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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce

Tracking Unlovability

I don't want to write this. I would much rather write about what other people should be doing, which is the promise I originally made at the end of last week's blog. I sat looking at this white page for a while, convincing myself that it was timely to talk about the isolation within white community, what with public dialogue focusing on the prevalence of white males mass shooting (or wait, that is what dialogue should be focused on, that and guns.) But my heart calls me to write about my own journey of uncovering this week, and I am here to do the heart's bidding, so this week touches on sexual shame, again. But I am two weeks into really not feeling well so I will take my own guidance, keep it simple and tell the story in photographs. I must remember that this is meant to be healing for us ALL.

For the last couple of years I have said out loud often that I don't remember a carefree, joyful time in my existence. I bristle whenever I am at a spiritual event and I am told to take myself back to this time. Because it is immediately triggering and isolating to not be able to access it. It was in dancing for five months, and particularly in Guinea, that I touched the internal world of this little girl who expressed herself without fear that such expression would lead to judgment and being unloved. That would come a few years later and override the carefree memories for much of my life.

Arriving in Bali, I was flooded with these feelings of not belonging and that, in turn, brought up my many stages of childhood, the origins of this belief and fear. I think it may have to do with the magnitude of the energy of adults coming here to heal by connecting to their wounds. Grown-ups all around me are actively seeking to heal through overt expression of play. I know that it also has to do with the new moon and all of the self-work I have done up until this moment in my life. That and the looming of a Tantric training two weeks away where I know I will be going DEEP into this shadow world. And connecting and playing and all the things that scare me.

So two days ago I asked my mother for photos. And suddenly I knew just the ones I wanted, just the ones that represented big shifts in feelings for me.

My explorer self. But deeply attached to love and belonging from the beginning. I wanted to share and be a part of it all.

On the right, me as a Tantrika at age 3 or 4. I was open and curious. But there is already an intensity, and perhaps even sadness, in my eyes. I still wanted to navigate all the feels.

Jump to age 8. I look at this photo and cringe. It brings up feelings of unlovablity. It is this age that I tell folks that my chronic pussy pain began, because I can't really track it by age. But my bigness of person fooled my memory. Seeing me here at 8 looking like 10 let me know yesterday that it was not 8 that this pain and curious sexual shutdown began, it was earlier.

So I asked for another photo, specifically in this ballet costume that reminds of the suit I wear as an 8 year old. My memory has fused the two. It is this ballet costume that I took the tutu off of and sported as my stripper outfit in my basement as a child. I was a stripper more into my own pleasure than my imaginary audience so I would move the bathing suit over and rub my bare pussy on the pole. And that is what my mother found me doing one afternoon. The sexual shame was immense and overwhelming. Without a way to express or question this, for a kiddo already so entrenched into doing what was best for the community (I am one of 7 sibs), my body lodged it away in the best spot for me to cease all activities that would bring that shame on again.

But my desire never dampened. It just became a yucky stew of having intense feelings but then the shame and guilt for also having them (raised Catholic, I know this strikes a cord for some of you.) So that brings me to today, where I don't have the guilt and shame and I am ready to get rid of the pain and the stories that would try to convince me to stay in this space. In the now that means being really open about my desire to connect, to touch, to be loved, to love, to be intimate in so many way.

I am ecstatic that I said yes to this Tantric facilitator training despite wanting to find reasons I could not. I know that I am stepping into big purpose. Healing for me. Healing for others that may have similar stories or may not. But sexual healing is soooo fucking healing. If we were doing more of it consciously the world would be different. Everywhere. Every country, every human experience would be different. I seek to heal by example and to bring that unembarrassed power to the world.

*I have since broken from the appropriation and irresponsible, willfully uninformed and outright abusive world of Neo-Tantra, specifically Eugene Hedlund and his school Tribal Tantra. The healing I received at the time still remains true. So does the indoctrinated looking away of power dynamics, gaslighting and and wanting to believe we were all receiving healing when many in the space were also receiving a double-down on their trauma. My complicity in this is not okay. For those who have had "Tantra" sessions with me, know that if you experienced healing, this was the beauty of your body's wisdom and our co-Devotion to the Divine at the same time. I had the skills of presence, listening, and unconditional acceptance (with a dose of tough love) before my training in Neo-Tantra. I was a teacher of breathwork and focus of attention before my training in Neo-Tantra. And these skills were enhanced by my most recent trauma-informed Sexological Bodywork certification with The Sea School of Embodiment. I hope that you do not take any spiritual opening and body acceptance you received with me and apply it to finding a teacher, training or festival in the Neo-Tantra world. There is ancient Tantra to study, and there are also more current, culturally appropriate and inclusive sacred sexual and somatic modalities to choose from. All have their blind spots and areas they need to get better on. I have not encountered any thus far who are so arrogantly unapologetic as the teachers and schools in the western Neo-Tantra world. If you have questions, concerns, or plans of action you would like to scheme on, please reach out under my Going Deeper tab.

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