It seems like the last few years we’ve been hearing the term self love everywhere. It’s become an effective, yet confusing, marketing tool. While this messaging at first seemed like a positive step, it’s clearly more about selling the product than celebrating women, better known as the consumers. Love yourself by using this deodorant… Love yourself by buying this $50 wrinkle cream. Hurry, you’re almost 30!.. Love yourself by fulfilling your chocolate craving with this fiber bar that tastes like kitty litter… they’ve convinced us that self love is about “indulging” in a piece of sugar-free candy. That’s certainly not a bad idea, but we’re selling ourselves way short. There’s something we can tap into that’s much more powerful and long-lasting, and it’s as natural as a 3:00 pm yearning for something sweet.
Self love actually means putting yourself and your needs first. Sometimes this feels like we’re disappointing others or being selfish, but it’s kind of like how on the airplane you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs. Women have a hard time with this since patriarchal systems have convinced us that our sole purpose and the measure of our worth is based on taking care of others. But this is why taking care of and loving ourselves is such a crucial step towards liberation.
It may sound like a tall order, smashing patriarchy and all, but one way to generate self love is by doing just that: masturbating. Self-cultivation, as Oprah calls it, truly enables us to take control. By fulfilling our needs, we are owning our power. Exploring our bodies and what brings us pleasure enables to get connected with our true selves on a deep level. Think of it almost like physical meditation, because the benefits are similar—increased clarity, fulfillment and joy, to name a few. By experiencing self-created pleasure, we find we don’t need to depend on someone else. Once this is realized, an overwhelming sense of freedom sweeps in.
In addition to the mental and emotional benefits, many studies show the overall health advantages of masturbating. If happiness and higher self esteem aren’t enough to convince you, loving on yourself also prevents UTI’s and lowers blood pressure. There are all different techniques and tools to play with, as noted by Adam and Eve, and they include standard vibrators, clitoris-stimulating devices, G-Spot massagers, and several others. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. Start out with some gentle vaginal massaging and work up to more intense stimulation. This is about doing what feels good for you. What’s most important is letting go of preconceived notions and enjoying yourself.
Self love isn’t just for when you’re solo. Having healthy sexual relationships with ourselves leads to improved relations with our partners. It’s no surprise that Psychology Today states that masturbating is the number one key to sexual happiness. When we’re comfortable with our bodies and aware of what we like, we’re able to communicate that to our partners. This is a win-win situation. It relieves stress for our partners since they won’t be playing the guessing game. They can enjoy themselves knowing they’re pleasing us, and we can enjoy being pleased.
It’s true what they say: “You can never love anyone until you learn to love yourself.” So re-think all that time, money, and energy you put into pleasing other people. Maybe next time you’re getting ready for a date, avoid the crippling emotional distress of applying false eyelashes and instead connect to the divine within yourself.
That time I simultaneously felt jealousy and a sweet tingling in my pussy…WTF?
How could this be? How could I be turned on by a thought that scares me?
I used to punish myself and turn myself on with thoughts of my lover having sex with someone else. This is the first time I realized jealousy could be a tool. The fantasy would be him taking her in the bedroom while I sat outside of the room and cried. But yet, I was able to have some pretty good orgasms with this line of thought.
The man I’m seeing has a ton of female “friends.” Talldrankawater that he is I assume that every woman in his life who poses as a mere friend wants to sleep with him. Just like I assume that the men in my life want to sleep with me, talldrankawater that I am. Slight to severe jealousy is present into that current situation. I got rid of it for a while by wishing it away. But it came back.
I do a lot of projecting. Like all those times I assumed that all of my various boyfriends would love my best friend, and fall in love with her if they met her. I made sure they knew all of her great qualities and would have us all hang out. Of course, until I met the new guy through her. Then when I looked at the situation I realized that he had never given me any indication that he liked as anything more than a friend. No, really it was me who was harboring those feelings and couldn’t own them enough to own them. (I realize I repeated myself but that’s the best way I can explain it.)
Every woman I think is beautiful I immediately transfer those feelings to the man I’m seeing at the moment. Now, logic would tell you, since none of the men I have seen have really been like any of my friend’s boyfriends, and her are equally beautiful and intelligent yet not really alike. So why would I automatically assume that they would like her so much? Is it because I couldn’t really believe that they would truly appreciate me? Do they have to choose? Do I appreciate myself?
Learning to. Loving the journey.
None of them really seemed that interested in how they might feel about her, but they were very interested in how I felt. And I’m sure some even wondered why the hell I was doing this? Why was I so insistent on him meeting my friends? I still don’t know the answer to this question…I remember I hooked my first love up with his ex. You know, middle school shit. After I decided we were “better off as friends” (our relationship blossomed after we decided to break up) I really wanted to see him happy, with her. I loved her. Her name was Ashley, and she was just as crazy as me. Jealousy wasn’t as much of an issue because I loved her, and also because I never stopped my relationship with my ex.
It’s fascinating to get in touch with all of the sick and twisted contents in your own mind. Yeah, it’s really fascinating to know all the ways the mind will trick itself; soothe itself, and lie. Thinking about jealousy and all of its implications helps me really look at how I look at the world. Limiting beliefs, please exit stage right.
We are looking for the key to the house that we’re already in. It means that all that we need we are already inside of, and is inside of us. We have the answers. Start asking questions. Or, just get quiet. When I quieted my mind, I found four men in there. An old white man who looked like Santa Claus, a middle aged Indian man who had lived in this house before me, or was considering buying it, a transgender black man/woman, and a 30 something white man who is kind of pessimistic and still lives with his mother. They gave me truths. Looking like an image straight out of the En Vogue video “Free Your Mind,” clad in 6-inch stilettos and all black faux leather, and a feather head piece that reached down the the floor, DIVA, the transgender black man left me with this:
“Oooh honey! It’s good to get out of that box you call your mind.” -DIVA
It’s all the same. Drake’s song “305 To My City” and Roberta Flack’s 1969 classic “Trade Winds.” These two songs are talking about the same tragic dynamics of America.
What inspired this post was, yesterday, a man who I’d been seeing told me that he had taken his 21-year-old cousin to a strip club.
What I’m thinking about all of this is:
Here you are, a man who I’m thinking about taking more seriously. Intelligent, emotionally supportive. Has a passion, but I don’t know if you’re following it. You take your cousin to this club and you call me from there, we talk about our relationship briefly while you take a cigarette break. I’m touched that you called but disgusted at the fact that you’re there. This is beyond some immature insane old paradigm idea that I own you and I’m upset at you looking at naked women. No, from a real grown up, feminist, spiritual, economic perspective, I am disappointed in your choice.
Strippers can make a lot of money, as Drake talks about in the song “305 To My City,” but when you live in a society where it seems that the fields that women make the most money without a higher education degree are places where their bodies are only seen as sexual objects, you can’t argue that that is the best we can do as far as economic empowerment for women. Interview a stripper. Is she happy and fulfilled? Does she feel she is looked at as a whole person at her job? Now interview 100 of them. What are the odds now? I know most regular jobs sap the human soul. I’m pointing out that being seen as only a sexual object is a unique kind of soul-sapping. I won’t get into why, because I don’t know. I just feel it.
“305 To My City” is a song about a woman who is a stripper and has stacked enough money from her earnings to put a down payment on a Jaguar. Her parents don’t approve of her lifestyle but she is “shining on them hoes” (meaning doing way better than her peers, competitors, and friends) and appears to be in control of her life. It’s my own projections, assumptions, and judgments, but I am skeptical of the true happiness of any woman who feels she must exchange sexual gratification for money in that type of environment. I don’t think there are many who aren’t deeply hurting and ashamed inside. When I did it, I know I wasn’t happy.
But everyone isn’t me.
I knew that I could not live that kind of lifestyle no matter how broke I was. I had a loving supportive home where my other talents, besides being sexy, were encouraged. We can assume the woman had at least two parents in her life who care about her, because they think what she is doing is only a phase, and it must be damaging to her, and they want her to stop. Drake totally gets it. Him, coming from the bottom, celebrates the pinnacle of his success in lavish strip clubs, throwing money at women who, even if they love what they do, probably wouldn’t want to do it in that type of environment. I believe the sexual energy in these places is terribly misdirected.
I remember reading Jenna Jameson’s How to be a Porn Star when I was in high school.
She talked about how even if you work in a high-end club there are several physical, mental and emotional pitfalls that come with working in a club. (Tip: wear knee pads.)
She talked about how even if you work in a high-end club there are several physical, mental and emotional pitfalls that come with working in a club. (Tip: wear knee pads.)
And while I’m not referring to oral sex in that last sentence, I should be. Several women who are strippers end up becoming prostitutes. Stripping can often be a gateway job into other sex work.
This reminds me of the line from Roberta Flack’s Trade Winds…
“Young girls who’ll soon become
(walkers of the avenue)
streetwalkers in the night.”
The line, or one close to it in the song, made me break down in tears on a bus at JFK one night.
I was on my way to another job that I hated. And I thought if I must feel this much misery going to a job that I hate, yet people often respect (I was a flight attendant for the military), what more must a woman feel where she goes to a job where she is degraded by most of society? Better yet, where she degrades herself? I’m not saying self-degradation doesn’t happen in many other jobs. One might argue that almost any job can be done with at least a sliver of dignity. I have argued another side to this argument many times. You know, the “sex-worker-as-empowered-woman” side. It doesn’t fly when I remember my own experience. When you take that first step into the underground you are often desperate. Maybe not only for money. Maybe for something else, like love.
That is how these two songs are related in my mind. Drake’s bass heavy, club-ready song doesn’t glorify the profession of sex industry worker but acknowledges that it is a means to an end; the woman has made some good financial choices that have allowed her to do what many Americans can’t, which is put a down payment on a luxury car. It neglects to say anything of the degradation she may have endured while she continues to work at the club, day in, and day out. It could be worse. At least he is proud of her. From this superstar she is getting the approval of her achievements that she certainly isn’t getting from the father in her life right now.
The somber mood of Flack’s Trade Winds, with the chorus sounding like sad angels of a community crying out for its children, before they reach their sordid fate, paints just how grim the picture of coming from poor beginnings can be. It ticks off the very real ills of society that make becoming a stripper a first, or last, choice for so many women, particularly, Black women. After all, trade winds are a natural phenomenon. Ships use them to trade goods, and bodies. I’ve written about sex trafficking and it is tragic that because of factors that are out of their hands, so many women will end up being seen as goods, traded for sexual gratification by people, to people, who fail to see the innocence of their victims, and refuse to acknowledge the innocent parts of themselves.
Lady Gaga talks in this YouTube Video (love this clean looking series talking to women about love, life, art) and she says she told herself when she was coked up and strung out…”You’re not an artist.” I guess being a true artist denotes discipline.
Be patient with me, I am ever learning.
We were taught to hate our periods…period.
It doesn’t matter whether you call us “women” or “womyn.” If we are still as angry about our sacred cycles as the men or systems we feel oppress us, then we are still not free.
I think our work is to first love ourselves. To really be so holy as to consecrate ourselves and love every bodily fluid that comes from our bodies, including our urine, our mucus; our pus, our blood.
Please don’t cringe. But if you do, see that as a sign that there is still more healing to be done.
I learned from the modern women with old souls who taught me what has been forgotten.
I learned from them that the relationship has to be a beautiful one between your Holy Spirit who knows all and who takes a back seat to the ego who told us that the Holy Spirit needed to be forgotten, that the relationship must be and loving and unbreakable like the bond between mother and child before ANY healing is going to take place.
- Queen Afua whose living legend and impact on womb health speaks for itself
- Hakashamut Kenya K Stevens of Jujumama LLC, founder of the Blue Butterfly Group, an online support group for women and
- Jessica McMorris of The Allergy Friendly Vegetarian who built it up with her.
- Graceful Empowerment of her company of the same name, and the Pussy Empowerment Group (discussion and co-ed support group) on Facebook
- Tiffany Janay of Organic Bloodline (check her out on Facebook too)
- India Ame’ye, writer and artist, who I met on Facebook. (She totally makes love to like, the Earth everyday.)
- Akalatunde from YouTube who told us that the menstrual blood was the “first wonder working blood.”
- Nubia Sutton the Womb Priestess who often teaches on self love, and
- Makeda Voletta the Body Scientist, who first educated me on yoni eggs.
- Angelique Shofar the Ecogoddess, who wrote blog posts that I used to print out to read while flying across the world. I can remember she taught us that most processed chocolate has so many chemicals that are bad for you and your womb. That’s the number one tip that still stands out to me. But anyway, I must name names. These women have reached as deep into the wisdom of mother earth, connected with her to dig up the that were buried on purpose. Not to get political. But they gave me back the knowledge and power of my womb.
- The women who started the Occupy Menstruation page on Facebook. There is so much comprehensive info posted there daily that I don’t even know what to tell you. Just check it out.
- Marianne Williamson, a Course in Miracles teacher whose womb affirming affirmation that plays as a daily reminder in my phone. (That I actually “stole” from the Occupy Menstruation page! See above.)
- Joan Morgan, the Hip Hop Feminist and author, for being a pleasure advocate.
- Louise Hay for telling me to repeat these words, “I approve of myself. I loooooove myself.”
Each and every one of these women has touched me and some of them I have had the pleasure of hugging and feeling them in the physical.
I need more. And I’m a youngin’, a newbie to the Goddess Movement, but I am no accident and I revere it now in a way that no one outside of me could have ever taught me to.
When you have a fibroid that’s half the size of your uterus and spend countless hours up at night, researching remedies, never taking the first one that comes, knowing you must forge your own path taking a little from here, and there, you learn. When I was in “7th circle of hell” pain and I bled so much that I birthed fist sized clots and got up and woke up on the ground again…THAT’S when I finally heeded the call to heal.
So women, that’s all I’m saying. The women’s empowerment movement or the feminist movement, means NOTHING if we still choose to hate the very process and parts that makes us female. The Goddess movement is about knowing we have the power to transform our physical experience through our spiritual power. Let’s live it now.
Loving, living and ever learning,
I was talking to a good friend of mine, Tamara Leacock (great fashion designer and artist/goddess/comrade) about drug problems and art. Got me thinking…Can someone or should someone be free to promote their drug experience as positive for the sake of their art?
I myself am still struggling to understand what art does to me when I view it, hear it, see it, read it. It’s easier to understand what music as an art form does. It literally moves my body, or drives me to tears. Visual art…different. I get stuck in analyzation. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the artist intended…
Stories have been used since the beginning of time to TEACH! I wonder…what’s my Life’s Lesson?
To tell a story means to connect with someone by saying “Look, here’s my life, or a piece of it. Won’t you find yourself in it?” It’s really a gift to share and receive someone’s story.