I am starting a series of posts about my interactions. Some of this stuff is just too good to be true. It’s also become an important part of my journey so I think it deserves to be shared. FYI, I will always ask permission before writing about anyone.
This is about one of my very first interactions. I got a message with very nice praise on my work, then a few days later a follow-up which said that my Pre Orgasm piece had inspired this person to make a video of their own. I decided to click on the link but I had to turn it off after a few seconds of watching. A man touching his penis. I of course expected to see exactly that, but actually seeing it brought up an immediate wave of shame. This happened right in the middle of my back and forth communication with Vimeo about not following their guidelines, which had me doubting if making explicit videos was even a good idea or not. So this video triggered a new fear that Vimeo would be even more mad at me now for inciting others in my “ways”.
I remember exactly where I was while this took place. I got up and started walking to process the rush of emotions. As soon as I was moving, a completely different perspective took over. I thought, oh my god, am I seriously considering that it’s ok for me to do this kind of video, but it’s not for others? What kind of double standard would that be!? If this is a healthy expression for me, why couldn’t it be for someone else too?!
The next morning, I woke up angry about the shame that had come up. I felt like it was such a classic example of the conditioning women are plagued with. Thinking that it’s our fault (whatever “it” is), apologizing for everything, feeling like we’re doing something wrong… I didn’t know exactly where my anger was directed towards but at least it was directed outwards. I also felt grateful that this situation created a clear experience of these feelings that I’m usually just nebulously immersed in. It actually reinforced my commitment to my project, which felt great. I remember exactly where I was for that too. On the bus, watching the city go by as my resolve grew.
It took me a few days to get all my emotions under control to be able to sit down and watch the rest of the video. I still had some doubts about how I felt about it. But I watched it till the end, and something really special happened as I did. First, I have to say that this person really was inspired by my video. It’s not just your random dick selfie. The way this man touched himself, the way he moved the camera, mirrored what I did in my Pre orgasm video. And that’s what got me. I was really really moved by it.
There’s a practice in the emerging field of PTSD treatment in which therapists do movement or breathing exercises with their patients, mirroring each other, in order to create connection. Because trauma creates disempowerment and disconnection from yourself and others, this mirror process can be tremendously helpful. Also because trauma is something that lives in the body more than in the mind, so using the body to heal it makes sense. Anyway, my point being, watching this video, where someone mirrored my own movements on himself, created this connection effect. I felt it very clearly, like it hooked something back that used to be loose inside me. I realize this might sound a bit crazy, but I’m betting it might make sense to someone who’s experienced the aftermath of trauma.
I have already thanked this person and also congratulated him on expressing his sexuality but I don’t think I have conveyed to him all that this experience has meant for me yet. I hope that in reading this he will understand better and also feel respected and appreciated. I don’t know for sure what his intentions were in making this video and in sending it to me, but I think it would so closed minded to assume it was only to shock or arouse me. There’s always more layers to things than can be judged at first sight. That’s exactly what I’m trying to convince everyone about my own work. And it absolutely applies to others too.
I do have to end this post by making clear that, in telling this story, I am not actually asking to receive more videos from people. It’s been offered to me a few times since but I’ve always declined because it’s not something I’m seeking at this point. It is worth noting that so far it’s always been done respectfully. Everyone has asked nicely and responded well to my saying no. Someone wrote back to my refusal by saying they had just wanted to thank me. I wrote back that I appreciated the thought immensely.