I have a feeling that Pandora’s box contained the mysteries of woman’s sensuality, so different from a man’s and for which man’s language was so inadequate.
The language of sex had yet to be invented. The language of the senses was yet to be explored.
It is the thirst I always notice in the beginning. A fire wicking up through my throat. This. I want this. I want you. And then the kiss becomes the answer, the resolution for the drought in the center of my chest. Mouth on mouth, teeth, breath, the only space between us the empty hollow of your mouth against mine. Kiss me. Again. And again. There is no right way to describe the arid ache that smolders still. It has always been this way for me. It’s always the kiss I covet most.
Communication. Words live inside your mouth, stories embedded in your lips. This is what I need more than your body. More than the naked motion of what our bodies do. Instinctive. Your kiss imprints everything you’ve never said to me across my mouth–across my own unspoken silences. It starts and ends everything. Here is where we begin.
Or, it is the soft rising flood of tides flowing through my veins. The chill of submersion as the images inundate my brain and overflow their banks. I want to seek this out. I want this. And then the images become their own reward, the words they bring the saturation point. Pen to the page, black ink spilling all across the soft paper. The only space between me and the words I write is the empty hollow of the vowels taking shape and telling my story. Write it. Again. And again.
There is no right way to describe the deluge of language that drowns me still. It has always been this way for me. It’s always the story I covet most.
For me, creativity and sexuality are inexorably linked. The way I feel after a day of tangling with words is the way I feel after being lost in the currents of bedsheets—our bodies the tidal rise and fall, skin and sweat and salt water. Redemption in our unholy undertow—in the words I have found—in the curve of an undulating spine like a whelk, ridged and smelling of the sea. Body-lust. Creative-lust. The fire of both of these can serve the resourceful spirit who dares to notice the ebb and flow between the two.
For thirteen years, I was married and had a husband’s touch and his kiss and his body beside me in our dark bed—we were kind with one another, gentle, in love. Creatively, I was in a high, elated place. Writing consistently and publishing frequently. Attention coming to me. Giving public readings. Earning admiration and awards. Agents approaching. Movement. Progress. Stability for my body and my pen.
Then, one day, there was the staggering phone call that all happily-married wives dread, the revelation of the other woman, the splintering of my tender, traumatized heart—the shocking surprise that the man I planned to live out my life with—my husband, the father of my children, was sharing his body, his mouth, and our stories with someone else.
The day after I found out about his cheating, I wrote for eight hours straight, my children tucked away with my family—my heart bleeding out—my life feeling over—my hand cramping with the volume of despair pouring out of me.
Then, once I’d made my decision, I put my pen down for over a year and tried, ultimately in vain, to save my marriage. My ink went dry. I was so broken open that whenever my ex-husband touched me, I saw him touching her. Our dark bed was a lonely bed. For over a year, I fought to stay his wife—finding out every few weeks that he was still seeing her, still talking to her, still incapable of ending the affair once and for all. My paralysis in my creative and sensual worlds was complete by the time we parted ways.
I felt ruined.
I felt nothing.
I wrote nothing.
It was a long time after my divorce before I finally started to wake up again to my senses. Everything had gone grey in my life. I could barely eat. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t hear anything but the roar of emptiness inside my chest where my heart had been. But then, I still remember the afternoon when I came home to the room I was renting at the time and walked up the side-path through the yard to the gate. For some reason, I happened to look up. The aged, wizened, twisted cherry tree was in full, heady pink blossom. The sunlight hit it just so, casting dark traces of shadow over me—but a warm, new-spring breeze coasted up and hit the blooms. They fell like flowering confetti all over my body, my hair, and the grass. I slid my shoes off.
I took a step closer to the tree and cupped my palms and reached out—letting the next gust rain the cherry petals into my hands. My feet sank into the warm, wet soil. I stared and stared into the contrast of the stark blue sky and warm, blushing tree overhead. I felt something stirring in my body again. I felt something again. That same day, I started a new story – both literally and figuratively.
Upon returning to my pen, I started noticing more of the world around me again. It was spring. Things were budding and coming alive. The sun was making promises to the earth—and the earth was responding in flowers. My words began to flow through me again, slowly at first, just a tender stream.
But the more I wrote, the more I noticed the sweet taste of the orange I sat and ate in the sun, juices sticky on my chin…the light and how it shifted throughout my little rented room, honey-gold and resplendent with possibility…the sounds of birds in call and response, looking for mates…the smell of the grass, wet with condensation and softly trodden beneath my bare feet. And yes, the way it felt to be touched. When desire was flowing – so were my words.
My lessons of loss in love have taught me that my feelings can be debilitating or they can be motivating. Instead of drowning in the ache of another more-recent heartbreak experience, I let myself experience the pain and then, I wrote right through it. Ugly words. Words I’ll never share with anyone. Words that bruised in my mouth and ached through my pen. Words that told my version of every failure with every man who has ever given me the inspired-lust to connect to my senses and write my whole world.
This time, I stayed with the blooms and the thorns and their eventual withering and decay. I didn’t undermine my creativity by connecting it too permanently to any one love interest or anything else external.
It is undeniable that, for me, when lust rises in my body like a high-tide sea beneath the full moon—saturated torrents of inspiration and creativity follow.
But, I am learning now to contain the sensuality and the wanting within my own body and to find pleasures in the smallest things in the world around me. To the next love who comes to me, I implore you, come close—closer—give me your mouth, that sweet-stinging kiss I want. Let us sink and swim in the currents of your bedsheets. Let me touch you and memorize every story of your skin. Know that I will see you like no one else will ever see you – understand that I will write you because I cannot bear not to. What we will have will be fiery and flooded all at once – and I will live to tell all about it.
My commitment to feeling everything I’m feeling and to connecting to my sensuality—even when it is painful, is now a lifelong one.
And, should there be no next love, I say to myself, come close—closer—give me your story, that sweet-stinging word I want. I will sink and swim in whatever currents life brings to me. I will never go silent. I will remain here, the one with the fast black pen, the lusty blank page, and the story to tell.
Whatever you’re bringing your own aspirations and desires to, be sure to do it with all of your senses.
Get deep into your body and pay attention to everything. Let your sensuality save you. Vow to pay attention to one of your senses (taste, smell, feeling, hearing, or sight) all day long today. What is the sensuality and the story of your world?
Add your voice to the page – even when it is only a whisper, even when you are feeling broken – arrive to meet yourself wherever you are, and just watch who you will become.