I closed the door behind me with a thud and immediately kicked off my heels.
“Well, these were fucking pointless,” I lamented to myself while making my way to the bathroom. I got out some lavender Dr. Teal’s and proceeded to draw myself a much-needed bath. Looking down, I noticed that my stomach was hiding my vagina, and I felt a twinge of shame run through me as I moved my belly from left to right. My mind assaulted me with accusations about how much hotter I used to be and how did I let myself get like this – all of those critical thoughts you think when you’re naked and alone with yourself.
I put the them out of my mind and looked away from the mirror. It was only a painful reminder to me of how disgusting I found myself. Then I felt bad for feeling bad about myself. Jeez, where is your sex-positive, fat-positive outlook for yourself? Fuck, no matter what it is, I’m never enough. I can’t get anything right.
I dipped my toe into the water to gauge the temperature; then, upon feeling the delicious wet warmth, I slid in. My body was half under the water once I got in and laid back. My nipples got instantly hard, overcome by a kind of primal desire to cover my entire body in that wet expansiveness. I closed my eyes and ran my hands palm-down across my raised, wet nipples. I liked the way they felt, soft on the outside but still a kind of hardness that was pleasing to my hands. I pinched them gently, rolling them against my thumb and index finger, and sunk deeper into the water. I lowered my hands to my belly, ample, plump with cascading folds and rolls like Mother Earth. When I got the sounds of the heteropatriarchy out of my ears, I liked the abundant nature of my belly. It was cute and sexy – and why should I let anybody tell me any different?
Getting out of the tub, I wrapped my supple body in a warm, soft 100% Egyptian cotton towel, a luxury item I had ordered online after my last paycheck to go with the burgundy cotton sheets I had treated myself to. I lit a few candles, and as I inhaled the scents of lime and bergamot, lavender and vanilla, I let the towel drop and once again the cool summer air kissed my nipples. I smelled my arms, which had been lightly perfumed by the Dr. Teal’s I had soaked in. It was pleasant, and I liked the way my body smelled. My splendid, fleshy body.
I put on some music – a playlist that included Janet Jackson, Madonna and Cardi B. I called it my ‘Power Bitch’ mix. The sheets were cool and smooth when I slid my naked body under them. I was suddenly aware of all the sensations playing out over my whole body: the warmth in my toes, the curves of my legs, and the delicate creaminess between my legs. It almost scared me. I was a survivor of complex trauma, not used to enjoying my own vagina. Not used to it being mine.
I put my hand back where it was and just traveled with my fingers through the plumpness of my lips – lips that an old boyfriend had once called “gross”. I moved closer to the inside, where another boyfriend had refused to touch me anymore after I had had a yeast infection. My vagina was a battered and bruised ghost of patriarchy’s past (and present). I felt all of its repugnancy, all of the times boys had made me think it looked weird or tasted weird, that my labia were too big or too saggy… and still, my short, stubby fingers coasted along the estuaries of my vagina.
My mind cleared, and suddenly I was dead set on loving my body in this moment. With my two fingers, I glided in and out of my progressively wetter pussy. I let my shoulders and my back relax as I rocked deliciously with the motion of my own body’s pleasure. I closed my eyes and gripped the case of my pillow with my left hand while I enjoyed the wetness spreading all over my pussy. Suddenly, I began to squirt all over the bed – something a partner had never made me do. It surprised me at first, but it felt so yummy, so indulgent, so extravagant that I melted into it and just let my body do its thing, without shame, without thoughts of propriety or attractiveness. My breath began to intensify, rising and falling quickly, as my fingers took on a life all of their own, going deeper and faster – faster, and faster, until… I shattered into pieces, in the best possible way. I felt undeniably in love with my own body, and for the first time knew this was the kind of pleasure it deserves.
I let the candles burn on my altar that night. In honor of her – the me who was always too much or never enough – the person who had to die in order for me to live.