EP 39

EP 39

Embrace the unexpected with Shannonagannery! Host Wicked Wren explores Shannon's 'yes, and' approach to life, discussing authenticity, joy, and creativity in kink. In this episode, the playful integration of clowning, negotiation, and the pursuit of genuine happiness are highlighted.

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Guest Bio

Shannonagannery is a Portland-based, rope-loving clown human. Active in public kink community since 2019, she has be seen clowning in and out of rope at such events as the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival, KinkFest, Folsom Street Fair, and more. She wants you to stop and contemplate the important things in life like is a hotdog a sandwich, and how many clowns can fit in your car?

Instagram: @shannonagannery


[00:00:10] Wicked Wren Hello, all my guys, gals and non-binary pals. Welcome to the Shibari Study Podcast. I'm your host, Wicked Wren. Shibari Study is an online learning resource offering video tutorials for beginners through advanced practitioners. Whether you're brand new to the world of Shibari and needing to learn the basics, or a seasoned rigger or rope bottom seeking inspiration to push your practice to new places, there's something for you at shibaristudy.com. Today, we have one Shannon. Shannon uses she/they pronouns. You'll know Shannon as Shannonagannery on Instagram. Shannon is a Portland-based clown person, a lifestyle (…) with the love for rope, all around fascinating human being. Welcome to the pod.

[00:00:59] Shannonagannery Thank you, Wren. I'm happy to be here. Very happy and truly honored.

[00:01:04] Wicked Wren I am also truly honored to have you on, because you're the most unique person in the world, and I want to get into a bunch of stuff about being authentic and play and joy. But before we get into that, I do have a very specific question. You're known as the hot dog (…) in many different ways, but I just heard a scandalous fact that you don't even eat hot dogs.

[00:01:31] Shannonagannery This is true. Contrary to popular belief, I don't actually love hot dogs, besides, and, outside of whatever aesthetic thing they've become in my life, I do fancy myself even a bit of a hot dog person. It's part of my clown identity. But, yeah, I'm a vegetarian, so I don't actually eat them myself, unless they are made of some sort of bizarre soy product.

[00:01:56] Wicked Wren You said something in the beginning, and I can't even remember what you said because it was so wild. But you said something like, I don't eat hot dogs, but I've, I'm a, I'm there with the aesthetic that hot dogs have brought to my life or something like that?

[00:02:11] Shannonagannery So I can't go online any day of the week without opening whatever social media, I do a bunch of different hot dog things. It's become such a, such a part, like I own all these hot dog things now, and I've never bought one of them. Hot dogs just flow my way, it seems, and it has become my aesthetic, and what people associate. I think of it, people often will send me the meme and be like, Hey, I saw this and thought of you. And I consider those people my Pavlovian hot dogs. I've conditioned them all to think of me when they think of hot dogs, which is a pretty cheap way to become memorable to people, I guess. I didn't mean to, it kind of just happened.

[00:02:49] Wicked Wren I'm actually on board now fully because I have a podcast that's about corn, unfortunately, and that is all my inboxes. It's, it's nothing but corn and now my life is corn. I don't even really like corn that much, I'll be honest with you, but it's where I'm at now.

[00:03:06] Shannonagannery You get it. You know. If you ever want to have a corn dog episode, just saying, you know how to contact me.

[00:03:12] Wicked Wren Actually I do know how to contact you. But I will say I do like corn dogs. We throw around the word authentic a ton in the scene. We say, come with your authentic self. Be truly you. Engage your things that you want. It's a lot of a buzzword right now. You really are authentic in all of your different things. You're a clown. You seem to, like, know how to interact with joy. Was that something that you had to find, or had that always been a part of you?

[00:03:46] Shannonagannery Definitely my, it has been a journey to the joy that I do feel, I am currently like living life with. I definitely am very careful in how I kind of talk about a lot of my history because I don't want to perpetuate a lot of what seems to especially be a commonly held belief in vanilla communities that (…) have been traumatized, right? However, I am a trauma baby, and I definitely have had a lot of darkness in my life. I have a pretty, like, extensive, like, grief history with just, you know, people close to me dying, and I see how much that, I do believe that struggle, darkness, sadness, like all these things are very just inherent to what is the human experience. And, and I want joy to be that way as well, but it is something that often has to be worked for that much more. And for me, my joy came when I started this journey of trying to peel back the layers of self and say, who am I really though? And how do I live authentically to me? What does it look like to build a life that is what I want to live and that feels authentic to me? And my (…) and my poly journey was, it was, it was a huge part of that, as I did peel back those layers. I am someone who fell into a relatively normative American human, you know, kind of middle class, Caucasian experience, right? Just kind of a lot of that, like, white suburban experience; actually grew up quite rural, not suburban. But I fell into a lot of what is kind of that, a pattern for folks. And I wasn't actually stepping back and saying, do I want to be doing this, do I even want to be going to college? Or is this what I thought what was to be? Do I really hold these values in pursuing marriage? Like I wasn't peeling back my actions and asking how it was serving you or if it was. And when I started doing that, that's really where I did find my path to, you know, the parts of myself that really I wanted to, to nourish and, and to find that kind of abundant joy. I do have the privilege. I am a person who, like, you know, while I do have my sads and what have you, there is, there is privilege to being able to choose joy and happiness, which is something I have worked hard to do. I do a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy to turn things more joyous, like go to the positive where I can. And I do feel like that comes from a lot of even kind of my clowning M.O. of approaching life with a 'Yes and' mindset as opposed to kind of shutting things down. I always want to try to build more, and in there, that just creates more opportunity to find joy.

[00:06:21] Wicked Wren Yeah, it sounds like joy is very intentional.

[00:06:25] Shannonagannery Yeah, I, I honestly, most things I do are just incredibly intentional. I really try to assess so many of my, of my actions and just live with a high degree of being deliberate.

[00:06:37] Wicked Wren I think a lot of people think joy is something that just comes to you. At some point when we have x, y, z, we'll have joy, we'll have happiness, we'll feel fulfilled. How do you curate joy? What are some tangible things that you do throughout your day?

[00:06:53] Shannonagannery I think first and foremost for me to curate joy, I had to learn how to better live with like discomfort. I think a lot of the joy I found is by being very willing to put myself out there and reach for what I want, and not kind of wait for things to come to me. I'm very much in the driver's seat of my life, and so when I want something, when I think, Hey, this, this activity, this thing, this, this person, whatever it is, this hobby, it's going to bring me joy. I, I reach, I reach for it. I don't kind of wait and stand back. I tend to charge in very headfirst, and I have the confidence to make the asks and advocate for myself to make way towards the thing I'm seeking. And then and then I, I will, I will, I will make those asks as opposed to kind of standing back and waiting for the thing to come my way. I do feel like, you know, little things like becoming very comfortable with, with being alone with myself or, you know, there's little things people can do, like going to a movie alone, like some of these things that can address, like natural discomfort makes it that much easier then to like, accept a no when you start putting yourself out there, right? I, I, I do work in sales in my day job, and, you know, I talk to people all day about just, like, taking that no and moving on to the next. And when it comes to especially, like operating within the (…) world and seeking joy there, especially as a bottom leaning switch, I'm very, very much more of a bottom than a switch, but I switch for some things. I have to put myself out there, right? And and I do see a lot of people who they will even say like, Wow, you really came out of the (…) world and you just started doing it. Like, and I've been here and I'm not I'm not getting this play. And I ask people, Well, what are you doing? How are you approaching tops? And they're like, Well, what do you mean? And I'm like, You can't just stand there and wait for them to come to you.

[00:08:47] Wicked Wren Yeah.

[00:08:47] Shannonagannery Yeah. So yes, I just, I just reach for, for what I want. And that means I do get a lot of no and I do experience like sadness. But that's how I'm fumbling my way towards the joy.

[00:08:59] Wicked Wren Do you think that getting a no is inherently bad?

[00:09:04] Shannonagannery No, not at all. No. You know, I love when I get a no, a no, a 'no but' or a 'no and here's why'. Just so I can, you know, better understand. It's, it's wonderful to me when someone says, I think of a time I reached out to someone locally I was really interested in tying with. And I was only doing, like, very platonic (…), and I'm a very demi-sexual person. So in my engagements with folks, even in poly or (…), it just doesn't necessarily mean that, you know, (…) is going to be on the table. And so I lead with, I'm interested in rope with you. (…) is not on the table. And they were very like, No, my time is limited. At this time, I reserve the right to, you know, only be tying with people that it can be a (…) thing with. That is their right. There's nothing wrong with that. I so valued the no and the why, so I didn't create a story. They saved me time so I could then move on to find better fits for me and what I'm what I'm looking for. So whatever a person's reasoning is for the no, love when I get to hear what it is. Even if it's just I don't like you. I'd rather hear that. I'd rather like, know that. So no, I don't think a no is is inherently bad at all. I think, I think a no can can give us information to grow from.

[00:10:18] Wicked Wren I love this conversation and I want to come back to that because you're essentially talking about being a very niched person and people understanding what you're about, being clear about that. But that takes you peeling away layers of yourself and really getting down there because you need to communicate what you want. In order to communicate what you want, you have to do that deep work into yourself. You talked about being okay being alone. You talked about being okay in a space with yourself and your thoughts and things like that. How was it bringing your desires to other people? You don't fall within the typical desire list, I would suppose. The ways that I see you express yourself in (…) are really cool and unique and fun. How did you bring that to, to folks?

[00:11:19] Shannonagannery I think that's a good question. I mean, I think how I brought it to folks, like, I mean, I first, I feel like it sounds cheesy, but like I brought it to me. I allowed myself to lean into those parts of me that felt best and most authentic. I have in my life-- I mean, look, I'm, I'm a I'm a pansexual, switchy Libra. Like, indecision... this or that, like, Oh my gosh, I'm all, I can be all over the place. And so to, to really look inside myself and say, Okay, well, what are the parts of me I do really want to nourish here and like what feels the best? And then I did just like step into that, I allowed myself to just fully, you know, yes, they are parts of me and it is play. But I also, like, become that thing and that's what I might put out there, right? And so by just being very upfront with who I am or who I want to be even to that person or in that scene or even just, just on that day in their rope or whatever. Just being incredibly upfront about that. That does give people that information to then say like, Yes, I want that, or, No, I don't want that. I do have people I know who have approached me and they've said, I see you. Like you, you are fascinating and and shiny, and I know I want to play with that. And I absolutely have people who are just like, Get the (…) away from me, you goofy little clown. Like, and that's so fine. And it's not even just the clown. The clown scare people, for whatever reason. I actually think more people claim clowns scare them than actually do. I think it's easy to say that you're afraid of clowns, like it's a personality to say you don't like the word moist or something. We've just created these ideas and it's like hip to say. I think most people actually like clowns. If they, if they if they open themselves beyond Pennywise. But yeah, like, I just, I think the more information we can give people – and that starts with us having that information about ourselves. And I like to know the why behind the what of everything. Like, and I think I learned this in some of my therapeutic experience learning to say like, Oh, I'm having this reaction. Where does that come from? And then I dig, dig, dig, dig, dig. And I'm like, Oh, that's because that one time at summer camp, this happened when I was 12, whatever, right? That is information that then I can see like how I show up in relationships and, and whatever that is. So really looking at the why behind the what of my actions, what is it about the draw to the clown? Why do I want to be Dolly? Like, what is that, and what does that do for me? Because the better I can communicate it, then the better people can make an informed choice if that's something that that they want to engage with.

[00:13:52] Wicked Wren Do you think that Pennywise has given a bad name to your fellow brothers and sister clowns?

[00:14:00] Shannonagannery I think that's really the the go to example. I'm not sure. I think that probably like, you know, there's actually very real examples that have given like much worse names to clowns. Like, you know, I, I think I think we have some, some very, concrete, murderous clowns out there that have been very real in history, not just in the pages of Stephen King. And I would think that's more, more it.

[00:14:27] Wicked Wren It is a fun thought though, because... You're very right. People like to say they don't like clowns, but what they actually don't like is a being that is full of joy, that doesn't know what cringe is. You cannot be a clown and be concerned with being cringey or annoying that you have to be so fully yourself in that, in embodying that. I have a  question. You've mentioned 'yes and' multiple times. It's in your Instagram bio. Have you taken improv classes?

[00:15:09] Shannonagannery You know, I actually never have. It's, it's and I do know it is, it's a, it's a, it's a tool within improv, right? And I think it is just a broader tool in life. I think very often people look for the no, and I want to look for the yes. And we live in a world where obviously within, within (…), it is hyper consent focused as it should be. And I would like to see that spill out in other parts of the world. So it is yes and no but. The no but is important. But either way, you are just building on a thing. I always want to build. And it might even be a fault of my own in that I do know my scenes, my performances, things can become so big because it's so hard for me to say, No, we don't need the rubber chicken, actually. Because I just wanted to say, Yes, and then you can tie me with balloons and pop them with the rubber chicken, and then you can do this and this and this and this. And so it's actually something that I sometimes do need to cool my jets on the yes ending. But that for me is how I feel I contribute to creating a really – like it's such a catch phrase, but a safe space for ideation. You know, when relationships, when just building a scene, when talking through a conflict with a partner, when it can have a 'yes and' environment where we are building together versus shutting down. There's just that much more room for that, much more joy and for ideas to flourish. And so I just always want to lead with that expansive thinking.

[00:16:36] Wicked Wren I would love to hear about your negotiation talks. I have a lot of thoughts on these, and it sounds like your negotiations aren't typical of what generally happens. How do you approach that from the beginning? You're tying with somebody new, you two are discussing the activities maybe you want to do or whatever. How are you, what are some big beats?

[00:17:01] Shannonagannery Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think one of the things I've learned to ask early on is, Do we just want to tie-tie? Which I mean like, do you just want to, you know, we'll talk about how we want to feel in this and then we'll just tie. Or do you want like the 'yes and'? Because I do definitely have people to come to me because they kind of want that wild, and I have that inclination towards, and I will own that actually, because I have so (…) that way. It's really lovely when it's just like, Well, let's just tie. I just want to move you through this sequence and make your body feel how you want to feel today, or like, you know, after that conversation. So do you just want to tie-tie or are we going to like, 'yes and' the heck out of this and tell this is some wild thing. And, and then I do generally go to the like and, and how, how would you like to feel as the top? Like, what are you wanting to bring out, out of me? You know, here's how I'm wanting to feel, either in the day or as we're, you know, potentially building the thing. For me, it makes such a big difference because of the way I play with the parts of myself and because I do step into roles. I'm kind of a constant role player just going from, are we just tie-tying? So I'm just like going to wear whatever little whatever, or is this a thing where I now I'm stepping into a scene. Is there a mind set here for me? And so then negotiating towards, Well, what is that mindset? What – do you want to play with Dolly? Do you want to play with the clown? Do you want to play with some other thing that you've seen about me, which is what drew you here? If they are a person who's approached me. Or if I approach them, I mean, I generally just lead with the why I am drawn to them, which is usually, I've seen you tie. I like the way you tie or some sort of energetic thing. I am drawn to the Flash and the Clown as as well. One of the people most recently I have approached. I approached them because I, I, you know, I saw them like beating a person who was dressed as a chicken while they were the Swedish chef. And I was like, those are my people.

[00:18:55] Wicked Wren Those are your people.

[00:18:56] Shannonagannery Those are my people. So, you know, identifying my people. And then just like talking about how do we want to be our separate people best together? How does that most, most gel either for, you know, what does that look like in a longer term ongoing play relationship or what does that look like for us right here, right now, today, if it's just like a con tie or whatever. I generally approach people with longevity in mind if it's not like a convention. I'm not particularly interested in just, you know, the, the Pokemon trainer, gotta catch them all way of, way of play.

[00:19:35] Wicked Wren It is pretty amazing that everything you just said had nothing to do with where rope's going, about like the actual activity in a scene. It had to do with the why and the overarching, Why are we even talking? What's the outcome that we want? And I wish more people would do that, because that's a huge thing. Do – what are we even trying to do together? You know that's massive.

[00:20:02] Shannonagannery Right, I think so often people lead in with like, Well, I like to do this TK. How do you feel about TKs, and what hip harnesses work for you? Okay. Like great. Like those technical aspects like, yes, of course that is important. And people should always bring that up, especially for whatever their body limitations are. When I say the insignia line that I default to so often as a bottom of like, you know, not everyone can do everything in rope, but everyone can do something in rope. That is something that like, you know, yes, harnesses, communicating that, that is so important, but I don't think that should be what we're leading in with. It's not just about those technical skills, we all – I have so much respect for tops in establishing those. And I have so much respect for bottoms who learn how to effectively communicate those. But at the end of the day, this is about connection and building something fun or (…) or whatever that is you're looking to build with a person and ideally achieving that. And so those more to me, what seem the more human elements, the rope is the tool for the connection. And it's not necessarily in my mind what is to be led with in those conversations. Obviously, those are very important parts of negotiation. And I certainly, bring that into my negotiation. But at the end of the day, first and foremost, who are you? Who am I? Why are we talking? What do we want to experience together? Like what do we, what do we want to build?

[00:21:27] Wicked Wren Yeah. I would rather somebody that is on the same page as me, and I like to practice single-columns on my leg than someone who I'm not on the same page with do something quote unquote wild with me.

[00:21:41] Shannonagannery Oh, yes. Always.

[00:21:43] Wicked Wren My next question is you have illustrated a really cool first step of a negotiation. Do you ever find that it takes people off guard? Because we can talk about these things as much as we want. But if the top isn't on the same page to start a negotiation there, it probably isn't going to go super great. And it can leave the bottom feeling a little bit naive or dumb or something. And even on the other end too, if the top is starting the negotiation, and maybe the bottom isn't ready to have those discussions. It can leave the bottom feeling a little bit out of place. So have you felt any of that in having these really heady discussions?

[00:22:33] Shannonagannery Good question. I think... I think I felt a bit of that earlier in my (…) journey when I was less self-aware and I hadn't necessarily found like my communication ways and I, and, and I wasn't engaging with people who had as much potential like awareness of me, as weird as that sounds, right. But like, we generally are approaching people because we have some sort of awareness of them. And so I think, I, so I have not necessarily had a lot of those experiences of like feeling, feeling dumb or I think I tend to – I'm a very energetic person, and I'm the type of person who, like in a group project, if somebody doesn't step up to kind of a lead role, like I'm just going to do it because like, we got to get it done and we got to get it right, right? I'm a recovering perfectionist. So, you know, I tend to, now, I really meet people where they're at, more so in that energy. You know, I described the way I am inclined towards negotiation. If I am meeting with someone who is like, you know, maybe more subdued, you know, somebody I am just kind of tied high in with and talking about like what that is, I do tie with some people who are very traditional in their rope, and that is much more of what we are accustomed to seeing versus kind of my crazy circus clown rope that, you know, that is also a thing people see from me. And so with that, those generally are pretty different negotiations. That is often more about the technical, what they're intending to do, how my body might respond to that. I absolutely have those conversations with like, Oh, how does your body look when you're having a bad time? You know, some of those, those, you know, more common practice, negotiation aspects. And I'll happily talk to people about practicing rack or, I like to think I practice S.A.C.K, silly (…) consensual (…). So, you know, I think that I'm always happy to meet people in their tonality. And then I will bring my questions that give me the information I need as well. So if, if we're going to talk a bunch about rack and rope placement and my relationship to TKs, hunky dory, I want to give them what they need. And then what I need is, is to know, like, some more of my like, how do you like to feel? What is your top aftercare needs? You know, some of the things I do generally bring to those negotiations.

[00:24:49] Wicked Wren I wish more negotiations had that.

[00:24:51] Shannonagannery Yeah, I do, I do know the questions I need to ask. And if, if someone's making me feel like I can't also bring my negotiation style to whatever we're doing, then that is a sign. It just isn't a fit. And that's like, kind of a flag I'm going to listen to for myself. I just try to really like, move through the world. I had a phase as a, as an Uber driver, just, just a side hustle. And I learned very quickly, like, meet the people where they're at, right? We've all had the experience, and so we've all, many people I'm sure have had the experience. You get in the car and you're tired and then you have this chatty driver and you're like, I don't want to talk to you about whatever. I just want to go home. Or maybe you're feeling chipper and they have, like, nothing for you, you know? Whatever, like, meet people where you're at. It's going to be a much more comfortable experience. And it will get like everyone's needs met. That doesn't mean set aside yourself. It doesn't mean self abandon. But, you know, at least meeting people and like energy matching I think helps create that safe space for good conversation. Because if I come in my super hyper self to like a really calm, subdued top, I'm probably going to freak them out a little bit. Like, and so kind of meeting them in that energy and in their tone, in the communication and negotiation, that doesn't feel like I'm like self-sacrificing at all. That doesn't feel like I'm becoming less of myself because I'm still going to bring the questions I need to to get you the information I need to feel safe.

[00:26:19] Wicked Wren It's a lot of reading the room. If you did go in being super on and up and someone else isn't that way, they now have to come out of their skin in a way and be a rather uncomfortable version of themselves. And it's hard to make decisions when you're in that place. And I love what you said. It's, it is really key. This isn't putting a part of you away, but it is meeting the energy of the space. And every space is a different style energy, whether you're at a con or you're at a rope jam that has mood lighting and all these things. There's other crazy rope jams that are a little more up.

[00:27:05] Shannonagannery Yeah. It feels, it feels especially important to me as a as a bottom, because the last thing I want to do is be bringing chaos Muppet energy to like the cool as a cucumber, very chill top and then, you know, affect, affect the tie. Like if I'm looking to tie with that person, I'm also wanting to have like a cool as a cucumber experience in that moment. I don't need to be doing like crazy clown rope in that moment, right? And so just just meeting them there so as to also like help contribute to the flow. That to me is creating that safe space, building that scene together.

[00:27:37] Wicked Wren I love chaos Muppet. That's such a good phrase. I'm going to steal it. So sorry.

[00:27:43] Shannonagannery I mean, I don't know where I got it. I don't believe – I did not, I mean, I know I did not make that one up, so yes. Yes. Chaos Muppets. I totally do that. I mean, I, you know, I, an animal, the drummer Muppet? Like, that's kind of my energy. Like, you see me, you see me.

[00:27:58] Wicked Wren I love it, I love it, it's great. I want to talk a little more about niching down and whether it's art, whatever you're doing in your life, people are afraid to niche because they don't want to not have all the opportunity in the world.

[00:28:17] Shannonagannery Yeah, I think words I'd have for someone who wants to like – is hesitant to explore those niches, explore those parts of themselves, and lean into them because they want to have all options open. Like, well, one like no one is for everybody. And if somebody is like something's, something's wrong, that person probably is doing a high degree of like self-sacrifice, self-abandonment to be for everybody. I think that, I know that, in my kind of niching down, as you put it like, that is something that the more I have explored myself and the parts of myself, you know, the more I have been able to then also grow and heal parts of myself and just become like a very like, actualized person. And within the niches that come from that and the parts that I've leaned into specifically with (…) and kind of my public (…) persona, I've only been rewarded for that. I feel like in my earlier professional life, I was often showing up and I was being what I thought a professional needed to look like or whatever. And the more I said, I just don't really want to do this, I started bringing some of my more radical beliefs to the office or, you know, whatever that would look like. Or in my personal life, I, I, I have had periods in my life where it's been hard to make friends. We're all humans are seeking connection. It's kind of hard to find your people. And the less you're your own person, the less the, that, that, that niche and your unique parts that, that IT factor. The less you're kind of IT factor – I hate that phrase, but like, whatever those unique parts are that make you uniquely you, you know, the more you put that out there and the more I've done that, I've been rewarded with, you know, career advancement on the professional side and people citing like, authenticity as a part of that. I have found better friends and had deeper, more meaningful relationships. It has only reaped me rewards as opposed to loss. Sure, in theory it means that maybe that top I really want to tie with doesn't want a tie with me because they're not into the silly little clown girl that they can't (…). Good. Good for them for saving me, because it's just, it's just not a fit. And I want the people who say, Yeah, yes and (…) yes, I want that. I want you for these unique niches as, as opposed to that. So it's, it's really had the opposite effect for me. I have had far more opportunity by doing that and by differentiating. You know, people talk a lot about top shortages and how do you get the play you want. And there's a lot of us out here. And so, you know, standing out, I don't like distinctly be like, I'm going to put on my clown face so I stand out at the con. I'm not I'm not trying to do that. I became the clown because I've always been the clown. There is just that part of me. Like I have pictures of me as a child in, in clown costumes, and I very much entertained my family through all kinds of turmoil. I've always been a bit of the comedic relief, and so I just embrace that part of myself in adulthood and had that that willingness to embrace my own like shame and humiliation. It takes every time I do it, I'm just like, Okay, we're doing it, and we're committing to this bit because no one wants to see the clown who's unsure of themself unless that's part of their persona specifically, right?

[00:31:36] Wicked Wren No one wants to see the clown that is unsure of themself.

[00:31:41] Shannonagannery Yeah, you really gotta got to lean in.,Unless that is truly part of the bit. Like being like the kind of the bumbling clown which I am with some things. I am not a great juggler. I am not, like all my bag of clown tricks is pretty low skill. Where the skill lies is just in doing it and doing it exuberantly, even doing it badly. You know, like, yeah, I have, I have more memories or like stronger memories, I went to like a relatively amateur circus and there was really incredible stuff that these people were doing. There was incredible juggling. There was some really incredible contortionist stuff, but it wasn't Cirque du Soleil. I've been to a number of Cirque shows. They're not actually nearly as memorable to me as seeing these people doing this thing from just this, like, insane place of like and amateur love versus like, Oh, well, you were a Russian gymnast when you were four, and now you've done this your whole life and you actually look like you're having a miserable time. That is when that, like, authenticity shines and people are drawn to vulnerability. And it's incredibly vulnerable to kind of be the amateur clown, for sure.

[00:32:46] Wicked Wren I have a dream of going on tour with an amateur circus and photographing them throughout a tour. It's an absolute dream of mine.

[00:32:56] Shannonagannery Yes. Yes.

[00:32:57] Wicked Wren You said something that was really cool. You said that when you were putting on your clown makeup and getting ready to go out, you tell yourself, Okay, we're doing this. Is there a degree of – I don't want to use the word fear, but... When I see you, I think to myself, She's doing it. She's owning it. She has no fear. But is there a degree of fear there?

[00:33:27] Shannonagannery Yeah. There's a degree of fear in most things I do, Wren. Like, I, I, I do the same thing before I go step into my local munch, where I'm going to meet a bunch of – well, I'm going to go hang out with a bunch of my friends, and I still have to sit in my car and be like, We are doing this thing today. I have to, like, hype myself up. I think about that scene in American Beauty when she's like, I will sell this house today. I literally do that to myself all the time. Whatever the thing is like, I will crush this meeting today. I will, I am going to munch today. I'm – actually I have a lot of social anxiety and I have everyone fooled because, it's easy for me to lean in and say we're doing this thing, especially when I embrace a part of me. When I am Dolly, when I am the clown, when I put on the hot dog suit. Because it's very easy for me to say, Well, that's not me. That's not Shannon. That's her. That's Piglet. That's Dolly. That's, that's not me. And so then if I feel embarrassed or ashamed, like it's kind of, it's kind of putting on a mask, but I don't actually, like, put on a mask beyond my paint. And so it's, it really gives – it allows me to give my, myself a lot more grace to, to, to stumble and to feel silly and to feel embarrassed and to feel dumb. I mean, I'll, I'll own that very often when I'm doing these things. I'm like, This is absolutely ridiculous. But I see the joy it brings people. And so I will, I will absolutely put myself out there. I will flay myself to bring someone that momentary joy. You know, I hope, I hope it works. I hope it has that laugh payoff, right? It's really embarrassing when it doesn't. But that's how you also find it. You have that willingness to fail and hopefully you kind of you kind of fail up. And yeah, I, I have to talk myself through fear in so many, so many things. But even when I fail, even when I don't get what I want, even when I hurt my, myself emotionally and hurt a relationship. Like there's just, there's just like growth in all of that. I just try to embrace all of it with the growth and the 'yes and'.

[00:35:38] Wicked Wren Putting yourself out there is hard. Every time I like, put on a cool outfit, I get scared and I have to convince myself to keep it on when I leave the house, because I know that people are going to look and have an opinion, good or bad, on it, something like that. It's difficult.

[00:35:56] Shannonagannery That, it is. It is difficult. But that's, that is, for me, part of where the empowerment in the clown lives. Like I, when I choose to step into that, like I'm doing it no matter what, and you can't hide. Like you can't, I can't put a sweatshirt on over whatever I'm wearing. But the face is there, right? And so I just, I just, I just rock it no matter what. And, yes, I get weird looks and, you know, whatever that is. Usually I'm doing this in (…) spaces, so, like, I don't, you know, like, weird looks mean something different in a (…) space. But, like, I, it very much is also, yeah, I find, I find kind of the power in that that vulnerability. For sure. And when it comes to putting myself out there, I still, I just, I'm going to go to the munch. I will tell myself I'm going to go to the munch, and I'm going to talk to three new people. I don't make fast friends in communities. Like, I look around at people and I'm like, Oh my gosh, y'all just met at that con. And now I see you doing everything together all the time and all that, and I'm just like, Wow. And so I do, I see that, and I find motivation in that. There's a lot of people who are living very vulnerably and authentically in their ability to open up to, to others and create community. And I really like, I want to, I want to be more of that person. I'm very inspired by those people. But it does take a high degree of like, emotional power posing and hyping myself up.

[00:37:16] Wicked Wren You do many different styles of rope. You do circusey things. You do personal things that aren't as theatric. And you mentioned that you're a (…) centric (…) and you don't love pain, yet there are many photos of you in a lot of pain on the internet.

[00:37:36] Shannonagannery Yeah. Definitely in my – so, so rope was like, what really made me step forward in my (…) journey. I've had these (…) inclinations, like, since I was a child, and I was very drawn to, like, Snidely Whiplash with, you know, the woman on the train tracks, with all roped up. Like, I'm, I've been very drawn to those types of images since I was a child and kind of drawn to the bad man. And the idea of, like, suffering for the bad man. Like, I remember watching, like, Gangs of New York and being like, Bill, the Butcher. Pretty cool guy. He's hot. Like, what the (…), right? Like wires crossed. For sure. And, and for for me, when it comes to specifically, like, this (…) centric (…), what I've learned is, like, I am a ma(…)ochist. I do enjoy suffering. I enjoy gifting my suffering to a party who wants to receive it and draw it out of me. I am not a pain slut. I am not a person who's like, you know what I need? I really need a beating. I hate pain. I fight it. I have to be bound if I am being beaten pretty hard because I cannot control my hands from trying to stop it from happening, even when I'm wanting to receive. So I'm just not someone who, like, seeks to pain. And it's not about the pain for me. It is about being a vessel to receive the (…) glee and understanding and seeing what it, what it does for them. You know what of my reactions brings out different responses for them. That really fuels me seeing like, Oh, wow, when you hit me like that and I make this noise, like your lip curls into this snarl that I like seeing that. It is bringing a thing out of me. And in rope, that's very much like I am not a bottom who just shows up and says, Oh, whatever you want to do. I always bring ideas. I always bring feedback about what my body wants that day, what my emotional state is kind of going to be able to lean into that day, right? Like, I always will bring those things. But when it does come to rope, I, I love, receiving of that attention in the same, like, kind of (…) centric (…) sort of way. I don't necessarily, I have people I tie with who do not identify as (…). They, they absolutely, they're more service tops, but still does, like, receiving of that attention and seeing how me being the toy in rope feeds them, really feeds me and my desire. Yeah, I do, I do a lot of circus rope. Especially within what I do in performance. Typically with MxBliss. Like, we, we do a lot of very big, very theatrical circus rope. And that is something that, it does nourish me very differently than, like, my suffer rope or what I might do more so privately in rope with people. That is very big. That is for the bit. That is for the laugh. It usually comes with some sort of suffering and physical body sacrifice. I have had people talk to me about my, my risk profile and express concern related to my risk profile, specifically within performance. But I know that we are doing everything in our best to mitigate issues that can occur. When Bliss puts me ten feet up in the air and jumps on my back and rides, rides me like a surfboard while we're spinning at, you know, 10-13ft. Obviously with the help of, of our of our rigger in that instance as well. But like that is something that people I absolutely see people be like, Wow, that's, that's, that's a lot. That's very dangerous. No, no, no risk, no reward. I'm very happy to, like, suffer in those moments and to kind of use my body in the same way I do in other parts of (…). Like for that payoff, and in this instance, it's not feeding the (…) by letting them – I'm not being fed by feeding the (…) right in this. I am being fed by feeding the audience in, in performance when it comes to the circus rope.

[00:41:40] Wicked Wren And for everybody going to shibaristudy.com, the surfboard harness is not up there, so don't try to find it. It's not going to be available on the website just yet. I also learned something just now, I had a little epiphany. The thing that hit me was, Wow, you must have an amazing relationship with whatever (…) is in line with those values.

[00:42:05] Shannonagannery Yeah, I mean, I think that's right. I do, I do think I am I am lucky to be currently in relationship and playing with some really incredible people that we do align very strongly in our desires and our values. Yes. And that came with a lot of time, the putting myself out there that I'd indicated earlier, being very engaged in my local community and like showing up in service so people can kind of see me and become aware of who I am and what those values may be, and moving very slowly. Like I know in many ways I came out really like fast in (…). Like, I did really hit the ground running, getting out there and doing by all intents and purposes and what that presentation looked like. I was incredibly slow in many ways, and I moved at a very, very, very high degree of caution. I knew I really wanted to get in rope, so I started going to local rope gatherings. We have a, we have a group here in Portland, the Portland Rope Arts Group Prague. I started going to gatherings at a venue that did not make it through Covid. But and I started meeting people and I was incredibly slow. Because a lot of who I met out the gate, I was very skeptical of. I was very skeptical of any older man. I was very skeptical of their intention. I am in a mono poly blended marriage with a vanilla individual, and so especially making sure I was moving very slow so as to not put myself even in like harm's way, that then would even bring harm to my, you know, to a relationship that has primacy in my life. You know, I moved, I did move very slowly in a way that is like how I have found those people. I have had people at times be like, Oh my gosh, you're doing so much. This is frenzy. And I'm like, it seems like I'm doing a lot because I'm tying with four people in this day at this con, these are all four people that I have very slowly, like come in to building this trust. And I just move slowly because I would rather, well, it is a matter of like, you know, when I get hurt, not if. And yes, you know, even in my experience with all my great negotiation – I, I'm proud of my negotiation – I have had, you know, things occur that have been, you know, lesser savory. I've made poor choices, right? I've learned some things the hard way, but I have done it all, like, very slowly and very deliberately, because I would rather not do the thing than do the thing that is going to lead to incredible harm of self or incredible harm of things that are very important in my life. So I have found really incredible partners by being just really, really discerning. And that's not everyone. People don't all need to operate that way, of course, by any means. I do know by doing that and just being being really like, yeah, mindful is how I have found these like really solid connections and the explorations I've done of self. I really know myself and my desires and can communicate them very clearly so people can say (…) yes or no, maybe not for me or no but, you know.

[00:45:04] Wicked Wren Thank you for being so open about all these things. I also love what you said about it's not if, it's when. Things do happen. This is an insane thing that we are engaging with and things will happen, and all you can do is keep yourself in check and try to make the best choices you can.

[00:45:22] Shannonagannery Yep, that's that's exactly right.

[00:45:25] Wicked Wren Thank you so much for being on. I could keep talking to you for another hour, but I cannot. We'll have to do another episode. And yeah, again thank you so much. This is awesome. A lot of good nuggets about authenticity and being yourself and taking things slow and being true to the things that you want out of life.

[00:45:44] Shannonagannery Thanks, Wren.