Journaling saves my life on a regular basis. It’s my solace, my safety net. It’s the primary way I manage my anxiety, track my moods, and process my experiences. Any time someone compliments me for “having my shit together,” being “productive” or “organized,” or just being “such a positive person,” I want to tell them that it’s mostly due to my journaling habit. My daily scrawls and scribbles in ruled Moleskine notebooks are the psychological glue that holds me together.
One of the cool things about journaling is that you can use it to explore any facet of your psyche. Suck at relationships? Write until you discover the root of the problem. Hate your job? Rant about it til you feel better, and then brainstorm solutions. Listless and depressed? Make gratitude lists until the corners of your mouth turn up.
By that token, I recently assigned myself some journaling “homework” because my body image needed a serious tune-up. I figured I’d share the prompts with you so you can do ’em yourself – and I’m also sharing my responses, to get your mental gears turning.
1. What parts of your body have people told you they love?
My most recent ex often told me he loved my hips, squishy and wide though they may be. He also thought I had a beautiful vulva. He liked my face with no makeup on, but could also appreciate the artistry of my beloved winged liner and bright lipsticks.
My FWB in high school used to rave about my inner labia: how pretty and pink they are, and how soft and smooth they felt on her tongue. She loved my long, curly hair, my hazel eyes, and my full pink lips. And she, too, complimented my hips any chance she got.
I used to fret a lot about my nose, because it’s HUGE – Jew genes ahoy! – but friends have often told me that it suits my face and lends “character” to my appearance. Okay then.
When Penny shot semi-nudes of me in Oregon, she told me she liked my smouldering facial expressions. Some of the commenters on that post had nice things to say about my curves, which felt like such a relief after all the internalized fat-hatred I’ve been cruelly inflicting on myself lately. I am chubby and that’s okay!
2. What parts of your body do you love?
My princess hair. My long eyelashes and soft full lips. My distinctive nose. My neck and collarbone. My boobs, especially now that I’ve gained weight and they’re bigger! The little dip where my belly meets my mons. My labia and clit hood. The backs of my knees (they’re cute, and ticklish!).
3. What can your body do really well?
It can stay in yoga poses for long minutes at a time, and stretch out deliciously. It’s well-versed in masturbation, orgasms and handjobs! I am a world-class snuggler. I can roll my stomach muscles like a belly dancer. I’ve been told I’m a good kisser. And what my dancing lacks in technical skill, it makes up for in sheer enthusiasm!
4. What cool things has your body accomplished in the past?
I’ve played tennis and badminton until my arms ached and a euphoric grin rose on my face. I’ve contorted into weird poses, strutted across stages, and done countless trust falls in the course of my work as a competitive improvisor and improv coach. I once canoed from downtown to Toronto Island and back again (all while singing “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”!). I’ve had up to 5 orgasms in a day, and given some stellar HJs and BJs in my time. I’ve exhausted my fingers and vocal cords performing music for hours on end. I’ve hauled IKEA furniture home, dragged a 50-pound suitcase all around Portland, and carried a lazy cat up our three flights of stairs a million times. Once, I punched a boy in the stomach when he was physically blocking my path and being a creepy dipshit.
5. What cool things will your body accomplish in the future?
I hope to do dozens of sun salutations in the park, surrounded by other yogis. I want to swim in Lake Bernard and tread water with pals while laughing so hard I cry.
I want to fuck on top of a grand piano, have anal sex with someone I love and trust, squirt in someone’s face, and experience subspace – not necessarily all in one session (although that would be impressive).
One day I want to get so deep into meditation that I have an out-of-body experience – not because I want to leave my body, but because I think it would make me appreciate it even more.