36. you can make a human: horizontal with a young mother
This is horizontal, the podcast about intimacy of all kinds that’s recorded while the opposite of vertical. Horizontal aims to make private conversations public, in order to dispel shame, diminish loneliness, and cultivate human connection. To paraphrase my eloquent listener ghostheart, I take you into my bed and let your ears watch as I unzip intimate conversations. In this episode, recorded on my horizontal does america road trip, I lie down with Kennedy. Kennedy is the young wife of my college friend, Thom. Thom and I went to theatre school together at NYU. I think he graduated one year before me, in 2002. I had a thing for Thom. I'm pretty sure we had sex. He's pretty sure we didn't. We're friends now. I visited him on my first cross country road trip, in 2009, when he was single and working as a bartender. And I visited him on my second, now that he has a two year old, a house, a wife, and works as a schoolteacher at a magnet high school. During October and November of 2017, I drove 10,700 miles in a Honda Civic. By myself. Every single mile of it. Oh it was delicious! I circumnavigated the U.S. with two intentions: 1. To feel free, and 2. To record with as many fascinating people as possible. At 20 years old, Kennedy is a mother, a college student, a giver of care, a seeker, a brave, humble warrior. She is a survivor of sexual assault who doesn't like to use those words. She doesn't wish to identify with victimhood. She doesn't want people to see that as her whole identity. It is a prime example of a great sickness within our society, that a woman who is harmed, should be blamed for having been harmed, and then further judged and blamed for using the accurate term: “victim” to describe the role she has been forced into. I am appalled that she even had to worry about this. It is only a small part of the story of Kennedy— but it is a part of that story. And we both know that silence doesn't help. We know that silence and secrecy have caused women to suffer more egregiously than their wounds ever necessitated. We know that silence and secrecy has kept many of us from receiving proper treatment for trauma and our mental health. We know that we don't want this to happen anymore. And that she, like I, wants us to be free. To express our sexuality in any way that feels right and meaningful and joyous to us. To love whomever we wish to love, whenever we love them. To speak aloud about the things that have happened to us. To put forth our own stories in the hopes that others may not need to live in shame. I am deeply honored by Kennedy's vulnerability, and the generosity required of her to share that vulnerability with me. At first, when I arrived at Thom’s place, I was concerned that Kennedy might not like me. As it turned out, she was concerned that I might not like her. Because due to some disappointingly backwards closedmindedness, more than a handful of Thom's friends, and I say that in quotation marks, "friends," were unkind to both of them when they got together. It is hard for me to understand why a true friend would stand in the way of you loving another consenting adult. But. That's what happened. I was delighted to see my friend so happy. In this episode, we discuss topics that have never before been broached on this podcast — childbirth and the sex afterwards, mismatched libidos, being a young mother, and ... placenta fajitas. Let's get into the episode, dear ones. Come lie down with us. *** If you are moved by this work, become a part of it through Patreon.com/horizontalwithlila — if you aren't familiar with it, Patreon is a life changer for independent artists with the desire to make lawless, uncensored, and undiluted work. It allows each of you to become a patron of the horizontal arts, and to gain access in various ways to this process of spreading intimacy. You can become a patron at the base level for $2 a month, and the awards get more sumptuous as you offer more! *** Time for some credit. This episode was edited by Chad Michael Snavely, podcast maven. Check out his entire roster by heading to ChadMichael.com. My lovely intro music was created by the nicest rock star in the world, Alan Markley. He's on Instagram as plastic cannons. The horizontal cover art was illustrated by Shana Shay, and her playful, sensual work can be found on 99 designs.