Sex

I couldn’t even really say the word sex out loud until I was 14. Even then it was whispered, or mimed or camouflaged as “banging” or “IT”.

Growing up in a semi-conservative African family, sex was one of those things that no one really wanted to acknowledge or talk about. I remember perfectly the awkward moment when my mom walked into the room just as Noah and Allie decided to consummate their love (on the floor) in The Notebook; I froze not knowing whether I should change the channel or not.

It is funny how the absence of dialogue is also what makes it more necessary.

Sex, much like everything else in life is a journey that can only be defined by the individual. We have to be sensitive to people’s bodies, to the most intimate parts of their physicality. We have to grow towards a society where virginity does not exist and the naked female body is not a commodity; where consent is nonnegotiable and mutual understanding the foundation. Where there is respect of female and male bodies and we are not condemned by our communities because of our sexuality. Where sex is not the only reason for conversation, but part of the conversation.

I think one of the things that get to me the most is the over ‘sexualization’ of nakedness. Being naked DOES NOT equal sex. Unfortunately, people see a nipple and freak out; a nipple is a nipple is a nipple, get over it. Please.

Perhaps we are all just the product of an oversexed and over stimulated generation? I don’t have the answers, but I do have some questions.

  1. Cosmo Mag, as a teenager reading your magazine I always wondered why most of your content was centered around pleasing a man and satisfying his needs. Why wasn’t there more content about our needs and our pleasure?
  2. Why is someone’s sexual orientation the business of the government or the law? Like really? It’s not as if the economy will fall just because two men want to be together.
  3. How do 98% of the half-naked women on Instagram have that waist to hip ratio. It’s stressful -__-

All jokes aside, growing up African, and Christian and a woman, my relationship with sex has always been a little bit blurry and probably why I struggled so much to now think the way I do. It took me a long time to not associate sex with feelings of guilt or as something “sinful”, it took me a long time to open up my mind about the different views and practices around sex, and it took me a long time to accept myself as a sexual being, a definition which changes from person to person.

In my opinion. Sex and sexuality is one of those things that is at the essence someone’s identity. We all have our own different encounters and experiences with sex and the most important practice is to be sensitive to each other and to stop marketing set ideals around sex and sexuality, especially in ways that it appears vulgar. It is a way of expression that should not be categorized, exploited or vilified.

Sex. Let’s talk about it in our households, in our communities and even in our places of prayer.

x

 

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2017

 

I have managed to get my thoughts together, after surviving the agonizing anxiety of the first 2 days of the year. “What are your plans this year? Any resolutions? What do you think needs to change?” Even if (by some supernatural force of nature) I had all these answers I surely wouldn’t be comfortable sharing such personal information disguised as “small talk” so I awkwardly smile at my respectable elder and say “we’ll see”. Although clearly dissatisfied with my answer, they move on to asking my brother the exact same questions.

 

  1. Here we go again. To be honest I am none the wiser as to how one gets their shit together than I was a year ago. Actually I think the importance only lies in seeming to have your shit together. One thing I can say is that I know what I want the most. And what I want the most is to bring to light the things I love, to create, to imagine, to make, to write, to pour my truth into whatever the hell I will be doing and hope to God that’s enough.

 

Again. No expectations. Just willingness to make it through another year without losing my sanity completely. Here’s to (the appearance and/or actuality of) shit being together.

free.

  

It’s a wonderful thing 

Having unconventional skin 

Waking up 

And making a choice

To be different 

To be more of you than you were yesterday 

To hold eye contact

To not look down 

To not be intimidated by judgement 

To be a little free 

awaken.

  

You have been deteriorating

Before yourself 

That pain you couldn’t figure out before? 

That was your dreams being ripped out of your heart 

The suffocating consequence of concerning yourself with other people’s failures 

Surrounding yourself with small thinkers and small ideas and small men 

While all this time you have been a giant 

Squeezing yourself constantly into shrinking doors 

Until you started believing that’s where you belong 

Wake up 

Wake up child 

Stop wasting away 

And go do what you were meant to do

wanderer. part 1.

Part 1 of the photoshoot I did with the talented Elizabeth Emmanuel. I have never felt so free and comfortable with my body. Self acceptance is truly a spiritual experience.

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“Since childhood, we are told to hide, to keep our heads down and to act like part of the crowd.
Society expects us to be a certain way which may cause us to drift away from reaching our fullest potential. It builds fear, disbelief and suppresses our creativity.

What if one day, we decided to break the status quo and started living a little more, caring a little less and became wanderers?

Woman. According to the Oxford dictionary, a woman is defined as an “adult human female”. How would you define a woman? Let me rephrase that, do you feel the need to validate her?

Does a woman who does not require your validation translate into someone who is no longer giving into being “submissive”? Does that make her less of a lady, less beautiful, less desirable, less vulnerable, less capable of loving, or just a complete headache?

Does the moment she lacks an “emotional” response make her intimidating? Does she intimidate you?”

Words and Photography by ElleEmmanuelPhotography

new.

IMG_7204

There is one lesson that has been taught to me loud and clear this year. Just be yourself. And I don’t think I got it until now (well not now now, that’s a lie but recently). Every decision I made, everything I did was so tirelessly calculated although I made it seem otherwise. I opened my heart to few… very very few and sat alone in darkness wishing for freedom. And you know what, I could have just given that freedom to myself.

I made so many mistakes (it is actually quite ridiculous) mostly because I was so conscious about what people thought about my decisions. But. WHY? Why did I even care, my decisions are well my decisions. I’m human, and I’m a woman. Sometimes the latter makes the world more judgemental towards me, sometimes it makes me more judgemental towards me, and I’m just so tired of taking myself so freaking seriously. So, now that I have ranted… this is what I wrote for myself for this new year…

There is no use.

No use of telling myself I’m going to do things I’m not sure I’ll get around to doing. So instead, I open my arms to the universe and say… COME AT ME!

I call upon blessings, but I will not be distracted if challenges come with them, I welcome love and I am ready for heartache, I invite friendship and won’t become bitter from loss. I will live in my own truth and won’t let my spirit be disarmed by others. I will say yes and no at my own discretion, loudly and clearly.

I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful that in such a cruel world I can still laugh with the wind and love fiercely. I am grateful that I am walking the path of my heart, and I call on God to show me his face. Every. Single. Day.

Happy new year. Happy new, naked, me.