I’ve been alone for a while now. Nearly a year ago I left my ex husband. I’ve had no significant relationships since and after months of spotty casual dating, I closed my eyes and took a jump to fully let myself be alone. In a quick gesture I ended both of my relationships and embarked on a three month ‘fast’ from dating. Three months of no sex or relationships. My heart knew it would be both liberating and hard but I had no idea of the many intensities that awaited me. I have felt the whole range, from profound healing experiences of unconditional love to dark and painful nights facing my deepest fears of being alone.
The learning supplied to me out of this experience has surpassed all learning I have received from any single human being. I am discovering myself deeply, both my dark and needy parts and my shockingly immense resources of power, determination and passion. I am in love with myself. I have never felt so in love and also in so much acceptance. Every day is a day to surrender deeper and I try to. No take that back. I don’t try, I do. I surrender. To all of it.
All my life I have lived trying to be loveable. I oriented my day from morning to night to please others, the ones I looked to please the most being men. I based my personal value off of what men wanted me or gave me attention. I obsessively chased after men to validate my daily draining internal sense of worthiness.
The first week of the fast I woke up to realize my entire life had been structured with the singular goal of attracting men. When I walked out of my house no longer needing to be attractive – because for the first time in my life I was wholly unavailable to every living soul – I saw just how many choices I had been subconsciously making with that goal in mind. From the clothes I bought and wore, to the way I talked and moved, to the activities I chose and things I said and would not say, I considered my desirability to men. I was a pleasure object for men and every choice was weighed with that role in mind. Realizing this made me angry, very angry. “Why has so much of my energy been poured into being a pleasure object for men?? What about myself? Why???”
I see the programming everywhere now. I’ve become a hardcore feminist and notice with boiling rage and heart gripping sadness all the makeup-ed magazine girls, dressed up just to be pretty on the cover of every fashion magazine, while the men’s portraits are reserved for business journals. No women are on the covers of those damn success and business mags. No, the female’s place is not to be successful or accomplished, ambitious or respected. Media makes her purpose in life very clear: “Look pretty as a perfect object of pleasure for men.”
Maybe that’s why I like Korean pop so much – because it is the only place I’ve seen men really be sexually objectified. It’s a fun venture into the other world to see men dressed, groomed and dancing with every detail attended to with their lustful audience in mind. Part of the reason why women have such a hard time owning and voicing their sexual desire IS because men are under objectified in pop and regular culture. The under-objectification of men communicates a silent but clear message “Women, you should not oggle men or let your lust run wild after them.” Be a good girl and don’t care about what they look like.
Care about the money they make, bitches.
My fear of being alone:
I could write a whole novel on how I’ve done relationships and how much has made itself visible by this fast. Every detail of perverse self abandonment and the fascinating dynamics and belief structures which spun themselves through every experience, have made themselves visible.
I hold myself in deep compassion feeling all the pain, questioning and terror that lead me to this place of finally laying everything down to be acknowledged and hopefully, transformed. My fear of being alone and the nightmare of being unworthy of love was so painful and terrifying I reached a point where it became easier to face it than to run anymore. Turns out the suffering of running far exceeded the discomfort of facing my fears.
Despite all my years preaching liberated sexuality and empowered pleasure, I slump humbled to realize at least half of the sex I’ve had in my life was not for my own pleasure but a barter for love and approval. My lust for male approval invaded my fantasies coloring them strangely to a degree that I wondered honestly if something inside me was not very very off. I did not want to be the woman in my fantasy, begging for the aloof man’s love and attention in exchange for pleasure.
Just as I had bought into the idea of being a pleasure object for men, I had bought into the similar message that value belonged to men and I needed them to bestow it on me to have any of my own. Before the fast, I had wondered honestly why over and over again I engaged with powerful but unavailable men. My heart doubted it’s own worth and cried out for a man I saw as better than myself to tell me otherwise. How lonely I was having no one there to make me feel lovable.
To face being alone and having no one to make me feel valuable and loved frightened the hell out of me. The fear drove me to date and take partners even when I knew I did not want a relationship and my spirit really longed to invest that time and energy into myself and my passions instead. I didn’t want to be distracting myself with men. I was tired, my nerves shot after a traumatic breakup and my heart kept whispering to me about my career vision as a sex educator and Bodysex facilitator and yet, there I was out on dates, busting my butt literally to desperately avoid confronting my most feared questions: “If I am alone, am I lovable?” and then the question behind that “If I am unlovable, do I have value?”
My greatest nightmare was that I would be alone and laughed at. The reality though was that I WAS alone, but I couldn’t face that fact enough to take control of my life and move forward because I was so busy running from it.
I never thought of myself as a grudge holder. But on all these lonely nights, as I reach out desperately for a place to escape the fear of being alone, I realize just how much hate, anger and bitterness I harbored against men without knowing it. I’m aware of all my escapes (music, facebook, socializing, food), sex being the greatest one, and I have barred the door to every one. There is no escape for me because I want to face these terrors and festered wounds. And through facing them I have discovered a new strength. When I feel the urge to check out, I stop myself and ask sincerely “What am I feeling?” The answers rise and I’m flowing again, sometimes into the ecstatic bliss of being alive, sometimes into stress realizing I have put an important task off and sometimes into hurt as I feel the ache of my open wounds towards men and the world.
There is so much healing and stabilization to do and my fear of being hurt is so great, I wonder if I do not need another 3 months after these 3 are finished.
My fear of being hurt and my fear of being alone, throw themselves at each other, entangling into an epic battle of violent terrors. I sit back and watch the show in amazement, wondering strangely if these two are not somehow the same animal.
The phrase “There is nothing to fear, not even fear itself” has come to have great meaning for me. I realize the greatest suffering in my life has not come from the pain of being hurt by others or the undoubtedly torrential experience of life, but from running from it.
For a while I escaped my loneliness – in a man’s words, his attention, his love. I cry many tears because I love easily and over and over I searched to fill this loneliness but the impermanence of life would not let me sate it.
To stop running, I must simply BE with myself. I cry tears, so many tears. They flow easily now and I ask “Am I alone?”
Why yes, I am.
If I am alone, will I be ok? That is the question. Even if I am alone am I deserving of love? Something in me is changing and has hope. I hope that the answer to that biting question turns up a “yes.”
No, not even a “yes” but a “yes! yes! YES!”
I suffer when I refuse to surrender to these emotions and questions. It was surrender to my current state that gave me the strength to stop and take this break I so desperately needed. And it’s surrendering over and over again that has been healing my heart and leading me through these dark and deep questions. I know that allowing what is inside me is my real ticket to escape suffering.
It may be painful to face reality, but the pain is fleeting. To run induces suffering which continues every day till you stop and face yourself. This is the difference between pain and suffering.
Originally published at my old blog: https://shamhatsbedroom.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/my-3-month-sex-fast-facing-my-fear-of-being-alone/