Today I was talking with a friend about my body positive belief system and how for me it has always naturally fed into and related heavily with my sex positive lifestyle.
I have found that one big challenge of being sex positive is that we are taught to be ashamed of our bodies, and the arguments I have received from friends, relatives and others about my lifestyle is very often related to body shaming. Here are a few arguments I have received that seem rooted in science or what have you but are actually more rooted in a Victorian body shaming women-as-chattel philosophy:
A great and wonderful part of the human experience, in fact, one of the best parts, is to figure out who you are; what you like and don't like, what you are good at, what drives your passions, and what makes you happy. Some of us are lucky enough to have this opportunity. It is a luxury many people all over the world do not have because they are too busy wondering where the next meal or bit of clean water will be coming from. It is a unique luxury to have this human exploration yet so many of us miss out on it because we believe what we are told about "all women" or "all men" or "all homosexuals" or "all muslims" or "all latinos." We believe things we have been told about ourselves and each other, though it might not ring true.
So we are fed these fables of who we are and who others are supposed to be, because the unknown is scary. I feel much safer if I understand that a whole group of people is cheap, or a whole group of people is racist, or a whole group of people is slutty. Why do I believe it? It confirms my suspicions about how scary the world is. It makes me feel superior. It gives me a "short-hand" to go to when I am dealing with individuals from that group. If I can put a whole group of people in a box, all figured out, I can very easily tailor my behavior to deal with "all of them."
When I tailor my behavior to deal with a whole group of people, I too, am putting myself in a box. It is the box labeled, "brainwashed."
The whole reason science is valued is because it is capable in many situations of objectively measuring the functions of the world and its inhabitants, but too often, it is used to measure something which cannot possibly be measured; the human spirit. There has never been, nor will there ever be a device that will be able to measure something as wild and uniquely wonderful as the spirit that drives each one of us.
The more we understand and know our own depth and complexity, the more we can accept it in others and feel less of a need to put entire groups of people into convenient boxes. The more that we explore ourselves, the more we feel that other people might be worth exploring too.
But if we believe the lies we are told, if we disregard our drives, our passions, our very selves because we have been told and then believe what someone else thinks we should be, then our lives become less about the exploration and more about endurance. Just getting through another day. Just getting to retirement. Just getting through...fill in the blank.
If we believe the lie that we belong in boxes, our sometimes angry and even violent reaction to people who are living outside of a box springs from our resentment of having put ourselves in one and stayed there for far too long. Our anger at the perceived freedom of these limitless individuals is the anger at ourselves turned outward. It is the frustration borne of towing the line, behaving in a way that we have been told to, which has been in fact, killing us slowly.
In this sense, this luxury of self exploration starts to look more like a duty. It starts to feel more like a responsibility. It starts to appear as if we are bound to this opportunity by what it could do for the world as a whole if we commit to it.
We owe it to ourselves and each other to discover our limitless potential. We cannot let those who fear us define us, and we cannot fail the people all over the world who are not afforded this great luxury.
It is time, finally to stop believing that the answers are outside of us. It is time to understand that no one outside knows better than the person on the inside. It is time to block out the bullshit and become limitless.
Limitless, fortunately, is the only label that does not require a box.
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