My parents are super conservative, and I grew up with a lot of Catholic shame and guilt. I attended Catholic school until college and was taught that sex is for marriage and that you don't really talk about those things. It was just a lot of shame, shame, shame that was ingrained into me at a really young age. I also had a rough history with men in general around verbal and sexual abuse.
I thought once I went to college everything would be amazing because I would finally be out of Catholic school and living away from my parents. I thought it would be freedom! But instead, I found so many ways to keep myself tightly constricted, particularly with my body. I would only allow myself tightly controlled portions of certain foods at certain times. At the grocery store, I would see something that I totally wanted, such as ice cream, and then keep myself from it.
I had a very deep craving for intimacy and vulnerability, I wanted to have deep connections with the people around me. I could feel that I had lots going on inside me, but I had absolutely no idea how to verbalize it. If something upset me, I would just blow it off and say nothing. I was so blocked in my relationships that I couldn't be present. And I couldn't initiate anything, especially in the bedroom. I could lie there and be made love to, but when asked to do something intimate for my partner, I’d freeze.
My best friend's mom had been in the OM practice for a really long time, and I was about 20 years old when I saw something about it on YouTube. I didn’t know what I was watching, but it looked incredible. All the people looked so alive and electric, I wanted to try it. So I signed up for an intro class.
My first OM I was all butterflies and cold chills. I buzzed myself up to this guy’s apartment and we had this awkward little exchange, then we just jumped into the practice. The first half I was so nervous I couldn’t really let myself feel anything. But then I relaxed into it. I turned off my brain and closed my eyes and felt an overwhelming electric sensation from my head to my toes. Afterwards we shared frames of our experience and I felt myself get nervous again and I made up something that sounded like what I should say. I usually would have gotten away with it, but instead he said something like, “Wait, you’re not being real. You can just be honest.” And I was amazed at what was happening. He could tell, just listening to me, that I had scripted what I was saying in my head instead of being authentic.
That was the first time I really dropped into my body and authentically named a sensation that I had been feeling.
During the first few OMs I didn't make adjustments. I made them in my head, and I didn't say them out loud. And when I did start speaking them, I was shocked that the world didn't burn down. It was so powerful saying exactly what I wanted, exactly what would feel better in the moment. But it took a lot of OMs to get there.
Today, I am comfortable in my body. I can recognize what my body wants and let myself have it. I can lean into discomfort and tell people when something hurts me and ask for what I want. I let my feelings guide me. I’m not going to shrink or make myself smaller to be more comfortable. I’m more willing to let myself be open and honest, particularly in places where I might have stayed quiet. I’m willing to have a real, authentic conversation, regardless of what the outcome might be.
Since starting OM I’ve also healed my relationship with men. I’ve deliberately chosen to have strokers that are both men and women, because I realized I had so many issues with men. The actual act of getting into the nest, opening my legs and then noticing the stuff that comes up has been incredibly potent for me. At first, I was always super nervous to be opening myself up in that vulnerable way to a man. It was very, very charged. But eventually I realized that my issues with men actually had nothing to do with the men I was OMing with. I was simply projecting my own history of abuse and frustration onto them.
Before OM, a man could look at me in a specific way on the street, and I would cover my face and walk away and then spend an hour brooding, texting my friends about how entitled men are and blah blah blah. Now I work with this guy who is literally my biggest trigger ever, and I can recognize that I'm triggered and I can choose look at him with love. When we're connected, we can have an actual conversation about what’s going on.
I guess when it comes right down to it, the practice of OM is about intimacy. Today I am super open and can share intimately, not only the sensations in my body, but my desires and thoughts as well, which is something that I never would have thought was possible when I was younger.