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I Was Disconnected From My Body. These Sensual Habits Helped Me Reconnect.

I found my way back.

Wellness

I know firsthand what it is like to feel disconnected from my body, and trust me, it's a painful place to be. Pre-pandemic, I always felt connected to my body. I consciously decided to live a reasonably healthy lifestyle and rarely had any health issues outside of a common cold. I worked out regularly, went for morning runs, and was a regular at my local yoga studio. The work I put into my body contributed to my confidence, and it showed in other areas of my life. At the time, my dating and sex life were as fluid as any other single girl in New York City. When it came to my body, I felt like I had it all. I had good health, a healthy sex life, and a sweet peach to go with it (thanks, squats!).

The early days of the pandemic is when the relationship between my body and I began to shift. I could no longer attend the gym due to COVID. Yes, I could have done an at-home workout, but staying in bed and watching movies became more appealing. My dating life, sex life, and social life came to an immediate halt. Like many of us, I had to sit with myself for the first time in a long time. The only company I had were thoughts I had suppressed.

My mental health eventually took over my physical health.

So there I was, depressed, lonely, and horny as hell. I've never felt further from myself. I tried following the suggestions of every wellness page on Instagram, but nothing worked. Until one day, I came across an article on Goop titled "Finding the Pleasure in Your Body". The article discussed how using our sexual energy can help us connect to ourselves. Now I have to be honest, I didn't agree with everything in this article, but it did inspire me. I then found my erotic ways to tap back into myself. Here are sensual habits that helped me reconnect with my body.

Indulge In Self-Pleasure

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We are all adults here, so let's keep it real. Have you ever felt triggered, stressed, or depressed, but then you have an orgasm and you feel fine? Don't lie; God is watching. I'm not saying self-pleasure will help solve all of your problems, but it sure as hell will alleviate some stress. It definitely cleared my mind.

After indulging in self-pleasure and having an orgasm, I felt lighter for the first time in months. There is something special about being entirely comfortable with myself that felt so empowering. Knowing that I can give myself an orgasm better than any sweaty man and not have to do the walk of shame was liberating.

Engage In Sensual Body Movement 

Sensually moving your body creates a pathway to accepting your feminine energy. You can sensually move your body at any age or body type. Most people assume you have to know how to dance or be a good dancer, but this is not the case. Sensual body movement is moving in a way that allows you to listen to your body and feel good. A few sensual body movements can include: moving your hips, pole dancing, twerking, or moving in a way that freely expresses yourself. I wouldn't consider myself a professional dancer, but I can move like Beyonce when alone. However, the sensual movement was a different experience.

Tapping into myself through sensual activity felt uncomfortable at first. I found myself in my head, wondering if my movements were awkward. These thoughts only proved how disconnected I was from my body. To get past the voice in my head, I decided to create a character, just like Beyonce. Her name is Alexandra, and she moves sexier than Sasha Fierce herself.

Once I got out of my head and into character, there was no stopping me. I was no longer Celeste, who was subconscious about sensually moving her body. I was now Alexandra, who had no problem dropping it like it was hot. Alexandra felt sexy, free, and fully aligned with herself. In her head, she was the baddest thing out there, and her body was out of this world.

Take A Spiritual Bath

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Shutterstock

Spiritual baths are every girl's Instagram dream aesthetic. You can fill them with all kinds of elements that can make any woman feel like a goddess. You can customize your spiritual bath with roses, oranges, strawberries, crystals, herbs, and so much more. Spiritual baths are recommended to correct any spiritual or physical blockages you might be feeling. Although spiritual baths are not scientifically proven, they have been a part of many cultures and religions.

Spoiler alert: I'm not much of a bath girl. I'm a shower girl all the way. Now I know what you're thinking, "So, how did you take a spiritual bath then?" I simply incorporated it into my shower routine. Before my shower, I took a gallon of water and put strawberries, blueberries, freshly squeezed lemon, oranges, and let them soak overnight. When it came time for me to shower, I rinsed myself with the infused water. I also surrounded my bathroom with candles and played lofi music to set the mood.

My spiritual shower experience was...well...relaxing. As I poured the infused water over my body, I truly felt like I was washing away every blockage that took me further away from myself. I rinsed away thoughts of disapproval, judgment, and hurtful narratives I had told myself about my body. As silly as it may sound, I felt like I had initiated a rebirth between my body and me. I was making a new path of love, acceptance, and awareness for myself. I vowed then; I would no longer allow myself to become disconnected from myself.

Recite Body Affirmations

Body affirmations are a way of retraining your mind into body acceptance. Several studies show that if we continue to repeat affirmative dialogue to ourselves, we will likely believe it. This study also goes for the negative narratives we tell ourselves. The goal behind affirmations is to retrain our brains and retrain the way we see ourselves. This is all hard and embarrassing to admit, but it's my truth, and I want to share it with all of you.

Through my months of feeling disconnected from my body, I consciously and unconsciously told my body hurtful things. Meaning my body wasn't good enough or pretty enough. Comparing myself to other women I saw on Instagram and in magazines. Lastly, questioning my self-worth because I didn't have the fattest ass or the curviest body.

I've chosen three affirmations that have helped me embrace my body. Here they are: "My body radiates beautiful kindness"; "I accept my stretch marks as beauty marks"; "The acceptance of the color of my skin starts with me". These three affirmations have brought me closer to my body than ever before. I repeat these three affirmations when I'm feeling insecure, in the shower, or when I have a negative thought. I learned through these affirmations that acceptance doesn't start with society; it begins with me.

Wear Some Lingerie For You

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I don't believe there is any scientific data behind wearing lingerie, but it sure as hell makes you feel good. Through my personal experiences and conversations with girlfriends, I've learned most women wear lingerie for someone else. I loved spicing it up in relationships and frequently wore different kinds of lingerie to make that special someone feel good. I picked out lingerie in hopes that Mr. Man would see my body in a sexy way, but what about how I saw my body? Did I see myself as a sexual being? The short answer is no. I was wearing lingerie for external validation, but I didn't see myself as sexy without that validation.

I began wearing lingerie before bed every night. I have all types of lingerie in my closet, but my preference was a nice silk slip (if you know, you know). Just like the sensual body movement, I felt silly wearing lingerie for myself at first. I knew it was time to tap into my alter ego again, Alexandra. I may have felt awkward wearing lingerie, but Alexandra? You couldn't tell her anything. Alexandra felt like a bad bitch. She wasn't a snack; she was the whole damn meal, period! It took no time for Alexandra and me to see ourselves as a sexy Mamacita.

I know in this article, I made my journey back to my body sound easy but I want to clarify that it took some time and practice to get to the right place with myself. I had to consciously put in the work every single day to fight past the criticisms of myself. Although it took some time, it is possible. If you're in a dark place now, just know that I am here with you. Your body may not be perfect, but you can get to a place of love and acceptance. Your body is the temple that protects your soul.

Nourish it, respect it, listen to it.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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