Here at Owning Pink we talk a lot about nurturing and owning every aspect of our authentic lives, vibrating with the vitality of a life well lived. Aliveness, mojo, joie de vivre – call it what you will (I personally prefer “badassedness”). Sexuality is a huge part of this vitality, no? However I notice that I have taken a back seat to this conversation on Owning Pink – not consciously, not because it makes me uncomfortable or because I’m afraid of my dad googling his dear daughter and finding my exposé on vibrators (Hi Dad!). My accidental silence is mostly because I did not yet know what to talk about. But then I joined a group of seven strangers in a dark dance studio and, eyes closed and hair down, was asked to speak. Turns out these bangin’ curves have a lot to say.
If you frequent the pages of Owning Pink, you’re no stranger to Sheila Kelly’s S Factor, which I suppose is most simply described as a pole dancing “fitness experience” created by a woman for women. You may have read Lissa’s fabulous article about the S Factor retreat, or noticed that she held book launch parties in every S Factor city while promoting What’s Up Down There. Yes, we’re big fans…
But I am no Lissa Rankin. My nickname ain’t VaJesus and I have not spent the last few years redefining the New Feminine and writing about labia size, among other things. I choose my sexy undergarments based on what does not give me a wedgie. I still don’t know the correct pronunciation of “clitoris.” If I have to choose between mind-blowing sex and a mind-blowing cheeseburger… ok, I’m always going to choose sex, but I may have to think about it. I’m not shy, but I’m no expert in the sensual arts. You get the picture. So when I had the opportunity to start classes at S Factor and document my experience here, I was excited – but also terrified. What if my classmates are literally spinning circles around me? What if I my out-of-shape ass can’t do the exercises, let alone write about the experience? What if I’m not, you know, spiritually sexy enough?
Luckily, my inner critic and I are in a fairly healthy relationship – in that I can tell her to go f-ck herself and do the stuff that scares me. So now I am. Pole dancing at S Factor. Level One. Each Wednesday night I haul ass across the Bay Bridge to get my dance on in the dark.
I’m three weeks in and my knees are covered in bruises, my legs are stronger than they’ve been in years, and my back is aching with the promise of near-future flexibility. Yes, there are physical benefits to this neo-red-light-pilates. But the unspoken undercurrent of this class is the transformation I’m witnessing at a deeper level, which is actually the stuff that really scared me about the whole experience to begin with: women tapping into some mystical core sensuality that if nothing else, is insanely powerful. Sheila calls this the Erotic Creature – “the sexy, confident, powerful being inside every woman.” I call it, well, badassedness. But why does it feel so scary?
I was pondering this question when I had a conversation with a male friend who recently started training in Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand combat that is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces. He said he was scared to start training, which seemed like a natural reaction to me – it’s fighting, after all. I’d also be scared of getting hurt. But that wasn’t what he feared.
“I’m not scared of getting my ass kicked, Lauren,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m scared of kicking ass. And I’m scared I’m going to like it.”
That’s it, isn’t it? As Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”
Maybe hand-to-hand combat is for men what S Factor is for women – tapping into that innate inner power, the essential masculine and feminine. Maybe all men secretly (or not-so) want to punch the crap out stuff, and maybe all women secretly (or not-so) want to feel their curves under the red light… (I just looked at a testimonial for S Factor that reads, “It’s like Fight Club for women!” Indeed.)
Tapping into my erotic creature scares the shit out of me, not because I’m afraid of discovering that she’s absent or inadequate, but because I’m afraid that she is powerful beyond measure. I’m afraid that I’m going to be GREAT at this, and what does that mean? All of my preconceived notions about pole dancing and sexuality and being “slutty” and owning sensuality come crashing down. I am faced with the reality that while I absolutely encourage, support, and admire the women who are rocking their inner sex goddesses, I’m still judging my own.
This will be my journey. Developing my sensual vocabulary, learning to speak, and not being afraid of what I have to say.
I’ve heard that you are truly bi-lingual when you start dreaming in another language. Last night I dreamt I was spinning, gripping the pole behind one knee and melting to the floor…
More to come.
What about you? Have you ever feared the realization of your own power? Have you had an experience that tapped into your essential masculine or feminine? Any of my S Factor sisters out there experiencing a similar realization? How do you own your sexuality?
Photo credit: Jayne Jeffrey. Lissa and I at S Factor Chicago. Do I look scared?
Visit www.sfactor.com for more information on S Factor -- including details on the upcoming S Factor Spring 2011: Retreat Essentially Sexy From The Inside Out.
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