The floor vibrated to the pounding of the music, sending its waves up through my body to blend with the deafening beat coming through the air. In this container of sound, I felt free to abandon myself, to let myself go. Lights flashed through the darkness, the drug surged through my bloodstream, and I swayed with the other dancers surrounding me. The dynamic DJ spinning the records, the man who had orchestrated this rave and the whole psychedelic trance scene in our West Coast city—that man was my lover.
At the time, I was very shy. I didn't have close friends because I had a hard time trusting people or feeling comfortable with them. One-on-one conversations terrified me. I had extreme social anxiety. I felt uncomfortable spending time with people, so I kept everyone at an arm's length. The only way that I felt really comfortable hanging out with people was in a group situation where I could be in the background. Raves gave me a way to be in a roomful of people that felt safe. The push-pull relationship with the DJ felt safe too, in a strange way. He introduced me to drugs, and he would only hang out with me when we partied together. It felt safe to have love when I was in an inebriated state because my inhibitions were low. He was unexpected, often strange. He'd give me intense attention, and then he'd take it away. I actually thrived on that out-of-control ride, but over time, it got to be more and more painful. I realized that me and the DJ were not going to turn into anything that would really be fulfilling.
I started to feel suicidal and like I needed space. I moved away for six months, got stronger, and came back to him feeling steadier in myself. We let that play out until drug addiction took over his life. Once his drug habit prevented him from hosting the rave scene, it shut down.
By then, I was ready to be done with that kind of unstable relationship and find a more compelling direction for my life than the raves. I was somebody that had a lot of passion but I also had a lot of shame and confusion about my desire and what I truly wanted. I felt isolated, trapped, and frustrated, both emotionally and sexually. I moved to New York and explored a number of different spiritual practices, trying to get into a deeper center within myself. I was still shy, even resisting invitations to meet with individual women who wanted to be friends with me. But through my personal studies, the pieces started to come together.
Then I hit a roadblock. I became jaded and frustrated. In desperation, I tried an experiment where I locked myself in the house for three days and didn't talk to anyone, trying to confront my loneliness. It didn't work. I felt like I was losing my mind. That experience felt like a mirror of my life, since I didn't really feel there were people I could turn to.
Then one of my teachers heard about Orgasmic Meditation and suggested I check it out. My first few OM sessions were unsatisfying in my mind, although they did make me feel more connected to myself and to other people, and I liked how my body felt.
Then I finally had an OM that changed everything. As soon as he touched my clitoris, electricity poured through me. Then I went on a roller coaster, going straight up and then back down. I was pulsating, experiencing my body in a way I'd never experienced it before.
In the following months, I dug into the practice. In some sessions, I would fall asleep near the beginning, and then I'd wake up to a flood of sensation. My whole body shook, and my voice opened up, and I felt incredibly alive. OMing gave me deeper access to myself and a deeper connection to the other person. I remember a moment after an OM I felt so deeply connected that I could feel all the way down to my soul.
Around that time, I had an on-again-off-again lover, a man I was attracted to, but there was also a lot of discomfort between us. We didn't communicate well. After I'd been opened up by the OM process, I had the confidence to ask him to OM with me. For the first time, I was able to express my desires and not feel ashamed or like I had to hide them.
This freedom has extended into my friendships with women. When I meet someone I want to get to know better, even if she's skittish about getting closer, I can be the one to persist, to keep calling until we make a connection. I have the strength to hold that space open between us.
A year ago, I moved to a small city out West. When I arrived, I had only one friend. As I made more connections, I decided to organize a girls' trip. My friends said it was the best experience they had all summer. We had a magical camping weekend, and it launched what's become a thriving community. Creating community turns out to be a form of expression for me, even when there are challenges. Despite the barriers thrown up by the pandemic and the wildfires, we've found ways to stay in touch.
Instead of following around a charismatic male leader, I'm now the one creating experiences for other people.