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To those of you who thought you were signing up for a newsletter about sex and politics and are disturbed to find a newsletter about my bowels, I sincerely apologize. I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose to decrim and destigmatize sex. I’ve been a bit immobilized by my uncertainty around how to best go about doing that. Should I interview experts? Go on more deep dives into the forces working against us? I’ve spent many an hour wondering what the highest leverage thing I could do might be. Classic analysis paralysis. It’s my specialty. It’s why my motto is “Do it shitty.” Because otherwise I’d spend 100% of my time thinking and critiquing and 0% doing.
When I take a step back, I know decriminalizing and destigmatizing sex is just one part of my larger purpose. I haven’t quite nailed down what that is. Something around justice and fairness and post-scarcity and human flourishing.
At some point during quar it occurred to me that the person whose suffering I have the most ability to impact is my own. I’ve been feeling a pull recently to focus on that. To get my own house in order before and alongside my efforts to tell other people what to think or how to live.
Today, during my IBS hypnotherapy session I merely cried a bit as opposed to uncontrollably sobbing. Progress?
I thought more about how I used to (earlier this year) berate myself for my mistakes in childhood that probably contributed to my IBS. Why did I eat so much packaged, highly processed foods? Why did I take antibiotics daily for years?
When I was in middle school I used to have to wear my jeans a size or two too big because any pressure on my stomach around my waist was very painful. I was thrilled when low-waisted jeans came into style. When I would feel pain I would berate myself for wearing the wrong size jeans or getting too big for my pants.
As I listened to the session, I began to feel empathy for my younger self. I didn’t know how to choose or prepare foods as a kid and no one had time to make sure I did everything right. I would randomly get sick to my stomach. So of course I chose the foods with the least room for user error. I didn’t choose to have to choose between being permanently disfigured by rosacea and daily antibiotics as a pre-teen. I didn’t know what they would do to my gut flora. I did what the doctor recommended.
I’ve been told that successful people are more likely to have an internal locus of control. They believe they have a lot of influence on what happens to them. Less successful people tend to have an external locus of control. They believe their ability to influence their world is limited.
But now I’m wondering whether the locus causes the success or the success causes the locus. If I’m successful I’m obviously more incentivized to believe I’m responsible for my success. Similarly, if I feel like a failure I’m motivated to believe it’s not my fault.
The other thing I’m looking at is how, time and again, I’ve weaponized my internal locus of control against myself. Sure, maybe having a disfiguring skin condition wasn’t my fault. But why focus on that when I can berate myself for treating it with antibiotics that might have exacerbated other problems? That’s what successful people do, right?
The more I think about it, the more I think successful people praise themselves when they can connect something they did to something that worked out for them and give themselves a break when they make what turns out to be mistakes. At least that’s probably what happy people do. I wouldn’t know. But I can imagine.
I’m going to continue to try to give myself more breaks and see how that works out for me. I’ll keep you posted on what is now the butt blog.