The Goddess Within

I want to be important.

I hope to write something that’s pleasing and relevant. I want you to fall in love with me, to be charmed by my appeal, to be seduced by my wit and clever words. I want you to see my value, to get something from me, I want the pain to have a purpose, for my life to have meaning. And as I ask this of you, I know it’s not possible. I know your opinions of me can’t make or break my sense of self-worth.  I’m the one responsible for making myself feel that way.

I’ve carried around a lot of shame about being born, an unwanted baby born to a couple of teens.  I was an unplanned pregnancy,  there was no “original want,” and their burden, their mistake, became mine to nurture and bring forth like a gene. I had no choice in the matter, it was imprinted on me from the start: you are not wanted.

I spent the last year in an introspective practice of yoga-teacher-training and through it I uncovered the truth about myself.  I discovered that my shame around being born has been my default stance from inception to present. I’ve devalued myself, my talents, and dreams to keep myself small to ensure that I fulfill that role. I’ve done my part to make sure I wasn’t wanted, I told myself stories and lies to validate that premise, and I hurt myself a lot in the process.

As much as I craved them, I found it painful to receive compliments, painful because I didn’t believe them to be true. I wanted validation but nothing was ever enough, I couldn’t be convinced that I was valuable. Like everything else I’ve dealt with in my life I learned the healing had to come from within. But I didn’t know how.

I didn’t know how to heal myself from something I didn’t cause but believed to be true. I couldn’t undo something that had already been done, a living, breathing part of my DNA, but I did know that having awareness of it was enough of a start. I also knew that I had to be kind, patient and loving with myself. I needed to nurture and support myself in all the ways I wanted from others. I wanted a momma so I became my own mother.

I spent a lot of time thinking about little Shannon–my life as an infant, toddler, child, adolescent, etc. and how I could re-parent her. I went through meditative, visualization exercises of  imagining my naked, infant body lying under the sun in the sand, hot, red and full of need. I came out of the ocean like a mother-goddess–the adult version of myself–wet hair, strong legs, eyes fixed on the baby. I go over to my infant self and cradle   her in my arms, she clings and nurses with a fierceness. I tell her, ” My dear sweet child, I am so sorry you weren’t wanted by them. But I want you. I love you and you’re important to me. Your life matters. You may not know your purpose but you have one, whether you see it or not, its there, and I’m here for you now.”

There are different versions of my new story, and one for each phase of my life. There’s one where I’m five and beating down a path running with a tiger, I tear off my sundress and become the tiger. In each scenario I become my own hero. It takes a tall-tale to outdo the negative pull of my base position, the lies that tell me I’m unwanted. I have to counteract those fuckers and up the ante. I have to be willing to as a friend says, “Go to any length” to recover from the mapping of my childhood.

When I take my power back I make myself important. When I make my wellbeing the most essential thing in my life I cultivate value. I create my own self-worth by taking extreme steps to nurture, care for, honor, support, and love myself in all the ways I didn’t get as a child, or that I don’t get in my adult relationships.

This isn’t a–one-time fixes all–kind of situation. This shit takes work. I’m bombarded in my daily life with opportunities to drop back into that feeling of being unwanted. It comes natural to me. It’s easier for me to feel unimportant and small than it is for me to feel valuable. I can turn the most benign situation into a feeling of rejection, and one that feels so real. This is why I have to stay vigilant. I have to fight the urge.  This is why I’m writing about it, to remind myself that it is up to me to own my worth, and to value myself.

The value is in the writing not the response. Yes, of course I hope there’s a take-away for someone, but the value of my work, isn’t defined by it. I stopped writing for almost a year. I was too afraid to say anything because I cared too much about what you all thought of me and my writing.

Writing again is a gift to myself. By writing I’m honoring myself and all the things I have to say. I’m important. My life matters, and what I have to say has value.

Thank you all for reading and for being a witness to my life.

Many Blessings,

Shannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in crossing boundaries | 10 Comments

The Flasher and The Tinsel Tree, Part 1

My hair fell in fine strands down the center of my back, in winter months it was a rich brown with hints of gold, a stark contrast to my ballet-pink skin and soft blue eyes. I was a thin and rather small five-year old little girl with deep dimples and a petite, freckled nose. I was pretty and I knew it, and I used it to my advantage. I was well liked and well adjusted.
I instinctively knew that in order to survive I needed to please others and to behave more like a doll, moving wherever I was placed by other’s emotions and temperament.
I spent a lot of time alone exploring and roaming, always in a dress, and whenever possible, barefoot, or in boots. I talked to animals, insects and plant life; many private conversations were had on the nature of things I didn’t understand about adults and my inner-life. I touched and smelled and was curious about almost anything I could get my hands on, I lived in wonder about the natural world around me, and used it as a way to escape reality. My mother often described me as being, “So good and independent,” and “happy-go-lucky,” but in my private moments I was anxious and afraid, I used my charm and sweet-looking face as a mask to hide my nagging fears. The thing I was most afraid of was being unwanted.

Angie lived across the street from us and babysat for me once. She was around thirteen and had feathered light brown hair slicked to her head, hazel eyes, like a mixture of dirt and water, and dotted, smudged looking skin. She was average in all ways, but to me, her body spoke of experience: the small dip of cleavage, the elongation of her backside, the width of her hips and thick torso.

She had an oval face and small teeth, light colored lips and poor posture. There was a teenage-shrill to her laugh, a discomfort that made me nervous and excited all at once. Her nails were chewed down to the ends. Her eyes often darted from side to side, but in focus they were dull. Looking back I would describe them as having a pointed sadness, the emptiness of what I imagine was taken from her.

She was involved with a church, the kind with a white van and cornflower blue-vinyl, bench seats, and a thick, white man sitting behind the wheel–with sparse strands of hair on his head; and body hairs spilling out from under his shirt. The type of church with a youth director that drove kids around town to various events in the Church van with blue lettering on the side that read, “First Messiah Baptist Church.”

I could see Angie’s house from my living room window, their pastel yellow dilapidated bungalow–before bungalows were stylish–in our low-income neighborhood that hadn’t yet undergone restoration, and gentrification, before the wealth of educated, upper-middle class white folks moved in and turned it into an urban craftsman’s wet dream, a centerfold of bungalow-curb appeal.

Eager, and on my knees, deep in worn tan shag-carpet, I watched as the van pulled in the driveway, Angie stepping up on the side-runner, entering the slide-door with her hushpuppy shoes and a thin-strapped pocket book, crotch-cutting, tight jeans, and corduroy jacket. I wanted in the van.

I was obsessed with everything Angie. The way she moved her head, the pooch of her waistline, and the goings on at her house. I would play outside, poking at doodlebugs in the yard, ever watchful for her, hoping to get noticed, dying for a smile or an invite.

And it happened. One day she came out and asked, “Hey Shannon, want to go to a Halloween Carnival with me at my church? There will be a haunted house and candied apples.”

I was delighted and honored, a chance to hang with my idol, an older girl, the mystery and intrigue, to be part of her sanctum, to be accepted by someone I revered. “Yes!” Clapping my hands together, “Yeah! I gotta go see if my momma will let me.”

This was the fall of 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia, a time when children started disappearing earlier that year. Along with the rumors and speculation there were reports of a white van and candy-lure possibly being used to snatch up the missing kids. Atlanta’s citizens became suspicious of vans of all colors, shapes and sizes, myself included.

I blame my mother. She was twenty-four at the time, garter snake-green eyes lined in black liquid, layers of dark Maybelline, and high on everything, including caffeine, uppers, downers, alcohol, sugar and nicotine. She was five-two, and a well-shaped, maybe ninety pounds, curves, yet anorexic; coffee and boiled egg for breakfast, sardines and tab for lunch, M&M’s for snack, and a light picking of some sort of dinner. Her hair was like touchable lust, gorgeous, long, hot-rolled, soft and sensual, the perfect shade of Farah Faucet-blonde. She was good looking, and disturbed, a tiny, sexy package of insanity, a decorated trap door.

My Mother was not only superstitious, she was also suspicious of anything possible-rapist, child molester, flasher, or sexual pervert-related, and she was very vocal about it. She warned me about men with dogs or candy, she told me, “Shannon, don’t ever help a man look for his lost dog, and don’t ever, ever accept candy from a stranger. It’s just a ploy to get you alone so that he can touch your private’s. And she would tell me things like, “Shannon-Banana, a man will break-in and put his hand over your mouth if you don’t lock the door.” We lived in fear of the old man who lived alone and ate chopped steak at the local Piccadilly cafeteria. She told me, “ That’s the type of man that will show you his penis. Look away when you hear them whistling. They’re always whistling trying to act innocent, just keep walking.”

She taught me what the “type” looked like, and what to do if a stranger asked for my underwear: “Run and yell fire!” And she told me about the missing kids spotted near a white van. “Shannon, those kids were probably jerked up into the van by an old man who wanted to cut their private’s. If you get pulled in the van you’re a goner. They’ll throw your body in the woods. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone take you. Run, fight, yell, scratch, hit, and kick them in the balls. Be smart. I don’t mean to scare you, baby, but this is real. You are not to go near a van of any sorts.”

She scared the fuck out of me; at five I was prepared for the child molestation-apocalypse.

To Be Continued, thanks for reading.

Love to all of ya out there,
SJ

Posted in 1979 Atlanta, addicition, bungalow classics, Church Van, crossing boundaries, crotch cutter jeans, flasher, molestation, paranoia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Nikki Started To Grind

The summer of 1984 my mother and I went to visit her friend who lived out in the country in a doublewide trailer with her three children and her fourth husband. She, like my mother, was a drug addict. But she’s dead now, died from an overdose of oxy.

“Shannon, did you know Sissy was molested by her real dad? That’s why they can’t visit their Daddy anymore.”

My mother and her friend Sally, used to sit around the kitchen table chain-smoking and drinking cups of coffee, nibbling on things like, “shit on a shingle,” some sort of potted meat situation on white bread, and deviled ham salad sandwiches, and talk.

I overheard my mother say, “He only thinks with his dick, the cock-sucker.”

The women didn’t like us kids in the kitchen. They were busy talking about grown up things, things like the sex between my mother’s boyfriend and another woman, and topics such as the molestation and rants about the endless fights between my mother and her boyfriend; and how Sally’s husband beat her.

Bottles of pills scattered the kitchen table, overflowing ashtrays and a random cosmopolitan magazine, hours of intense conversation, wild laughter, and always the smell of weed and sounds drifting from the adult bedroom.

“Shsh, close the door. Do you think they know anything?”

The master bedroom had a king sized waterbed, two matching nightstands, (complete with rolling papers, a pointy beige vibrator and a package of red French tickler condoms,) and a private bath with a doublewide Jacuzzi bathtub where the other kids and I spent our summer days rolling around in cold water.

This was a pimped out trailer. There were three other bedrooms, and another bath, an unused empty space connecting the double portion of the trailer and a den. I mean come on, four bedrooms and two baths, not bad.

In the den were the typical sofas one would find in a thrift store: wooden armrests with scratchy brown material covered cushions. The coffee table was a glazed piece of wood with a swirling center, and in the corner was a beat up lazy boy with grease stains and holes. There was also a turntable and a piece of velvet artwork of dogs playing pool.

Sally had three kids: Sissy, who was a few years older than me, a black haired looker, whom I had a major crush on at the time, and Timmy, a straggly-haired boy who was my age, who I also fancied, and their little sister, Alyssa, a winey little nudge with dirt stained knees and tangled blonde hair.

“I’m gonna tell Momma.” Is all we ever heard from her.

Timmy’s room was the coolest, bunk beds with Star Wars mattresses–the kind you see sold on the side of the road and at flea markets–and a black beanbag chair. But the best part was his collection of music. He would yell from his room, “Hey, come one, let’s make up a movie to Thriller!”
During previous visits we would lay on the bottom bunk with the lights out and listen to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and then play hide-n- seek in the dark, but it was innocent, pure kid fun.

My mother hollered out, “Shannon, What are ya’ll doing in there?”

This summer was different and she knew it; there was a slight shift in the air. This was also the summer Prince released Purple Rain. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but between my budding hormones, the hyper-sexualized environment of trailer life and the lyrics of Darling Nikki, I had my first orgasm.

Now wait, hold up. It had nothing to do with the boy. This was a solo venture, but what happened before is what lead up to it.

The other kids and I spent hours combing, reading and just plain old obsessing over Purple Rain. We learned the lyrics to each song, made up dances and talked about the lyrics as we traversed the backwoods and along side the creek looking for snakes and salamanders, calling out to each other,

“Wendy?” “Yes Lisa?” “Is the water warm enough?” “Shall we begin?” “Yes, Lisa.”

We talked about how the bark from a certain tree looked liked it could be used as paper, and what masturbating with a magazine meant. It was that time in our lives, the in-between, in between childhood fantasies of mica being sold as gold and the sprouting of pubic hairs, and a natural and insatiable curiosity about the mechanics of sex.

Like I said before, Sissy was a few years older so she was sort of our own private Dr. Ruth, our resident thirteen-year old sex therapist. . She explained things to us like how one used a vibrator, and what masturbation meant.

She even used our bodies as a demonstration. Our mother’s were fucked up on something and talking non-stop, Purple Rain was playing. We were in the in-between room, about to go from being in-between to being turned on and tuned in to what our bodies would eventually be able to do together.

“Shannon, you lay on your back with your legs open. Timmy, get on top of her and put in. That’s what you do.”

We were all naked, and poor Timmy was flaccid. We aligned our parts but nothing happened. Sissy was buckled over with laughter and the little one was squealing. I was committed to the process, I wanted to please Sissy, wanted her attention, but I also understood that we were embarking on something we weren’t really ready for just yet. I was more interested in the process than anything else, and I liked looking at Sissy’s naked body, her buds were pinker and rounder than mine, her vagina more developed.

It all ended in an eruption of laughter and tumbling around the room. But something changed: I was no longer a child.

A week later we went home, back to our more suburban-with an air of trash- life, and I found myself on the edge of my bed listening to Darlin Nicky again. My body moved in time with the music, pubic bone pressed hard up against the bed. I found a rhythm and made it happen.

I wrote this short-hand letter to Prince and posted it on my Instagram the day he died (follow my private account @ monocuriosposes):

{Dear Prince Nelson,

fellow Gemini, (and rising sign of Scorpio, same as me,) how I admire your iconic and changeable style. You were a treasure in this world, the clues were there but nothing could ever describe you, you were always out of reach and on to the next.

In the summer of ’84 you released your Purple Rain album. God, it was a Godsend to my budding sexuality. You helped me tap into the sensual side of my natural being. Your sounds and lyrics pushed me to discover the places of all places between my legs.

You taught me things society thought I was too young to understand, but man, you moved me, you got under my skin, and inside my hormones my tiny breasts and up my spine.

Darlin Nicky became my muse, too. I just didn’t know it then, and oh, oh Purple Rain, “Only want to see you bathing in the purple rain.” I didn’t have a lover but I just knew and could feel (deeply) just how much I wanted to see her bathing in the purple rain.

You were a master, the king of all masterminds, it was if you knew me intimately, my inner secrets. You taught me it was ok to explore my sexuality, that sex was to be celebrated and felt in the heart. }

Now we’re approaching the summer of 2016, thirty-two years after the release of Purple Rain and I have my own hormonal in betweens and one soon to be teen.

I had a conversation with them (when they wanted to follow me on Instagram and I said, “No.”) about how each of us as individuals, including me, has our own inner-life, one that no one else knows about. I told them, “I’m more than just your mother. I have private thoughts. I think about other things that aren’t related to you, things you don’t need to know about. And conversely, you too have thoughts that aren’t mine to know.”

My kids are on the verge of crossing over from in-betweens, to becoming more sexual beings. I hope I’ve sheltered them from any premature situations, or ideas, but it is also my hope for them that they too will find solace and connection to their bodies and sexuality through art and poetry, and hopefully a great sex-education class.

We have an open door policy around here. We talk about sexuality in an age-appropriate way. My son is turning thirteen this summer. I must admit I’m a little worried, just about the unknown. He has always been my sweet boy, but I fear I’m about to lose him for a while, as it should be, and I’ll make my peace with it.

I told my kids, “Guy’s I’m a writer. I write about everything, including really inappropriate adult things that you don’t need to see, and trust me, you don’t want to see them either.”

He asked, “But Mom, when can you show me?” I said, “When you’re older, and you understand more. I will tell you what it’s about and then you can decide if you still want to read it. Ok?”

He shrugged his shoulders. I think he still just wants me to be his Momma. The way I wanted my mom to just be a mom, and not a sexual being.

As for me, a sexual being, the lyrics of Purple Rain can be torturous. I’m still waiting to see her laughing in the purple rain. The “her,” being I, the girl that grew up too fast.

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Much love, light and purple rain,
SJ

P.S. This is Part 2 of “https://monocurious.com/2013/02/20/diary-of-a-sketchy-mom/” a piece I wrote 3 years ago. Please re-read it if you’re interested in more background story.

Posted in addicition, Amphetamines, Creative Writing, crossing boundaries, Dating Lesbians, Doublewide Trailer, Erection | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cock Blocked

When I first sit down to write I take a few deep breaths and say a little prayer, asking for guidance and the courage to be honest, open and willing. I get quiet and feel out my gut. What is it saying? What is it asking of me? I do these things, they seem nice, and oh so spiritual, but really deep down I’m just praying for your attention.

Although my writing is for me, a way to fulfill my base-needs, it’s also for you–my readers–at least I want it to be, in part. My hope is to stir something within you, to touch you in place that only you know, to put words to something you feel but may not be able to express by showing you who I am, and by honoring myself.

Lately here I’ve been eating my words, literally, swallowing them. I haven’t trusted my motives. I am, by default, a superb manipulator. I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t be trying to weave a secret message through my work. I tried writing a few pieces but honestly, they were awful, contrived and too controlled. And there’s nothing interesting about (my) measured writing.

So I decided I’d rather be a mastermind than a complacent mind.

Even now I’m up to no good-usually when my mouth is moving –I’m on a mission– but I won’t know what this is really about until later.

For example, when I wrote, “Fuck, There’s No Proof,” I talked about not being able to accept the love that was given—if it wasn’t given how I preferred; and conversely, when someone did/could love me in the ways I wanted it turned me off, I wasn’t interested.

I didn’t understand what I meant, only that I seemed to fall hard and even harder for those who couldn’t love me the ways I wanted, and that I ended up feeling hurt and betrayed. And I admitted to not really wanting, or willing to give a chance to the ones who could show up and love me in those ways.

But I didn’t know why I was this way.

What a mind fuck.

That post was also about accepting that there was no proof that love would last, and in the end, the relationship in question—with someone I wanted more from–came to an end, again I lost someone who wasn’t able to give me what I wanted, and again, from someone I wanted it from so desperately.

It’s embarrassing. I’m such a fucking cliché’. I am the stupid, stupid girl, the sweetheart with the pretty panties, the lacey dress, stuck in a clutch with a dick up my ass.

The lover of the quintessential (bad boy/girl) I think I’m the chosen one, the one who can tame them with my charm and elegance.

Jesus fucking Christ, When will I ever learn?

(I’m not saying my ex’s are bad people, only that I knew—from the beginning–there was going to be some serious challenges along the way, and I ran straight towards it with a sparkle in my eye and a wetness between my legs, I was ready to play.)

Oh I thought for sure they wouldn’t be able to resist me. I mean come on, aren’t I special? (Yeah, gurl, you special alright.)

Shit. It feels so humbling, I’m on my knees, and humiliating, I’m naked fingering my fleshy cellulite, and shameful-you’ve caught me in my crudeness. And the anger around it, good god it has kept me in a place of constant extremes: Extreme pain, sadness, rebellion, confusion; and disillusionment, the ultimate porn-fuck.

I haven’t written much about my grief, or the break-up. I figured you all are sick of my shit by now, and because of the said manipulation. My motives have more intelligence than my best thinking, I can outsmart myself better than any fast-talker I’ve ever met. And I’m dead serious. I can lie to myself like no other. Damn I’m good.

I’ve been telling my close confidants, “I feel like I’m cock blocking myself, like I’m not letting myself do or say anything and it’s all coming out sideways.”

I’m fed up with all this containment. However, it did buy me some time to get to the bottom of a few (more) things about myself. It has been three months since my break-up, (Might I remind you, my third break-up in seven years—winner.) and I’m still grieving the Texan, and hanging on to an idea. My idea of how things were “supposed” to turn out between us.

It’s just sad. We were so close to making it, game changers. Things were happening but it went the other way. Something that could’ve brought us closer together tore us apart. The work we were both doing could’ve made things real for us, but I guess the break-up was what really happened. I hate it. It makes me so mad: the loss of her, our friendship, our future and the loss of my ideas about us.

I have felt a lot of resentment over how things went down between us. I did that thing I do, blaming the other person. I took a little credit by admitting that I had just picked the wrong person, yet again, but that wasn’t really owning my part. That was the cheap way out, without honor.

I kept telling my friends, “I don’t want to end up here again. I just can’t. I can’t find myself broken-hearted and bewildered, it’s too painful.” I knew I played a role but I couldn’t figure it out, so I did a lot of praying, and even more journaling.

I knew what I did: I allowed myself to (knowingly) fall in love with people who, on some level, weren’t able to show up for me in the ways I needed because of their own shit. In a sense, I was just as much of a player. It was like a game to me. The classic, cat and mouse, thrill of the chase. “Oh, let me see if I can get you to give me what I want.” This, is what turned me on, this is exactly what I signed up for in each scenario that left me feeling empty.

I was playing a game and when it didn’t turn out my way, when I didn’t win, I felt shocked.

Which begs the question, why was I surprised if it was only a game? I knew the hurdles, and flags. Why on Earth did I assume it was real—that they would eventually give me what I wanted? It was like saying, “Well, if I win then it was a game. But if I lose it doesn’t count and now I get to pout and be all hurt about it and take it to heart.

Bottom line, my part: I knew what I was getting myself into, but I lied to myself about it, thinking (with me) this person will be different. Oh it’s so classic, so ridiculous and oh so fucking pathetic of me.

And painful, so much pain and grief.

But wait, clarity.

Thank God for clarity, or else that shame would’ve taken me out, but I refuse to allow it.

I knew what I had done but I didn’t know why I kept repeating those patterns. What was drawing me towards people I had to chase? (And this doesn’t mean that they didn’t love me. I know the Texan loved/loves me, but because of her circumstances she wasn’t able to give more.)

I felt so helpless. I knew what I did, but didn’t know why. And I had the feeling that when I decided to date again that I would be pulled in by the same type of person. And yet I felt completely powerless over it: powerless over my own behavior.

Oh and I  cried and cried over it and then one day it came to me, I told a friend, “I don’t know how to stop being me. I don’t know who I am if I don’t start a relationship off by trying to manipulate the other person. I don’t know how to be that girl, a good girl. If I can’t do anything to stop this behavior it must be ingrained in me. He said, “Yeah, gotta have a healthy respect for childhood trauma.”

Yes, that was it. That was the answer. Once again it came as news to me that I am still trying to overcome the chaos of my childhood. And yes, it is bigger than me. I can’t go back and re-write that script.

I witnessed a lot of unhealthy relationship behavior in my formative years. My tiny body, brain and central nervous system were imprinted, hot wired for the cycle of need and lack, lack and need, and now as an adult this is what feels familiar, this is what love feels like-hot and cold, up and down, oh my god this feels so good until it feels so bad-it’s what I know, and what I learned about love.

The saddest part about this realization is that if I only know love through give and take-getting a little and then nothing, it follows that I don’t recognize love as it’s given, only when it’s taken away, meaning if someone shows up, fully ready to give without the pulling away-it means that I won’t be able to accept it as readily. It’s like I need the pain to believe it’s real, but really, I need the pain to be reminded of what I learned about love.

I give. I have no idea what to do about my fucked up shit. I will tell you this though: this is who I am 100%. I fully own this about myself. And you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok that I’m a little dysfunctional. And it’s ok if I find myself in this same situation again. I trust, over and over that I am constantly getting everything from this life that I need. What choice do I have other than to just accept it?

I told a friend, “I’m sick of fighting myself and I’m tired of apologizing for who I am all the time. I’m racy, provocative, manipulative and irreverent; and I am that girl, the girl I try so hard not to be, well, I’m her. And you know what else? I should be a lot more fucked up than I am given my past, but I’m actually kind of normal, kind of.”

He agreed, and I told another friend the same thing, and she told me, “For years I’ve been telling you this.” I just never believed her, but  I do now.

I know I am doing my very best with what I’m working with, my life will either improve because of this knowledge or it won’t, either way, I’m ok.

I want to say more but I fear my manipulation. In my soft places I hope to someday meet up with the Texan again as healthy individuals who can be real with each other. This is something she already knows.

Either way, I know I want to be better, which means I have to stop playing games, stop being dishonest if I want to attract someone-the Texan or another-who’s looking for the same. I can’t be crazy and expect to find normal.

I’m not sure how to do this other than to keep an open mind—by checking my deepest, darkest motives, by trying to be honest and to continue praying, journaling, writing, and, challenging my beliefs and by loving myself through my mistakes.

As always, thank you for reading and for being a witness to my life.

Much love and gratitude, XO

SJ

Posted in addicition, Alanon, Authentic Self, Awareness, Break-Up, Break-ups, Breaking Patterns, change, crossing boundaries, Dating Lesbians, Expectations, game playing, games, grief, Honesty, in love with a woman, Lesbian Break-up, Lesbian Breakup, Lesbian Friends, loss, love, Mending A Broken Heart, Mind/Body Connection, Open Fractured Heart, painful childhood memories, Self-love, Self-talk, selfworth, wounds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Ethical Hooker

Hey there, sweetheart. How are you feeling these days? No, how are you really feeling? Sit with the question without popping off some bullshit answer. I don’t care one bit about the surface you—you in costume. Please, I offer, go inside and let the answer come to you like an old friend, like something you can trust, and from someone who knows you well. That’s better. I can see you now.

So I’ll ask you another way: Is your life everything you’d hoped it would be or is there something else? Do you even know who you are anymore or what you really want?

I passed by a mirror the other day. I was startled by my reflection. Wow. What a beautiful woman I’ve become. I did a double take and then a triple. On the third I just stayed with myself. I went back to my reflection and studied, really observed with a detached eye-as removed from myself as possible—and spoke into the steel-blue eyes looking back at me.

“Baby, I know you didn’t expect your life to turn out like this: almost 42, four-significant, failed relationships, single, alone, and raising two kids-1/2 time, working two jobs and doing slightly better than just getting by. By hey, at least you still have your looks.”

I had to laugh at myself. Talk about feeling pathetic.

(On April Fool’s Day Someone broke into my fit-bit account and changed my profile picture to a cartoon of a woman with a gleam of a smile and a caption above that read: Gold Digger, Like a Hooker but Smarter. I was shocked but now looking back I take it as a compliment. Everyone knows that the primary qualifier of a Gold Digger is that he or she has to be good-looking. There has to be a currency to barter for the trade off–the unspoken agreement, the silent-mutual contract. So yeah, I’ll take ownership of the label, but damn, I’m not doing a good job at cashing in on all this attractiveness.)

But seriously, when I held my own captive audience in the mirror, and laughed at myself, I honestly thought it absurd that a woman with my smarts, charm and sensuous appearance hasn’t, (yet) been able to keep a relationship together. I take that back. I was in a marriage once that could’ve and would’ve lasted as long as I pleased, but I wasn’t in it for the right reasons. Perhaps one could say I was an unconscious, ethical opportunist with a low self-esteem, when I married. Sure. I’ll own that one, straight out. But I didn’t go into it thinking I need to marry someone for money, I went into it BELIEVING I needed someone to take care of me, that I couldn’t take care of myself. What a scam I pulled on myself, that’s the sad part.

However, it was also a very logical decision to have children with someone who can afford the costs of raising them, who’s a stand-up guy-though he can be his own version of an asshole— different from my assholery—mine is probably worse, and with someone who wanted to be a father and play a big role in raising his children. I think I chose well.

I talked to friend today who told me that he once heard the rapper, turned actor, Ice-T say in an interview something along the lines of, “Everyone falls into one category: you’re either a pimp or a ho.”

I see myself as both.

My friend had suggested that I do some journaling and right-brain/left-brain exercises. I took his suggestion and shared my findings.

I told him, “ My right-brain suggested to my left-brain that I become a hooker.”

We laughed.

He recommended the thinking game because I’m finding myself again at this cyclical place in my life, one where I’m not making enough money to be fully self-supporting, which always leaves me asking myself what I should do next. The answer is always, “Go back to school.” I mean what if I went back to school and got my degree in creative writing, “Mom, look at me now, no hands!” Imagine how good I would be at this craft? But here’s the problem, the same problem, the money. How can I afford to go back to school and finish my degree?

I can’t afford to pay out of pocket and I can’t get any more loans or student aid/grants until I complete a certain amount of hours. It’s a catch twenty-two for this forty-niner.

The brain exercise was to see what I wanted to do and how I could go about doing it. My left way of thinking recommended using my looks as a way to make money. Things may have gotten carried away, however, it should help me, again, as part of the agreement or barter.

One of my other friends told me (during our conversation about the possibility of creating an on-line dating profile) that I have nice curb appeal. Looking good on the outside—my shell–like having an attractive profile-pic instantly draws a crowd.

But ugh and sigh.

And fuck and shit.

I don’t want to do the same thing I’ve always done. That will just get me the same result I’ve always gotten: people who like me—at first glance–based on my charm and manipulation, and jobs that aren’t challenging enough for all this (pan to hands circling my head). It takes a lot to keep me interested and motivated.

So when I ask myself, Beloved, how are you feeling? I answer,

I want more for myself.

I want to change.

My looks (I know I sound like an arrogant asshole, but ya’ll know I don’t think I’m THAT hot, but it’s just an undeniable truth that I am attractive. That doesn’t mean I’m the best, or most beautiful but that I’m not hard to look at either.)

As I was saying, my looks will be with me for years to come, and according to my daughter who told my son when he said, “Mom, a tattoo won’t look good on you when you’re old.” To which she replied, “Brother, our mom will ALWAYS look good.”

But I want to be more than just my surface layer. It’s too easy. I’ve got to give up my bloodsucking ways and possibly suck it up to get what I really want: an education.

I may have to drop this false-ego-pride and cover up my bounty with a god-awful uniform and go work somewhere that provides tuition assistance. The body may be a terrible thing to waste, but not when the mind is craving its debut.

Oh just fuck me now. The thought of pimping myself out to—wearing a uniform or something similar–just to get an education is killing me softly. But a girl has to do what a girl has to do, even if that means giving up my relationship with ho’in—vanity.

I’m putting to rest, my reliance on my costume, it will only take me so far. And this is what humility looks like: giving up the idea of what’s important for something of real value-my inner life.

The same holds true for personal life as well. I have to give up my cover. I can’t expect for someone to show up for me and bring out my best if I can’t do that for myself first. And all my game playing—as fun as it may be—is not my best.

And I want my best. I want to see myself, all of me. And I want the same for you.

So whether you’re a pimp-daddy or a hookin-momma, or both, just keep it real.

Sending out all the love to your mommer and them, thanks for reading.

Big love over here,

SJ

Posted in Airing Grievances, and Hookers, Cos Play, Creative Writing, Education, Ethical Hooker, forty-niner, Gold Digger, Left brain, Pimps, Right brain, The Ethical Slut, The Happy Hooker, Vanity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Polyamory

So I have a major crush. Hold up. No. It’s more than a crush. I am in love with a couple. Actually, I am in love with many couples. I have this thing for couples that have been together for a long time. I find them confounding. I come from a place of bewilderment when I ask,
“How do you do it? How do you make it work?”

I get a lot of different responses when I ask this question. One woman—a stay at home mom of three–of a couple I know, admire and love said, jokingly,“My husband is my bank. He’s my emotional and financial bank. I never learned how to say I’m sorry until I was forty, and even then I wasn’t sorry, I just learned to say it. But he just accepted me. He always has, and in return, I don’t tell him what to do, well, I try not to, and if I do he doesn’t let me. We learned how to compromise. It isn’t about me getting my way. It’s about being in the relationship, and what’s best for the relationship.

They’ve been together for thirty years, married for twenty-one. They met when they were teenagers. They are so fucking adorable. They’re still affectionate, he grabs her ass like it’s the juiciest ass he’s ever seen, and talks about how he would much rather hang out with her than anyone else. I love being around them, their familiar banter, their mutual play and their over-all good will towards one another. I stare at them longingly, wanting what they have, wanting someone to show up for me they way they show up for each other.

But funny thing is, they show up for me, too. They both care about me in their own way. The woman I’m referring to above has been one of the most loyal people in my life. She has stuck by me like a tireless dog, (even when she fundamentally doesn’t agree with some of my decisions). She refers to herself as dog-like in her loyalty towards people she loves. She has also been one of the most honest people in my life, painfully honest at times, but I love her like family for it.

There has been many other couples as well. One woman shared that for her, the secret is “To continually ask for what you want and need.” She said, “I just keep asking for what I need, sometimes I have to ask for years. I asked my partner to adore me, to tell me that I’m beautiful and wanted. I needed to hear this.” I think it requires self-honesty to really know what you need, and even more courage to ask for it. She said, “I don’t think I would stay if I wasn’t ever getting what I wanted or needed, but I would keep asking for a really long time before I would decide to leave.”

I’ve seen this couple support each other in a symbiotic way, like best friends. And from what I’ve seen and felt from them, there’s a tremendous amount of mutual respect in this relationship. I’ve witnessed this couple’s humble, and dignified love for each other. They’ve been together for over twenty years. I want what they have.

But in a sense I do. They’ve been respectful of me, and those I love. They’re just those types of people, and even in their distance from me, (our circumstances have changed the nature of our relationship) they’re still kind, loving and respectful of me in quiets ways.

There have been others, too, and some have stayed together for other reasons, like history and family ties. All these things are valid. I have witnessed this couples go through addiction and betrayal, and make it to the other side. This takes an almost brut-force type of conviction to make it work and a whole lot of love. One couple had to get real honest with each other. The type of honesty that could’ve ended things is the same honesty that held it together. This couple has fought for each other. I want someone to fight for me like this.

And again, I do have this. An individual in one of the scenarios above has fought for me when I couldn’t fight for myself, and has been as protective of me as any mother to her young. I have that in my life.

Another couple of twenty plus years said something a little lighter, “We stay together because at the end of the day we can still go out together and just enjoy each other’s company despite all the shit going on around us. We can put it all aside.”

I have that with this friend, too. We can go months without talking and cut straight through the bullshit to get to our connection.

And then there are the platonic couples that have figured out how to have partnerships and co-living situations that are familial in nature, meaning they get their basic human-tribe mentality needs met by co-habituating in mindful ways with contracts and defining roles. For example, one role is that of the patriarch. There’s a lot of structure in this type of environment and endless amounts of support.

I benefit from these roles, too. I feel sheltered and looked after by this personality. I’m also put on a pedestal, and laughed at a lot, but mostly I’m just heard and supported.

I love all these couples, I really do. I say, “I do” to them. I could climb in their beds and just snuggle it out with them. I guess the real meaning behind this is that I think by being around them it will somehow rub off on me, that I’ll eventually learn what it takes to make it work. Or maybe I don’t need a romantic relationship because all these other people give me everything I need. OK, so that’s a lie. I’m not fucking any of those people, nor do I want to, but I promise you, it does take a village to love me.
I need all the warriors I can get.

I could wax all night about the many heartthrob couples I’m cruising.
But there’s one couple in particular that I’m writing about tonight. This is actually for them, my gift to them. I don’t have much to offer other than my sentiments.

I am truly in love with them in the most radically intimate ways that I can be on any platonic level. This couple, and my relationship with them, like most of my friendships, has outlasted my marriage and two other serious relationships. These two have held, seen, heard, supported, shown up for and loved me in the kindest of ways. They have also been honest with me in ways no else could, and they have fought for my friendship. They are trustworthy advocates and are committed to my wellbeing. I have with them, a platonic-Polyamory, a big love, a love with more than one person.

I just want to squeeze them. I want to hold them, hold their eyes, hold their hearts and tell them how much they mean to me, but that would be weird, and I probably couldn’t go through with it—any real platonic-physical action—because of my own limitations but damn I’ll try. I want to press my love into them and so for now, this is how I’m doing it.
I’m piercing them with my words.

You know what I love most about them? What I love most about them is their relationship. Fuck, talk about honest. I have been privy to some down right hard-core serious honesty between these two. And I’m not just talking about truth telling between the two, I’m referring to the levels of self-reflection, and self-honesty they work towards on a consistent basis, and then, like Zen-masters, they share these vulnerabilities with each other. They trust their secrets and weakness with each other. And through that process it makes them whole. They use what they learn about each other to bring out the best in one another. Did you get that? They don’t use the kryptonite to hurt each other. They use it to heal. And this is what makes their love affair so lovable. They are my heroes.

I want a romantic relationship like the one they share. I want to be with someone who goes against their own fears to bring out my best. And I want to do that for someone.

I have this depth of honesty in my relationship with them. I go against my own fears and try to bring out their best, and they do the same for me. I know what this feels like. It takes a lot of trust and strength. And when I don’t do that in my relationship with this couple I suffer. I feel more whole, more loving, safe, secure and trusting when I consciously go against my own shit to be a better friend, and they taught me how to do this. They believed in me enough to stick by my side before I could do this, and I think it didn’t hurt that they find me so entertaining.

So I guess I know how it works after all. I just went through the list. It takes complete honesty, trust, support, love, mutual respect, friendship, compromise and dedication. (For the record, no one ever, said, “Don’t go to bed angry!” That’s just horseshit.) I know how to do these things. Fuck, I’m doing them just with other couples and friends. I’ve managed to keep friendships together for ten, twenty, thirty and even forty years, so it’s in me. I just haven’t found the right one to be in a committed, romantic partnership with, yet.

But thank the Baby Buddha in the manger that I have all these fulfilling relationships, and those that have gone before me to teach me how it’s done. I am so blessed to be a witness to their lives, to love and learn from them. It is the people around me that have taught me the most.

I can’t think of a greater way to honor my friends than to write about them, and for the honorable mention, I’m posting the link to a blog-post my friend wrote about her husband and their marriage. It brought me to my knees, it is such a stunning piece, enjoy:

Love is…

Oh my goodness, I’m gushing.

Thank you all so much for your continued support. It is such an honor.

With much love and humility,

SJ

Posted in Big Love, marriage, patriarch, platonic love, poly, polyamory, radical love, relationships, role playing, romantic love, serenity, three some, tough love, tri-ad | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Part Two, Primal Love

I hesitate. Shit. I don’t want to do this tonight. Writing takes a lot out of me, as much as it feeds me, it also requires a lot of courage. My center aches, it’s angry and powerful. I am brave; and I am stronger than I ever wanted to be but this has become my life, a collection of strengths.

I am to the point where I scream at God, “Bring it on you Mother Fucker! How humble do you want me? (I can call my God a MoFo because my God can take my shit.)

It’s a game at this point: Life crushes me and I stagger to my feet. Love leaves me and I find another part of myself. Life betrays me and I learn how to trust. Each blow builds more character, more wisdom and a deeper commitment to my own wellbeing. I am learning to harness all the fuckery into something worthy of calling my own.

I can finally say–from the places where I hide—that I love myself.

I am proud of the person I’ve become. And for the first time ever people have to earn what I have to give and offer in all ways.

I didn’t get here alone. There are people around me who love me, and I used their love for me as a measure in which to love myself. And I’m not referring to romantic love, or familial love; I’m talking the pure, innocent love of friendship. Some of the brightest, kindest and most generous people love me. They supported, held and encouraged me, and they cheered me on when I couldn’t love myself. Accepting their love was also a way in which I learned to love myself. It’s much easier for me to push people away, but softening and allowing myself to be seen and vulnerable took a lot of courage. I had always been afraid that if others really saw me that they would see what I thought was the truth: that I am unlovable.

But I learned that this was just an old message I told myself as a kid to make sense of why I wasn’t getting the love I needed.

In my last post, “Primal Love,” I talked about how I was learning how to show up for myself when other people couldn’t give me the love I wanted and that by honoring my feelings around it was my way of not taking it personally.

I also mentioned my relationship with the Texan as a great way for me to practice detaching from other people’s decisions.

So here’s what I’ve been avoiding writing about: The Texan decided she couldn’t be in a relationship with me anymore.

In previous posts I’ve written about how when she and I first got together we had decided to become better people together, about growing up with each other, and healing. We were both injured and bruised but we thought we could make it.

We didn’t make it.

Her healing became more introspective than we had anticipated. She had nothing left to give and that wasn’t enough for me.

The hardest part for me was watching the life I thought we were building together come apart. It didn’t happen at once, but in small occurrences. The future I envisioned started to collapse. I couldn’t be the only one holding us in place.

And it took all my energy not to take it personally. I was fighting for my life, my sense of self-worth and lovability. The months leading up to our break-up were so confusing for me. She would say things like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You’re the perfect girlfriend. You’re everything I could ever ask for. I’m sorry I’m such an asshole.” And then she would pull away from me for days on end. It drove me insane, insane I tell you.

But that has stuck with me as reminder that her leaving wasn’t about me. She had to do what she needed to do to take care of herself, and that has no bearing on my lovability and worthiness as a person.

At one point she told me she was unsure of our future and then the next day talked about where we were going to live together. It was maddening. I stopped trying to understand the whys. I stopped trying to figure out what she meant and didn’t mean. It was just too painful.

I stopped trusting her love.

I started questioning if it was ever real. And that wasn’t helpful.

I didn’t want it to end. But I was hurting. I didn’t feel loved or appreciated. She was so self-focused (because of her own inner-work) that I didn’t feel seen or heard. The communication between us crumpled. She stopped talking to me about what was going on with her.
I wanted to be there for her but she didn’t/couldn’t let me. The more I pulled, the more she pushed. I felt bereft; like someone had taken something from me, and I felt rejected, abandoned and grief stricken.

But I persevered and kept trying and asking for what I needed from her but she said, “I don’t have it. I’m empty. I don’t have it to give.” And then finally I asked her, “Do you even want this relationship?” And then she admitted, “I don’t want a relationship with anyone.” I kept trying to figure out if she just didn’t have it or if she didn’t want to give it to me. It felt like she was being willful but it wasn’t clear. In the end it didn’t matter, and still doesn’t. It just gives my brain something unhealthy to chew on and that isn’t good for my soul. The important thing is that neither scenario worked for either of us and that we both did our best.

I don’t want to fight to make anyone stay with me. I don’t want to manipulate, control, cajole, or chase love and that scenario encouraged me to do those things. That felt awful to me.

I’m not that person.

I love myself too much.

The lesson I learned was invaluable. This whole situation gave me the opportunity to work on my sense of self-worth. I was able to really practice not taking her rejection personally. It was just too painful for me to–even for a second–consider the idea that I somehow was to blame for her lack of attention. Each time I felt myself suffering it was because I was in one way or another assuming the worst. I forced myself to take her word for it because anything else hurt too much. I had a choice. I could choose to believe my old childhood story that says I’m not lovable, or I could decide to call bullshit and re-wire my thinking. But it took a high-stakes situation like this one for me to be in enough pain to want to make a change.

And so for that I’m grateful. Even though I’m angry that I lost love again, I’m still grateful for her and for the love we shared, for the relationship we had; and the chance to be cracked open again to heal myself from the inside out, the new injury provided access to the old.

This is the only way for me to live—in search of the miracle. Life is too cruel otherwise.

Yes, my heart may be broken again, but a broken heart is an open heart and this only adds to my list of assets. I don’t know what to say anymore other than fuck it.

I am embracing my brokenness, for it’s my true source of strength. I am only as strong as I am humbled and weak. This is my nature. I’m a woman of heart, character and resilience, a collection of experience.

God has her hands full.

Thank you for reading and for being a witness to my life.

With much love and humility,

SJ

Posted in Authentic Self, Break-Up, Break-ups, Breaking Patterns, change, Confidence, Dating Lesbians, Deconstruction, denial, Divorce, grief, in love with a woman, Jewish affairs, Lesbian, Lesbian Break-up, Lesbian Breakup, Lesbian Friends, Lesbian Partnership, loss, love, Magic, painful childhood memories, Self-love, selfworth, Unconditional love | Tagged , , | 1 Comment