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When I first read Magpie Girl’s 8*Things post, I felt some awe, some whoaaa, that’s a tough one. Could I really defy the logic of financial security? She says you can. It sounds so . . . rebellious. So powerful. So completely true, so really controversial. You see, my friends, I am unravelling the way I handle conflict, and what I know so far is that I like it, if I can throw a tantrum. Highly effective and original, yes? Perfect for relationship drama, salary negotiation, any situation where you actually want to leave feeling content. Except that the ‘content’ part has yet to kick in . . .

So yes, I have unconventional ideas and rather conventional parents . . . dare I speak up and risk ‘outing’ myself? But, but . . . they’re the adults, right? With all the experience and the money and the approval . . . can I really re-write the rules and end up ‘okay’ or will they end up with an ‘I told you so’ in the end?

This is another favorite: I feel something that scares me, do I really have to say it? And risk changing the climate of this moment, this relationship?

Exploring my relationship to power feels revolutionary to me. As in, if I make this easier on myself and therefore feel able to have my needs met, or at least heard, I’m getting away with something, right?

Must journal on this later . . . because I really did write a list, and I didn’t stop at eight. I’ve got much more to unravel on the topic of power.

– That’s not ladylike. I’ve always rebelled against this, which caused me to do everything non-ladylike until, like I’ve mentioned 70 times, I found myself sobbing over wanting to be ladylike and treated like a woman. You know, whatever that means.

– You shouldn’t feel that way. Well, I do. So, isn’t the wise thing to learn how to properly handle this feeling?

– That just doesn’t sound very adult. Just like with gender – – what exactly does ‘adult’ imply?

– It’s for your own good. My good, or yours? Or, your comfort zone, or my happiness?

– You’re wasting your time. He doesn’t want to marry you. He would’ve proposed by now. All I can say is that listening to other people’s opinions led me to stay hung up on an event rather than the health of my life. The more difficult part is that I see both sides, and feeling like I have to choose between both has made me feel insanely unhappy with anything.

– Diet, exercise & not smoking lead to a long, healthy life. What no one tells you: drama, especially self-created drama, and the physical highs and lows, have wreaked much more havoc on my body, not to mention giving me a ‘reason’ to not exercise – how can I, when I can’t sleep because my life is falling apart?

– Pain must be avoided at all costs. What if pain was just information? A sign to ease up on life, stay in bed, listen for an answer or need?

– A rich (handsome, well-connected, insert desired trait here) man/woman is the key to a happy life. Except, you have to live with him or her. And sometimes life requires more than money, looks & status.

Bonus: – Treat others as you would like to be treated. Except, maybe others feel loved or respected in a completely different way. Always better to ask.

First off, if you aren’t reading Cleavage by Kelly Diels, jump over there now to read about needs. I have these tiny seedling concepts floating in my mind and then BAM! she writes a fleshed out post that spins me around and expands my mind and it’s better than drugs.

She talks about emotions in that post, and this is a subject I’m just immersed in. I am an emotional creature, and thank you Eve Ensler for your new book. I promise I’m heading to my library to get it. Because I fought my emotions for a while, until I realized they were telling me important things about my relationship situation.

I had this idea that my relationship failed because our fights were more like a battle of wills than communicating about our issues and needs. Because he was right, then I must be wrong, and vice versa. He did not acknowledge how I felt. So naturally it follows that we could never get past our respective perspectives to any sort of compromising solution which may have saved us.

And I’m starting to think this is a common problem with many relationships.

I’ve been so sad since all texting between us ceased, because he was my best friend. It’s tough to lose a lover and a best friend in one fell swoop.

So in the process of writing it all out, as I’m wont to do, I had this crazy idea. I knew I wanted closure from him, which clearly wasn’t coming, so I started thinking of what I actually wanted to hear from him.

Here’s where the uncommon part comes in: I wrote myself a letter from him, saying what I wanted him to say. I explained the situation from his point of view, I acknowledged my point of view, and I apologized. I voiced the emotions that kept me (him) from apologizing at the time.

What floored me: after I finished, my heart had softened.

I was tempted to call him. I had thoughts that maybe we could’ve been saved, that I finally saw how he saw it, and I felt heard and understood and loved.

But it was all from me. Not him.

For the rest of the night, I couldn’t shake missing him. I’d fooled my heart into believing he’d said all that, and my hope had been restored (not totally, but enough).

This little exercise won’t save the relationship I just left, but I’ve learned enough that I have hope for my emotional and communicative skills for the next one.

After all, I’m also reading Kelly Diels. Pretty soon, we’re gonna have this shit all figured out.

After eight years, I left a relationship that drained me. I had no idea how much emotional support matters to me, until I gave up flailing and explaining and agonizing in an effort for him to get me.

When we started out, all shiny and bright, I had this idea that I wasn’t ‘girlie like that’ because I like sports and casual clothes and foul language and beer. So all the needs and wants and desires that I thought guys hated, and girls loved – – I decided they didn’t matter. It was easy to decide that, because I’d never gotten that kind of treatment before. I didn’t miss it, so I thought I could live without it.

Until I was sobbing in front of him, telling him I did need those things.

I suppose I could’ve seen the writing on the wall when I wrote blog posts about the lack of authenticity in the bedroom. But it took feeling ice in my body when I hugged him last for me to know that it was over.

I am fucking thankful for that ice, y’all.

So this is the backstory to why I say your body will tell you the truth. My inability to speak up in the bedroom was telling me that I didn’t feel safe. My lack of desire told me that I didn’t want him. My constant fatigue told me he drained me. Now, I see.

At least I know that I’m listening to my heart, because that’s when I left.

8 things I know that I know

Inspiration strikes here!
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1. People will tell you who they are, without saying so in as many words. Believe what you see and hear. But trust actions over words.

2. I can trust my body to know how I really feel about my life.

3. Yoga, meditation & space are essential for my self-care.

4. Focusing on the problem isn’t the solution.

5. Compassionate communication is a vital skill for all of life.

6. When I feel loved, safe, supported, acknowledged & appreciated, or any one of those at one time, I flourish and love pours forth.

7. Pleasure serves me much better than pain.

8. Family matters.

Magpie Girl inspired me today with her post about gremlins and chatting right back with solutions. Without further ado, here is my list:

If I had the money and the stones, then I’d quit my job to learn massage therapy and then Holistic Pelvic Care from Tami Lynn Kent. (Then I’d better start saving and researching massage schools.)

If I had a healthy body, then I wouldn’t have to go through all these steps & meditations & journaling & I wouldn’t have this trail of pain & unruly emotions & relational faux pas. (Yay! I know how to help myself feel better, and I have all the resources, and I’ll deepen my relationship with myself all whilst feeling healthier! It’s just baby steps a day toward health. And I can do that.)

If I’d been born to more self-aware people, then I wouldn’t have all these issues. (And yet, I’d still have issues. We all have issues. And these people are my mirror for my own growth. And they love me like mad.)

If I’d saved money all those years at home, then I wouldn’t be so worried about money now. (Better late than never, my love, so look at the money you can save, and start there.)

If I just had this book, then I know it would all be better. (And then it’ll take me months to read it, and I won’t do the exercises because I’ll think I’ll read it again, and all the while, I alone know how I can help me best. And ps: you can send that money right into savings.)

If he would just be gentler, more aggressive, more loving, more _____, then things would be better. (And honey, you could be gentler, too. When you are triggered, it is your responsibility to care for yourself. Practice love!)

If I just had more time to myself, then I could do all these things I want to do. (Maybe, my love, and yet when you do have time, you forget all those things you want to do. Perhaps planning ahead and spending the week excited for your date with yourself would work better.)

If I just had an idea, then I would write more fiction. (Pssssst. You do have ideas. Many about this same character. What’s missing is the writing. Just sayin’.)

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Divine Winks
Divine whimsy and fantastic music. I heart Sera Beak.

The Bloggess
Oh, how she cracks me the fuck up.

Yummy dinner
I improvised with tomato slices instead of bread, topped with fresh basil. Mmm.

Susan Sarandon! Bull Durham! Goddesses!

Loving the Female Body in the most holistic, beautiful way
A bright star in my life right now. Also: I have a crush on Portland, Oregon.

xoxoxo

Nurture, compassion, soul, soulful, soul love, soul shine, hug, held, witnessed, protected, safe, safe, safe, folded into, relaxed, supine, child’s pose, shavasana, kisses, massages, hot stones, rub my feet, please, please, please, soothe, comfort, still, quiet, tranquil, easy, flow, ease, melting, being, nourishing, serenity, solidarity, wholeness, buzzing quiet, whispers, love, care, fading, silent, savor, expand, laugh, weep, gently, shhh, peace, peace, peaceful, chilled air, trees, gurgle of a creek, crunching leaves, cool damp ground, wanton, wellbeing, giggles, waves, undulating, feeling, sensing, claiming, knowing, silence.

Dark, twirling, film noir, kohl eyeliner, full moon, witches and spells and brews and potions and devious sparkles in eyes, hands extended, palms up, i will receive, i am open, i will hear, i will listen, i am quiet, i am yielding, receptive, alive, curious, rooted, interested, yes yes yes, i want to grow, i want to feel you, i want this wildness in me, hazy glow, lightning, melancholy and ecstatic, creative and flowing, still and knowing, birthing newness, dying embers of the past, it’s fading away, i’m not sad, let it go, i am ready, i am old, i am new, i am open, do you hear me? i am open, this is me, asking for you, gentle, soulful, just slow down, remember to touch, to taste, to feel, to really feel, i said to fucking feel, let it glide over you, resting nowhere, flowing out, opening up, kissing those places briefly, briefly, fleeing, running, it’s behind us now, a new sun, a new earth, a brighter day, it’s here.

i am craving water.

What if my unruly communication is a cry for attention?
What if I distracted myself from the obstacle and flaunted what I’ve still got?
What if I lived the answer instead of obsessing over the question?
What if I treated myself the way I wish to be treated?
What if I knew the way I wish to be treated?
What if I created the intimacy I’m convinced will free me?
What if I invited him in, instead of kicking him out?
What if I closed my eyes and let my body lead the way?
What if I quit my job right now, bought a ticket, and asked to learn from the woman who inspires me?
What if I thought it normal to follow my desires and intuitions and thought it odd to seek guidance elsewhere?
What if I knew and allowed that to be enough?
What if I could see it as it lies in front of me?
What if I dared to act on my impulses, the ones that scare me, the ones that risk familiarity, the ones that haunt me?
What if I really believed all you need is love?
What if I found a way to live in the feeling of love I’ve flirted with before?

It isn’t easy to pinpoint when one loses herself.

I’m really not sure when just letting something go turned into faking as a habit.

I know this: it’s fucking hell to look someone you love in the eyes and say, I’ve been changing inside and haven’t told you. I’ve been forcing myself to carry on, when I knew that fundamentally, I am growing into someone new to us both.

And yet, I’m standing on the other edge of that cliff, safe and sound.

Transformed.

Wiser, wilder, and somehow, more innocent.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t sob my heart out and think This Could Never Work. I actually said that, out loud, in all my defensive glory. Or, really, lack of glory.

But once the emotion ran its course and the communication had room to be clear, I found myself hugging the hell out of a man who loves me enough to listen. Even when it feels like I’m gutting him by saying that all our past sex wasn’t really what he thought it was. (Which is grossly overstating the truth. We have a torrid history, to be sure. But the details are complex and personal. And hearing me say I’ve Never Felt So Hot in all my LIFE before January 6, 2010, probably felt like, “All that past sex? Horrid. A lie.” to him. Not true. Just Jan. 6th felt illegally good.) (Yep. Got the date memorized.)

And, I’m grateful to myself, for feeling that I, and my pleasure, am worth speaking up for.

In having a conversation that scared the shit out of me, I allowed myself to be vulnerable, seen and heard, despite my desire to run away and never face him again. I admitted what scared me. And I allowed myself to be loved in ways that make me feel loved.

I also know this: it sucks that sex is so difficult to talk about and be taken seriously. It sucks that there are very few women I know whom I could chat about this with and feel respected, heard, and supported. But for those I can talk to, I am supremely thankful.

What I’ve always thought about sexuality, and am now completely certain, is that it’s fluid. How I expressed myself sexually five years ago may or may not still work for me now. And accepting that as part of life, growth and learning is vital to my relationship with myself and my lover.

That’s where I faltered: I kept quiet when it wasn’t working anymore, rather than exploring how it could work. And you know, maybe that’s where a lot of women falter. Because it is scary to ask a man for more foreplay, much less emotional and spiritual intimacy, too. We’re told and trained and have experienced that men aren’t interested in those areas. That those areas are feminine, and only women get it. And yet, without those areas fulfilled, the physical part of sex is less fulfilling, too. Even for men.

It’s definitely a journey. I want to rest in knowing that things are going to keep getting better, and yet I know that it’s still going to take work and communication and all those parts of sex that I’d been avoiding. It isn’t easy for me to ask for what I want, and I’m starting to see that that’s a theme.

But, of course, I have resources. It could be said that I am a slut for resources.

My most fabulous resources? Myself. My man. Communication.

Then, we have The Resource that’s distracting my mind whilst I remind myself that bills must be paid first.

And I’m still loving on Sheri Winston’s genius.

Mix in some oatstraw infusion, yoga, bellydancing, walking, and long, hot baths then blend until the body feels energized. Relaxed aliveness is what we’re going for here.

And, on the advice of someone in the know, don’t forget the lube.

Love on, people.

I’m in the habit of lying.

Not in a “I was at my friend’s house watching a movie” when truly at the bar sort of lying.

Not, “No, officer, no crack or crack pipes in this car. No, sir.”

More along the lines of: No, I’m fine; Yes, that works for me; Sure! That wasn’t what we talked about, but it’ll be just fine … Those sort of lies. The kind of lie where I shoot out an answer to keep the other person appeased before I even consult with myself. Or even realize that the other person doesn’t need appeasing.

As soon as I say Yes! I’d LOVE to! I feel it in my bones that that isn’t really true. Because I didn’t really even consider my options before agreeing.

These lies apply to a lot of valuable areas in my life. Dinner, What To Do This Weekend, How I Feel in a Disagreement, if I’d really prefer the heater on….and a biggie: Sex.

It’s crazy, but for a while (which means most of my sexual career) I knew I was missing some of the dreamy adjectives you hear related to sex…. but I didn’t have a clue what to do differently, so I didn’t say a damn thing. Nor did I realize how deeply being quiet affected my body, my soul, my life.

Thankfully, little lightbulbs of possibility started showing up:

The Five Hour, Enlightening Conversation at the end of 2009.

The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.

The ridiculously intense journaling, which included ranting, blaming, complaining, lamenting, designing What I Might Be Missing and finally, ownership & responsibility.

Finding Sheri Winston’s 3 breath orgasm video.

Ordering Sheri Winston’s book.

And this snowball of clarity culminated in:

The Bodily Epiphany.

A night of such intense arousal that not only did I understand FUCK YES, I’VE BEEN MISSING A LOT, but I also understood that every orgasm I’ve ever had was forced.

And forcing sucks out the juicy.

Which, sucks.

And explains why I felt kinda sad and let down sometimes after sex.

Here’s the clincher: I told my lover that that was the best night of my life. So on some level, he gets that whatever he did, he did well.

However.

I didn’t exactly explain that I don’t ever want to force sex again. Or that my amazing night changed my mind about sex completely. As in, fuck having sex when I’m mildly interested. I want juicy, wild and uncontrollable desire.

And: I am willing to admit that I am a sexual beginner.

Even though I’ve been having sex for a long time, have all manner of sex toys, and am my circle of girlfriends’ go-to girl for sex talk.

I just want to be brave enough to admit all this to my lover.

And that’s where the truth comes in, because it’s scary for me to admit when something is less than perfect. I know why this is. But what’s more important is letting perfection go.

Just as important is owning what I know now, and taking the time to re-learn sex. Because I like to read about it, write about it, talk about it. The actual exploring part is where I feel hesitant – and I suppose rightly so. I realize I’m not sure where to start, and that’s difficult to admit to myself. Because in the past, it’s been a dry experience with a goal. And even now, I know it can all be different, and yet I still have a bit of a goal: I want to feel that incredibly alive again. All by myself, for the sheer pleasure of feeling that way and knowing it’s part of me. An accessible part of me.

It’s just that the goal part makes it feel like work. Or a pass/fail test.

Which isn’t incentive to play, let me tell ya.

So that’s where I am: telling the truth and starting over. And one way I’m telling the truth today: not wearin’ a bra. Yep, I’m at work. And yep, it’s probably obvious, because the girls are less padded than usual.

But I feel a lot more like me.