Erin O'daniel is a writer, artist and gender expansive womxn living in Duluth, Minnesota


So ego is always involved right? I sit here, hands on the cold silver Mac keyboard, feeling creatively fine-tuned and content with my body, proud of the way I maintain, prioritize, have fun with my strength and well being. I’m reading great queer lit and surrounded by a steady handful of small city MN intersectional feminisms and queers. So. Much. Goodness.

And my ego wants more. What is ego? In the context of sex++? Relationship? Intimacy? Love?  In my past, I’ve been open to a vast array, a HUGE rainbow of experiences, drawn in by folx of all flavors. Black radical feminist queer southerner. Dynamic, sharp and brilliant worldly artist and Midwestern bisexual Scorpio. Lake adoring, older huge hearted lesbian. Established and celebrated multi-racial New England dyke musician. "White trash" (and proud owner of this term) questioning younger funniest of Duluthians. Pacific northwest quirky outdoorsy hippy family chocoholic depressive creative.  Saltey North Carolinian with great boundaries, dedication to her art practice family and home. Venezuelan Leo feminist sex educator living in heart of queer Minneapolis. New York poet of color so tiny my hand covered her whole ass. Texan who is fun, feminist, hugely smart, tender hearted, queer and fluent in Italian, totally in tune with her sexual self.

This is my list. Folks I’ve fucked and loved. Who have challenged my ego because they represent me. My heart. My attraction. I’ve noticed the inconsistencies and humanity in all of them. They’ve helped me grow a whole heart. I’ve engaged communities alongside them and shared my creative voice. I’ve cried with a handful of them. Orgasmed with all.

My community challenges my ego too. I sat in a meeting for a feminist group last night and my fire was turned up. My ego was present. I spoke my mind and shared my opinions. I listened too. There are exciting new and young voices at the table. I remained silent when a group member made the comment, offered the compliment, “You all are so nice.” I drove home after walking briefly by the moon and lake, noticing how those words still irritated me. "Nice". It made me think of a friend's brilliant business idea to open an ice cream shop called "MN N'ice cream". Then I craved CraveD ice cream. Any flavor! Please. And then my ego (or petty mind) starting obsessing about frozen dessert.

To distract my head, I messaged my young German enthusiast northern forest loving/living and letter writing Minnesotan. I shared my dairy desires and she said she doesn’t have cravings!?? What?! You Minnesotans?!! Who are you. Repressed people? Ignoring possible pleasure? Or just eternally content- able to ignore when your body says, “Bring it.”  You, stoic you, can simply look away. Me though= Fire fire! Constant fire...such contrast to your "nice".

Yes, my ego pulsed around that table. I wanted radical language, illuminating speech, the brightest of ideas about collective liberation. I wanted more diversity as in not just black and brown faces at the table, but power in the hand of those sisters and brothers and beyond. I wanted all genders and gender non-conforming folxs right there because they want to be and see the intersections of who and where they are with the work we are doing.

I want to say to Duluth, “Let's step together beyond nice. Talk about sex++. The ‘hard’ issues. The things that make you squirm, shrink, squeeze yourself into crazee small spaces. In queer creative ways god dammit. For effing sake.”

So yes ego, desires craving, all intersectional with profession and creative success. All my ideas pulsing pulsing. It is February. Seeds have been planted and we grow, we grow, we grow. And my ego pushes at the crusty, snowy top layer of earth. Wants to be fucking surrounded and pleasured my the most beautiful, Bright!!!, people, ideas, wealth, flowers and delicious food right now.

I sit writing my blog and allow my ego to take up a little space here at home in Minnesota. My Scandinavian, hot-blooded, huge hearted Grandma with me always. No saint, she loved up life like any god loving, American hedonist, 20th century daughter of Swedish, small city immigrants could. She was it all. Ego as in cared about what people thought and wanted the best for herself and her family. She had expectations and dreams. She exuded love and was probably clueless about her privilege. She didn’t spend time lamenting her limitations (health, finances, gender, rural mindset surrounding her) and enjoyed herself- as in big bones and huge personality. She and her ego ate up life (and chocolate sundaes with crushed nuts).

So sex and ego in Duluth Minnesota. What do I carry with me of her? The containment meets my other half, the wild irish. These parts of me a little water and lot hot, me in 2017. Wanting more, with and for my people, wanting more. Here I live in the United States. Such richness. Wackness. Ego landing me here in this city on a extraordinary lake. I don’t live a normal urban American late 30 something life. Yet have access to it. I demanded more. My ego said, “The ultimate beauty and simplicity at a low cost so you can be and do all you want. Play infinitely. Dream big. Be held consistently. Have mad amounts of solitude and space. Build heart filled by home and family history community. Love and queered subtly.”

I get it. I see the big picture. I’m always looking at the big picture. This place softens/emboldens and irritates/drives me. This place keeps me strong and breaks me down to build and rebuild and rebuild. Like that entire list of lovers.

So ego is thoughts and emotions and personalities and work and love. Craving and desire/d. Driving by. I watch it. I feel it. I want and allow myself to be satiated. Ego is being scared of failure or loss. I want big things and shiny things and smart things and beautiful things and quality! things. I want local and worldly things. I want queer things and intersectionally feminist things. And to always honor my queerest genderexpansive alter ego Villa Villekulla. I want SiMC to be a smash success. Resource for all, lend fireworks to people’s lives.  And I want my books published and awarded all the brightest, shiniest, far-reaching awards.  Beauty, sex, success, comfort, well-being. Dynamic multi dimensional kind creative loving community. And I want to pause and feel gratitude pulsing through me always for all I am and have now. It’s the orgasm, success, marriage, love, strength I’ve always dreamed of.

So ego-d heart, you’re a part of this. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.


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