Coming Home: Day 31 — getting curious about radical self love

Today’s the last day of National Masturbation Month — how have these thirty-one days of radical self love treated you? Have you come every day, or loved on yourself most days, or thought more frequently about how your body likes to be tended to? How have you marked National Masturbation Month — and what are you carrying forward with you? What will you leave here in May?

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For me, self-acceptance is the notion that I am not fundamentally wrong because of my history or physical body. It’s the realization that I am fundamentally right because I am neither my history nor my body. It’s the choice to recognize my humanity just as I recognize and respect the humanity of others. And, sadly, in our culture and in our time, accepting ourselves is really radical. It’s not common. It’s not expected. And, yet, it can be the greatest difference maker in moving forward gracefully in doing the work we are meant to be doing in this world.

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Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You

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I’m thinking about radical self care, radical self love, and radical self acceptance — these are all intertwined, don’t you think?

I’m both excited and disappointed that it’s May 31; I have been consumed by this daily project, which perhaps has not been the best for my own personal orgasm. It’s easy for me to get obsessive, especially about how I’m doing sexually (and by doing, I mean recovering/healing): Are we all better yet? Are we fixed? Can we stop worrying now?

I learned well how to focus overmuch attention on the how of my sex, whether I was doing it right, whether or not (mostly not) I was coming, and why, and what I should be doing about it. I had to spend a lot of my adolescence in those sorts of conversations, whether overtly or covertly. This particular layer of my obsession with sex was fed to me, and I learned to breathe it in order to survive.

Obsession isn’t the same as curiosity. What I’ve found this month is that I am happier and so much more functional when I can be curious about my sex, my desire, my orgasm rather than obsessed about these.

Curiosity, I think, is a feature of radical self love/care/acceptance. What happens when I get curious about this aspect of myself, meet it with love and interest, rather than with knives and hammers and microscopes, ready to study it away, ready to slam it into a new shape?

Here’s an interesting definition I found just now:

obsess – haunt like a ghost; pursue;

Haunt like a ghost. Right. Exactly. When I am obsessed, particularly around my healing or my sexuality, I get into a rigid, numb place. It’s hard to breathe easily. I want to be fixed now. I take on the characteristics of my old, scared self — that girl who had to actively interrogate her body just in order to get through the night. I don’t have to inhabit that ghost anymore. I can choose to meet this body with different lenses, different stories, different possibility.

I feel like this month of orgasms has invited me into a new relationship with my body, has invited me to consider my blocks and struggles, the places where I’m selfish and the places where I’m generous, where I’m still terrified and overwhelmed, where I’m still armored, where I ride shame, how much I need laughter with my sex, how I release and where I hold tight — and has invited me to consider every breath a practice. Even coming, particularly for trauma survivors, can be a place of meditation and centering.

This month I got to tell people, over and over, about this project, that I was writing about masturbation and healing, trauma aftermath and radical self care, and got to push more deeply into the shame I hold about the very work that I feel has chosen me, and that I choose every day. For ten years, I have waited for people to tell me that I should be ashamed of myself for doing this work, for talking about powerful sexual desire and sexual trauma in the same breath, in the same workshops, in the same piece of writing (as though their disapproval would mean I had to stop!). But when I talk to people about the work, I am consistently met with encouragement, enthusiasm, curiosity, new ideas and subjects to consider, even tears: we all of us need more spaces to talk about the complexity of our desire and our relationships with our bodies, not fewer. And so, as I move into the end of this first part of the Coming Home project, I am so deeply grateful to get to engage in these conversations, to think critically about the ways we talk about healing in our different communities, to get to revitalize my own relationship with orgasm while doing the other thing I love most in the world: writing.

So thank you for being with me during this month. I look forward to more challenge, questions, laughter and wonder to come.

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Coming Home doesn’t stop on this 31 May 2012. I’ll be here again tomorrow, June 1, and we’re going to be moving within the next week to our own domain, and will continue this curiosity-centered engagement with healing from trauma through (and sometimes against) radical self love and exactly the sorts of orgasms we want. Stay tuned, ok?

Be curious and adoring of your body today — just exactly as much as you can be. Come again tomorrow. See you then.