Today, I read a great post by the awesome sexual health writer August McLaughlin in which she responded to a HuffPo piece about why couples need to schedule sex — with one of the reasons being to boost the man’s ego. In her response piece, August gives her reasons why a couple might not want to have regularly scheduled sex — she advocates having sex when you want to, and her points regarding that particular HuffPo scenario are solid. Women should not feel compelled to have sex just to soothe a man’s delicate ego. We put up with enough of that outside the bedroom. But the concept of scheduled sex actually ties in to my own orgasmic practice and my approach with helping others realize their orgasmic potential.
I wholeheartedly endorse regularly scheduled sex, especially at the beginning of a relationship, as long as both people enter the process honestly and equally. When a couple has made the leap from hand-holding to sex, there is so much to learn about each other’s bodies. The newness of the relationship should make arousal very easy with all those lovey-dovey hormones drowning your brain in bliss-vibes. Once the relationship is established, life and work and kids tend to take priority. That alone is a great reason to have regularly scheduled sex-time, to make sure you have that consistent connection that centers you both back to why you’re together in the first place.
And before dissenters blast me with “But sex shouldn’t be the basis of the relationship!” Well, then, you’ll have to explain 500 million years of evolutionary procreation and a big chunk of human biology, anthropology, psychology, and sexology. Sex is imperative to a good relationship, and at the foundation of both sex and the relationship is communication. Bad sex can often be attributed to bad communication. And even if you can’t have traditional sexual activity due to a disability or medical condition, there are alternatives; so yes, persons with disabilities can have enjoyable, satisfying sexual experiences. My point is that lovemaking can improve with regularly scheduled “training sessions”, or as I call them, “awakening sessions”. (Remember, part of the definition of “arouse” is “to awaken”.)
Sex with yourself as well as with a new partner should be scheduled to happen on a regular schedule, preferably daily. Unless you’re blessed to have an Orgasm Faery guarantee your arousal and climax, regular sexual activity is required to keep the body in orgasm-mode. The intent of the “awakening sessions” is to awaken the body and your capacity for increasing your orgasmic response.
The word “orgasm” comes from the Greek orgasmos and means “to swell”, therefore true orgasm is NOT the sudden release at the end of arousal. Technically, orgasm is happening throughout arousal with the climax being a sudden swelling and release of muscular tension. For many, this release is very physical, but for some this release is full-body and emotional as well. This is most confusing for men, who associate orgasm with ejaculation, even though these are different actions from different parts of the autonomic nervous system. High school sex education classes still teach that men “must” orgasm to expel semen for procreation. This is wrong — ejaculation is required for expelling sperm. Ask any man who’s ever needed Viagra, and he can tell you that orgasmic pleasure and ejaculation are not necessarily one and the same. (But that is a whole other blog post.) Because of the misperception of what orgasm actually is, men especially miss out on many orgasms during the arousal period because they don’t know to separate the subtle orgasm response from the explosive ejaculatory reflex. Men who have mastered non-ejaculatory climax orgasms love being able to have multiple climatic orgasms in one lovemaking session.
This brings me to another point. Get rid of the goal of orgasm. Men are taught to be very goal-oriented, which is why they can miss so many good feelings during the journey to climax. Men also are under the incorrect myth that women have more capacity for sexual arousal and more orgasms than men. This is not true on the subtle body level. Men have the same capacity as women for hours of orgasmic bliss, especially if the man has learned ejaculation control. If so, the whole session is a swelling of pleasure, wave after wave of orgasms, and multiple climatic experiences with no refractory period necessary. The orgasms just keep building until he’s ready to stop.
But how do you get to that point of awakening? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. How do you work that practice into your busy life? Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Because I come from a Tantrik perspective, I am an advocate of regular, scheduled practice for a number of reasons but mainly because awakening the subtle body is a meditative practice for me.
Orgasm is a learned response, and your body needs regular practice to become proficient. Yes, there are times when orgasm happens by itself, but that is not the case for most women, considering so many women have never orgasmed during penetrative sex. Orgasm is a dual response: the physical body and the subtle body. Most men know how to jerk off, and most women know how to rub their clit to soreness. That does not ensure an ecstatic experience. I think we’ve all experienced at some time or another the physical orgasm that was just located to the genitals, and we somehow felt disappointed.
Today, in fact, is the day my daughter heads back to school, and I am finally alone at home again, something I don’t have on a regular basis when school is out for summer. Every summer since my initial awakening, my practice is minimal to non-existent due to privacy issues (thin walls … I’m loud). During these nearly three months of little to no practice, I can most definitely tell a difference in my arousal levels, my “swelling” responses, and the intensity of my climaxes. I still have spontaneous orgasms and my stealth O’s, but going nearly three months without my super-orgasms is like being accustomed to a daily round of the 1812 Overture but having to settle for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead. Not cool! Thank goddess, school is back on!
No one would tell a wannabe concert pianist that he should practice only when he really has the urge to play. He would never become proficient enough to call himself a concert pianist, much less to play a gig at Carnegie Hall without dedicated, routine practice. When it comes to orgasms, we have to practice regularly, learning how to play our body as an instrument of pleasure the way a musician plays a piano or oboe or guitar with expertise and ease.
As I teach my clients, the subtle body is the real wonder when it comes to orgasmic fulfillment. But awakening the subtle body requires specific steps done repeatedly and routinely over a span of time. Yes, you schedule your orgasm-awakening sessions the same way you schedule your daily shower or your gym workout or having dinner ready by a certain time. Have your sessions at the same time, preferably daily, but at least three times per week, and under the same circumstances. As with any exercise, routine repetition allows the body and more importantly THE MONKEY MIND to know, “Oh, we’re doing this now. Okay,” and settling into that higher bliss state begins to happen more quickly and more effortlessly. Then, when you’re in the moment with a partner, you have a reference for where you want to be in your arousal and you can get there more quickly — you’ve done your practice, practice, practice, and now you’re ready for Carnegie Hall. Orgasm becomes not just one major release, i.e., climax, but a true swelling of sensations and experiences that grow and expand exponentially for hours if you want, until you’re ready to come down from that higher bliss state; and even then the long, slow descent can be as throbbing, undulating, and breathtaking as the journey upward.
When we do not practice our sexual-ness and sensual-ness and awakening-ness in a dedicated, routine practice, our sexual response lessens. Regular arousal can even lessen. Arousal and even vaginal fluid are dependent upon hormones; if you neglect keeping your hormones happy, your hormones won’t be there to keep you happy.
For most people, their sexual “practice” is sporadic, and yet they expect Carnegie Hall-worthy orgasms to result. And when the arousal and/or the climax is less than what was hoped for, people often turn to other means of artificially increasing the odds via vibrators and/or porn, neither of which helps your body awaken to its own amazing potential. Vibrators can damage the nerves, and porn keeps you in your fantasies in your head when your focus should be entirely on your body and the awakening responses to stimulation.
For a couple, scheduling regular awakening sessions can be a much-needed time to learn each other’s bodies. After all, do you automagically know what to do with a penis if you’ve never had lots of time to play with one? Do you know what to do with a vagina if you’ve never had a languid evening to explore inside one? An awakening session is for the awakening — orgasm may or may not happen. However, the more you do it, the more likely spontaneous orgasms will be a regular part of the experience. This greatly benefits the orgasmic response during lovemaking as well as deepening the bond between partners. No stress, just exploration and awakening. Though, I would be very surprised if such juicy exploration and discovery didn’t lead to sex. (Enjoy!)
In some Tantric traditions, scheduling sex on a daily basis is an important part of learning and growing and sharing. Some teachers have clients set aside a week or 14 days or even 21 days to do nothing but make love. If they aren’t going to the bathroom or eating a meal, they’re making love. There is something deeply intimate and intense that happens when you are that committed to being so connected with another person. For most people, this kind of “sexcation” is impossible to arrange, but it is possible to schedule that hour per day when it’s just the two of you: awakening, sharing, and loving.
Approach the awakening session as an active meditation. Allow and receive. Let the subtle body do its thing. Relearn what it means to orgasm and feel pleasure. Soon, you’ll have orgasms while walking down the street, shopping at the grocery store, standing in line at the post office. You’ll have laugh-gasms, heart-gasms, foot-gasms, scalp-gasms, face-gasms, arm-gasms, soul-gasms, and more-gasms — all of which will enrich your lovemaking as a couple. As you progress with your daily, scheduled practice, you will learn a whole new respect for the wisdom of the body as it takes you to levels of pleasure that are unimaginable until you actually experience them. Have you ever had a climatic orgasm so powerful, you could feel that you were the universe? You could feel all of eternity with your fingertips? I have. And you can, too.
Now, get out your calendar and commit to daily awakening sessions for at least a week, but preferably for one month. You’ll be amazed how you’ve grown orgasmically in so short a time!
Aroused and practicing,
Today is June 21, 2014, and it marks 18 years since I self-initiated as a witch. The ritual took place in my backyard with a number of fellow witch-friends in attendance, along with too many mosquitoes and June Bugs to count.
I had been on this road to witchdom for a couple of years, having searched for a spiritual tradition that was in keeping with my ancient Gaelic ancestors. I was even in a coven for a while, but their tradition was American eclectic and had way too much Wicca and ceremonial hogwash for my tastes. Unofficially, I had been on this path my whole life; it had only been a couple years prior to my self-initiation that I had begun to take on the mantle of witch and pagan.
As I related in my Samhain post, being a witch in reality is nothing like what TV and movies pretend it is. “Witch” is usually used as an insult, particularly against women. This past Samhain, I bought a sign that says, “You say I’m a Witch … like it’s a bad thing.” And for me, the word “witch” is utterly fabulous.
The word witch is thought to derive from a Germanic root word that alternately can mean “to be strong” and/or “to know” or “to be wise”. The term witch was used to refer to the local wise woman, the woman who knew the healing arts, midwivery, burial preparations, and often, relationship advice. Witches were the keepers of arcane knowledge from birth to death, and that scared the men in charge of Europe’s misogynistic religion and governments. Insecure men have always feared women’s ability to create life, and that fear was never greater than in the centuries of patriarchal rule before modern science could explain some of the mysteries of human biology.
I have often said that someday I hope to be able to call myself, fully, a witch — to truly be a wise woman. I’ve found that it takes much more than just calling yourself a witch to actually be a true witch. I’m not talking about covens and initiations either. You’re a person who strives to live in a wise way, a beauty way, the “Red Road”, according to the laws of Nature and Karma, or you don’t.
Many arguments can be made over who is a real witch and who isn’t. That’s another reason I left a coven and ventured out on my own. I just wanted to do what felt right to me and was in keeping with my Irish and Scottish heritage. Along the way, I’ve studied many religions, and I’m particularly smitten with the teachings of Indian religions as they pertain to enlightenment, reincarnation, and expansion of universal consciousness. While I will call myself an Energist, for reasons I’ll explain in another post, there is no actual name for what I do — it’s just Trish Witchyness.
Recently, an instructor from Pittsburgh University interviewed me for some doctoral work he is doing. He wanted to know about my spiritual path and how I do my “thang” as a solitary witch. We talked for several hours over the course of a few days, and it was a great conversation that brought back many memories along my journey.
I recounted a tale from when I was a child, about seven years old, when my mother wanted me to stop making mud pies in the backyard to get ready for church. I asked why we had to go to church. She said it was to worship god in his house. I asked her why we had to go to church to worship god because a church was made by men while the earth and water I was concocting into mud pies was actually made by god. Furious that I was questioning her religious bullshit, she growled for me to get inside and get cleaned up, and away to man’s building we went.
When I was nine, I was forced to become Catholic. I knew instinctively the church was evil. Maybe it was a past-life memory of being burned at the stake or something … or being an observant child, I could see through the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Catholic church when my mother, the recreational martyr, fell for all of it hook, line, and sinker. One day when I was 10, I asked one of the priests, “Which is worse: always to believe and never to question, or always to question and never to believe?” He sputtered, clearly unable to answer me, then a moment later began spewing some dogmatic drivel that I could tell even he knew was inadequate.
I hated the Catholic church, I hated my mother, I hated Catholic school, I despised it all. When I was 17, I graduated from Catholic school, and I vowed never to return to the church. I almost did not attend my best friend’s wedding because it was a wedding mass. So was my sister’s.
At age 17, my life changed when I met an American Indian ballet dancer at a major competition. His poetry about his spirit animal connected directly to the heart of me. But I’m not Indian. He suggested I begin searching for answers with my heritage, and so my journey into the incredible world of the Gaelic people and spirituality began. I knew I was home as I learned more and more about pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. Even with the invasion of Christianity on the Gaelic peoples, many of the traditional stories and customs had survived. Considering how much of the pagan culture was absorbed and outright stolen by the Christian church, finding the links back to pre-Christian European spirituality is doable and documentable.
When I was 21, I volunteered with a ballet company in New Orleans. One day, I decided to go inside a huge cathedral — St. Patrick’s, I think it was. I went to one of the last pews and knelt. And waited. And waited. And waited. I looked around. Nothing. I bowed my head. Nothing. I looked at the shiny brass and gold trinkets, and the porcelain statues, and the stained glass, and the wooden reproduction of Jesus on the cross. And felt nothing. I began crying. Because I felt nothing. I left. Still crying. I wanted to belong somewhere, and this was never going to be it.
I didn’t have a name for what I was or what I believed at that time. About a year later, a theatre friend asked if I’d heard of Wicca. I hadn’t, but when I looked into it at the library and bookstore (this was pre-internet), I resonated with some of what I read, but not all of it. Some of Wicca seemed as regimented and hierarchical as the dogmatic church I despised. Turns out that Wicca was founded by two former Anglicans. And as another friend used to joke, “Episcopal is just Catholic with an ‘E’.”
It was that journey (and the dawn of the internet) that allowed me to find other soul-path querents who go by many names: Wicca, Witches, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Druids, Eclectic, Ceremonial Witches, Asatru, etc. Too many to list. The coven didn’t work out, but it allowed me to see what I didn’t want on my path. I left in the Spring, and it was that Summer Solstice that I held my self-initiation in my backyard on June 21, 1996.
Walking the witchy path has not been easy, especially considering I live in Mississippi. Being “out of the broom closet” has been a challenge from Day 1. I have endured personal taunts and threats, rude comments left on my vehicle (thanks to my “Born Again Pagan” bumper sticker) whenever I went to the store, work, the post office, the gas station. I even lost a job because I wasn’t Christian. But like any other closet a person chooses to come out of, being free trumps being a slave to the ignorance of others, especially here in the Bible Belt.
I composed a musical, Witchcraze, to correlate the terrorizing good ol’ boys of the Bush regime with the torturous witch trial masterminds of 1692 Salem. Having studied in depth the arrest warrants, the trial transcripts, and the re-trial transcripts, I can say for a fact that nothing I have endured comes close to what was done to the women of previous centuries, when “witch” was a label that carried heinous torture and a death sentence.
So, I’m a witch. And I’m a pagan. And an Energist. And a tarot card reader. And a Libra. And a Tatrika and yogini. And a composer, and a nerd, and a bookworm, and a Democrat, and a Streisand devotee, and a single-mom, and a wannabe chef and cafe-owner, and a kettlebell enthusiast, and I’m right-handed. Pick any of those labels, and someone is going to have a problem with me because of how they perceive that word and what they think it stands for.
I am a writer: a lover of words and sounds and syllables. I know what “witch” means, and to me, witch is a beautiful word. Witch is a sacred word. Witch is a word women (and men) have died for, and it is a word I choose for my goal in this lifetime: to be a wise woman, to be a strong woman, to live a life of expansion and understanding. Most of all, hearing or seeing the word witch makes me feel something. I feel a connection to all the women (and men) who defied oligarchical, elitist oppression to live and die free as freethinkers and religious and political dissenters. And that makes my activist heart proud.
Aroused and witchy,
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by Trish Causey
Originally published on my Trish4Congress’ blog.
In February 2014, I entered this race because the idea of Steven Palazzo running unopposed made me nauseous. As an activist, I knew little of the inside political arena. I couldn’t get much help because there was a possibility of other candidates putting in and those with the Party didn’t want to show favoritism. I understood that. So I did the best I could with what I had and what I felt was right. I was just going to be me. And I knew this was uphill. My daughter even asked if I were going to vote for myself, and I said, “Of course. It might be the only vote I get.”
I wanted to run because the idea of the same (or yet another) GOP puppet having control over legislation that affects my body and my bedroom just pissed me off. I wanted to run for office because I wanted to see if there were other progressives like me, stranded on dwindling life-rafts in this deep, scary Red GOP Sea. I have always loved my home state of Mississippi, but I have never fit in. I’ve wanted to be on Broadway since I was 11, and I’ve wanted to “Be the Change” since I was 13. These two divergent paths have always been at the core of what I wanted to do with my life. So my life didn’t follow the usual “script” that so many other people followed. Yet, every chance I had to leave Mississippi, I didn’t; I stayed. Except for three months I lived in Memphis, and it was just like Mississippi.
My love of Broadway musicals led me to create Musical Theatre Magazine. My activism led me to create ArousedWoman, a site, blog, radio show, and an upcoming project all of which focus on women’s issues and women’s rights. “Arouse” means “to stir to action, to awaken”, and I felt it was perfect for my activism for women’s rights. ArousedWoman(TM) was borne out of the horrible misogyny of the 2012 campaigns that gave rise to Romney, and “legitimate rape”, and “binders full of women”, et al. With Palazzo’s horrible voting record, I had to do something, so in 2013, I began throwing around the idea of running for Congress. Years ago, I used to make the joke, “When I’m Governor of Mississippi…” and explain some egregiously progressive, liberal change I would enact to benefit the People and support social justice. In September 2013, ” When I run for Congress…” was becoming a reality, and one that I liked very much.
I had to raise the money for the $200 candidate fee because I am a poor single mom, the epitome of the “struggling artist”. In 2011, I worked as a writer for two companies in New York, but I lost one job to the economy later that year and lost the other to reorganization in July 2013. Since then, I have worked hard to build my theatre magazine from scratch. I live below the poverty line. For the most part, it’s okay. My daughter and I live very simply — no car, no TV. The only time it is hard is when my daughter needs extra money for a field trip at school — that kind of thing has to be budgeted in. Or when my daughter wants to do something after school but can’t unless she can find a ride because I can’t pick her up.
When I say, I understand what Mississippians are going through, I actually mean it.
After I put in for my candidacy, an email was sent out to local Dems, looking for a “well-funded, viable candidate”. This incensed me at the time, but as I introduced myself to more and more people, the first two words out of their mouths were always, “What’s your platform, and how much money do you have?” I soon learned that the entire conceivability to win was based on money. Raising money is not something I wanted to do. I raised a little and felt guilty doing it.
Every day, I wanted to quit because the more I learned about politics — even on this level — was disturbing and disappointing. Frankly, it seemed pointless because there are political machinations in play that cannot be undone single-handedly. But then someone would reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter and say how glad they were to see me running. And so every day, I had renewed energy for the idea of the process, while I rather loathed the process itself.
Because I am not financially invested in politics or the projects that politicians bend rules to protect or instigate, I felt a freedom to be me. I said what I felt and how I felt it. I am an activist and an artist, after all. I’m accustomed to my First Amendment privileges. Some people were taken aback by that. Someone in politics saying what they actually feel? Quelle surprise!
Things were going swimmingly as I ran my campaign by myself, until politics itself reared its ugly head. My opponent, the current candidate for the general election, made strange, passive aggressive comments about me on his Facebook page, but I had only met him a few days prior. As one Facebook viewer commented, he seemed to be taking cues from Palazzo. So it was very disheartening to see this sort of political play within the Democratic campaign. Silly me. I thought the dirty stuff wouldn’t happen until one of us went up against the GOP candidate. He deleted the comments, but I took screen shots, so I have it on record.
Fast forward to the past few days in which people all over the Democrat and left leaners’ Facebook pages were debating whether to vote Democrat or cross over to sink Palazzo by voting for Taylor in the Republican primary. It has been a whirlwind of hypotheses on which would result in a better outcome…. because apparently Democrats voting for Democrats is deemed unnecessary by some.
There were many angry words within the Democrats the past week or so, and this likewise was sad to see. Every single rights’ group I have ever worked with has fallen apart due to in-fighting: name-calling, labeling, inability to understand another’s perspective. Why do you think the right-wing is so successful? They are united in their narrow focus of protecting their power and their wealth for their little bubble. Activism caves in to in-fighting for the very quality that makes activists so strong — our diversity! Of course, we will disagree! We have so many diverse backgrounds and experiences that we have many choice personal stories to engage and learn from. THAT is the ONLY way we will ultimately defeat the united front that is the GOP.
Even with the Tea Party faction finally losing its stranglehold on the “stupid party”, the GOP is still rich and powerful. Instead of using our differences against each other, we should use our different but equal experiences as bricks in a foundation on which to build up our activist groups. THAT is how we create change that will rise up through society to our government. Government does not exist to be proactive for the People. The politicians are representatives; they take their cues from We, the People. And when We, the People don’t give a rat’s ass to vote or are too busy arguing amongst ourselves within our little groups, the united stupid party wins and the People lose.
Which brings us to tonight’s results for the 2014 midterms’ primary election for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. Democrats reportedly crossed over to vote for Taylor, while Republicans crossed over to vote for my opponent. I will consider this to be a sign the Republicans were scared that someone like me could whip Palazzo’s ass in the general.
When the final tally came in, I had 44.6% of the vote. I wish I had had enough votes to go to the general, but that is not to be.
I have to remember that for most of these voters, I came out of nowhere just 4 months ago. I’ve been told that my running in this election has changed the political landscape of Mississippi. I’ve been told that my running has encouraged other progressives and liberals in my district to be more outspoken, now that they know they are not alone in this Red Sea.
I have to remember that I am unlike ANY candidate who has ever run for Congressional office in Mississippi. I was up front about my ArousedWoman activism, and my bisexuality, and my non-Christian, pagan beliefs. AND I AM A WOMAN. And I got a whopping 44.6% of the votes. Just today, I got calls from people in Taylor’s home turf, Hancock County, to tell me how glad they were to be able to vote for me.
At 44.6% (4,848 votes), I guess I did okay for a loudmouth, non-Christian, bisexual, pagan female candidate in Mississippi. Is this Red Sea looking a little purple, now?
I’ve already been asked if I will run for State office next year. If I recall, the people in my area really like their State legislators. But here is what you need to know….
I learned a lot from this process. I already knew that every major change in our society began with a grassroots movement within the People. Change trickles UP, not downward. And now I know why. The People must be awakened in order for government to awaken to the needs of the People (remember, “to stir to action, to awaken”?). As long as half the People are asleep in their bubble, the rest of us will suffer for their narrow-minded bigotries, while they decry our refusal to settle for oppression at the hands of crony capitalism, religion-infused politics, and good-ol’-boy games.
If I run for another office, I will be even MORE loud and proud about my activism for women. I will be even MORE persistent with fighting for equality and non-discrimination. And I will be even MORE up-in-your-face about saving Mississippi from the tentacles of the rabid GOP monstrosity that seeks to pull us under every time we catch a gasp of air in this Red Sea.
I will NEVER back down from the GOP’s misogyny, racism, homophobia, and selfish egotism. EVER.
If you want to support my activism, make a tax-deductible donation to my radio show.
But don’t ask me to run unless you’re really ready for my brand of full-throttle activism.
Until then, I love you all. Thank you so much for your love and support.
I’m still recuperating from the end of the campaign (i.e., catching up on rest). I’ve been staying up late on Facebook and Twitter as things wind down and going to bed around 6 a.m., then waking up around 9 a.m., facebooking and tweeting almost immediately. The outpouring of support is as amazing now as it was during the campaign.
I just posted here on AW my last blog post from my campaign blog, since I will not be renewing that blog when the time comes. I think it is important for people to know what it is like to run a political campaign and why it is so hard for “the little guy” to win.
I’m still processing everything, and getting back to my own projects of Musical Theatre Magazine and doing the interviews for my upcoming AW project. And being a single mom. And filling out my new FASFA for school in the Fall.
Locals have been stopping me about town, telling me they voted for me, and asking will there be a next time. So here are a few tips I’d like to share with voters who say they want things to change:
- Your vote matters. People need to understand just how important their vote is and not succumb to “why bother” syndrome.
- You are not alone. You’re not the only one who is desperate for things to change, so don’t be afraid to speak up. You KNOW the RWNJ’s will speak up. You have that right as well.
- Change starts from within. Until more people change on the microcosmic level of humanity we won’t have change on the macrocosmic level of government. Period.
Gandhi’s advice, “Be the change”, really is the key. You have to be the change in your own life before you can change your family. You and your family have to be the change before you can change your neighborhood. Your neighborhood has to change before you can change your community. When your community has the strength to speak up and demand change, then we can have the change we need on the larger scales of society and government.
And not until then.
If you’re a woman, this is especially important. Women were not “given” the right to vote. Women FOUGHT for the right to vote in this country. Women protested, organized, marched, and fought for the right to have a voice in our government. These women were also harassed, beaten, set on by police dogs, imprisoned, and some died for the right to be a part of this governmental process. Do not disrespect these women and their struggle because you have succumbed to the right-wing saturating our local and national psyche with their propaganda.
We CAN win elections. We put a black guy in the White House, yes? But we have to care enough in our local areas to get off our ass and actually get to the polls to vote for change.
Until then, we have to be mindful that change is not a big swooping phenomenon that will — *KAZAM!* — make everything better. That is the mentality that evangelicals have about Jesus’ second coming. Change is the little things we can do individually on a daily basis that will add up to major shifts in the collective consciousness. Remember, a pebble thrown into a body of water causes a ripple that can become a wave.
So throw that pebble each day by making a list of 3 to 5 things you can do to create change in your own life, family, neighborhood, and community.
- I will not watch the news before bed (so I can get restful sleep).
- I will take the spare change out of my pocket at the end of each day, put it in a jar, and at the end of the month donate it to a local shelter.
- I will say hello to everyone I pass today and wish them a great day, especially people I don’t know.
- I will be grateful for what I have rather than be resentful for what I don’t have.
- I will go to my city council meeting and explain why it would be good to have a community garden that grows vegetables for local residents.
- I will water the plants for the elderly lady next door.
- I can volunteer 2 hours at the local animal shelter.
- I can donate $10 for a local kids’ group to buy some art supplies.
You will start to change your thinking, which will change your body chemistry, which will change how you feel and approach the world. Imagine, then, how this ripple effect will help change others and ultimately change society for the better.
Start small. Be the change. Surf the wave to awakening.
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I can find it within myself and be perfectly happy. But then people think I’m out of touch with the world. Well, who wants to be in touch with a violent, unhappy, greed-funded, misogynist world?
Jimi Hendrix said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” But so many people do not harness their internal power to create love and happiness in their own lives. Is it because they are deluded by a culture that subscribes to messianic prophecies, that someone else will make everything all better; some superhero will swoop in and save them? Or do they feel so defeated by a corrupt system, they don’t see a way of changing society for the better?
I’m having one of those days when my focus shifts from “Be the Change” to “Why Bother?” Then I remember that too many people have the “Why Bother?” mentality, which is why we need to “Be the Change”.
I’ve always said that as an artist, if I don’t like the world I see, I create a new world. This is also the foundation of my activism. But so many people seem to prefer wallowing in their own misery. They could get out, make change in their lives, if only they would take the first step. No one has to live in pain or misery.
Try mediation to relieve stress. Try a new type of exercise to get the good hormones flowing. Look for a new job. Look into starting your own business on the side. Try new things, new cuisines, new adventures. Stop to smell the roses, and the azaleas, and the hibiscus. Stop and find your center. Find your grounding to the earth. Reconnect with yourself and who you always wanted to be, regardless of what path your choices lead you to travel. You are not your mistakes. You are, in fact, anything you want to be. What do you want to be?
Change does not have to be big, swooping motions. Change can be small. Change can be a new habit done consistently that eventually leads to a result that is a big change.
I know it is not as easy as “just feel better” for some, but people need to “Be the Change” in their individual lives. Be your own superhero. If you need help, ask for help. You’re not in this alone. We are perfect in our imperfection. And we certainly need more people who are approaching the world around them, connecting with the world and others from a grounded, heart-centered place.
Peace, love, and joy are possible.
Find your bliss,
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Without knowing about this, DatingAdvice.com, ranked ArousedWoman Blog at the top of a short list of blogs that deal with sensuality and eros. Best of all, they actually get what AW is all about.
From their site:
Our 5 Best Sensual Blog were selected for offering a consistent canvas for exploring what sexy actually means and where you can find it.
ArousedWoman Blog wants to stir your passions and feed your fire, but in a clever twist. They frame their erotic delights around empowering women, expanding sexual freedom, and defying a culture steeped in shame and guilt.
Well, “they” is actually just me, but WOW! This truly is an awesome accolade. This blog documents my journey in dealing with sexual trauma and reclaiming my body as MINE in my Daily OJ posts. Along the way, I’ve helped lots of other women and men deal with their own issues and relationships in my AskTrish posts and helped them get in touch with their inner activist with my NEWS and OpEd pieces.
Oh, and anyone who holds any of this against me is an asshat and can buzz off.
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The problem with journalism is the rise of the internet. In days gone by, a paragraph had to be at least 2 sentences — usually 4 to 5 sentences, based on the standards of writing a paragraph with a topic statement, 2 to 3 supporting statements, and a conclusion statement that leads to the next paragraph — and vary from complex sentences to compound-complex sentences. Also, there used to be a style flow of putting background info up front to inform the reader in the initial paragraphs and lead into the jist of the story in the subsequent paragraphs. Nowadays, you’re lucky to see a paragraph that has more than 2 sentences, both of which usually defy the laws of grammar.
When I was a writer for an online site for The New York Times, I was told to put the point of the article into the first or second paragraph because most people don’t read past that; and they almost never click through to a second page (online). The NYT sold that site to another major company, and as part of the writing standard, the writers were told we could write an article that went onto a second page, but we would not get paid for that page view.
(Note: Back in the day, stories also required a minimum of 2 sources. Now, you just need 2 juicy rumors on which to base your story.)
Additionally, most “journos” are glorified bloggers with little to no previous writing experience. Worse yet, even the big online rags don’t pay their writers, so it’s not like they’re paying for quality writing. I love blogging, which is more of a personal outlet for most people, but it can also consist of truly great writing depending on the site. However, from the perspective of an industry standard, journalism should not adopt the informal mannerisms of blogging and the internet — not if journalism is to hold any credibility in the unbiased reporting of information and maintain a standard of exemplary writing.
While the faults of modern journalism are found mostly online, those trends have seeped into the print journo world. And throw in some of the stupid rules imposed by the Associated Press’ writing standard, it’s no wonder journalism has lost credibility. (Who made the AP the god of writing anyway?!). Compound this with the atrocity that is 24/7 cable “news” (i.e., gross sensationalism for ratings), most of modern journalism would make Pulitzer roll over in his grave.
The rules for journalism have changed and not for the better.
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While I am a sex-positive & pro-sex movement activist, I think it’s sad that the majority of the body-positive photos of women I see are in and amongst the BDSM and sexualized violence porn of Tumblr. There are many amateur sites that feature full-figured women, but the amateur photo-snaps are not of the technical quality of a professional photographer. And where are the professional photographers taking professional photos of real-sized women, using beautiful lighting and honoring the female body? The average sized woman in the United States is a 14/16. You can be a size 14 or 16 and still be healthy. Why aren’t we represented in the media and culture? Do I really need to go into a rant about matriarchal cultures of the past and the ancient preference for curvy women, immortalized in goddess images like those found at Willendorf? Seriously?
Why aren’t women allowed to be “heavy” or real-sized in magazines and on TV and film? Why aren’t stretch marks a sign of accomplishment for giving birth rather than a source of embarrassment or shame because our skin isn’t flawless anymore?
Why is a thigh-gap so sought after by teenage girls and 20-somethings? Is it because they don’t know that thigh fat makes sex feel really, really good for the guy? AND for the woman?
I’ve seen a statistic that girls see 400 ads per day telling them how they should look. Is anyone telling teens and young women they are beautiful the way they are?
One of the best things about the amateur porn on Tumblr is the real bodies. The women have real breasts — large or small. They have thigh fat and butt fat. They look healthy and natural. Usually, the men are not overly muscled; they are athletic but not steroid- addicted, bodybuilder over-muscled. For the men and the women, their bodies look normal and natural. And the best part — the orgasms are real. Real people with real bodies having real orgasms. Who knew?!
We come in all shapes and sizes, and these shapes, sizes, skin tones, hair textures, and nose and lip shapes should be reflected in the media. Diversity is a beautiful thing. Women who are naturally skinny are beautiful, and so are those of us who are not.
Be you. Be proud. Be seen.
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To dispel the “St.Patrick” myth bullshit, here are some FACTS:
1) Padraic was Roman NOT Irish/Gaelic.
2) No archaeological evidence of snakes has EVER been found in Ireland because Ireland is COLD.
3) Though Rome was in decline, the church was on the rise. Padraic was sent by the Christian church to convert the pagans/heathens/Gaelic ne’er-do-wells to the state religion of the failing Roman Empire: Christianity. As became typical of the Christian church, their marketing campaign was “Convert to Jesus or die.” Did the church really want to save souls? Of course, not. The first-century Romans actually detested the Irish and Scottish bands of Gaels, as well as the Picts (in what is now Scotland). The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep these rough barbarians from sullying their newly conquered Britannia. Then why were the Irish and Scottish so important to the Roman church a few centuries later? The church needed more people in its clutches to pay tithes and penances to fund its expansion and “crusades” (killing people in Jesus’ name).
Padraic used traditional Gaelic spirituality to correlate the Christian narrative of Iesus’ (Jesus) birth, life, and death, thus conning the Irish into accepting Christianity to go alongside with the indigenous Gaelic beliefs. Thus began the systematic assimilation of a male trinity (supplanting the female trinity of the goddess culture of Ireland) as well as the now prevalent misogynistic patriarchal culture that has overtaken all matriarchal cultures in the Western world.
Remember, Jesus was killed by the Romans, and Padraic (Patrick) was a Roman infiltrator (emphasis on “traitor”) to “convert” Ireland’s pagans from their indigenous spirituality to the indoctrination and assimilation of the patriarchal imperial regime, whose intolerance, misogyny, and hypocrisy are still felt to this day via the anti-woman Catholic Church and even the rise of religious fundamentalism in America.
To learn about the indigenous spirituality of Ireland, watch the BBC program, “Sacred Wonders of Britain,” which looks at the sacred sites, the goddess culture, and the history of the native peoples of the British isles — before Christianity and the Germanic influx ruined it all.
So there you have it. Please stop acting like “Patrick” did something good for Ireland. He didn’t. Patrick was a crucial part of the suppression of Ireland’s indigenous culture. Wake up.
…. and if you’re going to shorten his name, it’s St. Paddy’s, NOT St. Patty’s.
…. and don’t get me started on use of the word “Celtic” to describe anything Irish or Scottish….
Erin (and paganism) go Bragh!
Jamie McCartney is a British artist who created an art installation piece of plaster casts called “The Great Wall of Vagina”. On his website are images of the entire installation along with the motto, “Changing female body image through art”.
His website explains the art piece:
The 9 metre long polyptych consists of four hundred plaster casts of vulvas, all of them unique, arranged into ten large panels. McCartney set out to make this project as broad and inclusive as possible. The age range of the women is from 18 to 76. Included are mothers and daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women as well as a woman pre and post natal and another one pre and post labiaplasty.
One of the many reasons I love this piece is because when I directed/ produced a production of The Vagina Monologues in 2006, one of the comments repeatedly mentioned by women who auditioned was how much they hate what their vagina looks like. Of course, they were actually referring to the vulva — as does this art piece (hint: the vagina is the inside part). Only one female at the auditions, a 24 year old girl who had not yet had kids, said she loved how her vulva looked like a beautiful flower. One woman said her “vagina” was ugly because she’d had 4 kids. Frankly, I don’t think most women know what our genitals are supposed to look like because our perception is skewed by porn and skin mags.
The month that I turned 40, I took pictures of my vulva and saw my vulva for the very first time ever (not counting when I was in labor and saw my daughter’s head crowning in the mirror up on the wall of the delivery room — I’m nearsighted so I couldn’t really see it). Turning 40, I wanted to love my body visually the way I adore my body sensually. But seeing my vulva pics, I burst into tears because she looked so different than what I envisioned. My fair-skinned legs and rosy labia were not what I’m accustomed to seeing because most of the women I’ve seen in erotic photos are tan. Then there was my clitoral hood and the shape of my inner labia…. I thought, “WHY would a man like this?! I look so different….”
I deleted the pics immediately. But I took some more pictures the next day, and this time I didn’t cry. I guess I was getting accustomed to seeing what I look like. I sent the pics to 3 guy friends I could trust to tell me the truth, and each one said my vulva was beautiful. I was really annoyed with myself that I felt I needed that kind of validation, especially from men, but men know vulvas, and they know what men like in a juicy yoni. And frankly, if I’d sent my pics to other women, would the women have been grossed out because they likewise have little clue what “vaginas” are supposed to look like?
As I continued to look at my vulva pictures (and even took some more), it was amazingly empowering to know and love my genitals and not compare mine to women in porn or magazines. Aside from the genital grooming that is prolific in erotic photography, many people don’t realize that porn performers often have cosmetic surgery to alter their genitals, including labioplasty to make the labia smaller or conform to some ridiculous notion of what labia are “supposed” to look like.
This brings me to my point and yet another aspect of healing women’s body image. There is NO one way a vulva is supposed to look. Every vulva is different. Comparing vulvas is like comparing snowflakes — each one is unique and beautiful in her own way.
I think McCartney’s work is very important for a few reasons. One, he cast all sorts of women when making his plaster art, and you see all sorts of labia shapes and sizes (and piercings!) represented. Also, because the work is in plaster as opposed to photography or paint, race is not an issue, and all the vulvas can be appreciated without an ingrained idea that “white chick” vulvas are more pleasing to the eye.
Check out McCartney’s website to see the many other panels in this art installation.
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In my Social Activism class, my professor posted this video, and it’s so fabulous, I have to share it with all of you.
Introducing FotoShop by Adobe`. Dramatic results on wrinkles, cellulite, & all sorts of other flaws real women aren’t allowed to have. Enjoy!
To start the New Year off right, the universe sent me an experience to remind me the work here is not yet done. Thankfully, it was not violent, but it was annoying to see how far women still have to go on the path of being respected.
A few days ago, I needed to go to the store, but I realized I was going to miss the bus at the time I wanted to go, so I made sure I caught the next pick-up. Had I caught the bus I wanted, I would not have witnessed the interchange that occurred on the bus I got on.
I sat in the only available seat, the one behind the driver. I like this driver; she’s very nice and tolerates the annoying passengers well. As we ambled along, I could hear a woman four rows behind me tell someone, “No. Stop touching me.” Then she giggled. I assumed it was a man doing the unwanted touching. A few seconds later, again, “No. Stop touching me there.” I heard him murmur something as she sort of laughed. Again, she said the same words, but more insistently, “No. Stop touching me.” The half-hearted laugh was faint. Again, the guy murmured something to her, his tone obviously trying to convince her that she should let him continue to do what he was doing.
As I sat, facing the front, my ears were piqued. The bus passengers were quiet, each one keeping to himself or herself. No one seemed to be bothered by this interchange. She was giving off little giggles at first, but my ears heard something else. I heard a woman who is saying “No” and then apologizing by laughing, so as not to offend him even though this man was violating her personal space and her right to body autonomy.
Even for myself, I thought, If it’s actually a problem, wouldn’t someone who’s closer to them speak up? Wouldn’t someone who can see what’s going on stop this guy? Were they confused by her laughter? Could they not hear that the giggle was a mask of her true feelings?
I kept listening. Their interchange continued, but it was different. Her refutations grew more loud and more insistent. “NO. STOP touching me.” No giggling. He murmured, laughing to himself. “NO! STOP touching me THERE.” No giggling. He laughed again. “NO! STOP touching me!”
I whisked around in my seat, sitting slightly taller to make sure they could see me over the two rows between us, and I said very loudly where everyone can hear, “Do you need the bus driver to call the police for you?” Stunned, she looked at me. So did he. They were both in their 30’s. He had one arm around her shoulders and the other on her torso. She was by the window. She was pinned in. I know that feeling of being trapped by a man with no way to get out. Now, I was really pissed off.
I continued, “We’ve all heard you tell him five or six times to stop touching you and he hasn’t. That’s assault,” then I looked at him but talked to her, “And he can go to jail.” She looked at him, her eyebrows arched, yet said nothing. But he did. “We were just playing,” he smiled. Clearly, he still thought it was a game.
I responded,”‘No’ and ‘Stop’ are not playing a game. We all heard her tell you five or six times to stop touching her. When a woman says ‘No,’ she means ‘No.‘”
He replied, “Yes, ma’am,” almost sheepishly.
I turned back around in my seat, still pissed off at the situation, pissed off at her for not giving him an elbow to his nose, pissed off at every other passenger who had said nothing.
The bus driver pulled up to the local grocery story, and this couple was the first to exit the bus. Then someone else exited, while I debated continuing with my plan to shop at this store or continue on the route to Wal-mart. I loathe Wal-mart. More importantly, I wanted to make sure she was okay — that he wouldn’t do something to her once they were away from people. So I got off the bus there. As I did, he sort of glared at me, and she sort of tried not to look at me. It was a very strange moment, but I walked by with my head held high and continued on inside the store.
It so happened that they almost crossed paths with me a couple of times in the store. She was looking around at what she wanted. When he saw me, his eyes darted away. But I did notice that she kept about a foot of distance between them. Every time he tried to get close to her, she moved away. I could only hope that she was okay.
I finished my shopping, and got the bus the next time it came by. The bus was empty except for one passenger and the bus driver. As I put my $1.25 in the machine, the bus driver exclaimed, “Okay, tell me what happened!”
She had been unaware of what was going on until the woman had said “STOP touching me THERE.” This was about the time I spoke up, so she heard my comment about calling the police. The bus driver told me, “I couldn’t see what was going on, but the bus has cameras, and I was ready to call the police after I heard you. But you turned around, so I figured I’d check on it when we came to a stop, but they got off.”
Ironically, the bus driver was worried about me. “He didn’t say anything to you did he? Are you all right?” I assured her I was fine, and I had been concerned about the woman. She replied, “Yeah, you always worry about that — what happens when they get home.”
Exactly. This is the same reason some people are afraid to correct a parent for being mean or even abusive to their kids in a public place — you worry what the parents will do to the kids at home. (I have also spoken out on these certain occasions, the most recent being a woman who came back at me with her fist raised ready to punch me in the face for telling her grandmother not to yell at her infant.)
At the next stop, a couple of the passengers from the last trip got back on the bus. As they saw me, sitting on the front seat on the right side of the bus, they laughed a knowing laugh, and the entire bus ride centered around the incident. I’ve seen these people many times before on the bus, and they had been closer to the man and woman. So I was curious, “What was he doing? Why didn’t anyone speak up?”
One woman said, “She was laughing. I thought she was okay. He was just playing.” I said, “No, her laugh wasn’t a real laugh. It was a nervous giggle and a fake laugh.” I wasn’t imagining this. I could tell.
The bus driver even had insight to the matter. “When you said that to them, she didn’t speak up in his defense. If he really had been playing and she didn’t mind what he was doing, she would have defended him. But she didn’t say a word. Not a word.”
Without seeing the incident, I could only go by what I could hear. It sounded like a woman being harassed or assaulted and giving a nervous laugh, as women do when they’re trying to maneuver their body away from a man they don’t want touching them. The bus driver couldn’t see the incident, but she knew something was amiss by what she didn’t hear — the woman defending him. The woman was silent. As so many of us are.
I made the comment, “She may have felt she had to put up with it becaasue she’s in a relationsghip with him. The reason I felt I had to speak up wasn’t just for him to leave her alone, but so she could hear from another woman that what he was doing was wrong. In case she needed permission to speak up.”
I made the point then in talking with the bus driver, and I’ll make it here now. When a woman says, “No,” she means, “No.” When a woman says, “Stop,” you stop.
Even if you’re in a relationship or legally married, he does not own you or your body. You are your own, autonomous human being with rights to self-determination. Just because you’re in a relationship with a man does not mean you give up your rights to yourself.
Tantra is comprised of two words which mean instrument and expansion, so Tantra is a tool by which you can expand your understanding of the universe, both macrocosmically and microcosmically. On the macrocosmic level, you can endeavor to find the meaning of it all, how you fit in with the universe, why you are here, or why any of this physical experience exists. On the microcosmic scale, Tantra can be your daily grounding in being the best person you can be, expanding your heart to show compassion for others, and being an example to others of how to live in harmony with Nature and honor the Feminine.
In practical terms, making New Year’s resolutions both align with and are in opposition to Tantra. You might want to set out goals for the year, perhaps employing lessons you learned from the previous year. Yet, a Tantrika knows the most important moment is this one. Now. Not last year. Not later this year. Now. Be mindful of this moment. With no attachment. Goalless. No competition. No self-loathing. No comparison to how you looked 20 years ago. How you want to look in six months. No guilt for how you failed on previous goals. No iron-will determination set forth to finally accomplish a lapsed milestone. No trying to change another person so they will love you as you wish they loved you.
Resolutions can be futile because few people can live their lives within the boundaries of absolutes. Making resolutions ahead of time means trying to live your life in a resolute, determined manner. You’re thinking in the future, trying to avoid your past. This is hardly “being in the moment” or being open to experiences or needed lessons. Instead of making individual resolutions, make an overall path to follow for the year by setting out to pursue an idea of learning, growing, experiencing, and allowing yourself the chance to make mistakes and learn from them.
Rather than making a resolution to lose weight or make more money, set forth a path of being a healthier person, being a better person, or just being happier. I, for one, think most overweight people are overweight because of other issues, not food. Food is the drug of choice to numb pain or feed stress, but it is still just the coping mechanism. Beneath the layers of blubber are other issues to be addressed and resolved. Be resolute in solving the mental, emotional, and psychological reasons for eating unhealthily first, then address the addiction of the habitual eating.
Dealing with the impetus of stress and unhappiness is always difficult, but even here, do not attach yourself to the problem or the stress itself. Remove yourself from the immediacy of the issue, step back, and determine how you can make the situation different so you can be happy and healthy and prosperous. If you can’t, perhaps it’s time to move on. No crash diet or extreme workout regimen will offer long-term results. Getting to the root of unhappiness will forge a path of moving on and starting anew.
You are not your mistakes.
Your best resolution is to be a good, compassionate human being. All choices will expand outward from that perspective in the moment, each and every moment, perfectly.
Happy New Year and Merry Resolutionlessness,
Samhain means “Summer’s End”, and October 31st is a night to honor those who have crossed over. Most cultures that are close to their indigenous roots have rituals such as this. For Northwestern European indigenous culture (and those of us of that descent), Samhain is a very special, sacred time.
For some background, Halloween is NOT rooted in paganism or witchcraft. The devil, demons, and evil spirits are a Judeo-Christian fantasy. The word “witch” comes from the Proto-Indo-European word wig- which means “wise” and was used to refer to “wise women”, the healers and keepers of life’s mysteries. This is the reason that misogynist imperialists have always hated and feared women. “Pagan” comes from the Latin paganus, which means “country dweller”, and was used by the Romans to refer to the indigenous clans of Europe. For clarification, the Romans were NOT pagans; in the Roman Empire, the walled cities — urbs, were home to Roman citizens — civiem (from which we get the words civil, civilized, civilization). The walled cities were built to keep the indigenous tribal pagans OUT and away from Roman citizens. This is how “pagans” (the indigenous clans) came to be thought of by the church as un-civilized; they were literally un-citied — the pagans did not live within the walled cities of Rome with the civiem.
Back to the present, one of the most prolific visages at this time of year happens to be decorations, candies, and costumes featuring a green-faced witch. Some say, it’s just a comic take on something that’s not real. They say it’s a joke, a harmless costume.
I completely disagree.
When you buy products that feature a green-faced witch with a crooked nose & ragged hair, you are perpetuating misogyny.
The mass public is thoroughly confused about witchcraft and witches. In regard to paganism and witchcraft, too many people think witchcraft is either evil (thanks to the medieval church) or whiz-bang fireworks (thanks to TV, film, and Harry Potter). This is why we activists have to speak out against the ingrained prejudices. Sadly, most people do not know they are being misogynistic, thanks to the imperial patriarchal culture of the past 2,500 years. And so, we continue to speak up and speak out until all of humanity is educated and the healing begins.
Posting some of this information on my Facebook profile, one friend (yes, an actual, in-real-life friend) made this surprising comment:
All I can do is laugh. Halloween has always been about fun in my lifetime, people overthinking things and getting offended over nothing is what the problem is. Look at all the BS going on about peoples costumes, it’s Halloween, that’s what people do, dress up in costumes that depict something they are not. get over it lol [sic]
The getting offended part may have referred to American Indian activists protesting Halloween costumes that include “Indian braves” and Pocahontas. Odd, since my actual friend is actually Cheyenne. Just goes to show how insensitivity to other people’s oppression is prevalent regardless of personal identity.
For my response, I gave a brief overview and background of the Witch Trials, which I researched extensively for my musical, Witchcraze.
The perception of what witches look like stems from the witch trials of Europe and the New World colonies. Wise women — witches — were a common part of rural society, but the height of the Dark Ages saw the first Witch Trials in the early 14th century, when Pope John XXII declared in 1326 that the inquisition could investigate accusations of witchcraft. When the printing press was invented and mass printing was available, woodcuts of witches riding brooms and attending sabats became a familiar sight in print, fueling the burgeoning stereotype of witches. Another damning factor for women as knowledgeable healers came with the rise of medicine and men commandeering the healing arts. Wise women who still treated patients became suspect of all sorts of calamities during the late Middle Ages, as various epidemics afflicted both humans and livestock. If someone or some thing died, people blamed the local witch. As medieval Europe recovered from the fall of Rome and established institutionalized rule within its new kingdoms and expanded the institutionalized dogma of the male-dominated, woman-subjugating Christian church, the witch went from a place of respect in a community to a source of shame and suspicion.
The witch trials were brutal to say the least. By the time most people saw a “witch”, it was for her public trial or execution (re-trial). This happened after she had been imprisoned and tortured for months. The witch hunters and those in charge of gaining confessions from the accused used all means of violence against the women, including rape, beatings, joint breakers like thumbscrews and the strappado which broke the women’s shoulders, the iron maiden, boiling water, boiling oil, to name just a few. The beatings left their faces severely bruised and swollen, hence the green discoloration, and misshapen as their facial bones were broken and not reset properly, a feature that is caricatured by a large, crooked nose and overly emphasized cheekbones and jaw. The missing teeth of the commercialized witch are a nod to the real witches having their teeth punched out during beatings for a confession. The witches hunched posture and misshapen fingers are also part of the legacy of beatings, their backs and shoulders were severely injured while their hands were crooked and disjointed. Their voices raspy due to choking torture and dehydration.
My comment to my friend:
So you may not see what harm there is in buying green-faced witch merchandise, but for those of us who know what it means, it represents misogynist evil. So there is nothing for me to “get over”. I will continue to educate people on the truth.
To which he responded:
I’m well aware of what happened in those times, not a good time for people, women and men, who were accused of witchcraft. Education is a great thing or we wouldn’t be where we are today but come on, I’m not going to turn away a child because he or she is wearing a green faced witch costume.
You do not aim scorn at the kids; after all, hate and prejudice have to be carefully taught (to paraphrase South Pacific). It’s the adults who need educating so they don’t continue the cycle of misinformation and stereotypes to another generation.
So I speak up, and I speak out. I love sporting a witchy hat when I can, and “looking like a witch” is something I do every single day — just by being me.
P.S. I’ll save talking about the sexualization of witches, the pentagram, and Christians stealing Yule from the pagans for another time.
Today, I paused at 9:29 am, the time Hurricane Katrina went over my house 8 years ago and changed everything I knew about life and home. The power had gone off at 5:31 a.m., and we spent the next 12 hours riding out the storm, in the hallway, hearing parts of the roof breaking off, hearing parts of the neighbors’ houses breaking off and crashing into ours, and thinking the whole house was going to fly off the foundation as the 200-mile wide storm passed over, sounding like a hundred angry freight trains ready to rip us to shreds.
After it was over, we were alive and unhurt. There was damage to the house inside and out as well as to the property. We survived when others did not. We had 4 walls standing when others did not. I felt guilty.
For weeks after, we got our food by standing in distribution lines for hours in the 94-degree sun. We ate MRE’s — the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, and I felt guilty for eating food meant for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers just back from combat arrived to clear roads and hand out food and water to the adults and stuffed animals to the kids, including my daughter. One soldier just off the plane from Iraq told me the Mississippi Gulf Coast looked worse than Baghdad. These soldiers should have been home with their families, and I felt guilty we needed them more.
Our first responders went through hell emotionally and psychologically as search and rescue missions became search and recover. I felt guilty I couldn’t help them. I met firefighters from New York — if anyone knew about dealing with a disaster, these men did. I had seen the rubble of the World Trade Center in February 2003. I told them I couldn’t believe they were here to help us when they were still hurting. I felt guilty even more.
Then-President Bush was on vacation in Texas when Katrina happened. He remained on vacation for 5 days, while people here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast went without food or water for 4 days. Within a couple days of the storm, the National Guard arrived, after having had to chainsaw and remove over 2 miles of downed trees on the main highway into the Coast, so they could start bringing in supplies to the Coast’s 150,000 residents.
When the power was restored in my neighborhood on September 10th at 8:41 p.m., I instantly tried to get online. I found my show’s cast was safe, albeit scattered around the country — one guy even evacuated to Australia. I was informed I was listed on the Red Cross’ website under Missing or Dead. I emailed my director mentor in New York to let him know I was okay, but he asked what I meant. I told him we had gone through Hurricane Katrina. He said, “No, Katrina hit New Orleans. I haven’t heard anything about Mississippi in the news.”
The media was only covering New Orleans, whose levees broke the day after Katrina. Mississippi was barely mentioned. No one knew what we were going through, and I was pissed. And I still am. Even the Washington Post ran an OpEd piece saying all federal disaster funds should go to New Orleans, and that if Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas took any federal emergency aid, we were stealing from the poor people of Louisiana. The writer — all of America — didn’t know the truth about what happened.
Hurricanes break up once they hit land, spawning tornadoes, but Katrina was still classified as a Cat 1 hurricane as it went over northern Mississippi, over 350 miles north of the coastline. Later, weather geeks argued that Katrina was “only” a Category 3 storm — as if that changed the damage inflicted or the lives lost. Hurricane Katrina was a HUGE storm. And Mississippi took the full brunt of Katrina. We didn’t wait for people to give us hand-outs. We didn’t have mayors getting on TV demanding the government clean up our towns. We just helped each other and began cleaning up debris.
Volunteers from around the world arrived to help, and we owe them. The volunteers were the key to our survival.
On the 5th anniversary of Katrina, I moved out of my bad marriage and settled in the artists’ hamlet called Ocean Springs, MS. The recovery of Katrina has been difficult for everyone, and for those of us still dealing with the PTSD of the experience, emotions can still get the best of us sometimes. But every day is a welcomed blessing.
The month of August is a tenuous time here. Baby boomers remember Hurricane Camille, the storm that was supposed to be the storm to end all storms. They never expected to see another one, or see one that was worse. Hearing the stories of Camille, those of us who came after that storm figured we’d never see anything like it. Katrina took us all by surprise.
I know the U.S. hates Mississippi, but many wonderful people here were devastated by Katrina in ways you can’t know unless you also have been in a horrible disaster. I will commemorate Katrina by being grateful for being alive to tell the tale and let the world know the people here in Mississippi are survivors. And for that, I am proud.
Copyright 2013 by Trish Causey.
Why now? As I said, this is Post #222, and in numerology this has some significance. 222 reduced is 6, which is the Lovers’ card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. What many people do not realize is that the Lovers card is not about true love, but about a union — that might be love, but also could be a friendship, a congenial business partnership, or something nice coming into your present situation.
In the Tarot, the real true love card is the 2 of Cups. The Cups suit embodies emotion, and the 2 signifies two people coming together in deep, true love.
The problem with love is that most people confuse “in love” with lust (the chemical reaction in the brain to pheromones bouncing off each other’s skin) and rate “real love” according to the size of a status-symbol ring chained to a religious-fabricated commitment that is unrealistic for most human mammals.
Poets have expounded upon the premise of love for millennia, usually with the caveat, “I’ll love you until the heavens fall and the oceans dry up… or a meteor hits the earth and we’re all obliterated from time and space….” Essentially, the Romantics clocked love’s ability to withstand natural disasters about as well as the Gulf handles Category 5 hurricanes.
In our society, we freely say how much we love our stuff. “I love my house.” “I love my car.” “I love that TV show.” “I love that dress!” “I love those SHOES!!!” “I love chocolate.” “I love my dog.” “I love my squirrel!”
By the time we get around to saying “I love you,” the concept of love now has a price tag and a sense of status in the physical world that has nothing to do with the emotion itself.
Other languages have certain customs for using their version of the word “love,” usually with other options for expressing affection of friends, possessions, and familial loved ones separate from the word that intends to express true, deep love. American English kinda sucks.
Our American language is lacking not only because of lexicon and syntax but also because our culture is taught to use “love” as leverage, as a bargaining chip, to get the upper hand, to force our partner into emotional submission and thereby gain superiority within the relationship. Love becomes a game. Later, love becomes a contest. That no one can win.
Then come the ultimatums. “IF YOU LOVED ME, you would __(fill in the blank to complete emotional blackmail)__.”
Blinded by the brainwashing of our materialistic society and the fantasy world of romance novels and films, most people are clueless how to truly love another person in a relate-tionship. That is, a partnership in which two people actively relate to each other.
Love is energy. Just like orgasms….. Love is free…. just like orgasms………. Love is endless and constantly giving……………. just like orgasms.
Love is not thought. Love is not construct. Love is not rational.
Love does not have a schedule.
Love is intangible and immeasurable. Love is unconditional.
Love is easy.
I’ve read that it takes 2.5 years for “in love” to mature to “love-love.” Basically, you wait to see if your emotional selves have created a bond now that your lusty pheromones are immune to each other… the way bugs become immune to Raid.
I don’t see any reason for the passion ever to leave a relationship, but for many couples, the passion does fade. What is it that is left? Why stay with someone you are not passionately “in love” for “real love-love” with? Fear of being alone? Financial collapse if you strike out on your own?
Love is not fear. Love is not financial security.
Love is never a choice. You feel love in your heart and soul, or you don’t. You can’t fake it.
Love does not have an on/off switch.
You can choose to be with a good person or a bad person, but your heart decides for you if you love that person or not. However, real love is never abusive. No one who truly loves you would demean you or want to conquer you.
Love is not about being right. Or winning an argument.
Love is not a skin color or ethnicity. Love is not conditioned on gender or genitals. Love is not a demographic.
Love is not a piece of paper signed by a minister. Love is not a ring. Love is not “the dress.”
For all the media and marketing hype that surrounds sex and success in our culture, we are, ultimately, love-starved. We don’t actually know what love is.
Love is connection. Love is deep. Love is spiritual.
Love is limitless. Love is universal.
This is why it is so difficult to explain love, to understand what we do for love when we’re in love-love. To compare love to a summer’s day or a tree, or a mountain, or the sky, is the best we mortals can do to express the energy that exemplifies “the little death” of a billion stars exploding gloriously into complete expansiveness… all from within our heart.
Love is beautiful.
Love is energy.
The truth is
All there is.
- REGISTER for Tantra-based orgasm training
- Sign up for the ArousedWoman newsletter
- Take the ArousedWoman Orgasm Questionnaire
Wrong. I have ONE cause — Human Rights. All other rights issues stem from this central trunk of the rights and issues’ family tree. Women’s rights, LGBT, genital integrity, workers’ rights, children’s rights, and more — ALL are branches of the primary concept that roots us in our basic right to self-determination, autonomy, and our humanity.
Today provided a perfect example of how different experiences color our activism. Usually, this is a good thing, but occasionally, our pain from our own experiences clouds our words, resulting in our message devolving into a war of emotion. It becomes a contest of “my pain is greater than your pain” — a competition no one wins.
My morning started with me checking my Facebook and Twitter while I made breakfast as I hurried my daughter to get up, get ready for school, and catch the bus.
I try not to spend all day on Twitter, but tomorrow’s Full Moon seems to have kicked up people’s crazy cycles a day early.
First, on Facebook, I responded to a friend’s comment about his neighbors’ loud sex last night. As the conversation progressed to sex positions (okay, I brought it up), I mentioned that the reason the original missionary position is the only position ever condoned by the Catholic church was because it provides the least pleasure for the woman. It puts the man in the superior, stronger, aggressive position while the woman is inferior, at the mercy of the man, and passive and submissive. Another chick chimed in saying some women “love to be ‘conquered.'” As a woman who has spent most of my life fighting NOT to be conquered by men, I disagreed, but I did not linger since I had to get some real work done.
I spent a couple hours working my day-job (Thursdays are a day-off for me), and what followed was an entire day on social media in one activist role or another. And I have preserved some of those exchanges in the photo gallery below. (To view them at full size, click the box on the lower right of your screen.)
The second round of today’s activism started out simple enough — me talking about orgasms, specifically, mine, and how I cry when I orgasm. I followed that with a comment that men crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. Twitter being a public forum, a random guy jumped in the convo with a rude comment ridiculing how it would look with a “he man blowing his load and crying.” This began a series of tweets back and forth as I tried to explain that a man crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. After all, men are human beings, and human beings have feelings.
Apparently, men are still not allowed to be full human beings in our society.
The third and most exasperating exchange occurred with a man who, it turns out, is also an activist — an intactivist, to be precise. An intactivist is someone who fights for ending all circumcision — on males and females — because genital mutilation is a human rights violation of a child’s bodily autonomy and is sexual assault on the child. This guy had tweeted the following comment:
“The sexual urges of women in our society are more important than the pain of a baby boy.”
After a morning of hearing that some women want to be conquered, men who cry are not masculine, and a few other ridiculous notions that are proof positive our society is still sexually repressed and almost entirely mentally unbalanced, I could not sit by and let this tweet go without standing up for women’s right to be sexual and not be shamed for it. Did I do it the right way? Could I have handled myself better? Should I have called him a moron so many times? Maybe. Maybe not.
The thought I had toward the end of this Twitter war (that lasted over a couple hours) is that this guy is reacting and projecting because of his own pain with his circumcision. Just as I possibly was too harsh in earlier altercations today.
Hearing a woman wants to be conquered made me think back to when I was molested as a kid, my rape when I was 21, and my Steubenville-esque experience. Talking about the horribly unsatisfactory missionary position brought to mind my own status as one of the 70% of women who has never orgasmed during sex — a statistic for which I still feel shame for myself and anger at my partners for not caring enough about me to ensure I had pleasure, too. It reignited my distaste for the porn industry that created a caricature of women as hyper-orgasmic nymphomaniac slut-bunnies — as opposed to erotica that presents sex and sexuality in a beautiful, honorable way.
I was reminded yet again of the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women who have been raped, tortured, killed outright, and burned at the stake by the Christian church who has feared women’s sexual power since Peter stole the church’s high seat from Mary Magdalene. As a pagan witch doing research for my stage writings, I spent years reading witch trial transcripts, scouring historical documents of witch hunters, Inquisitors, and missionaries in Europe and in colonial America who were obsessed with exorcising the natural sexuality of women. This does not include the women who were beaten, raped, and killed for wanting the right to vote, or the right to fight alongside men in the modern military. Too many thoughts and memories swarmed in my mind.
Hearing that a man can’t cry when he experiences pleasure infuriated me because so much of our patriarchal, imperial, testosterone-driven culture still carries the gender-role prejudices of religion and hierarchical misogyny and misandry that does a disservice to women and men.
Today’s activism was about shame. And pain. And how, even when we mean well, speaking up for one issue cannot happen at the expense of demeaning other people who are probably also in pain. After all, the oppressive culture that says mutilating a child’s genitals is okay is the same repressive culture that says a woman is to blame for her rape because of how she was dressed, or two people cannot love each other because they’re the same gender.
I’ve been a grassroots activist for 27 years, and I’ve seen in-fighting in every single rights group I’ve ever worked with — religious rights, American Indian rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights. Who’s a real witch? Who’s a real Indian? Bisexuals aren’t really discriminated against. Women don’t need full body autonomy or equal pay. Conservative Democrats aren’t real Democrats. And it’s all bullshit.
My motto has always been, “Human Rights are non-negotiable.”
I love that there are so many of us, each working in a niche that is important to us. Yet, that does not mean one corner of activism outweighs another. We can’t all work for all causes at all times. We have to split up into different groups to cover all the bases. Remember that equality does not mean we are the same, but rather, though we may be different, we are of the same value as human beings. Our human rights family tree is rooted in and celebrates our differences, with roots deep in the soil of our humanity, echoing the ancient axiom, “As above, so below.”
However, if you only care about one group who is hurt or exploited and not another, then you’re not working for rights issues, you’re a special interest asshat who is no better than the elitist oppressors who mock human rights activism while making fortunes off the masses’ suffering.
So I may not know the full extent of pain that another person has experienced, just as they won’t know the full extent of mine. But we can try to listen better. We can forgo the pain-game and stick to the work at hand. Don’t allow the oppressors’ need to stuff us into boxes and categories or divide us into opposing sides hinder our work of coming together and doing the work.
We are better than that. Do the work. Be the Change.
We Are All Connected.
- NEWS: Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- OpEd: ‘Male Circumcision Is No Biggie’
- Anatomy: #TeamUncut Intact Natural Penis Collage for #ForeskinFriday (21+ NSFW)
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not?
- DailyOJ 01-26-13, Part 2: The Fear of Intimacy
- OpEd: America’s Love/Hate Relationship with Breasts
© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.
“First I was afraid, I was petrified”…. Gloria Gaynor sings in my ear as I think over the past few days since I wrote the first post of this blog, “A Life Lived in Fear Is a Life Half-Lived.”
I knew I’d lose some followers and “friends,” and I have, but I have gained more — both in number and in reassurance, acceptance, and a similar experience of relating that has happened often on my “secret blog” for the past year. When I post my very personal articles on my own journey, people tell me how grateful they are that someone has expressed what they themselves have gone through, felt, or been confused by. They tell me on Twitter or leave a comment on my blog. I am always grateful that someone took the time to share their feelings with me in their comments.
Sharing my journey of (still) overcoming sexual abuse, a miserable marriage, and speaking out on women’s sexual health rights and issues, I was scared of losing people I care about — especially theatre people — whom I have loved for years. I should have known better. :-) Theatre people are the AMAZINGEST people in the world. We understand and appreciate differences. We understand hardship and rejection better than most.
THANK YOU, my wonderful THEATRE FAMILY! :-) And to those of you who have followed my AW Blog and been so supportive, I THANK YOU as well! MWAH xoxo
© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.
If you know me, you know I cover New York’s Broadway theatre for a living, doing write-ups for shows, reviewing shows and cast albums, and hosting my own radio show, Musical Theatre Talk, on which I chat with Tony Award winners, Bway designers, and composers — I’ve even covered the Tonys! I do all this from Mississippi…. Yes, Mississippi…. How?…. I’m damn good at what I do…. (And I occasionally fly to New York.)
But there are other things you may not know about me….
In 1994, I discovered a quirky independent Australian film entitled Strictly Ballroom. Almost 20 years later, Strictly Ballroom remains in my list of Top 10 Best Films of all time.
The basic tenet of the film is a quote, supposedly of Spanish Romani origin, that goes, “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” I have taken this quote and sentiment as the “theme” for 2013 as well as for my updated website, and my continued activism on my “secret” blog that I sort of kept from my “respectable friends” because it deals with subject matters too indelicate for polite company.
For the past year, since starting my “secret” blog, I have lived in fear of what others would think — that they would shun me, rumors would start, and I would be all alone in the big, scary world.
What the FUCK was I thinking?!
Of course, I’ll be shunned. Of course, people will talk. THIS has been the one constant in my life — being the black sheep of the family, having family and so-called friends disown me for being truthful to myself and living that truth in the open, standing up for what I believe in, speaking out for other people’s rights as well as my own. Why the hell would I be surprised for people to abandon me now?!
The fear began at age 9 when I was molested by a neighbor, a teenage girl down the street. She knew how to get me to keep silent — she threatened to tell my mother. My mother was an evil bitch, a Catholic zealot, dependent victim, and recreational martyr. I wasn’t sure what was being done to me, but somehow, my mother was bound to twist it to being my fault. That threat — that fear of being shunned by those who were supposed to love me — had lived with me for years, well into adulthood.
At 21, I was raped. (No, Republicans, it was not your definition of “legitimate rape.” It was just date-rape, just me being violated in my home by someone I knew well, which I know doesn’t really count to you as “rape-rape” even though 80% of reported rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, not the stereotypical boogey-man.) Again, I lived in fear of others finding out, of being shunned and ridiculed by those who were supposed to love me, so I didn’t tell anyone — not one person, not even the police.
Since I was 13, I’ve spoken out on many things in regards to human rights and civil rights — sometimes in regard to how it applied to me as a woman, a bisexual, a heathen pagan. Mostly, however, I’ve fought for human rights on the macrocosmic scale — I’ve fought for the principal of the basic right of <__insert human rights issue here__>.
This time last year, something happened within me, and I could no longer keep all of this inside. I created my “secret” website and blog that I absolutely love writing. Yet, I lived in fear that if my family found out, I would lose the last of my family who still talk to me… and worse yet, my activism for women’s rights, women’s body autonomy, women’s sexual health, and my own personal journey in healing from sexual abuse would be used against me by my soon-to-be ex-husband to take my child away from me…. I repeat… I’m in Mississippi… not New York….
A few days ago, while looking ahead to running for public office and knowing my “secret” blog would become public knowledge, I began to update my personal website. For some reason, the quote from Strictly Ballroom resounded in my head: “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”
As happy as I am in my life as a single mom, a writer, an activist, a dreamer, I still lived in fear — which meant my life was not really my own. My fear still controlled me.
I knew then that I will no longer live in fear of losing people from my life. People who shun me for being an open, honest, and unapologetic loudmouth activist are missing out on one hell of a person in their lives. Their shunning says more about them than me. In fact, today on Twitter, I saw this quote in someone’s bio: “If you judge me, you don’t define me. You define yourself.”
So, here goes…. I’m coming out of the blogger and activist closet to let everyone know about my site and blog, ArousedWoman.com. (Begin shunning now….)
“Arouse” means “to stir to action, to awaken.” To me, this perfectly summed up my activism and the awakening I was experiencing on so many levels. A year of secret blogging later, I am proud to say I have a small following of readers — okay, they’re a fabulous fan-base whom I love dearly.
Here’s some more shun-worthy information:
I have never orgasmed during sex… but then 70% of women have never orgasmed during penetrative sex. I thought the problem was me. Turns out, not all of it was my fault. Some of it was the guys’ fault (okay, a lot of it has been the fault of the men in my life). A lot of it was the fault of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and as an adult, and much to my surprise, a great deal of my issues with sex have come from the sexual harassment I’ve suffered since I suddenly developed breasts one night when I was 10. Therefore, I have written about my abuse as a kid as well as my date rape experience. I’ve written about my lifelong hatred of my breasts, as well as my fear of intimacy. I even wrote about my own Steubenville-esque experience that I was still carrying shame over.
I’m glad to say I am a multi-orgasmic woman — enjoying spontaneous O’s even! I have documented this journey in my DailyOJ posts. I am happier than I’ve ever been in that department… so much so that I now help others — men and women — with their sexual journey and sexual healing by answering their questions in my AskTrish posts and on Twitter. I love reading the comments by my readers on my blog and Twitter — they seem to like my OpEd pieces especially:
- OpEd: How I Like My Sex… Bare…
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not? (’cause really, most men are kinda clueless)
- OpEd: Fucking Cherokee Men (and Other People of Color)
I also review products including sex toys, books, lube, and music.
Still reading all this?…
AND I post erotic pictures on my AW Tumblr…. (no, not of me…. yet….)
AND I’m planning on hosting sexual wellness workshops….
AND I’m preparing an orgasm training workshop….
AND I’ve published a sample chapter of erotica on Amazon.com Kindle, that’s FREE for Prime members. (Tempted? Go ahead, you know you want to check it out…. I’ll wait right here for you to return…)
Oh…. you’re back? Great… Where was I…….
And is now a good time to mention I had to have a medical abortion in 1997?…. No?…. Oh…. Well, then, I guess I’ll save my tale of spending 20 minutes on the kitchen floor in such horrendously painful, incapacitating contortions I could not crawl across the floor to reach the phone to call 9-1-1… (twice)… for another time.
Still reading? Wow.
And I hate religion…. I am a very spiritual person, but religion is little more than man-made rules set by a core group of wealthy, powerful elitist men who suppress the masses into subjugation and adoration through machinations of fear and guilt — and who usually HATE WOMEN…. I don’t dislike the followers of religion necessarily — I like the UU’s, and I’ve never met a Methodist I didn’t like.
AND I am the Queen of Musical Theatre…. Seriously.
Now you know. My secrets are out. I no longer have any fear. My life is a life fully lived and living!
Judge me. You will be defining yourself, not me.
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