For a very brief period, I worked at a financial services firm. It was, at all levels, a transitional job.
I learned a lot of things there, but mostly about the excess of banks, and the spiritual deficits of greed. A few months in, I transferred all my accounts to a credit union- monetary absolution and morality necessitated the change.
One time, I asked one of the dudes in the Big Deal Department where all the jokes about the financial industry were- did he know of any?
Really I was asking for someone to recognize the absurdity of the industry with me. The industry was (and is) frightening and laughable, and I wanted evidence to validate myself. Someone must have been making fun of the ridiculous parts, somewhere, right?!? [Note to Self: you don’t need validation for any of your awesome thinkings or intuitions.]
Anyway, he didn’t know of any jokes, so I went looking and found a few cartoons and other jokes that gave me hope (someone else knew this was bat-shit ridiculous!). I forwarded some of them to him and asked something- I don’t remember what- but it had to do with his ability to make fun of the industry. His reply to me was fast and intense: “I don’t want to be That Guy.”
When I read the answer, I felt the force behind it, like when you’re clothes-lined playing Red Rover, Red Rover. I was flat on my back with the determination of his answer. I had unexpectedly unleashed the lion of his convictions.
I emailed back something benign, but the force of that answer has always stayed with me; he was SURE.
When I have thought about that interaction in the past, I always thought the dude didn’t want to be That Guy as a way of keeping his Work Mask on. You know, the persona we bring to the office- which may be partly us, or mostly us, but is still a mask for the most part. Well, who he was at work was Not a Laughing Matter (literally and figuratively).
I also thought he was seriously repressed (jesus, the amount of repression in that place was palpable). He was the sort of guy who always wore khakis and a button-down, even on casual Fridays. I could never imagine him in a t-shirt and jeans- I always imagined him mowing the lawn in khakis and a button-down.
[My projection of his repression made for some awesome characters and interactions in my erotica. But, that says more about me than it does about him, I think. Ha! Anyway…]
The point is: he was sure. Very, very sure that he did not want to be That Guy.
[Interesting note: while I was on vacation in England, I was going up one of those tremendously large escalators in the Underground and on one of the steps above me, was a sticker that said, “THAT GUY.” It was one of those moments that makes you think: “If I had gotten here 30 seconds earlier, it would have been below me and I’d never have seen it. If I had gotten here 30 seconds later, it would have been so far away that I couldn’t read it.” It makes you wonder if God leaves sticky notes, like “Pay Attention!” or “Isn’t this interesting?!?” or “Hey, look!” but forgets to point you towards the actual topic that relates to those instructions. Sticky notes from God, I think that’s another post, right there.]
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A couple of weeks ago, a neighbor invited me out for some wine with her friends. I said no – it was after a school function and I felt as tired as the kids did. Time for bed, not wine.
They drink a lot of wine, those ladies.
And, in all honesty, they use it as a crutch to open up about their lives.
I am judging here.
Because I see a difference between people (perhaps especially the Drinking Mommies) who actually enjoy a glass of wine (or three) while they are talking, and people who can’t talk without the glass of wine first. Who can’t unwind without the wine.
Those people worry me.
They worry me because they can’t stand their own vulnerability, so they open the door with alcohol.
They worry me because they don’t know other tools for opening themselves and sharing honestly.
They worry me because they are not owning the true experience of their feelings and words- it can all be explained and forgiven by the wine.
I understand why they do this.
Being vulnerable is damn hard.
And yet, I feel sad for them.
Any recovering addict knows: covering what’s real with alcohol (or anything) just makes it worse. Feeling all that we have within us is so much more alive and honest- and not as painful as hiding behind the bottle/credit card/sex/drugs/whatevs.
As I was considering all this, I realized: I don’t want to be That Chick.
I don’t want to hide behind anything.
I wanted to be alive and honest and vulnerable and ALIVE – without a crutch. (Or, only a few crutches.)
With the same force and vehemence as that dude: I was sure.
The funny thing is, I am very scared about parts of my life.
Despite all my openness and willing to experiment, I am scared.
I am afraid to open up. To be vulnerable. To feel it all.
I think I have a lot to give this world (I believe we all do), but stepping into that ‘bigness’ scares the shit out of me.
I also want to feel really alive- do to things that make me light up from inside.
A lot of them.
But I shy away from them because: security, fear, mommy-ness, it’s new, I don’t know how, change might fuck things up. Et cetera.
I resist my own desire for life.
There are two things I know, now that I’ve grappled with life a bit.
The first is this: resistance is a shadow with two bright spots.
The first light/truth is that where you resist you probably need to go. Whatever I am resisting is probably a place of deep healing, understanding, energy, and power. I am subconsciously frightened to go there precisely because it is so amazing (and, dang, we fear our amazingness!).
But if I do not go there, the resistance will subvert and confuse and fester. Not going into the places I resist will actually kill me, as opposed to thinking it will kill me if I do go there.
My life will grow and open if I go towards what I’m resisting.
Stephen Pressfield says that the more we resist the thing, the more we need to go there. I know this to be true.
The second light/truth of resistance is that my resistance is my own potential pushing back at me.
It is a corollary to the first truth- however much the thing I’m resisting scares me, or just how much I am resisting, is an indicator of my own potential.
The more I resist, the more energy there is to move forward with.
Less resistance, less energy, less potential.
More resistance, more energy, more potential.
That’s some scary shit.
The second thing I know, having grown older and done some stuff, is this: my desire to live is stronger than the screaming of my fears.
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) wrote on her Facebook page this week (it’s the entry for September 19th, 2014) about how boring our fears are. They are not precious. They are just the same as everyone else’s fears. A dime a dozen. (I can’t link to it- go find it, it is grounded truth.)
Fears are boring. And loud.
But that doesn’t mean they’re useful.
They’re just loud.
If I turn the sound down on them, my desire to be alive – with as few crutches as possible – is much louder.
And more appealing.
(Sexy, I might say!)
I want to be alive.
I don’t want to resist anymore.
I don’t want to be That Chick.
All of this is to say: I hired a sensuality coach.
I hired one because I want to be more myself and I want to make more love with life.
I want to feel the way Sophia Lauren looks.
Full of herself.
Sexy at every age.
I want the kind of mature sexuality and sensuality that only a few women possess.
I know how to ask for an orgasm, and to get one, and to direct one.
What I want is the inner flame and knowing smile that comes from the inner orgasm.
The deep, sexy connection to myself.
I have learned and read a lot, but it’s time for help from an expert.
My coach is further down the road, and I’m ready to be a student.
To lay down my resistance.
To begin a new way of being myself.
Edited to Add: It’s funny, you know. You get your nose rubbed in things sometimes. Like, being judgmental. I just found out that one of the mommies I mentioned in this post does actually have a way to be vulnerable and authentic without the wine. It’s a secret Facebook account. Wish I’d thought of that! Props to her!