How long have you been on autopilot?
Following the course set out for you, hitting the goals you’re expected to hit…
Marrying because you were supposed to get married, or making yourself date even though you’re not sure that’s what you want…
Has anyone ever asked you what YOU want?
If there weren’t anyone else to take into consideration, or any limitations, or any expectations, what life would you create for yourself?
It’s almost impossible to consider.
Limitations and expectations and other people are built into the way we think.
We consider everyone else before we consider ourselves.
Sue Sutherland wants to change that.
Sue is an activist, author, educator, and bodyworker who works with women who are done conforming to a way of being that doesn’t match their inner worlds.
They are ready to take you on a journey to discover your authentic self.
What you really want. What you really think. What you really need.
And when you discover those answers, it will channel your relationships in a whole new direction.
Are you ready?
What You’ll Learn
Sue didn’t plan to be a non-conformist.
They did their best to be what everyone expected of them…
Until they finally couldn’t take it anymore.
“When people have a midlife crisis, it’s … the container breaking,” Sue says.
What we erroneously call a “midlife crisis” is actually an explosion of opportunity.
People are giving themselves permission at last to BE who they’ve always wanted and DO the things they’ve always wanted to do.
They’ve spent their lives stuffing their true selves down…
And they’re not going to hold back anymore.
Tales of Nonconformity
We can think differently, and we can do this differently.”
Sue shares their philosophy of non-conformity in their second book, Tales of Non-Conformity: A Manifesto for Being Unapologetically You.
“What I learned from a very young age,” they explain, “is that the things I thought about, and the things I said, and the things I wanted… they weren’t okay. They weren’t okay with the people around me and society.
“And so I put that inside of me, and I tried really hard to fit in. I tried so hard to fit in that I forgot who I was, and I lost myself…
“[Until] the discomfort of pretending to be somebody else just became unbearable.”
Many of us have felt that discomfort.
We’ve put up with it for years, because we believed it was the cost of being a woman.
But by midlife we’ve run out of steam.
We don’t have the patience, or the energy, or the willingness to sacrifice ourselves any longer.
Our lives are half over. We don’t have forever to live.
What will we do with our remaining years?
Maybe, just maybe…
We’ll do something selfish. Something just for us. Something our hearts have been yearning for.
Midlife is an extraordinary time of reinvention for many women.
With children leaving home, and menopause shifting our relationship with our bodies, and marriages breaking up or reconfiguring, everything feels up in the air. Everything feels changed. New possibilities open.
But what could life look like if we broke free? Do we even know?
The model of relationships we’ve been given—date a man, get married, have children, live happily-ever-after—doesn’t work for everyone.
Not everyone wants a husband.
Not everyone wants to remarry.
Isn’t there something more than the limited choice between remaining single or signing up for the wife life?
Of course, Sue says. “The possibilities are always unlimited.”
But in order to get what we want in love, we have to know what we want.
And we don’t always know what we want.
That’s where Sue’s workshops and coaching come in.
Sue helps people discover what they want by exploring their primary relationship with themselves.
The relationship you have with yourself is the foundation for all your relationships with other people.
Which begs the question:
“How are we with the relationship with ourselves?” Sue asks. “Do we like ourselves? Do we actually like ourselves?”
What do you think?
Is your relationship with yourself on solid ground?
Sue offers questions for us to consider:
How would we behave … if we already knew that we were enough? What would we do then?
If we knew that our needs were valid and that we were already enough exactly as we are, how would our day change?
How would what we do change, if we weren’t trying to prove something to somebody?”
Everyone knows that you need a man at your side to lead a fulfilled life.
A committed, lasting relationship is essential for happiness…
The Relationship Anarchy Smorgasbord can help you answer that question.
“The Relationship Anarchy Smorgasbord has been one of my favorite tools,” Sue says. “I have been working with it for four or five years now. I love it.”
It’s a table listing 16 different areas of relationships, including romance, friendship, cohabitation, touch, partnership, caregiving, emotional intimacy, emotional support, and finances.
You get to decide which areas of relationship are most important to you.
Maybe you want romance but you don’t want to have to live with someone. Maybe you want emotional support but you want to keep your finances separate.
If you find it hard to express your needs, or if you’re not sure what you even want in a relationship, this tool can help you have a conversation with yourself that you may have never had before.
Do you honestly know what your relationship needs are, if you didn’t have anyone else’s needs to consider?
“The question that I ask people,” Sue says, “is, ‘Which of these do you want for yourself? Forget about everybody else.'”
If you’re already in a relationship, you can use this tool to open up a conversation about how well your relationship is meeting your needs.
Print out two copies of the Relationship Anarchy Smorgasbord. Take one copy, and give another copy to your partner. Each of you goes away and checks off which needs you’d like to have met in your relationship. Then you come back together, exchange papers, and discuss where your expectations match and differ.
The reason this tool works so well as a conversation starter is because “it’s not about me; it’s not about you. It’s, ‘Can we look at this together?'” Sue explains.
It Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
We don’t tend to think about relationships as agreements to meet particular needs but not others.
We assume that a committed romantic relationship should cover all the bases, from physical intimacy to financial support.
But “why are we trying to get one person to meet all our needs?” Sue asks. “We are essentially setting ourselves up to fail.”
If you and your partner disagree on certain needs, you don’t have to convince your partner that he has an obligation to you. You can find other relationships—platonic, familial—that will meet those needs for you.
“Come on,” Sue says. “Can we stop making each other do things that we don’t want to do?”
We make our partner feel guilty for not meeting all of our needs, and then “we carry shame about not being able to fulfill things that we never signed up to in the first place.”
No wonder relationships buckle under the pressure.
The Relationship Anarchy Smorgasbord enables us to have authentic relationships based on an honest conversation about our needs and where our relationship can meet them—and where it can’t.
Work with Sue
These are new ideas for many of us.
They’re exciting, but they’re difficult to wrap our heads round.
Sue offers a number of opportunities to work with them in a safe, accepting, nonjudgmental space.
As a trauma-informed bodyworker and relationship coach, Sue wants “people to feel less alone with who they are on the inside. I want them to be able to bring what’s inside—and may never have been spoken—out in a space where they can be heard and validated, celebrated, regardless of what it is, so that they can integrate more the inside and the outside.”
If you would love to be able to state with clarity, “This is who I am. This is what I want. This is what I need,” then this is your opportunity.
In addition to one-on-one coaching and couples coaching, Sue offers online workshops.
If you’d like to hear from Sue regularly, they send out Fortnightly Freebies, a bi-monthly newsletter that will help you connect to your authentic self.
For now, know this:
If we already know that we are enough and our needs are valid, the possibilities are endlessly exciting.”
Sue is a multi-modality practitioner working with private clients who are done conforming to a way of being that doesn’t match their inner worlds. They are a bodyworker, educator, guide, activist, and writer specializing in Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity (GSRD) and trauma. Find out how you can work with Sue.