Coming Home: Day 30 — my body is more than a crime scene

I’m not hiding my love anymore…


(2008)


where her body ought to be 
She wants to put her body where her words are, fully into the flavor of sex, stunned with the liquid of meaning and possibility, and the most hostile vulnerability.
This is the skin I settle into, the girl behind the screen, the safely ensconced in pixels or pencils / and yes, writing is an embodying affair / it sloshes your stones with hopes / it asks your nerves to show up for the aching / but I can forget how to breathe today / and I would almost always rather write than fuck / because behind the skin of my page, I can just be that free woman / the one with no safety torn and scabbed beneath her nails / the one whose triggers are taxidermied and mounted on the wall for all to see / they are quiet behind glass when I am writing and cannot startle or snare anybody — not there. When I am writing, my triggers become works of art / almost admirable / almost:
See, that one looks like her sister’s face cluttered over with fallen feathers, the plucked body of a girlchild / and / that one is a diorama of her high school, cardboard cutouts of her graduating class cluttering the forefront, the teenagers’ faces all stained a kind of rakish purple that meant they had eaten the fruit of tomorrow and lived / (Her face is stained only an off-shore eggshell white with what she had to swallow, and there is no tomorrow for her in that picture) / in this one, the boys are all backhanded, they each have a piece of her virginity poking out of their ragged back pockets, though the full flesh of it lives at her house, in her parents’ room / (there’s its carapace, over in the far corner) / there are diagrams — this one here, and that one — of the ceilings she shut her eyes to, and then studied and tried to find shapes within
All these pieces so containable when I write / when I write sex / I can shut the door to this exhibition / leave it for the curator and night staff to tend to its reedy exhalations and stains of saliva / when I’m writing sex, I don’t feel them on my body / I put words where my / body / ought to be able to be

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Today I’m strong in that place of shame, which is shaped around an exhilaration so big that my body doesn’t at all know how to hold it. Do we really get to be in love with our bodies? Do we really get to bring joy to all those places that were — and here I freeze. Were what? Were shat upon and sliced, were called beautiful and desirable by the people who were meant to protect us (I learned to hate being called beautiful), the places in us that were feasted upon?

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In Sex for One: The Art of Self-Loving (that manifesto to the power of masturbation!) Betty Dodson writes:

Masturbation is a primary form of sexual expression. It’s not just for kids or for those in-between lovers or for old people who end up alone. Masturbation is the ongoing love affair that each of us has with ourselves throughout our lifetime. 

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The ongoing love affair we have with ourselves throughout our lifetime.

There’s a lot I didn’t accomplish this month with this blog-project: I wanted to totally alter my relationship to orgasm, free it up (in 31 days!) so I could come exactly how I want, whenever I want. Ok, so maybe that process is still ongoing. Maybe the effects of a month of orgasms is still unfurling in me. Stay tuned — Coming Home isn’t going away after May 31.

This is what I realized the other day, however: that through the course of this month, I have stopped thinking of my body as a crime scene, as aftermath, as a place that ought to have police tape around it. My body is more than the trauma that my stepfather inflicted. My body and psyche are not simply duct-taped battle wounds.

There are scars in here, but more than that — there’s delight. There’s forty years of curiosity and exploration. There’s this lifetime of reaching out, wanting my skin on the grass, against trees, putting everything in my mouth just to see what it feels like there. There’re hugs and tastes and orgasm and sleep and waking and walking in rain and pushing muscles against stone and loving animals and planting seeds and slicing garlic and reading everything my eyes came across and writing late into the night, early into the sunlight, there’s candlelight and bubblegum and learning and riding my bike down the tall hills and the smell of jasmine and rosemary and ocean spray and Polaroid cameras and tears and movies and rage in my muscles like ice water and so much laughter that my face will forever be marked with it.

What I’m telling you is, my body-love is larger than my trauma.

Do I have to find the words to express both my joy about this, and the deep reaction from the old voices, the ones that want to keep me/us in the place of simply scrambling to survive?

Thus the walking around in shame and celebration. I’m doing a lot of deep breathing, and listening to the numbness and terror, listening to the old songs, telling those overly-protective parts of myself that they have done an excellent job for these twenty years, and that I am finding them a pasture to live out the rest of their days.

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So yes, today I will continue this love affair with myself. Here’s something else Dr. Betty writes: “We need to see sex as an advanced form of moving meditation that grounds in our bodies by getting us out of our self-conscious mind that is constantly chattering away. Practice is always beneficial.” 

Yes. Practice. Let’s get a conversation with Dr. Betty here onto the Coming Home site, shall we? A woman who’s spent the better part of her life advocating for the power and necessity of masturbation (for all of us) will have something to say about healing from trauma and reclaiming our big body-joy.

Be as sweet to you as you can be today. Come exactly as you are. See you again tomorrow.

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