I came (well, not literally, unfortunately). I saw. I presented. Yes, it went well.
But you know, I wish I had attended the entire conference. I arrived on Saturday morning, a day after the festivities had started, and never did lose my “new-girl-at-school-trying-to-catch up-and-fit-in” feeling. But with all the urgent confusion in my personal life (divorce finalizing, home sale coming up…), I didn’t feel I could be away more than a night. Plus, I’ve got some chronic fatigue and chemical sensitivity issues that require a certain amount of pacing.
Still, I wish now that I’d gone for a couple more days – attended a pre-conference workshop on Thursday (so I could bond with a few strangers) as well as Friday’s opening plenary, networking events, and so on. It would have given me time to adjust, meet and talk with people, and relax!
CatalystCon West was a rich mixture, and there were too many good workshops to see. There were always at least two in each time slot that beckoned to me. Hard to choose! My favorite presentations were from Anna Randall & Richard Sprott (Black and Blues: When Bruises Become Bruised Feelings), Robin Wilson-Beattie & Bethany Stevens (Toys for a Sex-Abled Life), and Alex Morgan & Monique Darling (Yes, All Genders…). Carol Queen & Shar Rednour were erudite and amusing (Writing Sex & Pleasure…) and Samantha Manewitz was also very good on the topic of abuse in kink communities (Breaking Silence…).
My Sunday morning presentation, Hot & Hypnotic – Five Ways Erotic Hypnosis Can Rock Your Sex Life, was a lot of fun. I felt very well taken care of by the conference assistants and tech support. I also had a brief chance to say hello to Dee Dennis, whom I’d never met before. And then my room filled with mostly unknown faces and I was off and running. I truly love talking about hypnosis and sex! I like to work the floor, move, and enjoy myself when I present. People seemed to mostly enjoy what I did, though a couple of ropes enthusiasts challenged me on my caution about mixing hypnosis and actual bondage (a caution mostly for newbies, I admit – and mostly founded on trust issues). I also did a group hypnosis script on consent, which people also seemed to appreciate.
Tweets comments for my presentation hashtag #cconhot included “excellent presentation” (from @TantrikaVanessa) and an exhuberant “2 min power pose!” with a happy face (from @MissHelena007). Others tweeted about certain aspects of content – myths and benefits (@car_ireland), using hypnosis without realizing it (@Desire_Guru), and so on. @car_ireland and @MissHelena007 tweeted that they felt “excited” and @MissHelena007 kindly said I brought “a wealth of knowledge and experience to the party.” I am very grateful to these lovely people who took the time to say a few words about my workshop on Twitter!
After my presentation, energizing as it was, I felt in need of something restorative: a nap, or a shower, a cup of cocoa, or something! But I’d had to check out of my room early that morning, due to the timing of my workshop, so there was no place to go and recover. Alas!
After attending a couple more workshops, I was exhausted and socially saturated by the time Sunday afternoon’s grand finale rolled around (Tea with Joanni Blank). I’d had some great meals with colleagues, some nice interactions in passing, and now I was ready for home. I decided to leave without saying good-byes, and just get myself over to the Bob Hope Airport so I could collapse into an uncomfortable airport chair for an hour before take off.
I was at the airport for several extra, unexpected hours due to the horrible fires in Lake County, which had caused flight delays and cancellations throughout California. While in my little sex conference bubble, I was unaware of what was happening in Northern CA.
Immediately upon my return I was unexpectedly plunged into a friend’s local political campaign, designing his website, Facebook page, and so on. It’s consumed the last week and a half of my life, even in the midst of divorce and home sale details. Today is the first day I’ve had a chance to reflect on my experiences at CatalystCon West.
Would I do it again? Probably – but only on the West Coast. I’m less and less inclined to travel at all, unless it’s to Hawai’i!