Love Letter to Minnie Bruce Pratt (An Homage to Leslie Feinberg)

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Photo credit: Leslie Feinberg

I’ll always recall what I was thinking of when I heard that Leslie Feinberg had died. Because, coincidentally enough, I was thinking about her partner of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt. I had just finished commenting on a friend’s blog post. A fellow femme, Jen Cross, wrote quite eloquently and brazenly about her “fury around queermasculine privilege” (please go read it and comment!). After commenting, I hopped over to Facebook to share it there. As soon as I hit “post,” I saw the first mention about Leslie’ death in my feed. And within two minutes, ten of my friends had shared the obit that Minnie Bruce and Leslie’s chosen family had so lovingly penned. Thirty seconds later I was closing my laptop. It was too much. I’m not one who enjoys having an internet presence and so I’ve never actually seen something go viral before. I’m usually a few days (or months) late to the party. So it felt overwhelming to watch this tragic news pour in so quickly.

I went outside to rake up rain-soaked leaves from my front yard. Every week I do the same thing this time of year and every week, my yard is covered again the very next day. A thankless and seemingly unending chore that often goes unnoticed, it’s precisely the type of work that I love. I don’t do it because I’m looking to get thanked nor do I need anyone to notice. I do it because it needs to be done. And I enjoy how it gets me out of my head a bit and more into my body while acting as a form of meditation. But that evening I couldn’t get out of my head. Beads of sweat mixed with tears streaming down my cheeks, salting my lips. I couldn’t stop thinking about Minnie Bruce. I had originally been thinking about her because Jen’s blog brought to mind the idea of how femmes often take up thankless and seemingly unending chores that go unnoticed. I thought about how Leslie (rightfully and thankfully) received great notoriety in our communities, but Minnie Bruce’s comparable efforts, though certainly not unsung, have not been held in quite as high of esteem. I questioned why femmes aren’t properly valued, supported, and given the amount of respect they deserve by our communities.

In the few days that have passed since Leslie’s death, I have struggled with writing and rewriting this post. I still feel like I haven’t done justice to what I’m trying to get at, but the time has come to just put it out there in the world. I’ve posed many questions because I see this as an ongoing dialogue — I’m questioning our communities, the world at large, and also myself. So many friends and strangers who are all part of this larger community have shared beautiful tributes to Leslie — they’ve said just about everything I could and so much more that I couldn’t. So instead of focusing primarily on Leslie, I’m choosing to write about hir partner, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and also about the struggle — both being so near and dear to Leslie’s heart (though certainly in very different ways). In the acknowledgements of Stone Butch Blues, Leslie bestowed praise upon the femmes in hir life, stating, “…[I]f I couldn’t take criticism from a femme I wouldn’t be here today telling this story!” Leslie was an activist through and through and I can only imagine that zie  would appreciate this slightly different take on an homage, in my desire to honor hir brilliant, proud femme.

Searching the internet, I click on a photo of the two of them, each holding a political banner. Leslie is named. Minnie Bruce is not. I google Lyme, another part of the picture, and I find so much conflicting and often times blatantly wrong information. As I reflect on today being Transgender Day of Remembrance, I can’t even bring myself to search out the number of trans women (the majority of whom are POC) who have been murdered this past year. This post began in my head as a tribute to one of my powerful femme role models. But how can I talk about femme without other bits of intersectionality creeping in? Ablism, racism, transphobia, femmephobia, misogyny…the list goes on and on…and it’s all connected. (It pains me that I can’t do any one of them justice.) If only we could do better by our people. How can we do better by our people? (And, perhaps, people who do not feel like our people, but in actuality really are.) What would a world look like where no one got left behind?

I want to voice something clearly that hasn’t been addressed nearly enough in all the coverage and responses to Leslie’ death. Leslie Feinberg died because of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Late stage Lyme is something no one should have to suffer, yet it all too frequently isn’t recognized by the medical community (who, at large, is terribly misinformed about Lyme and other co-infections). Leslie didn’t have to die from these diseases. Zie should have had access to medical care that could’ve helped hir at least fight off infections. Although I do not know the exact details of how Leslie died, I know all too well the stories of how insurance companies across the board deny chronic Lyme even exists in order to not have to shell out money to treat it. Unless one is incredibly wealthy, it is basically impossible to be treated for Lyme in this country. As a chronically ill person myself, I’m quite familiar with how challenging it is to be partnered to someone with chronic illness. I feel that our health care system (or rather, lack thereof) is completely reprehensible and downright shameful, particularly where it concerns (or prefers not to concern itself with) Lyme disease. There also aren’t sufficient outlets and support for those who care for their disabled lovers and who, albeit indirectly, also have to endure the effects.

I’m grateful that Leslie no longer has to endure those pains and I’m deeply saddened that our communities have lost such a commendable soul so unnecessarily early. But most of all, I feel for Minnie Bruce who has lost her partner and, yes, gets to go on living, but with a pain that is unimaginable to most of us. My chest seizes up at the thought. They had been together longer than I have been out of the closet. I’m 36 now and at fifteen, I had come to terms with being queer, but I didn’t know where to look to for role models. I was fortunate enough to have found them in this beautiful couple only a few short years later. Even then, as I grew into my queer identity, I couldn’t have fathomed a queer couple so dedicated to one another. And today I feel consumed by a rising tide of grief when I think of what the loss of Leslie must feel like to Minnie Bruce.

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So I’m writing to honor the life of one of our greats by honoring hir femme, one who is still with us, who is still here to fight the good fight. It’s necessary and right to pay our respects to the recently (and not-so-recently) departed. But let’s not forget the living. Let’s honor our femmes. Let’s respect our trans women. Let’s battle racism. Let’s fight for our Lymies. Let’s have an impact on all the isms and phobias everywhere from a local to a global scale. Let’s question why essential members of our communities — trans women, POCs, femmes, and Lymies alike — aren’t getting the airtime they deserve. And then let’s do something out of our ordinary, go out of our way, step outside of our comfort zones, and do our best to right the wrongs both small and significant. Let’s live the example laid forth in both Minnie Bruce and Leslie’s own fierce feminist and activist politics.

Although it is not largely my personal experience, I bear witness to (and am weighed down by) the historical fact that more feminine-presenting folks have lived in the shadows of their more masculine-presenting counterparts and partners. Which is not to say that femmes haven’t ever achieved success or fame — of course they have — just not across the board or even individually to the extent that butches have. In my own community, on a much smaller level, I see how events supporting more masculine-presenting folks are more well-attended than those supporting feminine-presenting folks. With the one great exception being at burlesque-type shows where femmes take their clothes off. And I wonder, what’s this all about? What are we doing if we’re not supporting our own locally? If we’re not taking care of our own locally, how can we possibly put efforts toward effecting change on a global scale?

My heart keeps returning to Minnie Bruce. This femme, this living legend, this strong woman whose efforts have been life-changing for me. While Stone Butch Blues opened my eyes to another world, Minnie Bruce’s S/HE broke my own world wide open. The way Minnie Bruce wrote about femme, having lived it, breathing it into reality, she was the first I ever read that made femme make sense for me. She survives the death of her partner and she has survived so much. In the tellings of her tales, she thwarts misogyny, she brings light to the notion that femmeness deserves to be revered, and she offers so many of us another way. Minnie Bruce teaches us that there is something sacred in our re-owning of femininity, in queering it and turning it on its head. She weaves poetry and erotica into her prose. Her poetry reads like a squeezing inside my chest. I cannot tell you how many femme hands (and those of a few good butches) have turned the pages of my well-worn copies of her works, committing lines to memory that I underlined with my pink pencil back in the 90s.

I first read Stone Butch Blues in my late teens, just after having read S/HE for the first time — my favorite book of Minnie Bruce’s to which I have returned again and again through the years. I had barely begun to inch my way towards my femme identity. Hadn’t yet quite realized that queered masculinity was the epitome of my sexual desire. Yet both books resonated deeply with me. And when I heard Leslie would be speaking at my then girlfriend’s university, I was there, with my book in hand. Only once I spotted Minnie Bruce in the crowd did my heart sink — I had left my copy of S/HE at home, not having thought of the possibility of her being there. I was too shy to go up to her. Had I had my book, I could’ve hid behind wanting an autograph, though I longed to glean so much more from her. The femme I’ve grown into today wouldn’t dare miss such an opportunity, no matter how much my hands would shake and voice quiver. But I watched her quietly from the sidelines.

That evening I witnessed how Minnie Bruce supported her partner as zie was bathed in limelight. She watched on lovingly as the young queers all surrounded Leslie, butches-in-training longing for a firm handshake, baby femmes just wanting to be near hir, the rest of us looking for an autograph or a word of advice that would make the senselessness of a cruel world all make sense. Or at least make it more tolerable.  It wasn’t until the throngs began to skim down that Minnie Bruce took her rightful place at Leslie’s side. And I took them in. The subtlety of their interactions that would be my root for butch/femme dynamics. I so deeply respected how Leslie sang Minnie Bruce’s praises, even though everyone was there to see hir. But I don’t claim to know what their everyday life was like, how misogyny affected them, how each of them felt about the fact that Leslie’s works received more attention than Minnie Bruce’s. I keep wondering if perhaps Minnie Bruce is much like me — introverted to the point of being uncomfortable in even the slightest shimmer of limelight and someone who prefers to play a supporting role — but somehow I doubt that’s the whole story. I keep coming back to her literary career. Why aren’t her books as well read in our communities?

I like to think that our much treasured fallen hero, Leslie Feinberg, is smiling at the fact that I’m paying homage to hir by honoring the femme who stood so proudly by her side, the equally heroic Minnie Bruce Pratt. A brilliant writer whose works still have yet to receive the laurels they deserve, an activist whose efforts haven’t been heralded, a femme whose chores are often thankless, go unnoticed, and are unending. The partner to Leslie who, in ways little and large, made it possible for Leslie to be the writer and activist we all hold in such high regard.

There’s this beautiful line in S/HE likening butch/femme lovers to a pestle grinding against mortar that I wish I could quote but, naturally, my copy is loaned out to my femmily and I’ve had no luck with googling it. So instead I’ll share a quote from the book that I found on Minnie Bruce’s webpage that she calls “Kisses (for Leslie)”: “I have waited years for you who wants to flaunt me on her arm, my face radiant with desire, as if I’d put my face deep into a lily, heavy with pollen, and raised it to you, smeared and smelly with butter yellow, sated but not yet satisfied, our meal not yet finished as I cling to you in the aisle of the dilapidated diner.”

Here’s to unfinished meals.

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Photo credit: Robert Giard

Minnie Bruce, I see you, I pay tribute to all you’ve accomplished and continue to accomplish in this lifetime, and I’m grateful. Thank you for teaching me how to handle myself with well-meaning strangers when they misgender my lovers. Thank you for your examples of love between femmes and loving ourselves as femme so that we could love our butches more thoroughly. Thank you for being a role model of not only powerful femme, but also successful butch/femme relationships. Thank you for paving the way for all the femmes who have followed, and will continue to follow, in your high heeled footsteps. (Until we ditch the heels and just go barefoot.) We were in desperate need of you back then and we continue to look to you today, more confident in our own femmeness because of the beautiful femme you are.

Leslie, may you rest in power and in peace. Thank you for all you gave us in an exemplary life that was cut much too short. Minnie Bruce, may you live and thrive and grieve and heal and continue to flourish as an inspiration to us all.

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Snogging for Sommer! Win a free prize!

asnogforsummerToday I’m snogging for Sommer Marsden, a fabulous fellow erotica writer who is more than deserving of our support. Please click on the Smut For Good banner above to learn more, to help her family fight cancer, and to visit other writers’ blogs where you can read their kissing excerpts and win other prizes! But before you do, read on to see how you can win my prize!

Heartfirst ChapbookI’m giving away a copy of my chapbook, Heartfirst, to one lucky reader (chosen at random) who either comments below or tweets this link:  http://blissekiss.co.uk/a-snog-for-sommer/         (don’t forget to tag me so I know that you shared the link). Or blog it, facebook it, do whatever kids are doing these days to get the word out–just be sure to either tag me somehow or send me the evidence. :) I’ll give you 48 hours because I’m feeling generous.

A bit about my snogging excerpt: I had to dig around quite a bit to find just one kissing scene in my erotica. I finally found the only mention of a kiss in my entire chapbook (that’s some dirty writing!) and was delightfully surprised where it surfaced. This excerpt is from a story entitled For the Moment, originally published in Sudden Sex: 69 Sultry Stories, edited by Alison Tyler (who I like to call the prominent princess of pornographic prose).

I looked up just as she parted her lips with the tip of her tongue, meeting another pair of lips. Even through the crimson darkness I could tell it was hard, deep, hot. My ultimate butch-on-butch fantasy coming to life. I had felt them moving on top of me—knew it was inevitable and was quite pleased it was happening so soon—sensed its fruition just in time to catch that first glimpse of my own personal goddess-sent, ambrosia-dripping dream. As the intensity of the kiss mounted, their fingers—working individually, then in tandem, then separately again—increased the intensity with which they fucked my cunt. They stretched me wider as the two pairs of lips worked each other over and two pairs of hands heightened my already sensitive sense of touch. Surprised by each new movement, varying changes in tempo, one pressing harder here, the other lighter there, switching my entire body into high alert with their notable differences, their shared passions—growing even more fervent as we built upon the blaze.

I gasped, sunk my teeth into flesh, screamed out, grasped for whatever was within reach, as one twisted her fist into my cunt and the other worked her hand into my ass. Realizing I had again been squeezing my eyes closed, so completely absorbed in the all-but-overwhelming sensation, I consciously engaged my field of vision to take in these beautiful butches—admiring the definition of their muscles, lines cut sharply across their unique strengths, intention set deeply in each of their faces.

Please don’t forget to visit other writers’ blogs who are also Snogging for Sommer today, win prizes, donate if you can, and share widely! Oh, and comment or share the link to win my prize! Yay!!

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My Rainbow Shelfie is Gaymous!

rainbow shelfieI have super big exciting news that I’m just here to tease you about because I can’t exactly share said super big exciting news just yet. It’s barely in the beginning stages…so just know to stay tuned. ;) And I’ll dish just as soon as I’m able. I promise! But I’m not an all-tease-and-no-play sort of gal, so until I can share the news, please scoot on over to Alison Tyler’s recent post that made my fabulous rainbow shelfie gaymous! And see what I have to say about my love of color-coded bookshelves and why so much erotica is lying on the top. (Not-so)secret: She’ll make your shelfie famous (or gaymous–depending upon its orientation) too! She’s a real giver, that prominent princess of pornographic prose!

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Love in the Time of Solitude

imgresGabriel García Márquez changed my life. I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was somewhere around twelve years old. Plagued with insomnia and not understanding how it came about, this work of art presented me with a perfectly logical explanation: I had caught it from my father. Though we both endured sleepless nights under the same roof, my father and I rarely interacted. Rather, we were like passing ships in the night, acknowledging each other’s presence and then going our separate ways. He had his infomercials. I preferred the company of my books.

I would get swept up in the worlds Gabo so expertly crafted to the point that it would be hard for me to return to mine. Never having to suspend disbelief, magical realism was a genre that fit me exquisitely. The way he presented the seemingly unexplainable demonstrated another option: That magic has a place in reality. It’s all around us. If only we’re willing to be generous.

This snippet is less risque than my usual erotica excerpts, but it feels right given the recent passing of one of my literary saviors. Read the entirely of my story, Twisted Realities, in Twisted edited by Alison Tyler and published by Cleis Press and see how many nods to García Márquez and references to his work you can spot! (I had to resist the temptation to go overboard–stopping short at working Macondo into my story–but many of my references are quite obvious. A few slightly more subtle for the dedicated magical realism fan.) I feel honored and grateful that my bit of Gabo-inspired erotica was published before he died. Rest in peace, rest in power, beloved Gabo!

 

My first four, semilucid nights at Misericordia Hospital were spent in a haze, and for that reason I was unsure as to whether or not I had imagined him. So picturesque, dark curls offsetting his hazel eyes, an exquisite blend of feminine and masculine, he looked like he had walked off the GQ pages of my dreams and materialized by my bedside to check my vitals. I could only recall brief flashes of him coming and going. I heard his voice, reading something about a woman too disturbingly beautiful for this world, how she ascends into the heavens, and then his words faded away in the distance. I saw him taking a syringe to my drip line and then everything went blank. I even thought I could recall his scent, trailing off into the night. My body—a much more reliable source than my mind at this point—distinctly remembered feeling how he positioned himself on the edge of my bed one night, the heat of his thigh pressing up against mine. Then gone.

Surely it had to be the drugs.

 

It gets quite racy later on…I promise!

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Review: Overflow: Tales of Butch-Femme Love, Sex, and Desire

Overflow Miel Rose’s Overflow: Tales of Butch-Femme Love, Sex, and Desire had me in its grasp from the get-go. Anything dealing with butch/femme will inevitably draw me in. But Overflow is a whole lot more than just a catchy title with a pretty cover. It Delivers. (Capitalized because this book delivers in a major way.)

The book’s namesake was one of my favorites–all witchy and woo…right up my alley. There was also how it opened with talk of acupuncture and the pericardium. I happen to have a heart condition that affects this very same protective layer, so it spoke to me on a variety of levels. But no matter the state of your heart, you’ll undoubtedly find something that works in this story. It quickly heats up, tugging on more than just your heartstrings.

“My cunt was all fire and water, burning and sloppy wet. Her fingers drummed against the roof of my pussy and I was getting lightheaded from the lack of air and the overwhelming feeling that if I didn’t come soon I might explode. Tarn shifted her hand, her knuckles finding a new and glorious place inside me. Her hips started thrusting faster, driving her fingers deeper into my pussy, and I could tell she was close, so close. I rocked my hips back at her with all my might and slipped my hand between my legs.”

I had read “Farmhand” before in The Harder She Comes. Loved it the first time. Adored it the second. I appreciate the fact that Rose, a fellow femme, chose to write from a butch’s point of view in this story (it’s not always easy to put yourself so thoroughly in someone else’s shoes…or boxer briefs, as it were).

“My hand flew to my clit and started stroking with a hard, vicious intensity. I watched Taylor’s face as she watched me rub my cunt, and that alone could have pushed me over. But I also had her fingers pounding my asshole, her other hand putting increasing pressure on my wind pipe, her filthy whispers in my ear telling me to come.”

The rawness of “Love Letter” really struck me. It truly reads as a confession–to the point of almost inducing a sense of guilt into the reader. As if you shouldn’t be privy to such private thoughts. As if you’re actually reading a love letter not addressed to you and the recipient might catch you any moment. Rose gifts her readers with quite the gaze into a fiery romance that perhaps burned too brightly. A voyeur’s ultimate wet dream. And, as someone who communicates so much non-verbally, mine as well.

“For awhile there, so much of our conversations had nothing to do with words. The words were just a structure for all the feelings that we poured out through our eyes at each other every time you met my glance. I wonder if we could still communicate like that. I wonder if I packed this whole letter behind my eyes and radiated it out to you, simply saying, ‘I’ve missed you’, if you would understand.”

I find it incredibly beautiful how Rose doesn’t shy away from vulnerability in this collection, drawing the reader in deeper. Nor is Rose afraid to infuse politics into her smut. Because when isn’t butch/femme political? Surely much of what we do in bed are some of our most radical political acts. And then there’s how we exist in the outside world as well.

“You being willing to fight for femmes, you trying so hard to stay on top of the misogyny that threatens to rip us and our community apart, this is what made me powerfully in love with you.”

My very favorite story had to be Second Date. Not only because it’s about Daddy/girl play, but yes, largely because that’s the dynamic that these two characters delve into so tenderly, timidly, and provocatively.

“I have not told you about how this kind of treatment has the tendency to open this deep and vulnerable rawness inside me, cracks me open like a pomegranate, my red jewels spilling everywhere. Because, baby, it has been awhile since I let a butch touch me like this and it is only our second date, and I like you way too much for the small amount of time I have known you. I am not ready to be cracked open for you, all seeds and red juice…I do not want to be that girl who gives you access to her pussy and her heart on the same night.”

I have been that girl. I know precisely how that feels and was a bit short of breath reading how accurately Rose describes these feelings throughout the whole of this touching and blazingly erotic story.

“My ass is moving against your palm in anticipation, and then empty air as you raise your hand and let it fall with a loud smack on my bare skin. You repeat this again and again, the pain hot and sweet, sharp and then diffused in the moments I am allowed to process it. I am counting in my head and then losing track as you begin to concentrate on my sweet spot and every slap of your hand sends vibrations deep into my cunt. I have never been so close to coming from a spanking before and when you stop so abruptly I cry out in protest.”

I found myself wanting to excerpt the fuck out of this book, which tells me that Rose’s words speak for themselves (trust me, it’s just something you have to experience), but instead of going on and on…I’ll sum it up by saying that overall this collection of stories is well put-together, the pace and variety were delightful, and it was hot, hot, hot! Not a single one among the bunch that didn’t get me going. Some seriously scintillating sagas. But what solidified my greatest appreciation for Overflow is that I found myself lingering over every word–not just the more salacious text. Rose truly accomplishes one of my own personal goals by putting smart smut (erotica that reads as fine literature) out into the world.

Sprint, don’t run, to get yourself a copy!

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Review: Sudden Sex

sudden sexWho doesn’t love a good work-related fantasy? After all, work is an often less-than-pleasurable activity that swallows up far too much of our time. So who wouldn’t want to mix a little business and pleasure? I’m of the belief that it only adds to worker morale. And apparently so does, Lucy Felthouse, author of The Not-So-Blushing Bride in Alison Tyler‘s Sudden Sex: 69 Sultry Short Stories. Felthouse does something interesting and somewhat surprising for a short short (each tale in this anthology maxes out at 1500 words)–the great majority consists of buildup. The reader is made to wait as the narrator draws out the disclosure of his secret fantasy. One element I particularly enjoyed about this story is that the bride is far from conventional (as you may presume from the title). She knows what she wants. Then she goes and gets it. Without the slightest frill, nicety, or apology. That’s the type of bride I can get behind.

Also included in this collection is a story by the name of Possessive Tense by Raziel Moore. (And if you know me at all, you know I loooove word play, so this was a winner for me right from the get-go–a story dripping with possession.) Moore really cuts to the chase, starting off hot and heavy. (I adore a saga that starts with a well warranted F-word.) And although we, the readers, never quite know exactly what activities are transpiring between the Dom and sub in this taudry tale, this only adds to the allure. Intrique piques the interest. “If she kept sounding like that, so delicious, so vulnerable and needy, I wouldn’t be responsible.” Possession never sounded so good.

Bulging with 69 stories, this steamy anthology surely has a little something (or a lot) for everyone.

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Dearest Lovebirds & Those Who Fly Solo

tumblr_lm30zh7YUA1qzu0qfo1_400Dearest Lovebirds & Those Who Fly Solo,

Ah, February. That annoying little month when it’s still too cold outside to really be enjoyable; the stores are taken over by everything heart-shaped, red, or pink, and cheaply gaudy; and then, thankfully, it’s all over halfway through this shortest of months. I could take to my soapbox about the self-deprecation inspired by such a ridiculous holiday, but instead I’ll encourage us all to take a more careful, dare I say loving, look at our relationships with ourselves.

It may seem obvious to say, but we are in lifelong relationships with ourselves. Why wouldn’t we want to prioritize this relationship above all others in our lives? As poet C. JoyBell C. wrote, “The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with.”

From approximately the age of twelve until just recently I wore the same ring every day. Never took it off. It was a poesy ring that I received as a birthday gift (after dropping endless hints that it was the only thing I wanted). I wore it with the words (vous et nul autre – French for “you and no other”) facing me. I posed it in that direction as a reminder to put myself first. A visual promise that I was to go against my very nature and prioritize my relationship with myself. It was a private vow to take better care of myself than I do those around me. Through the years I’ve slowly gotten better at it. Just the other day my hand decided that I was done wearing it. I think I’m finally – finally – in a place that I don’t need that daily reminder.

Only through learning how to enjoy our own company, being able to delight in the stillness of self, are we able to truly know self-love. So take yourself out on a date. A nice date. Fancy, even. Take yourself out for a movie. Or to an art exhibit. And then, as songwriter/poet Tanya Davis wrote, “Take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no ones watching because they are probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move, genuinely move to beats, after-all, is gorgeous and affecting.” Gorgeous and affecting. Yes.

Have a hot romp with yourself. Light candles. Put on something that makes you feel sexy. Take your time. Do yourself good. Maybe even try out something new – I would love to offer up a juicy list of examples but since this is a PG-rated column, I’ll simply suggest that the internet is your friend. As are the helpful folks who work at fun, local stores such as Frisky Business. Or, something I like to do, read erotica aloud when you’re all alone. Check out my blog for some succulent snippets. The possibilities are endless, really, when you commit to dating yourself.

None of this means you’re cheating on your partner if you happen to be coupled. Just the opposite, in fact. Once you learn how to focus on yourself, there will magically be more than enough energy to share with those you love. For instance, I used to go to this yoga class regularly and noticed another woman who went to every class too. One day I was walking out after her and heard two ecstatic voices call out, “Mommy! Mommy!” as they flung their arms out in her direction. Her beautiful kids were just as delighted to see her as she was them. This simple interaction stayed with me. It led me to wonder: What would our world look like if all mothers took such good care of themselves? What if they were centered in themselves such that they had plenty to give healthily and happily to their children?

Let’s all take this approach and work on filling ourselves up first. So much so that the love can overflow all around us, spilling over onto those we love so dearly.

In (self) lust, love, and all things woo,

Kiki

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