By Christine Capra (my wife)
A woman asked me recently if I had healed from my prostitution experience. I told her I'd healed as much as one can with a secret. Which is a lot, but not all that's possible. Secrets don't heal, they fester. If you're strong, you can contain them. You can manage on a daily basis without major crises. But without openness there are things that remain growing in the dark, like mushrooms.
Here's how this healing and releasing thing works: painful, traumatic, unbearable memories of the past - childhood, prostitution, the contemplation of what caused me to start keeping secrets in the first place - all that junk, calcified and took up residence in my bones, thickened my being like cornstarch, slowed the flow in certain ways, hardened parts that should be soft, occupied spaces meant to remain empty.
Each day now, I dig deep into my bones and go back to the past - the shame, regret, fear, pain, loneliness, the indignities, the hostilities, the insult. In doing so, I shake loose the calcification's. I unearth things I always know are there, but leave trapped in hardness. I leave them trapped in hardness because loosening creates gunk, smelly old goo that, shaken from my bones, collects just under my skin. It starts to gell there, slowing me down further (now it's really in the way). It takes up space, making me unable to pull more from the bones. It bogs me down, renders me worthless, stops up the writing, reduces my words to sniveling. I write in empty blabbering circles.
But now, before the toxins collecting just below the surface become unmanageable enough that my compacting and clearing-away habit re-packs them back into my bones, my husband touches me. He does for me what I once did for those women I had sex with back in the day. He does for me what I tried very hard to do for my Johns. He does for me what the planet needs.
He caresses me. Slow, sensitive, caring, attentive to what my body tells him. He touches my body's story, and in giving it space, he releases it. His touch, love manifest, touch that feels like the sap of a tomato vine smells (the smell of love manifest), touch like peaches taste (the taste of love manifest), like the caress of ocean breezes, the whisper of wind through cedar branches, touch like the breath of a happy baby dozing contentedly, but purposeful, like bees lighting on milkweed blossoms, gently brushing against the stamen, bees in their dance and flight of love, pollinating, nourishing, adoring. Touch that releases all those memories that I've struggled to dislodge from their calcite caverns. He touches me with serious intent - my toes, arches, feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, butt, hips, belly, rib cage, back, spine, shoulders, neck, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, ears, throat, chin, cheeks. He touches me, just touches me, for an hour or two, every few days, and as he touches, all that past, all that weight, thickness, hardness lifts off my skin and out of my life like butterflies. Myriad, brilliantly-colored butterflies emerge and alight and fill the air with a delicate fluttering beauty. Love manifest, love that transforms, love that releases, that heals, that renews.
There is only so much healing we can do on our own - the wounded understand that self-sufficiency is a myth. The unloved and unloving understand that it is love that transforms. That no will or intent or heroism can renew that is not absolutely ruled by love. And the most powerful love is the love that exists in matter. Love in the body, in the earth, in the trees, and the worms, and the surf, and in individual atoms. Love at play in the chaos of being. Love in incarnation. Love in specifics, love in mortality, love in the limited, in the dying, in the wounds, in the mistakes.
As those butterflies flutter and disperse, a particular belief is released as well - the belief that this secret was mine to keep. I realize I've been keeping it for civilization, not for me, and that the secret is about civilization. The only piece of me in the secret is my love. My love of life, my love of eros, my love of matter - my intense love of touching and knowing the truth, my intense love of touching and knowing the truth with my body - with my skin - with my heart. My undying fascination with that energy that flows through life, that binds us all to life and each other. Why on earth would one keep that a secret? Only if such a love had burnt one, only if such a love could not fit into one's society.
Like children who once believed that telling of their abuse would bring harm and shame upon themselves, I now see that the only one served by silence is the system that requires non-sacred prostitution. I see that I've been doing a service which seems regrettably necessary in our current context - like storing radioactive waste - waste that never was mine.
I see now that the stigma does not serve decency, the temple of the body, purity, chastity, womanhood, faithfulness, or any of the other things we contrast a whore against. The stigma serves the lie - the lie that civilization works.