“We live in a country that claims to be a democracy, still trying to tell women what the fuck to do with their bodies.” – Lauren Rhodes
“She Rambles On”
Fiction. Based on a True Experience.
by The Lily Maiden
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
|I’ve abused my body because I was taught that loving your body was gluttonous, lazy, self-centered, and avoiding responsibility. Society teaches us to hate our bodies so that we’ll buy products to fix them.|
It’s taken me years to develop even an ounce of respect for my body. For some reason, I have no problem encouraging others to love their bodies, yet can’t implement that love to my own body. Perhaps by reassuring others, I’m vicariously reassuring myself. Maybe it’s the voice of goddess speaking through me, knowing that if I hear that message enough times, transferred from my lips to the ears of others, some day, I’ll believe it for myself.
I work intimately with the goddess Aphrodite. At 16 years old, Aphrodite came to me on the flight back to Washington, the day I was discharged from an inpatient treatment facility in Tulsa for anorexia. She told me that I was sacred and worthy as I was, but above all, She promised to keep me safe from my family. I’d initially refused to return to Washington from fear of being trapped in that house with my family again.
To this day, whenever my mom calls me, I feel an ice cube drop down from my throat to my bowels when I see her name pop up on my Caller-ID. She tries so hard to support me these days. She’s realized now that there’s no way I’ll accept her support in the way she most wants me to, so she supports me financially. I hate taking her charity. I wish more than anything that I could afford to take care of myself, that I could afford to never speak to her or my father again.
I remember a couple years ago, sitting on the couch drinking wine with one of my coworkers. I’m not sure why I’d decided to confide in him, but I assumed it was because I needed to defend myself, and to reassure myself that my feelings were valid. Surprise, it turns out I never needed reassurance for that. Anyway, he’d told me that yes, I had every right to disown the fuck out of my parents, but not my brother. My brother needed me.
I never thought of that before. I’d always felt that I needed my brother, but that he didn’t need me. He had our parents, after all. I’d needed him so much though. I needed him to be a year older than me, not four years younger. I needed him to be the mentally healthy one, not the autistic one who got so much attention that everyone ignored me as I starved to death. I needed him to write comic books with me, to set me up with his friends on dates, to laugh when I played pranks on him rather than throwing Legos at me.
I wish my upbringing could have been different, and I think anyone who lived my life would wish the same thing. If I’d never gotten so sick though, I’d never have had the mental, emotional, and spiritual awakening that I did. Aphrodite would never have spoken to me, and without the goddess of love and beauty, who’s rituals are self-adoration and pleasure, I wouldn’t have grown the way I did.
I sit at my computer now, using the writing software I’d purchased nearly a year ago. It’s finally getting used the way I want it to get used. I wish I hadn’t been used. I wish I hadn’t been raped, and I wish I could tell my boyfriend what happened the day I was raped. I wish I could admit it to myself. I wish I could tear my stomach open and scrub away the rest of the poison that asshole left in my body. But I won’t.
These days, I do tarot readings. My income is limited, so I’m always insisting to my clients that I have more to tell them. You may think that’s a scam, but there is so much more for these people to listen to. People who are so in denial, so desperate, that they come to an online psychic for advice. I wish I could throw my computer at them and scream THE SOLUTION IS TO LOVE YOURSELF.
And we’re back to the beginning now, aren’t we? Telling other people that they need to love themselves, and sitting here, hating myself. I never truly had the chance to experience what loving one’s self feels like as a child or teenager, and by the time my brain fully developed, I knew nothing but self-doubt.
Aphrodite is not my only goddess anymore. The list goes on and on and on. Aphrodite, Bast, Sekhmet, Thor, Poseidon, Baba Yaga, Artemis, Freya, Saraswati, Dionysus, Titania, and The Horned God. These are all aspects of the same universal deity, yet are entirely different entities nonetheless. Pantheism. Paganism. Witchcraft. Sin? No. Liberation.
Aphrodite taught me to love my body. Bast taught me to love myself as a person. Artemis is teaching me now that if you truly want to change the world, worrying about whether you’re “good enough” is a waste of fucking time. Being a priestess of Aphrodite is teaching others to love themselves so that someday I can too. But in the meantime, I’m going to try my hand at changing the world.