It’s Not Just About the Boundaries

I’m visiting my family this weekend, and I have so many mixed feelings about it. I’ve been grappling with yet another layer of grieving what I never actually had.

I wish I had a family that loves and accepts me, a family that doesn’t disdain me for being bi or non-Christian or feminist or anything. I want a family that can be proud of me for my accomplishments rather than seeing me as a blight on their reputation.

But I don’t have that.

I’d settle for a family that owns up to the abuse of whipping me as a child and gaslighting me as a teen and young adult. I’d accept a family that could apologize for raising me in a cult with all of the religious and psychological terrorism that accompanied that.

But I can’t have that either.

The last few years have been about me learning how to remain unhooked around them. I’ve practiced non-confrontational answers that allow me to set a boundary and avoid conformity while also keeping the peace. It usually involves little things like not closing my eyes when my parents insist on praying for the meal or changing the subject when they start to stray into a topic that would lead to conflict. I’ve passively refused to answer letters or questions from family members. I’ve mastered the ability to not respond to the subtle backdoor messages of criticism and guilt. I’m great at blanking out so that they don’t have anything to grab hold of.

It takes two to tango, right?

At this point, I feel pretty confident that I can avoid anything uncomfortable and have a fairly smooth visit with my family for a few days. But now that I’ve achieved that, I’ve come to realize it’s not what I want going forward.

It’s nice to have that option, but thinking about that being the sum of my relationship with my family for the rest of my life feels intolerable. It still involves a measure of my hiding myself. I’m not longer allowing them to dictate my morals to me. I won’t allow them to nose into something I want to keep private.

But I also don’t feel like I can bring myself into my visits either. It’s like I leave myself at home but bring all my boundaries with me.

I’ve toyed with the idea of cutting my ties and allowing myself the freedom of not having to worry about whether there will be disapproval or arguments or whatever…but if I only give myself permission to be in contact with them when I’m trying to keep the peace, then ultimately, I’m still letting them dictate what it’s acceptable for me to be around them—letting their approval determine what they see of me or don’t see of me.

I want to be me, regardless of whether they accept it. I want to be proud of being me. To be able to stick up for being me.

Even if that means they hate it.

My parents can’t take a belt to my backside anymore. They can’t send me to hell. They can’t hold me captive.

They can talk and say horrible things, but ultimately those things have little power in and of themselves.

I know this cognitively, but it’s surprising how incredibly scary I still find them. Somehow, my brain thinks the most catastrophic thing that could happen is their vocalized disapproval.

I have almost talked myself out of this visit so many times I’ve lost count. I recognize that I don’t want to be there…

But I need to be.

I need to challenge myself to show up and be present, to dare to let them see me, even to dare to let a fight break out because I refuse to accept the dichotomy that I either need to walk away or hide who I am.

I don’t expect myself to be perfect. I’m sure there will be times when I could stand up for myself and don’t because I’m not ready to take on that battle yet. However, if I can walk away from this visit having refused to be invisible in small ways, I will consider it a successful phase of continuing to develop my ability to give myself what my family has never been able to give me—acceptance, pride, and unconditional love.

Celebrate Love…Self-Love That Is!

So…it’s Valentine’s Day weekend.

Seems like a good time to talk about love.

But don’t worry. I’m not going to rehash all of the tired tropes about obligatory, commercialistic love that tends to dominate this time of year.

Instead, I want to turn my attention to a topic that is at the foundation of every relationship but rarely gets talked about: self-love.

Also, don’t worry. While I could spend a good deal of time talking about ways to love ourselves by liking ourselves better, I’m actually here to talk about loving ourselves by…doing ourselves better.

Yup! This week, Valentine’s Day, I’m going to write about masturbation and how fucking awesome it is!

I’m taking a class on sex and sexuality right now, and we’ve been going over some really important shit about couples and relationships. I’m sure I’ll use the information, treatments, and resources that I’m collecting…but I noticed that something was missing from the discussion that seems far more foundational to sexuality than the dozens of different ways to treat erectile dysfunction.

Take a moment and think about the way that you think about masturbation.

Is it something you were taught was shameful and dirty?

Is it something you see as “sub-par” to other forms of sex? The thing you turn to for a quick release when you can’t get laid?

Is it something you “get over” and do quickly?

Most likely, it’s not something that you celebrate or think of as super special.

And I was right there with you several years ago. Never would I have chosen to have an evening with myself and my vibrator over a partner. At least, not until I read Sheri Winston’s fantastic books on sexuality.

The way that Sheri approached sexuality was transformative for me. She wasn’t the first to introduce me to the idea of using masturbation to explore what I liked and to learn about my body…but she was the first that I’ve encountered who portrayed sexuality as primarily about my relationship to myself. And she was the first to open my eyes to the potential of self-pleasure to be a sacred, powerful experience.

So, in protest to both the cultural hype around what Valentine’s Day should be and the cultural bullshit about sex being something primarily shared between people, I am going to list my reasons for why we should all rub one out for ourselves this weekend.

  1. Health benefits: Orgasm is freaking good for you, for your heart, your stress levels, your sleep, your mental health. While partnered sex might have some things to offer that masturbation doesn’t, one of the consistent things with both (if the partnered sex is done well) is that you still get the health benefits.
  2. Self-focus: Some might say that masturbation is actually wrong because it focuses solely on the self and its pleasure; however, for me, that’s a big reason why it’s so fucking right! Partnered sex can be amazing. It can be so rewarding to give pleasure to someone else that you care about. It can be really rewarding to have a sense of mutuality in bed. But sometimes you just need to be a recipient and not a giver. During those times when life just seems to be over-extending your resources, masturbation is one way that you can give give give to yourself, taking as much time as you want or need to linger over the pleasure, come as many times as you want, and never have to worry about whether anyone else involved is bored, tired, etc. because there is no one else involved.
  3. Creativity: One of the most interesting things I learned from Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina was that sexuality can heavily influence creativity. If that’s not a reason to rub one out frequently, then I don’t know what is.
  4. Better Partnered Sex: If you don’t know yourself, it’s going to be hard to communicate what makes you really tick with a partner. Masturbation is like doing dance drills in between ballet class. Sure, you can still make it through class if you don’t practice at home, but you’ll be far better if you do.
  5. Spirituality: If you’ve never masturbated while meditating, you seriously need to try it! Like, right now! There’s nothing quite like having a spiritual experience while you’re having an orgasm. And, as with numbers 1 and 3, spiritual experiences can also happen with partnered sex, it’s a different kind of spiritual experience. It’s the kind that is shared and connected to things outside of you. Orgasmic meditation and spiritual masturbation are the intense spiritual experiences that take you deeper into yourself where you can connect with and meet parts of yourself normally inaccessible. Sheri Winston even talks about using the energy of orgasm for healing purposes.
  6. Independence: This is one of the most important reasons, in my mind, especially given the context of when this post is being written. Single people often feel like absolute shit on Valentine’s Day. And so far with my sexuality class, no one has mentioned the possibility of a single person coming into therapy to grow their sense of sexuality. And it’s bullshit! You don’t need a partner to be sexual or sexy. The same goes for married people who may feel like their sexuality is defined and/or controlled by their partner/s. Just as a person’s sense of self shouldn’t reside in whether they do or don’t have a relationship, their sense of sexuality shouldn’t reside in whether they do or don’t have partnered sex.

So whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant other or trying to celebrate being single, give yourself a little attention this weekend…and actually make it momentous. Light some candles and incense. Put on your sex music. Say your own name. Let yourself be the best you’ve ever had.

 

Selfishness: The Character Flaw That is Also a Virtue

We live in a society that views selfishness as the ultimate character flaw. Labeling something as “selfish” doesn’t even need an explanation; we just know that it’s horrendous.

We also live in a society that has had to resort to encouraging self-care as a prescriptive thing, ordered by others before being sought out by ourselves, rather than an automatic one.

When I interviewed for grad school, I was asked about my self-care techniques. I’ve since found out that the school’s concern for student well-being wasn’t a formality. Almost every time I’m on the campus, I’m hearing or reading something about the importance of taking care of myself.

I’ve also noticed that even though I want everyone else to take care of themselves (and routinely scold my friends if I think they’re not), I have a backlash of shame at the idea of carving time out for myself. There are a million other things I should or could be doing, and taking even half an hour to do something fun or nurturing feels like a sin…and I’m not even really that busy right now!

Although selfishness isn’t an emotion, per se; I’ve determined that it needs to be the next step on my “negative emotions reclamation” journey. My ability to pay attention to myself and give my body, mind and spirit what they need in the coming years will depend on my ability to be comfortable with seeming selfish from time to time.

And really, if you think about it, why is being selfish such a horrible thing?

That question first crossed my mind a year ago when a friend of mine was called ‘selfish’ for choosing to be child-free. Of course, my initial reaction was to fire back that it was far more selfish to have children for the wrong reasons than to choose to not have children…but then, so what if the decision to be child-free was selfish? What harm did it cause?

I think when we think of selfishness within our society, we automatically get a picture of someone doing something for their own benefit to the detriment of others. Obviously, self-focus that does not care or bother to understand the effect on others is a problem. Too much selfishness, and you have the infamous narcissist, obsessively staring at his/her metaphoric reflection.

Narcissus by Caravaggio

Narcissus by Caravaggio public domain

But should it automatically follow that any amount of self-focus is negative?

In the case of choosing to be child-free, I’d say it’s the best “selfish decision” a person could make. There is no child who will suffer as a result of that choice. No one gets hurt.

And with regard to self-care, I don’t think it’s possible to care for the self without at least a little bit of self-focus and self-concern.

I took a moment to look up “selfish” in the dictionary. Unlike most of my reclaimed emotions, I was surprised to find that there didn’t seem to be a positive or neutral definition that was forgotten at the end of a list. I can’t think of an alternative word that implied a healthy amount of self-focus.

So I’m left with reclaiming selfishness.

I want to learn how to be selfish—meaning, I want to learn how to practice self-care without feeling like I’m doing something wrong, I want to be able to say “no, that doesn’t work for me” without having to provide a convincing altruistic or globally beneficial reason to make my choice seem more palatable, and I want to have the right to love myself as much as I feel I should love others.

 

Revolutionary Resolutions: Stop Fighting Bad Habits

Ooh, guess what! The New Year is officially two months old! Feels like it’s been longer, doesn’t it? Especially with that damn Mercury Retrograde starting off month two with a bang. In the spirit of Retrograde, which is best spent reviewing old projects, I’ve been cleaning out some of my blog topics. I came across one that I had intended to do in January about fighting bad habits—namely that we shouldn’t.

By the way, how are all those New Year’s Resolutions holding up? Have you kept them? Messed up a few times but gotten back on track? Or have you given up entirely as we enter March?

Don’t worry; I’m not here to chastise you for failing or to try to motivate you to try harder.

I’m here to talk about the purpose of bad habits.

Yep! They have a purpose—a purpose that we each assign to them as we develop them. And I have a radical theory that we actually shouldn’t fight bad habits. Rather in order to truly overcome them, we have to understand what their purpose is in our lives. Like nightmares, they have a message to deliver, and they won’t go away until they deliver it.

I first developed this theory during one of the many times that I was trying to stop cutting. I’d had bad luck since I was a teen in forcing myself not to self-harm. Every time I resisted the urge to self-harm, the urge got stronger. Giving in just made it stronger too.

I know, I know, bad cycle…but I didn’t know how to break it! Part of me, I guess, really didn’t want to break it.

Then one day, someone actually praised my self-harm. Rather than admonishing me, “You have to promise me you’ll never do that again. EVER!”, she said that she was glad that I had done what I needed to survive. She thought my self-harm had been a good thing in my younger years because it had helped me cope with some pretty monstrous circumstances. Now that I knew that it wasn’t the best coping mechanism, I could develop new ones that nurtured me rather than harmed me.

When she said that, I felt pride. I realized that part of the reason that I was having such a hard time stopping my cutting was because, deep down, I didn’t see it as a negative thing. I saw it as a friend who had been there for me during my darkest times, preventing me from killing myself in the only way that I could think of. It was the means I used to keep myself together and grounded enough to function in an incredibly toxic world.

In a way, my bad habit had been my savior.

But I also knew that she was right. It was no longer a coping mechanism that I needed, and it was time to respectfully retire it.

Even if our survival skills have become impediments we would like to let go of because they have ceased to serve us, we can still love ourselves with them. In appreciation of our survival, we can be awed at how our resources brought us through, even when these resources were things like indifference, a wall of rage, a cold heart…We learn to embrace ourselves as humans with faults & problems. ~Beyond Survival by Maureen Brady

Since then, I have taken this approach whenever I need to replace a behavior with something else. Rather than trying to wrestle with the habit and, ultimately, with myself, I have a conversation with the habit. I sit with it in meditation and ask it what it has to teach me. What purpose does it serve? What need does it fulfill? What fears does it assuage? When I understand why I rely on that habit, I can address the needs that underlie it and find other ways of meeting those needs.

insecure

Sometimes I even draw a picture of what the habit might look like. I try to represent what it’s trying to do for me and what it is actually doing for me. With the picture above, insecurity makes me want to hold onto other things too tightly, but I end up choking myself instead.

Ultimately, I don’t “quit” my “bad habits.” I make them unnecessary. As I develop new ways of addressing my needs, I don’t need them anymore. They fall out of my life naturally.

That’s not to say there isn’t a struggle, but the struggle becomes informed. I know why I’m struggling, and I can approach the struggle with compassion and self-care. I can befriend myself in my attempts to change rather than alienating myself.

In a world where advertisements are constantly trying to convince us to fight ourselves or erase ourselves in order to be “better,” it’s a revolutionary idea…but then again, isn’t love usually pretty revolutionary?

Perhaps sometimes it’s possible to overcome a habit we don’t like by sheer power of will, but ultimately, I think we damage ourselves when we do because we fail to take into account that our habits are doing something for us…something that our minds and bodies feel they need. Strong-arming our behavior into something else without trying to understand what motivates the behavior creates enmity with ourselves and, ultimately, heightens our chances of relapsing into the same habit or unconsciously replacing it with something equally destructive.

So if you’ve failed at your New Year’s Resolution, I want to congratulate you. This is your opportunity to turn a resolution into a revolution. Radical self-love. Radical self-respect. Radical change. We’re only two months into the year. It’s a perfect time to start a new pattern of resolutions!

Modesty Culture and Yoni Worship: My Journey Out of Self-Objectification and Into Self-Respect

Warning: This post contains nudity. Respect is expected. Before you comment, please read my comment policy. Sexist or slut-shaming language will not be permitted. 

The other day, Beauty Redefined had a post on their Facebook page about modesty. Several people commented that immodestly dressed women had low self-esteem. Although BR didn’t say anything to indicate that they hold that opinion themselves, they also didn’t contradict those comments either.

I’ve written about modesty once before when I discussed the place that objectification has within modesty culture. If you’re in the mood for a rant, it’s a great post, but I’m not here to rant today. Rather I’m here to wonder.

“Wonder” is such an interesting word. It can either mean “to contemplate” or “to marvel.” Today, I’m going to do both.

I’m noticing a trend within modesty culture that disturbs me. I know of no word that describes it, so I’ve decided to refer to it as anti-corporeality—being against the body.

On one level, I love what BR is doing in trying to expose the patriarchal power structures that dictate beauty and self-worth to women through the male gaze.

Notice how objectifying ads like this one from Tom Ford constantly degrade and dehumanize women, sometimes even violently, using their bodies for male pleasure while denying women agency.

Notice how objectifying ads like this one from Tom Ford constantly degrade and dehumanize women, sometimes even violently, using their bodies for male pleasure while denying women agency. Sometimes it’s a matter of personal interpretation, but often the creators of the ads are obvious in how they wish it to be interpreted. This one says, “my breasts are for men.”

Unfortunately, I often see that attempt hijacked by modesty culture. Rather than teaching women and girls that they are more than just a body, it seems that the teachings edge towards the other extreme—that women and girls are not bodies. There’s an underlying current that suggests that having a body, acting on sexual desires, or being visible is shameful.

Here’s where I wonder.

When you tell women that they are more than just a body, implying that they should keep themselves covered, I wonder if you are also telling girls that focusing on their bodies at all is wrong. When you link clothing with self-esteem, I wonder if you are reinforcing the idea that appearance is the source of self-esteem. When you hastily generalize being “sexy” with being objectified, I wonder if you are telling women that sexuality is dehumanizing.

Self-esteem and “modesty” are not directly related. On the contrary; they’ve been inversely correlated for me. In the IFB, I was taught that my body was a temptation. I was told that it was my responsibility to be modest in order to protect boys and men from lusting after me and that if I caused a man to stumble, I had committed a form of adultery with him.

I learned to be ashamed of my body, to disconnect from it, to fear it. There were times when I considered taking a knife to my face and my chest, mutilating myself to prevent men from wanting to lust after me.

At the same time, I was taught I was supposed to be attractive for my husband when I got married so that he wouldn’t cheat on me. My mother assigned books for me to read that told me that it was my duty to sexually satisfy my husband. At conferences, I listened to speakers who preached that sex in marriage was like going to a restaurant—as long as you fed your husband often enough at your “find dining” restaurant, he wouldn’t be tempted to go to that cheap MacDonald’s across the street.

In that way, I learned to hate my body, for it could never measure up to the ideals I saw on TV or billboards.

Modesty culture destroyed my self-esteem.

Over the last four years I’ve been going through a transformation. It wasn’t just a rejection of modesty culture as a toxic philosophy; it was a journey into the wonder of my body.

Nudity and sexuality can be beautiful and sacred, even with a camera present. In this picture, I see nudity and sexuality that honors rather than degrades. (Photo taken by Solus-Photography and modelled by Alex B. and Mike Cooney; used with permission. Click on the picture to see more of her beautiful work.)

Of course, first I had to do the work to free myself from modesty teachings. Feminism played a wonderful role in opening my eyes to the oppression inherent in rape culture (which I explain is related to modesty culture in my other post). It was key in helping me recognize that I wasn’t responsible for other people’s thoughts or actions—that I had a right to be treated like a human being regardless of my appearance.

Then in February, I started what I now see was a full-blown paradigm shift. I dedicated the month to reading about and celebrating the female body. I threw a yoni party (read about it here), complete with vagina straws and tampon crafts. What began as an archetypal reverence apparently became internalized. I didn’t even realize it until this past week when I saw the modesty post from BR.

As soon as I read the first comment linking self-esteem with modesty, I thought, “But that’s not true. I wear things all the time that I would have considered ‘immodest’ at one point, and my self-esteem is fine. I love my body.”

The last four words left me in awe.

I love my body.

Sometime between February and now, I fell in love with my body. I love the way it moves during yoga, when I dance, when I run, and yes, even when I have sex. I love my vagina, my sacred yoni. I love my breasts, small as they are. I love my legs, with the varicose veins beginning to form. I love the hive scars that scatter across my chest . . . and the cutting scars that speak of my survival. I love my eyes and my lips and my neck. I love my hair. I love my feet. I love my hands.

I don’t love my body because I look like a model or because it’s “perfect” in form or execution.

I love it because it’s part of me.

I am not just a body. I have a mind too. I celebrate my mind every day with writing, reading, discussions, even daydreams.

But I am not just a mind, which means that I also celebrate my body. Part of celebrating my body can involve things like taking a bath, exercising, eating, or snuggling into clean sheets. However, part of celebrating my body also involves celebrating my sexuality—learning to belly dance, wearing something that makes me feel sexy, actually having sex. If I listened to the modesty movement, I would think those things are objectifying and harmful to my self-esteem . . . except that they’re not.

A yoni puja is the worship of the yoni. There is something beautiful and sacred about the yoni that can only be seen when one stops fearing and hating the female body.

Objectification is not about how much skin is or isn’t showing. It’s about the cultural lens through which we choose to view the body.

I objectified myself all the time when I ascribed to modesty culture because I constantly thought about myself in terms of what I did to others. Am I attractive enough to keep my husband faithful? Am I covered enough to prevent a man from thinking about sex with me? Is it okay to wear shorts on a hot day, or would I be looking like a tramp? Do I compare with a porn star in bed? Should I be like a porn star in bed?

What stopped me from objectifying myself wasn’t clothing. My self-esteem didn’t rise because of an extra inch of fabric. Rather, I learned to stop objectifying myself by living in my body. It is not a temple in which my spirit is housed. It is the part of me that connects to the world. I’m not ashamed of it or objectified by it.

I wanted to insert a video at the end here, but I can’t figure out how to do so. Please visit Hysterical Literature, a project that seeks to film women reading books while being sexually stimulated off-camera. Although there is no nudity, those who fear female sexuality would find this objectionable and uncomfortable. I think it is a beautiful illustration of the body/mind blend of being a woman. Also, if you’re interested in reading some great posts about sexual ethics, check out Sarah Over the Moon’s series

Romancing the Self: Rekindling the Love that I Forgot to Kindle

It’s women’s history month! What better way to celebrate than by talking about self-love?

Back when I posted my upcoming topics on Facebook (yes, I’m on there with a wee baby page that desperately needs more likes), I was following a whim. Rather than fret all week about which topic to cover next time, I decided to talk about something that I was currently doing. It seemed like a good idea. It was fun and lighthearted but an important concept, nonetheless.

Plus it was relatively easy . . . or so I thought it would be at the time . . . and I could use an easy topic while I was going through my post-Emilie-Autumn-concert high/minor obsession (okay major obsession).

So I patted myself on the back for thinking of ahead and let myself fall back into following as much of Emilie and her inmates as I could on the Internet. In the process, I stumbled across one of the inmate’s blog post about writing love letters to yourself and, from there, the Contessa’s post about dating yourself.

Oy!

Talk about synchronicity!

Yes, I suppose this could just be a topic trend right now, so all you logic monsters (ahem, my partner) can just relax. But I’m allowing myself to find a deeper meaning in the repetition because even though the idea of courting myself has floated around in my mind for a little over a year now, I haven’t been practicing it.

I thought I had started the practice last year, when on International Women’s Day, I bought myself my first “gift.”

Not that I’ve never gotten myself something before, but this was the first one that felt like I was getting myself something that I would normally expect another person to give to me—a rose. I was driving by a florist’s shop, already heady with the energy of the full moon and the excitement of celebrating women, when I suddenly decided that I wanted a rose for that day.

Part of me scoffed at the idea. You can’t buy yourself flowers! It’s like making yourself a birthday cake or giving yourself a Valentine’s Day gift!

But I really wanted that flower.

So I made a u-turn and went back to the florist. I took my time selecting the flower that I wanted, thinking about how each shape and color made me feel, until I felt certain that a pale lavender rose seemed to fit the occasion just perfectly.

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I was giddy by the time I left the shop. I don’t even remember what I did to celebrate the rest of the day even though it was an all-day celebration. All I remember is buying myself that rose and feeling so fucking special because of it!

And I decided that this whole romance thing would need to be part of my life—I was finally to the place where I treasured myself enough to want to do it!

But…

Then a year passed before I thought about romancing myself again.

Sure, I had alone time and self-care times, even times of honoring the scared feminine within me (remember the yoni party!).

But it wasn’t a romantic encounter in any way.

Then last Friday, I was stressed. My partner and I had been almost too busy to even say hi to each other, and I was lonely. I knew I needed to unwind, and I was disappointed over every new occasion that seemed to get in the way of that.

Then it occurred to me: Take yourself on a date! You were supposed to be doing that anyway!

At first it felt kind of pathetic, planning a romantic evening when I had nothing else to do—almost as if I were crying for attention. But it wasn’t about that at all. I even got offers from friends that day to go out, but I turned them down because I actually wanted to have this evening with myself.

The evening really couldn’t have been more cozy. I cooked myself a gourmet meal, broke open an expensive bottle of wine, lit some candles and incense, dimmed the overhead lights, and picked out a favorite movie. The food was delicious, but I think eating it would have been special even if it tasted like crap. There was something about knowing that I was doing all of this for me that made it all feel magical (especially when you consider that I rarely even cook if I’m not expecting anyone else to eat with me). The night continued with my homemade spa–even more candles and a vanilla bath. There was no time limit, no expectations, just me and me doing whatever we wanted.

Okay, so enough about my night. Anymore from here will either get inappropriately awkward or boring (if it’s not boring already). The point is that I reminded myself of how precious it is to woo myself. Of course I like it when someone else does it to me, but I’d forgotten how special I could make myself feel. And in a way, this whole self-date thing is almost more important than dates with my partner because it is the foundation of my being able to appreciate and accept my partner’s love. Loving myself enough to say, “You deserve this. I want to give it to you,” adds a deeper dimension to my relationship with my partner. There’s very little from the Bible that I hold onto in my current beliefs, but the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” bit is still one of my favorite mottos because it reminds me that all love stems from self-love.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." I always get a little bit ecstatic when I find a way of blasphemously turning a phrase once associated with God onto myself somehow.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I always get a little bit ecstatic when I find a way of blasphemously turning a phrase once associated with God onto myself.

I’m a complex being. I’ve learned that sometimes I need to be mothered, sometimes I need to be coached/pushed, and—sometimes, I just need to be seduced by myself.

So this March, like last March, I’m proposing a courtship to myself, and this time, I don’t intend on letting myself down. I think I might even work on starting to write myself a love letter, like Veronica instructs. But even if I can’t bring myself to do that right away, I can plan in a date night with myself from time to time to keep the romance alive. Love takes work, and that includes self-love.