Chelsea Coleman

Finding A Path To Freedom with Chelsea Coleman

This week, we welcome Chelsea Coleman, a brilliant musician I first met at an event called, “You’re Going To Die” which creates room for people to talk about death, dying, and grieving. Chelsea and I talk about her journey to healing Fibromyalgia and how having a baby helped her develop the embodied boundaries to do that. 

We also speak about growing up with Fundamentalist Christianity, the structure and safety found in the black and white thinking of the church, learning to suppress your own needs, sacrificing your own wellbeing, abusive relationships, and healing shame. Plus, Chelsea sings a beautiful song about joy. There’s something for everyone on this week’s episode of LaidOPEN Podcast.

Show Notes

This is Charna Cassell with Laid Open. And today my guest is Chelsea Coleman, the amazing musician who I first heard at an event called you’re going to die.

That creates room for people to talk about death and dying and grieving. And she was often the musical interlude between people coming up to the open mic and I was blown away and really moved by her her music and her stories. And enough that I asked her to join me today. Welcome Chelsea

Thanks so much for having me. I’m so happy you’re here. Anything else that you want our listeners to know about you in the creative work that you’re doing in the world right now? Well, a lot of my creative work right now is channeled through, you’re going to die. We do shows, mostly in the Bay Area. Most of them are like open to the public, open mic style shows. We also do them in prisons. And some of the people in our organization do hospice work as well. Like singing for hospice patients write songs and a life yeah, the songs for life. So I’ve been doing the prison shows, and, and helping host and play music at the at the other regular shows as well. I’ve been a songwriter for a long time. And I have all sorts of recording projects and writing projects. And I’m publishing a poetry book soon beautiful. And I am working on a bigger memoir type of book plus recordings project. So an all that while working a full time job and raising a five year old so late

Yeah, Chelsea played Coleman bowl nourishing plate of yummy veggies. And that’s what I like about my life is that everything is something that I really want to be doing. You know, I used to get super busy doing things I thought other people wanted me to do and all that. And now it’s just like, oh my god, I just want more hours to do. All these things I care about totally. So what what was a turning point in your life, where the weight shifted from? I’m doing the things that other people want me to do? And then suddenly you found yourself going like, Oh, I’m doing all the things I want to do I just want more time for that. Was there an event or something that allowed that shift to happen? Having a baby definitely had a lot to do with that. And a lot of people would make the assumption that it would be the opposite of like, having a baby would make it like, oh, well, now I have to get the job, I don’t really want to pay the bills, and you know, all that. But for me, it was a catalyst to like, like, Oh, I really have to figure this out, I really have to figure out what I like to do.

That makes some money. And you know, how also how to structure my life. So I can still do music. And, you know, just it was just a catalyst for like, Oh, this is serious. Like, I need to do what I want to do in my life.

Because if I don’t focus on that, then

I’ll just be overtaken by the day to day.

Like, you know, doing what I’m supposed to do working somewhere. I don’t want to work doing just the getting through it. You know, right? Having kids is an initiation for people in different ways. And it sounds like for you it was an initiation around boundaries and clear purpose. Yeah, it was huge. It would mean it was

oh my god, I mean, tying it in with trauma healing, it was just like, one of the most healing experiences for me, it was it was one of my first experiences with it. So I had fibromyalgia for nine years that you know, now, you know, that I believe was very rooted in trauma. And my nervous system kind of going overboard trying to protect me and and I spent, you know, lots of years working on that and healing and doing all sorts

Two different healing modalities trying to change course with that, and one of the most impactful things was being pregnant. Like, when I got pregnant that the, the fibromyalgia totally went into remission, and I didn’t have it for the whole pregnancy, and then it came back a few months after. But then I had a lot more tools at the time to help. And then it only lasted a couple more months before, it was pretty much gone all the way. But there was something about pregnancy that was so freeing for me in so many ways, it was just like, I get to expand as much as my body wants to expand, I get to grow really big, I get to like, take up more space, I get so much more emotional space, as in people will give me a much like wider range of what’s, you know, tolerable as far as, like my emotional needs, which before I just been so good at, like, oh, I don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable. So I’m just going to stuff it in side myself somewhere in the form of tension and just kind of make it through. And when I was pregnant, I was just like, oh, I have permission, from like, every buddy to not have all my shit together, like emotionally, like, I can flip out about something, I can overreact about something.

You know, right, that just that little, that little extra freedom was incredible. I can eat whatever I want, I can have really strange demands, I can have, like, I can prioritize my comfort, you know, and luckily, like, I took that, and I knew like, well, I don’t even know if I’m going to do this again, in my lifetime. So I can’t count on being pregnant to solve my problems. I’m going to learn as much as I can about what it’s doing for me, like, and, and figure out a way to give myself that permission all the time. Great, you know, which was huge, it was so healing, it was just like, to be a more expansive person to like,

like, not have such a tight lid on myself, you know, and, like, eat what I felt like, you know, just like, have also was like, in conversations like I would be had just much clearer boundaries. Like, when I was pregnant, and I was in a conversation that I didn’t want to be in, I would just stand up and leave. And I wouldn’t apologize. And I would be like, well, whatever, they might think I was being bitchy, but I’m pregnant, so who cares, they’ll get over it, you know, and I just, I just would immediately leave situations that I didn’t want to be in, and there was this extra protection, I think from like, Oh, I’m, I’m, like energetically protecting this child as well. So if somebody is making me uncomfortable, I’m gonna get the fuck away from this person, because I don’t want that around my baby. And then I just was able to take those skills and carry it with me. So now, I’m a little nicer about it. Now, if somebody is talking to me, and I don’t really want to be talking to them, I don’t just stand up and leave. But like, I’ve find a way to like, prioritize, like, Okay, I’m not feeling good. having this conversation, I’m going to find a way to end it and, you know, move on. So. So if I know if you suddenly stand up and walk away during this podcast.

What’s amazing about what you said is I hadn’t thought about pregnancy as self protection bootcamp. Yeah. But that’s, that’s totally what I was hearing. And it’s this beautiful thing, because so often, unless we’re really marinating, in a practice, we’re like, Okay, we’re gonna do this daily, or at least three times a week, but we can be so much more compassionate, and caring for another individual than we can for ourselves, and so that you’re growing this being gave you all this permission to be like, Oh, vicariously, I’m going to protect myself. Yeah, it’s like, Wait, why am I valuing my own well, being less than I am this, this unborn child? Absolutely. Yeah. And that kicked into all of my other decisions, too. I remember when I got pregnant, I was doing the like, traveling, like, poverty by choice, musician, thing of like, I’m just gonna make art and I, you know, I don’t necessarily know where my rent is going to come from this month, but I’ll figure it out. And I usually did, but it was also okay, if I had to move out of the place as you know, it was just like, Whatever, I’m going to do it and I was like, kind of on that plan for a few years, which was fine, but also really stressful. And I didn’t know you know, how I didn’t really prioritize like, stability for myself. You know, I thought it had to be a sacrifice. I thought I had to sacrifice that to be an artiste. And then when I got pregnant, I was just like, oh, there was also a relief of like, oh, like, the things I’m going to have to do for this child, you know, stable income, stable house, and lots of food.

And healthy food. Those are all things I need to be doing for myself anyway. But I hadn’t prioritized it. Yeah, I’d been sacrificing all those things, thinking, I’m supposed to sacrifice those things. If I’m really passionate, you know. So there was a relief that came with it, too of like, oh, like,

of course, I’m going to, like, provides stability, like, of course, I’m gonna figure out how to do that. And like, I I’ve been needing that for myself for so long.

So yeah, can I ask about that? And feel free to? You don’t have to answer this. But I’m curious about what how much permission and deserving you grew up with around that, like, how much consistent stability support food? I mean, you’ve mentioned food and, and that could go in a couple different ways. Right? It could be about poverty, or it could be about control and, and not feeding yourself. Yeah, give reasons. So I’m curious about your history there. Yeah. So it was both I mean, I definitely like in my early adulthood after a traumatic first marriage, I definitely did that like,

like, punishing myself through hunger thing. We’re not punishing myself, it wasn’t so much that it was like controlling, like, the like, Okay, I have control over this. It was like, I’m gonna cause myself pain, nobody else is gonna cause myself pain. I’m gonna do it. You know, which like, then when I realized that’s what I was doing, I was like, Oh, why?

Why would I do that to myself that’s creating that illusion to things that are not in your control? Yeah. Yeah. So you know, I had to work on that. And I’ve definitely, like, got good help with that and, and stabilize that. But then also, you know, growing up, like, so. It’s so interesting, because now that I’m a parent, I’m more like, empathetic toward my parents. And so I know, they probably didn’t see it this way at all. But like, I grew up thinking, it wasn’t okay to ask for anything. Because I was the youngest. I knew we didn’t have very much money, all my clothes were hand me downs, I just never thought it was okay to like, ask for more. Or ask for the kind of shoes that I wanted. Or, you know, not until I was like a teenager, I think is when I started understanding, like, there’s more flexibility and some more abundance here. And I can ask for some things. But, you know, definitely in childhood, I just thought like, Oh, I better just be quiet and not, you know, and that’s more about my personality than any way my parents acted toward me. Like, if, you know, if they heard this, they’d be like, Well, why didn’t you just ask for stuff? You know, I mean, think what’s really important about what you’re saying is, and as you’re describing, like, be quiet, you know, what I’m seeing is like your shoulders were pulling in your head was kind of shrinking down, your eyes got wide, and you’re, you’re pulling really narrow. And you know, what kids are amazing at doing is me is assessing their environment and listening to what’s said and what’s not said and making, making choices and assuming things and to preserve themselves and to make sure they’re loved they they draw conclusions and it doesn’t have to be something that’s explicitly said. Yeah. But it sounds like you really learned how to not take up space not have a lot of needs, so not bother anybody. Yeah. Not be a burden. Yeah, not bother anyone. And so I really get that when you’re pregnant. And it’s like, ah

I need somebody to go to the grocery store for me right now and get me you know, this knee forget what I was craving when I was pregnant. A lot of vegetables like zucchini. I need brussel sprouts. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. But also Okay, another thing about like, thinking I had to sacrifice my own well being, like, the bulk of that came from Christianity. Because the Christianity I grew up with was fundamentalist, charismatic, very, like, martyr centric. Of like, if you give your whole life over, and if you suffer then like, that’s when you know, God is really using you for His will. Sounds like an abusive relationship. Yeah, it’s awful. And it’s so prevalent. I mean, a lot of you just described Yeah, well, yeah. You know, and a lot of you know, a lot of kids grew up that way. Absolutely. No, I remember you know, just the a lot of idealizing pedestal lysing missionaries who go to the most dangerous places and people who like actually put their lives on the line for Jesus.

Like thinking oh, I’m supposed to do that if I really love God, I’m so was to do scary things and dangerous things and, you know, relinquish my need for any kind of material comforts or stability? Yeah, it’s there’s a lot of different types of Christianity and like the one that really called to me, because my parents didn’t push me into that, like, they were more like, semi liberal, just like, let’s go to church and maybe go to a Bible group now, you know, and like, have a community but like, it wasn’t like, if you don’t do this, you’re gonna go to hell, you know, they didn’t have a fundamentalist attitude at all, they were just like, This is what we do. This is our religion. This is this is our community, you know, that I really took to the, like, fundamentalist ideals. When I was a kid, I think it provided a lot of structure structure for me, yeah, like, oh, you know, do this. And then it was just like, such a well laid out plan for like, if you do this, then you’re okay, in God’s eyes if you do all of these things. And so it provided you a checklist, and it felt safe in this way, where you’re like, Okay, I can, I will know, it’s, like, predictable or dependable in some way. Yeah. But it required such a complete giving over of myself, like one of my favorite Bible verses when I was 11, was, I’m gonna forget which verse it is, but I think it’s from Galatians. It’s like, a Paul saying, I have died with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives through me. So it’s like, just, you know, it was just so idealized, the getting rid of yourself, getting rid of your ego, completely getting rid of your need for material things, getting rid of all of your, you know, human desires, including sexual desires. I mean, that was all part of it, of course, of just like, you know, push all that stuff away, you know, empty yourself of it, right, so that Jesus can fill you with His love. And, you know, in a lot of ways, it’s really beautiful. And, you know, and compelling, you know, like, oh, wouldn’t it be great to be rid of all these confliction and weird feelings and anger? And, you know, like, I don’t want any of these things. I just want love and light to feel me. Yeah, first of all, any decisions we make as kids, and even as adults, like we’re doing the best we can to take care of ourselves and preserve ourselves and feel safe. And if the things that we’re feeling inside, don’t feel good, right? They’re scary feelings, or terrifying feelings, then, of course, we don’t want to feel them. Yeah. So what are we going to do? And that was a resource that it seems like was in your field that you could draw on? Absolutely. When I was 12, my parents got a divorce. And I honestly don’t remember having a single, like, actual, hard feeling about that, until I was like 17, or 18.

Because immediately, when, when they told me like, my first thought, was,

I’m going to be okay, because I’ve got Jesus. And it was just all it was just all Jesus, it was just like, I can get through anything. I don’t even need to have hard feelings about this. It was just this bypassing this, like, immediately available, bypassing that I could do anytime I had a hard feeling. And so there’s, you know, tons of stuff about that, that I didn’t process or like, give myself permission to have feelings about until much later, you know, right. So what two things that you’re talking about there one is spiritual bypassing, right? So spiritual bypassing is when you don’t feel the feelings and you skip over them. And you go towards transcendence. Yeah. Through spirituality. And then the other thing is dissociation. Yeah, right. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So what happens when you dissociate? You don’t feel your feelings in the moment, but they leave latent to be to come out at some later date. Yeah, I’m curious. You mentioned you mentioned sexuality. And I’m curious what was modeled for you or what your experiences were when you were younger, around sexuality and how some of not feeling yourself may have been a move to feel safer in your body.

Yeah, this is another thing that nobody ever explicitly told me this, but I just got the message that masturbation was horrible and wrong. And, you know, I started masturbating when I was like, fairly young. I was like, probably fifth grade. And I, I mean, I over the course of many years, trained myself not to do it. And like, which meant training, like training myself, to not want it and to, like, have bad associations with those good feelings, instead of, you know, the healthy version which would be like healthy, you know, excited feelings about exploring my body. But yeah, I had a lot of shame. And but like,

I mean, the shame is bad enough, but like, I’m, I am mostly sad that like the process worked. Like I was able to like, like, I was so hard on myself for those desires that I was able to like get rid of them for for a time, you know, and then didn’t really like start getting them back until I was like putting a lot of work into it. Right, you know, and like, actively, you know, purposefully

replacing those bad associations with good associations. Yeah, yeah, you it’s, you know, what I imagine when people go to war, they’re in the army, and they’re trained, right? They get trained into behaving a certain way or approaching things in a certain way. And if you train enough, you get good at something. Yeah. And, yeah, I hear some, I hear some remorse around how good you are at myself. I wish I wish it hadn’t worked. I wish it I was worse at that, you know, and that’s that I’ve run into that a lot in my life. And that’s something that Fibromyalgia has been a blessing in so many ways, because it was basically to heal Fibromyalgia meant.

Okay, let me back up. One of the things that was happening with fibromyalgia was like, in my experience, and my mind how I think of it is that

I wasn’t having good boundaries. And so, and I wasn’t listening to my body. And so my body was screaming at me. Exactly. And it wasn’t going to stop until I started making different decisions and having better boundaries. And I mean, it was a lot more complicated than that, of course, but that was a big part of it, of like, oh, like, if I like I, I had to, I was so good at training myself, to accommodate other people. And to like, follow, you know, like, starting with following Christianity, and then I was so good at it, that that’s kind of what it took, for me to start actually listening to my body. I’ve just like, I had to be, like, so completely humbled by it, that there wasn’t any other way. Like, I, I, and I don’t have the option anymore of like, swallowing things that are making me uncomfortable, and just tend to fIying my body and living like that, like, I can’t do that anymore. Yeah, like I have not, I don’t have enough tolerance for that anymore. And like, I just will immediately, you know, make changes that I need to make in order to feel better, because I don’t have that kind of tolerance. And I did for so many years, I’m just like, oh, I can I can handle this I can keep, like making myself smaller, and making myself you know, suffer more so that everything else runs smooth smoothly, you know, I can keep doing that. And it had to kind of get to a point of like,

It being impossible to do it anymore. You know, I think it would be helpful for the listeners to for you to define like, what are some because I know what fibromyalgia is, but some people may not. Yeah, like what are some of the symptoms. And then the other thing that I hear is because they may be suffering through similar things, right, is that there is a way that when we don’t use our own voice, when we’re not able to articulate what we need and want our body will do that. And so while there may have been pain, or whatever physical symptoms, you’re experiencing that was communicating something for you, and then eventually when you were able to turn towards it and listen. Yeah, something shifted. Yeah. So yeah, exactly. So how I experienced Fibromyalgia which, you know, especially at that time, it wasn’t even as well defined then, as it is now. So that was the diagnosis I ended up with, in the style of eliminating everything else. And, you know, years of frustration with doctors and, you know, doctors being mad at me that their treatment method didn’t work or their initial diagnosis turned out to not be what was going on, which was like a whole other conversation, I think about the medical side of it, because I mean, that was part of the trauma, you know, was being in a lot of pain and not being able to get help from the people who were saying they were helping me so how I experienced it was like pain sensing disorder, you know, I’d have all these tests for like inflammation and for other muscle issues and for other joint problems, and I went to the doctor of osteopathic medicine and they did adjustments and

I did all sorts of physical things, I did all sorts of things that were supposed to make it better. And all the tests are showing that I was fine. I didn’t even have any inflammation. I didn’t have any, like dietary sensitivities or anything like that, that they could find. And, you know, I did diets and elimination diets and stuff in to try to find, okay, am I just eating something that’s making me feel horrible, none of that led to any thing helpful. When I started thinking of it this way was when things started to turn around, which was that it was a pain sensing disorder. That was all in my nervous system. It wasn’t in my bones or muscles, or any any other. It wasn’t, it was just my nervous system overreacting to, you know, firing pains, who knows when there wasn’t anything actually wrong. And, you know, gosh, I just so badly wanted there to be something actually wrong. Because even if it was like a horrible diagnosis, I would just oh, that then I would least know what’s going on. And I could have a treatment and I can have a solution. And so that was really frustrating. And then also the shame of like, having those thoughts of wanting there to be something wrong.

I want something to be wrong, so that there can be resolution so that I don’t have to feel this feeling anymore. Yeah, but the what’s amazing, our bodies are so creative and brilliant. And when you talk about a nerve, like an over sensitivity in your nerves, it makes so much sense to me, that if you’re denying what you’re feeling, and you’re not acknowledging it, that your nerves would get sensitized. And then it’d be like, think of the expression that strikes a nerve. Yeah, right. So your nerves were like, struck repeatedly with these feelings that were like, if you’re not going to speak up, we need to speak up or like, bring your attention over here. Yeah. Right. Absolutely. But one of the things I see with clients that I’ve worked with that are bipolar,

Is that one commonality. And I’m sure there are situations where this isn’t the case. But this is what I found repeatedly. That there’s not that much permission in their families for feelings to to exist, or to be expressed. And so what happens is that they stuff all the good and the bad, and the whatever feelings, and then they come out in these extremes. Right? hyper arousal, some mania, intensity, anxiety, rage, or hypo arousal, depression. Yeah. Right. And it’s like, only if they’re super extreme, are they going to get acknowledged and be seen as valid? And that anything in the middle is just dismissed? Yeah. I mean, I still deal with it. So now that I don’t have what I would call Fibromyalgia anymore. Like, I’m not in constant pain anymore. I still have like, when I have back pain, because I, I do have some stuff messed up in my upper back. And I have back pain often, right? It’s so easy for us to dismiss ourselves. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. So one of the things this podcast focuses on right is what allows what increases sexual freedom, and what prevents it from occurring. And one of the things that I also think about a lot is what trauma is, and even what sexual trauma is, and really broadening those definitions so that you know, even what you’re describing around the church, yes, like, I have seen with my clients, the effects of fundamentalist religion, and thinking black and white thinking, or shame based thinking, affecting their sexuality and living in the body like sexual trauma. Yeah, absolutely. And I’m wondering if there’s anything else that contributed to your freedom of sexual self expression?

In addition to religion?

Oh, yes. So, I mean, you know, the patriarchy, you know, growing up, like beyond the church, but just like the in general associating sex with objectification. And that’s one reason why I believed what the church was saying. That like, I shouldn’t be a sexual being, until much later until I was married to somebody I could really trust and somebody who I had a long history with, you know, that’s one reason I believe them was because I looked at what was going on in the culture and thought,

I don’t want that either. You know, like, I don’t want to be, you know, objectified and a sex object and like, you know, that’s, that’s the other side of it. That seemed really scary to me, and seemed really like, it seemed unsafe, and just like not pleasurable, you know? So, I kind of grew up thinking those are the two options. And so I chose the chastity you know, because that felt safer. And, you know, it was in line with my whole community and my sense of belonging and all that. But I So, so that was part of it that like what I saw in, you know, on the outside of like, what sexual expression was like, that also didn’t really look like a good choice to me. And then in my early adulthood, I had a long, like a six year relationship that was very sexually coercive, and, you know, controlling, and all the ways in abusive and all the ways and yeah, it just can it just push sexuality further into darkness into like, so it was it was as if I tried both ways of like, okay, I’m going to not have sex and, you know, keep myself completely out of that world. And then I’m going to jump into a marriage and go for it. And that was horrible, too. So, it, you know, I did have,

I had like, reactive sexual expression after that, which I think was about control, where I jumped into that world of objectification and like, seduction, and like, getting who I want into bed with me sort of like, in a, in a way that I now look at as like, oh, oh, gosh, I didn’t, I didn’t need to do that, and might have been harmful to other people. And it might have been using other people. And like I don’t, you know, it’s not the kind of relationships I want to have. But it sounds it’s also sounds like, you know, when you’re in a situation where you’re powerless, we reach for power and overhead. And the only ways we can write that’s one of the ways that’s offered to women, especially young women of just like, oh, you can gain power through your attractiveness, you can gain power through your, you know, sexual power over men. Right. And then the other thing inside of that is, when we’ve been in abusive relationships, if we don’t know what our own boundaries are, we can often perpetrate against other people. Yeah. And so I heard you inside that wondering like, oh, are there ways that I may have pushed or coerced other people in the way that because it, it becomes the water, the air you breathe, right, it becomes what’s familiar to you. And so you may have come out of one relationship. And then then on the reverse side of it, you’ve gotten to know it, and then you got to know both sides. And you’re like, actually, neither one of these work for me?

Yeah, I definitely went through a time when I was,

I was just, I was really sad about sexuality, I’d kind of like,

I felt like I kind of run out of options, and that I was scared to, like, meet new people, it’s basically I got to a point where I knew I needed a lot of healing. And I knew I needed like, to be with men who really could hold space for me, I would get triggered during sexual experiences and have to stop and have a whole core meltdown, the thing and I went through a time where it’s just like, I don’t want, it almost doesn’t feel worth it to like, try to find who those men are, and then do whatever steps I need to take to build trust with them so that I can have that experience with them. It just sounds like too much work. And too scary. And I don’t know, I went through a period of like sadness about it of like, this is just too hard. And I don’t want to do it.

Sounds like there’s that feeling of just defeat and exhaust? Bone fatigue? Yeah. And so something shifted, because you feel so well taken care of and left in your current relationship? Yeah. What happened, whether it was new kinds of external actions you took or what helped you shift in this new direction of resilience, lots of things. Oh, my gosh, so many things. So one of them was like a really great short relationship that I had with a man maybe three, four years ago. Now. It’s also like, I’m thinking about, like, attachment theory stuff right now, too, because I’ve had a pattern of either being with men who mistreated me or being with men who weren’t there for me who would like go off and travel for, you know, a long period of time and not really, and not provide the stability of like, knowing whether they’re coming back or knowing what was happening, you know, kind of in the like, I can get security but this person is going to be mean to me, or I have to just be in the

Unknown of, okay, this guy is really nice, but I don’t know if I can rely on him. Right, right. And so this man came into my life, I’d met him, I had thought, like, Oh, I’m not ready for a relationship I’m going to, it was after my son’s Dad and I had broken up, and I’m just like, Okay, I’m not going to go that route, because I’m attracted to him, but I’m not ready for that. And then I went to a ceremony of San Pedro ceremony, which has been a huge part of my healing. So San Pedro is cactus, plant medicine. And there’s really amazing ceremonies that are put, you know, lots of different places, and people have these ceremonies, but there’s a community that I sit with in Berkeley, and have been sitting with them for seven or eight years now. And that’s been a huge part of the transformation and the healing, but I was at a ceremony and the medicine just like, like, so clearly and loudly said,

Go get what I have for you from this man. There’s something here, go get it. And I was like, Okay.

Because, like, you know, I had a kid and I knew, like, we’d already talked, like, he wasn’t really interested and, you know, eventual step parent, it was like, I don’t think this is going to be like, that kind of relationship. And why would I want to do something if it’s just temporary, but whatever, like, I was just so compelled and commanded to like, you know, check out the situation, he was an expert healer. And I hadn’t even know that going into it. And we had like, six months of just like, 

Absolutely healing experiences with each other. And it felt like it was a total attachment pattern reset. For me, it was the first time in my life that I’d had any, any number of months that felt stable and healthy and nourishing with a person. And, and it also, I say, it was an attachment pattern reset, but it was also I gave myself permission to go there with him, because I knew that that was a lasting thing. So that was, it was like a stepping stone to being able to actually have that level of trust and surrender with somebody who I might actually be with for a very, very long time. So there was some safety for you, knowing that there would be an end like there was there was some structure and going like, Okay, this is I can let myself surrender to this for a period of time. Yeah. Yeah. It also what’s interesting to me, and you know, that, that Christianity, fundamentalist, Christianity played an important part in your sense of safety, and structure in your younger years, and now you found plant medicine, and that even the voice of this plant, instead of it being a punishing God, it’s a benevolent God, so to speak, and benevolent voice all knowing that you could trust Yeah, and you can go like, Okay, I’m putting my trust in you. I’m gonna, I’m gonna let you support me and guide me here. Yeah. And a big part of that is the community because, you know, the community fosters that similar sense of belonging that I felt with the Christian church, but like, zero dogma, there’s like, they, they don’t care what any of us believe, at all. I mean, the offer is just like, if you feel like this plant medicine contributes to your healing, come get it. And if not, then cool.

And so there’s no like, religious structure around like, Oh, this is the right path. And this is what you should do. There’s no should it’s just like, if this feels healing and good and helpful to you, then then it’s open to you which it’s like I think that was the only way I was able to re approach spirituality is with like the wide open we’re not going to tell you what to believe we’re just going to offer help and healing sort of attitude. What was the break for you? What was the moment where you had a break from God or the church in that way where you were like, wait a second, this is actually kind of harmful and not working for me because it sounds like you had that break with human men in their in abusive forms, as well as like a narcissistic god. Yeah, yeah.

Well, that’s one thing is that I, I left the church when I was 17, and jumped straight into this six year relationship, my first husband and he was like a fundamentalist atheist. So the total other side of it of just like anybody who believes anything, non scientific is stupid and totally full of crap. And everybody you know, any anything outside of proven scientific beliefs are horrible, you know? And so that was like another kind of fundamentalism that caused suffering for me as well. I still didn’t have permission.

Tend to say what I actually thought about things, it was still no permission for feelings. Well, it was still feelings are, you know, not scientific feelings are not provable feelings are unknown and scary. So we have to stay within the structure of logic, you know, so is the same thing. But yeah, I jumped from a narcissistic God to a single narcissistic person having because he has, you know, rigidity imposed on my life with the church. I mean, there’s also like an attachment wound or like a community attachment one there of like, it’s because how it happened was, I was such a devout, oh, I read my Bible, and I did my prayer journals every day. And I started a Bible study at my school, and I did prayer circles, and I was like doing church and Jesus related things every single day. And it was my whole life. I was in leadership. You know, I was like, helping lead middle school groups when I was in high school, and I was in the church worship band, and did that full on which I still, to this day, just so overwhelmingly grateful to the church for teaching me music like I had. That was like, that was worth all. It’s just like, that was endless musical opportunities for me in church. And I learned so much. And I’m just so grateful for that. That’s something that I don’t know if I would have had otherwise. But I found a verse in the Bible, that like, from a place of devotion, I thought, Oh, I’m going to talk to my mentors about this. Because I’m a little confused by this, it was basically,

To me saying that we don’t need to evangelize. And it was basically saying, like, once Jesus has made this New Covenant, you know, by dying for people’s sins and that whole deal, then you will no longer need to tell each other, you should know the Lord, because it will already be written on all of your hearts, which is beautiful. And I read that, and I was like, That contradicts evangelism, you know, and so I brought that to my mentors. And what happened was this energetically, there was a turning energetically, there was like,

Oh, you’re searching? Oh, you’re having doubts. you’re wrestling with your faith, we’ll pray for you, you know, that kind of thing. And I was just like, no, like, I’m not wrestling with my faith. I’m not having doubts. I’m like, just bringing forward this thing that I care about deeply. And, you know, Why won’t anybody talked to me about this, you know, but I was seen as like, it was seen as a defiant thing, in a way. And so I felt like I was viewed as more of a, some kind of an outsider as some like, oh, like, you’re having these questions. Will they weren’t on the journey with me? Right, you know, I was like, outcast, just a tiny bit. I mean, it wasn’t like, Oh, you have a question. It wasn’t extreme. It was like, you have questions you’re out of here. It was just like, we’re gonna look at you a little differently and talk with you about Jesus a little differently, and just kind of, you know, and that energetic turn was what started the whole unraveling, it just led to, you know, it was like a logical process, and also an emotional process of like, oh, like, do I only belong to this community? If I believe the same things they believe? Well, yeah, that’s what this whole thing is based on? Oh, do I want to be a part of something that’s based on that, and then it just started unraveling, but in that I just completely closed the door, you know, it was just like, I can’t like, logically, emotionally. I can’t do any of this at all. And so it was just a hard break. And, like, now, I’m an atheist. And now I don’t believe any of that crap. And it was, you know, it was just a hard out for me. And what’s so intense about that, as I you know, what it sounds like, is like, you were such a good girl, you were doing everything, right. And you were this poetic being who took this verse that had poetry in it, and you asked a question, and there was no room for questions. That that even asking a simple question was perceived as betrayal and yeah, you know, heresy then what where does that leave you in that you could sense the the physical, even though it was subtle, I mean, what it speaks to is how much doesn’t need to actually even be said to to hurt people in a space like, whether it’s a child or, you know, Oh, yeah.

Yeah. And it’s been, it’s been so wonderful to reopen the spiritual channels.

With a lot more freedom, because like when I was, when I was a kid, I was speaking in tongues dancing in the Holy Spirit. And if people have a lot of judgment about that, people think, oh, that’s just crazy and silly and whatever, you know, but it’s like, this wildly freeing experience, it was like the, the freedom that I had. And it was a lot, you know, like we would gather in, in rooms together in these small groups, and just like, improvise music and sing, you know, I sang whatever came to me, it was what I do now. It’s what I do now, with music, I’m just channeling and I don’t improvise on stage, but you know, when I’m writing, it just comes through, and it feels like it’s coming. You know, I don’t call it God anymore. But like, it feels like it’s coming from outside myself, as you know, a spirit. So like that, that channel opening, and the freedom of that, that and it kind of, kind of goes, there’s, there’s a reason why, like, you know, I give up myself and have Christ living through me. Yeah, that’s, there’s a reason why that’s compelling. Because there’s something really freeing about that state of being of like, letting something bigger than me, and, and that feels kind of outside of me flow through me, right, especially with art, like that is an amazing state to be in, and I love it. And I, I cherish those moments, so much now of like, being able to open that channel and feel like I’m not even myself, it doesn’t matter what myself is, doesn’t matter what my name is, you know, identity doesn’t matter. It’s just emptying myself out so that something can flow through me. And that’s, like, so much of what art is about. And it’s beautiful. And I had like, this really wild version of it, when I was a kid that is completely, you know, totally different than what I do now. But like, having that, you know, channel blasted open at that young age was, in a lot of ways really cool and other ways really scary, because that’s what allowed a lot of controlling ideas to come through as well. So I think I was terrified of opening that back up.

Until I found this ceremony community. And I was like, oh, like, I can be in community with other people and have these, like, really open very vulnerable experiences, spiritually, you know, and I’m still going to be safe. Nobody’s going to take that moment to like, put thoughts in my head. Nobody’s going to like, take advantage of me. Yeah, that channel space. Right. So when we’re in an out when our brainwaves are in an alpha state, that is a deep meditative state. It’s also the creative zone. Yeah, right. And I’ve had that experience when I’m writing, where I used to be in a timed writing practice, right? It’s like set a timer. And I encourage people at home to do this, set a timer, for 20 to 30 minutes, don’t lift your pen, what you know, if you’re writing, like have a prompt, like I remember, for instance, and you just keep going, and just keep writing whatever comes through you. And then what’s really cool, is that a certain point, you get out of your thinking mind, right? And you’re just letting things flow through and you don’t even necessarily remember what you’ve written. Yeah, right. I imagine you’ve had this experience. And it you know, what, I believe that even traumatic experiences are preparing us for our purpose. Yeah, right. And that I feel, though I wouldn’t want the experiences, I had the abusive experiences to happen to anybody, I also see the value and in those experiences, then allowing me to have a certain kind of compassion and guidance that I can offer to other people who are going through these experiences. Yeah. And, and so you, you know, like, yes, it was through dogmatic, you know, religious Jesus channeling, but it created the channel. Yeah. And it created the knowing. Yeah. And so your system knew how to do that. And I really hear that a lot of that happens in the musical community. So like a sub community that was actually really nourishing for you. And that that’s now a tool that you can still rely on and you know how to do it. Once you healed some stuff around it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I love that the thing I’ve enjoyed most about trauma healing is that I found that that I don’t have to get rid of the good stuff. trauma healing has allowed me to,

I just didn’t think it was possible before. Like, I thought, if I was going to heal some event or some part of my life, then it would just partly be grieving it all together. And, you know, what I found was like, Oh my gosh, like I get to keep the good parts. I get to keep the parts that I love and like, looking back at all the most traumatic times in my life, like, I’m starting to remember the really beautiful parts more and like, not have as clear memories about the really hard parts. And it’s just this like

Over time, like allowing how my system is situated now, to go back and inform my memories.

It’s really cool. Yeah, like, I’ve just been starting to realize that that’s been happening, you know? Yeah, that like my state now, it’s not just time isn’t just linear, like my state of feeling peaceful and joyful and sovereign now can go back and like, heal all those other times. And just these little beautiful ways, you know? Absolutely. I mean, this is what we talk about when it’s like, when you heal yourself, you heal your ancestors, you know, your future generations as well. You’re shifting your DNA. Yeah, right. Yeah. And memories are just changeable in our heads anyway. So like, they don’t actually those moments don’t actually exist anymore. Right? The the most traumatic moments of my life like are not exist, like they don’t even exist.

But I remember them. And I’m, you know, I don’t like there are a lot of cool storytelling, ways to deal with those events. Yeah, but I think those are really good as tools. Sometimes I think people take them on as like, this is reality. And I think that’s a little I’m unclear about, I’m unclear about it, but the storytelling of like, what if I chose this? How would this story go if I had chosen to walk into this, that I knew what the purpose it had in my life, and I and so it shifts? The sense of empowerment? Yeah. Right. You have more choice? Yeah. And I think that can be really powerful and helpful and healing. And I also think there’s like a slippery slope with it of like, that can lead to like, victim blaming, and not holding people accountable for wrongdoing. You know, like, there’s absolutely no this whole, like, you know, you chose that experience. I mean, it’s really, really tricky. Because if you’re holding the individual, like, you’re okay, this is my egoic experience in this body in this life, but then you zoom out and you go, like, Oh, I’m a spirit and a physical body on having a soul journey experience, right? I mean, it is, it’s very slippery, how to hold the bigger picture of like, okay, so this person came in this abusive person came into my life, to give me this certain experience, that I could overcome a certain thing or learn this self respect or learn this thing about myself. And yeah, it’s yeah, no, it is, it is very tricky to hold. And depending on the perspective, you’re looking at it from, it can look like victim blaming, or it can look like perspective. I had a really,

I had a hard and really interesting experience a couple years ago with a man that was very unsafe. And I basically found myself in, you know, a similar situation as far as like sexual trauma goes. And in my head, I, I just had this whole story about myself, like, I’m a healing warrior. And I’m so smart. Now I’m, I would never possibly be in that kind of situation again. And I feel good now, because I did such a good job healing, and all this stuff of just like, kind of like tying it into the narrative of my life of like that bad stuff happened then to lead to this better stuff, you know, and just like, it all makes sense, because things are good now. And then I found myself in this really scary moment with this man. And I acted differently than I did when I was 17. Because I knew that I did have a lot of power. And so I, I ended the situation really quickly, and it didn’t escalate into something.

You know, beyond just a few scary moments, you know, it was really humbling, and really healing. And like, I got to go back to my past self, and really say, like, oh, my gosh, like, even with all the tools, even with every, all the healing and all the sovereignty and all the stuff you’ve spent so long working on.

Like, shit still happens. Oh, yeah. And, and it really like, it kind of helped dismantle the idea that like, I have control over it. Part of why it’s a slippery slope is because I think it’s, it can be part of the process of regaining control.

Which is very important, of course, but it’s not like at the end of trauma healing. You find yourself in a place where you’re not vulnerable to trauma. Apps like we’re always still vulnerable to trauma.

Anytime, anywhere, like it’s always a possibility. And it’s, I recognized myself with this experience with this man that got scary. I, I registered with myself that like, I really wanted to believe that it was my fault, because if it’s my fault, then I can do something about it. And I can prevent it from happening again. And I have control over it. And I wanted to believe that was my choice on a spiritual level, because then I could pray better or heal better and prevent this from happening again, instead of like, I still don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next. That’s where in any situation I’m in, I do not know what other people are going to do or how they’re going to act. I don’t get to choose how they act. And it was really healing for me to just like, admit that, you know, just be with like, the, the weakness of that, you know, instead of responding with, like, I’m going to be tougher and powerful, but to respond with like, okay, like, I’m just a fragile human. Well, and that’s, that’s what the process is really about, right, is that. So first, you know, even a three year old will blame themselves for sexual trauma that happens because in the process of feeling ashamed or blaming yourself, you feel like your perception is that you could be in control in some way. Right? Yeah. And I could act a different way. And have this not happen. Right. And that’s this, this false perception of safety. Yeah, right. And false perception of all knowingness and control, when the reality of being a human is that we are repeatedly in situations where we’re gonna find ourselves helpless and vulnerable. And I really feel like the path of healing and wholeness and vibrance is actually the capacity to be vulnerable. And be okay with it versus invulnerable. Yeah, you know, I, I grew up in a physically violent household where being yelled at or threatened or physically, like, I would not let myself cry. And inside my mantra was like, Fuck you, motherfucker. You don’t affect me. Yeah, right. And so totally not being affected. I’ve had to be to do this whole process of unwinding and unlearning. Yeah, invulnerability. And that’s affected my sexuality. And like, the first woman that I had sex with, she afterwards was like, 10, that blow your mind? How are you not like, dying right now? You know, she was older. And she was like, I can’t believe she was describing, like, what her first experience was. And I was like, she’s like, you’re just like, too cool. And it was that there was some part of me while I, on one hand, could feel everything constantly. It was like a raw nerve in the world. Another part of me was quite numb, because it was protected from being affected. Yeah, like so many situations in my life. I was like, I’m not going to be affected by that. I’m not gonna not consciously really, yeah, but I got super good at being invulnerable. And my path has been one of learning vulnerability. Yeah.

That’s huge.

I feel like I still do that. I do think I do that. Like, when my son’s dad, or, you know, now things are going really smoothly. But in the past, it was just like, I had an attitude of like, and I understand why it was like, I, I don’t trust you with my vulnerability. I don’t trust that showing you my vulnerability is actually going to make anything go better. So I’m going to turn it to, I don’t need you. I don’t, I’m not affected by you.

Your actions don’t bother me. Yeah. And I’ll deal with it, you know, to shift to just like, I’ll, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me, you know, instead of like, oh, I actually need you actually need your help. Because I didn’t trust that he would actually help me, you know, in those moments, all right. And there was a time when he would have attacked me and those not not physically, but just, you know, verbally, you know, poked at me and moments like that. So part of the relationship with him has been like relearning vulnerability, as we both healed a lot and like relearning that like, oh, like, in these moments, now, I can just tell them like, hey, like, I’m not able to do this on my own. You know, I’m not able to take care of this thing that I think I’m supposed to be able to take care of, you know, well, there’s a discernment to right, because there’s going to be certain people mean, when you have a child with someone, you’re tied to them for life. Yeah. And sometimes we don’t choose well, or who we’ve chose, that isn’t who we choose now, in this more grown up consciousness. And, you know, sometimes it’s actually really discerning to not be vulnerable. Yeah, I think it was really important for for some amount of time, you know, yeah, I think that was actually really helpful for me because I in into

During my trauma healing process, like when the the most intense years of it when I was doing like a ceremony every month, I was doing trauma sensitive yoga, which was like, the main thing that physically that turned it around for me, I was having a lot more like healing and opening sexual experiences with men, I did think I kind of went overboard with vulnerability of like, oh, I should always be vulnerable, I should always be open, I’ve spent so many years locked up, toughened up, I should always be open how anybody shows up, which ended up being no boundaries.

And like, thinking I was supposed to trust everyone, and I was supposed to open up to everyone. And, you know, I had a few experiences where it was like, oh, no, you don’t get to hear all my story’s just because you did something nice for me, like, I don’t trust you yet. You know, which is, was hard for me to do. Because I, I started learning that as a skill of just like, a kind of the over vulnerability, right, so having to, like, re align to like, oh, like, there are some situations where it’s appropriate to get my support elsewhere, not show somebody that I’m not that, that their actions are affecting me in a difficult way, because they can’t handle it. And I know them well enough to know that it’s not gonna go well. So I’m gonna get my support elsewhere. And I’m going to, like, have a big enough, you know, solid enough community that I don’t have to lean on, you know, any one person and then finding the balance and that they’re not toughening up again. Because like, then, then I can swing over to the pendulum, definitely, when you’re doing something new, right, it can be really rigid, and it’s like non existent. And then how it can come back into the middle. Where, you know, the image I get is the aperture on a camera. Right? So it’s like, wide open and letting all the light in are totally closed, and it’s completely dark. And it’s like, Wait, let’s just see that, like, see what happens if we have a balanced in the image. That’s something that was so helpful about trauma sensitive yoga, because I had thought, you know, even with like, diving into the ceremonies and getting back into spirituality, and I was doing a lot of like, active emotional healing through songwriting, too. And it was so cathartic, and it was so much it was just like, very, at the level that was very destabilizing. How much like cathartic healing release I was doing emotionally.

And the trauma sensitive yoga class taught me like, that’s actually not always what healing looks like, right. catharsis can be realizing, yeah, like, and within the first two sessions, it was like, Oh, I’ve been re traumatizing myself so hard.

By thinking, I was posted, dive down into the depths and stay there as long as it takes to process all the hardest things. And I was doing that with songs. I was just like, oh, let’s go. And it was the first time I even had heard the concept of like, you know, there’s, there’s diving in too deep, and there’s transcending and bypassing it. And there’s something in the middle, and you can, you can go gently, you can dip in to those hard feelings that have been built up for so long. And I didn’t like it at first because I had so much pain still. And I was like, I can’t wait, I can’t be that patient. I can’t go slowly because I’m on fire, you know, and so it was really hard to get over to that new model, but it was it worked so well. But you know, when I started doing it, I was like, oh, like the healing is the slowness I got ya.

So you know what somatic experiencing it? Yeah, right. Peter Levine, who is a seminal person in the world of trauma education, created this form of healing called somatic experiencing, and it’s very slow. Yeah. And so years ago, I my therapist was a woman named Stacy Haynes. And she gave up her private practice and she had a group that she ran. And this woman who took over for her was a somatic experiencing person. And so I was like, Oh, I’ll you know, I’ll go see her individually as well. I just remember sitting in a session with her where things were moving so slowly. I felt like I was gonna have a panic attack. Like I was like, I can’t, I can’t move this like made me so anxious to move that slowly. And I love what you’re saying about like feeling on fire. Yeah, like I have to heal now. It has to happen all at once. And some big release when your nervous system isn’t is, you know may not be trained to slow down enough to tolerate the being that slow. And it’s a an addictive thing when you’re used to moving really quickly and you’re used to it’s like spinning out in a particular way. It’s like that’s what it’s your system gets it almost addicted to it. That piece that you’re talking about, which is titration. Yeah, right. Like, yeah, go dip into it a little bit. Now, what’s something that feels really good? Okay, let’s visit that feeling of terror for one minute. Now. Let’s now let’s like feel part of our body that feels really strong or relaxed now. Yeah, versus like having to just dive in and spin in the mud? Yeah. Yeah, the noticing what feels good is a huge part of it, like, noticing. 

That was one of the parts of the trauma sensitive yoga program was like, like, beyond just in the class, like start noticing where you do feel safe, start noticing who you feel safe around, because I you know, I was so protective. I was so like, on the lookout for harm, you know. And, you know, even if, like, you know, an acquaintance that I don’t know very well, but I just feel a really nice feeling when I’m around them. Just think of that person, you know, just like have a moment, thinking of a person you feel really comfortable around, you know. And that was so helpful. And it was so countered to what I thought it healing was going to be I thought it had to be suffering, I thought it had to be hard. That’s I think that is so key, what you just said is so important, because if you’ve grown up in suffering, and I did not grow up anywhere near a church or Christianity, so there’s that kind of deep suffering. But when you grew up in a household where your parent has chosen to be with someone, and she’s constantly suffering, it’s like, suffering is the way that the hardest way through is the way that you choose. Yeah. And that’s what I found myself as well. I think for the last over 15 years ease has been one of my intentions every year. Yeah. Right. It’s like how to just keep finding ease, how to just keep buying the way that has more pleasure in it. I have a lot of ease in my life, like, Yeah, I mean, I’m in a relationship that is the easiest, most nourishing relationship I’ve ever been in. And just like, everything about it is easeful and loving. And that’s so new for me, because I’ve just experienced relationships is like, if you want a good relationship, you have to work hard, and you have to do all this dirt. And I’m like, Oh, are we can just chill out. And this is great.

Oh, my God, how about that. And, you know, the same with parenting? I, you know, I’m like, finding more moments of like, getting through hard moment, hard, hard, like disciplinary type of moments, like with play. And with like, a funny story or, you know, something that’s like, somewhat takes us out of the conflict, but also, like, just gives us another way to look at it. 

And like that, even that it doesn’t have to be hard in the way that I always think it has to be hard because parenting is there’s also all the sacrifice stuff about parenting, there’s all the like, Oh, are we supposed to be you know, you know, both crediting moms, but at the same time naming that that’s what moms are supposed to do. Like, oh my, you know, moms are angels that we can ever repay and blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, yeah, and also, I don’t, this doesn’t have to all be on me.

Here we could structure this little little differently. Thanks for the recognition. Yeah. Yeah, there’s so many, whether it’s the beliefs of the church, whether it’s the beliefs of the ex husband, whether it’s the you know, even these quote unquote, positive stereotypes that are put on you as a mom, like all these beliefs, and it’s like how do you navigate your way through external beliefs that then become internal beliefs? Yeah, about the right way to be or the wrong way to be? Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it’s like a constant dismantling of, I feel like at this point just I don’t feel like I’m working on like the big stuff anymore. Like I don’t I feel like I did so much therapy and so much ceremony and and so much trauma healing that I feel like I’ve shifted into like, the healing practices being about the little things about some hair

Had moment at work yesterday about like this, like, confusing situation I had with, you know, with my son’s dad isn’t that like, I didn’t know how to interpret and so then I then like I take on a story about it. And then I dismantled that, and it happens really rapidly now it’s happens like, every week or so. And like the stories, the internal narratives don’t stick around very long anymore. You know, it’s like, I have the especially through ceremony, they’re just like this really flowing process of like, okay, you took on that story to get you through that day. And you don’t need that anymore. And it’s, it’s not it’s not the huge things anymore. It’s not the like, oh, you had that story for 20 years of your life? Because, you know, it’s more just like, Oh, what are the little things I’m taking on every day?

And how do I just release those as quickly as I can? Right, so that I can not be burdened by stuff that isn’t true. You know, that’s, that’s the piece around release is so significant. Yeah. Right. Like, because some people and I know that this was part of my background is I think even in utero is like I’ll make I’ll take your pain away. I’ll hold your pain, and that’s how I’m gonna get be loved in the world. And that’s all survive. And then what that can show up in people’s bodies as is like chronic tension, constipation, all these different things. So the practice of being able to let something come through, pass through and be released. Yeah. Right. Whether it’s food, poop, whatever, you know, emotions, other people’s experiences and energy. It’s a really essential part of health. Yeah, right. Is the release. And that’s, you know, orgasm. Yeah. And so, you know, yeah, if you’re not able to surrender and let go and allow things to move through you. Orgasms really hard. Yeah. Which brings me to a total, you know, curious, so then how for you, how do you experience sexual freedom at this point in your life? So what does that mean to you at this point, sexual freedom. Gosh, I mean, it’s a similar thing of like, taking any story that starts take take hold, and then just releasing it, you know, because I still have little, like, shame stories that come in, and little, like patriarchy, stories that come in, that just like filter in through cultural messages and stuff, and I just still have things like, I’m supposed to be this way, I’m supposed, you know, and, you know, a big part of my sexual health is just, it is cognitive, of like, just releasing those judgments of myself, or those ideas of what I’m supposed to do, or what I’m supposed to want, or how I’m supposed to experience sex or anything. And, I mean, it’s absolutely amazing to have a partner that I trust and love, who I can have regular sexual experiences with that are healing and pleasurable, and, like, fun, you know, and I think that one of the hard things about not having a partner was, you know, it’s, it’s okay, like, the whole dating landscape is, so is changing so much, and it can get really confusing for everybody. And there’s so much freedom, and like people being able to have lots of different partners, and there’s like, there’s something really freeing and beautiful about that, and either serially, or during the same time, not necessarily like all at once, but you know, like having a polyamorous relationship where you’re with different people, there’s something really freeing about that, you know, in my mind, I think, oh, that’s some version of freedom, but oh my gosh, like for me that like that kind of, I feel that kind of freedom with it within the trust that I I’m just going deep with one person. Like, there’s so much more freedom than that, for me, and I’ve actually felt a lot of pressure especially in the Bay Area, and from plenty of men that I’ve dated in the past to like, be open and don’t you want to have multiple partners and did it and I’m like, No, I don’t like I felt that way for like a few years in my early 20s that I wanted to be able to sleep with lots of different people you know, but like, safety and trust are such a big part of it for me and when I feel that I’m really safe with somebody and then it can really trust them then like then I feel so much more expressed and so much for your I feel like there’s I’ve also just you know, had cultural messages filter in that like I’m not supposed to want monogamy I’m not supposed to want a relationship. I’m supposed to be fine on my own. I’m supposed to be okay. Just, you know, but like God, sexuality is such a big part of my experience as a human being and I

I don’t like doing it outside of a relationship. Like, that doesn’t feel good to me. There’s been times when I have because it’s better than not at all, or because, you know, there have been times when exploring that was a good idea and healing and all that good stuff. But like, I kind of landed at like, well, it’s not really worth it to me to go to those depths with somebody.

If we’re not going to be doing this for a long time.

And, like building trust, you know, with each other, I feel like there’s stigma around women who want you know, long term monogamous partnership right now. Yeah, and I don’t like that. Because to me, when I really just laid out, it just makes absolute sense. Why would want that it’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s like, my relationship is like, such an incredible blessing to my life, it makes everything easier, I feel like I can like, blossom into my creativity in ways that I wasn’t feeling like I could before. Or I wasn’t feeling supported enough. So I get a little frustrated with whatever that message is, that’s kind of being passed around. I think that there’s there’s so many different bubbles, and you know, subsets of what women are, what people should do, and how they should be sexually right. And you move from one that was so restrictive and in dictating. And then I also think like the sex positive world, it can be it can dictate, like, this is what sexual freedom looks like. Yeah. And I think it’s so important, because to me, you know, what sexual freedom is, is being able to feel into your body and know what feels good and right to you and to your soul. And that’s particular to you. Yeah, right. And so for somebody else, it might be that they were so restricted and bound in a monogamous relationship or any relationship and that they’re in a masturbation practice. And that’s the, that’s all that their system wants, or maybe they’re asexual, and they’re sexually expressed through creativity and through songwriting, and nothing else. And I just think that it’s the key, in my mind to sexual freedom is non judgement. Yeah. Right. It’s like, how can we just keep being in a practice? Because I think of sexuality and sexual energy is your lifeforce. And one of the things that hampers lifeforce is judgment. Yeah, of any kind, internal external, it’s like squeezing it down making yourself wrong. So how do we just keep opening the channels for God to flow through for music to flow through for orgasm to flow through for love to flow through?

And that’s non judgement. Yeah. Yeah, that’s been such a big part of, like, healing from fibromyalgia, but just like, not even to frame it that way, but just in feeling good in my own body, you know, not as a duality from when I felt bad in my own body, but just in feeling good in my own body, is just letting myself want what I want. And it doesn’t mean I’m going to necessarily act on it, I can still have lots of boundaries that I can, you know, name for myself, and respect. And other people, you know, there’s still a lot of boundaries, of course, but like, just not denying once, right, you know, like, just to, like, let it be what it is. So if I want something or somebody, then to not make myself wrong for that. And to, like, I don’t know, I went through this process over the past few years of like, my want for stable partnership, growing and growing and growing. And like getting all these messages in, I’m not supposed to want that, or I’m not gonna get it if I do want it because it doesn’t exist, and blah, blah, blah, you know, all this stuff. And I just one of the most healing things for me was just letting that be as powerful of a desire as it was. And just like, kind of surrendering to that, just like, Well, okay, that’s what I continue to want, and I continue to want it more. And it doesn’t really matter if I see a path to possibility for that. It’s, I’m probably gonna keep wanting it and just letting myself have that desire and like, beginning the process of like, enjoying the desire. Absolutely. You know, because when I deny that then like, you’re denying part of yourself. You’re not accepted. So it’s like a practice of self acceptance to allow the desire to be there. Yeah, and desiring something I don’t have.

Allowing myself to fully desire it feels a lot better.

Then trying to push away the desire, so it makes so you would think

Uh oh, I guess in the past that, oh, if I really let myself want this, it’s going to be torture, I’m going to it’s going to be so hard. I’m just going to want something I can’t have, you know, and it was the opposite. It was like when I let myself want something, it’s like, Oh, it feels kind of good just to want it. Even if I don’t have it, it kind of feels like having it in some ways. Yeah, I think the desire is linked to it in a way that it’s just like, Oh, this feels better and more freeing and, you know, not torture at all around this topic. I’m curious if there are any songs that you that you would like most of my songs, okay, I could go in two different directions.

One is like, really specific to trauma and music carrying me through that. And, like being the thing I get to keep no matter what, so that’s probably a good idea. The other one is, like a song of joy. And just like kind of addressing like, I don’t I don’t need to suffer like I’ve I’ve done plenty of that. I was like doing this like deep excavation thing writing a song that was actually about something that was kind of boring to me and wasn’t anything more to excavate about and then I had this like voice that was just like you could just write about joy like you don’t have to do it this way. You can just write about feeling good. And so in this in the spirit of that what would feel good to play what would you like what would you like to share not not being a good girl and having done the assignment and stay on topic, but what would you like to share? I want to sing that joy one Yeah. All right. That sounds good better let’s do that.


my song



carried on EFSA




waited Oh my day for all right

this job

my heart filled with my this temple to hold

the star that shines the way

back to this play

see my song



have Sir


oh my day


my heart filled with

this tempo to

star shines the way that this pay

This has been Laid Open podcast with your host Charna Cassell. Please join us again next week. If this show feels beneficial. We’d love it if you would please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions around sex and trauma. You can submit them at Follow Let me at Laid Open podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at Until next time remember who you are.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Subscribe to
The LaidOPEN

Don’t forget to rate and review the podcast! Not sure how to leave a review? Check out this tutorial!

Come Join the Mailing List.

Receive news, updates and exclusive promotions when you sign up.

© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

Design by Faridunia