When I was little I was identified by the University of Denver as being “gifted” and did several of their summer programs. In one of them, we had a group that performed The Secret Garden. For some reason, I think that gave me a fantasy about what it would be like to have a magical outdoor space like that. I grew up in the middle of the city and didn’t really work to cultivate my connection with nature. I didn’t really garden until I grew up. I tried to grow flowers in pots outside in our first apartment, which was relatively easy because we lived in Ohio where it wasn’t even possible to buy a hose at the hardware store because it rained enough. Then we moved to California where temperatures could reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit many summer days, but still I tried. My favorite memories with my husband are the times we have spent outside together, including in our first home in California where we enjoyed sitting out on our patio at night. One of the reasons we got the home we have lived in for the last 15 years is that the previous home was new and did not have a finished yard and we had to constantly travel to be somewhere nice outside beyond the front yard the builders installed. It took a long time to save the money to do the back yard, and of course one year after we did it we had to move for work. This time, I wanted a home with an established yard with trees which was difficult to find when I was looking, but in the back of my mind, I really wanted The Secret Garden.
My favorite Shakespeare play was always a Midsummer Night’s Dream, though I could care less for his endings in general. I think they are reflective of the narrow thinking of the time. Note that I would say the same for most of the outcomes in Game of Thrones. This week my phone showed me a clip of George R. R. Martin finding out from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that his grandparent was not who he believed, and that for all these years he thought he was 1/4 Italian, and found out he was actually ¼ Jewish. I am familiar with the level of “What?!” this engenders in a person. I found lots of surprises in my genealogy, and consequent lies that were propagated to save face. I found some similar lie in every single one of my husbands’ and my family lines. It has given me some pause about communicating with my DNA matches, because it turns out that many of the lies have to do with eschewing child rearing responsibilities or shame around infidelity. In my case, one of the many significant discoveries was that my biological grandfather was not the man my grandmother married before having my mother who was British and Polish, but a Mestizo man from the Bay Area who worked as a machinist where she was working as a secretary at the Richmond Ship Yards. For me it was especially strange because I grew up as an outsider around many Mestizo people, but learned a lot about the culture from bilingual schools I attended.
This discovery came about in a strange way. My father was first curious about DNA testing and pulled the trigger. I had been curious about it because people in my online nutrition circles were beginning to delve into it. So I went ahead and got tested, too. This was in the early days of admixtures (which is the word used to describe the attempts to understand ethnic diversity through DNA). My results showed that I was approximately ⅛ (12.5%) Native American. That is actually a lot. I learned shortly thereafter that most people who can claim Cherokee ancestry on paper have less than 1-2% Native American DNA. I can’t remember why it came up, but I stumbled upon information about the diversity of teeth, and that people who have Native Ancestry have “shovel-shaped teeth.” It didn’t take but a second to figure out I did, too, so I went about the odd task of asking my parents and my mom’s sister about their teeth, and found out that my mom had shovel-shaped teeth, but my father did not. Also, my mother’s half sister did not. My sister has them, and she is a physician. She thought everyone’s teeth were shaped that way; but then we realized her patient population was almost entirely Mestizo. This has been a really odd experience because among white people, having Native American DNA and ancestors is like some sort of White Whale.
There had been lore in my Dad’s family that there was Tuscarora heritage. We haven’t really ruled that out. I am aware of a couple pieces of evidence that support the likelihood of some Native Ancestry, even if there is no Autosomal DNA evidence. There is a saying about there being a grain of truth in every genealogical story, and that has also been true in my family lore. I do have a smidge of DNA evidence; my father has a cousin match on his mother’s side whose mitochondrial DNA haplotype has been associated with the native populations in the finger lakes region. They share this cousin’s mitochondrial ancestor. Last I read there were some questions about the origins of that haplotype, though. On that same side of my father’s family, there is significant French Canadian ancestry, and it was common for the fur trappers to take Native women as their brides. So it’s possible that there is some ancestry through the LaPoint or Perrault lines, but that’s not exactly where this other match lines up. His ancestor Huldah Minerva Smith, born around 1790 in Chenango County, NY to Asa Smith and an unknown wife is the ancestor whose mitochondrial descendant has the haplotype X2b4. This haplotype was first thought to be Native, but was determined to have originated probably somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe (like the Czech Republic area). All that being said, a woman from Delhi married my cousin on that side of the family and reported to me that there is a picture of a dark-skinned ancestor in the possession of one of my family members, and that haplotype is found in Algonquin people in the area; we just don’t know when it showed up in their DNA.
There are two branches of our family, from my husband’s father’s family and my half-aunt’s father’s family which have rumored Cherokee ancestry and whose families did migrate through Oklahoma, but I didn’t find any ancestors from that part of their journeys. My husband is a descendant of Louisiana Stewart Benefiel on his father’s side, who other researchers are claiming is ½ Mowhawk. Her father was David Stewart born 1743 in New Jersey, died 1805 in Kentucky. That would make his wife Henrietta full-blooded Mowhawk, but I don’t think anyone has figured that out for certain. Some people have Henrietta’s father as George Forbes (this has got to be an accident), one of the Leiges of Skellater, notwithstanding the Stewarts’ links to the Jacobites. It’s possible they were all fleeing persecution or had been sent over on a prisoner ship together. But as for a source of anything purely Native American with respect to Louisiana Stewart, we don’t have any evidence. My husband actually does have DNA connections to these lines. They were some of the first to come in large quantity. It is interesting to see how these inheritances are imbalanced, due to the fact that past our parents, ancestral heritage is not inherited equally.
Early on I was trying to map various ancestors to various parts of the genome using a tool called GenomeMate. It was a very detailed thing. But I found that certain parts of the genome seemed to have more cousin matches than others. I’m sure if I go back to that now it will be totally different. I don’t know if I have a personal need to solve mysteries that far back; there is so much to be gleaned just by focusing on one’s own DNA and how it might help close relatives. We probably could have applied to be in the DAR and SAR many times over, but I don’t know what the benefit to us would be. I have certainly gotten a lot more helpful information out of my testing through spelunking my SNPs for health information. No doubt it would be interesting to see what characteristics and health issues were inherited from what ancestors, but one has to understand what the SNPs do, first.
I have only been in contact with one cousin on my mother’s Mestizo biological father’s side - her half first cousin. It was trippy to exchange photos because there’s a familiarity that is undeniable, even though we never met before. This part of having cousins always feels weird to me. I have to remind myself it’s not like looking in the mirror. These people have all had different lives and experiences which have played a big role in how they relate to others, and I don’t really know any of them because we grew up apart. I don’t know if they struggle with the things I do or not. I don’t know if they care about the things I have learned about us, and I am tired of repeating myself. So I am just going to put things here, because trying to connect with them has been too stressful, I think perhaps because they may have some of the same health issues I do, and shame around them. I haven’t gotten a lot of help from physicians because many of the problems I have are subclinical and have to do with fatigue and mood. I believe that because of these tendencies, there has been a history in my family of alcohol abuse, which fortunately my parents were aware of and warned us. By eschewing alcohol in their own lives, they were able to build a vibrant community support system for themselves, which is not something I have seen with my family members who rely on alcohol to decompress. I don’t regret DNA testing, but sometimes I regret how the knowledge I have is so difficult to convey gently. Policy makers in the past have not been aware of the ways that their loyalty to the alcohol industry has impacted society. I think our family is a good study of that.
I do know that non-teetotalers live longer; I think that it is because they are not so locked in to their perspectives. That being said, there are other safer ways to alter one’s state of consciousness to decompress which are now legal. CBD is legal everywhere, but I find a little THC important to help me break free from my Aspergerian thinking. Is that why they call it Type A personality?
I have a frustrating relationship with this idea of Native Ancestry. I live in an area where people regularly travel to New Mexico and Seattle to participate in tourism that exposes them to Native culture. But there are Native people and culture all around us in Colorado; it’s just that it has been forced into hiding by our corporations and planned urban developments. No doubt my white ancestors, even though they were poor, contributed to that. Here, to see evidence of indigenous culture one must travel into homes where people have adorned their walls with the works of other tribes. If Louisiana Stewart really were half Mowhawk, what would she think if she knew that some of her descendants were making their livings through the development of petroleum products? Because that’s what some of the people on that side of the family do. What would Hulda Minerva Smith’s mother think of the fact my family made its money with concrete? These weren’t things I worried about until more recently. When my kids were young, I took issue with some local women in our attachment parenting group wanting to use the word “tribe.” I made a little bit of a stink about that. It didn’t feel like the right word for us to use, but they insisted because they wanted to engender a tribal feeling for the community. I was worried that it was too polarized and that it would turn off modern women whose children would benefit from the support of an attachment parenting group. I had just come from a more fundamentalist area of Colorado where our La Leche League Group was having to combat the misinformation spread by affluent biblical adherents and so I was seeing things from a different light. Furthermore, I had lost a scholarship to work at the NIH at the end of a summer program with the University of Colorado Health Science Center because I was not a minority, so I was particularly sensitive to the problems of appropriation and marginalization in a way these women who grew up in more white areas of the state might not have been. This was of course all before I discovered the truth about my ancestry. I don’t know what the right answer is.
That being said, in my book last year I wrote that I wanted to make an edible landscape. I want to play a part in healing the land. Maybe some of the things I wished for were kind of pie in the sky, but changes are made one step at a time. My three closest friends are gardeners and have varying relationships to their own gardens, and varying levels of help. None of them currently have the help of their kids. They all spend quite a bit of time outdoors just because they have these gardens, and I feel like they are very wise and compassionate women. One of my friends is older. She has the most elaborate garden, and has also received the most assistance with planning and heavy lifting from her husband. I regularly throw my back out just trying to weed. I forget this about myself. (If you are new here, I am pesticide sensitive). It turns out she also has this problem and even had to have back surgery. Her husband built raised beds for her which are probably 20 inches high or more, and that has helped a lot.
I’m not sure the effort would be worth it in my case. One of the things I have learned is that I have some important polymorphisms that affect my ability to use fat soluble and B-vitamins in the form they exist in the plant world. For that reason, I have to remember to eat liver periodically. This is an argument I have had with a lot of people. I haven’t known veganism to work very well for people, to be honest, and I think this might be why. That being said, there are still nutrients like Vitamin C and micronutrients which I still need to get from fruits and vegetables.
When you have a back injury, ergonomics matter a lot. I really didn’t think about this when I was deciding what to do with my yard, but I did try to permaculture it to better work with nature. I try to plant perennials. The trees we put in are doing fairly well. My husband initiated composting. I am so thankful for that because it was something I was interested in doing, but didn’t have the energy to initiate or research. I have trouble with getting myself into situations I can’t follow through with because I get injured so easily and hit energy walls as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about why this is. It’s multifactorial.
The biggest one, I would say, is the impact that chemicals have on my body awareness, and the role that alcohol had before I stopped drinking in early 2019 (I was only a social drinker, but it still derailed my timelines, and when you’re into Alchemy, which is the quest for enlightened consciousness, this is a big deal). I think they and alcohol contribute to feelings of neediness and aloneness. I know that chemists hate it when people use the word “chemicals” because they are ubiquitous and even natural things can be toxic. But I am a scientist, so I’d like to put another flag on the moon and say that when people complain about this, they are complaining about the classes of chemicals which are shown to inhibit metabolism which have been verified at the cellular and organismal level. Chemists may enjoy their jobs and what they do, but the rest of us are tired of feeling shitty because of their inventions. I am tired of the ignorant, money-hungry heads of chemical companies greasing the government wheels to get their poisons into the hands of as many of our friends and neighbors as possible, without proper directions on how to use them, or even consideration for the harm that their production, transportation and disposal entails, especially in the quantities they end up making once the uneducated masses get hold of them. I was just looking at a few MSDS sheets for some decorating products, and knowing what I know about those products and the amount of volatile compounds and formaldehyde they release, there is no way the health information is correct. It’s possible they may be operating on outdated information, but it would be interesting to see the health histories of the people involved in the production and sales of these particular products, since the MSDS sheets do not point out the need for a respirator when using these particular products (ones that citizens use freely all the time without PPE).
Early on in the pandemic when we were making the discoveries we were about air quality, I realized that the chance that people would become sick from being stuck inside was pretty high just from cleaning chemicals, and I see the CDPHE’s pesticide division now has a warning on their front page about the increase in incidence of poisonings from cleaning chemical exposure during the pandemic. I think I knew this intuitively because I think it is an important part of what happened to me. I used to become very ill after entering retail stores, and this only got better when I reduced my exposures at home. I do think I am more sensitive than other people because of genetics, as well as spinal cord and head injuries. I got my first spinal cord injury when I was 10, and it is likely that I had a head injury before that.
I am pretty sure I have had undiagnosed Asperger’s off and on throughout my life. At the very least, I have struggled with expressive and receptive aphasia which may be related to impaired potassium metabolism. It seems to be aggravated by chemical exposures. I don’t have a lot of control over these, especially when I leave the house. People are just not educated about these things, and so the risks are everywhere. I don’t like how I see the world when I have symptoms. I think I understand what causes the change in cognition, and the order that it happens in. I had three accidental poisonings in the last few weeks and so I got to test my theories. Many of my symptoms are helped with charcoal. People have said that autism arises in the gut, and that is true to my experience. I think the tie in with chemicals is in the mitochondrial fractionation they cause, which creates a number of downstream changes in the liver and bile, which then affects the gut milieu. I think this is how people end up on restrictive diets; they think it is the foods that are the problem, but it is actually that the digestive system is under so much stress from the detoxification that it ends up requiring a lot of babying. Getting your guts constantly screwed up from chemicals isn’t a lot of fun. The result, I believe, is endotoxinemia. Behaviorists in the US have a love affair with serotonin, but overlook the importance of dopamine and its role in counterbalancing the effects of too much serotonin, which is increased by endotoxins. To understand what I mean, look into the symptoms of serotonin syndrome and dopamine deficiency; they are similar.
There are a lot of ways that the body feeds back on the initial cellular inflammation caused by the inhibition of the mitochondrial oxidation of glucose long before the liver’s detoxification capacities result in changes in bile production. I know how to treat all of this stuff, but it takes time. I am trying to find ways to condense my routine. When my nervous system is inflamed, I am prone to migraines and fatigue. I can also get bad sciatica which can significantly impair my ability to do things. I think the sciatica is from that first spinal cord injury I had when I fell out of my bunk bed and landed with my lumbar vertebra over the lower frame. I was paralyzed for a few hours. My parents moved me and took me to the ER. I don’t remember what happened after that. I also had two car accidents, one that affected my cervical spine, and another the thoracic as a teenager. I had a skiing accident as well where I had to be evaluated for a hip fracture and lost feeling in that part of my leg for several years. I fell out of my bunk bed onto my face a few times as a child and didn’t know until my parents put me in the bathtub because of all of the blood. I’ve had quite a few head injuries. I know a lot of other people with head and spinal injuries, and I know these things are very common. I think it’s something that physicians overlook as being a contributor to overall wellness, but it very much is. I know at least two women whose lives were changed forever from car accidents which didn’t leave them with visible injuries, and who had disappointing experiences trying to get care for them. I suppose having multiple moderate injuries might have a similar effect as one big one, except there is no easy way to quantify the effects of cumulative traumas.
I suppose it’s not a surprise that I have Mirror Touch Synesthesia and other types of Synesthesia since those tend to occur in people who have had head injuries. The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series has a nice little book about it specifically to help people with the issue feel validated. Synesthesia is an overwhelming thing, and it’s frustrating to be told it’s all in your head (even though it is). I can get it under control with cannabis, yoga, and nutrition. It takes time and attention. I think I may be sensitive to barometric pressure and electrical changes in the atmosphere which make me feel anxious; I had hypothesized this before I discovered the backdrafting water heater. I think the effects may have been coincident, since the water heater was only backdrafting when there were large temperature fluctuations. They say we are in for a particularly bad year for that, so that should be interesting for me. I have not had a neurological evaluation since 2010, but my symptoms seem to come and go so I am not sure they would find anything. Often my anxiety increases when there is cloud cover and the barometric pressure is lower, and then have a sudden feeling of relaxation as precipitation begins. I now think this may have to do with the way my body uses electrolytes differently due to some specific polymorphisms I have in my genetics which affect calcium, potassium and chloride ion metabolism. So if you’re my cousin and you’re wound like a cheap watch, it might be that you have some of these polymorphisms.
My garden didn’t quite turn out the way I envisioned. There were things I planted that don’t look like they made it (RIP grapes and raspberries). Despite my early start, my tomatoes are late. But my goal was to try a whole bunch of things and see what stuck. It wasn’t a total failure by any count. I give myself an A+ for effort and intent, and probably a C for knowledge on these things. I have cucumbers, two types of lettuce, tarragon, sage, thyme, carrots, chives, tomatoes and pumpkins. I also have funions, which is apparently what you get when you plant onions and leeks (these are a great source of sulfur, which is an important micronutrient). I had planted leeks the first year I put in the garden, and then a friend gave me some onions a few years later and they made some little frankenbabies which have a pleasantly mild taste and have been self-propagating for quite some time. The sunflowers I planted did not come up, but the ones the birds planted did. My strawberries didn’t make it, but the ones the dogs planted did. We are spending a lot more time in our yard, which is making a big difference in our health, even with the wildfire smoke. I see other people are noticing these things, too.
I have been having an interesting discussion with my father about inaction. I have a busy mind. Usually busy in a good way. But I can brainstorm so much for myself to do that I could never possibly do it all. I prefer brainstorming to doing, to be honest. I struggle with the material world because of my health problems and synesthesia. Plus the Universe is telling me it is my job to meditate on these things and consider what a disabled person can actually do, even though I do not have the recognition or the social benefits that most disabled people who have been identified would have. A contemplative life suits me and always has. There are things I had forgotten about myself from when I was younger before I entered the working world. I was a very spiritual person. People wrote about this in my high school yearbook. People I didn’t do Job’s Daughters or church with! I always preferred deep meaningful conversation and solitude over group events. I always wanted to feel like people came away from time with me feeling more connected to spirit. I think that’s another reason big family holidays have not worked for me, nevermind all the other things I have complained about.
Nonetheless, my husband and I enjoy having philosophical discussions with our kids, friends and especially my parents. As I was falling ill in 2019, we had an impromptu party with my long time friend and some new friends I made. We had some weed together and hilarity ensued. This was the first time we had weed in our home with people other than my long time friend. I quickly realized what a shit show that could become, as my one friend who hadn’t had it before became insistent on driving home to work on his creative pursuits under his state. It can induce a very creative state. We ended up setting up a driving game in the living room for him so that he could see it wasn’t safe to drive. I like cannabis because it does not give me a hangover. As for the rumors of the thing people call “stoneover,” I have not had it without a concomitant chemical or alcohol exposure, so I am beginning to doubt its existence. Hangover is one of the main ways that alcohol affects personal and social timelines negatively.
When we first started using cannabis in our home it was only in the evenings and for some reason our kids didn’t even smell it or suspect anything. Now I only use the flower outdoors since it does have a smell, and now we can all smell it. We were technically using it recreationally to begin with, but it grew to take on an important role in our self awareness. I tend to keep what they call a “medical high” which is the amount of cannabis needed to manage my anxiety and depression. I abstain for several hours before I have to drive, and I don’t use any edibles during the day before I have to drive somewhere. That means I am not high at all when I leave the house. Luckily my husband doesn’t need this, so he just enjoys the recreational benefits periodically. It enabled us to get outside ourselves and not worry so much. After a while I discovered it also helped my libido when I was tired. It has been interesting learning the unique contribution it makes to my own spirituality and creativity. I understand now that there can be problems with that because I am living in a world where most people see scarcity, and when I am using cannabis, I can forget that and see things better than they are. When I feel well and content, it’s hard to remember what it feels like to be hurting and needy, and a lot of people are, and are thinking from that space. Even healthcare providers.
I tried to remember this while driving, long before I used cannabis. If someone seemed like they were in a big hurry, I assumed that they had diarrhea or that someone was dying. I know that assumption was not always true, but it kept me out of trouble. We can never really know what someone else is feeling, or how those feelings are affecting their ability to problem solve. I think this is what was going on with Donald Trump. I noticed that he exhibits a lot of the behaviors of a person with Traumatic Brain Injury, and no doubt he is exposed to a lot of chemicals in his day to day life. I have wondered if chemical exposures aren’t the real reason we all can’t get along. “Irritable” is certainly a word one might use to describe him and other leaders who are incapable of considering the viewpoints of others. I struggle with this as well, especially when caught off guard when I am tired, but am open to considering the viewpoints of people who truly want to work toward equanimity and are open to the idea that helping the less fortunate is a good thing. I don’t feel like I can say this about him. I may have accidentally called him the antichrist when talking to my neighbor who admitted that although he put a huge flag up in front of his home, he did not actually *like* Trump as a person. What I said probably wasn’t fair, because I think the man is probably suffering directly from his own itinerance and how it affects his life and those of the people he loves as he subconsciously tries to please his dogmatic materialist father who didn’t know what love was. It’s just that the entire world became beholden to his personal suffering and neuroses, which he never got help for. His cousin was right to share with the world; the things he endured are not unlike the pressure we all had on us to make money for the self-proclaimed gods of Wall Street. I’m not sure it is possible for a person with these issues to be a good President. In terms of my using the word “antichrist” it had to do with what seemed to me to be an obvious desire on his part to work on behalf of QAnon’s agenda, which was so obviously Darwinian in its desire to spread the virus and kill off anyone not making big contributions to the economy. Obvs. Raising a Trump flag was the same as supporting white supremacy, just because of the way his fearful and selfish brain, and the brains of other conservatives, work to marginalize people in deference to the global economy. I wish I didn’t understand this so intimately, and that I hadn’t been fodder for other people’s mindless need to get out of the house. Undiagnosed workaholism should not be a reason to spread disease. It has been difficult being part of the population of people who are at greatest risk for long-haul COVID and who also struggles with seeing the peaceful and fair way to solve complex problems in a timely manner (that’s the key piece - folks like us are slow and need more time and clean air to come up with amicable solutions). But honestly, despite all this bellyaching, I don’t think I’m really that different than other folks. I just want to feel safe, and not like I am surrounded by heartless wolves. Yes, that is how I see conservatives, and also some neoliberals. Maybe they’re not heartless; maybe they are just completely blind.
So my husband’s been carrying this hammock around with him since before I met him. It’s just a simple string hammock he bought in Mexico, but I swear we’ve never been anywhere we could use it easily, because we haven’t gone many places with trees close enough together! That’s kind of sad, isn’t it? For Father’s Day this year I got him a new hammock and a stand, and he’s been using it fairly regularly. It’s one of the most comfortable things we have. I have always enjoyed the parable of the Mexican Fisherman, and it seems appropriate here, because we sure did spend a lot of time, energy and money to figure out that the hammock is so pleasurable. I’m glad I didn’t buy a bunch of big bulky furniture for our yard with a 1 year warranty (that’s all they give these days!). Some of what we have is out there is hand me down, but most things we’ve had for a long time. I’m actually happy about this because nothing is too sacred. The wind and the rain get their way, no matter what we do, right? Why fight it so much? I’m tired of playing Zsa Zsa in Green Acres.
When I was a kid, we went up to the mountains on occasion. A lot of our trips up there were for my Dad’s work, because he designed bridges for CDOT and would need to go check them, but we had a time share in Vail for a while, too, before it became so elite. Our state is gorgeous. I’d really like to spend more time up there, but I also don’t want to contribute to the pollution. I can see the haze in front of the mountains and hear all the road noise nearby, and I wonder where all these people think they need to go. When I have been able to get up to the mountains it always feels wonderful, but if we’re all going all the time, it’s not so wonderful. There’s also something that feels disingenuous about owning a spot that I can call all my own, but then needing to go somewhere else, too. Are our egos really that big that they can’t fit into our own yards? Nobody else is caring for this place because we bought it by ourselves. So that’s something that we always have to think about when we travel. But I really enjoyed all the time I spent outside plein air painting and the art I have hanging all over my house because of it. I have a lot of happy memories associated with the art I have made, and it was good to be surrounded by it during the last few difficult years when traveling wasn’t possible. It’s helped me to realize that my creations make me happy and they need not be complicated. I only sold one painting in all the time I was active in the art community, and I sort of wish I had kept it because I loved it so much. Maybe I feel like I need to remind myself that I can do things because of my disability. It’s just that I’ve had to reinvision what that is.
I wonder how many other stay at home mothers end up having their health fall apart as their kids head off to college and are forced to kind of deal with it on their own on a limited budget. I feel like I have known a couple other women this happened to, so I know I’m not alone.
One of my daughter’s friends’ mothers has been concerned about sex trafficking and so I figured I should look into it myself. Human trafficking was brought up as being a problem by the independent learning project my kids and I participated in as well. My next door neighbor is also worried about it. I don’t really know much about the porn industry or even the history of sex work yet, so I didn’t feel comfortable commenting on human trafficking, and I’m still not sure I can in a broader sense. I honestly feel like everything comes down to consent, and that young people are vulnerable to problems with consent because they are separated from their bodies by the material demands of their parents, educational system, religion and medicine. On a global scale, there are a number of reasons why disempowered people might end up being trafficked. Right now I am reading about sex work from the perspective of sex workers in Melissa Gira Grant’s Playing The Whore. One of the things she talks about is how women who publicly share anything about their sexuality are often denigrated as soon as they do it. I had this happen, but it was in really subtle ways, and it is still going on, even though there is not evidence here. I experienced it from my extended family and also from some friends. People had lots of opinions about how I should spend my time and they were worried about my kids. I began to wonder if these people were only able to enjoy sex with their partners when they leave on weekend holidays, but then I found out they just weren’t having sex, which made me wonder why they were even married to their partners. I write about sexuality on this blog, because I think it is important, not because I think I have a sex problem. I don’t really want to invite people into my sexual world, but I did post artsy sensual pictures of myself on social media as an artist in my struggle for body acceptance. It was shocking how quickly I received messages after posting them; that was not my intent and I did not respond to any of them. I noticed that my personal relationships changed in quality after what I posted. People were much more candid with me, which was shocking, but I appreciated. My writing has been a pathway to self-acceptance, and my sexuality is included because it is part of who I am in totality.
I read Freud back in college, and other philosophy, so as an adult I was always aware of the idea that neuroses and anxiety arose from sexual dysfunction. For a lot of our marriage, this was not a problem for my husband and I, and it is not currently a problem. We have always been wise enough to indulge in some fantasy. I feel like if I am doing a good job as a wife, I am a bit of a whore. But that’s because sex is an important thing to me. It’s important for both my mental and physical health, too. So, this book is particularly upsetting, because there are people who choose to be paid for their sex work, and they and their clients are often abused by the police. It should not be the work of the police to enforce monogamy, and that is some of what they are doing with respect to policing prostitution. Furthermore, the citizenry should not be paying the expenses to jail people who were participating in consensual sex acts. It is a waste of resources. I actually think that we are going to learn that modern people are not having enough sex and that is what is causing a lot of our disease.
When we first moved into our neighborhood, sometimes we would hear other couples making love. I think we might be some of the only people who make any noise these days, which makes me feel self conscious. As my art instructor Dumbledore so perceptively noted, it’s nice not to think there’s someone on the other side of the wall, and in modern society we’re practically stacked on top each other, so it’s a rough go for the girl who caused the “next morning gossip” in college. Or nobody else is having sex. A few years ago when I was getting into Alchemy and the Tarot, I read Jodorowsky’s book Sacred Trickery and The Way of Kindness. He talks about the sounds of love making being important for people to experience. It’s so easy to forget that part of life exists as we are bouncing back and forth between the demands of modern life.
I have been learning some important things about myself neurologically in terms of sex and my autonomic nervous system, and my Aspergerian qualities. Sex helps my sensory issues and helps my self expression. But as I was telling my husband last night, the problem with sex is that it has other people attached to it. And what happens if you like the sex, but not the person? What if you have nothing in common but sex? Does that make you a sex worker? What if your partner does not prioritize sex, but you still love that partner?
I saw a piece by Esther Perel the esteemed relationship therapist whose work inspired my husband and I which said she has decided to “fight toxic positivity” and it dawned on me that she does not understand the important effect sex has on consciousness. I think if more people understood this, the issue of consent would be clearer. Orgasm has been shown to be effective against depression and anxiety, and I am fairly certain it has effects like psilocybin. These are things our kids need to know. We need to avoid making them unnecessarily afraid of their own bodies and sex. The sex that we have to offer other people is special; it has implications for the rest of our lives. People have varying sex drives and that is a major contributer to life satisfaction. I did not realize that at my age, erections can be difficult to achieve for men. And I learned that quite a few people I knew had dealt with that at some point or lost that function altogether. I have learned how metabolism plays into desire, and so it seems that this is what I am supposed to write about. The weirdness of it all… I’ll get to Scotland before you. But otherwise, if the pressure to have sex feels like “toxic positivity” then there is either a metabolic problem, or the wrong partner. If the positivity doesn’t feel natural, then something is out of balance in the relationship. It’s actually a psychic (electromagnetic, infrared or pheromonal) disconnect because one partner is low on energy, but it will be a while before we will be able to provide quantitative data on that as a society. We have to figure out how to measure subtle energies, and we need to learn more about grounding. Thank you, Dumbledore. You were a wee sexy Dumbledore. I also like the tendies. 69, 420 and all that good stuff.
Since I can’t beat being called a whore, I’m going to go ahead and keep playing the part. I wrote a couple years ago on Instagram about flirting being good for morale. I really think it is. Oh, and Erick, I’m pretty sure I won this argument. You totally catch more flies with honey.
Here’s to all the Presbyterian youth group folks who are still singing about ding-a-lings and know how to make a marriage last.
Want some pizza? Let’s get some pizza.
I’ll be waiting in the yard.