Saturday, 12 August 2017

Reaching the "Fuck It Point"

The past few weeks I've been working on a revamp of my website and social media. I wanted something that reflected my true self more, and is a more accurate reflection of my whole self. I think that for quite a while I was toning things down and leaving out certain elements of myself because I thought they wouldn't fit in with the new age/witchy community. I'm no longer willing to do that. If I'm going to put myself out there, then I'll put myself out there as myself and not a light/diet beige vanilla version of myself. 

This photo is pretty much my life, ponies, rock music, crystals and Tarot cards.

There's a fair amount of pressure within the new age community to be all love and Light and positivity all the time. Don't get me wrong, I believe in being positive generally, I just don't think it's realistic all the time. When you're going through big deep shit, like the death of someone close to you, a divorce, or have experienced assault or abuse, telling someone to “just be positive”, isn't just unhelpful, it's downright insulting. And I think that's where the new age community often gets it wrong. When we are going through tough stuff, we need honesty and realism, not fluffy platitudes like “it all happens for a reason” or that “it must be part of your life plan”. Wether you believe it's true or not doesn't matter, no one needs to hear that when they are struggling or grieving. 

There's lots of aspects of the community that are very me. I love tarot, astrology, oracle decks, crystals, yoga, and essential oils. And I don't suppress my colourful side either, I have rainbow hair and collect vintage my little ponies and love rainbow unicorns. But there's a part of me that does not fit in with the rest of the lightworker crew. I love hard rock and heavy metal, skulls, goth fashion and the spookier aspects of the paranormal. I've even had people in the community tell me that it's not good to like that stuff, that it's “lower energies”. We need the lower energies as much as we need the higher. For example your root chakra is not worse than your crown chakra, you need both to be a fully functioning person. And let's face it sex, and death, and the tough shit, and the things that go bump in the night are just as real and as valid as all the high vibe meditations, salt lamps and yoga retreats. 

For a while though I toned it down to be more acceptable. There is this point that many of us reach in our 40s, though some earlier or later, and some not at all, that I like to call - the Fuck It Point. This is the point where you truly do not give a shit whether someone thinks you are acceptable or not. If I someone doesn't like me or they judge me for listening to Iron Maiden or having rainbow hair, they’re not my people. We are trained, especially as women, to be “nice” and inoffensive, to make excuses for others poor behaviour and to tone ourselves down so as to not upset others. The new age community tells us to be all loving and to accept everyone which leads some to forget about discernment and to put up with things they shouldn't. At the Fuck It Point, you stop wasting your energy on others who want you to change for their comfort. You stop caring about appearing nice or good, and you care about the truth, about authenticity. 

I'd like to thank all of you who gave me some really lovely feedback about the changes on my website, other social media and on YouTube. It's nice to know I'm not alone in feeling this way, and that many of you have gone through some of the same things. I think we are all journeying towards being our authentic selves, and I'd love to have you along for the journey with me. 

In that spirit here's a little AC/DC “Back in Black”. I'm back peeps -wearing black as always. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

How Slut Shaming Attacks Women's Sacral Chakra

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how fat shaming affects women's root chakra. The response on social media was heartening because it's good to know that other people have felt this way. It's also helpful to know that more people are starting to recognize it for what it is, an attempt to police women's bodies and control us on a basic level. 

 As I said in the prevolious post, the other insult that gets thrown around at women a lot is "slut". I remember as a teen being called this and I was still a virgin. It really didn't matter whether you were active or not, it was an insult used to control and judge you and sadly it was more often said to me by other women than men. I remember as an adult seeing the movie "Mean Girls" and the scene where the teacher confronts the girls and says "when you call each other sluts you make it okay for the boys to call you that", resonated for me. It's not okay for anyone to be calling anyone that. 

"Slut" - the Sacral Chakra Insult
The reason this insult is so hurtful is because it also attacks women on a very basic level, your right to feel pleasure. It says "how dare you be sexual!" "How dare you feel pleasure or admit you want pleasure - you should be ashamed of yourself." Our society trains young women to be passively sexually available to men. We should look "sexy" (according to some impossible outside standard), but not know that we are. A women who has confidence and knows she looks good is considered vain and shallow. Look at how young women are criticized for taking self confident selfies. The message is - look pretty but don't admit that you think that you are. It's as if women should exist for the sole viewing pleasure of men, and when they take control and look good for themselves, for their own pleasure, that's too threatening. 
We are also sent the message that we should be available to men's advances but not assert ourselves. Asking out men is considered aggressive, and especially being the initiator for sex. While young men are encouraged to sow their wild oats and "get some",  young women are still fed some pretty old fashioned messages about sexuality. Look at how some men still joke that if a boy tries to date their daughter they will take out a shot gun. Never mind the whole creepy virginity promise ring thing. How gross is it to make girls promise they'll stay virgins to their fathers? Do boys promise that to their mothers? WTF

On the flip side, some young women (and men too) are made fun of for being virgins. If someone doesn't want to or isn't ready yet, that's nobody's business but there's. And the same goes for those that are active, that's there own business. It doesn't matter wether you have had one, none or a hundred partners. As far as I'm concerned, if you are consenting adults and being responsible (ie. using birth control, not cheating on anyone, preventing stds) it's nobody else business. 

Luckily for me I always saw this insult as a farce and utter double standard. That doesn't mean that it didn't hurt me at times or frustrate the hell out of me, especially when I was younger. Below is a few ways to combat this particular insult. 

1.Stop Judging Yourself 
It's easy to internalize these messages and shame ourselves. It's a pretty pervasive cultural message, though it is changing slowly but surely. What ever your past or lack their of, remember we are always learning and growing and every encounter in life has a lesson.  I think many of us have had past partners where we ask ourselves "what was I thinking?".  You were who you were at the time and maybe you wouldn't choose them now, but you wouldn't be who you are now if you took a different road. You can't judge your past self by your present self's standards. I think shaming yourself is pretty useless anyway and helps no one. Conversely I've met women who said they wished they had more partners. You can't judge yourself for this either for the same reasons, regret is also unhealthy and will only eat away at you. 

2. Stop Judging Others
This follows the one above. Don't judge yourself and don't judge others. Others sexual choices are none of your business. Again as long as it's consenting adults who are being responsible, you don't get to judge. Plus how do you expect others to respect you if you don't respect them. Don't call people sluts, and if you hear people using misogynist double standards, call it out. The more people speak up the better. 

3. Own it.
Your sexuality is yours, so own it. Don't apologize for your desires. Again, as long as it isn't criminal or irresponsible, you have a right to your sexuality. If popping balloons while wearing clown makeup and listening to calliope music turns you on, then hey - who of us can judge? It's your thing, and you don't need to justify it to anyone. 

4. Ask for what you want.
Contrary to societies message that women should be passive sexually, I've found men tend to be pretty happy when you tell them what you like. (Yes I'm writing as a straight cis gendered woman, so I can't speak about trans or lesbian etc. experiences). They also don't seem to mind if you make the first move. Plus it's your body, you have a right to ask for what you want, and to say no to what you don't want. If someone tries to pressure you into doing something you don't want to, you have a right to say no. 

5. Educate Yourself
Make sure you are educated about birth control, and preventing STDs. I'm so glad that I made sure to educate myself as a teen.  Growing  up in a religious environment where the sex ed was woefull lacking, and down right mysoginistic, I knew it was something I'd have to take into my own hands to protect myself. Beyond those basics there are many great websites and resources for learning about the art of pleasure. It's astounding the amount of women who report never having an orgasim! I think this is so sad and a reflection of how women are discouraged from exploring their own sexuality. It's your body, and if you don't know what makes you feel good, how the hell are you supposed to tell anyone else? 

I know that as women we probably have all been called a "slut" by someone at one time or another. Please remember to be kind to yourself. Remember that this says a lot more about the person saying it than it does about you. It shows they've internalized the message that women should be ashamed of themselves, and see it for the attempt to control you that it is.  

Saturday, 17 June 2017

How Fat-shaming Attacks Women's Root Chakra

When I was a teenager, the two worst things someone could call you as a girl were "fat" and "slut". While its been over 20 years since I've been a teen, sadly this hasn't changed. I think that for many teens and young women these insults are still used against them in an attempt to shame and control. One of the good things about getting into my 40s is that I don't care so much what others think and have a lot more confidence. These words just make me laugh, because I see them for what they are.

It struck me the other day that the reason these two insults hurt so much is that they attack us on at a root and sacral chakra level. They are attempts to make us feel ashamed of our very existence at a basic level. It then struck me that many of the insults directed at women, are attacks on us at different chakra levels. Thinking about this made me angry of course, though it did make me think about what we can do to counteract this.

I thought I would write a series about how insults towards women (though men have been called some of these things too) affect us on each chakra level and ways to counteract it and strengthen ourselves.

Root Chakra insult - "Fat" 
Every woman I know has been called this at one time or another no matter their size or shape. The word is  thrown at women directly, but also implied to us through the numerous diet and fashion ads that tell us we need to lose weight and be as skinny as possible. Its reinforced in pop culture, as we are encouraged to criticize our bodies, apologize for eating a cupcake, and encouraged to order salad when we really want the burger. It attacks us at a root chakra level because it shames us for taking up space, and for doing something as basic as feeding ourselves. While teen boys are praised for the amount of food they can consume, as girls this was not encouraged. This attacks our very right to exist in our bodies, to be able to eat and nourish ourselves, and creates a dysfunctional relationship with food. When I was a teen I had a terrible relationship with food , and often starved myself in an attempt to attain a level of acceptable skinniness in my mind. Never mind the fact that I weighed 110 lbs, it still wasn't good enough. it took me a long time to have a better relationship with food. I'm happy to say that these days I have a much better relationship with food and eat whatever I like and listen to my body. I no longer let this word affect me to the extent it once did. 

Yum - Burger and Fries

Below are some of the things that have worked for me, and to help strengthen my connection to my root chakra.

1. Eat what you want. If you want to eat a burger order a burger, don't order the salad just because you think you should. Numerous studies show that depriving ourselves doesn't work anyway. It only creates a yo yo cycle and messes up your metabolism.
2. Eat unaploagetically. How many times have you heard another woman or yourself say "I'm so bad for eating this." You are not bad for feeding yourself! You are not bad for enjoying a treat! Telling yourself that you are bad reinforces a sense of guilt for eating, and sets us up to desire the foods we label "bad" even more. Food is not good and bad, its just food. You should not feel ashamed for eating, by feeding yourself you are caring for yourself.
3.Listen to your body. This can take some practice, as for years we have been conditioned to see our body as an enemy. Your body is your friend. It's the vessel that's going to carry around your spirit for the rest of your life. Check in with your body at regular intervals and ask it what it wants. Is it thirsty? Needing vegtables? Tired? Wanting to dance? Ask yourself regularly what will make you feel better.
4.Exercise joyfully. Dont punish yourself doing push ups if you hate them, or going to the bootcamp you dread. Find an exercise you love and feels more like fun. Personally I like running on my treadmill, as I like running and I can catch up on watching Youtube while I exercise. I also like dancing, going for walks, and yoga. Find what you like to do. Make exercise into a celebration of being in a physical body, not a way to lose weight. 
5.Know you have a right to take up space. Whatever your size or shape, you have a right to exist and to enjoy the body you inhabit. Forget about the articles that tell you "how to dress for your body type", or how to cover up the "troublesome" parts of your body. Your body is to be celebrated, not shamed. Dress how you want and love your body. Don't wait until you are some unattainable "perfect" size (whatever that means) to enjoy yourself.

What methods do you use to counteract fatshaming? I'd love to hear your stories and suggestions.