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…or, why I’d rather masturbate in front of my boyfriend than have him watch me do ritual.

Seriously.

I mean, its kind of stupid, isn’t it? He’s seen me naked, we’ve done things together naked, yet I can’t do a simple ritual in front of him fully clothed without getting weirded out. I’m not even getting all super woo-woo about this. Light the candles, pour the water, say the words, lay down the cards. Simple. Easy. And friggin’ impossible to do while he’s in the room.

He’s an atheist. Big deal. I knew that when I met him. He doesn’t even care that I’m doing a ritual. He accepts my embarrassed and really self-conscious explanations about why I’m doing this with grace and at least the semblance of understanding. And yet, the very idea of him watching me… judging me… even thinking that what I’m doing is stupid shoots any chance at sacred mindspace dead in the face.

Why? Why the hell is that? Why can a man see every part of my physical body, and yet one peek at my religious life shuts me down? Why can I say “Fuck you” to online spiritual judgment, but screw myself over with *imagined* judgment from him?

I think… perhaps… I may know part of the answer.

I know I am not pretty. My self esteem about my physical beauty has never been very high. But I always had my dreams, my ideas, my way of looking at the world. My religious activities reflect these things. I’ve opened up my physical side to him, but while that is a big part of me, its not the biggest nor the dearest. I’ve dealt with people I love and care about making me feel shitty about my body (intentionally or not) all my life. There’s not much he could have done that would make that worse; it would just have confirmed the nasty little voice in my head.

But, he didn’t. He gained my trust along with my love, and that is what puts me in my current position. I don’t want to hide part of myself, the only part I like about myself, just because I fear being hurt. If we are going to last, I can’t partition myself between mind and body, not if I expect him to open himself up the same way. Problem is, I have never shared my religious beliefs totally with someone I can touch. Dribbles and drabbles, yeah, but not the wholesale explanation of who and what I believe in. I haven’t even shared that much on the Internet, though the Internet gives a reassuring anonymity to the whole process.

What a can of nasty, alien, brain-sucking worms one little ritual has dragged up. Because, if I give into the urge to sublimate my spiritual desires, I lose a facet of myself. I become a little two-dimensional puppet trying to please him. I don’t want to be that, and I highly doubt he wants me to be that either. The urge to please him and make him happy has to be counterbalanced by my own drive for happiness. On the other hand, if I am too selfish in my desires, it wouldn’t be fair to him. I’d be asking him to be my puppet. That is no way to live nor love.

I will not scurry around like a rat after he has gone to bed. I will not ask him to leave the room again. I will find my big girl panties and wear them with pride. If he deserves intimacy of body, then he deserves at least a chance at intimacy of spirit.

Now believe it, self.

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