#ThisIsForClarissa

I haven’t been writing- and I kind of hate myself for it. 

I want to blame both writer’s block and my work schedule but that isn’t the truth. For the last month, I been updating the same draft over and over. I’d reread my words, delete paragraphs, rewrite those paragraphs just to do the same thing over again for a few days later. An editor’s notes can be rough but self-editing is literally hell. 

I always thought it would come to this point, where I would finally hate my writing. I hate the tone of voice I use for this blog. I hate my lack of vocabulary (even though the dictionary is right there at my finger tips). I learned to hate WordPress. I mostly hate the things I write about. As I reviewing my the #Greeting30 pieces that I’ve written over the years, I feel like a Karen in written form, using my words to bicker and complain about the state of the world and the state of my life. I knew that I wanted to be a professional writer when I was sixteen years old. High school Andrea didn’t want to complain- she wanted to tell the truth about love and politics and and fashion and war and other important issues. She knew how big the world was and wanted to tell everyone who couldn’t explore it about the wonders she experienced.  

But I am a writer. It’s one of the few things that I’m good at (it’s probably the only constant thing in my life that I’ve been good at). Despite my current frustrations, writing will always be one of the loves of my life. It does bring me joy and a sense of comfort, whether or not I’m published. As I’ve gotten older, I feel my spoken voice wavers each time I open my mouth. My thoughts and opinions don’t come out as clear as I want them to- I don’t “speak smart,” putting together proper verbal sentence structure (I like to thank my anxiety for that). But I certainly write well- and smartly. 

tenor

I just need to grin and bear it; dedicate a few hours a day to getting something out… I’m gifting myself the myself the challenge to write at least 300 words a day on this blog. I say, “gifting,” because writing is gift, a gift that own that I often take advantage of. When I write, I can escape temporarily from my current reality. I’m able to connect with myself on deeper level; the parts of me that are not work, my relationships and the fact that I need to vacuum my bedroom. 

I’ve been exploring how I can improve the way I write. I want to expand past the complaints and negativity by using writing prompts and diving back into my daily newsfeeds. I want to share myself using an honestly that I’ve always held back due to fear of exposing my true self. I want to write. I need to write. 

Anyway, here goes nothing. Here’s to more writing… Fingers and t’s crossed. Enjoy, dear reader. 

#PlayingWithMyself

If you have that itch…

May is now over but orgasms are always something to celebrate. Last month was Masturbation Month. I started to write this piece then as an ode to the female-identifying body and the pleasure it feels. But, as it does, life got in the way and I’m finally publishing this today. Nevertheless, self-satisfaction will always be something that I want to write and talk about. I never shied away from the details my solo sex life (I’ve always been that person who’s fine with the nudity on television but never with the acts of gore and war). Despite the current stardate, I know that masturbation is still taboo and embarrassing to talk about. But by being open with my sexual habits, I hope to start chipping away at that stigma. Masturbation is a healthy part of one’s sex life, as well as positive contributor to one’s physical and mental health.  

I like to play with myself. Maybe a little too often. But I do it because I love myself. 

I’ve never been shy with admitting that I enjoy enjoying myself. As someone with chronic anxiety, I’ve been looking for the perfect cocktail of medication and meditation to help calm my demons. Masturbation IS good for you. I always believed that everyone deserves a fulfilling sex life, whether it was partnered or solo. But masturbation has always been a little bit more for me. It has been self-soothing, calming down my mind and getting me in touch with my body. It is one of the few times that I can completely emerge myself in the present moment and let’s face it- it’s the best form of exercise. 

I never felt pretty growing up and was a late bloomer sexually. In high school, my friends would talk about the various people that they were sleeping with and how sex felt for the first time. I’d listen, feeling jealous and alone but at night, I’d escape to the fantasy world that I created for myself. I’d shove my hand under the fabric of my underwear and break free. It was a place where I felt beautiful, sexy, desired and powerful. I could be whoever I wanted to be, as long as it wasn’t exactly me.

I had a typical west coast education- we had an okay sex ed program and learned about puberty and pregnancy. At the end of the school year, my health teacher, Mr. Padilla, had a Q and A where we could submit anonymous questions. There were plenty of asks about heteronormative sex; none about masturbation. We all asked questions about humping which probably two of the 30 students were actually doing. I guarantee the majority of us were masturbating, though. 

Throughout my 20s, I had various partners and an active sex life. Despite the frequent heartache I’ve experienced, it has never been truly detrimental because there was always masturbation. I’d relive certain sexual moments I had with a partner or fantasize about the guy I gave my number to at the bar. Masturbation is what I turned to when my most serious of relationships started to crumble. He didn’t want to have sex anymore and I thought about cheating. I’d lay next to my now-ex and think about being underneath him. I’d grab my breasts the same way he did, hoping to confuse my brain into thinking my touch was his. If I could only be as gentle as he was when he touched me. I often thought other people, mostly his friends, touching me as I touched myself. I’d feel guilty when I came, like I just shared a horrible secret.

Since that moment, I’ve approached diddling with more tenderness and compassion for myself, trying to not associate the attention for myself with the attention (or lack of) from a partner. Turning 35 was a game-charger. I often heard about that big sexual energy twist that happens in those few years left of fertilely- my body is saying, “you need to mate” while my brain is very happy in its little single bubble. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought about going back on Tinder to escape the loneliness. But then I would hear the small, muffled cries of my vibrator where it was hiding in my sock drawer. “Play with me instead! Keep yourself and others safe! We have more fun together anyway.” (How can I resist that sweet voice?!) I credit masturbation for keeping me sane during the pandemic.

As I age, I’m trying to figure out other ways to use this immediate rush of serotonin and endorphins to my brain- could the benefits of masturbation be helpful outside of the bedroom? One night over drinks, my friend and talked about our frustration with our jobs and how we managed the stress. I admitted to the occasional cigarette, a habit that I hate.

“I masturbate,” Christina said. 

I thought about it for a minute before replying. “I wish that I could do that. But it takes me forever to cum. Everyone would suspect why I’m gone so long from my desk.”

Christina shook her head. “I don’t masturbate until I cum. I just diddle myself until that mental light clicks on in my head and I’m full of good feelings again.”

Christina is clever and I often follow her advice. The following week, after a particularly awful team meeting, I slipped into the last stall in the restroom (the office’s private family room was unfortunately occupied). I bit my lips and went at it. The pain of my boss’s shrill voice vanished. I wasn’t a screw-up. I feel good. More good. I felt great. Everything was right in the world again. I didn’t need that cigarette. I was better to my body. I treated myself to the best feelings human have experience. I felt beautiful, powerful and satisfied. 

I then washed my hands and walked back to my desk with a smile on my face. Masturbation made my frown flip upside down.

I’m not going to ask you if you do masturbate, dear reader (because I know that you do). But what are your thoughts about breaking the taboo behind it? How do we start talking about the positive sex experiences in our lives?

#LoveLetterToThePassingYear

Dear 2020,

You were a year of calm. Okay, it was the year of absolute utter bullshit but it’s the year that I became calm. Well, calmer.

My mental health was something that I took seriously this year. I became really conscious. I paid close attention to my thoughts, to the words that came out of my mouth, to what I put in my body, to the actions and people that were lifting me up and putting me down, to how much movement I was doing every day, to the things and moments that made me feel truly happy and alive…

Back in February, I just discovered this song and have listened to it at least ten times a day since. One of Nao’s lyric went like this: “I wish that perfect was enough for my own heart.” It got me thinking about perfection and how much I self-sabotaged demanding perfection all the time. I think back on something my friend Lisa once said- don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, I didn’t get the “dream” job that I wanted but I was able to work and buy the things that I needed (I got new glasses!). I didn’t find my perfect Mr. Right but I met some really cool and kind people. I found my hobbies again, as well as my tribe here in Austin, after being lost for such a long time. I also got more into biking, finally finished a painting and really celebrated my Puerto Rican background this year- three things that I’m really proud of. I feel good.

I learned a lot. I learned what I really wanted out of my life: the type of career I wanted, the relationship that I desire and deserve, the kind of lifestyle that I wanted to live. I may not have an exact five year plan but I finally defined my goals. I learned how to breaks- I took a social media break over the summer which was a godsend. I learned what triggers my depression- mostly finances but surprisingly, not loneliness as I once thought it did. I learned that I have a voice in my relationships and with the world around me. I learned that our country, though incredibly divided, will stand for what’s right. Black Lives will ALWAYS Matter and I’m hopeful about the state of our country. I do believe that we are slowly healing from the hate, as well as COVID-19.

In short, we keep fighting. We are intrepid. We carry on.

To end on a positive note (because the world needs more positivity), I hope we take the lessons that we learned from you, 2020, and keep in our hearts. I hope we continue to keep each other safe and let everything know that they’re loved.

Thanks for the memories. You were a dumpster fire of a year but I loved you, Andrea