The Big Libido Manifesto

As women, we play many roles: partners, wives, daughters, mothers, bosses, employees. We deliver, nurture, manage, and please. We are accomplished jugglers, master manifestors; we make things happen. We are badass, and we know it.

The byproduct of navigating our hyper-connected, multi-tasking lives with poise and grace is the suppression of raw emotion. To perform these many roles effectively, we contain, conform, and control our feelings, our words, our behavior. As a matter of survival we adapt to a culture that values our rational minds. In the process we become alienated from our innate, intuitive nature, often feeling unseen, unappreciated, and misunderstood.

When we lose our sense of self in this way, we suffer in our relationships. We get angry; and we shut down. Our confidence takes a hit, along with our self-esteem, self-care, and our precious sex lives—the very thing that should be our source of power.

There is a fire that burns inside each one of us. It is the flame of passion, of desire, the creative energy that sparks life and sustains humanity. It glows, it roars, it’s wild in nature. It is our birthright, and it is our responsibility to tend this fire, for our own wellbeing, for our community, and for the energetic recalibration of the world.

The Cost of Being a Badass

I am exhausted. Flat-out, bone-weary knackered. Drained, depleted, beat, wasted, spent. You get the idea.

I have been on a bender for the last several months, giving birth to a batch of new programs and reinventing the way I do business. This is a good thing. I am fulfilling on my purpose. I am aligned with my passion. I am showing up in the world, climbing into the arena, playing big. I’ve been manifesting like a mad woman. BAM!

As a single mother, writer, coach, speaker, editor, entrepreneur, I play many roles. My hat rack is jammed full, and I wear all of those lids enthusiastically. I often say I am the most competent woman I know. I even changed a tire in my flip-flops one morning on the way to drop my son at school. I got this. I’m a badass, and I know it. And yet somehow I find myself in the familiar place of dragging my badass around wondering why this often feels so hard.

I’m not alone in this. I know a ridiculous number of equally badass women with whom I have this conversation on a regular basis. We are simultaneously inspired and tired. My most desperate moments of energetic decimation have brought me to this realization: there are two varieties of exhaustion.

 

PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION—The kind of fatigue that shows up when we haven’t fed, watered, moved, or rested our bodies in the way that sustains our wellbeing.
Symptoms: sleepiness, brain fog, headache, muscle weakness, short-term memory loss, difficulty regulating mood.

EXISTENTIAL EXHAUSTION—A syndrome that occurs at a certain point in the downward spiral of compounded physical exhaustion when there is no clear path out of the current paradigm.
Symptoms: overwhelm, depression, lack of motivation, loss of purpose, disorientation, hopelessness.

 

The question that characterizes the state of Physical Exhaustion is, “Can I really do it all?” Once Existential Exhaustion sets in, we find ourselves asking, “Can I really HAVE it all?”

The answers to these questions are largely determined by how we define “all,” but one thing is certain, if the answer is yes, it cannot be at the expense of our wellbeing. The cost of being a badass cannot, by definition, be our badass-ness.

Pondering all this, I climbed into a hot bath, submerged my tired body in lavender-scented water, and came up with this. It’s a work in progress (both the list and myself), but it seems like embracing these 8 rules would go a long way in the avoidance of the kind of exhaustion where our entire existence is called into question.

 

RULES OF BADASS CLUB:

  1. Your own wellbeing is a priority.

You don’t pretend that everyone else’s needs come first. You’ve renounced martyrdom. You might take care of others first, but you never go without eating or sleeping or making everyone wait for a few minutes while you put yourself in time-out.

  1. You have a strong statement of purpose and anything that isn’t in alignment with it has to go.

You have determined what it is you are up to here on planet earth and you use that vision as a guiding force in your life. You do not indulge anything that is out of integrity with who you are and you are ruthless in eliminating distraction. You are a living example of what you are bringing forth. You walk the talk. You are the change you want to see in the world. 

  1. You have cultivated a relationship with your feminine essence and do what it takes to tend the fire.

You recognize that we are navigating a culture that values our rational minds and celebrates linear, problem-solving, masculine energy. You know that as a woman, you have an innate, intuitive nature that is fluid, expansive, and grows wild. You have developed the tools to access this creative life force to fuel your existence and fulfill on your purpose. 

  1. You realize that saying no can be an essential expression of love.

You have a handle on your co-dependency quotient and feel secure in enforcing boundaries as a means of being able to sustain your loving presence in the world. You also know the importance of teaching people to fish for themselves, and that in doing so, they not only develop their own self-sustaining skills, but often discover and innovate in ways that serve others.

  1. You have developed a support system and you’re not afraid to use it.

You have let go of the idea that you have to do it all and fully embrace the vulnerability it takes to ask for help. You even enjoy creating opportunities for others to show their love for you through acts of service.

  1. At any given time, you can answer the question: What do you need?

No matter what the situation, you have developed a set of criteria by which you check-in with yourself—physically, emotionally, spiritually—to determine your needs, for which you take responsibility, and act accordingly.

  1. You are willing to be alone.

You acknowledge that we are born alone and we die alone. While you choose to be in the company of others, you never do so to avoid confronting your own self. And you don’t pretend to have the right to mandate others’ thoughts, feelings, or behavior. In fact, every morning you release the ones you love, graciously, to their path.

  1. You are willing to tolerate uncertainty.

You relish the state of “not knowing” because you know that’s where possibility lives. You have cultivated a practice by which you are able to disconnect from your controlling mind and embrace the natural flow of the universe.

Waking Up to Sex

I had dinner with an ex-lover last weekend. He waited until we ordered and then looked directly at me across the table and said, “I read your article, 6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex, and you forgot the biggest one.”

I looked back at him trying to detect if he was serious or just playfully sparring. He was serious.

“Yes? Which one did I miss?” I said with tentative curiosity. Without hesitation, he said, “Morning Sex.” It came out of his mouth like the moderator at a spelling bee, each syllable deliberately and matter-of-factly articulated.

MOR. NING. SEX.

I felt my chest and throat tighten. My resistance tells me I am at my edge. He’s right. Morning sex is radically intimate.

“Oh right, I forgot that about you,” I replied.

I love middle-of-the-night sex—the kind when it’s pitch black and you’re half asleep, when a good naked spoon slowly becomes a fork—but when the sun streams through the windows, I usually want to sneak out undetected. As a boyfriend of mine once said upon waking, “You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” Even his charming London accent didn’t soften the blow. I am not a morning person by nature. Having post-coital company exacerbates this condition.

In the days after our dinner, the conversation stayed with me. I asked my ex-lover to tell me what he loves about morning sex. This is what he said:

“I love watching the woman I have been intimate with stirring in the morning light. It’s like that Leonard Cohen lyric, “I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm…”’

Morning is

A time of true heartfelt exchange

And then…without the liquid intoxication

It’s like first steps again

Freshness of the skin sensations

Eye to eye acknowledgement and smiles

A playful scene

Kissing past the bad breath and leftover scents

A reconvening

I love the force of sobriety

If you can fuck in the morning, you can win the world

Maybe it’s like blowing off the ash of the fire burned the night before and then feeding it again.

His words moved me. This is a man who is not afraid to feel. I know well the benefits of radical intimacy; the deep connection that is made through mutual vulnerability—the healing that comes from being seen and from the witnessing of another. I want to feel about morning sex the way he does.

“What would have to happen for that to happen?” I asked myself. It’s not easy—but it’s simple.

I would embrace my imperfections. I would be naked in broad daylight. I would love my scars that grace my body after 17 surgeries. I would see my pale lips and bare cheeks as an expression of natural beauty. I would rock my bed head like it was the mane of the goddess mother herself.

The great researcher and author, Brené Brown, says that people who live “wholeheartedly” believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. I imagine a space where physical imperfections actually make me more beautiful—because I embrace them with courage and the kind of self-love and compassion that it takes to dance naked in the sunlight with a lover, without shame. I want to live there.

And as far as the morning breath goes, I have found that a single sip of bubbly water from a bottle—strategically place on the nightstand the night before—has a way of freshening a morning mouth.