You used to take my breath away. There was a time when I’d look at you and my heart would stop, just for a moment. I’d watch you dance and my knees would buckle at the heat emanating from my very core. I used to wonder how I got so lucky to get someone as sexy, as talented, as wonderful as you.

Now, it’s all been exposed as an illusion. You tag me in things because I wrote music for you, hoping I’m sure, to impress me. But I can see through it all now. It doesn’t impress me. I don’t feel the same heat. In fact, I feel a passing indifference. It’s all the same. The same moves, the same looks, the same songs, all directed at someone else, all trying to show me what I’m missing out on. I’m not missing out on much.

Today, though. Today was different. It was supposed to be a day of celebration, a day of love. It was, but I walked into that room where three years ago we exchanged vows that I thought were sacred, that I took very seriously, and it all came crashing down. Here, in this room, where another same sex couple were joining themselves together under the law, where I thought my life as a married woman had begun, I was reminded that you got away scot free. You walked away relatively unscathed. You don’t have to be confronted with any of this.

I returned to New Zealand seeking solace. Seeking my home. I didn’t find it. I hadn’t been home since my mother died, since you and I became wives, and it all slapped me hard in the face. You don’t have to feel any of this. You keep telling me that you were hurting too when you ended our marriage, but how could you have been? You will never be forced to come back here and go to the places we went to together, to relive those times now knowing it meant nothing to you. You do not have to look into the eyes of my family that took vows with you to help us to honour our union and admit that you fucked up. You will never be forced to remember, to have your home forever linked with something that was so full of promise, but wasn’t treasured as it should have been. You can just walk away into another person’s arms and never have to take responsibility for the pain you caused because you’re so good at pretending that everything’s fine.

I have to carry that weight. I have to carry it for both of us. Still. And I hate you for that.

But …

But, I’ve met someone else. I’ve met a man that has opened my eyes and my heart. I’ve met a man who has reminded me that I’m allowed to be beautiful, that I’m fascinating, that I’m intelligent, that I’m sexy. All the things you failed to see in me, he sees. I’ve met a man at a time when I don’t want a man’s attention. I’ve met a man at a time when I don’t need anyone’s attention, and yet here it is. And it’s reawakened in me the knowledge of my own power as a woman. It doesn’t lie with you. It doesn’t lie with him, either. It’s all within me and it’s all mine.

I am not pursuing this man. He came into my life simply as a signpost. He has reminded me that I am not your soon-to-be ex wife. I am not a divorcee. I am not one of many of the broken souls you have left behind. I am not one of your victims. I am better than how you left me. I am better than how you treated me.

I am moving on.

Onwards

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Little Fat Flying Cherub Day

Lupercalia

Valentine’s Day, eh? Geesh, when I think of Valentine’s Days past, I am reminded of two years of working the phones at an international flower delivery service and that day being the day to dread. 12 hours of frantic, last minute orders, angry customers, overworked and stressed florists, and my frayed temper. Honestly, if your entire relationship rests on whether your uninspired choice of a dozen red roses reaches your beloved by closing time, you’ve got a huge fucking problem.

Oh my gods, customers would get so infuriated if anything occurred that was not within their expectations, as if theirs was the only order/relationship/existence of importance. The experience of working at that place greatly opened my eyes to the absolute absurdity of this annual “holiday” and the lengths people will go to to conform to an accepted display of affection on this consumer-driven, banal day of twaddle.

Now, you may be forgiven for thinking that my enmity for the 14th of February actually stems from a lack of romantic attention on this day in the past because you’d be partly right. The only Valentine’s Day present I’ve ever been given was a rustic CD stack from my ex-fiancé. One year, he took me for lunch at Arthur’s Seat which would have been lovely if we had not had a sotto voce argument in the restaurant that I started which consequently left me in tears, which was the regular occurrence in our relationship. He gave me beautiful gifts for Christmas and birthdays, but Valentine’s Day was a fizzer always. I bought him a Valentine’s gift once, I’m sure. I just can’t remember what it was. Obviously, it was so much from the heart that my blinding love blocked out the memory of its physical form.

Ha ha.

Subsequent relationships garnered little in the Romance Day of Gift Buying department mainly because my ex-girlfriend was too wasted to notice that it was THAT DAY (or any day, truth be told, bless her cotton socks) and therefore was oblivious to any of my romantic overtures in celebration of the day, and the most recent ex was so busy trying to prove that he didn’t love me, like me, or even particularly want to be around me that I’m sure a failure to acknowledge the Day of “Love” was yet another attempt to wound me with his indifference.

Here I am, talking about Valentines past as if I actually care. I don’t really. I mean, whether or not I get a gift or a card or a gesture remains relatively unimportant in the scheme of things, but in the midst of my crusty cynicism, I do have occasional, private wistful wonderings of what it would be like to have an unexpected romantic surprise from one’s paramour. I also ponder why it’s so important, why this day is so bloody significant to the general unwashed masses.

Being slightly pagan in my world view, and knowing that Valentine’s Day has some basis in pagan history, you’d think I’d know the history of this day. Well, I don’t, but I did some hasty research and found out (woo, internet!).

This day of mass-produced love has its origins in the festival Lupercalia (which I do know a little about as it turns out), which is the ancient Pagan, possibly pre-Roman festival of fertility, or as the right-wing Christian fundamentalists like to call the “festival of sexual licence”. Apparently, celebrating our fertility is a sexual perversion (rcg.org). Go, you crazy Christians!*

Oh, you crazy Christians!

Oh, you crazy Christians!

Lupercalia is actually a ritual involving the twin founders of the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus, who were fished out of the River Tiber and raised by a she-wolf in a cave at the base of Palatine Hill. The cave was dubbed the Lupercal (from the Latin lupus meaning “wolf”), and became the sacred site of future rituals in honour of the twins and the wolves who raised them, represented by Lupa, the she-wolf, and Faunus Lupercus, the alpha-male wolf deity.

The ritual included the sacrifice of a goat and a dog, “the killing of a herd animal and a herd defender presumably echoing the feral days living in the Lupercal” (manygods.org.uk) by two young men representing, I reckon, the twins, who then led the Luperci – a gaggle of priests formed for this particular ritual – down the street, thwacking women, men and children with a bits of dead goat in an attempt to cleanse out the bad juju of the previous year and promote fertility.

Goat spanking. It's the new ... um ...

Goat spanking. It’s the new … um …

As is the way with the crazy Pagans** the ritual ends with a big feast (presumably of goat meat) and lots of sex.

This all happens on the 15th of February. The 14th of February is the eve of Lupercalia and was the day of the love lotteries as it was also the day of Juno, the Queen of the Gods and big fan of marriage. According to witchology.com, unmarried women wrote their names on bits of paper which were tossed into a jar and chosen at random by unmarried men. The couples then paired up for the remainder of the festival and could remain together and marry if the partnership worked. How this fits in with the tradition of anonymous and perhaps slightly stalkery love note-giving of today’s Valentine’s Day is perhaps due to the Lupercalia custom blending with folklore beliefs in Britain and France that the 14th was the day the birds started their bonking season, so everybody thought “let’s get bonking too!” and it persisted as the day of love.

But then the early Christians came along and spoiled all the fun. “Now stop this, we can’t have blood sacrifices, that’s just not on. And we certainly can’t have all this rampant spanking, bonking and carrying on, it’s so undignified. I know! There were two martyrs called Valentine killed on this day in different years sometime in the 3rd century by that Emperor Claudius II person, let’s give one of them, oh I don’t know, the second one … let’s give them this day and we can get back to some sort of decorum … oh, the people want to keep frolicking? Oh, all right, just keep your bloody clothes on!”

Or something like that.

And so it evolved, as these things are wont to do, into what it is today. Some Christian groups have distanced themselves from the supposed religious aspect of the day admitting that it really has nothing to do with a couple of dead saints, and claiming that it is against their God to celebrate it.

But really, in my humble opinion? It’s a day that celebrates love. Yes, it’s consumerised (just made up a word there) to buggery, yes it causes more stress in relationships than it should, yes it may have lost its true meaning somewhere in the works, but so what? We celebrate birthdays, we celebrate our national holidays, we celebrate Christmas and Easter (both with their roots in Paganism), why not celebrate a day of love? Forget the sappy bullshit that accompanies it, Valentine’s Day is a great day to remember, reflect, and bask in the warm-fuzzy glow of romantic love or platonic love or familial love or any kind of love because love is pretty awesome. Hey! It looks like I care after all.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers and their loved ones. Go have some chocolate covered candy hearts.

*No disrespect to sane Christians anywhere.

**No disrespect to sane Pagans anywhere.

Sexy Bitch

I recently posted on my Facebook wall that I’ve never been asked out on a date by a man. I’ve been asked out twice by women and I’ve asked guys out on dates (albeit a “I’ve got tickets to this thing, do you wanna come too” type dealie), and I’ve gone on a woefully small amount of dates (most of which were disastrous), but I’ve never actually been courted by a man. Most of my relationships with men have consisted of: we meet, we flirt, pretty soon after we have sex and then boom! We’re together. Our getting-to-know-each-other time has been spent in the bedroom.

After posting this confession I received a slew of messages from men who told me that I was sexy and exciting and beautiful and that they’d love to do things to me and I should be asked out often. One was an old friend who wanted to make me feel better (and it was lovely and appreciated), others were old boyfriends who should know better. It may be that I’m old, suspicious and cynical, but they all seemed to be saying the same thing: “I want to root you. Doesn’t that make you feel good about yourself?”

Now look, sex is great. I love sex. I love talking about it, thinking about it and I love doing it. I get better at it and love it more the older I get. I appreciate that some people find me sexy – of all the hang ups I have about myself, that’s one thing that I know I’ve got going on. I’m also fascinated with sexuality from a context that is purely academic. I’m intrigued by human psychosexual behaviour; what makes people prefer certain types of sex, why people have sex that they don’t enjoy, why people don’t tell their partners how to do them the way they like, etc etc.

But, you know what? There’s more to me than that. I like being sexy, but I also like cross-stitch and gardening and cats and obsessively cleaning things and reading and spiritual existentialism and dream interpretation and mowing the lawns and all sorts of unsexy stuff.

I read this article recently on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl phenomenon. You know the one, the girl who is epitomised by Zooey Deschanel in those revolting movies about the uptight guy who is loosened up by the kooky artist/photographer/yoga instructor who teaches him how to be free with her infectious smile and her nauseating sense of whimsy. Yeah, well I’m not her, but the author made a point that these girls (not women, girls) so judiciously represented in these movies and television shows by the likes of Ms Deschanel (whose whimsical face I’d like to slap, quite frankly) are so two dimensional in their kookiness that they’re no longer human. Therefore the men who are attracted to the real world version of these women are shocked to discover that their dream girl is actually a real person with real needs and real problems.

Sex Goddess Photography by Christian Callaghan

Sex Goddess
Photography by Christian Callaghan

As I mentioned above, I’m not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I’m a Sexy Psycho “Real” Woman and I teach men how to free their sexuality and I’m always looking hot and booby and curvy and I’m always strong and in control and slightly dangerous and I’ve lived – really lived – an audacious life outside of the norm. I’m the woman who intimidates men (and their mothers) and I’m the best fuck they’ve ever had.

Okay. I’ll buy that. I’ll wear it even, ’cause it’s true.

To a point.

I also do other stuff. I grieve when a friend dies. I cry at sad movies. I like receiving flowers. I’m nice to people, I snort when I laugh, I use big words because I’m well-read, and pictures of baby animals make me gooey. I fart, I belch, I pick my nose with a tissue, I get pimples on my butt, I have to regularly wax my moustache, I get ingrowns on my bikini line and I have wrinkles. I am a real person who would like to be wooed not just because there might be sex at the end of the night, but also because I’m lovely and interesting and good to know. I’m a little tired of being the novelty, the ex hooker with a million mental health issues and a gay dad. It’s not a sensation to be oohed and aahed at, it’s the life I have lived. It is mine and it exists beyond the scope of others’ entertainment.

Now, I’m aware that I may sound a little like a hypocrite, as I have bared my internal naughty bits for the world to see on numerous occasions. I can see how that could be interpreted as some sensationalist attention-seeking “look at me and how fucked up yet awesome I am” palaver. Yes, I totally agree, but please understand that my intention is to show the human being behind the sensation. Because there is one there. There’s a heart behind the tits, and a brain connected to the mouth, and I’ll stop before I say anything weird about my vagina.

Somewhere out there is a man (or woman) who has the balls (or tits) to see this and appreciate it. Not just for me, but for all the manic pixie dream girls, and the sexy psycho “real” women, and the quiet studious nerd ladies, and even the misunderstood emo goth girls – no capitals because we’re all real people. The capitalised archetypes only belong in really bad romcom movies.

So yeah, I’ll teach you a thing or two in the bedroom, but only if you’ve taken the time to discover my favourite colour, among many other things.

Photography by Christopher Bryant

Photography by Christopher Bryant