Emerald

Choice and Tyranny

It is not a novelty for a naked picture of me to be on the Internet.  If one knows where to look, there are a number of them out there.  So while I include a photo with this post, it does not represent the “naked” part of this for me.  It is there for illustration, perhaps personalizing the account that follows.

Having worked in amateur porn and as a webcam model, images of my physical nudity may be found in various places.  Displaying physical nakedness has not tended to faze me, and on the contrary I have (for the most part) appreciated the context in which those photos were taken and have been displayed.

Of course, as with most things, there is a reason for that.  It took a while for me to be in a position to make those choices.

***

I was fairly young—about eight—when I was informed that according to “God” it was “wrong” to have sex “before you were married.”  (Lots of quotes in there, I know, but I don’t want to reinforce or give the impression that I condone that which seems dubious to me—which in that sentence includes everything in quotation marks.)  This is not earth-shatteringly unusual, I realize.  I also feel no doubt that my mother imparted this with the best of intentions, as it was what she herself sincerely believed, and I appreciate that she was taking the responsibility to speak with her children about sex.

It happened that for me, that message ended up with implications perhaps more extreme than many may have found in it.

***

I didn’t know that what I had experienced as a common part of life may be categorized as a psychological disorder until I was twenty.  I was taking an Abnormal Psychology class in undergrad, and one day the professor was introducing the five categories of anxiety disorders.  He put an overhead up about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and started to talk about it.

I had barely heard of OCD, so it had never occurred to me to wonder if it was in me.  The first examples of obsessive-compulsive-related thoughts and behaviors I recall in me were at about age seven, so it might have been the seeming normative experience of them that resulted in my not questioning their implications in such a way.  I hadn’t really known anything different.

In class that day, I looked at the overhead and thought, “Huh.  That is what is in me.  Apparently it’s categorized as an anxiety disorder.  I’d always wondered if other people were doing the things in my head that I was.”  For some reason, it felt that casual.  It was certainly unquestionable—there was no doubt that the descriptions on the sheet reflected what I had experienced.  While I felt surprised and somewhat fascinated, I think it had been such a normal part of my experience that it seemed almost quaint to see it labeled as a disorder.

***

The first time I had sex (by which I mean vaginal intercourse, the phrase “have sex” seeming perhaps ambiguous), I had seen that it was okay to do so.  Despite how simple that sounds, it is so far from a casual statement I hardly know how to describe it.  I had a choice about whether or not to have sex.  That had never been the case before.  The choice had formerly been hijacked and made in me before I even realized there was one.  The day I “lost my virginity,” I chose to—clearly, freely, and comfortably.

I was 25 years old.

***

OCD was about one underlying thing for me: “God.”  What I thought of as God was watching me all the time, always, and the entire focus of watching me was to ensure that I never, ever did anything wrong, and that if I did, I paid for it or was punished.

Potential punishment was simply unimaginable.  For the most part the details of such were kept from my consciousness, their very consideration too traumatic.  “Controlling” thoughts in order to keep such terrifying details from materializing into consciousness was one of the purposes of earnest and obedient repetitions of compulsions.

The other was to avoid said punishment itself.  Generally, I was paying “in advance” to earn the allowance of scathingly horrendous things not happening to me or my family (on whom OCD frequently seemed focused).  Compulsions were demanded to allow the keeping in check of such occurrences, since the chances were I had or would eventually do something “wrong” that would require such obligation.

Appeasement of the orders of OCD (which is to say compulsions) could come in numerous forms—counting, repeating phrases in my head, fidgeting a certain way, saying certain things…an innumerable list of penances that seemed inexhaustible and that I wouldn’t know how to realistically detail in any comprehensive form.  Demands could and often did come at any time, and there was no negotiation involved.

The real, underlying fear—the very thought of which was usually kept from consciousness as per above, so much so that I wasn’t even aware of its being the case for some time—was Hell.  In life too, indeed, I was in (unwanted) control of what happened to myself and my family, but the ultimate responsibility with which I was charged, and for which I was singularly responsible, was to keep myself and my family out of Hell.

I realize such a specter may seem silly if one doesn’t subscribe to traditional postulations of Christianity.  All I can say is that it wasn’t so much a literal belief as the simple vague, indelible, perpetual terror of the threat of the literally most horrifying experience possible.  I use no hyperbole in that description.

If I did or thought something “wrong,” of course, backpedaling in the form of increased compulsion was frequently necessary.  The catch was that, in large part, what was “wrong” was arbitrary.  It was at the absolute discretion of the savage, unrelenting, maniacally tyrannical “God” in my head.

But there was one rule attributed to “God” that had been externally and overtly presented to me.

***

I had not sought any kind of treatment after the realization in the psychology class because I thought, frankly, that the phenomenon that the sheet described as OCD had been in me since I was seven, I was “used” to it, and I could handle it and for whatever reason doubted it would ever become much “worse.”

This assessment was erroneous.  In my early 20’s, I experienced a dramatic increase in the intensity of OCD to a degree that sometimes impeded general functioning.  Around that time I also discovered, through a gradual process, that not having sex before I was married was the pinnacle of OCD in me.  It was the ultimate—the one action that epitomized my responsibility and what I was allowed to do or not do.  This was the thing that, if done, would result in not only me but my family undergoing indefinitely the most horrendous and torturous experience imaginable (or not imaginable).  If I had sex outside of marriage, that result would be entirely my fault.

I could write an entire other post (and probably will sometime on my blog) on how and why OCD has not controlled me for about the last eight years.  I honestly don’t know how to put it succinctly without going into considerable detail, so I will just say that a distinct process transpired that I didn’t even realize was happening at the time that resulted in a shift I hadn’t known or imagined existed.

Over the course of about six months, and in part without my even realizing it, an unimaginable (to me at the time) shift and expansion of perspective occurred in me.  Without my at all “trying” or having such a thing as a “goal” (as again, I was not even able to conceive of it to make it into a goal), this process involved the distorted perception that had hijacked and held hostage my experience dissolving.

That distorted and hijacking perception being OCD.

It is difficult to describe how OCD not controlling me anymore felt.  As I mentioned before, I didn’t really have anything to compare being under its control to since I had experienced it from such a young age.  The shift was like being presented with a new color, one completely unlike those you had known existed, or a new number—0 though 9 are not the only ones.  A whole new one is there, changing the way you have viewed things all your life.

One of the ways I was aware this shift had happened was the seeing of sex being a choice.  Of knowing that how I acted sexually was up to me.  The symbolic pinnacle of the expansion in me was a reflection of the same subject I had experienced as the pinnacle of OCD.

In light of which I said quite literally to the tyrannical authority that had been OCD in me,

FUCK. YOU.

Emerald is an erotic fiction author and general advocate for human sexuality as informed by her deep appreciation of the beauty, value, and intrinsic nature of sexuality and its holistic relation to life.  Her erotic fiction has been published in anthologies edited by Violet Blue, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Jolie du Pre, and Alison Tyler as well as online at various erotic websites.  She currently resides in suburban Maryland where she works as a webcam model and serves as an activist for reproductive freedom and sex worker rights.  She blogs about sexuality in cultural, social, professional, and spiritual contexts at her website, The Green Light District: http://thegreenlightdistrict.org/wordpress/

38 Responses to “Emerald”

  1. Such a powerful expression, Emerald.

    I love your explanation of the shift in thinking being like discovering a new color or number. I have a certain frame of reference: in programming we had to learn new numbering systems (binary, octal, hexadecimal) back in the day. This is not to say I understand your battle, but that your explanation resonates with me, and that I get the sense of the revelation. All of your descriptions so magnificently express your voyage.

    The way you have met your foe head on, and the way you dominate it is an inspiration.

    Thanks for such a revealing post!

    • Thanks for saying that, Craig. It really does feel elusive to describe what that shift was like; it’s not as though I was aiming for something and it finally happened. It was something I literally had never known existed. I appreciate your mention that the number reference resonated with you.

      Thank you—for this comment and all your support.

  2. I don’t think the phrase “Fuck you” has ever been used in such a liberating and positive way!

    A very powerful and revealing essay, indeed, Emerald. Being a type who likes to draw connections of every sort, I found your beautiful photo, with its eye-catching corset, to be a fitting illustration for the essay. OCD is a cruel corset, but when we choose to wear one in a gorgeous color that symbolizes that choice of identity, it’s another thing altogether.

    Having a touch of OCD myself, I could very much relate to your story, but I felt your revelation transcended the personal to expose the complex psychological power games inherent in Christianity. I was raised Catholic and sent to “CCD” (Catholic Christian Doctrine) every Saturday. It should be retitled “OCD” perhaps? Having that omnipresent Eye of God resident in our own heads, monitoring our every move and ready to mete out proper punishment. Not to mention the sort of magical thinking that saying a certain set of prayers (or whatever penance doled out) will make it all okay.

    As you point out so eloquently, this hijacks our ability to make choices and thus stunts the development of a genuine adult moral sense, which requires free will, imo. I’ve always been a huge fan of your stories, always been inspired by your generous spirit, but in light of this essay, knowing what a difficult journey it was to make these choices in your work and your life, I am totally blown away by what you’ve accomplished!

    And it reminds me that every erotic artist says “fuck you” to all that in her or his own way. Thank you so much for this!

    • Thanks Donna. I like your corset perception, which had not occurred to me before you said it. I also feel like you really picked up on how powerful the “fuck you” was for me; I appreciate that too.

      “Not to mention the sort of magical thinking that saying a certain set of prayers (or whatever penance doled out) will make it all okay.”

      Yes, exactly…it really seems astonishing to look back on it in my experience. Yet in traditional Christian contexts, it seems little different from that old requirment to pay money to the Catholic Church in order to acquire “forgiveness,” no? Fascinating. I actually wasn’t raised Catholic, but I have cringed sometimes at the perception of its messages—while I understand the bias in me, it has seemed to me often like an externally directed form of that which I had in my head, and I don’t want anyone to ever go through that. This is one of the reasons I have balked at much postulated religious messaging, especially around sex and sexuality.

      Thank you, for everything.

  3. Oh Emerald, you are just brilliant. Thank you for this and for being so brave and so full of insight.

    Coming from a Christian background myself, I feel a kinship with much of what you describe. There’s so much stuff in that upbringing that constrains the way you think, and it’s so pervasive that you just can’t see it until the paradigm shifts and suddenly you’re in a whole new mental world. I can remember the shift that allowed me to think for the first time “It’s okay to have sex just for fun. Not because you’re expressing love, or looking for love, or have Issues. Just for fun.” It sounds mental now, but it really was a revelation for me that masturbation was psychologically harmless, and not something to be resisted. There’s so much in Christian thought that tells you that sexuality is something that must be CONTROLLED, because otherwise it will lead to (unspecified) DISASTER.

    Waah. I’m so glad I’m out of it.

    Your blog is always fascinating Emerald. It’s expanded my mind for sure, and I truly admire your inner journey toward wholeness!

    • Yes, Janine, I so hear you about the masturbation subject. I remember feeling unsure whether it was okay to even fantasize about having sex outside of marriage, and something in me seemed to come down on the side of “no.” More required controlling of thoughts in addition to behaviors. Sigh.

      Thank you so much, Janine. I have truly felt flattered and humbled that you have enjoyed my blog and feel honored to have had you there.

      I hope you don’t mind my posting this here, but when I read your essay here at F-Stop, there was part of it that deeply resonated with me. It was when you spoke about the fear of depression ever seeming to return in you. I do feel like I understand that fear. A few years ago I started noticing obsessive-compulsive hints in my consciousness, and the reaction in me was horrified and almost panicked. I felt like that simply could not happen, and the very hint that they could be present again ineffably appalled me. I also experienced self-chastisement (ironic) in that I knew I “knew better” now, so why would this at all be an issue?

      That is where the reminder that I and life are something bigger than that has come in (with the help of a wise reminder from someone that I appreciate very much—I felt so upset by the possibility that the reminder did seem necessary). The real issue is not obsessive-compulsive tendencies disappearing in me; it is how I relate to them. Knowing that they are not real and trusting that there is something more, even if/when this has felt scathing and inordinately challenging, is the invitation. (Breathing consciously may act as a first step to this.)

      The truth is, something deeply ingrained and hugely fearful in me used obsessive-compulsive distractions to very successful effect for many years to keep things it found too scary out of my consciousness—and when I was a kid, to frankly protect my existence. If/as things come up from my unconscious as I explore it that this part finds scary and/or terrifying, it makes sense to me that it will desperately fall back on that tactic to try to keep it from coming up. Seeing or experiencing such tendencies coming up in me now may be an invitation for me to see what is being covered up or recognize that something is on the verge of emerging. Again, the challenge of this may seem…virtually indescribable. Breathe and trust.

      I wanted to somehow convey this to you when I read your essay, but I didn’t feel like I knew how. Perhaps now in this context both what I’m saying and why I offer it to you may make more sense.

      You are Beauty, Truth, and Love itself. Thank you again.

      • :-)
        We have a lot in common, don’t we, despite our diferent mental
        quirks? Both little ids swimming on the surface of a huge dark sea full of powerful unconscious forces (I’m thinking of the cover of “Jaws” here!)…
        Sending love back at you
        xxx
        Janine

  4. It almost seems cliche to say this, but what the hell, I’m going to mention it anyway: I think you’re so beautiful, both inside and out. There, I said it. :-) Your deep, thoughtful expression always shines through in your words, Emerald. I’ve grown very fond of you and love your writing, and intellectual and edgy-sexy spirit. Getting to know you out here has been delightful, to say the least. The more I learn about you, the more I like you as person.

    Your personal essay of your struggle with OCD touched a chord in me for many reasons: 1. I have also have an obsessive personality. 2.One of my long-time friends suffered from OCD throughout our childhood. Unfortunately, she has passed this gene onto both her children – one child is autistic. Very challenging and she quite literally takes one day at a time. Good for you for having the strength, the courage and the wherewithall to break that cycle. I’m proud of you.

    FUCK YOU seem like words to live by – I’ll pass this powerful message onto my friend. From one friend to the next.

    Hugs from me.

    p.s. fabulous picture. Sexy thing!

    • Thank you, Neve. I really appreciate that. And yes, how lovely—”FUCK YOU seem words to live by”—I love that and really appreciate your sensing their importance to me there.

      All the best to your friend, and to you, and to everyone.

      Love and hugs back.

  5. Oh, the journeys we go on to escape the shackles that are imposed upon us! Wonderful story, Emerald!

  6. I’m blown away by this to the extent that I don’t quite know what to say. It’s huge. What strength is here, though.

    • Hi Jo. Thank you. I feel like I understand, actually. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t know what to say either. I appreciate your sensitivity…thank you for reading and for commenting.

      Namaste.

  7. Emerald, your piece is incredibly clear and succinct. I love the lack of psychobabble. I’m sure there are others out there who have experienced the same thing. And there are variations on that theme. I wasn’t raised in a strictly Christian home (parents considered selves “liberal” on every subject, inc. religion) but was nonetheless told I shouldn’t have sex before marriage because it would be scary, dangerous, harmful, etc. Essentially I got the Victorian/Freudian argument that “nice girls” can’t handle it, and those who like it are seriously messed up. Thank you for telling your truth.

    • Hi Jean,

      Thank you. I appreciated seeing that you found it clear and succinct. I felt unsure sometimes as I was writing it whether that was the case.

      Indeed, funny, the religious messaging and environment with which I was brought up actually doesn’t seem very conservative to me either (on the contrary), and I really didn’t experience it that way. It’s funny that it’s as though I didn’t need to—this force in my head/mentality took what little was offered and ran with it. (Because as you alluded to, as relatively liberal as the Christian religious messaging with which I was raised was, sex prior to marriage was still and clearly a no-no.) Again, I don’t know quite how/why that would have happened, but it seems there may have been numerous factors involved.

      Yes, seeing religiously postulated messages about sexuality that include or encourage harshness, restriction, and/or inauthenticity has resulted in various crestfallen, ferocious, rebelling, protective, frustrated responses and reactions from me. There are times the seeming prominence of such messaging has simply brought me to tears.

      Thank you for reading this and for commenting.

  8. Hi everybody. Thank you so much for being here, for your comments, and for your support. I appreciate your reading.

    It’s taken me a while today to come here and read what, if any, comments were here. This feels like a difficult subject for me to talk about sometimes. There’s so much I didn’t say here, mostly for brevity’s sake (when I started writing about this it got over 5000 words before I cut it off to start editing it and focusing it for this environment). It felt a bit weird to do that, really, since it seems to me so not a “simple” subject….

    The truth is, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was “because” I received that message or the religious messages with which I was raised that OCD was in me (after all, a lot of people receive similar messages and have different experiences in response to it). It seems to me that the tendencies toward obsessive-compulsiveness became enmeshed with religious ideas in me, and then sexual ones within the religious context. I don’t know exactly why this would be or how it happened, but it seems to me rather potentially complex and likely not having straightforward answers or perhaps even discernibly certain ones.

    It’s…also not that the propensity toward obsessive-compulsiveness in me just went away. The steel grip it had on my perspective dissolved, and I had the opportunity to see something more. Simultaneous/subsequent was the opportunity to see that that (OCD) was not what or all I was—there is something more. That was just something in me. The world, the Universe, life, is so much bigger than that. That is an important and powerful reminder to which I have returned over and over again.

    It’s true that that “fuck you” was ineffibly powerful for me. It’s also true that sometimes I still have to say it.

    Thank every one of you for reading this, truly…and for your comments, so beautiful and supportive. It really does feel hard to express how much I appreciate it.

  9. This is the first time I’ve been to this area of wordpress.com. I just established a blog account. This was great. As a professor of Abnnormal Psychology I had to giggle when you said you diagnosed yourself after listening to a lecture on anxiety disorders. I always warn my students not to diagnose their friends, family or themselves based solely on what they learn in my course.

    Anyway, your writing is so honest. I envy your capabilities

    • Hello Bets,

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. I can understand that. It seems a wise caution. Ironically, I would say that my “diagnosis” of myself was actually more of a recognition (as I mentioned, it was obvious), and when I happened to mention it to the professor, he recommended—in a fairly casual, in-passing kind of way—that I seek professional support or assistance. As I mention above, I didn’t find that necessary, feeling that I had obviously “handled” it thus far and didn’t actually need intervention. I wouldn’t necessarily say now that that wasn’t understandable; just interesting (to me)…. I did not seek treatment until two or three years later when general functioning sometimes seemed considerably challenging.

      Thank you again for coming by (and welcome).

  10. Hi Emerald,

    You are a beautiful soul. I have so appreciated your presence in the writing community….and in the world. It’s fascinating to me what becomes us when we are subjected to others’ notions of shame, indecency & morality, especially at a young age and by those we are closest to. Powerful, powerful stuff. Your authenticity, however, is the most powerful stuff of all. Thank you, so much!

    • “Your authenticity, however, is the most powerful stuff of all.”

      I find that so indescribably beautiful I was almost struck speechless.

      Thank you Gina. As I mentioned last week, I have felt consistently inspired by the joy, freedom, sparkling spontaneity, and exuberant love I have perceived from/in you. I have not always experienced those as forthcoming or relaxed in me historically, and I truly and profoundly appreciate witnessing their lightness and abundance in you. Thus I also have particularly appreciated your presence in the writing community and in the world.

      Hugs, love, and thank you for commenting and for reading.

  11. Hi, Emerald. Wow, you’ve shared so much wisdom here–the most powerful, resonant wisdom, the kind that’s presented in the form of the most deeply felt and candidly reported experience.

    You spoke of the complexity of what you wanted to relate, and the challenge of doing that in a limited space. I think you’ve done a marvelous job of conveying your experience, and your understanding of it.

    Your story serves as a vivid reminder of so many things, ranging from the damage done by pathologically negative attitudes in society to our vulnerability to our own internal mechanisms. Vital messages, so eloquently delivered.

    Anyway, I’m so glad your life has taken the positive trajectory it has–and that you are the joy-affirming, positivity-teaching, and thoroughly wonderful person you are.

    • Jeremy, I truly don’t know how, but somehow a positive, uplifting warmth came through to me with this comment. I have felt relatively serious about this all day, and that shift seemed to change just a bit when I read this. Again, I have no idea why (I would guess it was the energy with which you constructed and offered it). Thank you so much.

      I so appreciate your presence in my life.

  12. What I’ve notice, in reading through the F-Stop bios, is that almost ALL of us have overcome sexual repression, in one form or another, to get to the place where we can all tear off our clothes (metaphorically, or otherwise) and yell, “FUCK YOU!”

    • A beautiful observation, BAK—I have wondered in the face of such observations how opening and freeing it may be for such a phenomenon (the overcoming / “fuck you” to sexual repression) to emerge prominently in humanity. It is one of the inspirations to me in sex work and writing erotica.

      Here’s to nakedness!

  13. Robin Elizabeth Sampson Says:

    (((((((Em))))))))

    As much as I’d like to comment right now, Im road-weary and my brain is just not forming thoughts. But I promise to come back tomorrow and read again and comment – this was an amazing post. (and some pretty great comments too)

  14. (((((((Em))))))))

    As much as I’d like to comment right now, Im road-weary and my brain is just not forming thoughts. But I promise to come back tomorrow and read again and comment – this was an amazing post. (and some pretty great comments too)

  15. Huge hugs right back, Robin.

    I understand. Very glad you’re home safely, and thank you for coming by.

    Xoxoxo

  16. Nikki Magennis Says:

    Emerald, you’re ace!

    I love the clarity and deceptive simplicity of your words.

    xxx

  17. Nikki Magennis Says:

    Oh, I also meant to say that I love that photograph. Beautiful, colours, composition, subject.

  18. Okay, I’m back. For some reason I keep coming back to what BAK posted – how it seems “ almost all of us have overcome sexual repression, in one form or another, to get to the place” where we seem to be right now.

    Yeah. Shall I hazard a “guess we’re the lucky ones”????

    So, in no particular order, here are some observances/thoughts.

    Reading about your experience in class, recognizing OCD, I was reminded of a similar experience. I was taking a workshop on post-partum depression, and heard about pre-partum depression (I’d not heard of it before) and recognized what I’d gone through. And yeah, it’s a casual recognition. Sort of a “oh, yeah” – rather than something earth-shaking. And I had to sort of giggle at the comment about self-diagnosis. Everybody does it!

    Religion really tends to muck things up. I remember being thirteen and seeing some religious tract passed around in an art class (of all places!) about how masturbation was a sin and something awful. At the time I was going through the religious training at our church (Lutheran) and I remember praying to “god” to stop me from masturbating. I also made New Years Resolutions! Ha! Did any of that work? Nooooooooo But it sure helped pour on the guilt. It’s such a shame that most all religions seem so weirded out by sex.

    And reading about your experience with OCD reminded me of a friend. It’s so interesting what our minds will conjure to help us cope.

    Em, thanks for this thoughtful, honest essay. (((((((((Em)))))))))

    • “Sort of a ‘oh, yeah’ – rather than something earth-shaking.”

      Yeah, exactly. How interesting that you experienced that similarly.

      “It’s so interesting what our minds will conjure to help us cope. “

      Oh, indeed…

      “It’s such a shame that most all religions seem so weirded out by sex.”

      Seems funny, doesn’t it? It’s one of the reasons I feel the deep intersection between sex and spirituality has called to me so much. Not only does it seem profound to me in terms of potential and existence, but it simultaneously seems undermined to a widespread degree collectively. So it seems to me like having a particularly huge opportunity and undermining it even more than opportunity in general. I have found it baffling and heartbreaking sometimes.

      Thanks for commenting, Robin. I appreciate and have appreciated your support so much (in general). Hugs and love.

  19. It is through sexual/sensual repression the religions and governments control their subjects. Because freedom of sexual/sensual expression illustrates our basic animal natures. We are animals; we are not removed from base and natural instinct. By removing that connection with one of the most connections that we have to nature, religions and governments can set us apart and convince us of the supremacy of repression and how important it is to the industry of the institution. We learn, early on, how we are NOT animals, how we dominate, how we are placed above nature. It’s drilled into our brains. There is an institutional purpose in this. It is this institutional purpose that we, as writers, must overcome so that we can truly be honest to ourselves and to others.

    • BAK, you make an excellent point, and erotica writers are revolutionaries in that we “speak the unspeakable” of sex and sensuality as good and pleasurable. In literary fiction, too often, sex still results in punishment and is seldom enjoyable. Non-fiction focuses on the perversions, the extremes. But just good old celebration of pleasure is still ghettoized. Go figure. The other clever ploy of religion and government in choosing to control us through sexuality is that EVERYONE has sexual urges and if those are “bad,” then we all need to be saved by their rules and repression. The basic hunger for food is also manipulated by religion, but it’s the sex part that seems especially effective. Take the fundamental human desire to create life and slap so many laws and rules, everyone’s got to break one of them nearly every day. Well, I could go on, but Emerald’s essay has sparked a lot of thought and feelings in all of us!

    • Hey BAK,

      I almost winced at your description—and not because of its seeming untruth to me! On the contrary. The “placed above nature” I really balk at in a concerned, saddened way. It seems so against the flow of life. We are a part of nature. We are a part of the world. Trying to “dominate” that, as you said, seems to me a misdirection.

      I also find it ironic that the more we repress something, the more there is a latent focus on it in ourselves. If it is in us and is not allowed to process, it will come out or influence us somehow, in a more or less distorted form. This is a reason I find self-examination and self-awareness so profoundly important and called for.

      I really appreciate both of your observations here, Brad and Donna.

      Big hugs.

  20. Rick Write Says:

    Strong words. Strong photo. Strong woman.

  21. […] think about people who experience repression, blockage, and/or anxiety around sexuality. I faced these things in myself very pointedly years ago—which is certainly not to say I have that area all figured out. Self-awareness is literally […]

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