On Being Afraid of the Erotic Self
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
This well stated truth is even more clear in my favorite playground, the erotic realm. Last night, I was on a video call with a friend and he asked to see the entirety of the dress I was wearing. His request gave me an opportunity to get up from my chair and show him my whole body, and to potentially look sexy while doing it. It felt like an invitation to step more fully into my erotic body, to whatever degree I chose, since I knew he’d enjoy getting sexy together. But instead, I hid. I held up the camera, quickly, allowed him to take a look, and then sat back down in my chair. Inwardly, I stayed in a purely “functional” mode, keeping my erotic body safely curled up, somewhere inside my being. She wouldn’t come out to play.
This “play it safe” impulse has been with me for as long as I can remember. I’m quite comfortable staying hidden, keeping my feelings to myself, and only letting my erotic self come out under what feels like “rejection proof” circumstances.
It’s easy to blame external circumstances. It’s easy to say, well, it just didn’t feel safe for me with this person, for some reason. It’s easy to say I didn’t feel safe because we’re dealing with centuries of sexual assault, non-consensual domination and trauma. It’s easy to blame the decades of being the object of cat calling. It’s easy to chalk up my need for safety to the fact that the male gaze such a “thing” in the feminine psyche. And yet, I also know that I love the male gaze. Hell, I love anyone’s gaze. It’s really freaking fun to be wanted, to be adored, to be admired.
Today I have a new invitation for myself. What if it’s my job to create the “rejection proof” circumstances? What if I could feel safe to show up in my erotic body, all the time? What if I wasn’t afraid of myself as an erotically embodied, empowered being? At this moment, I can’t even quite imagine what that would look like or feel like. But it sounds good, doesn’t it? And I know I’ve had glimpses of this state. I’ve had days when I feel so solidly turned on, everything and everyone I touch is erotic. And then when I fall out of that place, and I look back on how I acted or what I wrote, I’m like, wow, who WAS that person and where did she go?
I’m a bit hung up on this notion of who in my life gets to see my erotic self. It seems like there’s so many choices to make about when and how and with whom to “put myself out there”. But look what I did there… again, it seems like I am more aware of my eroticism living in someone else’s eyes. I’d like to bring this back to me, to how I feel in my own body. It seems like a calling, to truly own my erotic self, to fully own the joy of feeling turned on, of being vibrantly alive, no matter who is looking. I’d like to be that person who wouldn’t hesitate to stand up, turn the camera towards herself and swivel those hips, arch that back and admire what her eyes see and her heart feels.