There is No Me Without You

Life, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Love, Sex, Spirituality

A few years ago, during a psychedelic trip, I was shown an insight that would forever change my life. This lesson came to me with such a knowing, that I tattooed it’s symbol on my hand as a reminder – this is what will always lead me. The discovery came in response to the question, what is the most romantic thing in the world? Is it flowers, opening doors, buying gifts, writing love notes, trips to Paris? Is it forehead kisses, or late night rendezvous? The answer that was revealed to me – parallel lines. They are defined as two lines, infinitely traveling in the same directions, never crossing one another. But what happens when you remove one, or change directions? They are no longer parallel lines. They lose their definition when they lose each other – this is what it is to be human. Your existence defines mine, and mine defines yours. In order for us to fulfill our purpose, and exist in the way intended for us, we must also honour this equilibrium between and within us.

This piece will examine various spiritual and psychological dichotomies in an effort to present you with evidence that spans across cultures, religions, and time, that we cannot have the harmonious existence of our true selves without honouring both sides of the coin. We do not receive fulfillment and true power without mending the relationship between opposing forces within ourselves.

I have always believed in the power of unification and connection. Albeit, throughout my life there have been many dividing forces and energy, I have seen the true power in the act of two becoming one. So much of the world we experience in North America is created to divide us. We are shown our differences more often than our resemblances, we are taught to compartmentalize and section off other humans; we are told we are alone. Herein the great void between you and I will we find our greatest weaknesses and darknesses, how we fail ourselves, how we fail each other; they are one and the same. However, if we seek to remember, we may just find that through the discovery of the joining between the divine masculine and divine feminine that lives in all of us, we will be led to a river of wholeness and love that we can all drink from. In the dishonouring of each of these divine energies, we create a fear-shame dynamic that plagues many relationships. Yet, in the reconciling of each, we can and will become what we have always been – one.

Let’s begin with the objective, before we dive into the spiritual. The fear-shame dynamic is the force that attracts us to one another but also our reactive trigger in relationships. That is to say, one person is shame-reactive, and the other is fear-reactive, and their behaviours will seek to avoid each of these respectively. Often times, it is the female who is fear-avoidant; she is seeking someone who can promise long term protection. She seeks to be free from fear, she wants to nurture an individual whom she can place her faith in. She wants to believe in you. We can see this present in human psychology. PTSD is more prevalent in females than males (10% of women, 4% of men), perhaps because 50% of females experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, perhaps because one in three women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The symptoms of PTSD present themselves differently between the sexes as well. Women are more likely to exhibit alarm-raising behaviour. They become more apprehensive of situations and others, high-strung in stressful or fear-inducing contexts, and display avoidant behaviour. Men, on the other hand, become more aggressive and are unable to aptly regulate their emotions.

If we look to the animal kingdom to support this theory, we are provided answers within the morphology of other mammals. Males tend to be larger and more aggressive in nature as a result of their greater testosterone production, as within human males. Obviously this does not apply to all, there are exceptions to this as there always are. Female hyenas, for example, have genitalia that closely resembles the males, they come fully equipped with a pseudo-penis. However, they also have increased amounts of female testosterone produced within their abnormally larger adrenal gland. The life expectancy of the males, both animal and mammal, is considerably less. This is often aligned to the fact that males participate in more risk-taking behaviour, such as competition. Could this be out of the innate desire and drive they have to prove themselves worthy? The need for males to prove oneself of value and purpose appears to be more than coincidence.

The shame-reactive individual is seeking a partner that believes in them, that needs them. They are seeking a purpose, to protect, and they need to feel as if they are fulfilling this purpose. If this function is not fulfilled, the individual feels ashamed, inadequate, and a failure. Shame is the negative evaluation of self, in this emotion, there is a consciousness of one’s shortcomings. Therefore, the individual who is shame-avoidant will seek someone who will not let them fall short, or feel as if they are.

When these two individuals meet, the shame-reactive person has finally found someone who is seeking their protector and will praise them as such, while the fear-reactive person has been brought before their saviour. The problem that occurs each time however, is that this does not free each individual from their predispositions. Their initial meeting and coupling only acts as a momentary reprieve or escape from their driving force. When the fear-reactive individual displays anxiousness, worry, or terror, it triggers the shame-avoidant individual who feels as if they are failing their partner. This leads us to the dishonouring of one another because each individual is seeking solely to satiate their own proclivities, they are acting from ego which is pleasure-seeking and fear-avoidant.

The ego is the death of love. It is the resistance we meet within each of us, as well as one another – it is a shared enemy that we must overcome. Often times, the darkness we see in one another is what calls us in. Like a black candle, and our demons a moth to it’s flame. Tales of ego and it’s harm have been retold throughout various religions and cultures for thousands of years. Take the Hindu goddess, Saraswati, for example. One third of the Tridevi, a divine trinity (which also includes the goddesses Lakshmi, and Parvati), Saraswati was born from the five tongues of Brahma; knowledge incarnate. She is the goddess of wisdom, art, language, and learning. Her name means fluidity, and free-flowing as she is akin to the energy of a river, or lake. She has been said to have originally been a partner to Vishnu, but many references of her also tell of Brahma’s pursuing of his own creation. When he bore her, he looked upon her with endless love for her beauty and she proceeded to run from him. He creates another face so that he may gaze upon her again, and she runs away persistently. This happens until he creates five faces total. Eventually, Saraswati runs to Shiva for protection who rips off Brahma’s fifth head, said to be ego. Following the removal of such, Brahma decides to bless her rather than badger, and this is how she receives the water energy – a gift from her creator. Brahma then takes Saraswati inside of him so that he may continue to learn and grow from and with her. They become a harmonious one again. Even in this tale, we can see that the dishonouring of the divine feminine only leads to the detriment of the divine masculine.

So what is the divine masculine and the divine feminine? It is important to note that while these divine energies are spoken about in a binary form, they are regarded as polarities and not necessarily gender. That is to say, within each of us while both polarities exist as our life source, each human’s balance or imbalance of each has nothing to do with their own gender, or ascribed vernacular. In order to express the importance of the necessary union and harmonization of these two divinities, we must first explore each individually.

The divine feminine is the dreamer. She births the dream which is the divine masculine. The divine feminine is intuition, creation, and healing. The most healing force in this universe is love, this is what leads us to the dream. This divinity is aligned with water, which is the element of the emotional world. It is also ruled by the moon, a being with a gravitational pull strong enough that it moves the ocean. The moon controls the tides on Earth as it rules over the ebb and flow within each of us. The divine feminine is the catalyst, the muse; it gives purpose. Sound familiar? When the divine feminine is suppressed and dishonoured, it reacts from a place of fear. The violated divinity will in turn be wrathful, and will seek to diminish others feminine energy to feel empowered. An individual who has an exploited or abused divine feminine within will have attachment issues within their relationships, they may become co-dependant, suffer from extreme self-doubt, and can seek to manipulate others in order to regain her footing. These actions will trigger shame and unworthiness in the divine masculine. Thus, the dishonouring of this divinity within us, leads to the dishonouring of the divine masculine.

If the female is the dreamer, birthing beings into existence, then the male is the dream. His purpose is set forth by his creator. He is given space, home, a calling because of Her. This divinity is logic and reason, and when it cannot rationalize or is unable to fulfill its purpose, it will become judgmental, separated and closed off. It is no coincidence that increased testosterone levels have shown a decrease in interpersonal trust. The divine masculine is the protector and guardian, He is action and survival. He is firm, unable to be crossed, and his boundaries are always set and immovable. When the divine masculine is dishonoured, it reacts aggressively and is unable to appropriately convey emotions out of shame. Also sound familiar? The dishonoured divine masculine feels lost, without purpose or cause, so it will seek to regain power via whatever means necessary – which leads to the suppression and exploitation of the divine feminine.

Another retelling of the dangers of not honouring the divinities within us come from the Gnostic myth of Sophia Gaia. She has many incarnates – Mother Mary is her ascendant form, Mary Magdalene is her earthly body. She is known as Shakti in Hinduism, and Boddhisatva in Buddhism. Born of Depth and Silence, Sophia lived among the spirits of life, along with her twin brother. But Sophia falls from her home in the light when she follows another light below into the underworld, believing it was the Father, the Creative Source. There she remained trapped, and the dark energies of the underworld abused and exploited her. She was violated and soon birthed offspring that was of pride, ignorance and fear; demons only seeking power and pleasure. As we have seen earlier, the violation of the divine balance leads to these same outcomes; ego. Yet, Sophia never forgot the light she came from and remained in her power, honouring herself until she was able to birth beauty and spiritual potential into the world, rather than the unrealized potential that brought about ego. She placed Consciousness into the body of man, who was Adam, and this was actualized into the world through the creation of Eve. In the bible, it states that woman was built up from man, from his rib and delivered unto him. Could this be a reference to the higher placement of the divine? Sophia returns to her home eventually, and marries herself with her brother, symbolizing the unification of divine masculine and feminine. She divides herself throughout time and space on the Earthly plane so that enlightenment may be attained for all.

You may now be wondering, how do we reconcile these divinities within ourselves? We must dive into the dark if we are ever able to lead ourselves out of it. Do not let the fear of your own madness hold you prisoner there. To be able to seek the solution, we must find first identify the problem. How are you acting from a place of ego? What types of behaviours that are not in alignment with love are you displaying? Are you constantly receiving the same results from your relationships, even though the people are different? Much like Brahma and his five heads, by merely changing the faces of our obstacles does not remove them from existence.

My journey thus far has led me to want to examine this for myself. I have spent much time sitting in my fear, asking my insides who has seen it. What am I running from? What do I fear and from where does it stem? Lately, the answer has never been louder. I fear the greatness that lives in my bones. I fear I am not enough. I fear doing or saying the wrong thing and losing your love. I fear it all. I had to come to terms with the fact that in this fear, I was not honouring my own boundaries. By acting from a place of fear, not of love of self, I was not protecting myself. I was not protecting my divine feminine. I didn’t believe in the innate worth of myself. I was not being my own purpose. I was seeking validation in order to feel loved because that is how I feel safe. But by breaking contracts with my own divine masculine, it left the divine feminine in me to be dishonoured and thus, I have not been able to stand in my whole power.

What is there left to do? Uncross myself. As the parallel lines live in a paradoxical state of both counterpart and one, so must my masculine and feminine divinities. By honouring the characteristics and embodiment of each – of loving, healing heart, and protector-guardian to this energy – will we each be set free from the mortal confines of our conditioning.

When will you decide to honour all parts of yourself?
When will you decide you deserve to be honoured?

Fucking for Feelings

Casual Sex, Relationships, Sex

Okay, let’s talk about sex, babies.

More specifically, casual sex, and the ups and downs of sexual detachment. Let’s begin with riding around in Porsche’s with boys…

I met this guy at Queen Street Warehouse, which is this dive bar I worked at a few years ago. We were friends, and would go out frequently, but I didn’t really think much of him romantically throughout this time.  It was always us with our large group of friends, partying almost every night, and having the fucking time of our lives.

One night, he and I were out at our usual spot, which that summer was Odd Thomas, and we were wasted. What else is new. We left the group before last call (which was a rarity back them) and went by my house afterwards, I think to get drugs, but I can’t be too sure.  We ended hooking up, clumsily, noisily and sloppily.  My roommate and I made jokes about this encounter for a year because he was so loud. The next day, I woke up shocked to find him still there, and wanting to get breakfast together. It was strange to me because I never let anyone sleepover in my bed, but he was my friend so I wasn’t too bothered by it. No, really – I would normally call a cab for the guy while he was in the bathroom; I was the ultimate fuckboy. We went to get some food, and I started to feel awkward, so I picked up a  shift at Warehouse and quickly departed before I could entertain any actual conversation. That night, he picked me up from work in his mom’s Porsche, and slept over again.

And this is how I ended up in the most random relationship ever.

See, Mom’s-Porsche-Guy (or MPG for short) and I were (and still are) completely different people. He’s a people-pleasing, loud, WASP-type. I am not. He would be everyone’s best friend to their faces, but then complain to me about them afterwards. He desperately wanted to be a part of the scene, so I introduced him to all my friends.

We spent most of our free time together, but he seldom spoke of anything on a personal level. Regardless, we had a lot of fun together, and it made the small things that he would share, mean more to me. The thing about this relationship is that we sort of just assimilated into each others lives and it became something, but nothing meaningful. We were best friends, enjoying each others company and sex, but it wasn’t some great love story. He picked up me all the time from wherever I was, and slept over regularly…I even stayed at his mom’s place one weekend. So, on paper, yes, in actions, a couple, but in reality, it was just a facade. We were both comfortable, and I think in a city where being genuine is scarce, it felt like something more real than it was.

We were having sex to create a relationship, or sex to hide the fact that there wasn’t much there. Regardless, there was no progression, no real emotional connection, only a plateau to which we reached throughout the months we dated.

We soon found ourselves infected by the current epidemic sweeping the streets of Toronto: a pseudo-relationship. It looks a relationship, and acts like a relationship, but you two are not boyfriend-girlfriend,  and you’re not doing things to further yourselves or your lives together.  Perhaps you do want the best for one another, but nothing you do actually supports or furthers the individual you’re with.

I’ve encountered this within my own experiences, as well as people close to me over the years. Why are we so afraid of relationships? Or even prefacing these interactions with honest feelings. We’re all out here either attempting to detach, or failing to make real connections. Most people in our age group would rather catch an STD before they catch feelings.

I want to pause here to clarify something, I am not condemning casual sex, by any means. If it feels right to you, and it is in line with what you and the other person (yes, there’s another person’s feelings you should probably consider here, too) want, by all means, get yours. The issue becomes when one person says “I only want sex”, and the other hears, “I want a relationship”. I believe that there can be a separation of intimacy, and sex. I also believe that in order for this to be possible, you need to be able to have intimacy in other areas of your life. You can’t keep everything inside forever, and by attempting to do so, you’re isolating yourself, and leaving yourself incapable of sharing yourself at all.

Getting back to detachment, I am certainly no stranger to it. I used to be the girl who couldn’t even look you in the eyes when we had sex. Probably still cant, I’ll do some research and let you know. I was in a serious relationship for four years and hated when he said “I love you” during sex, because it felt like an obligation to me. That could be because of my own thoughts and experiences on intimacy and sex, but I feel as if it is a prevalent standpoint these days. You cannot force detachment though. Just because you rationalize something, does not mean you stop feeling it. I would try and talk myself into (and I most certainly have) purely physical relationships. The ones where I’d sit, sifting through texts, deciphering each message that showed even a shred of what I could convince myself were real emotions. The ones with instant meaningless gratification, the ones that really had nothing there but UberEats and strong sexual chemistry. Meanwhile, I’d be so swept away in my stupid feelings that I’d be lighting up brighter than girl’s highlight on Queen St. when the guy I was “casually seeing” would text me.

But that didn’t make me okay with a relationship that was half-in, half-out.

Which brings us to the guy who actually owns a Porsche. He and I met through my friend and the guy she was dating. We all went out for dinner one night, and when I first met him, there wasn’t much there. Throughout the night, the more we talked, he revealed himself to be wildly charming and intelligent, and I was sold. We all went back to his condo after dinner, and my best friend and her boyfriend took to the spare bedroom. He offered me his bed for the night and he’d take the couch, but I declined. Cue my on-again-off-again bootycall messaging me, (another guy I had feelings for at the time, but obviously settled for the sex), and he was definitely where I wanted to be because it seemed easiest. Sex over emotions, right? I told Owns-A-Porsche (OAP for short) that I had to go to my sister’s house to watch her kids, so he sent me in an uber to my bootycall. Win.

Later that night, I came back to OAP’s place, because he had given me a key and insisted that I come back, and passed I out on the couch. When I woke up, we hung out all day, he kissed me, and I was so hooked. We had so much in common, and spoke for ever about, politics, art, life experiences, and he seemed to truly understand me.

Waiting for the shoe to drop? Because here it comes…

In classic fuck-up fashion, I then find out that, he and his girlfriend were not broken up, so that put a damper on things. But, I was so tragically wrapped up in him, and from everything he told me about her—I just knew they weren’t right for each other and that it should have been us.

There was something about the things he would say that made me come back to him constantly. I was so desperate for someone to understand me, and not shy away from my demons, that I allowed myself to enter into a relationship that was unbecoming of my soul. I cheated myself out of a real connection, and he cheated on his girlfriend with me. I didn’t see the wrong here because he would tell me that she was doing the same; that she was a gold-digger. He told me that I had all the potential in the world, and she didn’t, so he had to help her. Its funny, right?  That, that was ultimately his reason for staying with her. He told me she needed him. But that wasn’t true, he needed an escape, and I looked like a vacation. The point here is,  I’ve allowed sex to be a supplement for an actual emotional connection before. More than a connection, I’ve allowed sex to be the relationship rather than having the relationship I deserve. I know how it feels to think you love someone, maybe you truly do love them, and instead have sex be your life raft in their sea. I’ve white-knuckled certain relationships that I should have let go. I’ve allowed myself to think, if we have this, we surely have something.

In both of these instances, I had sex to keep a connection, and sex to create one. This is the problem when you’re substituting what you want, for what you’ll settle for. I am a very sex-positive person, but if you’re using someone for sex or using sex to keep someone, it is not benefiting you, and is no longer “casual”.  Again, I am in no way condemning casual sex; do it, get it, enjoy it! But make sure you aren’t either pushing your emotions, or the emotions of someone else, aside while you’re doing so.

Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Don’t be afraid to get hurt in this way. We prioritize fucking over falling in love, all too often. I am no stranger to the idea that emotional pain is far worse than the physical, but this type of detachment leads to the demise of our inner selves. I’ve maintained detachment to avoid the possible emotional bruising of a poor-ending relationship, and yet, it only causes more pain. You realize you’re starving yourself, and at the first opportunity you have for some sort of connection, or what you believe to be a connection, you gorge yourself. This is not healthy.

Love and leave pieces of you with others – you’ll get them back, I promise. Don’t be afraid to show love, give love, receive love, wherever and whenever possible.

When you lay with someone, you become their equal. So with whatever path you choose to take in your life, at least have a baseline of respect for yourself and the person you’re entering into this with. If there’s something that I’ve learned through my mistakes, it’s that sleeping with someone for all the wrong reasons will never make you feel right afterwards.

Don’t trade in your emotions for a good time.
Don’t insist on something out of comfortability, or loneliness.
Be uncomfortable, be alone.

This is where and when you grow the most.

Most importantly, do not be afraid to connect to someone. Even if it doesn’t end well, it served a purpose. If you loved someone at a point in time, you can love another again.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even love yourself.