My Pleasure is Not Domestic
Some people have that angel on one shoulder and a devil on another. I have a little old woman with a sensei’s sense of humor (the kind where they repeatedly do something that completely confounds you, then they laugh when you don’t get it. Then later the reason for them doing that thing suddenly makes sense and you realize you aren’t as smart as you think you are and they laugh again). She’s got a round brown face mapped in laugh lines, dresses in clothes made of reindeer pelts with blue and white flowered trim, and carries a big ass staff. (She says “Ha, and you thought all muses were svelt young things in sheer robes” <insert cackles here>
So there I was, innocently reading Pussy, a Reclamation by Regena Thomashaur ; nodding along to the bits about the importance of positive attention, small daily habits and "pussification". It was when house cleaning was recommended as a good starting point that my shoulder witch started cackling “We're encouraging women who already do more then their fair share of chores to connect to their pleasure with house cleaning?”
I realize that it’s a “reclamation” not a “revelation” but still.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have written before about how choosing to maintain clean space can make you feel like you’re living above your means. Beautiful clean space is inspiring. It’s almost indulgent. It’s can make it easier to do what really matters to you. That said, I have also written about struggling against the shame that I am not one of those women who can maintain spotlessness. I may enjoy my apartment when it’s clean, but it’s not top on my pleasure priority list. It falls behind meaningful work, spontaneous adventures, creative outlets, actual physical pleasure, and exercise. Sometimes clutter builds up so I can do things higher up on the list.
Freedom is the ultimate in pleasure, and self-actualization is the ultimate in freedom, and neither of those things are as easy as a clean house, more baths, or dressing up every day. Speaking from experience, pleasure isn’t enough. You must also show up courageously in your life. If you are not dropping the weight of expectation, then you are only anesthetizing yourself and calling it revolution.
So what would a Feral "pussification" (I DO like that term) look like? How about making sure you don’t put your passions off until you’re too tired to enjoy them? How about laughing your real laugh, snort and all, as freaking loud as feels good. How about weirding out your neighbors by dancing along to the music in your headphones while you walk the dog (which I *may* have actually done this morning?) How about taking yourself less seriously? How about giving up self-critiquing? How about writing love poetry? How about asking your soulful self what SHE wants to do every morning? How about quitting the abusive day job? How about drawing a line in the sand when it comes to how you will allow yourself to be treated in the future? How about coming up with an ideal budget and dreaming up new ways to make it happen. Hell! How about saving up your coffee money and hiring a maid if a clean home really is THAT important to you?
Look, there is Safe Sexy who is the equivalent to a pin up giggling into her hand while wearing heels and flipping pancakes, and then there is Wicked Sexy who smirking-ly takes your perfectly curated to-do list out of your hands, throws it over her shoulder in a crumpled ball, and says “let’s play.” She will re-circuit your life, she will destroy your illusions, she will probably leave you with fewer (fake) friends, but the transformation in her wake is real. Safe Sexy is just a band aid, a coping mechanism, she won’t stir things up too much or make your mother in law clutch her pearls, and she definitely won’t leave your life or the world satisfyingly changed. Can we all stop playing house, pick up our broom sticks, and fly off with Wicked Sexy instead?