Choosing Vulnerability Over Fear And Walking Into Life


I’m always surprised when I hear from women who think that I’m fearless and have no doubts. I respond by telling them that when I write a blog post I feel like my chest has been ripped open and my heart exposed. I sit with it for sometimes hours, days or even months until I finally get the guts to post. Then as soon as I do I message one of my best friends to ask them to like it so that I can feel like I’m okay and breathe again. I’ve posted probably 30 times and, while it gets easier each time, I still experience feelings of self doubt and fear.

Before each Bodysex workshop I lead I go back and forth between feeling completely elated to completely inadequate. Will Betty be proud of me? What if the women expect more from me than I can live up to? Am I enough to do this work? Will they accept me when I also share my fears, inadequacies and self doubts? Will they accept my naked, imperfect body?

Sometimes well meaning people ask — “If writing these personal stories or leading these workshops makes you feel this exposed and vulnerable— why would you do it?” The answer for me is in the correlation between being vulnerable and feeling powerful. It isn’t at all that I am unafraid, it’s more that I’m making the choice not to let fear rule me.

Choosing this means to me the difference between walking INTO life or staying on the sidelines.This might mean that what I’m walking into feels like a hail storm where I’m being pummelled repeatedly in the face. Or it could feel like walking into something mildly uncomfortable like sleet. Other times though I feel like I’m walking into the sunshine on the most beautiful day you can ever imagine.

No matter the circumstances, each time I walk into it, I always get through it and continue walking — feeling stronger and caring  less about what people think about me. I laugh harder and deeper than I’ve ever laughed before — even and especially at the things about myself that I used to be too horrified to admit existed. I can lose myself with complete abandonment in sex and not worry about what I look or sound like or if I took too long to cum. I can dance like Elaine on Seinfeld and feel like the girl in the room who’s having the most fun. I can, I can, I can.

I’ll never be perfect and — looking back on my life so far — I’m sorry that I spent so many years shielding myself in the hopes that no one else would realize that simple fact. I will never be fearless, or without doubts. I will however continue to make the decision to choose vulnerability over fear and walk INTO life.

“I Saw Beauty”

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This is the story of a little girl shared with me by her mother who attended my first Bodysex workshop. There her mother learned about and identified the parts of her sexual anatomy, began to feel comfortable in her own skin and expressed this newfound comfort with her daughter.

She expressed it by taking better care of her body, not covering up while changing, showing appreciation for parts of her self that she had previously disliked and by sitting down beside her daughter naked. With the little girl watching, her mother identified and named all the parts of her vulva and their different purposes. Her daughter —fascinated by this — looked at her own vulva and did the same alongside her mom. A year later this happened:

“Mom come here, I have to tell you something!” said the little girl from her bath. Her mother walked in to see her daughter smiling up at her.

“I was just looking at my vulva.”

“Oh yah….And what did you see?” asked her mother.

“Well my clitoris looks like a little hill, and my labia look like peas from the garden.”

Smiling her mother asked if she saw anything else.

“Yah” said the little girl, “I saw beauty.”