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Screaming in Silence

Last night I was sorting through boxes in my closet, when I came across one full of “memory stuff.” Old movie tickets (why did I save the ticket stub from Mean Girls?), faded airplane tickets, keepsakes (like the rocks I saved from Israel or the keychains my dad brought me from his business trips around the globe), random funny shit (such as a button reading, “I want to watch gay sex, can you help?” that a friend of mine actually wore to a local burning man event in 100% seriousness).

And cards. More than anything, the cards got me. Birthdays, graduations, Bat Mitzvah (which I did in college). I even found an anniversary card my grandma sent to my high school boyfriend and I; she still sent my parents cards on the anniversary of their first date, and so she continued the tradition with me and my boyfriend’s 5-year relationship. She LOVED him and thought we were going to get married (so did we).

I came across cards from the first (and only) woman I’ve truly loved. Telling me, “You are a wonderful, and intelligent person who is willing to be herself regardless of what anyone else thinks, and we wouldn’t want you any other way.”

I sorted through the few material objects left from earlier chapters of my life with mixed emotion. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love in my life. Maybe I was never the cool kid in school or the life of the party, but I’ve always had people around me who loved and cared.

I felt overwhelmed because at the time, there was always a part of me that felt unloved and unloveable.

And I see why. Despite my relationships with these people who cared for me, there was always something missing. I didn’t know what, exactly. All I knew is that a good deal of the time, I felt like I wanted to scream – but couldn’t. Nobody knew anything was missing because I didn’t – couldn’t – tell them. I didn’t know how to articulate what was wrong. No matter though, because I was terrified.

Almost every relationship (friendship or romantic) ended feeling as if the person didn’t really know me. How could they? I didn’t really know me. I struggled, diving first into my Jewish identity, then creating an academic identity and finally a feminist identity to define myself. And I found a part of myself in each of these environments, but none of them could ever explain the whole of me. Each ended feeling as though I either had to cut off the parts of my self that didn’t fit into the mold to cram myself in, or say fuck off entirely.

That thing that was missing is the part of me that decided one anxious sleepless night that yes, I would start a fetish website. It is the part of me that found freedom in the rave scene. The part that loves to dance, feeling the bass pounding through my body, hair flying in my face like a cavewoman, sweat dripping down my back, to electronic music that compels my muscles to move from deep within, mostly absent words to distract my mind. Its the piece that goes to pole dancing, learning to feel comfortable moving my body sensually, gracefully, to perform erotically (in my own eroticism) in front of others eyes. The parts of me that desire both worship and degradation, pleasure as well as pain – physically, emotionally, psychologically. The side that required altered states of consciousness to even access, at first. Its the part of me that craves adventure and exploration as much as grounding and depth.

Simply put: I did not feel ALIVE in my body. I primarily occupied my mind – a busy, anxious, categorizing, judging, evaluating, critiquing, weighing and measuring space.

I had people who cared for me – the me I was able to be at the time – but I was only partially there. Relationships can only be as deep as the people in them, and while all of my relationships have had those moments of seeing, I was too scared and lacked the emotional skills needed for intimacy to be the rule, not the exception. The logical, rational good student side was well known and praised, but just being her was not fulfilling in itself. She was successful, from a social perspective. She amassed a long list of internships, volunteer positions, conference presentations and grants. She felt proud of her accomplishments yet worried they were never enough and anxiously feared failing, as her worth was based largely on the grades on her papers, lists of accolades, and praise from parents, teachers and other figures of authority.

It could only be that way, because that’s what I allowed – that’s all I COULD allow – to exist. As much as I longed to feel life pulsing through my veins, I was scared, and frankly had no clue how that happened or if it was even possible.

It was confusing. Everybody around me seemed content to do those normal things we’re “supposed” to do. Nobody else appeared to be struggling, at least not at the depth I felt. But then, without having the words to describe, and too scared to even try, how could I have known that? I assumed based on what I observed. Maybe they couldn’t explain it either.

I believe this “journey” of exploring my sexuality has been mostly about bringing out that part of me that wants to feel alive. Its about sex, but its more than that, its about the person who comes to the sex and how she relates to it. Its about how I meet those feelings of desire and what I do with it. Its about creativity and femininity. Its about sensuality and experience. Its making friends with those parts of myself and allowing them to come out and play.

It is not logical or rational and I will never receive a good grade for it. And that is exactly why it means so much more. It is not that I disavow my intellect, but rather that the ‘good/smart girl’ isn’t who I am, its simply a role I played for many years and the vehicle through which I related to most people in my life. Yet I am also NOT asserting that this newer, more adventurous part is “really me.” Replacing one limiting identity with another only repeats the problem, just from the other side. The “real me” is made up of both. And probably other parts yet to be discovered.

My goals now entail some mix of stability with adventure. Mind with body. I want to organize my life so I can spend 2-3 hours a day reading and writing. I want to make the space for yoga or meditation every day to simply ‘be.’ And at the same time, I want to expand into ‘performing’ for other porn companies, fetish and mainstream. I want to feature dance. I want to create the sex education/porn site I was originally aiming to turn this blog into. And I’m planning a wedding at Electric Daisy Carnival in 2016.

Simply put: I want to live my life as myself, doing things that I want to do, with awesome people around me. And I am willing to do the work to make those things happen.

With sexual anorexia, or any type of “anorexic” behavior, people frequently ping pong between hyper-control and completely out of control. Just like the addict may go back and forth between life off the rails and Jesus. My concern has been that my desires aren’t “real,” that they’re just part of a cycle that will end up as unfulfilling as the intellectual-control side. That they’re a reaction to feeling stifled, not true desires. That’s been my fear, still feeling that I “should” live a more normal life (never mind that statistically normal is unhealthy, unhappy and in debt). I’ve been afraid, most basically, that my desires are wrong because they’re not validated by any of my typical mechanisms I’ve gone to for approval. But desire doesn’t care about rules, such is its nature.

What tells me this is “real” and not reaction is that having ALL of these things together gives me a sense of balance. I am equally “out there” as I am “in here,” only now both are increasingly grounded. Meaning I do not feel overly controlled with the associated mental, emotional and physical tension. Nor does it feel out of control with the associated anxiety and shame. It feels as if I am standing on solid ground, and the space is free for me to use as I like.

That space is simply life.

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