that if someone is turned off by the complexity of my truth, then I'm actually not losing much. If I'm not as intimate with that person, that's not actually a loss. That's actually a gain, okay, if I am able to create space between myself and someone else who is not willing or not able to show up for my fullness. And so, yeah, also, I want to be in relationship with people who, who are also vulnerable, and who are also willing to stumble. That gives me permission to do the same. So I feel like we encourage each other by doing that. By modeling for each other, you know, like, okay, I'm going to be vulnerable, so that you can be vulnerable, and I want you to be vulnerable, that reminds me to be vulnerable. And what I really and truly and deeply want is, like, authentic, intimate connections. I want it to be real and I want us to connect on a heart level, and I don't want to have to sustain performance with people because it's exhausting. And for what? Why? When I know that I could have authentic connections, and I also know that authenticity means you get to see the mess. Like, the mess is present. You know, authenticity isn't just about like, oh, having a cool career that makes you feel like the person you are inside. It's like, letting people in to the truth that there's a shitstorm happening, okay, sometimes, that's just what's going on. 

 

Lianne: I'm curious how you choose to be intimate with someone? Like, you know, given this conversation, what you're sort of looking for or at, or what signs in yourself you look for, and also if there's some counsel around that? And then how you navigate the very early stages of intimacy when you are becoming vulnerable and learning each other, and just entering that space

 

Jamila: I think getting in touch with body has been probably the biggest game changer in just knowing how to relate with other people. Because I know when it's a yes in my body, and I know when it's not. I can feel when there's like electric current when someone's name pops up on my screen. Or I notice, I also do a lot of things to notice myself. So I meditate, I do morning pages. So I'm constantly engaged in practices that help me see myself so that I am aware of what is going on in my internal world, because if I'm not, then my external world is sort of just chaos, because I'm not being intentional. So what I do to notice what's going on, and because I practice, constantly, I practice going in and checking in and surveying my inner landscape, I notice when I'm like, oh, that's a no, you know, we're like, ooh, vibe was off with that person, or oh, I noticed that I'm avoiding texting this person back. I create intentionally lots of opportunities to notice my responses to the world, to notice my responses period - to myself, to the world. And so knowing that I trust myself, actually, to be guided by my gut. And so that is something that informs when I decide to be intimate with people. Like, does this feel good? And I'll just like sit down lotus position, take a deep breath and be like, okay, imagine the scenario of, like, kissing this person, or doing whatever, whatever's on the table, you know, like being vulnerable with this person, telling them about this experience like, imagine what that might feel like, does that feel good for me to do? Body? What do you have to say? Mm hmm. Okay, yes. Then I move forward. I check in with myself enough to know when my when it's a yes in my body, and when it's a no.

 

Lianne: And then, when you get to a yes? Are there conversations that you have up front? Are there... I mean, I'm sure there's not a formula. But you know, what are some things that as you continue to be exploring, you know, that you find set you and the new partner up for quote, unquote, success, which I just mean an authentic connection, and then a rewarding, rich, juicy experience with one another, given everything that we're talking about.

 

Jamila: Totally. I think stating your values. Like, I really value autonomy and independence. And so making sure that there's alignment with our values. So, you know, if I say to someone I really value autonomy, and I really value independence. And, you know, it's really important to me to have a lot of alone time, and I don't want to cohabitate... and you know, being upfront about the things that are important to me, the things that give my life meaning, and deliciousness. I feel like, I got to know what those things are so I can tell them to someone up front, and then I listen to see, okay, do we agree on some of these things that are important to us? And if it's not, if we don't, that's okay. But you know, sharing my values, sharing my desires, and sharing my intention. So like, I would really love to date you, by which I mean, I would love to get to know you and have like intentionally pleasurable experiences. And I am interested in doing the following kinds of things with you. Yeah, just stating your desire and then stating your intention. So here's what I want to do. And what I intend to do is, um, you know, like, if I want to date someone, I'll say like, I would love to date you, I would love to do the following things. And I intend to, like, come up with some date ideas that we can do, like I intend to check my other partners... so, the letting other people know, like, here's what here's the work that I'm doing on my side and this dynamic, I think is useful.

 

Lianne: And do you have that kind of conversation specifically about sex?

 

Jamila: I was just thinking back on the last couple of folks that I've had sex with, and I feel like those conversations happen, usually, like... some parts of those conversations happen up front. Like I feel like there's definitely like get to know you period. But then also afterwards - after, usually, I feel like that's when the check ins start. Um, but after sexual intimacy is when --

 

Lianne: Oh.

 

Jamila: Yeah. I'm like, Yeah, I don't. I'm like trying to think... like I haven't had that much sex, which is fine. But I'm like, thinking about the examples that I can pull from in my life. I feel like the conversations - most of them have happened... like, the sex has happened pretty organically and then afterwards, it's like, and this is a new thing. Okay. Let's process. That was fun. Like we were in the moment. You know, there's always consent conversations, of course. But then afterwards, it's like, Okay, well, let's have the bigger conversation about it so we can explore this.

 

Lianne: Totally. I'll offer for listeners like that I've newly started having a lot of conversation about sex with the people I'm gonna sleep with -- up front. Not even in a very intentional, like, it wasn't something I was like I'm gonna start doing this. But it just started happening and like I found it was what I needed to feel safe with people. I think especially, like so many of us, probably in our younger lives and that I want to get to,  that's where we're headed next, so get ready. But if we like don't have very healthier, rewarding earlier experiences where we haven't learned how to communicate really well. Um, there can be a kind of PTSD I think where it's like... for me, I... in having upfront conversations of some kind, it like allows me to know that I am trusting myself to communicate with this person which then makes me feel safe enough with myself to go have sex with them because I know that I've already like exercise the muscle of communication and like spoken of vulnerability or spoken of need or spoken of desire and like, you know, gotten like, gotten the mouth working, and broken the cobwebs of communication. And then it allows me, because that flow has been established, it, like, allows me to then sink into the physical in a way knowing that we've already created that channel, which is a really useful thing that's really new for me that I'm just wanting to present in this conversation. I think that's where that question came from too, as like wondering, um, yeah.

 

Jamila: That's good. The more I get clear about the kind of life I want to have and how I want to move through the world, I feel like my relationships just level up. As I level up, my relationships level up. My tolerance for bullshit gets lower. And my, you know, my access to pleasure gets higher, or wider? Easier? I don't know. But you know what I mean? Um, something that I feel like has been like a renaissance in my sexuality, has been leaning into an exploration of gender. And I, a couple years ago, had a co worker who is this trans non binary femme. And she posted on Facebook, you know, like, as a trans femme, a question that I get all the time is like, how do you know? You know, how did you know that you were a woman? And people are always asking, how did you know that you weren't, you know, your sex assigned at birth, or your gender assigned at birth? And it was like, and so I have a question for cis women, like, how did you know that you were a woman? Everyone's always asked me. But like, how did you know? You know, I have the same question for you. And I reflected on that like, like, how do I know that I'm a woman. And the only answer that I could come up with was I don't. I was like, because I have, like a vagina and breasts. And I was like, no... like, immediately I was like, no!  That's not it. Like I already know, that doesn't make me a woman. And so like, what is it that makes me a woman? And so asking that question really started me on this journey of just reflecting on my gender, and being like, Wow, I've kind of just assumed this role of woman but like, do I feel like attached to it? Do I feel like I am a woman? I'm like, not really. I mean, I'm not particularly like, offended or disturbed when people make that assumption about me or when people call me a woman. But I also feel like I don't even really fully understand what that means. And I'm definitely not attached to it as any part of my identity. It's not something that I feel like is essential to my being. Like I feel honestly like a person, and I actually love to play around with gender expression like I love... I inherited a bunch of my dad's clothes. My dad died in March of last year, so almost a year exactly. And I inherited all of his clothes, and he has like these fly ass button ups, and like bomber jacketss and just like these masculine clothes that I was wearing and being like, oh my gosh, I feel so good. Like, I was looking in the mirror and being like, yes, I never realized until I started playing in it, literally, like literally putting on the clothes, like putting on the performance, how good it feels to be to be in this performance. To perform my gender in a more like gender queer, gender fluid, androgynous way. And so I think that... like I feel like I got sexier after I started to explore a kind of genderqueer, like, gender non-conforming identity, just like, you know, like, I started exploring, like, my inner Daddy. Like, I feel like I've got... I feel like there's a... Yeah, just like leaning into my masculine energy and exploring, like, what that means to me has been really rewarding and has been something I think that has opened up a different realm of possibility in my sexual relationships because I'm not defaulting into this woman role of like, you know, all of the bullshit narratives that that are tied to that role, which is like, the expectation to be submissive, or the expectation to be, you know, in more of a service role or even like, the expressions of femininity, like softness and, like, yeah, now I'm like, I want to fucking be strong as fuck so that I can like-

 

Lianne: Bossy in my daddy pants!

 

Jamila: I think though, like, that has given me access to like lots of different ways to play with people. And I think, like, that is really fun and something that I'm really enjoying - kind of like playing up that aspect. That kind of queer gender identity has created a lot more fluidity in my sexual relationships, which has been just delightful. 

 

Lianne: Hmm, you mentioned roleplay earlier - is that a realm that you dabble in? Or are there... what's the kind of, like, fun that has been now in this more exploratory place? What are some other things that you can tell us about? 

 

Jamila: Well, I think... I'm like wow, queerness is such a blessing to my life. Something that I definitely didn't explore in my non-queer, like, sexual relationships was, like, I would never, or not maybe would never, but I never did tell a, like, cis het man what to do. In the bed. That never happened. I never gave an instruction. 

 

Lianne Sonia: Like what you'd like?

 

Jamila: Not what I like, but what to do. I mean like giving a directive, like, you know, turnover, or, you know, whatever, any kind of directive. I never did that.  I was always the one following, receiving. I just fell into that role and I'll take responsibility. There's core socialization, and like, you know, subconscious training, but I also... I never questioned it. And so that has been something that I feel like, is an area of like playing with being more dominant and being more assertive. And it's really challenged me to like, be like, oh, what do I want you to do? Which, you know, I didn't really think about that. So, giving myself permission to like, be the... it's not even like the... but taking less of a submissive role, because I'm not assuming this, you know, I'm not assuming a hierarchal dynamic where like, I am supposed to follow instructions. That has been really, really fun.

 

Lianne: Totally. Yeah, I think that there is such medicine in queer play, particularly when you are first starting out for the ways in which that you're talking about like that, in some of my experiences, which have not been so many, but I would say the first like meaningful experience I had a woman, that was so interesting to be like, oh, like we are, we're both used to, because we both mostly dabbled in these heteronormative or heterosexual spaces. And we're like, oh, okay, wait, we're both used to being the girl. We're both used to everything that's loaded with it. And I know, clearly, this is like an area that I've interrogated a lot. But until I was really put in the situation experientially to then reflect on, like, how gender has informed my sense of sexual agency and like, femininity and masculinity within myself, and how we were like, oh, well, we're both used to playing this one role. So now we're both gonna step into another role or, you know, take on the more masculine role or kind of take turns and like watch that energy flow back and forth and watch where, and when it felt comfortable. And when it felt like, oh, this is really like an edge for me of, you know, feeling like in the more dominant or masculine place. I think that there is a really powerful exploration there. And something that you know, you can bring into a hetero-relationship as well, with that intention. And that self-reflection. I actually want to bring up this Audre Lorde quote, since she's a source of inspiration for both of us, and both of our podcasts. And I think it's something that's really relevant to a lot of the work that you are doing. Which I'll just say, you know, in so much of what I think that you're putting out there, it's really about empowering people to take responsibility for their lives and for their experience, and to be powerful and exploratory. And you spoke earlier about your own body as a litmus test for what feels right and how do you know when that, in terms of wanting to sleep with someone or not, or just your own practices of checking in? I think that's a lot of what you encourage your followers and your community to develop in terms of a skill set. And this quote from Audre Lorde is, she says our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning in our lives. And this is a grave responsibility not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, or the merely safe.

 

Jamila: I think the bridge is knowing what feels good, knowing the conditions that support your joy and pleasure and then giving yourself permission to have those things. So, I feel like that is... I mean, sex is a microcosm for how I want to show up in the world which is being in touch with my desires, knowing what I need to feel amazing and not just being okay or being content with. Yeah, this is ight, you know, I feel like for so long, mediocrity was the only thing I knew, and so it didn't occur to me to pursue excellence. Enough was... I was kind of operating at good enough is what I got. And so, why pursue anything more? If this is good enough? And I feel like at a certain point, I was like, you know, good enough is actually not... I don't want to land that good enough. I want to keep going until it is like enthusiastic yes or like absolute alignment or ultimate pleasure and delight, because I know that I can have those things. So why why would I say yes to anything less and I feel like that is... that's just like how I want people to live in the world is knowing what they need to feel incredible as much as possible because grief is inevitable, and sadness is inevitable. And so knowing that we're going to have to endure seasons of darkness and discomfort, why not lean in to the seasons of, of deliciousness and ease when we can, to be a buffer and to energize us to be able to navigate the experiences that aren't that. And just like grieving, I think has also given me a lot of permission to make my joy proportionate. And recognizing that, you know, there's no way to avoid grief. And it's always going to visit us. No human being is exempt. And so if I know that it's coming, then when it's not here, I want to be really intentional about feeling something else. 

 

Lianne: Hmm. 

 

Jamila: That when it comes, I don't have to be afraid of it. I can just sort of say, you know... it's like being on vacation. It's like when you're on vacation for a week. It's so much harder to go back to not being on vacation. But when you're on vacation for eight months, when you have a task to do, it's kind of like, alright, you know, no big deal. And I feel that way about pleasure and about living in alignment that, you know, like, the hard times are coming. And so the least we can do is gift ourselves a diversity of experiences. 

 

Lianne: Mm hmm. Yeah, I definitely wanted to ask you about grief. And you just released a really beautiful episode about it. And you mentioned your father's passing. And I know your sister also passed in that same year. And so you've had a profound relationship to grief over the last year and a half or so. And I'm curious, what your relationship to joy and pleasure was during that time. So you're talking about the seasons, and it's a really great, beautiful reflection you're sharing about when you encounter grief, you know, it's so connected. The poet... I always butcher how to say his name but Khalil Gibran says that your capacity for joy is your capacity for sorrow, or I think the quote is like, joy is like your sadness unmasked. It's all about capacity for feeling. But, um, yeah, I'd love to hear about how you were kind of relating to pleasure and joy in that period.

 

Jamila: Well, I learned that they can exist at the same time actually, then they're elusive. Like, just because I'm grieving doesn't mean that I'm not also laughing, experiencing pleasure. And I, again, had to do a lot of releasing an idea of how I should be feeling like, oh, you know, my sister just died, like I should be sad all the time. And that wasn't my truth. I was sad a lot. Don't get it twisted. I was devastated for so much of it, and I'm still devastated by it. And in the midst of that I was also experiencing laughter. Someone brought over a frozen lock of Kraft mac and cheese in a, like, to go Tupperware container and we laughed. I mean, I just couldn't help myself but to laugh at the absurdity of some of the things that people did and said during, you know, the moments after my sister passed. And there was something always that felt a little wild about laughter like, whoa, you know, the fact I'm laughing but this tragic thing is happening. And getting okay with that complexity and recognizing that, you know, there's never just one the feeling there's never just one state of being. That they're all happening at the same time. And the way that they emerge is going to fluctuate, you know, they come out and they harmonize, and sometimes there's discord, but they're always present together, all of the feelings are always within me. And then also something that I really profound that I experienced as my dad... because my sister died suddenly. And, you know, I think is definitely impacted by whatever... especially grief around death, the way that the death happens does have an impact on the way the grief happens. My sister died suddenly. But my father was dying for some time, and I knew that he was going to die. And so it was very clear to me and I... it must be the ancestors of the universe just blessing me. But it was very clear to me that I was in a moment that was going to change me forever. I just knew it, okay, I know that I am going to be forever changed by this experience, and how do I want to navigate it? I felt like I had agency. I got to choose. And knowing, and I just recently talked about this, but I used to think of trauma as a, you know, the post-traumatic stress disorder, like trauma was a thing that was happening or that have happened to you in the past. And when my father was dying, I was very aware that I was in a container. I was like, this is a traumatic incident, this is going to impact me forever. This is going to change everything about my life. And how can I show up for this traumatic experience, knowing that I'm in it. Because I think a lot of trauma people experience, they don't know that they're in it, because it's normal to them at the time, you know, happens to them. A lot of trauma happens to people when they're young. But knowing that I was kind of entering into a trauma experience compelled me to get really curious about, okay, well, how might I help it move through me? Like I know also that trauma fuckin attaches itself in the body. And so how do I help it move through so that it doesn't get stuck in me. And I did a lot of meditating. And I did a lot of dancing. I think I danced every single day. My dad was like, actively dying for 30 days. And every day I danced. And almost every day I meditated. And I wanted to make sure that I was in my body. I was like, I want to be fully present. If he only has a few days left, I want to be here for every single moment of them. And what are the things that help me be present, it's being in my body. And so I knew that I had to be in my body and dance was going to shake some energy up, out and through me. And so I was dancing. And it was so joyful. I mean, there were just moments where, you know, I was just fully in my body and I wasn't thinking about sorrow, or I wasn't thinking about the future, wasn't thinking about what I could have, would have, should have. I was just dancing. And it was sort of a... it was like a vacation that I got to take, you know, in my own body for one song or for a couple songs on a playlist to just be fully present in the moment. And it helped me be fully present throughout the whole experience truly, and I really am proud of myself and grateful for the wisdom that I had access to know. I need to be breathing deep and I need to be dancing. 

 

Lianne: And is the meditation that you're doing, were doing the type of Buddhism that you practice, or was it breathwork?

 

Jamila: What was I doing? I honestly I think I was setting a timer for like an hour, 45 minutes and just focusing on my breath, doing my best to bring my full awareness to my breath. Anytime my thoughts wandered, to notice that they'd wandered and to bring my attention back to my breath until the timer went off. I was really practicing presence, and practicing, being aware of my breath and noticing, oh, I'm holding my breath because I started thinking. Not that I started thinking, but that my awareness is now on my thinking, as opposed to on my breath. And that was what I was doing. But I kind of, yeah, I think I just sort of, like, went away. Now that I'm answering the question. I'm like, I don't know. I had never really meditated before. I just knew that that's what I needed to be doing, kind of intuitively, to be taking some deep ass breaths through this, because I wanted to be calm. You know, I wanted to be very Zen. I wanted. I knew that as his death doula, you know, I'm literally transitioning him. I'm bringing- ushering him out of this realm, out of this lifetime into the next one. I knew that I had a very important role to do. And I didn't want my energy to be frantic. And I knew that I needed ground myself. And I knew that breath was the way to do it. So I just literally started meditating in the morning, like, an hour in the morning every day. Just breathing deep, deep ass breaths, bringing my attention back to my breath.

 

Lianne: Um, wow, thank you for sharing that. That's really powerful and really relevant to this moment, because as you're saying, right, like this is a moment as well that we collectively are going through knowing that this is trauma, and knowing that this is gonna change everything on a personal and a global level. And so to dance and breathe through it feels equally important to what you're saying. Well, the last thing I'd love for you to talk about is a flirt workshop. Tell me about your relationship to flirting and what you've learned from this workshop we were talking about before we started recording or anything else.

 

Jamila: Yes. So I went to a fem/me for fem/me flirting workshop. And them was it was written f e m, slash m e. - so, a nod to the sort of expansiveness of the word femme. And I'm still exploring my own femme identity. And sometimes I feel it and a lot of times, I don't. Nonetheless, I went. I was encouraged by the facilitator, Lee, who just runs a beautiful workshop and has done this-

 

Lianne: Just so that we can make this really accessible, as you just mentioned, I'll ask you to define femme in the way that you defined queerness.

 

Jamila: Yes. You know, going to go with the hard, I don't know. And that's really why. And I like messaged Lee, and I was like, actually I don't even know if I know what femme means, or if I identify as that. But my understanding of femme is that it's an expansive way to talk about femininity. Another way to think about gender that isn't attached to biological definitions of womanhood, but is instead anchored in, sort of, a more complex understanding of what femininity is. So I did this workshop, there's a flirting workshop and there was a lot of community conversation about just encouraging people to reflect on how we shoot our shot. If we are interested in someone, how do we navigate approaching them, going after, you know, stating our stating our desire stating our intention? Why are we shy about it sometimes? Or what do we do to be bold? And what are some of the ways that we say it some of the strategies that we, you know, that we use, and then, there was a little practice. So, like the invitation was if there's someone here that you might like to flirt with, then send them a message and see if they want to flirt with you. And then we were in like these breakout chat rooms where we got to talk to people one on one, and it was really sweet and really... it was really affirming actually, to just hear people talk about their varied experiences with flirting, and recognizing that it's just a way - really what I got from it was that flirting is is just a way to creatively express interest. Like a playful way to express interest in getting to know someone further. And that there is a way... What I learned about myself is that sometimes I'm a little more reserved when it comes to flirting because I don't want to... I'm not always looking to ride the relationship escalator with someone. So I'm like, I don't want to be flirting with someone because I'm not necessarily trying to, you know, like, date, fall in love, move in, have babies, you know, the whole thing. Like maybe I just want to flirt for this hour. So, that was something that I brought up and that was echoed is that you know, this largely monogamous culture convinces people that there is this kind of expected trajectory of involvement with another person. And this workshop just reminded me that flirting can be about the moment that it can be about like, oh, in this moment, I'm engaged with you, and I'm giving you my attention. And I'm letting you know on purpose that I'm into you. And that doesn't have to mean anything other than that, it can just be that. And if we want it to be something more than that, then that's a separate conversation. So it was sweet. It was cute. And now I'm, like, flirting with some cuties from the workshop.

 

Lianne: I love that. I mean, I think it's very aligned with, again, how we started our conversation., it's in the realm of like lover friends, it's in the realm of just defining always what it is for you and the realm of consent. And also how boundaries create freedom. So what's really nice about a flirt workshop is like and also this is explicitly what this is about right now is this hour in this moment. That flirtiness too is like such a delicious form of self expression is what I've been thinking about lately. I think I went for a very long time I had like an intentional kind of antenna down celibacy phase that I recently came out of and so the first like flirtations that I felt, like my experience of myself was, you know, like, very expressive and playful and fun and sexy. And I was like, oh, it's this flirting is just a way to also like, really feel yourself and that there's some, like something really delicious about that. And it's, you know, it doesn't even need to be about expressing interest in another person. 

 

Jamila: Right? It's true. That's a good point.

 

Lianne: And I wonder, um, I would love more containers to like, explore that kind of cheesiness.  I think it just comes back to... I don't know, what's just coming into my brain right now is how when I was younger, and like, I don't know, college, or my early 20s, you're talking about your Tinder dates and like, just the like, should not be obligatory. Like, can we please shatter this whole paradigm, however, like that phase of your young adulthood that it's just like messy hookup culture, um, where it so often feel like the script had already been written. And so it was really hard for me to not get consent because I was like, oh, oops, like I invited this person over. So I guess I've already consented to like this thing happening, right? Where in fact it's like as you've been saying, we are creating an every moment our reality and have complete agency over that. And one thing doesn't have to lead to another, lead to another that, you know, we're we're constantly in this generative, co-creative, emergent reality and the more that we can align with that as a truth and a way to live in the world, which again is like what I see so much of what you're doing and living to be so, what I see you're all about, the more, then, permission we have to explore all of those aspects of ourselves in greater safety. 

 

Yes, absolutely. And I would love for there to be greater safety for that exploration in our culture. And we're getting there. We'll keep having this conversation. 

 

Jamila: Yes, it's true. This is part of this. This is part of the shift for sure. 

 

Lianne: Well, thank you so much for sharing so candidly about your experience, and sharing your light and your brilliance. And we'll link to all of the amazing work that you're putting out in the world. It's just one of my life's joys to be in conversation with you.

 

Jamila: Thank you so much. I'm so grateful. This was a delight.

 

Lianne: If this episode turns you on, please subscribe, rate, and review us It makes a huge difference. Then head to strippersandsages.com to learn more about our guests, sign up for our mailing list, access special resources and become a Patreon supporter, which would be very sexy of you. Special thanks to venue frat for scoring and mixing these episodes and to Lilia Tam and John Wolfstone for their production support. Stay sexy, folks.

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