I feel like I have been neglecting us. You and me. My blogging has been sporadic and I have been missing it and you. I have been taking a lot of time to myself. Spending a lot of time alone and being in my head, job searching, as well as doing things I need to do to take care of myself, but never seemingly enough….
I realized I haven’t shared with you that for most of the past year, I have been an Associate Editor and content curator at Adios Barbie a volunteer-run website. Adios Barbie has been dedicated to exploring body Image, body politics, and body justice for the last 20 years. AB shares content that ranges from journalism to first-person narratives and creative writing around how our identities intersect with cultural politics, our bodies, health, and self-image.
Back to self-care, I recently penned a piece for Adios Barbie called “Finding Self Care Through the Joy of Masturbation.” It is sometimes a fine line at deciphering self-care from actual health care. And although I have defined masturbation as an element of my self-care, you could even consider it to be part of your health care or actual care routine. Here is an excerpt from the article I wrote for Adios Barbie called “Finding Self Care Through the Joy of Masturbation.”
“Have you ever masturbated?” whispered my friend Joyce when our fifth grade class lined up to leave the auditorium following the sexual education assembly.
“No!” I responded, slightly mortified, but intently curious. “Have you?”
“No,” she said with a knowing smile.But she told me she had noticed that her baby cousin was always tugging at his little tiny penis. We laughed.
The sex ed assembly was not nearly as interesting, educational, or memorable as Joyce’s anecdote. When I got home, my mother asked me how the assembly went. I told her it was fine and asked, “When will I masturbate?”
I realized my mistake immediately and corrected it: “Menstruate!” She looked at me in horror and then embarrassment, causing me to sink into oblivion. That was the moment I learned that masturbating was shameful. She said nothing for a very long time. And then she returned to making dinner, and I took the opportunity to obsess alone in my room. She didn’t speak to me again that night except to alert me that dinner was ready. Later, I heard her telling my dad what had happened. I don’t think he ever looked at me the same way again.
Honestly, the thought of masturbation wouldn’t really come up again until I was in my late teens. My mom and dad had long been divorced when I found my dad’s abandoned porn collection, primarily made up of Playboy magazines and a few Penthouse Forums. Forum was literally a hand-sized magazine dedicated to articles, interviews, and, for me, the main attraction: erotic stories. The slow learner in me benefited from Forum.
Growing up in white suburbia, steamy stories about housewives entertaining delivery men while their husbands hid in the closet to watch or join in on the fun turned out to be a turn-on. Ironically, my dad’s porn collection inspired me to finally begin exploring my never-before-explored “nether regions”. Quickly, I had joined the enlightened club that had long eluded me. “Self love” is a beautiful thing, even if the act of loving yourself doesn’t always equal self-love and acceptance.
You can also find other pieces by me on the site including a recent interview on race and ableism with east asian non-binary queer activist and Ethiopian food enthusiast, Lydia X. Z. Brown.
I’ll be back sooner than later. If you like and want to support my work consider tipping me at PayPal.me Be well.