I spent the last weekend of February in Toronto for the Playground Conference and, frankly, it was pretty rad. I attended Playground in 2015 and then the conference took a bit of a hiatus so it was incredibly exciting to have it back. I found attending the return of Playground especially poignant as it was my first real event since last year’s massive depressive episode. Last summer I staggered through two conferences that I barely remember and, honestly, I felt like I hadn’t really functioned like a professional in public in well over a year. It felt like Playground and I were coming back together and I really appreciated that. Additionally, Playground is a fabulous event run by wonderful and kind people. If you’ve never been, I seriously recommend checking it out. Organizer Samantha Fraser goes above and beyond to make her event everything a sex positive conference should be.
On Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of presenting Keep Giving a Fuck: A Conversation About Prioritizing Sex During Trying Times with my wonderful collaborator (and, frankly, one of my favorite people ever) Stephen Biggs. It was a great session, we took some awesome questions from the attendees and I may have gotten extremely real about some stuff. Good times. The only thing I could have wished for was more time but I feel like that’s always true. You can check out the posts from our session below:
After we were done I had what I’ve come to recognize as my standard Saturday-night-at-a-conference …
Doing my traditional conference “collapse in my hotel room, skipping all the cool stuff going on downstairs” routine, looking over the tweets from #pgconfgiveaf, feeling weepy, extremely lucky that I get to do this work, and grateful for all of you#pgconfTO @lewandmassager
— JoEllen Notte (@JoEllenNotte) February 25, 2018
Work stuff aside, I got to see a ton of great people, hug folks I normally only connect with via a keyboard, visit a bunch of cool sex shops, cuddle a lot and generally just enjoy being around people who think, talk, care and geek out about the same stuff I do and challenge me to do that all more and better. I did learn a powerful lesson this time about budgeting my energy. I didn’t go to nearly as many things as I planned and I still ran out of steam before the closing, inadvertently fell asleep and missed it which killed me as the speakers were the amazing Dirty Lola and Kevin Patterson (whose book- Love’s Not Color Blind-I picked up and wholeheartedly recommend). Lesson learned: in the future I need to map out my must-sees, budget my energy accordingly and be realistic about it, i.e. not planning for the amount of mental/emotional energy I think I “should” have but understanding how much I generally do have. I legit talked to my doctor about this when I got home.
Hats off to my doctor who when I said “I seem to be worse than I used to be in terms of social/mental stamina, how can I fix that?” made sure I wasn’t talking about anxiety and then basically told me it’s okay to be me, even if I need to severely budget my energy.
— JoEllen Notte (@JoEllenNotte) March 2, 2018
There was one other fun thing I got to do at Playground: I gave away a bunch of cool Le Wand gifts and, on the last day, a huge prize pack! I think I may have had more fun with this than anyone else did! Below you can check out some folks sporting their Le Wand gifts and the giveaway winner, Wendy (who is an awesome, talented sex educator)! Check it out: