Coming Home: Day 11 – smelling my fingers

(bursty this morning)

Oh hi. Good morning. Here’s me wobbly and shaky still in an Atlanta cafe for a quick blog post before I move into the work of the day, the play with my tremendous friends, the wedding planning and last-minuteness. Here’s a thing I love about being in the south (if I can just make an uninformed generalization): folks here say hello on the street, acknowledge one another’s existence — even the joggers make eye contact and nod.

I suppose it could help to be a just-come giggler, wide open eyes, grinning at everyone.

You know how, sometimes, after you have sex with a girl, you walk around all day smelling your fingers, remembering? That’s me this morning — only the girl I had sex with was just me.

Here’s what happened last night: I nestled under the covers, tucked into a nest of pillows surrounding me, I turned over on my belly, lifted my hips, notched my fingers under myself and breathed into exactly the fantasy I wanted, felt the rise begin. I breathed harder, moaned a little, turned my head to the other side — and fell asleep. Woke up about eight hours later.

Oh.

Perfect.

Sometimes radical self care looks like not forcing it (haven’t I said that before? Don’t I have to remind myself over and over into this practice?), looks like long dreams, looks like the best way to gentle myself into a long rest.

(The music at this cafe is all 90s all the time and so now I have Annie Lennox flying into me, into my fingers, her birds singing the sweetest melody and me stroking the tired cheeks of the nineteen-year-old me there so many years ago in a cafe of her own, in a window seat, pen in hand, wanting the wings to fly away from exactly where she was, with no idea of where she would get to. No way to even begin to imagine this embodiment — it would have blown her open with terror and urgency. Mary J Blige is telling me about searching for a real love, and I’m dancing hard with all the years and into this real love that’s entered into the hands of my body…)

So, this morning, I sprawled out on the little hotel bed, slid my fingers back onto into over myself, did not pack the lube so I was back and forth between my lips and clit and mouth. I caught into new fantasies and old ones, I let them dovetail, I let myself use whatever caught as it caught. I remembered the slower build under my fingers. This was the first time I’ve come under my fingers since Hedgebrook (I think — maybe even earlier than that), and I kept pausing to smell, taste — just after I bleed my body is sweet, and I wanted to indulge.

(Here I’m about to move into some difficult remembering — if you want to stay with the sweetness, just reread the previous paragraph a few times, and then go do something else with your morning. It’s ok; perfect, actually.)

Here’s the truth: for years I hated the smell of my own cunt — because it evoked for me, exactly and only, my stepfather’s face. When I smelled me, I smelled him, and so the very smell of my own fucking body was a trigger to me. Do you know what that’s like? Do you know how fucked up that is? (I know some of you do, and sorry could not live harder in my mouth right now.)

I wanted to rid myself of the smell of my cunt so that I could rid myself of him. I didn’t want to see my lover’s faces after they went down on me, and it could be hard to let them kiss me when they rose back up off my body. Over the years, it got easier for me to smell and taste myself, and I got to the place where it was just once a month, one precise moment when the chemistry of my body was precisely whatever it was the day that trauma fused and twinned his face against the aroma of me, when that trigger first got traced hard like thorns through my neurons — once a month, I couldn’t stand how I smelled, and revulsion would pull me inside out. Just a couple of days a month. All things considered, that wasn’t so bad.

This year, since the beginning of the year, I have loved my very aromas every single day. Every single day. When I became aware of this, all I could do was laugh in surprise. What happened? When I was in the shower, the water hot on me, of course, the whole room would infuse with the incense of me — and at no point, on none of the days, was I seeing his face smeared with the damp horror of what he’d just been doing between my legs. Something had got uncoupled. Something had let loose. Something had come free, and I could delight, every morning, in the different way I smelled and tasted.

I can’t tell you what happens, except for time and practice and fucking tenacity, maybe. I can tell you is that I’m grateful. This morning I forgot to say thank you, good morning, until the very end, until the after, until I flipped over onto my belly, panting, having sung my morning song into the quiet hotel air. And I haven’t washed my hands enough yet to strip off the smell of me. Yes, this self-staining is an indulgence. And I’ll take it as the earned balm and a layer of self-absolution.

Be easy with you today. Come as it’s best for you, whatever that looks like, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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