My body and I, we’re on our second round. The first time, things didn’t go over so well.
The moment I began noticing my body as a pre-teen, we were on rocky terms. At age 12, my body went from being the vehicle that let me climb the sugar maple in my front yard in three seconds flat to a clunky machine that was growing at an uneven rate, and was suddenly bleeding. As a teenager, my body unnerved me—craving touch and then recoiling in shame when I received it. I grew 32DD breasts that seemed at odds with the sweet and innocent persona I had worked so hard to create. I was mad at this discord, mad at my lack of control and mad at my body.
For years, we were in and out of touch, barely connecting long enough to function. Mostly, I ignored it. I made it do things it didn’t want to. I made it work overtime. I swore I knew better than it. Finally, at 24, it slammed the door on me—all at once, everything became numb. I wasn’t hungry. Sex was robotic. Nothing pleased me. My body was done posting letters to a defunct address.
So, I gave up my control over it. I gave up trying to perform sexy. I gave up pretending I knew what my body needed. I banned myself from dating, and I handed over the steering wheel. I listened. If she had to pee, I didn’t wait for a break, I got up and went to the damn bathroom. If she was hungry, I ate. If she wanted pleasure, I spent time reacquainting myself with my hand. As I began to listen, the dissonance between us dissolved. I felt signals arise naturally. I was beginning again as a sexual being. I was beginning again as a body. I was consciously unlearning everything I had ever been taught and was letting my body lead the way.
See, when it comes to bodies, I think women have two beginnings. We spend our first learning how to hate it, how to ignore its expertise. We spend our second uncovering the genius that’s been there all along; the genius that knows what we want and when we want it—that knows how to please us and excite us, and who delivers us our daily dose of belonging. It whispers “Let me guide you” every day and waits patiently for us to hear it.
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