Monday, February 18, 2013

The World Away From Porn

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The worst part of my day is late afternoon. The sun is tired, it's yawning across the sky, and sitting underneath it, watching the yellow ball of melting energy drag itself westward adds to my lethargy. I have always hated mid-afternoon.

My first idea was trail mix! Maybe we should eat trail mix for a mid-afternoon snack! The crunchy liveliness of salty bits filled with protein and magnesium! But no amount of crunching and picking through (to horde the cashews) saved me. Trail mix failed to stop the signs of a dying sun.

Then I read a book about a woman who takes a salt bath every mid-afternoon. She found a warm dip in the tub at this time of day was a way to slough off the beginning of the day and recharge for the next portion.

Aha! A bath.

As a Picesan, water is always the first response to every problem. When I put my head underneath the sudsy water I feel like I can finally breathe. And so I added a four o'clock bath to our daily schedule, thinking perhaps I could use some Netflix magic to steal time from my children.

But the children followed me. Not the boy, he who can entertain himself for an entire day with one robotic toy and an imaginative scenario. But the girls, they dash upon hearing the tunes of our squeaky hot handle and the rush of tub water. By the time they are upstairs and around the corner their clothes are stripped leaving behind a trail of snotty, food-stained, cotton accoutrements in their wake.

So we bathe together. Like the woman I saw in the public pool in Norway when I was sixteen years old. She came in the female locker room from the pool with her little daughters swarming around, stripped down nude in front of them, in front of me--the only other person in the room--with no hesitation. Her long, Nordic body was beautiful, showing the shape of a birthing woman. Her daughters danced naked as she tried to dress them. Water dripped off their long hair, down their bodies to puddle around their feet. And me, in the corner, trying to covertly dress myself-- in an American shock at seeing a naked stranger in an asexual situation. But I left the pool in my own chlorined skin thinking, I want to be like like that.

They prod me. They poke me. They pinch me. They ask about the pink snakes on my body which happen to be the proof of their existence written on my skin. Stretch marks! They wiggle my chest and slap each breast like rough dough. Breasts! Yours will grow, I tell them, they will be bigger than they are now. Maybe bigger than mine, maybe smaller, but they will be yours and you can love them too.

But will they love them? I wonder. Are my daughters growing up in a world where the natural woman is becoming extinct? Will they know what a white-haired woman looks like? Will they experience seeing the deepening wrinkles on a woman's face, around her eyes, curling under her chin down to her chest? Will they know more than just a handful of women who have learned to accept their bodies graciously?



I have seen porn. I have watched movies. Not many. Not much. It was all at great expense to be "open minded" and "sexually uninhibited" and "educational." But it left me doubting my own inherent sexuality, in some cases it felt like an act of violence to my spiritual, sensual self. It took away my sexual empowerment.  It left me in a fog of stupidity.

Is that what I am supposed to look like?

Is that the sound I am supposed to make?

Is that the reaction I am supposed to have?

Why do I feel more offended than aroused?

What did any of it have to do with the way I feel when I am underneath the stars behind on black backs of the Wasatch mountains--when I felt so connected to my eternal self, so powerful and strong? What did it have to do with the early desert mornings when the oranges, pinks, purples and blues illuminate with the sunrise like dusty rainbows in the distance, making me giddy to be alive? Where was the moment when the thunder rocks you home from a walk in the park, baptizing you with water and sound, shocking you into a belief in God? And what about the scarlet geraniums blossoming out of the window planters in the narrow streets of Paris tempting you to never, ever return home again? Or being in that home, rocking your baby, feeling the waves of a little chest slowly, slowly slip into slumber knowing you had part in achieving another creature's joy?

Because those are the moments I feel sexual. It has nothing to do with my body shape. Nothing to do with lust. Nothing to do with the lingerie I might try on. Nothing to do with man-made lights in a hot, sweaty studio. And surprisingly, nothing to do with a partner.

(But oh, to share it with partner? That giddiness, the eternal, the empowerment of knowing all creation is a work of sexual, sensual divine and we become apart of it, together? Yes. Yes. Ohhh YES.)

My sexuality is empowerment. It's the way I feel apart of a huge earth, under that retiring sun and set in motion by a big white moon. It's knowing who I am, and how I feel when my body moves to the motion of the joy I feel. It's forgiveness, it's vulnerability, it's honesty, it's intelligence. Pleasure is pure wisdom.

I have never felt powerful after watching porn, just more submissive, more debased, more stupid and dazed. And what if I were to become addicted to it? Where would those moments of sexual empowerment go? Would they be lost in the fog of pushed fantasy and contrived scripts?



This I will do for my daughters: I will love my body. I will love myself. I will tell them how I love the way my cheeks turn pink and my freckles pop when I feel intimate with the man I love. The way my eyes twinkle and my mind races with questions when I talk someone who interests me. The communion I hold with God in the most private places of my soul. The way I feel when I smell silvery sagebrush after a light rain. The way my body pounds in tune to my heart when I walk up the hills behind our house.

I will tell them about their own bodies. Recognize their unique shapes from the roundness in their nails to the wave of their eyebrows. I will tell them the significance of their female body parts--pointing out the divinely-designed relationships of all the muscles and organs in the body. Like the similarities between the throat muscles and the cervix, and the idea that when a woman has a voice in her life, one that is heard loud and validated, it will often affect the openness and competency of her cervix. Or what I learned from infertility: a menstrual cycle actually is imperative to flushing out toxic thoughts and emotions that build up in our bodies over time.

I will tell them what I know is true: sexuality is intelligence. Education will make them empowered, awareness will open their eyes to truth, compassion will cultivate a body that can give and receive. All of this will do more for their sexual health than any other endeavor.

I will tell them about heaven. One day I will stand in the presence of my Mother in Heaven. As will they.
We will see her shape, the glory of a million creations--breasts that give, a belly that bears, hair that shines with splendor--and we will embrace Her and thank Her for co-creating us in the likeness of Her.

What will I do for my daughters in that tub each day, besides let them discover my wavy, water-loving body? Prepare them to meet Her again, and recognize Her face, Her body, Her sensuality--because it echos their earthy mother--because it echos their own.





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Utah readers: over the weekend I saw Happy Little Secrets at the Echo theater in Provo. It's a brave, open play about same-sex attraction, relationships, grief, suicide, family and what it looks like to struggle silently in our BYU/Mormon community. It encouraged me to think we might be on the brink of more openness, more story-telling, less secrets more honesty. It was written by the award-winning playwright Melissa Leilani Larson (Martyr's Crossing) and is a quick 80 minutes of thought-provoking, well-written material. Go see it.



Only weeks away, someone make sure Lydia is behaving:
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