Don’t Worry About Me

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It was drizzling and cold, but I felt really alive. I ran anyway.

As I approached my local market a mundane thought came to me “It’s almost time for your annual PAP Smear.” What wasn’t mundane, was the overwhelming relief and joy this thought brought me.

When I realized I didn’t feel a pang of terror, I almost fell to my knees in overwhelming relief. Tears warmed my quivering cheeks. I was free.

My mother was severely abused as a child. Her stepfather raped her repeatedly until she was married off at 14. The darkest part about this story, was that her mother blamed her for being beautiful. For seducing her stepfather.

I know the feeling of being accused as a woman or a Jezebel. Pretty sure my mother used the term Jezebel. I was 9 years old.

It had been a tough year, but back then many of them were. I tried my best to bury myself in schoolwork and to prove my value and worth with straight A’s. At home, my mother was having another psychotic break. She was convinced that my father and I were having an affair under her nose. I was confused and terrified. I also didn’t really know what sex was.

I had to stand a trial in front of the Jehovah’s Witness elders, being asked all kinds of questions that made my throat tight and my stomach ice cold. They asked me all kinds of questions that felt really, really wrong.

In order for my father not to be arrested, I had to have a pelvic exam. My nine year old knees knocked together. I had no one to hold my hand or tell me everything was going to be okay. My mother waited with a look of hatred on her face “I know what you’re doing. It’s about to all come out.”

Once proven innocent, my father disappeared from my life. Not that he was really present before.

My mother would have spells of flashbacks and projections of her childhood, so I was not allowed to spend the night at peoples homes that had brothers or even be alone in the same room as my father.

I was ostracized at church and home never felt safe. I just had to hold out until I could be on my own.

Having my annual women’s checkup was a dark day each year. My opening would be so tense, that even with lubrication the speculum was white hot pain. I would cry, shake and sweat my way through it.

Years later, my sweet doctor in Dallas would have her nurse hold my hand the entire way through. Each time she’d pat my legs, speak gently to me, and be as quick as possible.

At 27, I was terrified of having a baby with my husband. Which was not logical, since we didn’t have sex. I made a decision to get an IUD and take control over my body as an adult. The nurse assured me that it was a painless procedure and I would be in and out in an hour. Except, those were under normal circumstances.

I was sweating profusely, my legs were shaking the entire table through the stirrups. After sharp and deep pains in my womb, I wept. Ugly tears, unladylike sounds. I laid on my side, and sobbed for 2 hours. The poor nurse held me as I shook and cried. They didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t know what to do with me. I tried my best to piece myself back together. That day I thought I was mourning the first step of the end of my marriage. I had no idea that it was linked to years of held trauma from a scared 9 year old girl.

It never occurred to me that it wasn’t normal to panic at the idea of a pelvic exam. I also couldn’t engage in sex sober without having crippling anxiety. I had to first heal my body. I started a yoni egg practice the same time as my girlfriend.

While she was having incredible orgasms and doing tricks, I was in intense emotional pain and having flashbacks of trauma and bad experiences. I still didn’t realize that I had undergone extreme abuse and sexual agony. All I knew was that I didn’t love myself, but I had so much love in me.

I was holding so much anger for my father. He never protected me, he didn’t know me.

For so long I only saw myself as alone and broken. My father was never present, and then all of a sudden he wanted to hold my hand and show affection. I realized that it was after my marriage he finally felt safe enough to show me love. That his wife was no longer going to point fingers of perversion or darkness at him. He was free to love me. I finally forgive him, and it feel so good. I didn’t know.

 

Astral Travel

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As I sit among the stars, seeing my little body kneeling by the sea, I knew this was so much bigger than me.

There is an old story in my family that my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother was a brave woman. She was born in Russia and lived there with her two boys and husband. She was washing clothes in a creek when her and the other women were surrounded by Mongolian soldiers. The women were taken for sex slaves. My ancestor stood her ground and refused to submit. As punishment, the Mongols cut her wrists in public view. Slowly letting her bleed to death.

The significance of this story speaks volumes for the women in my family. Our joy has bled out onto the dirt.

We tie our joy to our family, our martyrdom, our submission. We cannot hold our joy and let it grow.

There is so much darkness in my mother’s family line. Many of the stories are long buried. Incest, predators, alcoholism, violence, sickness.

My mother was married off at 14. My sister at 19. Myself at 23.

Years of abuse. Submission. Pain. Acceptance.

It was as if we put ourselves in these situations, keeping the cycle of our ancestors. Not knowing a way out. I find parts of myself clinging to the comfort of being told who I am and what I should do. The reason I couldn’t completely push my father’s influence away or not panic at the idea of structuring my life according to my needs.

Then a voice in me said “No more”.

I was being lead to Croatia and I had no idea why. I came to Split with no plan, no cash. Just a feeling, an instinctual pull.

September 30, I brought an offering of fruit to the sea. I called on Lakshmi, Venus, my ancestors and guides. I chanted and prayed under a gray sky. The clouds were thick, the water choppy and intimidating. I called out to God to release me from my pain, my traumas, my fears, my doubts. Holding onto the nearest rock, I submerged myself and felt the salt water undulate around me. Through me. When I came out, I felt raw and tender- with new skin.

At that moment the sun began to warm me. I was comforted in this newness, held by a beautiful light.

The next day is a new moon in Libra. I should mention that I am a Libra. I spent an entire day searching for the ancient Roman temple of Venus, having trouble since I cannot read Croatian, or a map for that matter.

I decided I would see a band the night of the new moon at Cafe Lvxor. Through a series of events, I found the very spot I ate dinner was on top of this ancient temple.

Sitting by candlelight, breathing in the feeling of this sacred place, I was surprised with a subtle darkness. This wasn’t a place of fierce feminine power and reverence. It was secretive, obedient. I felt a sadness for the women that were forced to serve at this temple.

That night I dreamt I was a great tree. My feet and legs were roots, deep into the earth. Within my trunk was a warm, golden light. A deer curled up beneath me and squirrels raced through my thick branches. This image gives me so much comfort.

I connected with a healer in California that also touched on an image of a tree, said that great healing for the world was coming through me and gave me a beautiful rose ritual to do under the moonlight.

After a day of preparation, I made my way to the sea in the dark. My fear of not being able to see immediately left when I realized how many stars were watching me and how bright the thumbnail moon had become.

I cried out for my family. A lineage of heartache, violence, cages. I cried out for my friends, my clients. I cried for women across time. For the women forced to serve, to hide their chaos and wildness.

I had infused red roses with prayers for healing, love, mercy, reclamation. As I spread them into the sea and called upon Divinity, there was an answer.

I was in the stars, without a body. Seeing myself chanting on a rock below, bowing to the water.

It wasn’t just about my family. It was healing for all women. The universe has started the cure. Not only for women- for men, children and the Earth itself.

It is important. Women are too important.

It is so much easier to take a job that has strict rules and a schedule. It is so much easier to join a church with a book telling me how to dress and act, what my goals are. It’s hard fighting against the current, and even my own beliefs.

I’ve been known to retreat. Shut my phone off for days at a time, lock myself in my apartment. Then she came. This voice deep inside of me that said “What if?”.

I began exploring possibilities of what my life could be. Then a solid “So what” surprised me one day after I was beaten down and misunderstood. Today I can look any man in the eye and say “Yes. This.”

I am coming back to New York 10,000 years younger and 1,000 pounds lighter.

It may not be a revelation to you, but for me it changes everything. Time was not healing my wounds. Love did. An ancient part of myself started to wake up and guide my life. She started off as a whisper, and now she’s a fierce growl.

For my sister, my mother, my grandmother, my nieces. The abuse and handling, the dissolution of power stops. Our family is healed. We rise up as powerful women. We are light, we are love, power and healing. We are successful, wealthy, compassionate. Wild and tender. Today is mine. Ours. I call out for healing of all my sisters and friends. For every woman going forward that I will meet. I promise to cherish every breath. To nurture and appreciate my body. To detach from outcomes and expectations.

I forgot that I am a powerful being. The moon and I are from the same atoms. The sea and I are from the same spark. I am not afraid of death- it’s an opportunity. I do not regret or worry, this is much bigger than me.

 

 

Fear Driven

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Can I listen to myself?

“Focus on what kind of person you want to be and the rest of what you want will fall into place.”

My advice to a young college student when I noticed him admiring my new BMW.

“I’m going to have 2 badass cars once I finish dental school.” He replied, not picking up on my message.

“I’m about to trade in my badass car for my happiness.”

 

And I did. I left my twin turbo, shiny BMW in Dallas and went after my life. Sometimes the things I have weigh me down from my truest desires.

I knew that when I moved to New York I would have to significantly downsize my closet(S). Clothes and shoes had been for so long an immediate break from my suppressed life. I longed for intimacy and sex, so I bought Prada loafers. No one knew my guilt for not wanting my life, Burberry trench coat. I was so numb inside I could no longer cry myself to sleep, Marc Jabobs handbag.

There was so much anxiety involved when I thought of giving up my things. “How would I dress?” “What would people think of me?”.

Thank god those voices vanished as I sold and donated my collection. I had to make room for my new life, whatever that was.

My husband and I never slept in the same bed.

It wasn’t something I longed for, because I never had it. Dating, he lived in Dallas and I lived in Houston. Even when he would come to visit, we were always with friends or drinking late night.

I had wild dreams of us finally living in the same city and having a sweet love affair. Except, I got to Dallas and that never happened.

Shortly after he proposed we began avoiding each other. This was easy since he worked nights and weekends.

One period, he did make an effort to get into bed before I woke up for my day. It was strange and forced.

Once we broke up I was terrified of sleeping beside someone. I’d probably hate it. What if  I didn’t hate it? What if I couldn’t sleep without it? What if it went away?

My girlfriends and I were at a concert, knowing a certain person that I liked would be there. After, we ended up at the same house party. I turned to my friend and said “What if I made out with him?” So she invited him back to her place.

After kale with fried eggs and hours of YouTube videos, my girlfriend finally went to sleep. He immediately grabbed my face and kissed me fiercely. It was exactly what I had been craving. A couple of hours later, he wanted to cuddle up and sleep on the sofa.

I panicked. This was too much for me. I can’t.

As soon as he drifted to sleep, I scrambled to the floor and had the worst nights’ sleep on my friends living room rug.

If he thought it was weird, he didn’t say.

A couple of weeks later, I decided I wanted to have sex with this man. We exchanged sexy texts, flirted when we saw each other in public.

I got a message to meet him at the Old Monk for a beer. He introduced me to his friends, kept his hand on my leg.

Then leaned down and whispered “Come home with me.” So I did.

After sex, he went to the bathroom to wash up and I immediately grabbed my clothes. There was no way I could sleep over.

As I tied my shoe he ran over, lifted me off of the ground and sat me on his bed “What is it?”.

After talking for sometime and another round of sex, I decided to try it. I fell asleep on his chest. I loved it. It was warm and sexy and comfortable. It didn’t change me.

When I sleep in my bed alone there is no pining. I’m not broken. I can allow the good without an unrealistic fear of losing myself.

I love sleeping alone, I also love sleeping next to a man I adore.

Fear is no longer driving. I will continue jumping in to my fears until they dissolve or I completely understand them.

Whether that’s allowing pleasure, traveling to a new country, or selling everything and moving to New York with no job or plan- my life is much fuller when I lead myself in love. I love myself so much that I don’t want to miss an experience.