Sensory Integration, or something else I just found out I have

I saw my psychiatrist last Friday--she's amazing--and as I was talking to her about my constant body-scanning (I obsessively scan my body throughout the day thinking about each and every sensation--it's exhausting), she asked me: "When you were a kid, did you have sensory integration?" I didn't know what it meant, but it sounded dead-on. 

Sensory Integration refers to: 

how people use the information provided by all the sensations coming from within the body and from the external environment. We usually think of the senses as separate channels of information, but they actually work together to give us a reliable picture of the world and our place in it. Your senses integrate to form a complete understanding of who you are, where you are, and what is happening around you. Because your brain uses information about sights, sounds, textures, smells, tastes, and movement in an organized way, you assign meaning to your sensory experiences, and you know how to respond and behave accordingly.

Initially, Sensory Integration was thought to only be related to those on the Autism-spectrum. In the past few years though, it has been broadened to include people who may not have any other criteria for Autism. 

So, back up--as a child, my parents used to liken me to The Princess and The Pea, because I could feel everything. I also had a very hard time wearing socks. I would not wear them. I felt like my feet were constricted in them. I didn't like how they felt. 

Ever since I can remember, I have been preoccupied with sensations. I remember being four-years-old, writhing, and screaming on the cold, kitchen floor because I was worried about getting yet another UTI (I had them a lot as a kid). 

For those of us who deal with Sensory Integration, it happens "inefficiently":

People with SI dysfunction have great difficulty figuring out what is going on inside and outside of their bodies, and there's no guarantee that the sensory information they're working with is accurate.

My body has always felt like a place of fear. Even today, as I write this, I'm thinking about how I feel. I'm thinking about that sensation I'm feeling in my right big toe, and wondering if it's "normal." You pair this (Sensory Integration) with an anxiety disorder, and WHOA, shit is intense. 

It's all I know, though. I have lived like this since I was four. 

So when my psychiatrist asked me if I had Sensory Integration as a child--something nobody has ever asked me--I knew it was right. I knew it was part of my identity. And I feel better knowing I have it. 

It's still difficult, but I feel like I understand myself so much better now. I only hope I can continue to learn how to live--happily and at ease-in my unique molecular landscape. And to not fear my body--my shelter--my home.

My body has always felt like a place of fear. Even today, as I write this, I'm thinking about how I feel. I'm thinking about that sensation I'm feeling in my right big toe, and wondering if it's "normal." You pair this (Sensory Integration) with an anxiety disorder, and WHOA, shit is intense. 

It's all I know, though. I have lived like this since I was four. 

So when my psychiatrist asked me if I had Sensory Integration as a child--something nobody has ever asked me--I knew it was right. I knew it was part of my identity. And I feel better knowing I have it. 

It's still difficult, but I feel like I understand myself so much better now. I only hope I can continue to learn how to live--happily and at ease-in my unique molecular landscape. And to not fear my body--my shelter--my home.

PRODUCTS I LOVE (BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, CAPITALISM)--HAIR EDITION

So, in case you don't know... I have curly hair. Tremendously curly--Botticelli curls. I've grown to love it, however, I still am always trying new products--always looking for that ONE that I can't live without--the "holy grail" of curly hair products. 

I used to use DevaCurl, but I got sick of that shit early on. And honestly? I really never thought it was as great as people said it was anyways.

In the meantime, this is what I've been using:

-Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo/Conditioner
(This smells so heavenly, and it leaves my hair feeling fresh and clean.)

-Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk
(I prefer using "milks" or "creams" instead of gels for my hair. Anytime I use gel, it leaves my hair feeling sticky and hard and just constantly wet looking. This Shea Moisture milk leaves my hair feeling so soft. The only thing that kinda sucks about it is 2 days later, it definitely does not feel as soft. I wash my hair twice a week, but sometimes I feel like I need to wash it more just to get that damn soft feeling back! If anyone has any advice, please let me know!)

-Coconut Oil
(Coconut oil is my JAM! I use it as a moisturizer on my body and on my hair--specifically my edges after I've worked out or done heated yoga. It reinvigorates my hair. I also will do a once a week intense moisture session with my hair by smothering it in coconut oil--leaving it in for 30 minutes or so--and then washing it out.)

-Rosewater
(Rosewater is also my jam. Rosewater and coconut oil together is a magical self-care mixture that I will use on my hair and body until the day I die. Two days after I wash my hair, I'll spritz in Rosewater to moisten and reshape some curls--and also, just to smell DAMN good.)

Do you have badass curly hair? What products do you use? TELL ME!!!!


Products I Love (because, you know, capitalism)--makeup edition

Ciao lovelies--I haven't written in a while, and I've received a few questions here and there about what products I use (makeup, hair, etc). So... without further ado!

Makeup:
My "day face" and my "night face" are just my face, ok? I don't typically do anything special if I go out in the evening. I pretty much just reapply the shit I already have on. I've never been that great at applying eyeshadow, and I've never been that into it, anyways. Now... eyeliner... that is my "special sauce." I have perfected my liquid eyeliner, BECAUSE I WORK AT THAT SHIT. But I digress... 

Daily Makeup:

-Josie Maran Argan Creamy Concealer Crayon
(This shit is lovely. I use it in "Medium 1")

-bareMinerals Original Powder Foundation
(I love how light this foundation is--not at all cakey, and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. I used it in "Light.")

-Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel
(I just started really caring about my browns--like... REALLY caring. It's amazing how much your brows--shape, color, etc--can really make your face say, "LOOK HOW HOT I AM!" I use this in "Auburn.")

-Too Faced Bronzer Chocolate Soleil
(I don't always wear bronzer, but if I do, this has been my go-to. It smells like hot coco, which pleases me immensely.)

-Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
(MY FAVE! I love how smooth this goes on. I use it in "Intense Black." I find it really easy to use, and if I do fuck up, it comes off fairly easily--especially if you get it off before it really sets in.)

-Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara
(I love Josie Maran everything, and this mascara feels luscious. I'm also a sucker for the pretty container.)

-Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch
(I LOVE THIS. It's so amazing, but HELLA pricey. However, it does seem to last long, and it really helps make me not look like death in the morning.)

Anyways... I think I'll do a hair product post later. In the meantime, what are your favorite makeup products? Do you use any of the ones I use? Do you hate makeup? (Sorry, this post ain't for you!)

Sleater-Kinney Thawed Me Out

The whole gang! Photo by Audrey Leon

The whole gang! Photo by Audrey Leon

I had the utmost privilege to see Sleater-Kinney perform in Milwaukee this past Sunday night, and it was a riot grrrl dream come true. 

I've written about them before here, but to summarize: my cool older brother bought me "The Hot Rock" for my 14th birthday, which then began my entrance into Riot Grrrl and feminism. And I've never turned back.

Seeing Sleater-Kinney live was something I never thought would happen. I was too young when they were starting out in the early 90s to ever go to a show, and the timing just never seemed to work out in the early 2000's. It was kind of a dream of mine that I put to rest, because I thought my time was up.

Lizzo (on left) and Sophia Eris Photo via Sophia Eris

Lizzo (on left) and Sophia Eris
Photo via Sophia Eris

UNTIL NOW.

I teared up when watching them perform. Seeing Janet, Carrie, and Corin on stage--belting, playing, dancing, feminizing--was emotional for me. They played all of my favorite songs (minus a few), and the energy in the theater was electric! I felt safe at their show. I felt exuberant. I felt like I loved life again. 

This was, by far, the best concert I have ever been to, and the most emotional one, too. I felt all of our hearts thawing out in that warm theater in snowy Milwaukee. 

Lizzo and I! <3

Lizzo and I! <3

P.S. If you have a chance to see Lizzo--she will also change your life. I swear to the goddesses I had a spiritual experience watching her perform! (I got to meet her, too!)

An Assault to Remember (TW: sexual assault)

TW: sexual assault, physical abuse

 

I'm terrified of dating. 

It used to be kind of fun. During grad school, I pretty much had dinner paid for each night of the week (men are always wanting to invoke the very gendered and ancient "rules" surrounding dinner dates).

Dating has got me tired. Worse, it has hardened me. It has made me jaded and cynical and untrustworthy. 

It has, quite literally, assaulted me. 

About a month ago, I went on a date with a man I met on the oh-so horrendous site, OkCupid. We met for drinks. He seemed great--he was hilarious, flirty, intelligent, handsome, kind. I only drank half of my martini, because I rarely drink (especially with strangers). He had two martinis. He walked to the bar from his place--which was quite a long walk in the below zero Wisconsin cold.

I offered to drive him home.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him?)

I initially was not going to take his offer to "come inside", but when I saw where he lived--I changed my mind. You see, turns out, he lives in the house my boyfriend from two summers ago lived in. I thought, "This is too fucking ridiculous. I can't NOT go inside." I knew my ex was long gone, of course.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

He, luckily, was not living in my ex's old room--that would have been far too weird for me. We walked up the stairs to his bedroom, sat on the floor--he barely had any furniture. It looked like he was just moving in or just about to move out.

I sat on the floor. Him across from me. The owner of the house's cat was purring between us. He moved the cat out of the way to kiss me. It was nice. It was passionate. It got aggressive quickly.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

We moved to his bed, which was a twin-size air mattress. He rushed to shed me of my clothes. I didn't mind. He stayed clothed. He was on top of me. 

He held me down for a bit, and made out with me. I pushed him away at one point to ask: "So, what are you into? Are you a Dom?" He responded with: "I'm into a lot of things. Yes, I'm Dom, how could you tell? Haha! And I know you're a sub."

He asked me: "Do you like being slapped?" I thought he  meant on my ass--I thought he meant spanking. I said, "Yes, very much so." 

He held my throat for a moment, and then slapped me across the face. 

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

I didn't know what to do. I didn't know where this was going. I suddenly could not speak, and my body went limp. He slapped my face a few more times. Then he started to take my underwear off. And he slid his fingers inside... 

Slow at first, but eventually, quick and hard and painful. He was still fully clothed, kneeling on top of. I didn't know what to do or how to get away. Then he noticed I was bleeding. And he stopped. I felt like fainting.

My blood saved me. 

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

He said we could keep going, but I lied and said I needed to get home--it was late after all. He flung my bra at me. I must have scoffed at this, because he said: "What? You seem really uncomfortable." Scared and shaken, I said to him: "No, I'm just really tired. That's all. I should go."

I put my clothes on, and he walked me downstairs to the front door. He leaned in to kiss me goodbye. 

As I left, I noticed he still hadn't washed my blood off of his fingers. And then I remembered what he said to me as I was getting dressed: "You better believe I'm going to jerk off to you when you leave."

His orgasm was my pain.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)