Getting Real With Lisa Van De Graaff

I’ve lost my sensuality. Let me be clear: I do not mean sexuality, at least not in the lusty, lewd way. I mean pleasure of the senses. I mean fully experiencing the sweetness of a spring strawberry, the intoxicating scent of jasmine, the calming sound of doves in the early morning, the beauty of a sunset, the feel of sand between my toes. I mean living in the moment with every sense and experiencing something in an entirely human way.

Sensuality was once an inherent part of me, one of the things that defined me. In response to the quintessential party icebreaker, “Tell me about yourself”, I would tell people the various things that I do: “I am an artist, a project manager, a foodie, a traveler,” whatever I felt in that moment. Inside though, I defined myself in two ways – “I am intelligent and I am sensual.” Today, after forty trips around the sun, I am a mother, a wife, a body worker and a writer, and I am still exceptionally intelligent, but where the heck is my sensuality? Where are my senses? I’m living in my head and not somatically. I believe this part of me may have been discarded somewhere, perhaps in a well-intentioned frenzy of downsizing, and so if you bump into it somewhere in a virtual second-hand store, please ship it back to me and I’ll send a reward.

I know that I will never again be the woman I was in my thirties. I know that my once firm and slender body has been given to my child in a labor of love, and I know that aging will bring lines and gravity to my once perfect skin. It is absolutely true though when I say that I don’t want to be her anymore. The marks on my body are my badges of honor – the tattoos of a thus far well-lived life. And really, my cellulite and cesarean scar affect only the sexual part of sensuality. My ears, taste buds, eyes, nose, and skin are still perfectly capable of performing their functions flawlessly. What I do want is to find my sensuality as it is now and nurture it back into my life. There are spaces there inside each of my senses that are waiting to be filled with exquisite awareness.

It is spring. Nature is waking from her winter hibernation, and she is optimistically reaching for the warmth of the sun. I will do the same. I will plant my seeds and be a complete participant in their germination.