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

Winning the Lottery

These are things I’m cultivating in my life on the regular. They apply to my work (which I adore), my creativity (which I’m in awe of), my family (all beautiful flavors of), my being (body, mind, heart Fierceness) and my homes (a delicious handful).

How do I apply all this goodness to sex and romance when another person/other people are involved and I live in a small Midwestern town? I’ve learned over the past two years while dating someone in the south that I have high standards for my self. In contrast to her lived reality, I take excellent care of my body, mind, heart, creative practice, lived space, work and personal relationships. I relish indulgently in the alone time I have and am invigorated by the community I’m blessed to be living with and consistently building and rebuilding.

I’m reading a delightful middle grade book by Irish author Emma Donaghue right now. She’s painted a picture of an ultra dedicated, creative, free, self educated, queer blended family The Lotteries. I watched my mind judge the amount of love and commitment as I moved deeper into the book yesterday. Essentially, her characters are unlimited. They’ve opened themselves up to the goodness of themselves and the world.

The resistance I felt in my body, noticed, and released yesterday was profound. While I’ve felt in the last month I may have standards too high, yet celebrate that I’m delighted by life on the constant, there is something in the Lotteries that resonates.  They’re living sustainable and creative and loving lives in communion with each other and their surrounding communities. They’ve set a very high bar yet don’t seem bogged down by ego or perfectionism. All are rooted in and freed by their silly, innately curious, love filled selves.

The coupling is multiracial and queer thus the kids are immersed in a new, profound reality and demonstration of equity, justice, beauty, peace. I wish this for everyone- including myself. Especially myself.  There is a lightness in their world that I believe is love inherent, speaks to the success+happiness of who we are being supported, encouraged, believed in completely by our inner and outer worlds.

The inner critic is absent from the pages yet critical analysis of and curiosity about the world is very present. I’m learning there’s an immense difference between the two in terms of how we engage the external and ourselves.

It feels as if the Lottery’s have allowed ultimate goodness into their lives and will… no matter where they live, who they love, or what they have. It’s an inspiring practice- one I recognize with the ending of this past romance I’m engaged in/dedicated too.

I recently ended the romantic element of the southern relationship as I became conscious of some of the patterns that triggered me. I belittled myself during our last visit about being harsh, closed and judgmental. However, I gave everything I had to outward kindness and acceptance. I saw more clearly than ever before during the two years we had dated just how different we are. Such truths are often hard to accept. It means impending change. A shift in how paths romantically converge… and then don’t.

Mainly, I noticed how different our definitions and practices of wellness and community are. And standing back now, 1000 miles apart and two weeks afterwards, I see that these two parts of my life, wellness and commitment to building dynamic community, have stepped front and center right now. It’s imperative that I connect and build closeness with others who also prioritize these parts of their lives.  Say, as the Lottery’s have, “Let’s do this as well as possible and delight in the ease and beauty and dynamic love of our lives.”

The Lottery’s live like they are in love with life. They Are in love with their lives. I want to allow myself to fall in love with my life even more. As Dolly says, We can love each other better. “ And ourselves. The entirety of it. And shape relationships, my art, success, romance, work with and in this love. I want to stand committed to allowing others close to me who also are in love with life. I want to reach and allow this level of connection and joy. I respect and am kind to all, and am clear= I draw close those who LOVe I mean motherFucking lOVE themselves, the world, and what we’re all designing, building, creating, Living. High level, love drenched living. I trust and know this more than I ever have. It’s part of engaging my intelligence during the ripeness of my life. Yes, delishly ripe.

For me it’s a practice of focusing on my commitment to pleasure, delight, community, work, wellbeing, beauty, wildness, strength, justice, peace, joy, intelligence, creativity. All these things make my life the insanely glorious and fiercely marvelous Life it is. I had a moment this spring where I wondered if all I love would be lost. As in physical death.

On the other side of that, writing during the heart of Duluth spring, looking towards Summer, a significant birthday, and feeling the playfulness of this place, my home, my being, brilliance in and around me, I stand very much alive, expansive- with a renewed commitment to loving even more. Loving as the Lottery’s, as if I’ve won and am always winning the lottery. As my unlimited self here enjoying, I mean loving fucking LOVEing this human experience. Because I am. I feel strong and bold enough to admit this myself and others. Yes there is pain and fear and injustice. And I still Love this human life of mine. And when I remember, feel, notice my capacity to love, the whole world opens to me. As I open the world to myself and others. So yes Love! I love and wonder and analyze and ask questions until I get my answers.

Coming back to Sex in My City, the question of love here at home as in romantic queer lasting sustainable delightful invigorating intelligent dynamic justice and freedom drenched love in Duluth next to the bigLake is the question I’ve been asking for a long time. How? When? Why not? What am I doing wrong?

And here I say to myself, “I Open Myself Up to Romantic Love, Professional Recognition, and Artistic Success, Wealth as wide as the Lottery’s have.” Like I do always with this bigLake and my feminist community and my SupaDollyLove and my writing and reproductive justice, sexual health and creativity and wildness and art and friendship and queer intimacy with place.  The lightness I feel… I know in all that I love is leading me to create the life I desire. To feel and know what I want. To trust and surrender into all I dream of. Sex in My City.

This is my nature, my natural state, my beautiful fierceness. My beating heart. My pulsing body. It beats alongside Yours. And yours and yours and yours.


What is my role?

North+South Love= QIwP