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Identity Alchemy


Pride month reminds us both of the importance of identity and the challenges it inspires at the same time.

Identity gives language for expectations and better understanding for interaction.

I identify as gay and your brain creates a schema, or image, of what that means. This schema then gives you an outline of how to interact with the person from your understanding.

Identity acts in service to us because it acts as shortcuts in our brain for faster processing and reaction. It also fosters a sense of community and belonging with those who share the same identity as we do. “You can empathize with me because you live this.” “You are my people.” “I feel safer where I am understood.”

Identity also serves by communicating the boundaries between us + another person. The differences that exist between us that help others to know what may or may not apply to us. “I won’t join the goose hunting club because I am a vegan.”

Where identity inspires challenges:

Words can never fully encapsulate the spectrum of variations that exist in individual human beings. There are over 70+ terminology for gender identity and counting. This is the attempt by individuals to find the best way to communicate to others their inner experience of themselves. Bi-sexuality doesn’t resonate for some, but “pan” sexuality does.

Further, as humans, we are dynamic creatures—meaning we change constantly. Moment to moment we fluctuate with what we have available mentally, physically, emotionally. Day by day, year by year, our opinions, needs, priorities change.

Does this mean we are not ourselves?

No. It means we are true to the nature of being human.

We change.

So to hold onto an identity of ourselves or our partner that no longer represents who we are today is not allowing for this process of change to occur.

And it may be hurting us/them and our chance for growth; ie: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

Similarly, identity draws up a scheme/image of what it means. We can only understand something from the reference points that we have experienced in our own lives.

Considering we all have individual lives with individual experiences, we will all have individual definitions. As much as we THINK we all have the same definition of “love” “sex” or “woman” or “relationship” —we actually don’t. It’s ignorant to believe that we do, and yet, we project that others have the same definition all the time. We enter into relationships assuming the other person has the same expectations of roles and progression as we do. Only to feel hurt and disappointed when they don’t show up the way that they “should have known” to.

Our reactions to this:

We may try to avoid all labels and self-identity—I hear its quite trendy right now to denounce them all ;)

Yet, try as we might, we live in a world that connects + creates understanding through verbal language. So we do the best we can + make adjustments when we learn more about others and make better clarity with ourselves.

We may get angry at the changes in the culture or requests of others to call them by another name or pronoun that is different than what we are used to identifying them as: “She/her to they/them” or spelling it all out: “women, trans, non-binary persons”

We may even get angry that someone forgets again that we’ve changed our name after a spiritual awakening or gender affirmation: “I go by Cheryl now.”

We may have all kinds of thoughts, feelings, judgments, + fears that can all be activated by not only the process of change that comes with identity, but also by the schema/image that is inspired by the words as they pass through our own mental filters.

And that’s ok.

As much as we want to judge other people’s judgment + resistance to the change, we need to remember that it is a vulnerable process to welcome change or to feel the discomfort/pain of dissonance between one belief we had and the new reality that lays before us.

This process I liken to the human experience of digestion.

We consume a piece of fruit and masticate it in our mouth. Chewing and salivation breaking down the food into smaller particles where it then goes through the phase of our esophogus. Here, more enzymes break the food into smaller pieces and it enters into the stomach. In the stomach the acid breaks down the food into smaller pieces, yet, again before being passed through the intestines. In the intestines nutrients are taken out of the food and the food is transformed even more until what doesn’t nourish us is then expelled as poo.

Identity + transformation of it is like this.

It takes time in the breaking down and absorbing of information that helps us to grow.

In the end, we are able to expel what no longer resonates or helps us, but that does still have to go through a process. Sometimes the metabolism is faster than other times or for other people, and sometimes it is slower.

There have been times I have been in pain realizing my own changes in identity and the changes I now had to make to accommodate. There has been pain in my forgetting inclusive terminology for individuals in groups I was teaching. There has been pain in not knowing where I belonged as a result of how I think + dress + act, so different than the present surrounding community.

And the one word that has come as a soothing reminder for each and every pain point: grace.

Grace to myself for my mistakes hurting someone’s feelings.

Grace to myself for not knowing yet who I had become or what to do with that.

Grace to myself for being different among my surrounding community.

Grace for others in their own confusion, not knowing, curiosity, resistance, anger, and forgetfulness.

Grace for the process of it all.

I’ve been in more of this contemplative process because of this recent iteration of self-identification, as well as, the current climate of Pride Month.

As I transition into identifying more of my work with sex + psychedelics, some of my branding will be changing to reflect that. Starting with my podcast.

Welcome, Sex Love Psychedelics.

Fusing my passion + expertise on the topics of sex, relationships, + psychedelics, I’m thrilled to be bringing you into this world and all the experts that can guide you even deeper.

Happy to be here and happy to serve



Check out my latest episode with Nick Onken. It will blow your mind. Ep 122:

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James Brown
James Brown
Sep 20, 2022

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