"Oh, how hard it is to learn to become a whole woman when you spent your childhood being your mother's mother, therapist and confidant. It is also extremely hard to not feel guilty about creating a beautiful life once you've healed yourself and become a whole woman when you know that your mother is still hurting and in need of saving. The most challenging aspect of being a woman is putting on my own oxygen mask before I put on my mother's."
*Describe your a-ha moment.
Most of us have had many but each of us has special ones that call us into our purpose and/or allow us to live our best lives. These are mine...
September 1996 - I learned that love without great sex wasn't something I'd settle for. Ever. In a moment when I should have chosen love and comfort above else I decided that I'd rather be alone because sex was just as important to me as love. My a-ha moment came shortly after giving birth to my daughter that had passed away in utero. A friend asked me why I even missed my awful ex boyfriend when my daughter's father was such a good romantic guy who wanted to be with me and would do anything to make me happy. She didn't understand why I didn't let him come visit me to help me through the grief, why I didn't want to give him another chance to see if we would grow into being sexually compatible and she argued that sex shouldn't be more important than romance to a woman. She thought I was silly for entertaining the ex because sex with him just made everything better even if he wasn't ready for happily-ever-after like my daughter's father was.
But it was in that moment that I realized, I wouldn't trade quality shameless sex for romantic love. That night I sat outside the dorms drinking Alizé listening to Tupac with a bunch of my friends crying about his death but I cried about more than that. Everyone else crying gave me permission to cry unabashedly about the loss of my daughter and about the realization that maybe girls that liked sex would never find a Prince Charming. I cried myself to sleep thinking that if it was up to me I would definitely rather be considered a bad girl, a slut or whatever "they" wanted to call me over a life of bad sex. The next morning I went with another friend to a tattoo shop and had the words Sex Love Joy tattooed on me and a heart with a cross through it in the middle of those words. From that moment on I knew that to me living the good life meant that sex, love and joy are as vital for my soul as food, water and shelter are for my body. Having that tattoo in a visible spot said to me and to the world that I was comfortable being a sexual woman even if others weren't.
January 2007 - Turning thirty was terribly hard for me because I looked in the mirror and no longer recognized myself at all. The woman I had become had traded womanhood for marriage and motherhood. She had spent so much time helping and healing others that the only emotions she felt were emptiness, bitterness, anger and sadness. At thirty when I found myself burned by loving others more than I loved myself, I decided it was time to set my life on fire. At the point when there were only ashes of me left I started writing publicly and it was through other women that my a-ha moment came... they helped me see that I wasn't the only smart woman that had woken up one day and asked herself, "How did I become you? And how do I find me again?" And the icing on my a-ha cake was that most of these women thanked me for writing about sex as much as I wrote about love and motherhood.
*What’s your best piece of woman-to-woman advice?
Be as intimate with yourself as you can be. Yes, I am a sex educator but I am not talking about sexuality right now. When I say be intimate with yourself I mean allow yourself to feel your emotions. Tear down the walls you have around your heart that don't allow you to love yourself fully. Detonate any mines you have in your mind that tear your self-confidence apart. Get emotionally naked and be eloquently honest with yourself about the things your soul needs, about the boundaries you'll need to develop to allow your emotional growth and be okay with deeply feeling what hurts the most. Stop waiting on the right circumstances to create the life you want. Start doing the inner work today, continue to be intimate with yourself each day and sooner than you think the world around you will be what you've always needed and wanted.
*What has been your favorite mistake?
The answer that is easiest to this question is that mistakes and triumphs have shaped the women that we are. Our choices whether they are the right or wrong ones define us. Saying this is dodging the question with a non answer so instead I will tell you what you really want to hear about... but you must know that, I've never called my favorite mistake a mistake. For as long as I can remember I have called it the smartest dumb thing I have ever done.
It was a mistake for twenty-one year old me to marry a man that was my complete opposite, that had no goals, an uncertain future and that had nothing to offer other than his company which caused butterflies in my stomach, only 45 days after we had met and after only kissing once. Yes, our second kiss was the one that comes after, "You may now kiss the bride." I was a fool for doing that. That smartest dumb thing aka mistake shaped me more than anything else that I've ever decided.
The last fifteen years of my life have been filled with challenges, heartache and outcomes that would not have been IF I had chosen to not marry him. IF?! What if I hadn't made that mistake? Well, then I wouldn't have the three loving, smart and handsome sons I have today. I wouldn't have a partner that after all the failures, all the hurt and all the personal growth we've been through is my absolute best friend that I laugh with every day. Together we built a relationship, a family and life that is more beautiful from the inside than you could imagine from the outside. Everything we have today is all the sex, love and joy I dreamed of when I was only 19 but we did it the hard way. And although he gives me most of the credit for creating what we have and for him becoming the man that he is today, I give him credit for unconditionally loving a woman that is not easy to love.
So ladies, if a drop dead gorgeous man walks into a room and you think, "Don't do anything stupid with him!" Don't. Or do, but be prepared for it to be stupid hard before it is beautiful ease.
*So far, what has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman?
This one is hard to say because it comes wrapped in a lot of deep personal pain. I can already feel my skin stinging and my heart wanting to step away from giving the first answer that came to mind. The most challenging aspect of being a woman has been being my mother's daughter. In the last few years I've done a lot of work to fix the relationship I have with my mother and it is good right now but there isn't anything that I wouldn't do to be able to change her choices. Even though I know in my heart the choices I would change would mean that she would have never had me or my siblings and instead chosen her own journey of self-discovery that led her to more than motherhood.
As a daughter it is painful to watch your mother continually live for others, put herself last, be the mule of the world, be totally co-dependent, do little that brings her joy, lie down to be used as a rug and then scream that she is the victim, lash out and hurt you the only person pleading that she choose herself. That whole circle of life or cycle of abuse, whatever you call it. Oh, how hard it is to learn to become a whole woman when you spent your childhood being your mother's mother, therapist and confidant. It is also extremely hard to not feel guilty about creating a beautiful life once you've healed yourself and become a whole woman when you know that your mother is still hurting and in need of saving. The most challenging aspect of being a woman is putting on my own oxygen mask before I put on my mother's. Unfortunately I am not the only woman that faces this difficult challenge.
*What do you not want us to know?
Most people that know me know that I don't keep much of my inner work a secret. Even those that only e-know me through my blog know that I am an open book. Yet, when I don't want you to know something I don't tell it. At all. Right now what I am not ready to share how I feel about the hysterectomy I had August 2nd. I do not want anyone to know how I am feeling about that yet because I am presently IN those emotions.
But this question is really asking about something most people don't know about me. When I was deep in my sadness, when my life was completely on fire and when I was doing everything I could to tear my marriage apart Tamia's "If I Were You" was the song that helped me cry oceans. When I hear that song now I can easily remember the sadness but what I feel is the power of having come through it. Today, Tamia's "Still" helps me cry the happiest tears.
*When do you feel most creative? What inspires you?
I feel the most creative between 4am and 7am when everyone in my house is asleep. Beauty and adventure inspire me; I am in constant search for both.
*What does it mean to you to be a soulful beauty?
You can't be any kind of beauty until you learn to be you. A soulful beauty sees the hidden message in the word BEaUty. A soulful beauty is woman that is doing the work to be her best self. A soulful beauty has learned the difference between the voice/words of her inner mean girl and constructive self-honesty. A soulful beauty defines femininity, love, sexuality and happiness for herself. A soulful beauty understands that she was born into a world where there will always be someone somewhere labeling the things she does, says and is as bad which is why she never turns down her own light for others.
*What is your favorite quote, scripture or affirmation?