An identity reveal, and a few updates about my life that are hopefully relevant/interesting to ya’ll.

cappuccino with glasses on a magazine

Here I am, munching on Nutella toast for both breakfast and lunch (don’t judge me, I’m poor right now—also, NUTELLA), and wondering what I could write about today.

I know I’ve been a little remiss in blogging lately. What with Pokémon Go (more on that later) and trying to regain control of my actual work life, and big changes coming in the next few weeks… well, I have a lot on my mind.

But the first thing I want to do is do a big reveal: my actual identity.

Who am I?

I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, since my future career hinges on this blog (more on that also later), I think that fully identifying myself and not being a mysterious anonymous blogger is the best course of action.

Now, my partners will remain anonymous as long as is their wish, but personally, I have no issue being known as the writer of this blog, especially since most of my readers are friends and community members who know me personally.

So, my name is Anabelle Bernard Fournier. I’m a self-employed, professional writer. I write mostly in the home decor vertical, but I also write about sexuality and relationships (big surprise there!) for Kinkly (and hopefully more online magazines in the future—I have my eye on The Bolde and Bustle right now). I have a graduate degree in English. I live in Victoria, Canada, but I’m originally from Montréal. (And yes, I do speak French; it’s actually my first language.)

This is my entire face:

photo of Ani

Although I could use my full name, I’m going to adopt Ani Bernard as my name as far as this blog is concerned. All ebooks (and hopefully published books) coming from this blog will use that name. Ani is my nickname in the kink world, and I kind of like the lilting rhythm of Ani Bernard, both in English and French.

So, call me Ani.

Pokémon Go

It seems unrelated, but the reason why I’ve been ignoring most of my blogging and working responsibilities is basically that. Pokémon Go. Silly Pokémon Go. I’m a giant nerd and gamer. So I’ve been out and about a lot in the last 20 days or so, throwing balls and running Pokéstops and catching tons of Magikarps (I have TWO Gyarados!).

The great things about Pokémon Go, in no particular order:

  • It turns exercise into a reward
  • I have never walked that much in my entire life
  • I have not been that tanned since I’ve been to Cuba, basically a decade ago
  • I’ve made many new Poké-friends

I’ve come down from the high a little—my body needs a little rest, and honestly I kind need to, you know, pay the rent and buy food to fuel my long Pokehunts—but I still enjoy hunting in moderation. But I won’t talk about Pokémon Go much here, unless it has to do with my sex life. Which it hasn’t, yet, although there are interesting things happening in the world of dating and hooking up thanks to the explosively popular game.

Life-changing surgery

On August 18, I’m going to get a life-changing surgery: getting my tubes tied. I’ve written a piece for Kinkly about why I chose this rather radical birth control method. Yes, there’s a bit about wanting to have no-worries sex, but there’s also plenty of “I don’t want children” reasons. I’ll probably write more as the surgery date gets closer, and probably after too. I bet I will have all kinds of feelings about it once the deed is actually done.

Going back to school

Another related news is that on September 7 I will begin a new phase of my professional life: working to become a clinical counsellor (or psychologist… haven’t decided yet if I want to make the 10-year commitment to a PhD) specialized in relationship and sex therapy. I begin with a BA in psychology (yes I have to start from scratch… I’ll explain why one day) and then will move on to grad school in 3 years.

Basically, I want to work with poly, kinky and LGBTQ populations. I’ve heard from many in my community talk about how hard it is to get mental health support when they are poly, openly kinky, trans or queer. I’ve had a transman friend complain about how every psychiatrist he tried continually pathologized his “trans problem” instead of dealing with the real issues that affected him.

But I also want to keep writing, and become a public educator. I want to spend some time doing clinical work—enough to stay in touch with actual problems of actual people—but I want to mostly write books and articles about poly, kinky and LGBTQ topics.

I want to use a Buddhist approach to my therapy: making space, bringing loving kindness and mindful awareness to my professional relationships. And maybe I hope to teach some clients to do these things a little more as well.

To help with all of this, I’ve re-started my meditation practice. Lapses happen, but all the things I have learned from regular practice show me that I can learn even more if I keep going. This is the work of a lifetime, not just a few bandaids on temporary problems.

No more alcohol

The last thing I want to mention before I go on to write some stuff that pays is that I have been sober since June 17.

I’ve made attempts at sobriety before, the longest lasting 3 months. I plan on not drinking until at least Christmas, and then seeing if I can manage to drink like a normal person, and not a college freshman.

It all started when I woke up from a 4-day drinking binge that involved about 2 bottles of wine per day. I realized that I may have crossed a big line, and decided to change my behaviour by putting the money I would spend on booze into a savings account.

As of now, I’ve put about $100 aside, and my restaurant bills have gone WAY down.

Other benefits of not drinking have included:

  • Fewer daytime naps
  • More energy
  • More inspiration to write
  • Better productivity
  • More effective communication with others
  • More meaningful time with my partners
  • Fewer sugar cravings/binges

Sadly, my stomach ulcer shows no signs of healing right now. But I hope that it’ll go away soon.

So, that’s what’s up with me lately. I promise I will be back to our regularly scheduled sexy and kinky posts, and don’t forget to contact me with questions if you have them.

Good advice? Helpful information? Thank me with a coffee!