Friday, October 25, 2013

Why any of this even matters...

Why does who I am matter?  If I know “myself” in most contexts, what does it matter if a part of me remains hidden even to myself?  Is it really all that important?  What difference could it possibly make to anyone?

This past Tuesday morning my daughter gave birth to a baby girl.  She arrived eight weeks before she was expected.  Much of who she is has already been decided…we are all just unaware of it as yet. For the next ninety years or so, she will be exploring and discovering and testing and failing and trying again to discover who she is and how to express that to the world. (I will only be around for the first forty-five or so.)  Some of who she is might be what others expect, some will probably not be.

I never want her to feel that she needs to hide from herself or from anyone else.  I never want her to feel ashamed or afraid of any truth about her own identity, gender, sexuality or spirituality.  I want her to be free to express her love and her beauty and her happiness in any way that she feels is right for her.  I want her to know always just how amazing she is. 

If I cannot embrace my own secrets, my own desires, if I cannot challenge my own hidden truths and bring them into the open where I can see them and embrace them and express them, how can I ever guide her in doing the same?

She will no doubt surprise me, but I pray that I will never fail her.  She is why any of this matters.  I want her to know her Nanna as a fearlessly, shamelessly happy woman who knows herself and loves with warmth, generosity and abandon.

I thank the Gods that I still have time to become that woman.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sexual Dreaming

Dreams are strange things; they can take you places your waking mind will resist.  They can give you glimpses into your desires and leave you awake in the middle of the night gasping for breath with your heart pounding and your skin on fire.  They can haunt your thoughts for days on end.

I have been dreaming much more of late, the kind of dreams that wake me and that feel so real and so vivid that I cannot distinguish them from reality for endless moments after I wake.  It is, to say the least, disconcerting and has me more than a little spooked, truth be told.

I have had days of this sort of dreaming before from time to time but the past couple of months, it happens almost every night and sometimes more than once in the same night.

I do not know how much longer this will be the case but, I believe that there are reasons for it and I am trying to discover to what they might be.  Not the cause so much as the purpose.  The dreams themselves are often very erotic and I wake with my body in full sexual arousal. 

The people in my dreams are often my beloveds and the situations are so far removed from the reality of my experiences and relationships with these friends that I have difficulty processing them.  Sometimes the people are unknown, in the way that dreams will hide the identity of people but yet, they are not strangers.

I know that my dreams are the product of my own mind and body and soul.  They are not trying to help me understand others but rather to understand myself.  But because I do not respond to strangers, they are populated with the faces of my beloveds.

It is uncomfortable to experience our darker desires and even more so when it involves our most trusted beloveds.  But the desires we hide from ourselves can be the keys to understanding and claiming our greatest power.

I will continue to strive to understand these keys to my own self.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Identity or Who Am I?

Painting by Susan Seddon Boulet

In most situations, I have a pretty strong idea of “Who” I am.  Most of the time, the person(a?) I experience or express is related to who I am with, what my relationship is to them, what role or responsibility I have to them.  

Am I sacrificing the truth of who I am?  No. 

At work I am a banker, a helper, a supervisor.  With my family I am daughter, sister, mother/aunt, nana. With my Coven I am sister, mother, daughter, priestess, witch.  In each of these roles, I have responsibilities.  

Sometimes I lean on my loved ones, sometimes I need to put their needs first and support them.  I will not put my desires before my beloveds well-being. Priorities are important and will determine what role I allow myself to take, or need to take in any given situation.  Honor is a very important part of who I am and who I desire to be.

I have been talking to a young man recently who is beloved to me and to whom I have some responsibility.  He is someone I trust and he has been very supportive as I explore (intellectually at least) some of the more uncomfortable parts of who I might be.  I have asked him to be a safety net for me if I choose to step out and explore in the real world and he has agreed.  That I can do.  I can ask him to have my back.  It does not put our relationship or my responsibility to him at risk.   

My own exploration is important to me and I will continue to push forward to discover what may lie beneath the surface but, I will not sacrifice those parts of my identity that I value most highly.  I choose not to.  Being a person who loves with  honor and strength and wisdom is just as important as personal discovery.

I have desires to explore and to discover and I will not sacrifice them on the altars of fear or shame but, to be someone who cares for the well-being of those I love, is the person I desire to be.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What I Know Now

What I have learned this past year is that most of my beliefs and fears have been inaccurate.  I have, through repeated experiments with people that I care for and trust, and whom I believed to be strong enough and skilled enough to protect themselves from any damage they might suffer as a result of contact with my energetic self, learned that I am not in fact dangerous to those I touch nor to those who touch me.  I have learned that my fears about being incapable of responding to another sexually are not real.  I have learned that I am capable of giving and receiving profound pleasure.  I have learned that in order to experience these wonderful gifts of this physical body, trust and emotional and energetic connection both with myself and with my partners are absolutely necessary.  I may not be monogamous or strictly heterosexual, and there are other aspects of my nature that I need to explore but, I would not be exploring them at all if it were not for those beloved friends.  For them and the joys of this journey, I Give Thanks.

the beginning

This is the post I most questioned putting out there.  Not because I have not dealt with it but, because it might make others uncomfortable.  But I believe if I am going to share this journey of exploration with others then, pulling punches is not a part of the deal.

That being said,   if you don’t want to know, don’t read it.

I believe that my sexual behavior in the past has lessons to teach me in the here and now.  The more I understand my past behavior and experience, the more I can understand my Self and where I might find the truth.

My first sexual experience was the summer before I turned nine years old.  Yes, it was actual intercourse, no it was not rape, or forced, or coerced in the way people usually define those words (and yes I understand that sex with a child is by definition rape and I would take a sword to anyone who committed such an act if I knew about it but, being the child in question I never saw it that way).

The incident itself was not as traumatic as one might assume.  It was confusing and part of that was the response my body had to it.  It was pleasurable, even with the pain and the blood, I experienced sexual arousal (need?) and a sexual release (at least to the extent that a nine year old body is capable of).  As a result of those feelings I had emotional reactions as well, confusion being the foremost at first but resulting in shame, fear and rage. 

The most traumatic part came later.  The person involved was a family member, who was seventeen years old and more damaged than I could ever be.  In the year following, he experienced overwhelming guilt and self-loathing in addition to the desperate need to be loved that motivated the act itself. He made three near-successful attempts at suicide that year.

Meanwhile I was overwhelmed with confusion and rage and as nine year olds will do, I associated my feelings with his attempts at suicide.  Magical thinking is normal for children of that age.  They do not understand consciously the difference between feelings and intent.  I believed that I was responsible for harming him.  That being with me in that way had damaged him, had in fact wounded him, that there was something inherently dangerous inside me.  I believed that for the next 38 years.

The winter after I turned fourteen, I became sexually promiscuous and continued that behavior, except during my two pregnancies, for the next sixteen years.  The behavior was not necessarily motivated by arousal nor by the hope of release or pleasure but by the desire to prove to myself that my beliefs were unfounded. I hid in chemically induced oblivion much of the time as well.  It was also an attempt to keep the demons at bay, to chase them away for a while.  This was, to say the least, unsuccessful at best and self-punishing at worst. I set up people to treat me badly so that I would not care when they were hurt as a result of being with me.  I hurt some very good men that way (even some who genuinely cared and would not allow me to engage them sexually)

It is possible to pull your etheric/energetic bodies so far inside yourself during the act that the other person never comes into contact with them.  It is an instinctive behavior; you don’t even have to know consciously what you are doing.  That for me was the norm. I did not have relationships with the boys I had sex with, and the rule was, I never had sex with the same boy twice.  There were a few exceptions, one of which I ended up marrying.

My ex and I had a good friendship and sex was pleasant.  It was not for the same reasons as before but, it was not because of need or release either.  For a while cocaine was a regular part of my sex life because it is the only aphrodisiac that ever really worked.   I spent a great deal of time in a constant state of chemical arousal in an attempt to feel.  Trust me when I say that this is NOT a good answer.  I also spent all of those thirty-eight years wondering if I was actually capable of feeling, of arousal or release or of responding sexually at all.

My ex husband is a good man and he did his best to love me but, trust was not something I had learned before I left him and as it turns out, that is a necessary part of sexual arousal and ultimately sexual satisfaction.  Not to mention a necessity in a healthy relationship as well.

Some thoughts on Monogamy and Polyamory

Monogamy is the expected ‘norm” in this society.  I had never questioned that, yet it has rarely felt “normal” to me.  I come from a family for which monogamy works.  For my daughter, for my brothers, for my parents, for previous generations (at least from what I can tell), monogamous relationships work.  For many of my friends, who are happy in traditional monogamous relationships, it is a perfectly well functioning paradigm.

I have had a grand total of three such relationships in my life.  Although, the three months when I was eighteen hardly counts and my most recent relationship also does not truly fit the mold because his ex-wife was never emotionally out of the picture.  So I have had one and that did not start out that way.  I met my ex-husband when we were twenty-two years old.  We were friends with benefits for eight years before we moved in together and became exclusive, then engaged, then married.  We were married for fourteen years.  We have been apart for three and a half and we are thankfully still friends but, no longer with benefits, too much water under that bridge to go back. 

In my adolescence and throughout my twenties I was far from celibate but, I did not engage in the traditional relationship construct that is the norm in our society.  I used to think that meant that there was something wrong with me.  I am now reconsidering that perhaps it does not.

Many of my friends are polyamorous.   They have relationships with more than one lover at one time.  Some are married and most are happy.  Being human of course, they are not perfectly blissful at all times but, it does seem to work for them.  I have always believed that love is not a loaf of bread. If I love one person that does not mean that I have less for another. 

One of the things I find uncomfortable about monogamy is that it is so easy to slip into the trap of sacrificing yourself on the altar of the relationship.  The relationship itself becomes more important than the individuals in it.  And it is too easy to slip into the behavior of taking responsibility for your partner’s happiness, rather than your own.

Polyamory has its own potential problems.  My perception of the paradigm originally was that someone was undoubtedly being used, or that jealousy and eventual heartbreak was inevitable.   I have since come to understand that the success of any relationship regardless of its construct is entirely dependent upon the character and commitment of those involved.  All relationships take work, trust, communication and self-awareness.  And of course, Love.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Parts of Self

The parts of my Self experience the world in different ways.  My mind, my intellect, appreciates aesthetic beauty and that is easy for me to recognize.  The human form is beautiful in its incredible variety as is the natural world.  I appreciate the beauty of artistic expression, color, light, line and movement.  There are so many beautiful sights, sounds, tastes, smells, textures, thoughts, and language.   A beautiful woman, a beautiful man, is a joy to behold.  I experience these through my physical senses and appreciate them with my mental self.

This appreciation might then become an emotional experience.  It might elicit an emotional response.  This is also relatively easy to recognize.  Even when it turns back upon my body, returns to a physical experience, a visceral reaction.  It is still an aesthetic appreciation.  The human form is aesthetically beautiful.  I have a mental and intellectual appreciation for that beauty.  It may on occasion become an emotional or visceral experience but that is not a sexual one.

Interacting with another person, one whom I actually know, is another kind of experience.   Generally speaking I experience others through my emotions.  My emotional responses might be affection or repulsion, but they affect how I perceive others.  Those whom I love are beautiful to me.  I experience them through my emotions primarily and I can see the beauty of them more clearly as a result.  I can also see those who are not, no matter how aesthetically pleasing they might be to the world.  My emotional response to someone I care for is real but, it is rarely a sexual one.  While I have experienced a sexual attraction to someone I care for, I have never felt sexual attraction without an emotional connection. 

It is more difficult for me to recognize the difference between emotional and energetic responses.  I believe that the sexual attraction I have felt for a loved one has been due to my energetic response.  The emotional connection has always existed first but, my energetic reactions seem to determine if I respond to my loved ones as mother, sister, friend, daughter or “lover”. 

My energetic response that results in sexual attraction does not seem to be determined by the gender of the other person nor their sexual orientation.   So how do I define my sexual orientation?  I read a definition the other day of a word I have never been exposed to.  Demisexual is somewhere between bisexual and asexual.  Maybe I do not need to actually define it.  I believe that I have primarily heterosexual preferences but, I have found myself at times sexually attracted to a woman whom I know and care for.  I have even had erotic dreams about other women on occasion.  But I do believe that for me, emotional affection and energetic responses are the crucial factors in the equation. 

One of the many things I need to explore is what exactly can take me from sexual attraction to that most elusive state, sexual arousal.  But that is for another day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

some thoughts on gender

I am a Female human being.  I have never doubted that.  Truth be told I am a feminist.  That is to say that I believe I have as much right to legal status, education, property ownership and self-determined destiny as anyone.  But more to the point, I am female not only biologically and legally but internally.  I have never felt conflict between my biological gender and my true self.  There are those that do.  

I believe that the mind and soul and heart of a person is the place that the truth of gender lies.  I believe that no one has the right to an opinion regarding another human beings gender identity.  If someone identifies as female, they are my sister.  And that is something worth rising up to defend.  If someone identifies as male, they are my brother and they too deserve to be defended, the male of the species is noble and honorable and deserving of respect. 

I know where I stand and who I am regarding gender.  But that is not the entirety of the issue.  There are aspects of gender that the world consistently has an opinion about and those are not so easily ignored.  As a woman I am relatively “normal” in the eyes of the outside world.  I appear to be a middle-aged, privileged, educated, middle-class, suburban, white girl, monogamous and heterosexual.  “Nothing to see here people, she conforms to the norm.”  Perhaps slightly odd politically (I am a Libertarian and have been since I registered to vote at the age of 18).  Feminist of course, aren’t all American women?

But I do find conflict in that “norm”.  Because I love dresses and I loved playing “mother” and I found power in the stories of the women in my story books.  And because there are parts of my nature that I am discovering that do not fit how the world sees me, that do not fit the expectations of an educated, feminist, female of my generation.

It is those conflicts that I need to explore and to reconcile.  Not to the outside world but rather with my own identity.  Because somewhere along the way, I bought into the expectations and I am no longer willing to reject my true self in order to comply, in order to avoid conflict.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Through the Door

This is a new journey for me.  It is a journey of discovery and exploration.  I have no idea where it might lead or what I may discover but I promise I will not look away.  This is a journey into my self, my soul, my heart and, most importantly, into my desires and the identity of my own sexual truth. 

I have an entire life to explore and a self to discover.  I feel as though I am just beginning to learn who I might be and while I may feel as though I am fourteen years old, I am not.  I am a fully grown woman of forty-eight.   I am an adult with free will and no one to shame me or tell me who or what I should or should not be. 

This place of jumping off the cliff into the unknown of my own sexual identity is exciting and exhilarating and terrifying.  And I vow that I will not hide from my desires nor sacrifice them upon the alters of shame or fear.   I will not look away, I will not shrink from the desires of my very soul.

I will be as open and as honest as I can be about my own journey, while respecting the privacy of others.  You are welcome to do the same through any comment you wish to make.

Blessed be.