A STORY ABOUT A FLOWER
BUD BLOOM BLOSSOM especially for SHAPE magazine
Why do so many women still find their sexual organs shameful?
The vulva or the yoni as it is called in other cultures, is a part of the body that most obviously reminds us that things are never quite “that simple”, that there is a lot more under the skin, something deeper, more mystical. Society in general, men and women are conscious of this depth but we are sure as hell afraid of that mystical part because it makes us climb out of our safe ego cage where everything is clear, limited and safe.
And so, also sorts of “business” is undertaken to cut off ties to this deep truth, to this depth. For more than a hundred years now, hand in hand with technology and other types of progress, we have told ourselves that we “have everything under control”, that there is nothing else before, behind, after, and that there is nothing more than ourselves and our own narrow limits.
Is this feeling of shame conscious?
Of course it’s not the first time in human history that we have witch hunts and the desire to “scalp” a woman’s power and its symbol, the yoni; this is as old as the hills. In Western Europe this happens with words and attitudes, but in other places with direct violence – for example, violently cutting off the clitoris of small delicate little girls with no anaesthesia, in order to deny them a woman’s pleasure. Why such silence, fear, conflict ? – these are all natural responses to this issue, the subject of fear and repression for so long.
Not only have we avoided looking at them, but the female genital organs have also been subjected to name calling and feelings of shame and awkwardness – a tried and true method of expunging something important from society’s consciousness. In George Orwell famous book 1984, the word “freedom” is systemically removed from people’s consciousness until they no longer understand what this feeling or idea is. In our society, that is what has happened to the words – vagina, vulva, womb, relegating these words strictly to the medical sphere, the porn industry and swearing, cutting them off from spirituality, the soul and everyday life.
This is how we avoid a confrontation with The Big One, The Universe. Our society in this regard is like a knight that avoids meeting The Big One, The Unknown One, and chooses to leave desert never haven looked the dragon in the eye. We have collectively decided that we “don’t want to go any further” as we want to feel safe. Anyone who oversteps that unwritten law and is not afraid to meet the vagina face to face and so experience a mystical transformation is dangerous. And needs to be isolated. And is called – perverse, stupid or a wimp.
Are these attitudes changing?
Pressured by society and its deformed gaze, a woman may switch off her feelings for the mystical, the spiritual and look at her hands, cheeks and ankles. However when we are talking about the vulva, vagina and the womb, then it is impossible to switch off deeper feelings and knowledge. Even by switching off these feelings, they turn into coldness, complexes, even pain and illnesses that continue to inhabit the body, the conscious and the unconscious. We know that “that something down there” hides a deep unity with the universe. Mystical experiences – the first touches of yourself, the first orgasms, the first menstruations, then come other life forms, the entry of a penis, pain, the conception of a child, birth, catharsis - are all hidden there. We know, and we can’t escape it.
Looking at a vagina, and observing it, means seeing “Being” in all its glory – with the good, the bad, the pain, the pleasure, the animalistic and the divine, with the life-affirming and the frightening. It means taking responsibility for yourself, for your body, for the miracle of life. To face this is not easy and our society doesn’t teach it.
In fact, the very opposite is true. From an early age, women are told – that’s not nice, it’s ugly, it smells, it must be hidden. Often, even right up to puberty, girls think that that place is “only for peeing” and associate sexuality with urinating and faeces, another powerful Western taboo. We grow up with an idea that the vulva is a fleshy, slimy, heap of creases, furthermore, covered in hairs – another modern taboo – no hairy armpits, no hairy genitals, nothing animalistic, uncontrolled or genuine!
The vagina is placed in direct contrast to the beautiful, slender, healthy penis that points outward, to desire; it can be touched and understood (characteristic of the modern, rational era of desire!) as opposed to the vagina that goes into a “deep darkness”, constantly hiding two natures – here being extremely delicate requiring a great deal of love and genuine pleasure in order to open up to orgasms, and at the same time capable of great endurance that suffers monthly pain and floods of blood, let alone childbirth when it miraculously opens and then contracts for giving birth to a child.
But a return is taking place, a little, very slowly.
How can you tell these changes are taking place?
Having been subjected to such an onslaught of “over-culture” (a bubble created by society’s stereotypes that hide the true nature of things) pressure, it’s very hard to return to a pure, beautiful, delicate and brave idea of your own flower –the vulva.
It’s one thing to see your own vagina in a mirror and to accept it with your own eyes, but another thing entirely to see its beauty with emotional eyes, to “the change the picture” internally. Therefore, my suggestion is that after looking at it in the mirror, stroking and feeling it with your fingers, your internal picture should be transformed, by doing what women know how to do best. The simplest way is to take Tee Corinne’s The Cunt Colouring Book, published in 1975 and just start colouring!
Or do anything else that allows your “inner child”, your primitive spirit to play and create. Draw, paint, sing, carve, sew, dance, plant a flower bed and celebrate your beautiful vagina for yourself and feel it on an emotional and spiritual level where it needs to be, alongside its physical presence in your body. You don’t have to do it publicly, and it can just be a meditative activity that captures a great thought and feeling. Get to know yourself, truly know yourself. By knowing yourself, you will catch a glimpse of the Universe, the miracle, the truth.
The return will take place through you and me, deeply, through every one of us. This will not be a mass movement of change, it will be each one of us blooming, growing.
Do you have some words of encouragement for the world?
Yes, I have a story that can help each separate bloom, on this individual journey where each of us has a special task.
I want to tell a story that has helped me in many life situations, including at times when you need to talk about your intimacy and its beauty. It’s a story about four rabbis who have been offered a chance to see the wheel of truth in heaven. All four go to take a look and return to report what they saw. The first rabbi talks and talks about how beautiful it was, how astonishing, what a glow, such a fragrance, ahh! His chatter reduces the miracle to small change. The second rabbi starts to make calculations – no, no, I saw it, but by my calculations, it just can’t be, there must be some mistake, what I saw doesn’t add up and therefore must be a fake. The third rabbi was angry that he couldn’t keep the miracle and started cursing and sweating. The fourth rabbi didn’t say anything. He took up his musical instrument and started playing the most beautiful music that made everyone happy, including himself. This is similar to stories about the vagina – don’t be afraid to look at it through the eyes of the body and the spirit. From your blooming the world will flower. For your vagina, in the most literal sense, is such a beautiful flower, an orchid, a snap dragon, my god, how beautiful!
From your blooming the whole world will flower.