Today, is the first day of me blogging.
As I sit in my parent's home in balmy (114 degrees) Phoenix a few questions come to my mind; Seriously, why am I blogging? Will anyone even care? Why didn't I do this years ago (after all, I am married to a Silicon Valley engineer)? And the most important question is why the hell am I even in Phoenix?
The easiest and, in my opinion, most boring answer is that I am in Phoenix to provide love and emotional support for my dad as my mom passed away last week after a long battle with emphysemia. I never planned on mentioning this, and can hardly believe I am putting it out there for people to read or not read. I mention it because I have forever been described as being just like my mom. I'm truly thankful that she had one of the most unique, memorable, and off-beat personalities I have ever known. In the past, the constant comparisons to her used to bug the crap out of me....I had a tendency to interpret other's comments through my own "issue-filled" filter and think they were saying I was exactly like her least likeable qualities instead of hearing that I was an embodiment of her best qualities.
Like me, my mom is a difficult nut to crack and even more difficult to summarize. My mom was working as a nurse when she met my doctor father in the late 1960's. Nothing unusual there, until I tell you that she was a blond haired, blue eyed Chicagoan and my dad is American born Japanese American who was interned with the rest of his Japanese family during WWII. If you live in Silicon Valley (like me), you will know that happa children are not the least bit unusual...but if you ask one additional question, you will also almost always notice that there is a white father and Japanese mother. Now think back to the late 60's and just how strange it must have been to see a blue-eyed blond woman with a Japanese man. When people ask about how my parents met, I usually tell them that my mom used to blow into my dad's ear (he is an anesthesiologist and almost always located at the head of the table) while working in the operating room.
The story is particularly funny to me since it truly defined the essence of my mom and how she lived her life. My mom quit her nursing job 2 weeks before she married my dad. She later went on to become a great cook (my dad thought it would be a great idea for her to attend french cooking school, lol), an active member of my and my sister's formative school's women's board, an early 1980's HIV/AIDS activist (including being a fag-hag), and doting grandmother. Growing up, people always wanted to be adopted into my family just so they could be my mom's child.
I mention the above because I ended up mirroring parts of her life in my adulthood. From 2002 to 2008 I worked at the world's first peer-based non-profit serving HIV positive youth in San Francisco,BAY Positives. I know she was thrilled when I decided to go into sex education, and in particular, HIV education. In the beginning of my work it was difficult for some to accept me working in the SF HIV community. After all, I was HIV negative, living in the south bay, and married to my college sweetie....not exactly what you think about when you hear I'm working for a peer based HIV youth agency.
What most people didn't know is that I grew up with a mom who openly talked about sex (even though I'm pretty sure she wasn't actively having it with my dad), and volunteered at the Howard Brown clinic in Chicago. Howard Brown was known as being one of the first clinics (mid 1980's) set up exclusively for HIV/AIDS clients. In high school I remember stumbling upon a bunch of my mom's books on sex and sexuality, but the one I remember most is The Joy of Gay Sex. Who knew back then, that I would go on to become so active in the SF LGBTQIQ community! Others in my family frowned when I told them I was conducting an oral sex technique workshop at Eros SF, a gay sex club, but my mom thought it was a hoot. I also blame her for me becoming so anally fixated as I grew older! Seriously, not a day goes by where I don't make some type of comment about using the bathroom, anal sex, or anything else that has to do with things going into or coming out of the anus. I'm not necessarily proud of this personality quirk, but it is what it is :)
If you've gotten this far, you are probably saying to yourself...interesting story, but why the hell is she blogging? I blog because I am harnessing the power of social media to help drive my new business, Caterine Coaches. Catherine Coaches is a completely unique consulting service offering both dating and sex coaching assistance to men, women, and the LGBTQIQ community in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Besides being a dating and sex coach, I have been conducting sex-positive workshops for Good Vibrations and the Center for Sex and Culture since 2005 as an Off-Site Sex Educator (OSSE). At the end of my workshops, I always like to provide my contact information in the event someone wishes to follow up on any number of subjects. Spring 2009 was particularly busy for me workshop-wise, and it was at this time that the concept for Catherine Coaches was born.
The past weeks have been spent setting up my social media presence by launching my company website as well as learning to use facebook, twitter, and linked-in. Today, I have accomplished a huge goal by writing my first blog!
Thank you for joining me on my journey, and I hope some of you will find my forthcoming blog posts engaging, provocative, informative, useful, and/or needed.