At 25

I turned 25 a little less than a month ago. Age is a strange and bizarre concept. At 12 I think I was older than my years. At 22 I was younger. At 25, I feel my age.

I feel my body taking longer to recover from hangovers. I feel my back getting crunchy if I don’t stretch during the day. I feel last nights bed-time french fries clinging and sticking to my insides. I feel my energy dissipating for particular sorts of interactions. My patience has both grown and completely gives no fucks when the situation calls for it.

At 25 I feel more alert to the fact that I am sharing so personally so globally. But I am struck by the ultimate goal I once had for this blog – to start a dialogue. So thrust forward I shall.

My penchant for states of mental intoxication is infrequent and often comes with a strict mandatory list of fulfillment before I can go down the road of “hey brain, you might not be back for a few hours”. My capacity for brief relationships and interactions is dwindling and I’ve come to realize how strongly I value one-on-one time with people.

At 25, I finally feel my body is my own.

When I was 19 I ordered “The Art of Seduction” online. I was ecstatic and embarrassed when it was delivered to my door. A young, awkward, and hypersexual teenager learning to seduce. Such a strange experience it was. Dolling myself up on a day-to-day basis, taking hours to pamper and dress myself before I could even leave the house. And when people would stare at me or men would hit on me, I would feel my eyes well up. Walking out of the bathroom from the Eaton Centre, a woman looked me up and down and verbally slapped me with “Well God, sorry I didn’t brush my hair this morning.”

Traveling to Scarborough for school, I would get hit on repeatedly by young men with the one liner of “Hi… Do you have a boyfriend?” and the only way I knew how to push them away was to say “Yes” and let the highly-acclaimed Male Respect wash over my new fan-base and leave me even more convinced that my body and appearance were not for myself, but for the men around me.

At 25, I know the difference. At 25 my relationships don’t change when I take my makeup off or wear sweatpants outside or get food on my face. At 25 I feel I have erased enough of this bizarre hypocritical life society expects of its young women. At 25 I have finally undone this engrained backwards thinking.

At 25, I understand how fleeting relationships can be because people are fleeting. You can never hold onto anyone because a person is not an anchor and often one has difficulty even holding onto themselves. At 25 I have learned sometimes it is ok if you don’t have enough energy to give. Some relationships are too drenched in history to unbury new kindling. Sometimes you can sit across from someone you’ve known deeply for years, and there is nothing you can say or do to resolve the personal conflicts you have both gone through together. I have been too loud to hear someone. I have been too quiet to have been heard. There is no possible way to resolve all conflict in all relationships. At 25, I am letting myself have “this is okay,” because if it’s not, I might not be able to anchor myself.

At 25, I breath deeply enough and have read enough Chopra, Mate, Tolle, Robbins, that I *hope* I can stand diplomatically and with open arms in the middle of a world that is very quick to shoot arrows and stay standing with minimal holes to my person.

At 25, I feel I have both lived 7 lives and lived none at all.

At 25, I both want to apologize to everyone I have ever unintentionally hurt and also reside in my bubble of stubborn, holding a mirror up to everyone I have fought with just so we recognize that we are just staring at ourselves. I see my own flaws so clearly in other people. I see my strengths, too.

My heart remains open, even though my head is exhausted. I sincerely appreciate and value the people in my life whose hearts are also open – it is an honor to be surrounded by friends and family who are so eager to give. I hope I am able to mirror your generosity.

At 25, I feel I have worked so hard just to go three feet forward and one foot back. And I think about all of the work that is still ahead of me and a part of me wants to lie in my bed nest with Max dog and just drink wine and fall asleep and a part of me has found the energy to keep going because passion or… something.

Here’s to my quarter-life crisis and the new sets of adventures this feeling of adult-hood will bring on.

At 30, I hope I will continue to laugh at myself.

When I Was Your Age….!

This is a recent article I wrote for the upcoming gutterbird NEST zine (an awesome publication that promotes artists in Toronto). They will be having their next issue release party on May 1st. You should be there. I will be there.

When I was eight I was having sex dreams. I also humped my teddy bears. Yeah. I said it. No shame. BUT I WAS EIGHT.

Our current understanding of anything to with children and sex is that, to them, it is explained in a manner that is all very mechanical and logical and maybe connected to this distant non-understandable concept of ‘love’ that our parents talk about, blushing and stuttering all the while.

The dreams I had were comprised of rather obvious symbols and images that would depict what the subconscious of a hypersexual eight year old might resemble; enlarged genitalia that you traveled through to get to other realms – but needed a password before entering – and strange naked games in which there were always boys, naked, jumping on top of me.

BAW

To be frank – I have no idea if I understood any of this. I knew it made me feel all tingly and happy and excitingly naughty, so I didn’t complain, because, why WOULD you complain about something that made you feel all those things… Not that I could control what I dreamt about anyhow… Sex was just running rampant in my randy, young subconscious mind.

What also happened when I was 8: I found my mother and her boyfriend’s underwear on the couch one Saturday morning when I went to go watch the Weekenders and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It was mind-boggling. What on earth would they be doing taking their underpants off in the living room? Let alone taking them off TOGETHER?!

I knew this likely meant that I should recognize my mother and her boyfriend as sexual entities in their own selves (as they seemed to be reenacting the naked games I was having in my dreams) – but quite like how my mother did not want to imagine her young, innocent daughter as a being with a libido, I was in denial about every adult having a libido.

When my parents divorced, my grandmother bought my father about 200 different types of condoms for Christmas. I looked away and chose to ignore the fact that my father may have been a sexual creature.

Which is hilarious, because I was eight.

What is sexuality to an eight year old?

I remember watching a girl very gently, softly and carefully focus on braiding another girl’s hair and feeling ‘funny’. I remember doing ‘back tickles’ late at night with my female cousins, extracting pleasure from the sensitivity of light fingernails on the skin from our necks down to the waistline of our pajama pants. I remember seeing a flash of testicles in grade one when a fellow classmate was doing sommersaults and again, feeling ever so ‘funny’. I remember trading candy hearts with a boy named Luke and thinking we would get married.

This is not dangerous stuff. This is nothing that we need to be terrified of for our offspring. To me, these instances strike me as moments of intense sensuality that derive not from genital stimulation, but an ability to appreciate and experience pleasure.

I feel the need to paint you a picture: I was the quietest, shyest girl in my class. No boys had crushes on me. I became a flaming red ball of blushing embarrassment if ever asked to speak in front of more than one person at a time. I didn’t keep up with the latest fashions – at ten, I tip-toed around the schoolyard in purple velvet pants and an over-sized pink teddy bear sweater to hide the swollen nipples mother nature hatefully handed over to me.

What I am hoping this characterization of myself as a child will do is to negate that image of a half-naked, extroverted tomboy who went around asking if she could see down every 9-year-old boys pants, and her hand always between her legs regardless of the fanciness of the restaurant.

Something is okay to recognize: children are sexual beings. Not just the flagrantly obvious horny little boys – but also the quiet, shy timid girl in the corner.

SHOCK GASP APPALLING DISGRACE HOW DARE YOU SAY THIS CAITLIN?!

Now I’m not saying we should toss away all thought patterns we have on the subject matter. Throwing in the towel and just letting our kids masturbate all over the place likely won’t solve any of their internal sexual reservations that most of them will have when they reach adulthood.

However, it would solve a lot of our future generations psychological turmoil if we acknowledge that children are already pre-programmed for sex long before we even have a chance to explain to them that it has to do with a bed, two individuals who look at each other longingly and lovingly, and with mushing our genitals together.

MOST ADORABLE COUPLE IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION

VUVLA Original

VULVA Original is the smell of a vagina in a small vial.

as a side note: the very very small bottle is covering the slit of the vulva (most of the advertisements for this product cover the 'genital region'. this is an idea of how we understand nudity in media - this is not inappropriate... why would it be if a woman had hair/larger inner lips/a bigger pubic mound?

This product came out a few years ago. I am just discovering it now. My reaction?

No. Just no…

I mean, they get like maybe five points for the sake of hilarity and that fact that this is actually in existent out there in the world. But mostly just lots of no.

I’m into people liking weird shit.

I am not necessarily going to like it with you, unless I really like you and choose to go there with you, but otherwise – here’s to you! Let your freak flag fly as long as you aren’t hurting anyone and it’s consensual.

If you’re into smells and sniffin’ things – that’s cool. I love stickin’ my nose into a man’s armpit and inhaling like my life depends on it. No shame. Man pits smell like a delicious mixture of lumberjack and old spice.

Smell fetishes are actually a thing, too: Olfactophilia.

(But they pretty much have words for every fetish imaginable… Just find the latin name for the thing and add ‘philia’. Here’s a decent list of fetishes.)

So cool. Whatever, you’re into the way pussy smells. Like, big time. So much so that all of your dreams have come true when you discover that there is a company called ‘viva eros’ that has dedicated time and ‘cost-intensive research’ into creating a product that will allow you to PURCHASE the scent of a woman in a small vial that you can get off to at your desire. For your desire.

I could be okay with this. Really. I’d high five the company and be all “You guys are pretty epic and I cannot believe someone funded this project….”

But here is where it all goes downhill:

Knowing this, not only men, who intensify and satisfy their own sexual pleasure by their own smelling pleasure are our main target, but also women, who use VULVA Original to make themselves even more attractive by using the perfect vaginal scent.

because my vagina smells like roses...

Labiaplasty is becoming one of the most popular and wanted types of cosmetic surgery in North America. Doctors and specialists refer to it as ‘vaginal rejuvenation‘ – removing portions of ones genitals is also called ‘female mutilation‘.

To be clear – yes, I am very against any type of surgery to alter/’fix’/rejuvenate ones privates (unless it is reassignment surgery). To be clear – yes, I am against cosmetic surgery (unless it is for physical health purposes)/(this is the purpose of my Body Pride workshops, for every single woman who comes into my home to recognize how completely amazing they are AS they are).

You can watch a documentary called ‘The Perfect Vagina’ here if you’d like to get a better understanding of what I am talking about.

So when we are faced with another product that provides women with another way to hold disdain against their bodies – something for which they have no control over – I, for the life of me, cannot get on board.

If you gave 16-year-old Caitlin an open wish-list of the things she could change about her body… I don’t even know where I would’ve started. Tummy tucks to get rid of the ‘dip and rise’ factor of my midriff (my stomach is not ‘flat’ – nor will it ever be), liposuction on my arms and thighs, collagen for my lips, pubic bone reduction (because my pubic mound does not just flatly transition into my lower stomach) – the list goes on.

Thankfully, I began the ‘fake it till ya make it’ methodology of living very early. If you asked me when I was 16 what I’d like to change about myself, I’d have said: “Nothing”, because I wanted to be the confident, courageous woman I only imagined, and I wanted people to think that WAS who I was.

Which is the part that tears me apart inside, because I have had a few comments along the lines of “Well, yeah, if I looked like you I’d be naked on the internet, too.”

The ‘fake it’ method, it works. Use it. Because the place I never thought I would reach – I’ve reached it.

But I would’ve said the same thing six years ago. (Probably another HUGE reason why young women should not be allowed to receive cosmetic surgery – again, unless it is for physical health purposes or reassignment.)

If, at 16, I had known about this product that advertises the ‘perfect scent’ of a vagina… I likely would have never let a man gone done on me. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LIKE ORAL SEX?!

A lot.

Not too mention, HOW CREEPY IS THIS GUY?!

As a side note, I did try to think of a possible plus of this product other than a fetish thing, and one of the options I thought might be useful would be for post-op trans-women. If you are a post-op trans woman, and are comfortable speaking frankly on such topics, I would love to speak with you.