By Allorah Rayne
I am a spiritual being having a human experience.
That statement resonates for me time and again and never ceases to amaze me in its complexity. As someone who focuses a lot on the internal, I never really realised the lack of attention I paid to the external.
I am continually working on my spiritual self but, along the way, I forgot (and even loathed) that I had a body. A physical, sensual, sexual, living, breathing, hungry, lustful, life-creating, feminine body. Looking inward comes naturally for me. Looking outward has been a challenge. I have never thought I was ugly or beautiful, just plain with some serious scars that I was less than excited to have been branded with.
I was born with a congenital heart defect that required multiple procedures that often left physical scars along with the emotional ones. From the time I had conscious awareness of my body, I knew I was not like everyone else. I was not allowed to participate in many physical activities growing up and was well behind my peers in growing. I wore eighteen-month-old clothes until just before I turned three.
Fast forward to my pre-teen years. A family member molested me. He is no longer a family member but it affected my self-image and my sexual development.
Fast forward to young adulthood. I endured years of body shaming…I was too thin, disproportionate, and various body parts were chosen as comic relief for others.
Fast Forward five years. I was happily married and expecting my first baby. I was over-the-moon excited! But the excitement would not last, I had a miscarriage that resulted in a mandatory DNC. Two weeks after, I was diagnosed with Stage III congestive heart failure. And the week after that? My husband told me he could not afford to take care of me and said I needed to go to my mother’s. I immediately booked a flight and packed a bag.
The night before my plane left, he reigned down hell on my body with blow after blow. I thought for sure he was going to kill me. Someone was watching over me that night, of that I have no doubt. I made it out of that house at 3 AM and haven’t seen him since.
Fast forward five more years. I engage in a relationship with who I thought was an amazing man. Turns out, he was only amazing the first six months. The emotional and verbal abuse he put me through was just as damaging, if not more so, than the physical abuse from my ex-husband. Being called a nasty lazy bitch on a regular basis, being expected to be the Wonder Woman and do-it-all, and being sexually rejected over and over again makes a person, and particularly a woman, feel smaller than Alice going down the rabbit hole.
So why am I sharing all of this deeply personal information and why now?
A wise man recently alerted my conscious mind to the fact that by allowing my past experiences to color my views on the world and my sexuality, I am still handing all my power over to my abusers. Fuck that!
Enough is enough and it is way past time that I unburden myself. I have been quietly sleeping for far too long. If coming into public view with the horrific events of my life can help just one person, I am living my truest and most authentic self to the fullest possible capacity.
Since this last winter, I have been called to be truly present in my physical body and have been taking steps to achieve this goal. I did a boudoir photo shoot for the first time in my life a few weeks ago and I cannot express what an amazing and empowering experience this was for me. Going in, I had no idea what the words sexual, sensual, and woman meant to me.
Because of my history with physical disability, toxic relationships, body shaming, and abuse, those words were foreign to me. I had never even seen myself naked in a photograph. So, on the day of the photo shoot, I let it all go and embraced my body. Every sight, sound, and sensation. For the first time, I felt what it meant to be the definition of sensual, sexual, and feminine.
The female body is exquisite in all its various forms.
I learned some important lessons the day of my shoot, most importantly that the body is not separate from the soul. The body was made to be a vessel for the soul and each is a perfectly constructed piece of divine art.
My body been traumatised repeatedly, in a multitude of ways, and it just refuses to quit. I am scarred. I am bruised. I am imperfect. I am strong. I am brave. I will always rise from the ashes. I am coming into my power as a woman and am embracing it instead of fighting it.
Every woman, no matter her size, shape, physical ability, or fertility status, should be proud to be a woman and take pride in her perfectly imperfect physical vessel for her complex soul.
I am a wild woman and am tossing off the conventions of society.
Society’s view on women is broken and it is time we took back the power to construct a new paradigm. Society can throw us to the wolves and we will always come back with a pack of our own choosing!
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.