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HIV? Yep, still deadly.

Posted by Sarah Sloane on May 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

Just a quick ranty post before I hit the road to Chicago.

Let’s have a little reality check time. All you folks that think HIV is a totally treatable (if permanent) disease? Wrong. Think that HIV doesn’t actually kill people in the US or Europe anymore? Double Wrong.

Why mention it now? Because earlier this week, an amazing man who I had the honor of knowing and learning from passed away from aids. And because I’ve heard so many people who don’t think HIV is an issue anymore, so they don’t worry too much about it. Let me take a moment and tell you what an issue it is, ‘k? Then maybe the next time you hook up with someone and they don’t offer to use protection, you’ll insist on it or walk away…because your life is way too precious to lose to this preventable disease.

In 2007, there were over 2 Million people in North America & Central Europe who where living with aids. 81,000 new diagnoses were made. And 31,000 people died from the disease.* That’s men, women, and children. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, queer, cisgendered, transgendered, Asian, Black, White, Hispanic, Multiracial. Not to mention skinny, fat, sexy, shy, urban, rural, cultured, untutored, and every other variety of human being you can imagine. In fact, it might surprise you to know that women account for 50% of worldwide aids cases, and people under 25 account for 50% as well.

aids takes life down in a slow, frustrating, and painful way. People succumb to cancers, pneumonias, and other illnesses that tear apart their compromised immune systems. In order to have any quality of life, they take thousands of dollars of medication per month to manage their body & to improve their health (if they’re lucky enough to be able to afford it or have access to charities that can get them these vitally needed medications).

I am glad that the gentleman I mentioned was able to leave this world in the comfort of a familiar place, gently, with his husband next to him. I ache deeply for the pain that his family and friends are experiencing. And more than anything else, I wish that we could stop having people pretend that it’s not such a big deal anymore. It is. I’m sure there are 31000 people that fought it last year that could tell you that – except they aren’t hear to say it anymore.

*These numbers are for North America & Central Europe only – worldwide deaths from HIV infections in 2007 were the immense sum of 2 million.  More statistics, from UNAIDS/WHO, can be found here.

 
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Weddings, Travel, and Conversations…

Posted by Sarah Sloane on May 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

Last week, Theresa Reed (aka Darklady) interviewed me for her radio show, Darkladys Sexpose, on Radio Dentata; the show airs on Wednesday, May 20, at 11 PM EST / 8 PM PST. I confess that I’m nervous about listening to it; I have never liked the sound of my own voice (really, people!).  I did a radio show with Rebeccas Deos a couple of months ago, and still haven’t listened to it, either. I figure eventually I need to, if only to keep me from doing something truly cringe-worthy in the future.

Huge love and congratulations to my knitterly friends Ann and Sadelle, who married themselves in a Quaker service this past weekend.  The day was beautiful, the brides were glowing and smiling and teary-eyed (just as they should be!), and the love of the witnesses was palpable. I aspire to love and be loved the way that they do. Thank you both for showing everyone in attendance the joy and delight you take in each other.

This weekend I fly out to Chicago for a drive-by visit to International Mr Leather weekend and to participate in and present at Shibaricon. I hate to say that I’m not yet jazzed up for it, but it’s true – through no fault of Shibaricon, IML, or Chicago as a whole (I still love you, Windy City!). I’ve been on the move way too much lately, with too little downtime; I tend to test my own boundaries and limits pretty regularly and once again, I’m being reminded to back off & take time for myself. I am going to enjoy Chicago, though; I’m making tentative plans with friends, I rented a car, and I’m going to be staying in different parts of the city each night, by the looks of things. Once I get back, I’m treated to three weeks at home before I head out again, this time to Wisconsin for Spank Festival!

Next week, I’ll be publishing the second article in my Economics of Education series – this time, from the attendee’s perspective. I am pleased by the diversity of comments (through email & twitter) on the first article; thank you all for letting me know your thoughts on it. A few weeks after that, I’ll have the third and last installment ready for you, which looks at kink education through the eyes of the event organizers & promoters. If you have anything you’d like me to be mindful of when finishing up those two pieces, drop me a note and let me know.

 
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A big weekend

Posted by Sarah Sloane on May 10, 2009 in Uncategorized
Sarah Sloane, Barbara Carrellas, and Anita Wagner

Sarah Sloane, Barbara Carrellas, and Anita Wagner

So, above, you can see me at lunch with two of the amazing people that I caught up with at Sex2.0 here in DC yesterday. Barbara Carrellas has been an amazing friend and influence on my growth as an educator, and she’s got so many more amazing projects on the fire for this year & into ’10. Anita Wagner has been an educator and activist in the poly community for years in the Mid-Atlantic region and throughout the country; she’s got a wealth of personal experience as well as a tremendous group of family & friends, which gives her teaching and writing a depth and breadth that not many people achieve. The photo was taken by Cunning Minx, of the Polyamory Weekly podcast, who is a shining mind of creativity and joy – not to mention a sexy woman with an amazing capacity to delve into the depths of any subject she wants to work with. Needless to say, I felt like a baby having lunch with these amazing women – they all have qualities that I aspire to in my own life and work.

And amazingly enough, Sex 2.0 gave me a lot more things to aspire to. I didn’t attend that many of the workshops, but I got a lot of ideas. One that I hope will come to fruition soon is something that I’m currently calling a Chatcast. I get to go to a lot of events and new parts of the country, and while I’m there I get to hang around with people who have amazing stories and ideas. I’ve always wished I had a way to share those conversation with others, yet I don’t want to commit to a “scheduled” podcast, especially if I have to do a lot of work to get it out. After going to yesterdays podcast workshop, it occurred to me that I could just get a few people together, give them a topic, listen to them talk about it for a half-hour or so, do a tiny bit of editing, then put it up on my website for any readers who are interested to download & listen to in their spare time. So…I hope to be starting that project fairly soon!

In the other big news of the day – May 10 (the day that I’m writing this) is my 19th sobriety anniversary. I don’t often talk about my recovery online or in person, but my growth into the woman that I am today really started that moment 19 years ago when I realized that I was losing my sanity, my health, and my life to my addiction. Every day since then has been a gift of growth, whether it’s been painful or blissful, and after all these years I am amazed at how my life has become so much richer and more whole than I could have ever imagined it to be. The moral of the story is? I was about to try yet again to end my life when I decided to make that one change – to try to not drink for one day – and I found out that what my sponsor used to tell me was true: “don’t quit five minutes before the miracle”.

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