Last year at this time I was recovering from surgery to remove an inch long cancerous tumor that was growing on the right half of my thyroid. I was still in shock and very much feeling shame about what I must have done, or not done, to get it.
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t still carry some of that shame, or that it isn’t incredibly difficult for me to tell anyone that I’ve had cancer and have to see the look on their face in response. That by saying it out loud or having to put it on forms at the dentist’s office, I feel like a walking reminder of our mortality that no one wants to be reminded of. That I don’t dread having to share the story with a new lover or partner and wonder if they’ll still love me. That I don’t question what awful thing I did to deserve this, or wonder if I’m a complete fraud for talking about self love when I’m obviously failing at it or this wouldn’t have happened to me.
All of these stories are a part of the current layers of shame that I’m ever so gently peeling off these days, and yet what woke me at 4:30am this morning wasn’t shame, but rather gratitude.
Having cancer is THE best thing that has ever happened to me. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s like I’ve been shown the value of my life and now I get to really LIVE it.
I can live enthusiastically and wholeheartedly in all things that I do.
I can choose to care about what matters to me and not give a shit about what doesn’t.
I can walk naked in slow motion across a nude beach with a bunch of other naked people (at least 10 years older than me) laughing hysterically at the way our bodies jiggle when laughing hysterically.
I can expand my work to include men who also struggle with physical and sexual shame.
I can be the me that I am when I’m having sex alone – with a partner. Growling, laughing, crying, breathing like I’m giving birth.
I can go to Mexico on a week long date.
I can take my kids to visit Raffi.
I can facilitate Bodysex retreats in other places.
I can have the most difficult conversations of my life and come out feeling like I climbed Mt. Everest.
I can take most of the summer off so that my children get to experience living enthusiastically with me in the least expensive ways possible.
I can choose to be grateful for each day that I wake up knowing that I have the ability to chose my desires over my fears.
I can, I can, I can.
And I do. <3
Last week I posted a pic of myself on social media, biking with my 4 times pregnant, stretched stomach showing just a bit. I’ve never received such a response from anything I’ve posted and it made me realize how much even I – who promotes body acceptance and vulnerability – have been afraid of being seen as I am. There’s still an old belief that if I’m seen I won’t be accepted – and yet I do accept myself. I guess I don’t necessarily trust others to do the same.
After the overwhelmingly positive response I received, I looked through my photos on social media and imagined myself from the outside looking in. I realized that I write about my scars but I don’t necessarily show them.
Here are two photos of me taken on the same day. One covering the physical marks that remind me of the beautiful beings I helped create, and the other showing them. In both I was sweaty and flushed from my bike ride and in both I felt absolutely beautiful. At the end of the day, both are of me and I apologize for taking so long to show up publicly in this full expression of myself. ❤️
A beautiful poem written by a Bodysex woman about her monthly cycle <3
Time to shed
to make room
for the new
A wanted guest
only to pass through
Give it a few
days to be
Tears are inevitable
will be cleaned out
and left empty
There will be
to have someone stay
at least for
But not quite yet
A red tide
But with its
will also mark
a new beginning
Time to refresh
the power to
** dedicated to those who “just want to get in the door.”
Once upon a time there was a man. He was a successful, beautiful man with a good job and a nice big home of his own. Even though he had many things to be grateful for in his life, what he longed for most, was someone to share it with.
The man liked to walk, and on his walks he would think of how much better his life would be if only he had that someone. As he walked he’d notice the doors on the houses he passed by and he’d wonder if the woman he was longing for was behind one of them. He saw yellow doors, green doors, blue doors and black doors but they were never quite the right door.
One day while he was walking, he noticed a bright red door and he thought to himself “That’s it! That’s the one I’ve been looking for! I really want to get in that door.” Thinking that this was the door he’d been longing for, he was determined to do something really big to get it to open for him. Everyday he danced, sang songs, wore costumes, learned instruments and even rode a unicycle dressed as a peacock hoping that he could convince the door to let him in.
But the door stayed closed.
After several months of this he felt defeated and one day, exhausted, fell off of his unicycle in front of the door and wept. It was so unfair! All he wanted was to get in this door and no matter what he did, it just wouldn’t open. After crying for some time he opened his eyes and decided to walk home. As he stood up he realized that he had been laying on a pathway that led to the red door. Never having noticed this pathway before he saw that it was curved and unique, made of rocks of all shapes and sizes. He also noticed weeds poking up between the rocks and decided that the weeds made the whole walkway more interesting. “How beautiful” he thought as he walked sadly home.
The next day he woke up feeling like he had no more purpose in his life without the purpose of getting into that door, but he forced himself to go for a walk anyways. Without thinking, his feet led him — not to the red door — but to the pathway leading up to it and he once again marvelled at it’s uniqueness. This time though he noticed that the pathway led not only to the shiny red door, but to a whole entire house! Thinking back to the months he spent singing and dancing in front of the door he wondered how had he not seen this house before? The house wasn’t big and fancy like his home and yet he couldn’t stop looking at it. He noticed paint peeling on one of the shutters, fingerprints on a window, and a mixture of vegetables and flower plants in a pot. The house fascinated him and he spent the rest of the day looking at it —wondering what rooms were inside, what it smelled like, what stories it held, what secrets it kept and who’s finger prints were on the windows. Even more fascinating to him was seeing the steady stream of neighbours come and go through the red door, as if it was their own house and the door was always open.
Transfixed by the feelings this home evoked in him and the enjoyment he felt in those feelings, he realized that the sun was going down and that he had spent the entire day looking at the house and had forgotten about his desire to get in the door completely. Feeling strangely settled and at peace, he got up to start his walk home. After glancing over his shoulder for one last look at the house, he began to turn around when he heard a click. From the corner of his eye he saw the red door slowly open and he turned to face the woman standing in it smiling at him. “Hello” she said. “Would you like to come into my home?”
never brushing my hair,
biking without a helmet,
sun on my pussy,
sand in my ass crack.
accepting my self as I am,
preferring my bare skin to clothing,
letting my stretch marks show,
my abundant lips dangle.
experiencing my sexuality through my;
open body, open mouth, open eyes and open ears,
and realizing that these experiences can happen all day everyday,
with or without my genitals.
listening to my body and
trusting that by simply breathing, I can handle everything I feel.
choosing feeling over avoidance — even when it’s painful.
Having sex with the lights on,
fantasizing without shame,
saying “I’ve got one (or two or three) more in me” even if my lover is done —
and not apologizing for it.
being vulnerable with people that I love,
knowing that in my vulnerability I create an opportunity for deeper intimacy —
whether they meet me in it or not.
being brave enough to ask for what I want
and not taking it personally when I don’t get it.
knowing what my core values are,
choosing to live a life that is in alignment with these core values,
and recognizing the freedom that this alignment gives me.
**photo credit goes to Stiina