Tag Archives: patriarchy

Your Arousal is Not My Fault

Brendan and I have spent a lot of time the past couple months speaking frankly, authentically, and sometimes awkwardly about our sex life and identities. About how patriarchy and our society have patterned/programmed us into doing some seriously unconscious shit because of wounding and adaptations. We’ve been using Holistic Peer Counseling tools to uncover and feel into how the wounds and adaptations we developed as children have been/are running the sex show.

There are many powerful and frankly amazing stories I could tell about our journey; however, most of them have primarily to do with embodied erotic experiences and so they don’t translate very well to writing. They’re hard to describe because Mind doesn’t grok what Body is doing, doesn’t even speak the same language, and so there are myriad translation errors.

One thing that IS coming out very clearly relates to Brendan tapping into and feeling his internalized misogyny, and how that has played out in our relationship. How entitlement to attention and sex have damaged my ability to trust him and his intentions. That I have felt his entitlement is not new within the context of my experiencing men; what’s wholly new is the fact he not only acknowledges it, but openly discusses it with me.

His courageous internal work is affording me a greater understanding of my own experience. Over and over, things he says to me are having the effect of me feeling less “crazy,” less like I’ve been making this shit up my whole life. Because—suddenly and for the very first time—a MAN is saying them to me. He is corroborating and reinforcing my body’s belief around what I’ve always known to be true about patriarchy and entitlement, but was never brave enough to speak out loud.

This morning, over text message, we had what I felt was an incredibly powerful exchange that illustrates our growing understanding. I started my moon phase this morning, and so for the past few days I haven’t wanted sex, which is edgy for both of us in our own ways. The conversation was generally about what happens when our sexual appetites aren’t in sync and specifically about my internalized guilt in that regard.

Christina: It sucks that I “make it harder for you” (when you’re aroused and I’m not available); I don’t want to do that. I just wanna be alive and around you, without forcing your body into an erotic tailspin. I mean, it’s awesome being in the yummy with you and I love our chemistry; what we create is far and beyond what I ever thought possible. And there’s this aspect of being female-bodied that I don’t love: the potent effect I have on you (and men in general) just by walking around.

Brendan: I think a large portion of the effect erotically-present women have on men (if any) has more to do with the pain that men feel when their disowned/wounded erotic feminine arises. I’m SUPPOSED to feel this painful longing.

C: I’m hearing you say that part of the longing/difficulty for you/men that arises around sexually-potent women is that you feel the loss of your disowned erotic or feminine attributes/energy. Yes? Like you resonate with mine and can feel that deep sadness/rage at what you gave up. And so—the mainstream story goes—you can then punish or take from me to quench that sadness.

B: Yes. You become an external focal point; a potent one. If I’m fully present, I feel a draw. You don’t cause that. I experience it. It’s not your willful doing. The longing in me is for what I/we gave up to survive, what was taken violently, and what we’re expected to keep hidden out of shame. Plus all the stringent limitations around conditioned masculinity, and how it’s supposed to look. It’s like my body is screaming I WANNA DO THAT TOO! And we fear being attacked or banished. At least I do.

So, the punishment is projection. Men can’t fully own their _____. So they attack it when they see it in others (women, gay people, transgendered individuals, etc.). As I see it, projection as punishment generally includes these elements:*

  • Disturbance
  • Disapproval (what we see is not consistent with our own self image in some core way)
  • Segregation/banishment
  • Expulsion (because it’s easier to demonize in absentia)
  • Demonization
  • Persecution
  • Annihilation

(*We can’t recall exactly where Brendan heard this and Google didn’t help; perhaps in relation to the witch hunts? Or perhaps it’s a part of oppression theory? If anyone could help find a source that would be much appreciated.)

C: OH RIGHT! I don’t cause your arousal or your difficulty in finding balance with it. It isn’t willful on my part or “my fault” that you want to have sex. You know, I’ve lived so long being told/feeling like masculine arousal was somehow my doing (because vagina is a force of nature duh) when actually it’s post hoc ergo propter hoc! I’m just amazed and so fucking grateful you can describe and understand this. Also—that projection list neatly describes what I imagine St. Augustine was feeling when he decided to canonize the property/demon status of women.

B: We’ve worked this process together and you’ve felt me blaming you. Now I’m emerging through to the other side, where we can feel the tension and also sit in the Balance of Attention with it. Lovingly.

And so, here we sit: loving one another, seeing one another, and holding space for ancestral sexual wounds. I can’t even describe to you how amazing this feels and how grateful I am to finally be here. Thank you, Brendan, for being the man who finally made space for Me.

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Listening to My Body’s Songs

The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, our conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child who—still whole in spirit—will accept no compromises or excuses. And it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth. –Alice Miller


A few nights ago, Brendan and I were discussing how I feel whenever I’m given the chance to discuss my childhood wounding with my mother. As you might imagine, my feelings are complex and it hasn’t always been easy for me to distinguish which of those feelings are for ME and which are for HER. Which ones are about how I’m currently feeling and which are about how she will feel in the future as a reaction to what I might say or do. Because, as a co-dependent child, it was often important to my safety and well-being that I consider her feelings before mine. In the hierarchy of emotions, hers were more important because she controlled the resources.

Let me be clear: I say this not to blame her personally. If I’m leveling any blame at all, it’s at the violent patriarchal structure that created her and all the women who came before her. The oppressed and ultimately sadistic women who contributed to who she was as a woman and a parent.

Historically, one of the most prominent feelings I’ve had when thinking about my childhood and my mother’s role in it, is anxiety. Because I’m not sure if what I remember experiencing was true. I’m not confident in my ability to justify my position or powerfully back up what I’m saying. And if I can’t prove it, then I shouldn’t even say it in the first place, according to my patterns and programming.

Because I was thoroughly indoctrinated to not believe Me. My body was appropriated for the release and satisfaction of adult males. My mind was appropriated by the public schools that told me I should only learn what I’m instructed to, not what I’m driven to discover on my own. My spirit was appropriated by the church that told me, as a human—and especially as a female—I was born evil and could only find redemption by surrendering to male authority.

So how, exactly, was I going to prove my experience when I had difficulty believing it myself? How was I going to offer The Truth of my life when presented with the chance to plead my case to my mother? How could I stand up for my self and its experience when she couldn’t do that for her self? When she crumbled in front of me because my accusatory words hurt her? When she was herself a victim of the very same structures as I?

You can hear all the judgmental language in this, right? Proof. Truth. Blame. These are all concepts of oppression and minimization, meant to annihilate the inconvenience of personal experience and expression.

And then, on a Tuesday evening in February, my body finally Got It, to use that famous Landmark phrase. This isn’t about me telling The Truth. It’s about me telling My Truth.

I don’t have to *prove* anything. I’m not standing before God, offering up my life as evidence of my worthiness or rightness or blamelessness. This isn’t about me earning my way into Heaven or Harvard by getting all the right answers. This isn’t about me having to convince my mother that my feelings do, in fact, count just as much as hers.

It’s about me sharing my experience as I remember it. I’m telling my stories. I’m not telling The Truth because I can’t. I don’t have that omniscient perspective and never will.

This may seem straightforward and obvious to you, but it has never been obvious to me. Not ever. So, to suddenly find myself free of the expectation that everything I say must be the provable, incontrovertible truth was awesome in the literal sense of the word.

Excited and a little dizzy, I shared my new-found insight with Brendan, and he offered me a wonderful perspective about what a person’s stories are. He said “Those stories are your body’s songs, Baby; they are the sound of Life as it’s filtered through you. Your songs are beautiful and are worth hearing. As are everyone’s.”

As a person whose body has been locked down, tight, and armored for as long as I can remember, what he said struck me as rather revolutionary. Because I’ve spent my life ignoring my body, its signals, and its needs—either because someone else found them inconvenient or because I did. Until I gave birth to Avery and his head stretched me wide open, destroying everything I thought I knew about embodiment, I hadn’t been IN my body at all. Everything below-the-neck was something my brain found inconvenient or ugly, something that occasionally hijacked my experience because it needed immediate care or consideration.

I had internalized the message that my body was for other people, not for me; so why would I listen to what it was telling me if I couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t want to listen anyway?

The more time I spent really listening to my body, decoding her strange yet beautiful language and signals, the more clearly I could hear her stories. After a while, I couldn’t hold those stories in any longer. Because as my bodily intuition developed, my voice also became more capable, stronger, more clear. My voice wanted to speak, to sing. I began to believe that my story was worth telling, that I had something worth sharing with other people who maybe had experienced some of the things I had.

These stories are my experience; my unique experience of the world as it’s played through me. They are my songs, my perspectives, my feelings. Which is why I started the blog: because my voice was ready to tell the stories that my body was sharing with me.

This started for me as a way to heal my wounds; to free myself from the oppressive ideology I was handed; to become a sovereign woman in a world that hates women, and seeks to keep them hobbled and in service. It has since evolved into an exercise in community healing. A community built of women who want to know both themselves and one another, intimately. Deeply. All the way down to the core. All the way back to the 4-year-olds. Because for many women living in this world, that’s when we were first wounded. Maybe even earlier.

The world we live in forces us to wound one another to survive. I want us to heal those wounds by loving one another and listening to the stories. By singing our songs.

I’m not trying to tell The Truth because that would be impossible. I’m telling My Truth because that’s the only perspective I have. I believe that by doing this I’m setting an example for other women. I believe that by sharing my experience I’m essentially giving you permission to know your body, to tell your stories, to sing your songs. You have a wonderfully beautiful body that’s dying to be heard. It’s time to let her sing.


Dedicated to Louise, Theresa, Gladys, Phyllis, Stella, Helen, Vicki, Lynnette, and Michelle.

On Being Four: What Active Counseling Taught me About Childhood Wounding

The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.
–Augustine of Hippo


Around the beginning of December 2014—somewhat consciously and somewhat not—Brendan and I began the process of healing my father wound. To say that experience has changed my life is an understatement of almost cosmic proportions; primarily, because I now believe myself to be a manifestation of Sovereign Feminine. Which is a radical and wholly new experience for me as a woman raised under patriarchy, because it means I have begun to reclaim my intuition. Something that was stolen from me as a child.

You see, a woman’s ability to trust her intuitive voice and be fully in her adult power is a dangerous threat to male dominance, so patriarchy keeps women locked in childhood by raping and beating their intuition out of them. Of course, patriarchy also traps men in childhood, beginning with the act of forcibly cutting off their foreskin and then progressively and methodically removing nearly all forms of loving, affirmative affection or validation. Because violent oppression is democratic like that.

For the last six weeks I have felt more powerful, grounded, and clear than ever before in my life. I make decisions, give voice to my grievances, and declare what I want with a confidence that I attribute solely to intuition and my novel ability to hear/trust what she says. Things that, had anyone asked me six months ago, I might have cited as benefits I could conceivably expect to arise as a result of such a healing. But certainly nothing I would have felt I deserved or was worthy to receive.

What I didn’t expect was the actual felt and embodied presence of my literal 4-year-old self.

Of course, the further I get on this journey, the more it makes perfect sense she would come to the forefront of my psyche: because I was 4 years old when my sexual abuse began. So, once I was able to touch that experience in a way that felt relevant to my adult self, once I could fully grieve the loss of what was taken from me, OF COURSE Little Chrissy would be more “here” to my mind and body. It made sense she would be at the surface as opposed to deep within my mind palace, hidden away where she had been safe and virtually unseen for the last 40 years.

Little Chrissy was present in my daily life and most of those ways were positive. I could feel her in how my playing with Avery changed because I could drop into it so much more easily, fluidly, and authentically. I made more funny character voices, readily joined and added to his stories, encouraged interchange in ways that hadn’t occurred to me before. There were times when I really felt like a little kid reborn and it was wonderful. I felt joyous and free to be silly, to dance, to be in my body.

Little Chrissy even got to have a wonderful cosmic experience on psychedelic mushrooms. As with the ecstasy, we set a strong, safe container appropriate for a Little and then proceeded to receive the mushrooms’ download. Little Chrissy was *totally* in her element because—as a divine and magical child presence—she intimately understood the mushrooms as well as what they had to say about where we come from, who we are. Being able to channel her fully while also communing with the mushrooms gave me powerful insight on what I’ve come to understand as the Universal Perspective.

A perspective that recognizes all life as equal and divine, filled with golden light and emanating from stardust. A perspective that allowed me to recognize Brendan and his soul as something I’d seen before, perhaps many times over the millenia, like commuters passing every day in a train station. Which explains why he has always felt like Home to me. That night, the divine in me recognized and resonated with the divine in him, and because of that I feel a little less alone on this planet. A little less identified with and clinging to the body I currently inhabit. A little less homesick.

There’s a lot more I’ll eventually share with you about what the mushrooms told and continue to tell me, about who I am and what’s happening to me as I continue the process of waking and reclaiming. And for now, this is enough. Suffice to say, I experienced Little Chrissy as a beautiful child, full of love, pure and divine; not yet injured, civilized, or abused. She is my lapis lazuli, my psyche’s most precious jewel.

Over the following week or so, I continued to feel her open loveliness, but then it began to change; I felt small, sad, scared, and vulnerable. Defensive; angry even. There was still something at work I couldn’t quite put a finger on, couldn’t locate fully in my body. Something was blocked and wasn’t budging no matter how much solo loving attention I tried to give it.

In addition, Brendan and I had to deal with the reality she didn’t want to have sex. Like *really* didn’t want to. He would kiss my neck and my body shriveled; I could feel my yoni clamp down/close up like a scared little oyster hiding in the corner. This was not the response I was accustomed to feeling when my sexy-hot husband kissed my neck, and I didn’t like it; I felt embarrassed and wholly unlike myself. I could feel my programmed inclination to bypass intuition and “just do it” sneaking up from behind.

But I couldn’t, not anymore. Intuition and Little Chrissy weren’t going to let that happen and, as a now-sovereign female, I had sworn to keep them safe, to believe what they told me and act upon it. Ten days into feeling like my body was working directly against us, we decided to set another ecstatic container with the express intent to Counsel on Parts, a powerful Holistic Peer Counseling technique.

Inner parts are those we feel inside. Similarly to many meditation practices, we can bring our awareness inside ourselves, witnessing what parts are there and what they want. We can even relate to each individual part as its own person, an approach that teaches us how to understand our internal world and which system(s) work best for us.

When we give our parts loving attention, we search for the Balance of Attention in order to bring about release. Remember that this process is neither linear nor especially predictable; our patterns tend to feel more like mazes, all twists and turns. As we learn to feel the Balance of Attention more acutely, we are better able to follow the pattern’s path and support its eventual release.

We were operating under the belief that if we held loving space for her and listened to what she had to say, she could feel sufficiently heard to stop interrupting us with the intensity that only an urgent 4-year-old can muster. We had already introduced Little Chrissy to both our adult bodies during the mushroom trip as a way to help her feel safe with us, to know we weren’t going to be “like the others”—that we had no intent to harm or scare her. Which was a critical step in our journey because at this point we knew the next ecstatic container would be specifically about sex.

Little Chrissy, as an internal Part of me, needed to experience us (that is, she and I) jointly having loving sex with Brendan as a contradiction to her lived experience 39 years ago. She needed to trust us in the present.

30 minutes after ingesting the ecstasy, I could feel Little Chrissy right up front in my psyche, where she stayed for about 45 minutes until she receded slightly, allowing me to experience a more integrated state. That is, I could still feel her, but I wasn’t “acting like a child” or trying to channel her directly. Brendan and I spent about three hours lovingly affirming who we were to one another, to our families, to our communities, and to the world. We were essentially lining our container with safety, love, intention, and acknowledgement—all things critical for the deep work we were about to undertake.

We then slowly started to have sex. I had been feeling something like mild abdominal gas for the past hour, which I’d attributed to either the drug or the snacks I’d eaten earlier. It was irritating, but nothing new to me as a lifelong sufferer of intestinal upset and certainly not something I considered stopping or slowing down for. But as he entered me, it got worse; it was a tight little knot right up inside the very core of my belly. It was deep and not moving like I’d expect gas to.

So, he got off and laid next to me. I put both my hands on my belly and began speaking directly to the knot. I told her I knew she was scared and that I was here to love her, to give her some attention. Brendan reiterated “This attention is for you, little one.” I told her that we needed to keep going and that yes, it was going to hurt, but I promised I would stop if she told me to. I asked her if she could trust me and, after a little bit, she said Yes, okay.

This time I got on top of Brendan and as he entered me, almost immediately I felt the knot seize up with pain. It was at the end of my vagina, right where it had always been. Where it had been for so long I had never questioned its presence. As I rubbed back and forth across the tip of his cock, I began to cry and then get angry. Angry. Angrier. The more I rubbed against that spot the more I cried and the more scared I got. I was able to stay there for about 90 seconds before pulling off and rolling over onto the bed.

I was shaking uncontrollably, my teeth chattering together like I was lying in snow. My whole abdomen was hot and tense. Brendan put his arms around me and held me, eventually putting his finger in between my teeth to stop the chattering. And then it happened: I was hit with a massive intuitive download and in an instant I knew the truth. I hadn’t just been molested as a child; I’d been raped. Repeatedly. With either penis, fingers, or object. Raped hard enough to wound, to leave that hard little knot.

As I lay there, sobbing, accepting what I had known-but-not-known my whole life, the wound began revealing itself to me, lighting up and getting hot so I could trace its outline. Its edges are jagged and sharp, like shards of glass. It looks like what I imagine a shotgun wound to the gut would: it spreads across my entire abdomen, all the way up my left side and into my armpit, and—most importantly—straight into my solar plexus, the seat of my intuition. And in that moment I was rocked by the cell-level understanding that The Affliction was a result of my having been raped.

For 31 years—since I first suffered The Affliction at age 12—she’d been trying to get my attention and I couldn’t understand her, couldn’t hear what she was saying. Because my intuition was broken, scarred; turned into a hard knot. And so she got disowned, left behind; alone and in the dark. No wonder I couldn’t stop shaking once I found her.

It didn’t stop there. Over the next two hours, my intuition showed me things about my family that directly contradicted my lived experience of them and what they had told me. I saw things they would *never* talk about. Things that would likely get me disowned if I spoke of them publicly. And I knew they were true; in my bones I fucking KNEW. During those two hours I remembered conversations I’d had with my mother over the years that never made sense, random things I’d overheard aunts and uncles saying, memories left in dark corners for decades that finally had the context they required to make sense.

It was like that scene in V for Vendetta when Inspector Finch asks Dominic whether knowing the truth would be worth the consequences. Because I clearly saw a chain of events, things that would otherwise have been deemed coincidence or laughably impossible, things that suddenly aligned with both my body’s intelligence and lived memories. I could see it…all of it, going back to my great-grandparents. My mother always said I remembered things nobody else could, and now I knew why. Someone had to remember, to be The Witness. That someone is me.

I’ve since received additional downloads that I’ll definitely be blogging about because WHOA AWESOME. I’ve also counseled extensively on what happened with both peers and my therapist. As I integrate all the aspects of being four—including the angry, wounded maiden and the divine star child—my understanding of who I am grows and becomes more defined. I see many things about what I’m here to do and how I might go about that.

What I specifically want to make a point of is this: there are parts inside each of us that need loving attention. Parts that may have been silenced decades ago. We may believe they have nothing to teach us, no wisdom to impart. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true because they do and they want to. If we can only be courageous enough to face them and hear their truth.

Healing My Father Wound

“If you ever meet someone brave and powerful enough to walk with you directly through your most uncomfortable wounds and shadow caves—someone with the stupefying courage to see through the chinks of your armor and then help you take it off—love them. Because they have done something for you which is impossible to do alone. They will show you the treasure you’ve been seeking all your life, and they can do this because they aren’t afraid of your fear.” -Jacob Nordby


Like many females raised under patriarchy, I received my first lesson in bodily sovereignty from my father, who told me with his actions that my body wasn’t for me; it was for him. I continued to learn that lesson in myriad other ways from family members, peers, and lovers; but never so powerfully as that first wounding. When he took advantage of my innocence and a grossly unbalanced power dynamic to seek relief from his own pain and suffering by making me partially responsible for and complicit in it.

I’ve worked my entire life to recover from that seminal experience, never really believing I would arrive at healing. There are so many ways this culture insidiously and blatantly tells women that their bodies are for public consumption, for male appreciation and appropriation that it’s almost impossible to see any kind of light through such a dark tunnel. And even when I would see flashes of light, when I would think I had made progress—something would inevitably happen to re-trigger my shame and embarrassment.

My anxiety over knowing I would have to do something I didn’t want to would threaten to engulf me, and I would once again be reminded that I was never going to be anything more than a commodity. A balm for another man’s bruised ego, threatened vulnerability, or misplaced anger. Because once the stage is set; once the scenery is primed by lack of consent, misogyny, broken trust, shame, and coercion there’s no such thing as free will. Once a society’s propaganda about gender roles, sexual expectations, and dominance are ingested you can’t really see any other choices. Not really.

And, I didn’t see any other choice. Oh sure, I was sexually “liberated” in that I was actively bisexual and a practicing polyamorist, was fluent in kink and BDSM, and would try just about anything that didn’t involve shit or fire. I was Good, Giving and Game. But almost every time, I felt like a prostitute, and not in the liberated, empowered way. I could feel something inside me twist in fear; my gut would feel sick, nauseous; my anxiety would spike and sometimes I would want more than anything to disappear or run away. Like a scared rabbit.

Or a violated child. Someone with zero agency or power.

I didn’t even know how wounded I was until Brendan and I began to actively use Holistic Peer Counseling (HPC) in our sexual relationship—I’ve written about how our using HPC techniques helped me begin reclaiming my sexual identity. Which was back in April of this year. We have since then remained committed to transparency, talking through, and embracing The Awkward during sex, and it has continued to deepen our connection to both one another and to our separate grounds. By which I mean we have learned to trust ourselves and one another to create an authentic connection in the moment, as opposed to believing we have to show up already turned on. We have found it increasingly easy to be grounded around and loving toward one another, even when the world and its inhabitants are sending us the chaotic and hateful.

I trust Brendan like I have trusted no other human on this planet. Ever. And there were still parts of me that couldn’t meet him. Didn’t trust him. Couldn’t surrender to the experience of our bodies communicating. Because those parts KNEW they would ultimately have to do something they didn’t want to: they would have to sacrifice their version of desire for his and then fulfill his desire by surrendering our body.

And then something happened. I had an experience so powerful and consciousness changing that I will literally never be the same again.

In addition to HPC, Brendan and I use ecstasy about once a quarter as a therapeutic relationship aid, which is actually what it was designed for in the first place. The ravers just knew a good thing when they found it. Each time we take it, the overall intensity of the effect and what we “get” out of the experience has increased; primarily, I believe, due to how we are changing and growing together, how we are healing ourselves. Because the ecstasy we get is tested regularly and pretty homogenous, so dosage variations significant enough to muddy the water are relatively unlikely.

This last time we took it was different from the start. We elected to ingest it orally as opposed to snorting it (which makes the onset much faster and harder to balance); we wanted to be embodied and to feel the effects occur more slowly so that we could find balance of attention with the sensations. We consciously set an environmental and emotional container for healing, connectedness, and loving compassion. What we didn’t realize until the next day was the level of alchemy we were conjuring into being.

Now, ecstasy is a great drug for having deep connected sex fueled by serotonin and oxytocin; it’s positively orgasmic in that your entire body feels alive and engorged, full of light and love. Ecstasy is not, however, a great drug for having a climax; in fact, unless you have access to a powerful vibrator and can get off from using one, chances are you’re just going to have to wait until the drug leaves your system sufficiently before you can finally experience that particular release. This means I can have a climax while high on ecstasy, but it takes a LOT of focused attention and the aid of a Hitachi Magic Wand. A fact that will come into play very shortly.

So, Brendan and I were having sex on ecstasy and it was amazing. I mean, like seriously connected, attuned, hot, wet, in almost-total surrender and animal-like abandon. We reached the point where it seemed like he was going to be able to climax, or at least wanted to try, and in that moment what I wanted more than anything was to feed his energy; to stoke it and follow it and add all the hot energy I was building to his fire; I wanted to follow him up and through his climax while still remaining totally aroused, totally present, in total devotion to his pleasure.

I remained in that space for a long time because, as noted, ecstasy makes it super hard for anyone to climax who doesn’t have a vibrator. So Brendan and I chased his climax for 15, 20, 30 (?) solid minutes—I don’t really know because time stands still when you’re high and on the knife-edge of pleasure like that. All I know is that I surrendered completely and I held back my climax for longer than I had ever imagined possible. It was excruciating and awesome and more agonizingly pleasurable than anything I’d ever felt. I was terrified by the power I could feel building inside me; afraid it might engulf me or maybe kill me. I wasn’t sure I could hold out.

And then, when it seemed impossible to wait any longer, he said he wasn’t going to be able to climax, and that I should. That he wanted me to push through and take that pleasure for myself. I will never be able to adequately describe what happened to me over the next minute or two, but it felt like my entire body became a clitoris; I had my first whole-body climax. For one solid minute, I inhabited every single cell of my body. And I sobbed. With my whole body and soul and core I sobbed; without censure or shame I wailed as waves of golden light passed through me.

Brendan knew Something Important was happening; he could feel the hugeness of the moment and so all the while I was thrashing and sobbing I could hear him intoning “Your Body, Your Body, Your Body, Your Body” while cradling my lower body in his arms rather like a wounded child. Which, in that moment, I absolutely was. Because in that moment I was finally able to grieve what I lost when my father touched my clitoris for selfish reasons. In that moment I felt again what it was like to be in my entire alive body all at once. I felt All of Me for the first time since early childhood; I was sovereign once again.

Brendan has been helping me uncover and identify my shadows for six years, even when it’s been excruciating for his own wounds, even when he was terrified he might die or I might abandon him. He has walked with, loved, guided, and re-parented me, and he didn’t flinch when it came time to meet my maker. He walked with me to that darkest of places and then stood by me while I opened that smallest of doors, that 4-year-old–size door where Little Chrissy hid all her pain, fear, and shame. Where she buried that ugliest of wounds so no one could ever see it and shame her for having been so gullible, so trusting.

He walked with me to that door and once it was open, he invited me to step inside, alone; to take for myself all the power and pleasure everyone else in my life had taken for themselves. He has been a fierce advocate for my wholeness and sovereignty because, by his own words, “I could never have given you what you built yourself.”

That was eight days ago. And every day since then, I’ve noticed two awesome and previously nearly-inconceivable things: I feel grounded without consciously thinking about grounding, and the voices in my head have mostly gone away. Except for one: the voice of Intuition. There are actually times when Intuition is the only voice I can hear. Sometimes for a few hours at a time. I don’t know about you, but for me this is literally the best thing that’s ever happened.

For the first time in my memorable life I trust what Intuition says because I can feel Her in alignment with my body and chakras. When I had that minute-long whole-body climax, all my chakras opened simultaneously and I believe I channeled pure healing energy directly from the earth and cosmos. I can’t explain it or rationalize it, and I don’t feel the need to one little bit. I touched the divine in myself as it is mirrored in the universe, and because of that I am now a manifestation of Sovereign Feminine.

I have integrated most of the pain and resistance I’ve always felt around surrendering to those I love, which means I can now be authentically intimate and loving with them—because I know with certainty where I begin and end. I can feel my boundaries vividly, can hear my Intuition clearly—and that means I’m no longer afraid of being coerced into doing something I don’t want to do. It means I trust Brendan to comfort me. It means I can ask for what I need. It means I can take care of myself. It means I can give myself wholly and creatively to playing with Avery in the moment. It means I know what I want, and when I actually identify those wants, I’m pretty certain there’s no part of me needing to please you in them.

It also means I can fully embody my calling and devotion to the healing that continues to arise through intimately parenting my son, re-parenting Brendan, and the continued parenting of Little Chrissy. The experience of having healed my mother wound, and now healing my father wound means I can be strong, vulnerable, and fierce for all of them without reservation, without fear or anxiety.

I didn’t consciously know it at the time, but starting this blog helped me reclaim my Voice. Trusting myself and Brendan to have the deepest, most intimate and awake, loving sex that we could at any given moment helped me reclaim my Intuition. This is the treasure I’ve been searching for my whole life and right now I feel rich beyond measure.


“When we mother the child within ourselves, we are cultivating an inner environment of safety and unconditional love that we did not experience in our childhoods. This heals the frozen energy of early trauma and brings our inner child into the present moment where her purity, innocence, vitality and creativity can be brought into our daily lives. […]

To step into our mastery, we must be increasingly sovereign over ourselves and our own energy. This means fiercely protecting your inner child and thus, allowing your inner life to be your priority. Your sovereignty is what allows you to fully flower and emerge into your full potential.” —Mothering Yourself Into Mastery: The Sovereign Feminine and Your Inner Wealth

 

Devoted to Intimate Parenting

Even though sexism has always decreed that boy children have more status than girls, status and even the rewards of privilege are not the same as being loved. –The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks


In·ti·ma·cy (noun):  (1) the state of being intimate. (2) a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. (3) a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc. (4) an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like. (5) sexual intercourse.

Our world, and particularly its children, suffers from a chronic and debilitating lack of intimacy. Now, before you get triggered and label my intentions criminal, I don’t mean intimacy as its usually marketed and understood by western culture; that is, conflated with sexual intercourse. I mean the vulnerable space that exists between two people who are bonded through choice and intention. The example I’m going to use throughout this post is #2 from the above definition: a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. So, when I use the term intimate parenting, you will come to know what I mean even as you may struggle with your reaction to what I’m describing.


What has been all but impossible to change is widespread cultural patriarchal propaganda. Yet we begin to protect the emotional well-being of boys and of all males when we call this propaganda by its true name, when we acknowledge that patriarchal culture requires that boys deny, suppress, and if all goes well, shut down their emotional awareness and their capacity to feel. –The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love


My husband, Brendan, and I parent our 4-1/2-year-old son, Avery, intimately. For us this means we choose to feel into the edgy, energetically-charged moments that occur as a natural course of interacting with a young child, and then model what healthy intimacy looks and feels like. Intimacy that isn’t conditional and doesn’t cross personal boundaries. Intimacy that isn’t filtered through the lens of patriarchy, which equates to disembodiment and disowning his feelings.

I would categorize our approach as a subset of peaceful or gentle parenting, which one source via Google search defines as: regulating our own emotions when dealing with our children and responding to problems with compassion. Based on that, I would define intimate parenting as:

Choosing to regulate my emotions when dealing with my son and responding to problems that arise with compassion instead of fear, shame, or punishment, always remembering that he is a human being worthy of love and respect.

During a late-night discussion with Brendan last week, I asked him what intimate parenting meant to him. His response was so good that I ended up recording the remainder of our conversation, and I’m going to include a condensed version of the portion that’s directly applicable to this topic since it beautifully explains our motivations and the container we seek to create as parents:

Parenting is a calling. Since what you’re called to is greater than you, you’re also called to develop skills you don’t have, to develop ways of being you don’t possess or yet have facility with. The process of becoming a better parent isn’t (or shouldn’t be) goal oriented; it’s context oriented and it’s ongoing. You won’t complete this task in an executive fashion and then stop because the experience goes beyond its immediate object (the child).

As part of our being committed to intimate parenting, we choose to devote our attention and express our calling in a way that recognizes there are parts of Avery that are eternally wise and divine. Those parts we’re speaking to in him can receive the love we’re giving, but they can’t return it in kind because they’re filtered through a 4-year-old’s understanding of the world. In essence, he can’t—without being trained and abused in traditional patriarchal ways—reciprocate our devotion.

By staying aware of our shame triggers and seeking balance, we can offer our love and attention from a position of devotion that recognizes his divinity without compromising his humanity. The devotion we’re offering him is appropriate to its object, which is a critical part of keeping the interaction both psychically clean and physically respectful. For example, fetishism is devotion inappropriate to its object, like making shoes into a god. In our case, Avery himself isn’t the object; it’s his divinity, which is the part we can relate to, can resonate with. That’s the part of him that we are nurturing and stimulating.

When we’re close to him, when we are lovingly intimate with him, and we can feel that humming in our chest? That’s resonance between his divinity and ours. As we attune to that, our divinity aligns with and comes into resonance with his divinity. So his becomes stronger, clearer, and develops more depth as we stimulate it in him. If we don’t, and it remains dormant for long enough, it will be disowned. He’ll have to reclaim it and endure the grief and loss process like we’ve both had to do.

What we’re trying to do is contradict the deeply damaging effects of patriarchy, to cultivate an alternative version of masculinity for Avery to embody—one that’s grounded in his body and his intuition. One that nurtures and cares, one that listens and understands, one that believes in its own worth and has a clear sense of identity. One that has no need to dominate or belittle or bully or rape anyone.


One of the tremendous failings of feminist theory and practice has been the lack of a concentrated study of boyhood, one that offers guidelines and strategies for alternative masculinity and ways of thinking about maleness. Indeed, the feminist rhetoric that insisted on identifying males as the enemy often closed down the space where boys could be considered, where they could be deemed as worthy of rescue from patriarchal exploitation and oppression as were their female counterparts. –The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love


So, intimacy and the direct modeling of it. Because if Brendan and I don’t model healthy intimacy, how is Avery supposed to know what it feels like when he encounters it in the adult world? If his child’s body is directed to deny its feelings, to suppress its need for love and affection, to react awkwardly and fearfully when someone tries to connect with him, then how can I possibly expect him to choose wisely? How can I entertain the hope that he will respect someone else’s boundaries; will consent to their wishes? How could he know what that looks and feels like if he’s never experienced it for himself?

A Child of White Privilege

Only by coming to realize how thoroughly racialized our white lives are can we begin to see the problem as ours, and begin to take action to help solve it. By remaining oblivious to our racialization we remain oblivious to the injustice that stems from it, and we remain paralyzed when it comes to responding to it in a constructive manner.  –Tim Wise from “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son”

Today is the day I out myself. The day I begin to acknowledge and take responsibility for all the ways in which I’ve benefited from an infrastructure based on white supremacy. This isn’t about guilt. It’s about owning the fact that I’ve been able to remain largely oblivious to the concrete realities of what occurs when people spend 350 years contributing to and blindly accepting a system of brutal oppression that elevates one group over the other based on the circumstance of their birth.

I’ve been ignorant because I could afford to be. I haven’t HAD to pay attention because I’ve been handed the Privilege of Obliviousness, which for me is one of the more distasteful perks to being a member of the dominant group: I get to be callous. My life has been spent in the company of white family and friends, entertained by white celebrities and story characters, educated in white schools, housed near white neighbors, employed by and working with white peers.

How could I truly see race when the only race I saw was my own?

Although we white Americans often think we’ve had few first-hand experiences with race, because most of us are so isolated from people of color in our day-to-day lives, the reality is that this isolation is our experience with race. –Tim Wise

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri served as the catalyst that’s finally begun pulling down my lenses and blinders. I do feel ashamed that I didn’t wake up before now, that the literally hundreds of injustices I’ve read about over my lifetime didn’t suffice, weren’t horrific enough to goad me into action, or at least into looking. But I’m also slowly getting that this line of thinking is exactly what’s expected of me as a racialized person: I’m supposed to think it’s my fault. That it’s some personal failing of me the individual that keeps me from standing up in solidarity with my fellow humans of color and using my privilege to enact change.

Being a racist in America isn’t a character flaw. It’s the inescapable consequence of having been born into a racialized society. And yet we throw the term racist at people as an insult, as something that others them from us, distances them, casts them out; when, in reality, most of us are racists to some extent. I was bred to be a racist just like you were, and it’s time to really let that sink in. All the way down to our marrow.

In the context of Holistic Peer Counseling, this is my chance to name my Racist Pattern and call it forth from the shadows. My chance to take a long, hard critical look at my thoughts and behaviors, and see them for what they are; to stop identifying with them. To stop listening to the “truths” my family and upbringing planted in my mind about who men of color are and what they want. To stop blaming people of color for their economic circumstances when the reality of how they got there has more to do with blatantly unfair advantages handed out to my ancestors.

Those who reap the benefits of past actions—and the privileges that have come from whiteness are certainly among those—have an obligation to take responsibility for our use of those benefits. –Tim Wise

Honestly, I’m damn tired of living in this filth; this inherited cesspool of inequity and blind entitlement that I had no hand in creating. This country where white supremacy mixes with a brutal class system, patriarchy, and Christian hegemony to create a reality where the people who should be allies fighting the real criminals are instead stuck waging war against one another.

This is just the beginning of the conversation for me and I’m only 1/4 of the way through the book from which I’ve collected the powerful quotes you see here. It’s my intent to flesh out and describe the particulars of my upbringing and how they informed my racism as it exists today, and I’ll be sharing that with you here as those stories develop.

I’m a fledgling anti-racist; my feathers not yet dry, my legs wobbly. But I have to draw a line in the sand and that begins here. I will no longer be silent or hide my anger at the injustices I see. I encourage you to join me. Because we may not have built this glass house we’re living in, but I believe it is our duty to start throwing some big goddamn rocks.

It’s about responsibility; not because we are guilty, but because we are here. Guilt is how you feel because of what you’ve done; responsibility is what you take because of who you are. –paraphrased from Pathology of White Privilege

——

Notes/Resources
As I gain momentum, I anticipate reading more books and perspectives on this topic, and I fully intend for those to include stories from people of color. Because I totally get the irony of beginning my anti-racist education by reading and quoting a white male exclusively. I’ll be amending this post to include more resources as I discover them. For now, I am personally recommending the work of Tim Wise.

[Added 10.13.14]
I’ve been reading more on this topic and can now recommend the following:

Fuck These Rose-colored Glasses

The last couple of weeks I’ve been noticing a treacherous behavior pattern/coping mechanism that I employ around virtually anything unpleasant, which I’ve taken to calling Let’s Make The Best Of It. I noticed it first in how I react to my husband’s chronic depression: basically, this bypass pattern is my attempt to deny the reality of his disease: to deny he has it; to deny how it hurts me when he’s in it; to try and sugarcoat the significant impact it has on his well-being, and our family as a result.

And then, once I had a clear picture of that specific manifestation, I started to see literally hundreds of times in my life when I’d employed this mental back-flip in an attempt to ignore the reality of my circumstances. Big things; small things; all-the-way-back-to-childhood things. Repeatedly donning a well-worn pair of rose-colored glasses in an attempt to believe the positive spin I hoped would develop; an attempt to deny what was actually going on in my world.

  • Mommy isn’t hitting me; she’s spanking me. Because I did something she told me not to do, but I didn’t listen
  • Male person isn’t raping me; he’s giving me the sex I advertised wanting by coming here and getting drunk.
  • My husband doesn’t have a disease that takes him away from me for weeks on end; he’s just having a bad time and if I could figure out the right thing to say, he would get better.

Does this sound at all familiar to you? Because given how Happiness Obsessed our culture is, I had a pretty hard time believing this was something unique to me. And then, just a few days after beginning to unravel this pattern, I was delivered some powerful corroborating evidence from the Womb of Light’s post The Most Insidious Forms of Patriarchy Pass Through the Mother:

In older generations, there was a belief in escape; a belief that we can pretend something painful doesn’t exist and it will simply go away. There was a belief that there would be a payoff for pretending. Many are discovering that payoff never comes. Subsequent generations of parents would say “I don’t want to screw up my kids the way I was screwed up by my parents” and think that was enough to prevent that from happening. Just knowing that you don’t want to pass along generational pain is not enough. It takes many, many years of focused inner work to stop cycles of inter-generational pain.

I learned Making The Best Of It from my mother and all the other women in my family; actually, some of the men, too. My family’s specific version of this was influenced heavily by their rock-solid Christian faith and attendant belief in Heaven as Reward. Basically, the world is pain and suffering, so don’t expect anything to go well here; instead, place all your hopes for a better life in the future. Everything will be awesome once we get to heaven.

My mother loved me in the ways she could given what was modeled for her. I know she wanted the best for me—and she had insufficient resources to make that actually happen in any meaningful way. Because she hadn’t done those many years of focused inner work before I arrived on the scene; how could she have? She was 21 years old when I was born, married to an abusive sociopath who had convinced her she was worthless (which didn’t take very much effort on his part), and already well steeped in patriarchal thinking.

Patriarchy is the social organization of a culture in which men hold more power than women. There is a common misconception that men are the only problem of patriarchy. Many continue to believe that only men perpetuate patriarchal thinking. However, women also perpetuate patriarchal attitudes.

Most of us learn patriarchal thinking in our families and it is usually taught unconsciously by mothers. This can be particularly damaging for daughters and their ability to flourish as empowered women because a mother’s treatment of her daughter gets internalized as her own sense of self. The patriarchal messages daughters receive from their mothers are more insidious and damaging than any of the cultural messages combined. Why? Because they come from the one person the daughter must bond with in order to survive.

The mother wound is a product of patriarchy. On a personal level, it is the mother’s projection of her own unhealed wounds on the daughter. And on the collective level, it’s the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that have resulted from generations of female oppression. Patriarchy distorts dynamics between mothers and daughters that leave both disempowered.

The patriarchal thread that runs through all dysfunctional dynamics between mothers and daughters is the demand for obedience in exchange for love. […] 

You will not be loved unless you obey.

I most certainly received this message and I bet you did to, to some degree, regardless of your gender. Because there’s no escaping it; not in this world, not how it’s currently constructed. Albert Einstein said No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it, and I believe that directly applies. What’s required of me—of us—to heal myself personally and ourselves collectively from the evil message that we won’t be loved unless we obey, is transformation. Recreation.

And so I continue chipping away at my Pattern Infrastructure; I seek out and pick apart all the ways that patriarchy manifests itself in me because I REALLY want to get some space. I want to elevate my consciousness sufficiently that I can prevent myself from perpetuating the mother wound and engendering it in my son. I want to rip off these rose-colored glasses and stomp them to smithereens while simultaneously flipping off all those who would try and stop me. Because my empowerment is a beacon not only for my mother’s opportunity to heal, but for all the generations of women in my line who never got the chance.