I remember the heart pounding moment when I hit publish. It was raw, it was scary, and it was 100% the right decision. The soundness of my decision to name my rapist was reinforced repeatedly over the course of that first week. Each day that week (no exaggeration) I had a new email from someone who disclosed that they had also had an experience with Ben. Some were completed rapes, some were attempted rapes. All described unwanted and unwelcome behavior. It was powerful. It was validating--I suspected that if I named him, after the experience I had with Really Brave Person, that more people would come forward. I never expected so many. In total, there were 9, including myself.
*Trigger warning for references to sexual assault, PTSD, and depression. If you're a survivor, please check out my Survivor Resources post for books, sites, and hotlines*Read more
Trigger Warning: Discussion of sexual violence, first-person account of rape, rape of minors, bullying. Seriously, take care of yourself. *Edited to add: All updates are at the bottom of this post, identified by date*
This past year has been a tough one for me for a multitude of reasons, but body confidence was one of the biggest. In case you didn't know, even the strongest advocates for body acceptance have days (sometimes weeks) of dealing with body hatred and self-esteem crises. My shame this year was my double chin. I don't know when I started noticing it, but suddenly in pictures I found myself wanting to cover my chin/neck with my hands, hide behind other people in the picture, or use the old "hold your phone over your head trick" to minimize the appearance. I was loving the rest of me, I even started wearing sleeveless shirts that showed my arm jiggles and fitted dresses that showed my stomach. I bought red lipstick and started doing my makeup in the pinup style that I adore. Everything was going well, except for the damn double chin. Until I found this picture:
My dear friend Lauren Marie Fleming has started this program called Bawdy Love, and here she was, showing off her gorgeous body in all its glory for the world to see. It gave me hope. It gave me strength. It made me realize that loving your body is a choice that you make every single day. It's a habit you have to form, a skill that must be developed. You have to cultivate your positive relationship with your body, and that starts with ceasing the negative self talk ("ew my double chin looks so gross in in that picture") and start treating your body the way you'd treat anyone else in your life that you love--with compassion and respect. Two of these photos are NSFW. This post contains affiliate links.*Read more
If you haven't heard, Bawdy Storytelling is the place for pervs and kinksters and other sex positive people to connect. Sometimes, that means an awesome hookup. Other times, that means meeting someone who is warm, honest, vulnerable, and incredibly brave. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Franzblau, a sex positive writer and performer. She told me about her show, Coming Out Kinky, and I was instantly enthralled. The more I read about it, the more I felt myself growing giddy. This is it! This is modeling vulnerability at its finest! She recounts talking to her mom about sex, her journey to sexually empowered adulthood, and all of the twists and turns in between! I am thrilled to present my first interview ever on this blog, and I can't imagine a better person with whom to kick it off! Without further ado, I give you the brilliant Jean Franzblau.
It is easy to get sucked into the negative when you get a herpes diagnosis. I remember the day that I was diagnosed. I was at the health center at my university and I had the most horrific first herpes outbreak anyone could imagine. Two solid weeks of not being able to sit, lay down, use the bathroom, or shower without excruciating pain. Not to mention the accompanying nausea, fatigue, and general feelings of misery. The nurse gave me the diagnosis and I felt my heart hit the floor.Read more
“Okay everyone, for the next part of the exercise, we’re going to practice eye gazing for two minutes.” There was a collective gasp as the participants tried to envision staring into a complete stranger’s eyes for two minutes. Even as a staff member, I was feeling a little nervous as I had never performed this feat either. “Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax your body.” I drew a shaky breath and exhaled slowly, wanting to give myself as much time as possible to prepare. “Now open your eyes and look into your partner’s eyes. Two minutes starting now.” I opened my eyes and looked into the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen. For two minutes I felt myself get lost in her eyes, drawing me deeply into the depths of her soul. As I looked into her eyes, I realized that at the same time, I was feeling seen for the first time in my life. No pretense, no quick smiles or misdirection. There was nothing but the two of us in those moments and we connected in a way that I didn’t know was possible. For the rest of the weekend, just being near her was enough to make me feel whole and comfortable. Welcome to the Herpes Opportunity weekend.Read more