On My Birthday, a Gift For Freedom

CrowdRisephotoAs a kid, I would have preferred to hide in my room rather than go out and knock on doors asking neighbors to buy hoagies or candy bars or magazines or whatever else the school had dredged up for us to raise the money needed for school trips. (And my school went on some pretty fabulous trips, so I should have been grateful for the opportunity to fundraise!) But, I was a shy kid to start with, so hiding in my room might not have sounded like a reasonable response to many kinds of social interactions, and asking people for money felt like the worst of all possible social tortures. So I surprised myself when, about three weeks ago I joined the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance’s Crowdrise Holiday Challenge fundraising team. I joined because I love Woodhull, and I joined because I felt moved to do something to honor my mother, whose death a year ago still feels very new and startling and raw.

My goal was to raise $670 for Woodhull between then and the end of December. Why $670? As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, my mom had an amazing experience late in her life. She discovered her passion for BDSM and her role as a Domme. I was so happy that she had finally found a way to experience sexual satisfaction, something which had eluded her for most of her life. Through her sexual explorations, she also found an emotional intimacy with men that she’d been missing for a long time. She did all this while contending with dialysis, and later, with terminal cancer. She would not so readily have had this freedom without the work of organizations like Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Woodhull seeks to expand the recognition that sexual freedom is a fundamental human right regardless of age, or illness, or anything else. So, because my mom was 67 when she died in November 2012, I set $670 as my goal: ten dollars for every year of her life.

Nobody could have been more surprised than I, then, when I hit my fundraising target early. Someone like me, someone who is rather introverted, someone who hates asking for help, someone who would generally prefer to hide in my room rather than say that I need something,  could be a fundraising success? It speaks volumes about the generosity of my friends and family. I am so grateful to each of you who gave! Then when I announced on Facebook that I’d hit my target two weeks ahead of schedule, Doug Henwood, a friend who donated, said that I must not have asked for enough! Doug writes the Left Business Observer, and he knows a little something about the movement of money. He said that on Wall Street asking for too little is called “leaving money on the table.” That gave me pause. I certainly don’t want to leave money on the table where Woodhull is concerned. We need every penny we can get. So, since today is my birthday, I’m going to ask for presents for Woodhull. Gifts for freedom.

Let’s test my fundraising skills and the generosity of my social network. If you’re within reach of these words and you haven’t yet given, would you please consider a year-end gift to an organization whose work expand and protects the freedom we each need in order to live our lives fully, experiencing our whole selves, without fear or shame?

You can donate by using the following link. Just click on the blue “donate” button when you get there: http://www.crowdrise.com/WSFA/fundraiser/elizabethwood1

Thank you for a wonderful year, and for all the work you each do on an everyday basis to make the world a little bit brighter and a little bit more free.




To read previous posts about my mother’s story, click here: http://www.woodhullalliance.org/tag/my-mothers-cross/

Giftbox image courtesy of psdgraphics.com, used under a Creative Commons license.