Today I think on my accomplishments…

Leila Raven Post in General

and I’m proud.

I came from a very poor family, with some troubles, and some genetic issues that have affected my health in various ways throughout my life. With my share of childhood pains, we all endure, like the death of my oldest sister. Some childhood abuse from a teacher. Some health issues as a child. Among a myriad of other things.

I waited the longest out of my siblings to get my first real job (besides paper routes) at 13, at the video store. They all started at 12, as dishwashers or bus staff in restaurants… but I was too… lazy, lol, to work in the restaurant industry and was holding out for a cushier job. The video store sales girl sounded like a good option. I started saving for my future. With that, babysitting, and delivering papers.

I graduated from high school at 16, (I had been enrolled a year early and despite taking a year off to go to Europe, graduated early) and moved into my first apt. at 17, and supported myself and my first boyfriend. Student loans, full time work, full time school. Was to become my life for many years.

I was the only one in my family to go to get a post secondary education, and I achieved 3 degrees. A BFA majoring in studio arts, printmaking and drawing and a BA in psychology from UBC, and an MA in counselling psychology from the esteemed Adler School of professional psychology. A copy of my thesis paper, is available in their library. 🙂

I put myself through, on loans, working full time jobs on top of full time school. All the while also volunteering, like when I was co-chair person for the holisitic healing association. Even while I excelled in school, I excelled in work, and ended up managing stores in my retail job life. Promotion after promotion getting me going. Then I switched from retail to working in the caring field and Wolfe and I worked as live in caregivers with severely disabled and medically fragile youth. It started me toward many years of working with various organizations managing and working as staff in homes that supported severely developmentally challenged adults. Far more rewarding than retail!

I ended up being a home support supervisor, in charge of a staffing team of 60-70 workers and 250-300 clients/patients receiving care giving in their homes. I was responsible for all home support care in a huge sector of the greater Vancouver area. A lot of responsibility, and a lot of stress, though also very rewarding.

As I finished my Masters, I did my practicum with the Women and Violence program and spent a year as an active counsellor for women dealing with past, and present, abuse issues.

I also took additional certification as a drug and alcohol counsellor.

I’ve been in love, all my life, and have a history of long term healthy stable loving poly relationships. I moved in with Wolfe in 1992, and we married in 1995.

I have had poetry published.

I have survived great illnesses, that had me in and out of hospitals for years. I’ve died. I’ve lived stronger because of it. I have many scars. I’ve had many surgeries. Illness ended up causing me to go on disability and give up one of my major loves in my life… working. not to mention martial arts and many other joys.

Because of illness, we had to declare bankruptcy at one point. Yet despite my illness, we re-coupe-rated enough that we’ve owned our own home now for over 10 years. First our condo in Vancouver, and now a real house and yard in the country.

I have studied in school, and out of school. I have studied many things, including martial arts, and had the opportunity to train, and teach for many years.

I’ve taught a workshop on ageplay and infantilism, and was invited to do a special with HBO real sex series on infantilism and adult babies, and was flewn to LA to participate.

I was subsequently asked back to do additional productions, but declined.

Over the years I have been honoured by being approached by many different bodies and asked to participate in various television programs and specials, or as a presenter for events. Have been asked to write articles, or submit writing for publications. Have been asked to be a model, and a photographer. Have asked to be a part of organizing dungeons and organizations, and have declined most of these opportunities.

Sometimes because of health, and more often, because as much as I put myself out there on a personal level, in my blogging and websites. I don’t like the idea of… ‘celebrity’. It makes me uncomfortable. If I get a hint of that ‘vibe’ to something, it feels ugly to me, and I avoid it.

I’m scared of my own ego. I find selfishness, self focus, narcissism, excessive pride-fullness to be distasteful, and things I associate with an unhealthy self absorbed mind. I somehow try to navigate through my successes in life with downplaying them.

So often I hear from friends, astonishment that they didn’t know something ‘significant’ in their eyes, about me, because I just don’t really talk about myself like that.

I’ve spent years quietly working as a professional dominant and have been blessed to have amazing clients including religious leaders and celebrities. I think one of the reasons I’ve been able to work with these people is because I have a reputation for those that know more of that side of me, to not be someone that has to share things in order to make themselves appear special. Many people who have ‘celebrity’ desperately want to escape it. I have a very good understanding of that. With the mentality of wanting to do things, but not being entirely comfortable with the accolades that may come with that. Sometimes people want to achieve things for the sake of doing them, not for ‘rewards’, and certainly not to be put up on a pedestal.

Early and ongoing experience has shown me a couple of things. There are many people who enjoy putting people up on pedestals. There are many people who enjoy trying to knock people off of pedestals. Some people enjoy being on pedestals. Some even enjoy the attention of people trying to dethrone them, it all feeds into the ego. Myself. I have always hated both being placed on a pedestal, and being attacked for being perceived to be on one. I try to avoid doing things that encourage both actions.

Which means I rarely talk about my ‘accomplishments’.

I’ve had the opportunity to photo-document much of my fetish and leather life, and created websites and my own ‘erotic art’ in the form of photo documenting my kinks and publishing them online. Being successfully self-employed and running our own businesses, hosting, 40 of our own websites. All of the work done entirely by just Wolfe and myself. Thousands upon thousands of hours of labour of love, for an amazingly low wage! lol.

Self teaching ourselves, Wolfe and I, the photography, the web site design, etc.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel Europe and the America’s and live in different countries.

I’ve been to some of the most beautiful art museums and historical locations in the world.

I’ve given of myself richly and deeply, and always been involved in charity, volunteerism, and giving, in general. Has always been central to living my life with love and passion.

I’ve explored spiritual traditions of many many paths, and taken countless elective and extra courses in religious studies, and philosophy.

I’ve lived a full and rich life, that I’ve worked very very hard and long to create for myself.

I feel lucky, and blessed, but at the same time, know the rewards I have reaped, and continue to do so, have come on the back of my hard labour. Have come from my accomplishments, and my drive. Have come from my creativity, my intellect, and my personal power.

I don’t often speak of many of the things I’ve done, or the person I have been, or even am. My experience is, people often take it as bragging, some have even said they feel threatened.

I have other accomplishments, secrets, I am proud of. Things I have done, that have incredible personal meaning to me. People I’ve helped, changes I’ve made in the world.

I don’t think I’m special, or better than anyone else. I don’t think my set of accomplishments is better or worse than anyone elses.

I’ve known people with no education, and little work experience, who have amazing intelligence, depth, creativity, and have learned the most valuable lessons of life through their living it.

I’ve also known people with a list of credentials and experiences a mile long who are petty and shallow, ignorant and cruel.

My accomplishments don’t make me a better or worse person than anyone else. However, some people still measure others that way, and will assume I am also doing the same.

I am proud though. I am amazed actually. Since I don’t tend to think that highly of myself per se, especially these days. Amazed to have some pride. I am my own worst critic, and I blog much more about my weaknesses, my mistakes, my crisis and my troubles, than about myself in terms of my accomplishments and my abilities.

I laugh when people tell me I’m intelligent. I was intelligent, as a teen I participated in a study where I was at 16 given the adult version of the standardized IQ test, and I clocked in around 160. Which was unusual enough that they had someone else run additional tests. Now my mind is a fraction of what it was. It has deteriorated on it’s own. But it did allow me many years of getting a hell of a lot done.

Some people will take it as bragging, but, I’ve rarely told anyone about it. I’ve had shame at being different. I was always different, my whole life. Any child in a public school system will tell you, different in any way is not good. I was verbally, emotionally, and physically bullied all through childhood.

A combination of being a very sensitive and intelligent caring person, a work-aholic, I’ve always been on the edge. Neurotic. Anxious. Melancholic. Depressive.

With the good, comes the bad.

What I’m most proud of, and what I’ve learnt that I feel is the cleverest thing. Is knowing that it doesn’t matter what others do or say about you. Good or bad.

It doesn’t matter if you’re beautiful, or ugly, people will hate you for it equally. Smart or stupid, people will hate you for it equally, talented or not, people will hate you for it equally. People will also love you equally for it.

We are not our intelligence, we’re not our looks, we’re not our accomplishments. Our value as people is not based on our achievements, or our intrinsic characteristics. People with degrees, or perfect noses and breasts, or no scars on their bodies, or people who own their own houses. Or people who run their own businesses. Whatever people have done, is not who they are or their value.

If someone dislikes you on that basis, or likes you on that basis, they’re not seeing you. Celebrities are not recieving real ‘love’ from their fans. People accepting you, or not, because of money, education, appearances, meaningless. Likewise, people rejecting you because of those things, meaningless.

We’re also not our flaws, not our health issues. Not our diagnosis.

Some of the best people I’ve known in life, have loved, and enjoyed, are people who have been labelled developmentally challenged. There are some people who have multiple diagnosis, an IQ of well under a 100, limited vocabulary, and are conventionally unattractive, that have been people I have learned from, loved, and found beautiful and meaningful.

Never think, you have less value, or more value, because of your own accomplishments. Don’t invest ego, in labels, or things. Your own, or other peoples.

I firmly believe, it is far more valuable, to be able to appreciate other people, for their accomplishments, and who they are, than to be appreciated for ones own accomplishments.

I have to work hard sometimes, to have pride in myself. Especially with fear that it makes me a target for ego invested individuals. I remind myself. People will hate me, people will love me, no matter who I am, and what I’ve done.

What matters is who I love, and who I really am, and not what I’ve done, but why I’ve done it. That, is what I’m really proud of. It’s a hard thing to explain… I’m proud of my accomplishments, not because of what they are, but because of why they are.

It’s not what I’ve done, but why I’ve done it, It’s about living, authentically. Living in love, that is what I’m proud of.

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