Monday, April 11, 2016

Wet & Messy Fun #bodyimage #freedom

Were you raised to (try to) be a tidy and polite little girl, like I was?

It's a challenge, to get past that conditioning and just have fun getting dirty. Sweaty. Unladylike. Most of us have been culturally raised to be afraid of and hate on our own bodies: the size/shape of them, the body hair and pimples and ripples of fat and cellulite, the scars and asymmetrical parts. This is especially a challenge for me now, after health conditions caused me to gain a lot of weight in the last 5-6 years, and when my right breast is not quite the same color or shape as the left.

It may return to (the new) normal in another 2-5 years. Or, never.

I realize I am damn lucky to still have both of my girls. Yes, you can experience both survivors' guilt - for getting off so lucky - and simultaneously be unhappy about the body part you're grateful for.

So, much deep breathing and mindfulness required. Since I keep wanting to compare the body I have against the body that in my mind, I "should" have.

As an exercise in combating that...

My lovely friend Jerilyn arranged a "Wet & Messy" photo shoot for a small group of women. We were going to be covered or dipped in various substances.

Every woman who participated was uniquely beautiful, and even more than that, BRAVE. It takes much courage to expose your vulnerable, naked (or almost) naked body to a photographer and other women.

I wanted chocolate syrup. I got chocolate syrup, in the end.

But there were other choices, too, from green slime to marshmallow fluff to shaving cream, and combinations of all of them.

We also had Stoli, but she merely watched with intense interest.

Alaina choose marshmallow fluff. Interestingly, it went on kind of clumpy, then smoothed out on her skin. Yes, it was a gooey, sticky mess - and doesn't she look amazing?!?

Jerilyn had chocolate and strawberries. Good enough to eat, amirite?

Raven, aka Batgirl, chose to get slimed. Isn't she fiercely gorgeous?

Tina wanted to be a chocolate sundae, with a cherry on top. (Well, between her teeth.) Delicious!

A stunning African-American woman with glorious dark skin, opted for shaving cream and she looked fabulous, but felt too shy to let me post her pictures. (Which is fine, I'm all about consent!)

So, interesting thing. I thought every other woman looked stunning, in her pictures, but at first, all I could see was my flaws.

Know what? So did they. (Saw their own flaws, not mine.) This is something we almost always do to ourselves as women. We really have to knock this shit off.

Deep breath. Here we go.

The photographer wanted to go for a "cookies & milk" theme with me, so I started in a milk bath. (Faux milk, mind you.)

As noted, the minute I saw my pictures, my gut instinct (and boy, do I have a lot of gut!) was to nitpick all my flaws. My ginormous thighs and belly. My mismatched tits. My....


One of the keys to a good relationship with anyone, they say, is at least five compliments to every criticism. What if I apply that to myself?!? And these pictures?

1) My pedicure was on fleek. (Or whatever the expression is.)

2) My powerful legs are strong enough to carry me everywhere I need to go.

3) Inside my tummy, everything works extremely well - my digestion and elimination never give me problems.

4) My hair glistens with strength and health.

5) My smile is something people say they always notice about me.

And on this picture...

1) I was eating a cookie AND smiling at the same time. Do you know how challenging that was? I haz oral skillz, dagnabbit!

2) Both my breasts are in excellent working order re: sensitivity and texture.

3) My skin is healthy, looks luminous here, and is exquisitely sensitive.

4) The cookies and milk theme was a very cute idea and conveys well in this photo.

5) I have strong, flexible, capable, pretty hands.

Last picture. It's getting harder, but I'm determined to find five compliments, AND not repeat the others...

1) I was living the dream of wanting to be covered in chocolate syrup. Fun!

2) Chocolate syrup, yummy! My tongue can taste (and enjoy), my throat can swallow (though I did almost choke on the chocolate, at one point).

3) I managed to fit into a very short bathtub without breaking anything, either in the studio, or on my own body. For those aware of my recent misadventures with a bathtub that required eight stitches, you'll know that's not always a given!

4) The syrup was poured so skillfully, I did not get any chocolate syrup up my nose (did get a little in my ear, though).

5) The fun time I was having here really shines through.

We don't have to hate on ourselves. 

We need to learn ways to love ourselves the way we are right now, not in some vague future time when we're thin enough (or heavy enough), or flexible enough or have learned to jump through whatever ridiculous hoops of fire we decide to set up for ourselves.

We are enough, right now. I am enough. 

I was brave enough to take these pictures, and to share them here. My wet & messy friends were brave enough to let me share theirs, too.

I am never going to look in the mirror and feel love or see beauty, in a roll of fat. When I try, I just set myself for failure and more hating on myself for failing that, too. If you can do it, more power to you! 

But I can look for and appreciate other things about the strong, healthy body I inhabit, which gives me indescribable pleasure. This body kicked cancer's ass! It is amazing and deserves love. Just as it is.

Maybe it'll get thinner, maybe not. I'm doing my best to follow the Health At Every Size model; give my body better food, enough rest, to move for the joy of moving. But still, (unless I die first) my body will continue to change, perhaps have other ailments, gain more wrinkles... and I need to love it anyway.

I know you are brave, in your own way. I bet you can probably find a dozen things to hate on about your body without even trying, but I challenge you to list in the comments, three or five or a dozen things about your body and mind and personality that are awesome, instead.

Hugs and healing and self-compassion to you.

Your thoughts?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Say Hello To My Little Vibrator

Since my last blog post, I've been working (a lot), catching up with friends (a lot), and playing. Both with partners, and solo.

And because I have the coolest friends, I was hearing a lot of buzz about the newest toy for women, It's called The Womanizer, and is designed to replicate the feel of a partner sucking on the clitoris.

(If you landed here by mistake, and explicit sexy talk gets your Church Lady knickers in a knot, the exit is thataway. Thank you, and have a pleasantly unsatisfying life.)

I determined that I was going to blow my income tax refund (don't hate me because I already got it and spent it) on one of these fine new toys. I bought it bundled with this lovely glass dildo and carrying case, because you never know when you might want to whip out a sex toy.

It would certainly make being stuck in traffic a lot more fun. (I jest, I jest, please don't vibe and drive!)

Because I like to name my toys, and they are sexy whether together, or apart...
Meet Jean-Luc and Number Two.

Noted in passing: one of my lovers made the snarky remark that Jean-Luc and Number Two were kinda inappropriate names, since they certainly weren't going where no man had gone before!

(Pay no attention, mes petites. Rude comments aside, I have chosen to make it so.)

Here's a better picture of Jean-Luc. The small button is the on-off, the "jewel" controls intensity. 

Some of the things I discovered about Jean-Luc... Unlike other vibrators and toys, which can be protected with a condom or saran wrap, and shared among lovers, this one is one per customer. There is no way to safely wrap this device without interfering with the suction and vibrating.

I have shown it off to friends by having them wear a pair of nitrile gloves, and letting them insert a pinky finger to gauge the intensity and feel of it.

So, how did I like it? 

I used it as part of sex play with a partner, and when I hit the right spot, O.M.G. He almost had to peel me off the ceiling.

In solo play, however, I really had to be in the right mood. I found I was easily distracted.

You see, Jean-Luc becomes warm, and lights up.

You can't see the vibrating/sucking action, but you can tell by the glow, it's on.

When I turned out the light, I was like a kid with a new toy.

Fascinated. Distracted. Oooh, isn't it pretty?

Actually, it's kind of hypnotizing. The humming, the glow, the vibrating...

It was like the friggin' Eye of Sauron, luring me in...

It's a really sad thing, when you're getting so hypnotized staring into the maw of your new vibrator that you forget to actually apply the thing where and as directed.

But, I did.

So, do I recommend you spend anywhere from $150-$200 on this fine piece of German engineering? It also comes (haha) in fuchsia/snowleopard, blue croc, a couple other colors and patterns, and in Swarovski crystals (because, what doesn't, these days?), in case you're not a fan of pink/croc.

IMO, like Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc is totes sexy enough to rock the pink/croc.

And, I am not sure I do recommend it.
I am also not sure I don't.

I believe Jean-Luc and I will need to spend much more time trekking together, before I can truly determine whether these voyages should continue. Perhaps sometimes with, and sometimes without, Number Two.

Also, perhaps, we might need to try a blindfold. Or also, Lt. La Forge's VISOR.

After all, we're doing it for science.

If you've tried a Womanizer, have you got any tips?
Your thoughts?

Monday, March 7, 2016

We've Been Waiting for The Ripped Bodice

Of course it's pink.

The first EVER bricks-and-mortar bookstore specializing in ROMANCE, is a lovely, bright pink.
The Ripped Bodice
Main & Venice, Culver City, CA
When we consider that 60%+ of the entire publishing market is romance (basically, it's the genre that pays the bills and keeps the lights on), and that there are dozens of indie bookstores specializing in mystery, sci-fi, and all those other genres, the question begs, how come romance didn't have a place, off the Internet, to call home?

Maybe it took two passionate and dedicated sisters like Bea and Leah Koch to start changing things.

I cannot express how much love I have for this mission statement.

There were all kinds of yummies to celebrate the grand opening.

And sparkling pink lemonade, too.

They put this out by the front door around four. As of when I left, about five,
I was amused to notice that NO ONE had disturbed this arrangement by taking any of the donuts.
Check out the sexy black lace panels along the top of this section!

Cute touches like this everywhere in the store!

There are many wonderful sections in this large, beautiful, well-stocked store. LGBTQ Paranormal. Cowboy Romance, Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Vampire Romance, Contemporary Romance. Young Adult, Autobiography.

But one book you won't find on their erotica shelves is a popular bestseller which also, in the judgment of many readers (including me), does not model active, informed consent. I love these women and their ethics!

Sports Romance? 

Want sports romance? So many choices!
(Note to self: Find out what Parkour is.)
Just a small part of the sports romance section.

What's a grand opening without cake?

The cake was yummy.
What else could a bookstore need? How about an inviting and colorful corner for children to sit and color, while their parents browse?

While the store is mainly books, there were also candles, bath salts, and some delightful book-related tscotches tzotckes knickknacks.

These are the adorable boxes for adorable book necklaces. If you look very close, the titles are readable!

Comfortable couches and chairs for readers to sit and dive into books? Check. Literary inspirational sayings? Check.


Can you open a romance-themed store without Fabio? Don't be ridiculous!

Even though he was holding heavy chains, Fabio was a real standup guy all evening.

Well-lit, well-appointed, centrally located in Los Angeles county, comfortable, nearby parking garage. I understand from Bea Koch that The Ripped Bodice will also be holding community events, as well as author signings, in the months to come. 

I needed more books like I need a raging yeast infection. But these all HAD to come home with me -
The Francesca Lia Block, the Tessa Dare, and the Rebekah Weatherspoon signed by the authors!
(And my receipt was PINK!)
I am sure I will be going back to The Ripped Bodice many times over the next few months. And for all the disrespect given to the romance genre (and those who read it), doesn't everybody want love? Maybe not everyone wants sex (though most of us do) - and there are "sweet" romances available at The Ripped Bodice, too.

But being cherished, valued, finding our own Happily Ever After - we all want that. And now there's a place we can find it.

Did you go to the Grand Opening?
Do you love (or loathe) reading romance? Why?
Your thoughts?