Hi friends, it has been awhlle! I have been busy discovering my sexual self (smiley face) and can’t wait to share more about this journey with you all soon. I will tell you this – I have “magically” dropped 5-10 pounds which i know didn’t happen overnight but it sorta feels like it. There’s something to be said about being comfortable in your own skin.

My favorite definition of “sexy” is just that – “sexy is being comfortable in your own skin.”

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I am feeling sexy these days (big sigh!) I also recently decided to stop some of my hormonal supplementation which I was a little worried would spiral me into crazy but it hasn’t!! Everyone in my house is so happy about this! (Crazy mama ain’t no good for no one, can you relate??) I had been using testerone pellets to help with my libido, sleep, hot flashes and all the other joys that come with menopausal life. A friend shared her essential oils regiment with me so I ordered those and have been doing a few other things which I will share at a later date to get my hormones in order. I am happy to report that it is working – no flashes, libido up! (happy husband!!)

So, I have been good!

That is until Monday…

My husband shared something in a conversation that triggered me. I immediatley felt my face flush, heat rising with shame and anger. I felt the wall come up between us, that protective steel, 12-inch thick, no way in hell you are EVER getting in again wall. It was weird to be so self aware yet so unable to stop the chain reaction.

I am so thankful for the self-awareness I have now – it hasn’t always been this way. Most of my life has been on automatic pilot turning to my defaults to manage the pain and fill the voids in my life. I lived in denial! I am happy to be aware, even though it kinda sucks, because with awareness brings deeper responsibility.

I must look at it,

deal with it,

do something different with it!

To add to my misery I had a bad dream involving him and the issue which spun me out – I hate those – i woke up with a headache and my stomach was upset most of the day, oh and yea, did I mention I was ticked off at him all day. (Poor guy didn’t do anything – BUT HIS DANG DREAM VERSION DID!)

So I am managing the storm within and I am thankful for it to be quite honest. The thunder that rumbles under the surface, the lightening that rattles the mind awake, the rains that insistently pounds for attention–

wake up, see me, deal with me, I am still here,

you thought you were done but I have been hiding,

there’s still junk in here.

My heart wakes up!

In the past I have pushed it all down, silenced the roar, placed the pretty mask in perfect form to cover it up, and moved on…just FYI, it doesn’t work! It may quiet for a time but unsettled, undealt with storms have a way of flooding through and destroying all that you have worked so hard to save by putting higher on a shelf. Sandbags will not keep the waters out forever!

So INSTEAD I am holding…

Arms wrapped around with curiosity turning into the wind.

I am thanking the shame and anger for being my friends, for working so hard to protect me from the danger my heart feels! That’s all they are trying to do.

Shame whispers, “Danger, danger, remember how this felt and how embarrassed we were the last time, I will not let it you feel that again, I will call the wall and stand tall on the watchtower.”

Anger reminds, “This is his fault not yours, you have every right to pull the wall out and keep it there, He can’t hurt us. I will not give him access, I am justified to stand watch as well and keep the wall fortified.”

They are just doing their jobs!

Thank you friends – thank you for working so hard to alert me, to teach heartguard me, to protect and preserve me. You have been so faithful to serve me.

Loving my emotions to myself begins to disarm them, to quiet the sirens going off inside and settle the raging. As I turn into them I realize I don’t need them to stand watch on the wall any longer,  I am a good keeper of my heart now and they can stand down.

I don’t shame them,

I don’t ignore them,

I don’t avoid them,

I simply thank them for doing exactly what they were designed to do – guard my heart!

Disarmed, I feel the wall begin to lower as I step into vulnerability. It seems like an oxymoron that vulnerability is protective, but it is.

It is the most disarming, settling, protective space to be.

I am me, you are you – let’s talk about it!

Choosing vulnerability I am free to hold my heart and share it!

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Perfectionism. Is that a dirty word to you? Is it a sweet thing of order that brings a sense of peace? Is it a painful word that recalls memories of comparison and all those times you were not good enough? Does it expose you? Does it validate you? Do you feel a calm within when all things seem “perfect’? Does it control you? Back you up? Propel you forward?

How does that word hit you?

I was in Houston last weekend visiting my oldest daughter and her hubby, her and I ran over to Ulta, I needed some new face powder and wanted her help to color match and find a new product. She stopped one of the consultants in the store and askbrushesed for help and next thing I know I found myself in a chair being color matched, keenly aware of my discomfort but not sure about the reasons underneath fueling the stirring.

This stranger up close, examining my skin, mirrors, makeup…I wanted to run and hide! (I didn’t thankfully, can you just imagine that scene? Grown woman flees from makeup counter like a scared mouse being chased by a cat…ridiculous!) But I wanted to flee like that scared mouse.

BUT WHY?

So as usual I have been pondering-

this scene,

these feelings,

what is that all about?

I have some conclusions, some confessions…

I have not traditionally worn alot of makeup – my mom wears very little, so it wasn’t something I grew up with or knew how to do and I was very fortunate to have pretty good skin growing up, I didn’t need alot makeup so I never really learned how to manage all those creams and powders, brushes and pencils. It’s always a little overwhelming and uncomfortable when people start talking about it because in some ways I feel a little clueless and I don’t like feeling clueless and not good at something – I don’t like that – Confession #1

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Having someone so close to my face examining me was super unnerving…I am fine with showing my underbelly, exposing my imperfections the way I choose to expose them (control is a little issue for me). But having someone look and see the unevenness of my skin, maybe a whisker or unruly eyebrow I missed when plucking is unsettling because I feel out of control – exposing my imperfect in an uncontrolled way – I didn’t like it – Confession #2

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Looking at myself in a mirror, I am much better than I used to be, but all those lights, all those makeup covered girls, it’s hard not to feel “inadequate” and well to be perfectly honest, unattractive. The lights, the mirrors, I focus on the things I dislike the most – I hate that, I work hard to change that – but I still do it – my eyes are small, I have thin lips, my face is aging – wrinkles, veins, grey hairs…it’s hard not to be critical when so much attention is drawn to the things I struggle with in the mirror – I don’t like this – Confession #3

Of course the timing of all this doesn’t surprise me – I can’t help but think that all of this stirring and realization is just the beginning of the healing of my sexual self. The intimate, covered up, private sexual self.

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Our sexual self is not just the parts we cover with bathing suit pieces, our sexual self starts with our faces. When puberty begins, for most of us, one of the first changes we experience happens on our faces – blemishes, pimples, zits pop out and these little dots can distort our view of ourselves. To be able to look at our faces and be kind and gentle with ourselves is the first step in healing our sexual selves.

Dr. Kevin Leman in his book, A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids About Sex, states, ” A common mistake parents make is to focus on the ‘bathing suit’ areas of the body when approaching the topic.” He reminds us that from day one of our lives we were all created as sexual beings and we must start at “first base” not second and third when it comes to sex. Talking about the changes happening on a kid’s face (first base) is actually the best place to start with sex talk. Why is that? Well, think about it – loving our sexual selves, our bodies, and our sexual anatomy starts with loving our faces – we are not just a body, our faces, our eyes specifically, are the ways we connect on a deep level with another human being – they are the “windows to our soul” as they say, and the first and most important act in sex, because sex, at it’s essence is deep connection with another person, an intimate way to be known and to know another. It starts with the eyes!

beautyAcceptance and love for our sexual selves does not start between our legs – sorry if that’s a little crude for you, but it’s the truth. When we think about our sexual selves we typically think about our vagina, obviously, because it is our sexual organ but that is not where we must begin. Our love and accceptance for all things sexual starts by looking into our own eyes and appreciating the color of them, the shape of them, the wrinkles at the corner that may be starting to take shape, contorting and changing the landscape of our faces as we have traditionally known them.

The aging process is hard, we change right before our very eyes. Inside, our girlish hearts, we still feel youthful, young and then we pass in front of a mirror and we are often a little surprised at the reflection of an “older” woman looking back. I asked my mom once when she was in her 60’s, “Mom, when you walk away from the mirror and don’t see your reflection, how old are you in your mind?” Her answer surprised me, “I am in my 30’s.” She is in her 70’s now but I am sure if I asked her the same question she would have the same answer. The heart doesn’t age, we grow in wisdom but not in “oldness” – yes, I know that is not a word, I had to make one up because nothing else quite fits that experience.

So what does all this have to do with perfection? Not that I ever felt perfect when it comes to my body, I have always struggled with the “imperfection” I have believed about it but I have been careful to control how I express and reveal those feelings about my own imperfection to others and last weekend that unraveled a bit more for me. It was good to see myself through a clearer lens even though it was uncomfortable. I don’t want to be driven mindlessly by things I feel but can’t wrap words around. So I am choosing to embrace the imperfections and see them differently –

and, by the way, who says they are imperfections anyway?unique

God says that He knit me together in my mother’s womb, every detail about me He knit together, so what about me could possibly be imperfect??

Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Just because it’s different doesn’t make it imperfect! I have labeled things about myself because of comparison and looking out instead of facing the mirror and embracing the view. To heal my sexual self I must start at “first base” — look into my own eyes – to know and be known.

My sexual self starts with intimate relationship within.

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Sexuality is defined as the whole way a person goes about expressing himself or herself as a sexual being. We are spiritual, emotional, physical and sexual beings.

Yes, sexual beings…we are not always comfortable with this thought.

Maybe because we have been made to think of our sexuality as

dirty,

inappropriate,

a private matter,

unacceptable,

a secret.

Some of us have been shamed in our sexuality because of unhealthy others crossing invisible boundaries that were never meant to be breached –

dirty touch has left us feeling dirty.

Some of us have been broken by the choices we made to offer ourselves in exchange for love, approval, security, acceptance which did not render itself available –

wanted touch has left us feeling unwanted.

Some of us have been hushed and made to feel embarrassed of waists curving, breasts cleaving, skirts creeping up lengthening legs, unable to embrace our changing bodies all in the name of modesty and whatever else they called it –

normal changing has left us feeling abnormal.

Some of us have been compared and cheated of our own sexual beauty by magazine covers, pornographic images, infidelity and lust, lost in the throws of “not enough” and lacking, we compete in a game we can never win –

desire has left us feeling undesirable.

So many reasons our sexuality has been broken, misused, abused, stolen.

And so we are left unfinished, undone —

a piece of us missing, wholeness elusive, complicated incompleteness…

 

For those of you who know me, you know I am a teacher, I love to give back what I learn. It’s just the way God wired me, I learn it and I have to share it. The book I am gleaning from, I buy for all my friends! The quote that moves me, I post all over social media! The podcast I listen to, I forward to everyone in my phone and email list – it’s just my way, I have to share it, I want you to know it too!

My healing journey started 18 years ago when Jesus captured my heart and I gave it to Him – He healed me spiritually first. In 2003 I started healing emotionally by leading a small group of women through John and Stasi Conlin114Eldrege’s book Captivating, followed by Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries work and in 2007 joined an inner healing class where I learned the beautiful process known as formational prayer entering into an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, the lover and healer of my soul. In 2010 God took me on a physical journey which started with a 40 day fast and ended with the creation of a healthy image class called “Made In His Image” that helped me lead girls through 8-weeks of material to heal our self-image, learning to love and embrace our physical bodies. Spirit, Soul, Body…I thought I was done! (I mean not really, we are never really done, but I thought I had all parts covered.)

But I missed one…one more part that I hadn’t considered – my sexual self!

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So I am on a journey to reclaim my sexual self and I am, well to be quite honest, scared to death to share this with you all. I feel embarrassed, my face flushes at the word “vagina,” my shoulders hunch as I feel the urge to shy away and cover my double d chest, it feels unnatural to love myself unashamedly, to want to understand my sensual, erotic self, to express myself as a sexual being and own my desirability.

It’s uncomfortable and intriguing all in the same breath.

And I know myself, I am a teacher, and like with everything else God has done in my life, as God heals me in this area I won’t be able to NOT share it with you, it’s just what I do!

So stay tuned, get ready, it may get R-rated and risque,

I am sure some of you will blush,

some may feel offended and uncomfortable,

some will breathe a sigh a relief as you scream, “Hallelujah, finally!”

some will be challenged,

some will want to shy away,

but ladies if you press into it – uncomfortable as it may be – all of us will be FREER on the other side!

Come on- we are in this together! (no bra burning I promise!)

 

Learning to love myself – spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually – all parts – all created by God – all of me – whole, healed and free!

heroine

I am the heroine of my story!