Epiphany: Reflecting on 2020 Through an Erotic-Psychedelic Lens

Epiphany: Reflecting on 2020 Through an Erotic-Psychedelic Lens December 29, 2020

Photo by Chris Arock on Unsplash

My erotic epiphany has not been my own. Perhaps inside, I knew this and that is why I have been reeling with anxiety and fear. The anxiety is most prevalent during my psychedelic sessions. I started noticing it around the 4th trip. When it surges, it feels as if every cell in my body is pooling up between my lungs and my nose, waiting to burst out. But I somehow create a fortress around it to contain it. I won’t allow it to pass through. The rush brings me to a cliff, and I do everything I can to dig my feet in to keep from going over, and then I hear a voice say, “just let go.” And I do. And like a dam breaking open, every anxiety welled up within begins gushing over the cliff. Everything pours out of me and for a moment, I feel completely empty yet so full.

Something inside of me wants to break out. I hadn’t named it until today. When I came to the conclusion, I was almost beside myself with relief. I have been scraping away at the layers trying to reveal what the heck is making me feel this force of rushing energy, and all along it was me. I was hiding myself. I was trying to break out. I wanted to pour out of myself but I was afraid of what I would spill onto.

I tend to leave a stain on most surfaces. Sometimes, when I spill out, I burn like acid. Or I leave a salty residue.

The psychedelic journey has been intentional. I wanted to discover more about my Erotic Self. I wanted to unlock unconscious fears and anxieties I perceived to have so that I could transform them into something I would fully embrace. Specifically, I had hoped to find out a reason for my non-attraction to women, sexually. I had hoped to glean a revelation about my apprehension about open marriage, sharing my husband with another, and sharing myself with another. I figured a few trips would have me on the path to polyamory in no time. It sounds a bit sad, doesn’t it? So sad indeed that I believed I was subconsciously selfish for not wanting to really live out my mantra of “sharing is caring.” Yes, I believed I was selfish and merely scared because of some trauma trapped in my subconscious. My shadow was keeping me from sharing because I had a crappy childhood. Isn’t that how we psychoanalyze psychedelically?

Somewhere, something got tangled up. I began my erotic epiphany with hopes to understand and write about how God reveals an erotic state of being in humanity and in nature. I got distracted by the perplexing (to me) nature of polyamory. The whole idea didn’t square with my idea of a quantum entanglement theory demonstrated in a differentiated couple. But interestingly, the idea of a relationship of 3 (or 4) seemed like synchronicity to me. And this piqued my husband’s curiosities as well.

But I think I tangled up the in the conflicts of the concepts and applied my “sharing is caring” mantra onto many of these ideas, to be logically consistent of course, and this created knots. Rather than being open and honest about it, I began transferring my concerns and confusion into the archives.

We lie to ourselves often. We cannot help ourselves. Some things, our minds just aren’t ready for. Other times, it’s just that our shadow is afraid of the light. The light reveals what is not aligned. It reveals that people’s ideas are not always aligned. That desires and needs are not aligned. What would happen if my husband discovered that I didn’t want what he wanted? What if what I wanted was what I already have? Did that mean my desire was boring? Did that make my fantasies vanilla? Why do some people love singularly, and others in multiples? That is all I wanted to understand. And part of me felt like I could never understand it fully until I lived it for myself.

But what if I changed my mind? What if I never made up my mind? What if I never really wanted to think about it because I thought it would remain in fantasy only?

I pushed an actor in front of the spotlight before she knew her lines. I hid backstage because I was not prepared for the role I had been cast for. But I didn’t remember auditioning for the part, either.

Sometimes, we do things for our partners because we want to hold space for them. We don’t want them to feel ashamed for what they say they want to try, and so we acquiesce and encourage, even. After that, changing your mind seems like stabbing your lover in the chest. We want them to express themselves. We don’t want them to suppress their sexuality or fantasy. We want to continue to accept them as they are in each present moment that we share with them. Our intentions are other-oriented and good. But you know what they say about paved roads leading to hell…

I bet the cast of Hamilton can agree when I say that performing night after night can be exhausting. But playing a role we didn’t audition for and didn’t want is entirely life-draining. It erodes the essence of who you are when you pretend to be what you don’t want to be. Sometimes, it’s not even about not wanting it. It could be that one just hasn’t really processed what it is that one wants.

Perhaps the is the difference between a farmer and a gardener? A farmer selects a plot, decides on his seed, prepares for a planting day, and follows a pattern of procedure conducive to a seasonal cycle for maximum production and revenue. A gardener, however, knows that the diverse array of seeds she will plant have their own unique growth cycles. Some seeds are planted before the last frost. Some must wait until the soil is above 70 degrees, others are not planted until the peas are blossoming, whenever they finally do.

Farmers want to hurry along and get it planted and see what blooms as soon as possible. Gardeners just kind of wait and see what pops up, not knowing when things will grow.

Neither way is necessarily right or wrong. It’s just a distinction I am making to show the differentiation in the way we process things.

I change my mind a lot too. Like, mid-way through the season, I will go plant a bunch more seeds to see if I can catch a glimpse at blossoms before the first frost of autumn. Other times, I dig stuff up and decide I planted too much or didn’t like how it was doing.

Alcohol also has a great impact on the things we do and say, especially when we are aroused. I have seen studies that report on this combination and the effects are startling. We are more inclined to behave “inappropriately” and respond more “agreeably” to suggestions that are outside of the sexual norms. Ergo, some people wind up having threesomes all because the a-a-a-al-co-hol (Blame it on the alcohol.) “Whiskey makes her frisky.” The Devil, after all, is at the bottom of a bottle.

I am not gonna lie. I have said and done things while drunk that I would not have done sober. I have served time for some of those things. I have a strict drinking policy because I know that about myself. I only drink with a mindset geared toward sex. It may sound odd to you, but I noticed that when I drink, I embody the emotion I felt at the first sip. And that emotion sets the tone for the duration of my drinking experience. If I am sad, I remain sad. If I am angry, damn do I stay angry. The rage incidents were the worst. I would get lost inside myself and I couldn’t stop the anger and seething pain from spilling out everywhere. As I said, acid—corrosive, boiling, dissolving acid. Because I don’t want to see that version of Danielle again, I only drink for or with sex, or during sex. And besides, if sex doesn’t come from a good buzz, what’s the point? Anyway, if I am drinking, I am fucking.

What if this erotic exploration leads to closure for my infidelity? Eroticizing our wounds doesn’t always bring healing, or at least that what I recall Dr. David Ley mentioning.

Eroticism is both an attraction and choice. But if the choice doesn’t feel like an embodied choice, what then?

Eroticism is a desire to love what is unknown in the Other. But mustn’t I at least know of the Other before I desire what is unknown about them? And from there, see what grew out of it? That was my goal, so to speak. To see if I could fully love another as I do my husband. But then the idea of sensation and pleasure snuck in.

I know of pleasures. And what I know I like. It could be that what I do not know I could also like. For the sake of authenticity, however, I am content. I want for nothing. I experience joy, pleasure, purpose, and fulfillment from all that is within my reach. I have so much already. Isn’t it selfish to want for more?

Of course, there are plenty of ideas floating around that suggest otherwise. There are ideas that suggest I should be more connected to my community. That I should form more allegiances and alliances with larger groups, identify myself as this or that. Wanting more stuff is never frowned upon, and we all know that more stuff makes us happy, right? We live in a society that beckons for more! Better! New! Labels, luxury, love.

I don’t want any part of that. All my past relationships I hinged on pleasure first, relatability second. It was more about sexual compatibility rather than emotional and spiritual compatibility. Until my husband came along and messed up my method. So, it is a bit of a surprise that he’s so open to demolishing the foundational beams of what made us work. That’s how I look at it, anyway.

Pleasure is a byproduct. I can give that to myself. But there is a level of ecstasy that can only be created between two. The question remains, can this be done outside the boundaries of the marriage without it causing detriment to any party involved, participants and bystanders?

The anxiety stems from my adultery, too. All too often, many family members and friends reminded me that having sex with another man who is not my husband is a sin punishable by hell. For 10 years that was the repeated message, along with jabs and reductions whenever anyone sought to diminish me. I wore that Scarlet label for over 10 years, first with shame and guilt, but eventually, it turned into acceptance sprinkled with humility. Now, I am simply to tear it off, and what? Immediately act in a new role and pretend to know the lines?

What I am not articulating is defeat or a sense of giving up. My erotic epiphany is simply shifting in a different direction, one that considers me the primary star of the improv show. This role will be organically presented once I learn the lines. I don’t entirely know what that looks like yet. I do know that it means I must be more honest with my Self if I am to make any sort of progress in this thing we call life. It means I must remember what I have learned. My desires do not have to be the same as my partner’s. In fact, having differing desires makes erotic engagement more exciting. It’s exciting to accept the unknown. It’s faith in fantasy.

Desire, however, in its purest form, is for the Other—which is essentially a reflection of God, if you ask me. The fully embodied, multi-dimensional mind, body, and spirit of a person you love. It is not one dimensional. It is not only physical or only spiritual.

Once the desired fantasy becomes tangible, it brings along infinite consequences. Consequences are heavy and I am not confident that I have the strength to carry such additional luggage around with me. I want less drama as I age, not more. I want more to be grateful for, not more to pine after. When does the wanting end, I wonder? Because if psychedelics have revealed anything, it’s that wanting is so darn wasteful when the having could be had at this moment.

About Danielle M Kingstrom
"Sometimes I have to write it out to see where I'm falling short."

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