Empowerment, Healing

Healing the Father Wound: My Journey from Rage to Reconciliation

I remember the seething, white-hot rage I felt inside. I wanted to burn shit down or blow it up and leave a trail of ashes behind me. I had finally connected the dots between a father who was emotionally absent and impossible to please and the men I had attracted into my life. Guess what? They were emotionally absent and impossible to please, too.  

When you don’t receive that unconditional love and support from the man who is supposed to teach you how men should treat you, then you’re likely to make poor choices in the relationship department. You keep trying to be good enough. You twist and mold yourself into whatever shape you think he desires. You make too many compromises about where and how you’ll live. You sell yourself out. You get swept away. You bury your dreams. You dismiss your gut feelings. You keep hoping that the next one will really see you, appreciate you, and actually be there for you in body and soul.  

So you try—again—to love someone else, to be open, to get past the scars on your heart. You light up inside when he approves of you and die a little when he doesn’t, because the wound is still there. You’re still hoping to earn his love. You have expectations he can’t possibly fulfill. It’s not even his job to fulfill them, but you don’t know that yet. Every relationship you have with a man is just another opportunity to heal the bleeding, gaping Father Wound, but the problem is that you’re not going to the source. 

Then you get fed up after all the painful goodbyes and starting over for the umpteenth time with your life in cardboard boxes. You want things to change. A light comes on. You start doing the work on yourself, because why not? Nothing else has helped, has it?   

You see the pattern you’ve been repeating. It feels like wading through miles of swamp water and muck. You grieve. You rage some more. You feel disgusted. You kick yourself for not waking up sooner, for not knowing what you think you should have known. Then you kick yourself for kicking yourself. You sit in circles, alone and with others. You tell your story. You listen to their stories. You feel heard and witnessed as you are, raw and unvarnished. You shed holy tears. You forgive. You breathe. You do this work for months or years, however long it takes.         

Gradually, with wobbly legs and new skin, you begin to give yourself the love you never received. It is strange, at first, to walk in worthiness, to know your own power, to have clear boundaries, to not seek validation. Then self-worth becomes your default setting, and those around you either adjust or fall away. You know your triggers quite well; they are old friends by now. You catch yourself long before you are at risk of falling into the same old tar pit. 

Sometimes, your healing ripples outward through your words, your prayers, your offerings.     

I have watched my father go through his own metamorphosis, prompted mostly by terminal illness and the realization of his own mortality. We’ve had many conversations that usually start out with how the weather has been, who is ill, and who died recently. There have been times, though, when we transcended the whole father-daughter relationship to simply be with each other as two souls trying to figure out life. 

I once told him that I never learned how to do marriage very well.   

He paused for a minute and said, “I never did either, honey.” 

Then we laughed! It was one of the most real moments we’ve ever had, both acknowledging that we’ve fucked up and even finding humor in our mutual fucked-up-ness. 

I understand now that I had to go through this whole cycle of healing the Father Wound, because you can’t teach something that you haven’t lived. I didn’t ask for the wound, but the responsibility to heal it was, and always will be, mine. Much of what informs and enlivens my coaching practice is my own journey toward wholeness. It took years for my rage to become compassion, years before I would see my father as the catalyst who set me on my spiritual path, and years before I could have a 360 degree view of it all and feel gratitude.  

Healing the Father Wound changed how I viewed all men, and maybe that has been the greatest gift in this journey. When I stopped categorizing them as either oppressors or saviors, I began to see into their individual and collective pain. It was just as valid and deep as my own, and that awareness cracked me open. It still does, every single time that a man drops his armor and bares his soul to me. 

My dad has an incredibly sensitive heart—he just had it beaten out of him by a tyrannical, abusive father and an indifferent mother. In another life, he might have been a poet and a dreamer like his only daughter turned out to be. I carry what he wasn’t allowed to carry because of a patriarchal culture that equates sensitivity with weakness. I carry it like a medicine staff, because it is one.  

May we rise above the outdated paradigms. May we heal our parental wounds, for ourselves and the generations to come. May we strive to understand each other, and in that understanding, may we find peace.    

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.    

Empowerment

Good Fences: How to Set Healthy Boundaries and Maintain Your Sanity

 

Having and enforcing healthy boundaries has become the topic of many conversations in my world lately. It seems like we’re all trying to get a handle on what is or isn’t okay with us and how to communicate that to other people. It’s a bit ironic that we’re more comfortable with letting strangers know when to back off than we are with letting our own friends and family know when they’ve crossed a line (or ten). We don’t worry as much about how strangers are going to feel or how the dynamics might change, because odds are high that we’ll never see them again. Our interpersonal relationships demand a lot more of us, however.

I now have an even deeper understanding of why Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Fences show you exactly where a boundary lies. There is no mistaking when and how it has been crossed. It’s frustrating sometimes that our emotional boundaries aren’t always so visible or accessible.

When people come to me because they feel like others are taking advantage of them in some way, I’ve noticed that they often haven’t looked within to really identify their own boundaries. They’re too busy people pleasing and trying to manage how others feel. Women fall prey to this a lot, because we’re socially conditioned to be caretakers and to put others’ needs well above our own.

Expressing what we need out loud can be difficult, because we don’t want to be accused of being selfish. (Oh, that nasty little word!) What we usually fail to recognize is that others fire the “selfish” missile at us out of co-dependency. They fear the possibility that their needs might not get met by us, so they use “selfish” to churn up guilt. If we bite the hook and give into the guilt trip, then we’ve collapsed a boundary. We’ve said Yes when we really felt No. Is that what a Goddess would do? I think not.

Friends have referred to me as “The Queen of No” and “The Boundary Queen” before, and I wear both titles with pride. It took a long time to love myself enough to stop being a doormat, so I will share my tactics for maintaining my sanity and sanctity.

Do a Gut Check

Step One in healthy boundary setting is checking in with how you feel. When somebody asks you to do something, stop and take a deep breath. How does their request sit with you? If you sense hesitation inside, heaviness, or anxiousness, that means you’d rather not do it. Your body will give you signals, but you have to recognize them and honor the message. If you feel like you should say yes, consider the motivation. Are you just worried about being liked?

Be Honest and Speak Up

Step Two is being honest about where you feel compromised. Women have to learn how to be outspoken, even though that goes against the way we’re socially conditioned. We’re taught to be nice, to acquiesce, and to accommodate. Outspokenness is a skill we have to master, nonetheless, if we’re ever going to reclaim our lives. Say it out loud, and stand firm, even if you’re shaking. It does get easier with practice!

Release the Guilt

Step Three is letting go of the guilt that will surface once you learn how to say no. People are rarely going to let you off easy, because they have their own agendas and issues. Feeling the guilt is completely normal, so it’s important not to be hard on yourself when it comes up. It’s equally important to push through it and realize that a more balanced, positively-engaged life awaits on the other side of that guilt.

Be Ready for the Fallout

Step Four is allowing toxic relationships to die, and this may be the hardest part of setting and enforcing boundaries, particularly with relatives. A balanced person who truly loves you will honor and respect your limits. Period. An unbalanced person will argue, give you the silent treatment, try to coerce you into saying yes to their demands, play the victim, or heap on the guilt—maybe all of these things. If they can’t learn to accept your new assertion of power, it’s time to limit your association with them or cut ties completely.

Rock Your Goddess Power

The goddess I think of most when it comes to setting boundaries is Durga. She’s a badass multi-limbed warrior and protector of the universe who rides a tiger or a lion. Her very name means “fort” or “a place that is difficult to overrun.” I like chanting her mantra when I need an extra shot of fortitude, but I encourage you to do whatever ignites your own Divine Feminine fire.

Remember that even if our parents didn’t teach us about healthy boundaries as children, it’s something we can learn. It’s a practice, and it’s something that we have to keep practicing in all of our interactions.

Decide. Begin. Make your life brilliant.

Blessed Be

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Empowerment, Goddess

Goddesses Don’t Wear Bras

 

Friends, it’s hotter than Brigid’s forge in lower Alabama, so I’ve been going sans bra as much as possible. It’s ridiculous to be layered when atmospheric conditions are at rain forest levels. If it would not result in arrest, I’d probably go around naked through the Dog Days of summer. Since public nudity isn’t an option, I can at least shed my bra.

If you trace the word brassiere to its Old French origin, it means armor or “a protector for the arm.” I’m not going into battle, so why do I need “armor” for my breasts? Why does any woman? What are we protecting our breasts from, or rather, why is the world still so concerned with the appearance of breasts that we spend $16 billion on bras annually? Such a waste of funds!

When I look at ancient statues of goddesses, so many of them are bare breasted. Consider the Venus of Willendorf, or Astarte, or the Minoan Snake Goddess…I could go on. All of them reflect eras when the life-giving, nurturing aspect of the Goddess was honored. Breasts were powerful, not just sexual. They represented fertility, sustenance, and abundance of the land and its people. Goddesses don’t wear bras. The very idea would be insulting.

Today, breasts are hypersexualized, objectified, and somewhat divorced from their main function. Ask any woman who has breastfed her child, and she will describe the challenges of doing this in public without feeling shamed and judged. Society is much too worried about the appearance of a woman’s nipples, despite the fact men have them, too.

How far we have fallen from our matriarchal roots.

When I posted about bra hatred on my personal Facebook page, several friends raised their virtual hands in agreement. We discussed the fact that even when we go braless, we often resort to hacks like covering our nipples with those nifty circular Band-Aids if we’re wearing tight clothing. So even if our breasts are freed from the underwire cage, our nipples might still be muffled under cheap adhesive bandages or nude-colored pasties. Why? Because we feel self-conscious. Our culture has made us believe that if our breasts bounce and our nipples show, we will be considered loose and immoral. We’ve been trained to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention, lest we be assaulted, raped, or killed.

Yes, trained—and it all begins with the training bra we’re told to wear at the first signs of sexual development. Think about it. Who or what is being trained? Are we training our breasts to get used to the bra, or are we training ourselves to conform to a social standard that we didn’t even set? I remember asking my mom for one, because all the other girls in school were beginning to wear them. I was beginning to feel self-conscious without a bra, which shows just how much pressure girls are under to conform. The message we internalize is that there is something much too vulgar and tempting about breasts, so they must be hidden under double layers of fabric. We carry that message our whole lives, unless we consciously work to reclaim our natural beauty and worth. Reaching way back into our collective memory and connecting with the Goddess is a doorway to the process of reclaiming our selfhood.

Thankfully, some wonderful teachers and empowerment coaches are now actively assisting in the work of showing us better ways to appreciate and work with our bodies. Saida Desilets, Ph.D., creator of the Taoist-based Jade Goddess teachings, describes the energetic quality of breasts in this way:

Our breasts are considered our love center because they sit on either side of our heart and represent the external expression of our heart chi. Chi naturally flows from our heart center out into the world. Our breasts have long been a symbol for nurturing and loving energy. They also hold the secret to our longevity. (206)

Susun Weed, herbalist and author of The Wise Woman Way, also speaks of the power we hold in our breasts:

We are the Ancient GrandMothers and our breasts are ancient. Perhaps you find them ugly. See how they drift yearningly toward the Earth, lower with every passing year. We smile knowingly; we know our breasts contain a power that is resilient, flexible, supple, easy, and impossible to restrain. Whether the whim of fashion says our breasts are to be large or small, pointed or flattened, with cleavage or without, padded or bound, accented or obscured, it matters not to us. Our breasts fall free, untouched by current notions. The power of our breasts is the power of life.

Yet, we block and constrict that power, and we’ve been doing so for the last 500 years since the introduction of the corset.

I have this fantasy that women all over the globe will join together in a Bra Burning Day. I see us all flinging off our constricting garments of torture and dancing around the flames, never looking back. I see men there with us, drumming in the outer circle, supporting us lovingly and committing to the work of demolishing the old paradigms.

May we unlearn the rules imposed upon us by earlier generations that were ruled by fear and shame. May we nourish our breasts with freedom of movement, healthy relationships, massage, good nutrition, and a positive self-image. May we remember that we are the reflections of the goddesses of old, who are still alive and within us now, calling forth our courage and our love.

So Mote It Be

Copyright © 2017 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.


Désilets, Saida. Emergence of the Sensual Woman: Awakening Our Erotic Innocence. Kihei, HI: Jade Goddess Publishing, 2006. Print.

Weed, Susun S. “Ancient Breasts.” Wise Woman Herbal Ezine, www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/February09/breasthealth.htm. Accessed 14 July 2017.

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Empowerment, Healing

The Receipts We Carry

 

Cleaning out my purse is a weekly ritual for me, because I can’t stand digging through unnecessary items to reach the one thing I need (usually, it’s my car keys). Receipts tend to accumulate more than anything else. I buy something and shove the receipt down in my purse, as I’m grabbing the handles of my reusable tote and zooming out the door to the next task on my list. I forget about the receipt, unless I happen to need it for a return. It just stays there as a reminder of what I purchased, until I do my weekly purse purging.

When this subject came up in a Facebook group, I shared my routine and wished out loud that getting rid of emotional receipts could be so easy. Suddenly, those annoying slips of paper took on a much deeper meaning.

Let’s unpack this idea a little more.

When we buy something, we’re exchanging our time and energy. We convert work into currency, and then we use it to pay for things. We also have “emotional currency” that we exchange all the time, although we’re not always conscious of these transactions. Sometimes they are subtle, and sometimes we are keenly aware of what we’re giving and receiving from others. Either way, we pick up “energetic receipts” that remind us of what a choice or an experience has cost us…until we’re ready to let them go.

It is astonishing how heavy a purse can get when left unattended. It becomes a black hole that keeps taking on junk until it throws off your gait, ruins your posture, and causes your back and shoulders to ache. Curious things, these purses we carry and all that we store inside them. They are much like our wombs that also house more than we realize, literally and emotionally.

After learning the art and practice of womb centering from Diva Carla of Orgasmic Alchemy, I began to understand that the womb has a natural capacity to take things on. Its ultimate goal is transmutation—changing something from one form or state of being into another—but that process gets very muddy if we’re not properly trained. And how many of us are? How many are even speaking about the womb in this context? Few indeed. So things get stuck. We have energetic receipts hanging around there in the dark recesses of our womb space until we make a conscious effort to deal with them. If we don’t, then the weight of it all will be felt as depression, anxiety, PMS, shame, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, fibroids, heavy periods, and the list goes on and on.

I’ll share one of my energetic receipts, because I know this is an abstract sort of thing that needs a concrete example. I also like to practice what I preach, and I’m okay with being a little more vulnerable these days. So here goes.

I stayed in the same job many years longer than I should have, mostly out of fear. It’s like I couldn’t see beyond the walls of my cubicle, even though there must have been at least a hundred other jobs I could have done and a hundred other places I could have lived at that time. I was divorced with no children. The only person keeping me there was myself, and still I had this tunnel vision when it came to my livelihood.

People asked me why I didn’t just write a book at night in my spare time. Sure. Right. After 5 p.m., I had exactly enough energy to make a meal, do the dishes, and catch up on some laundry before falling asleep and doing it all again the next day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. There was no room for creativity in such a caged existence. Still, I told myself that this was survival, independence, and how the “real world” operates. I believed that being creative also meant starving and struggling, and that seemed even worse than the cubicle farm. I also believed that one office was the same as any other. So I paid my energetic currency to the devil I knew. I racked up a long receipt for 12 soul-crushing years, and the itemized list included:

  • eating antidepressants like candy for a year after my first divorce, because there was no time and space to grieve
  • meaningless sexual encounters that became an outlet for the creativity I could not express in any other way
  • entering a second marriage for all the wrong reasons, and divorcing three years later
  • having two master’s degrees and still earning less than $50K annually
  • feeling disgusted with myself for not using my education and abilities in a more meaningful way
  • trying to function inside of a broken organization, and feeling powerless to change it
  • feeling like a victim of workplace gossip, jealousy, and the good ol’ boy system
  • believing it was impossible to have a career and a family at the same time after seeing how working mothers were treated

That was the price of my decision to stay there for a paycheck, even though it was clearly very painful to do so. I was not keeping a conscious running tally of what the job was costing me (that came later), but the soul (and the womb) registers everything. The receipt was always printing in the background.

Truth be told, I am still working through issues related to money and sexuality, because they are both tied to the second chakra. It’s just that now I refuse to suffer in silence. I refuse to bury “the things we don’t talk about” under layers of shame and oppression.

The past year has been illuminating…and overwhelmingly dark at the same time. As this Mercury retrograde cycle continues, I will be looking at more energetic receipts that need to be emptied from the purse of my womb and soul. If you are doing the same, then know that I see you, sisters, and you are magnificent.

Blessed Be

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.

 

Empowerment, Goddess, Healing, Poetry

The Art of Receptivity

 

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Oh, you learned that verse too well, my sister.

That’s what they expect, after all.

Be a nurturer, a supporter, a giver.

It’s your holy calling. It’s what women do.

Give until your creative well is empty,
until your back is broken,
until you are crawling on your hands and knees,
eating dust from a trail
that someone blazed before you.

Go ahead.

Lick some more of that dust, dearest one,
until it chokes the music and the poetry right out of you.

No one taught you how to receive, of course.

Why would they?

You are so tame now,
so much easier to control
when you’re half-starved
and bleeding from wounds
that never heal.

Receiving…yes…that dirty little word,
that unblessed state of being,
on the opposite shore from giving
where they don’t want you to be.

Get in the boat,
take the oars,
go anyway.

It is lush and wanton there,
where the Wild Woman lives in the trees,
feasting on mangoes
with sweet succulence dribbling down her chin.

It is velvety and halcyonic there,
where the Wild Woman lies naked in the sand,
as the foamy waves kiss her feet
and the stars become jewels in her crown.

How do you receive?

Through eyes that see the resplendent beauty of the world
or through filters that render it all in sepia and gray?
Through a mouth that tastes the pungency of life
or one that craves insipidness?
Through a heart that beats with joy
or one that hardly beats at all?
Through a stomach that fuels your sacred calling
or one that rejects vitality?
Through a yoni that glistens as a gateway to the cosmos
or one that has fallen asleep?

Listen, my sister, and I shall write you a new verse.

It is blessed to give, and it is blessed to receive.

It is time you learned how.

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Empowerment, Goddess, Nature, Poetry

Veneration of the Wild Witch

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There are two witches living inside of me…one wild, one tame.

I won’t deny that I love the wild one most—

she who resists order and structure,
she who prefers the loamy smell of woodlands and the sand of untrodden shores,
she who calls the lightning bolt down to shatter the tower,
she who gives not a single flying fuck about your opinions.

The wild witch knew magic long before it was sifted down and spread categorically into the pages of dusty books and grimoires. She knew it well before the Golden Dawn, before Gardner, before Cunningham, before replicated lists and correspondence tables. She knew the Goddess before they gave her names and the Horned Hunter before they demonized him.

The wild witch walked in the forest, lifted her hands to the sky and felt the radiance of the noonday sun pulsing through her veins. She pulled the power of rocks and soil and gnarly roots up through her bare feet into the core of her being, renewing her connection to the Earth Mother. She waded into the stream, and the water swirling about her calves and thighs was her very first lover.

The trees spoke to her in every season, bearing the changes of growth and dormancy in equal measure; so she learned to do the same, dropping her leaves like the oak in autumn…blooming like the hawthorn in spring. The flowers and herbs beckoned to her, revealing all of their secrets one by one, and they became her strongest allies. Rosemary grew tall and strong at her door. Artemisia graced the entry to her garden. Primrose danced between the stones of her walkway.

The wild witch attended the university of the winged ones, the four-leggeds, and the creepy crawlies. Lessons arrived daily. She listened to the hawk’s piercing cry and reveled in the raucous laughter of crows…caught a glimpse of the elusive fox and the owl’s golden eyes at dusk…watched the shy, gentle deer and the steely serpent shedding its skin.

The moon waxes and wanes, and so does the wild witch.

The cycle of

intentions

expansions

culminations

reflections

releasings

replays over and over again with the ebb and flow of Luna.

Her world is fearless inspiration…blood and fire of creation…bitter ashes of death and destruction.

She recoils from domestication.

Don’t try to “save” her, please. You will find her in the deepest of caves, drawing portraits of her yoni on the walls with red ochre.

The wild witch loves as only feral beings can love…completely but without attachment, deeply but without anchors.

There are two witches living inside of me…one wild, one tame…and how fiercely I love the wild one.

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Empowerment, Goddess

Being a Succulent Woman

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The word succulent always makes me think of a perfectly ripe peach—the kind you can bite into and feel the juice dribble down your chin. Maybe that’s appropriate for a writer who has lived her whole life in the Peach State, even though South Carolina grows a lot more of them than we do here in Georgia.

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Despite my roots, I’ll admit that I tend to recoil at the Georgia Peach stereotype—tan, blonde, cut-off jeans, cowboy boots, deep southern drawl, and even deeper cleavage. There’s nothing wrong with that image per se, but it’s one extremely narrow view of Southern women. We don’t all fit into that mold, I assure you, no matter how many country songs say otherwise.

Maybe I could identify as a Peach if it meant something more…perhaps a woman who is vibrantly alive and sensual, radiating her Divine Feminine essence, living her truth, sharing her gifts with the world, and making an impact. That’s what I think of as true succulence, and it’s the only peachiness I’ll claim as my own.

Many moons ago, a friend gave me a copy of Succulent Wild Woman by Sark, and that blessed little book cracked open a new door. I had just emerged from a long-term relationship, and I felt the exact opposite of succulent…more like the vast, parched terrain of the Mojave. My friend was a writer as well, and she knew I needed something to pull me out of my pity party if I was ever going to create again. Somewhere between the pages of Sark’s rainbow-hued illustrations and her gentle encouragement, I found the me that had gotten very lost in the we. I also learned that fruit isn’t the only thing on earth that can be described as juicy.

Being a succulent woman (full of juice and rich in desirable qualities) requires some fortitude, though. Saida Désilets describes the challenge perfectly in her book, Emergence of the Sensual Woman:

The world we currently live in greets the feminine essence with bitterness, hostility and violence. It is scary to be juicy. To become our sensual selves and embrace our fullness as women, we must realize that who we are will create reverberations in this dry world. How can we not? When rains fall on a barren dessert, the excitement of freshness and new life stirs the dust from the ground and creates a commotion. (5)

People will react in different ways to succulence, and not all of them will be friendly and supportive. Just remember that whatever they are projecting is a reflection of their internal state, and it has nothing to do with you personally.

Reactions from women may include:

  • You’re one of my tribe. Welcome to the fold!
  • I want to be just like you, so I’m going to imitate everything from your hairdo to your pedicure.
  • I perceive you as a threat, so I’m going to slander you with gossip and attempt to break your indomitable spirit.
  • I like you, but I’m insanely jealous; therefore, I’ll be your frenemy.

Reactions from men may include:

  • You are a queen and shall be treated as such.
  • I’m really attracted to you, but you threaten my fragile ego.
  • I don’t know how to handle your energy, so I’ll try to suppress and control you.
  • Let’s get drunk and screw. Now, preferably.

It might seem like there aren’t many perks to being succulent, since the negative reactions appear to outweigh the positive. One really, really big perk is that the positive reactions are genuine because you’re being authentic. You’re not hiding or people-pleasing or trying to wear shoes that don’t fit. Other succulent women won’t be threatened by you—they’ll understand you in a way that is completely validating and uplifting. They’ll become your soul sisters. Men who love succulent women aren’t easily threatened, either. They are the warrior kings of this world, and they know exactly how to handle all of your wild, queenly juiciness. In fact, they won’t even notice you unless you’re rocking your badass succulent self in the first place.

So, how do you go from dried prune to juicy plum? I think every woman’s journey on that road is unique, but I know it begins with a choice. You can decide to be succulent. You can make that affirmation every single day until something shifts, and your life becomes a reflection of who you really are on the inside. Age means nothing, as I’ve met crones who are incredibly juicy and young women who are utterly desiccated. We are exactly what we choose to be in each moment of our lives, so let’s make them count. Be succulent. Be juicy. Be alive. The world is waiting.

Blessed Be

Works Cited:

Désilets, Saida. Emergence of the Sensual Woman: Awakening Our Erotic Innocence. Kihei, HI: Jade Goddess Publishing, 2006. Print.

Resources for Living a Succulent Life:

Copyright © 2015 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Empowerment, Healing

Four Letter Word Starting with “S”

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When four psychologists studied the phenomenon known as “slut shaming”—defaming a woman for the presumed frequency of her sexual activity—they learned the extent to which women shame each other, often for reasons that actually have little to do with promiscuity.

The quote above was excerpted from a longer article published in Psychology Today that snagged my attention.  I wanted to ignore it and just let the whole thing pass by without comment, but I’m being prompted (read: cattle-prodded) to meet it head-on.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “slut” has been around since the 15th century, although the spelling has changed a bit.  It was slutte in Middle English.  Even so, the definition has remained the same:  a slovenly woman; a promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute; a saucy girl.

Hmmm.  Really?  If saucy = slut, then I am all that, baby, and then some.  I hope you are, too!

So, both men and women have been tossing this damning little word around for over 600 years, all because of prudishness and some very warped views about sexuality that grew like weeds right along with the church’s dogma.  Whew.  Could we just stop giving that word so much power, please?  We have reduced it down to four letters.  I think it’s time to wipe it out entirely.

While slut shaming is nothing new, the article does at least shed some light on why women go there in the first place.  It appears to be more of a class divider, and that only serves to keep women locked in the same downward spiral of catty competitiveness that prevents us from being stronger together.

Listen, my dear sisters.  Whatever you do with your body is your business.  Whatever I do with mine is my business.  Our foremothers fought very hard to give us more sexual freedom than they ever enjoyed, so why destroy that by shaming each other?

We are all just spiritual beings in human form, learning our lessons and doing the best we can on this earthly plane of existence.  How about we make it a little easier on ourselves?

Let us erase “slut” from our vocabulary.  Let us all stop passing judgement upon each other long enough to realize that we are all goddesses.  We are all free to express our wild, juicy selves in whatever way that brings us joy.  We are stronger than the labels history has passed down to us if we choose to be.  Real power and real social status is achieved by women who inspire others and lift them up, not by scared little girls who climb to the top of a ladder by pushing everyone else off.

Blessed Be