Today I’m thinking about stories. About their power to create and re-create us. About their truth, too, and how the very same facts can be woven into hundreds of stories that each, in different ways, are all true.
And of course I'm thinking about sexuality, too, and asking myself, and now you: What story are you telling yourself about your experience as a sexual being?
Is it a sad one?
Is it happy?
Is there hope of happiness some day further on?
How much shame is woven into it?
How much fear?
Are there paragraphs or lines of it that feel like trust? Feel like resting in something safe and beautiful and warm?
I have this image in my mind of a booth at a farmers market, overflowing with fruit. As buyers, none of us are obligated to buy any one piece of it. We can pick and choose to our liking.
And I wonder whether some version of this is true of the stories we tell about our sexuality. We can't choose all the facts of our lives or sexual experiences (if only we could!). But with practice, I think we CAN choose the stories we tell about those facts - the way we weave them together into some final (or at least working) form.
For a long time I've felt shame about the size of my breasts (A cup) and the fact that I have had one sexual partner my whole life through (I married my high school sweetheart). I've listened to stories about hook-ups and break-ups and one night stands and watched women "strut their stuff" and complain or rejoice about the shape and size of their cleavage, feeling always on the outside looking in, somehow shamefully sheltered, naive, and un-womanly.
But what if I start to tell a story that defines my sexuality far more broadly than the size of my breasts or the number of sexual partners I've known. A story that celebrates the sweet, sweet love I know with my beloved, and the safety we've experienced in each others' embrace. What if my story is actually just getting started, too, and what in the past I've called naivete (and felt ashamed about) could be called something more like "beginner's mind", in the very best, most sought-after sense, and the starting point for - the very heart - of more childlike wonder and discovery and even ecstasy than I could have known another way?
Your facts aren't mine, but what if you look at what they are anew this week, noticing the story you've used them to tell until now. Maybe you'll tell that same story forever. But maybe you'll realize you want to weave your facts into something totally new. Something that enlivens you in a way your old story doesn't. Something that causes your hope, and thus trust, to grow.