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Women’s Sexual Health

12/26/19

**WARNING: The content of this post is a bit graphic and may some people uncomfortable.

As the anniversary of my past marriage comes to a close, I find myself feeling the need to write about women’s sexual health.  
It started a few weeks ago, when I realized that the sex toy my ex-husband bought for us years prior, didn’t just need new batteries, it was dying.  Oh no!  How was I going to get another one of these?  Should I use Amazon?  Then, the purchase would ever haunt me in my Amazon Prime purchase history.  What if the box that arrives is not as inconspicuous as I would like? Will my neighbors know what I’m buying? No, I definitely need to go to the store for this one.  
At first I was in denial.  I thought I might be able to eek out the last bit of power from my dying vibrator.  Eventually, I had to come to terms with some fears and old mental programming that was now standing in the way of me caring for myself.  
I remembered the words spoken to me by a previous therapist. She asked me to consider, when my own daughter becomes of age, would I want her to feel that she should have sex with someone even if she doesn’t want to, because she believed self-stimulation was wrong.  We were discussing my own question about the morality and health of self-stimulation, versus unhealthy choices I had made in the past.
As I remembered that talk, I wondered where my shame around this issue came from. I feel completely fine and free when it comes to sex in marriage and outside of marriage.  I even felt comfortable and open to the idea of same sex and group sex.  I don’t bat an eye at the mention of men masturbating to naked images, but the idea of a single woman (me) masturbating seemed disgraceful, like I must be a loser. “Why do I feel this way?” I wondered.
I did some soul searching.  I dealt with my demons, and released the religious Cool-Aid I drank in the past.  I checked with Google, and according to Web MD, self-stimulation is healthy for women and recommended for increased sexual and emotional health.  
Armed with my new beliefs and a few crystals, I got in the car and headed to Walgreens.  I must admit, I had more butterflies in my stomach than I’ve had in a long time.  I made sure to bring in my own bag, so I didn’t have to endure the embarrassment of having my sexual health products sit on the counter while I paid, and the people behind me watched.  
But first, I had to get to the isle.  I’m not gonna lie, I almost chickened out a couple of times.  I nervously did an extra lap around the store, and finally stood in front of the lubricating gel selection.  I was surprised that all of the sex toy paraphernalia was sold out.  I was slightly relived and also disappointed.  
I got stuck in the isle because  people kept walking by me. I didn’t want to just grab it right in of them.  Then, a family, with a mother, father and toddler son, came and stood next to me, and wouldn’t leave.  The mom went looking in another isle, but the dad and son remained.  I stood there staring down at the Monistat 7 collection, too embarrassed to grab the Astroglide until they walked away.  When I finally got to the checkout line, no one else was around, phew!  The checker was totally cool, he didn’t make me feel weird at all.  In fact, he joked that he was gonna charge me double because I brought in a Target bag into Wallgreens.  He made me laugh, and that broke the tension.  
Back in my car, it was on to Target.  I wasn’t gonna give up now.  At Target, they had exactly what I wanted. But, the lines were long and crowded.  I went to what looked like a shorter line, and then I saw the golden lights of self-checkout. (Ahhhh.) I felt like the heavens had parted.  Within three minutes, I was back in my car without anyone even noticing what I bought.  
I was proud of myself.  I felt like a real woman.  I was officially not a kid.  I had the guts and confidence to walk into Target and buy myself a vibrator for my sexual and emotional health.  
Sadly, when I got home and opened the box, I found an empty ripped plastic bag inside. Someone, who probably didn’t want to go through the social stigma of buying it, had stolen it.
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Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of Imperfection

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On my journey of self-acceptance, I’m trying to embrace the concept that we are all the same. I am no better and no worse than anyone else. I am human, perfectly imperfect. This concept usually comes up for me when I start getting super hard on myself for my mistakes.

I’ve mentioned before that I have issues with timeliness. I mean, this dates back to grade school for me, and I really have to plan things out and focus, to make it on time to just about anything. It’s so bad, that my kids don’t know what to do with themselves when we actually get somewhere early and have to wait. We’re usually rushing in at the last minute and barely making it on time, or just late. Like most people, running late gets me really anxious and worried.

I’ve started incorporating some of the Reiki precepts I’m learning into my morning meditation time. The prayer that I’ve learned from Reiki goes like this, “Just for today, do not anger, do not worry, be thankful, do what you are meant to do, be kind to others.”

I recently had the special privilege of asking a prominent Reiki teacher about these precepts and the focus on anger and worry embedded in the prayer. I have been learning about the law of attraction and the power of my words and thoughts to manifest what I speak and think. I questioned the use of “anger” and “worry” in relation to this concept of attraction. I had even gone as far as to create my own “positive” version of the Reiki prayer. 😂smh. I guess this tells you what kind of student I am. Anyway, I’m really glad I was able to ask this teacher my question because his answer gave me a whole new understanding. He explained that unlike affirmations, the Reiki precepts were more like guiding rules for life. For example the precept, do not anger can be a reminder for me when I feel anger coming up to question that anger. Where is it coming from? Why is it there? Does the anger serve me? And then to be able to let the anger go. This is different from an affirmation which may help me in the moment to turn away from the anger, but may not allow me the space to examine and release the source of the anger. I was able to apply his explanation the very next day.

After spending my morning meditation focusing on mindful breathing, Reiki precepts and grounding, I got my kids ready for school. Needless to say, the time management just wasn’t there this particular morning and we were running late. The problem for me is not getting up on time, because I’m actually up very early, it’s more of a focus and time management issue. I’ve been really good recently with getting my son to school on time using positive affirmations. I literally say “We are going to be on time to Ms.__’s class today,” about 50 times from the time they wake up until I drop him off at school. And it’s been working. We’ve been on time every day for quite a while now. But this particular morning we left extra late. I still used my affirmations and it worked! There were almost no cars on the road and I pretty much drove like a maniac the whole way there.

But, on the way home as I thought about the collateral damage of our morning commute, in flooded the feelings of self-condemnation. Thinking about the Reiki precepts helped me work through the guilt I was feeling. I felt guilty because I spent the entire 25 minute (normally 35 minute) drive to school filled with worry and anger. When my kids tried to talk to me, I told them I couldn’t talk to them because I needed to focus on the road and get there on time. I also drove pretty crazy, which I know scares my kids. I even honked at a lady for fluffing her hair in the mirror instead of driving. My kids, like me are both highly sensitive, so I’m sure that they were very affected by the worry and anger energy I was emoting. My son even asked me, “Who do you love the most God, other people, or yourself?” I told him, “I don’t know, I can’t answer that right now, I have to focus on the road.” Theses were the guilty feelings I drove home with, wondering how my children were handling their school experience after all that negative energy. Wondering if my son would ever ask me that question again and care about my answer.

It was during this time that I started thinking about how I had prayed earlier “do not anger and do not worry”. I started to ask myself why I was worried. I was able to acknowledge that the worry did not serve me at all. I could have made it to school on time without any worry or anger and I could have given my children a different start to their day (and the lady I honked at). And myself…. that worry and anger hurt me most of all.

As I examined the source of the worry, I realized it had nothing to do with my son and his needs. The truth is that I was worried about being judged as a parent by people at the school and I was worried that their negative opinion of me would lead to negative actions against me. I was giving these people more power over my life than my Higher Power.

At the end of it all, I was left with my feelings of guilt and shame. This is where compassion for myself has to come into the picture. It’s easier for me to offer myself compassion when I can remember the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, the beauty of imperfection. It reminds me that being an imperfect human is what makes me perfect. My imperfections accentuate my humanness and the acceptance of my own humanness allows me to love and honor the humanness in others.

I am no better or worse than anyone else, and the same can be said for us all. We are all perfectly imperfect in our own way.

This gives me hope for humanity. Just as I can reach across the aisle and change my mind about someone or love someone who seems to be an enemy, so can everyone else.

If we can see and accept our own imperfections, there is hope that we can have compassion for the imperfections of others.

We can stop seeing each other through the eyes of judgement and allow ourselves to be surprised by beauty that exists in every living being. I know this begins with me.

I want to be surprised.

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The Cycle of Judgment and Hate

10/28/16
The cycle of judgement and hate

It goes round and round
It’s mine
It’s theirs
It’s connected to that ball of pain in my chest
Sometimes it move to my stomach in knots
Or spreads to my shoulders pulling me tight
Does this cycle protect me?
Is that why it’s so hard to let go?
Where did it come from?
So long ago
A baby doesn’t judge or hate.
But this runs so deep
So to the core

This judgment and hatred of me.