At the end of the conference day Saturday, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Usually I do maybe one thing on Saturdays, and I’d done about 50. I fell into bed after a very brief visit to happy hour, with an alarm set to get up and go downstairs to the Sacred Sex Puja. I didn’t really know what that was, but I figured it counted as a church checkmark, and unlike last year, it wasn’t listed as being “for couples and groups only.” (That still makes me a mad to type.)
One of the hosts was a dreamy guy I knew from the Lady of the House’s circles, one of the people I’m always surprised to see with clothes on, but we all had them. The conference room was draped in pretty silky fabrics and there was a little altar built to some nebulously-defined goddess. About twenty of us stood in a circle, taking instructions on how to rock our pelvises and breathe. My pelvis was tired from lunch with Mr. Shiny Eyes, and I felt grumpy about the extra work of special breaths, but right away I felt something uncatch beneath my right shoulder blade, felt something warm stirring.
“Did anybody experience some sensations during those breaths?” asked the host.
“Um, I felt like, some little sunbeams?”
He chuckled and asked the circle if anybody else had felt a sunbeam. (The Lady of the House later declared “Sunbeam” to be my nickname. I always was kind of a hippie chick at heart, even as I try to keep it semi-ironic…)
As the class leaders took us through the breaths (In through your nose, all the way down to your hoo-ha, flex the muscle there, keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth, stop sucking your gut and let the air in, it was a lot of things.) I got space-issues from the noises people started making and I couldn’t stop yawning, so I figured I’d stop fighting my body and just go to bed. As I look back, though everyone seemed perfectly nice, I didn’t want to share my energy with them, even with close friends. Suddenly I wanted to take care of my energy and be choosy about who I shared it with.
At the time, though, I thought I was just being grumpy and going to bed. Ms. Sweetheart was kind of blazing into the room when I got there, tired from a drunk-laden dinner and craving introvert time, so I relished the chance to just be silent together, in two beds but enjoying her near me.
I lay down and realized that in fact, the puja had worked some magic on me. I felt warmth play around in my body like my own personal sunlight. I was so cozy and happy to be with myself, like I’d had a glass of self-love and got drunk on it. It was a feeling I’d always wished for, that I knew I needed. I was full of joy to have wrapped myself in a comforter and given myself the gift of rest even though there were a million very friendly things I could’ve been doing. My body and soul felt celebrated, like the very best afterglow.
There was sadness, too. Once I let myself stop moving, the truth came out that I was missing Sweetie very badly, that I felt adrift here without her to talk about the sad things with. Everywhere people were using the word “communicate” a million times, but there were some things I couldn’t talk to anybody about. I missed the way her words would soothe me when I was being a mess and tried (IN MY HEAD ONLY) to use kind words to soothe myself. But I felt so lonely without her. I love belonging to the world, but I miss belonging to a person in that way where the bed is a sacred place and all the chores are for someone you love. I miss my family very badly, the family I was with her.
Even as I was feeling those things, I rejoiced in being so warm and self-contained. I did go up and try the party, but I almost immediately felt impatient with it—I didn’t even have the urge to take off my clothes, I wanted to keep all my stuff to myself. I spent the past few years getting more and more naked, pushing outward because I had to in order to survive, in order to reach escape velocity, but now that I don’t need the push of adrenaline to stay sane, my priorities are changing.
So I left the party as it was just starting, found Mr. Shiny Eyes who was all involved a big discussion about the meaning of love down in the hotel restaurant, kissed him on the forehead and gave him some very happy/fuzzy belated aftercare. He offered to meet me in the room later, but I was delighted to find myself wanting to be alone some more.
It’s just incredible: in a hotel full of friends, lovers, and all manner of adventure, the person I wanted to be with! Was! Me! I can’t overstate how much of an accomplishment that felt like. I’ve arrived at a new place of awesomeness, and someday soon I might not even be a project at all.