High vs. Pleasure

This article is in response to this amazing video with Mama Gena talking about all things femininity
So, on Monday, my therapist and I had a very interesting conversation. We were talking about extremes of emotion, and how some people go on roller-coasters and bungee jump in order to get a ‘high’. He asked me where I get my high. I was stumped for a moment. Actually, the truth is, I don’t really get high. It doesn’t interest me at all. I’ve been kind of perplexed by that and pondering it since.
I said at the time that a lot of the people I know who are adrenalin junkies seem to be pretty fucking miserable in their everyday lives and it’s like they desperately NEED the high to look forward to and to remind them they are alive and to feel ‘good’, except it isn’t any kind of good that I’m interested in. It’s not really happiness, it’s just a high.
To me there’s a huge difference. I said that I want to live a life without the huge ups and downs, but that is generally quite happy overall. I don’t want to NEED a high just to get me through the drudgery and misery that is my day-to-day. Fuck that. Seriously. Fuck that right off. That is not my idea of good feelings. That is not my idea of a good life.
Then today I watched this video with Marie Forleo and Regena Thomashauer about her new book ‘Pussy: a reclamation’ . I have ordered it and I cannot WAIT to read it.
In the interview (go watch it now before you read the rest of this article) they talk about the patriarchy and femininity and how our masculine society approaches life with this ‘no pain, no gain/harden up’ mentality and how that is super fucking bad for women because it keeps us in a state of stress and because we need the feminine values of slow, receiving and…pleasure!
And a light bulb went off in my mind. Not only was I already fist pumping along with this Mama Gena woman who I’ve only just discovered but apparently has been around for years and who is speaking out loud everything I think about our rat-race society.
But I realised WHY this whole conversation about getting a ‘high’ felt so off to me. It just holds NO appeal to me and I couldn’t articulate why, even though some other part of me was like ‘but isn’t that how I’m supposed to live, isn’t that what the world says is right?’ (which, by the way, my therapist was definitely not implying, it was just part of our conversation.)
The concept of getting a ‘high’ feels off to me because it’s purely adrenaline based. Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands and is a form of stress on the body. Stress on the body is not pleasure. Getting a ‘high’ from some thrill-seeking activity is the very opposite of pleasure for me. And PLEASURE is what I’m aiming for, not an adrenaline-fueled high.
And just to be clear, I’m not just talking about sexual pleasure (although there’s nothing wrong with that, but if adrenaline or cortisol are pumping through your system good luck getting anywhere near orgasm). I’m also not just talking about momentary pleasure that you feel when you eat a piece of chocolate or slip into a hot bath (although, I do love those moments). I’m talking about taking pleasure and feeling joy and absolutely revelling in the pleasure of the day-to-day. The beauty and peace and, dare I say it, sacredness of life. Just en-joy-ing the experience of where, what and who I am at this particular point in space and time.
Maybe this doesn’t make a lot of sense and I don’t particularly care! I’ve spent a lot of time the last 3 months really exploring my experience of the world, my understanding of the sacred, and wrestling with the very cynical, uber-critical inner demon-on-my-shoulder, mean girl and ego inside me who says that it’s all woo-woo rubbish and science is king (another subtle message that the masculine must be superior) and if you can’t see it, or even more important, argue it with perfect articulateness then you will be shot down by vitriol from male, anti-theist trolls. Except they’re not even trolls, some of them are friends. I see some of the stuff they post on Facebook and it makes me want to shrink and hide my feminine heart even more because I know if they knew I was exploring and thinking and valuing some of this stuff they’d be extremely blunt and frankly mean with their dismissal of it.
But I don’t want to hide. I don’t need their approval, and in fact they’re not even people that I actually see in real life anymore. And by some of the vitriolic stuff they post on Facebook, I’m not sure I’d want to have a conversation with them about any of this stuff anyway. Actually, I definitely wouldn’t want to do that.
So I unfollowed them. Not unfriended, because there are reasons I’m friends with them and I actually think they are pretty great humans in general. I don’t have a problem with men and masculinity. I want to make that super clear. It’s just a few men I know who are very publicly anti-theistic and critical. Since I want to remove that voice from my head and allow myself the space to explore and enjoy exploring what I want, when I want, that starts with removing that message from my Facebook feed.
All of this is just to say that I am choosing pleasure in my day to day life as a goal. I want to eliminate things in my life that cause me unnecessary stress and fuel my inner critic. These particular people on social media do that. And it felt really PLEASURABLE to consciously choose to unfollow them, and instead prioritise the inspiring, hopeful, sacred, wise, funny, kind and enjoyable social media posts instead.
Mama Gena said in this video: “When you hate on yourself, you can’t love a sister. It can only happen if you take that radical and revolutionary step of standing for your own pleasure, which leads to self-love.”
Yes. AMEN, sister. Let’s love each other and share that love around the world.
I stand for my own pleasure. It’s a small but revolutionary change in my approach to life. It requires me to shut down that voice in my mind, and that voice on social media, the one that hates on me. I choose love instead.
I invite you to do the same and together, we can make the world a better place.