Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Becoming Michelle Interview: What I loved…

I was on a brief but much needed getaway this past weekend with my husband. We were in upstate New York and dining at a favorite spot, but I made sure we got back in time for Michelle Obama being interviewed by Robin Roberts as part of her “Becoming Michelle” book launch tour. I was so excited for it, so excited to see and hear from her. And the interview really delivered on many points.

I was most open for the parts where she talked about feeling like a failure because she and Barack were challenged when first trying to conceive naturally. She didn’t expect it to be so hard and had I believe at least one or two miscarriages.

I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them…

I was really moved by her candor on this subject. She eventually had Sasha and Malia through IVF. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this story from women I know. But I just never imagined I’d hear it from the Flotus!

I think it’s one of the worst things we do to each other as women; not sharing how our bodies work, how they don’t work…

She then went on to talk about how damaging it is when women don’t share things with one another because of shame and a sense of failure and hopelessness. It made me think about how Khalilah was always so adamant about Black women sharing with one another and how she would always get on me for not sharing enough purposefully. This was one of the reasons we would share our blog entries out to Soul Sistah Series. Spaces created for and by Black women for the purpose of sharing and learning from one another are invaluable and a dire necessity if we wish to break the curse of habits and rituals handed down through generations which do not serve to connect us to our power.

I also loved when Michelle talked about her relationship with her husband Barack, how they met, where the attraction began. I’ve been married to my husband for 4 years and have been dedicating myself to re-examining my marriage lately and  really thinking about what it means to me to be married and what makes relationships work in general. I’ve learned a lot so far from studying the work by Esther Perel, a relationship psychologist, who introduced me to the term “erotic intelligence.”

Much of what is rarely a part of a mainstream discussion is how sexuality and arousal are maintained in a long term marriage, particularly in couples who are also parents. I have always always always loved the ways in which the Obamas allowed us to witness us the powerful spark of their initial attraction to one another when in public. I can only imagine that a love that real cannot be hidden. And why would you? Their love and sexiness have inspired so many of us. In the interview, when addressing Michelle’s initial attraction to her man, she  was like, you see that cocky confident way he walks? “He has always walked like that…”

GURL!!!!

 

I would never have though it could be done in the White House of all places! LOL!!

What I know now is that this attraction and eroticism is not maintained without self love, dedication, and work.

It’s hard to deny that Obama was one of those presidential candidates with charm, charisma and attractiveness in his corner and a lot of that came from being partnered with someone who wasn’t afraid to really be Black. And Blackness is sexy af.  Who doesn’t remember pictures of the Obamas like these where just watching them, we could all only imagine they had to be getting it in on the regular? I have never in my entire lifetime been compelled to even imagine the erotic life of a first family until the Obamas.

Obamas Collage

Obama was clean and classy in presentation as was Michelle but she was the one with the most don’t give a fuck in her practices, doing and saying what she did without apology because she knew who she was and where she was coming from. She showed her arms (oooohhhh!!!!) called out threats and injustice where she saw them and kept it moving dedicating herself to programs she believed in that were in service to communities in need.

Though she admits in the interview to being scared and nervous and unsure, she knew as a Black woman that she couldn’t let that show while she was in office. Some people saw her as a threat. I saw her as strong and beautiful, fun, humorous and dignified. It’s not to say that I agreed with everything either her or her husband did or said but as a Black woman married to a Black man, whenever I saw them I just felt like I was seeing Black excellence with regard to the work it takes to keep both a marriage and a family not only in tact but thriving, let alone through a two term presidency!

 

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Touch Service #selfcare

How often do you got to get manicures, massages, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, spa days? How often do you touch yourself purposefully, rub your neck, your legs, your feet, put on oils or lotions? Are you someone who is comfortable being touched by people? How aware are you of the importance of touch in your life? How comfortable are you with being touched and touching others?

This is something I’ve thought a lot about on and off for years.  I am a touch positive person, but I am also aware of how unfortunately, disturbed and sick people use touch to violate the trust of others, leading to trauma, isolation, repression, depression and worse. It’s fucked up. Because touch is incredibly important and key to our survival and a sense of calm, safety and energetic balance and joy.

science-of-hugs

In humans, oxytocin is thought to be released during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both genders. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and may be involved in the formation of trust between people and generosity. Oxytocin first became of interest to researchers when they discovered that breastfeeding women are calmer when exercising and experiencing stress than moms who were bottle-feeding. It is just one part of the important, complex neurochemical system in our bodies that helps us adapt to emotional situations.

God knows we need all the stress releasing we can get in the toxic climate we currently find ourselves living through at the moment.

Manicurist Hands Doing Hand Massage With Cream

I often wonder about people who provide services that require them to touch people on a daily basis. Like sometimes I’ll be having my hands massaged by a manicurist and sometimes I will allow myself to fully relax and not be self-conscious about being touched by a stranger. This is easier when the person acknowledges me with eye contact or smiles and is attentive, as opposed to someone who is massaging my hands while they look away or are engaged in conversation with another co-worker. When the person is touching me but looking away I get the sense that they have become detached from the importance of being present when providing this service.

But it’s hard for me to judge them. Because I don’t know what this kind of job is like. I don’t ever expect the woman who massages and scrubs my feet during a pedicure to stare lovingly into my eyes. I’m just grateful that she’s handling my feet. LOL!!

I don’t know if this is something  I could do effectively everyday. But I do know that it is important, that is something I notice whenever I am paying to be touched for grooming or wellness purposes.

I really truly appreciate professionals in the field of massage and I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of having very capable and skilled people work on me. I don’t take it lightly. Because touch as a form of therapy is a deeply powerful, sensual and connective thing. It takes skill, professionalism, intelligence and maturity to provide people with healing in this way while also making them feel comfortable and safe.

I’m a big fan of hugs on a personal level, though I recognize that not everyone is. My theory about people who are adverse to touch is that they may be more sensitive to it than most, perhaps hypersensitive and require specific forms of touch from specific sources.

I love hugs so much that I have mental hug catalogs. There are about two or three people in my top 5 list of great huggers at the moment. My husband and I both agree that some people are just better at hugging than others and that weak hugs are a total waste of time and energy. LOL! My husband happens to be number 1 on that list. His hugging, holding and touching skills are part of what drew me to him initially. I’d never met someone before who touched me casually in a way that made me feel as if I’d known him and loved him forever.

Did you know there are people who are professional cuddlers? Yeah, I even found out about “Cuddle Parties” from a friend years ago. LOL! I don’t know about all that but I do know that services like these are symptomatic of a society that is dire need of feeling connected in an age where social media has fragmented and isolated us in ways never experienced before, ways that allow us to be both closer and yet more estranged and segregated than ever.

Touch helps not only to release stress reducing hormones but also to shift energy that may be stagnant or pent up. The human experience is one of cycle expression. To reap the full benefits of being alive, we need to be able to healthily shift, change and evolve energy in order to process, unload and regenerate so that we can create, share, serve and receive.

Here’s to making sure you’re getting the most out of healthy touch positive experiences in your life on a daily basis. Nothing in social media can replace the power of touching and being touched by people who makes you feel safe, comfortable and supported.